Kenny Ortega, director and producer of Michael Jackson’s “This Is It,” testified in the preliminary hearing of Dr. Conrad Murray in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Choreographer Kenny Ortega testified that he was summoned to Jackson’s home a day after letting the superstar skip rehearsal because he seemed sick.
Ortega was rehearsing with Jackson for his upcoming This Is It concert tour. On the stand, Ortega said that on June 19, 2009 Michael complained he was cold, had shakes and was unable to perform which prompted them to cancel the rehearsals.
“He didn’t look well at all,” Ortega testified. “Michael was chilled and soft-spoken. … He wasn’t in the kind of condition to be at rehearsal.”
“It was scary. I couldn’t put my finger on it,” he added. “I said, ‘Michael, is this the best place for you to be or do you want to go home and be with your family?’ He said, ‘Would you be OK with that?’ I said, ‘OK,’ and he left.”
The following morning, Ortega, Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson, the star’s manager Frank DiLeo, and Randy Phillips, head of AEG, the company producing Jackson’s “This is It” comeback tour were all present at Michael’s home. The meeting was “intense, loud and argumentative.”
Kenny asked Michael to take better care of himself because the tour was imminent. Ortega also claimed Dr. Murray was upset that he had sent Jackson home the day before.
“It quickly became clear that the meeting was about me,” Ortega said. “Dr. Murray was upset that I had sent Michael home the night before and didn’t allow him to rehearse.”
Ortega said Michael was great at the last two rehearsals on June 23 and June 24: “Michael was in great form.”
The producer also recalled his last conversation with MJ: “Michael said, ‘I know you love me and care about me. You don’t have to worry about me. I’m fine,’ and he gave me a big hug.”