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Alif Sankey

(Associate Producer, This Is It)

Plaintiff’s Witness.

Prior to questioning, AEG attorney Motion in Limine, they want this witness cautioned not

to discuss doctors’ opinions relating to Michael Jackson's health, his ability to perform

and whether the tour should have been postponed. AEG citing hearsay objection.

Jackson attorney argues that the order regarding doctors’ opinions does not mean that

they can not question about how Michael was doing in performing. Plaintiff has right to

question as means of relating to the retention and supervision of Conrad Murray. Judge

agrees.

Direct examination by Brian Panish.

Q How are you employed?

A I’m a choreographer, dancer and producer. For 30 years, since age 8. Ballet, tap,

ballroom dancing.

Q How did you become a professional dancer?

A I was trained from age 8 to 17. I’ve done TV work, concert stage, movies, music

videos. Started assisting choreographer and choreographed myself for concert stage.

Q What artists did you do music videos for?

A The biggest music video I’ve done is Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal in 1987.

I’ve also done music videos for Gloria Estefan, Donna Summer, Cher and others.

Q

Have you ever worked on any sporting event performances?

A

I did the 1994 World Cup opening ceremony with Diana Ross. I was a dancer.

Q

How did you become involved with making Smooth Criminal video with Michael

Jackson?

A

I auditioned with over 500 other dancers. I didn’t do so well the first time. I was

nervous because it was for Michael Jackson. Choreographer Vincent Patterson was my

teacher. I got a call back and was chosen for the video.

Q Tell us about your first meeting with Michael Jackson?

A My first meeting, delightful. Then after we were into rehearsals, Vincent Patterson

would have to give us what I call “the Michael talk” - which was on the days Michael was

coming on set. So get rid of all your nervousness and excitement out of you, it‘s normal.

I was a huge fan of Michael’s. And then I’m working for him. (laughs) So Michael came

on the set.

Michael came over to me and I was very nervous. Michael said, “Who did your eyes?” I

told him I did. That was my first encounter with Michael Jackson.

We were in costume and makeup - in position the do opening segment.

Q What was it like to work with Michael Jackson on the Smooth Criminal video?

A It was amazing. It will always be the best job of my career. Michael’s process is

genius. The way he can envisualize. He would visualize it and it would happen. Smooth

Criminal is part of the film, Moonwalker. We got to see Michael’s imagination. That was

the first time as an artist/dancer that I was completely inspired. By his craft and attention

to every detail. He never missed a thing. He paid attention to every detail of the entire

process. I was inspired. I call it magic. IT WAS ABSOLUTELY MAGICAL TO WORK

WITH HIM. I dream to this day that I will be able to create on that level of magic that

Michael created. It was living a dream to work with an artist like that. Just a dream. And I

will treasure it and have it in my memory forever.

Q How many people worked on that video?

A Smooth Criminal was a big production. 50 dancers. Large crew.

(Panish plays the Smooth Criminal video)

Q Is there a storyline to Smooth Criminal?

A Yes. Michael and Vincent came up with the theme for the video. It was inspired

by the film, Bandwagon starring Fred Astaire. We dancers all got to come up with our

own stories of who we were in the video. There was a lot of staging and choreography to

keep everything moving. It was so unique. There were individual shots such as: Michael

coming to the door, Michael flipping a coin. There was also a master shot. So the an

editor of the film pulls from different angled shots. The process took about 3 months to

complete the video.

Q

What did Mr. Jackson call music videos?

A

He called them short films.

Q

Did you become friendly with Michael Jackson?

A

I wouldn’t say friendly but he always remembered me, my face, over the years.

Q

This was part of a larger production?

A

Yes. It was part of Michael’s film, Moonwalker. First part encompassed his career

with the Jackson 5 up the Bad Tour concert footage. The plot surrounded the three kids

in the film and Joe Peschi was in it.

Q

Did he dance?

A

(laughs) No. He was the bad guy.

Q

Did you ever go on tour with Michael?

A

No I didn’t.

Q

Do you know an individual by the name of Kenny Ortega?

A

Yes.

Q

Who is he?

A

Kenny Ortega is a choreographer, director and producer.

Q

What does a choreographer, director and producer do?

A

A choreographer brings steps together and creates a dance. Director directs the

overall

project. A producer oversees everything to do with the project.

Q

When did you meet Kenny Ortega?

A

I met him over 20 years ago. I auditioned for him as a dancer. I worked on a

movie with hi called, Spirts. Kenny and I became friends after that. I worked for him off

and on as a dancer, as an assistant choreographer, and as a personal assistant on

movies

and TV shows.

Q

Do you know if Mr. Jackson ever worked with Mr. Ortega?

A

Yes. Kenny worked with Michael on two tours - the Dangerous Tour and the

History

Tour.

Q

Did you work with Mr. Jackson again after the Smooth Criminal video?

A

Yes, I did. I worked with Michael in 1991, for the MTV 10th Anniversary Special. I

was a dancer. It was my first time on stage live with Michael. It was televised. I worked

with Michael again in 1996, at the Brit Awards in London. Michael performed, Earth

Song. Next time I worked with him was October 2001. I‘m not too sure… [United We

Stand, 9-11 benefit concert from RFK Stadium]. He performed Man In The Mirror, but it

was never aired. I was part of the production team, production coordinator.

Q During all these times, were you ever concerned about Michael’s health,

emotional state, physical state or ability to perform?

A No.

Q When did you see Michael Jackson again?

A In 2006. Michael and Kenny had a creative meeting together and I got to see

Michael briefly at that point. I was Kenny’s personal assistant at the time. But I was not

privy to what the meeting was about.

Q

Did he look different to you then?

A

Yes.

Q

How was he different?

A

He was very thin. He didn’t look like he did last time I saw him in 2001. I hugged

him and - he felt different. I’ve hugged Michael before. In 1996, I hugged him. And his

body, as I describe - he was always thin, but he had muscle mass. Like marble. He had

a hard body. When I hugged him briefly in 2006, he didn’t feel like that anymore. He felt

THIN. He just felt thin.

Q

How did you get involved with This Is It project?

A

Kenny called me. I was given job as associate producer. Overseeing every

aspect

of shows logistics - lighting, costumes, staging, graphics, video, makeup, hair,

making sure dancers are healthy to do shows. I was Kenny’s point person. Things would

come through me and I would pass them on to Kenny or vise versa.

Q

Were you involved with emailing or receiving emails for Mr. Ortega?

A

Yes.

Q

And AEG were?

A

AEG were promoters of the show.

Q

Did you enter into an agreement with AEG to work on this project?

A

Yes. I was given a contract by AEG to work on the tour.

Q

Who did you discuss that with?

A

My contract went through my agents - with Paul Gongaware.

Q

What was your understanding of Mr. Gongaware’s role in the process?

A

He was the person that put the show on. He was in charge.

Q

Who were you working for?

A My point person was Kenny, but AEG - they were paying my salary. My contract

was with AEG.

Q Kenny Ortega, who was he reporting to?

A He was the director and producer of the show. He was reporting to Paul

Gongaware and Randy Phillips.

Q

Were you working directly for Michael Jackson during this time?

A

No.

Q

Who was it that paid your salary?

A

AEG.

Q

Who was it that could terminate your employment?

A

AEG.

Q

This Is It. What was this project? What was it supposed to be?

A

This Is it was supposed to be Michael’s comeback. It was going to be huge. It

was going to be innovative. Knowing Michael, it was going to be something that no one’s

ever seen. It all had to be new and pioneering. Because that’s the way Michael was. His

imagination was endless. And what was being created, was taking what he had done

before and taking it to the next level.

Q

Was this to be a concert?

A

This was to be a concert held in London at the O2 Arena.

Q

Is that a big arena.

A

Yes.

Q

In general, how long does a concert last?

A

Two hours or more. It depends on the artist.

Q

Was there anyone else going to be performed?

A

I don’t know for sure. I’d heard rumors that Slash was probably coming in and

playing

on a couple songs. Slash used to be the guitarist for Guns ‘n Roses and he had

worked

with Michael on a few songs in the past. He was actually on stage during the

1999 performance on TV. -- [Michael’s accident in Germany, when the bridge he was

standing on over the stage plummeted down]

Q You auditioned the dancers. How many dancers did you audition?

A There were hundreds. Girls first, boys second. We took them in group after

group. Then we -- Kenny, Travis Payne and casting -- went through the elimination

process.

Q Who was supposed to be singing in this show? Was Michael Jackson supposed

to be singing in this show?

A

Yes.

Q

Was anyone else supposed to be singing in this show?

A

No.

Q

So this was going to be a Michael Jackson show called, This Is It?

A

Yes.

Q

What were you going to do in the show?

A

I was going to be performing. Just background on Earth Song.

Q

Did you meet again with Mr. Jackson?

A

Yes. He came to one of the final dancer auditions, we were finalizing and he was

there.

Q

Did you see him any other time during auditions?

A

No I didn’t.

Q

How did he look then?

A

He was very thin.

Q

Were you concerned at that time about his physical condition?

A

No.

Q

What is Center Staging?

A

It’s a music space in Burbank where bands go to rehearse. We were through for

rehearsals for band and dancers. It was our prep space.

Q Was there a calendar, a schedule when you were supposed to rehearse?

A Yes.

(Panish shows exhibit of This Is It rehearsal calendar of April/May/June 2009)

Q

What are the various entries put on the calendar? Who made the schedule?

A

What days we were at rehearsals. Kenny always made the schedule. We were at

Center

Staging in May. We moved to the Forum in June.

Q

So according to the calendar, up until the 20th of June, rehearsals were at the

Forum?

A

Yes.

Q

Then it looks like June 22nd to the 30th, rehearsals were at the Staples Center?

A

Yes.

Q

The schedule says you continued to have Sundays off, along with few other days

off, is that right?

A

Yes.

Q

How often did you see Mr. Jackson at Center Staging in April?

A

I saw him not everyday, but I saw him a bit - quite a bit. He was part of production

meetings and he was working with the band in rehearsal, singing.

Q Did you see Mr. Jackson at Center Staging in May?

A Yes. Production meetings with Kenny and working with the band, which included

Michael Bearden, musicians, background singers, sometimes Travis Payne. He worked

with Travis Payne at the house were he was staying, too.

Q During this time did you speak with Mr. Jackson.

A Yes. For moments. Not conversations. One moment: Wardrobe had come in and

was showing Michael sketches. Right in the middle of that, Michael just looked at me

and said, “You lost weight. What are you doing?” I told him I try to work out every day.

He told me, “You know, you need to try and keep going.” So I had these moments with

him.

Q

Was he friendly to you, Mr. Jackson? How did he treat other people?

A

Yes. He was VERY friendly. Very kind.

Q At this time, did it appear to you he was excited about doing This Is It?

A Yes. Another moment I had with him: He realized he remembered my face, from

making Smooth Criminal video. At that point, he was very excited to do the show --

excited to show his kids. And finally show them who he was, and what he was all about.

Q

So now we’re in April-May. How was Michael’s physical condition at that time?

A

My observation -- he was thin.

Q

Was there a time when you received information that he was sore or that --

AEG:

Objection. Hearsay.

Judge:

Overruled.

A

I was told, at one point, while we were at Center Staging --

AEG: Objection. Hearsay.

Q Well just tell us what is your understanding of what you heard? Actually, it isn’t

hearsay. The person who said it is another employee of AEG.

AEG: Objection. Lack of foundation.

Q

Who told you this?

A

Travis Payne.

Q

Who is Travis Payne? Who was he working for?

A

Travis Payne was choreographer of the show and he was hired by AEG.

(Sidebar)

Q So what did Mr. Payne tell you?

A Travis shared with me that Michael was complaining of his body being sore. As

dancers we knew that, as a dancer you have to stretch after you reach a certain age in

order to dance. To move at a certain level. I told Travis he should bring in a bar so

Michael could stretch. Also palates, which is another form of stretching and preparing to

dance.

Q

Did you go to Mr. Ortega and tell him there are other things for Michael’s physical

condition that he needed -- such as a nutritionist?

AEG:

Objection. Hearsay.

Judge:

Overruled.

A

No.

Q Did you ever notice Mr. Jackson had a problem with his shoes.

A Yes. Michael was at Center Staging. We were in a room and I happened to notice

the bottom of Michael’s shoes had holes in them. I went to Brother Michael, that was

Michael’s assistant, and I told him Michael needs new shoes. He can’t be rehearsing

with holes on the bottom of his shoes.

Q

Did you get him new shoes?

A

Yes.

Q

Was there video being made at the time?

A

There was footage being filmed of -- some of Michael working with the band.

Q

Was there a song list made for the show?

A

Yes. With Michael’s extensive catalog of songs, he would go through and, mostly

what he fans would want to hear. And there’s a lot of songs. It was very difficult to

choose.

Q Mr. Ortega was the director. And he was in charge of the entire This Is It show,

the production and direction of the show which was being promoted by AEG?

A

Yes.

Q

Mr. Ortega was the one running the day to day preparations and operations of

this show?

A

Yes.

Q

And he reported directly to whom?

A

He reported to Paul Gongaware and Randy Phillips.

Q

Who was making decisions at the rehearsals for the preparations for the show

that was to be held at the AEG arena in London and promoted by AEG? Who made all of

those decisions everyday?

AEG: Objection. Lack of foundation.

Judge:

Overruled.

A

Kenny would relay to me the schedule that would change from day to day.

Q

Who was ultimately the one responsible, whether it was at Center Staging or

Staples Center for everything on a day to day basis?

AEG:

Same Objection.

Judge:

Overruled.

A

I would get all my information from Kenny.

Q

Was there anyone telling Kenny what to do there?

AEG:

Objection. Lack of foundation.

Judge:

Overruled.

A

I didn’t see anyone tell Kenny what to do, no.

Q

Did Mr. Gongaware and Mr. Phillips show up at the rehearsals?

A

Mr. Gongaware was at a lot of the rehearsals. Yes. I would see him a lot during

the process. I didn’t see Randy Phillips as much. No.

Q

Then Mr. Ortega would report directly to Mr. Gongaware?

AEG:

Objection. Lack of foundation.

A

Yes.

Q

And you would see emails. Mr. Gongaware would be on the emails. Mr. Ortega

would be on the emails. Mr. Payne would be on the emails.

A

Yes.

Q

At the beginning of Michael’s involvement, how would you describe he health?

A

I always felt he was thin, from the beginning.

Q

Was food brought to the production?

A

Yes. I was having catering come in and provide food for cast and crew.

Q

Did you spend time with Mr. Jackson children in June?

A Yes. A couple of times in June. First week in June, the video content for the show

was being filmed in the mornings. Michael would bring his children. One day when we

were shooting the Smooth Criminal content, I got to hang out with the kids. It was pretty

amazing. They say next to me. Paris had a purse, and inside her purse -- she told me

not to tell her daddy -- she had all of this candy in her purse, she didn’t want her daddy

to know. (laughs) In her purse she had these little framed pictures of her father. She had

a lot of them. Her purse was full of candy and pictures of her daddy. And she was

showing me and sharing with me all of her pictures.

Q Did you notice if the children were happy to watch there father.

A The children were really excited to be there. I showed them a picture I had of

Michael and me from the 1987 Smooth Criminal video shoot. Paris said, “That’s Daddy!”

I said, “Yes, that’s your father.”

Q Did you spend time with the children and Michael Jackson outside of rehearsals?

A Once. June 7th. That was a Sunday. I got to go to the movies with Michael and

the kids. Kenny and Travis were there. We saw the Disney film, “Up” at the El Capitan

Theatre.

Q Did you just buy the tickets at the theatre and go in?

A No. It was a covert operation. We were in a private room. We got our popcorn

and drinks. They let us into the theatre after the general public were seated. So no one

knew Michael was there.

Q

Did you have a good time?

A

Yes.

Q

Did you observe Mr. Jackson’s relationship with his children?

A

I would see the children just looking at him. They loved him. They loved their

daddy.

Q

Regarding the rehearsals, did Mr. Jackson have to attend rehearsals?

A

Yes. Whenever he was on the schedule to come to rehearsal, he was supposed

to be at rehearsal.

Q Can’t he just do that on his own or is there a reason he needs to come to

rehearse?

A He needed to come to rehearsal to be incorporated into the show with the

dancers.

Q Did Mr. Ortega ever have any concern about Michael’s participation at

rehearsals?

A

Yes. He was frustrated. We had a conversation about it.

Q

Were there emails reflecting that concern?

A

Yes.

(Panish shows email exhibit)

Q

Is this an email forwarded to you by Mr. Ortega?

A

Yes.

Q

Actually it’s CC’d to Kenny Ortega. It’s from Travis Payne to Brother Michael --

MJ’s assistant. It says: Brother Michael. We pray that all it well. God God God. If MJ is

available, we’d love him to attend tomorrow’s rehearsal. Kind regards, Travis

Was this sent during the time Mr. Ortega was expressing concerns about Michael

attending rehearsals?

A

Yes.

Q

Six days of rehearsals began June 1st at the Forum. Did Michael attend any of

these?

A

He came on the 6th. Saturday.

Q

How about the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th?

A

He didn’t attend at those times.

Q

What time were rehearsals?

A

We started early in the morning until about 6 or 7pm. We were shooting video

content in the mornings at Culver City Studios, and Michael would need to be there.

Q Were you concerned about Michael not getting to rehearsals? Did you

communicate that with anyone?

A

Yes. Yes.

Q

Who?

A

Kenny Ortega. I sent an email to him. I was concerned and worried.

(Panish exhibits email)

Q At 11am, you sent this to Kenny Ortega, the one in charge, expressing your

concern. It says: I left work last night very sad and upset because I know this can not

fail. Kenny, I know how to help him. I know what needs to be said to him. Please let me

help you get him back into the magical light.

What did you mean by that?

A I meant I wanted to encourage him. Reminding him to believe in himself.

Reminding him that we all believe in him. That he could do this. And help him get

physically -- his body able to do this. The email when I wrote it, came from a very deep,

personal place.

Q

Did you think Mr. Jackson thought it was important that he do this tour?

A

Yes. I mean, it was important for him.

Q

Did Mr. Ortega ever respond in writing to this email?

A

No, he did not.

(afternoon break)

Afternoon Session May 8

Q. At break we were discussing that June 14

physical and emotional health.

th

2009

th

email at that time were you concerned about Mr. Jackson’s

A.

Yes

Q.

Did anyone mention to you that Mr. Jackson was taking prescription medication at that time?

A.

No

Q.

Did you learn that there was going to be a meeting with Mr. Ortega and others with Mr. Jackson?

A.

Yes

Q.

Did you discuss that meeting with Mr. Ortega? (just yes or no)

A.

Yes

Q.

Did you have an understanding of what was going to occur at that meeting?

A.

Yes

Q.

What was your understanding?

*AEG Objection hearsay; Judge overruled, AEG says sidebar*

A. My understanding of the meeting is that there was to be talks about getting Michael to rehearsals at this

time.

Q. At this time when you spoke to Mr. Ortega was Mr. Ortega frustrated about Mr. Jackson not attending

rehearsals.

A.

He was frustrated about it, yes.

Q.

Where you at this time concerned about Mr. Jackson

A.

I was concerned at this point about Michael, yes.

Q.

Did you observe whether Mr. Jackson was nervous or erratic

A.

I didn’t notice that, I just noticed that he was real thin.

Q.

where you concerned about his show being able to meet the timeline for the practices

A.

Not at this time

Q.

Did you become concerned later on?

A.

Yes

Q.

Do you know when that meeting was that Mr. Ortega had, did he ever tell you about that

A.

The meeting was during the first week at the forum

Q.

Let’s look at the calendar, the first week at the forum was in June

A.

Yes

Q.

That first week started on June second

A.

No it started Monday, Monday June First

Q.

Was Mr. Jackson coming to rehearsal that week?

A.

He was attending video content production of the show at Culver City Studios

When was the first time he showed up at the forum and he actually did rehearsal

That would have been Friday the 5

Q. And to your understanding he showed up after the meeting Mr. Ortega had with Mr. Jackson

That he showed up after the meeting with Mr. Ortega

And to your understanding who went to the meeting

My understanding was that it was Kenny Paul and Randy

So it was Paul Gongaware Randy Phillips and Kenny Ortega

Correct

Did you know where that meeting was held?

At his house at Michael’s house

And when Mr. Kenny came back to he feel like he was going to get more control of Mr. Jackson coming to

rehearsal

Aeg objection speculation, overruled

Kenny had said to me that Michael would be showing up for rehearsals

And what happened from then on

th

of June

A.

He showed up and was in rehearsals, he did Billie Jean and Man in the Mirror

Q.

And at that time did you feel better being able to do this

A.

Yes

*A clip is played of Billie Jean from This Is It, rehearsal footage*

Q. Who was in that meeting?

That would be Travis Payne on the stage and one of the back singers

Ok let’s go a little more so Mr. Panish starts the clips again

MS. Sankey: that’s Kenny Ortega on the stage

Mr Panish: Says go back a little more on the video

Q.

And you were there?

A.

Yes I’m in red

Q.

Ok so which one is Mr. Ortega

A.

He’s off camera right now, alright this is Michael, Michael Bearden is on stage

Q.

Who is this gentlemen in the big orange and the shorts with the muscle t shirt?

A.

That would be Travis and this is Michael Bearden, Michael’s musical director

Q.

So tell us what they’re doing here?

A.

They’re talking about Billie Jean and how it would go for the show. Kenny is on the stage this point too.

Telling Michael where he would be standing, where the stool would go and the suitcase with his hat. All

this is planning for the rehearsal.

Q.

And what do you call this

A.

I would call this staging

Q.

And what’s staging

A.

Staging means directions of where a person would be

*Billie jean clip from this is it is played*

Q. What he (MJ) is doing, is that the speed in which he would do at a regular performance

A. No. He was doing what is called dance turn marking, which is marking the routine, he wasn’t doing it

full out, at full capacity, he was just marking.

Q. What about half speed have you heard of that, half speed quarter speed, what speed was he(MJ) that

day?

A.

He(MJ) was half speed

Q.

So getting the moves down before he goes to full speed

A.

He was getting a feel for the stage and feel for the moves

Q.

Did he ever go at full speed that day?

A.

No

Q.

A.

Q.

A.

Q.

A.

Panish enters schedule into evidence and says this is the week ending of June 10

A. He was present during that time frame around the 10 th and the 11th

Q.

A. I don’t know

Q.

A.

what we call full performance level.

Q. How was his rehearsals, did he come on the 12

A. No

Did he come on the 13 th , Saturday? I don’t remember

Ok, during one of those rehearsal that week, he had a bad rehearsal

It was a bad rehearsal toward the end of the week

Did he come the day after the bad rehearsal?

A. He came the beginning of the following week uh the 16 th it’s vague

Q.

A.

Q.

A.

Q.

So he was doing what you call marking at 50%, so how did he do in that regard

At this time he started and we were excited to see him continue watch him do the whole song

So did that make you feel better at that time?

It was pretty exciting, it was really exciting to see him do it.

And how about the next week June 8

th

Is it ok if I see the calendar?

Was he coming on time

thru the 11th, was Mr. Jackson coming to rehearsal then

th

11th

Did he do the same type of markings on some days or what did he do

He never did a full on run, he did enough to do the work and bring in the quality, but he was never at

th

Panish shows exhibit 25412 to Ms. Sankey

Let’s go to the bottom and this was sent by Travis Payne, Ms. Sankey is shown an email that reads

“Brother Michael called to say that MJ is taking a doctor ordered sick day and I ask him to call Alif

as well.”

Panish to Sankey, does this refresh your recollection about whether or not MJ was present on the 13

she responds yes.

th

and

Q.

Did he come?

A.

No he did not

Q.

What happened, did rehearsal go forward anyway?

A.

I remember it went forward

Q.

Did Mr. Ortega act happy or sad, what was his reaction, how did feel about it when Mr. Jackson didn’t

come?

A.

He was frustrated

Q.

Did you have any concerns about Mr. Jackson?

A.

Yes

Q.

What were your concerns?

A.

My major concern was his weight

Q.

Why was that your concern?

A.

He needed to gain weight, he needed to build weight and also mass, his muscle mass was real thin;

extremely thin

Q. You told us Mr. Ortega…was he always at rehearsal. Mr. Ortega did he always show up

A.

Yes, Kenny Ortega is always at rehearsal

Q.

Can rehearsal go on if he(Ortega) was not there?

A.

It can yes

Q.

So you don’t ever remember Kenny missing rehearsals

A.

He never misses rehearsals

Q.

How about Mr. Gongaware, you told us that he came but not everyday

A.

Not every day, I didn’t see him everyday

Q.

Did he come more days than he didn’t come?

A.

I saw him a lot

Q.

How about this gentleman, I think his name is Hoopdall (sp?) he is also goes by the name of known of

Buncy (sp?) (In court couldn’t make out the nickname)

A.

Yes

Q.

Who is he?

 

A.

He’s our stage manager

Q.

Did he come to rehearsals?

A.

Yes

Q.

Did the band come to rehearsals?

A.

Yes

Q.

Do you know anyone by the name of Tim Woolley?

A.

Yes

Q.

Who is he?

 

A.

He was

He

was…

Q.

The most powerful person there

A.

Yes

Q.

And then Mr. Phillips, he came

A.

I saw him

 

Q.

Who came more Mr. Gongaware or Mr. Phillips?

A.

Mr. Gongaware

 

Q.

What’s a production meeting?

A.

A production meeting entails all the components of the show to produce it. In this show it would have

been lighting, video content, budget at times. Stage graphics, practices… music wardrobe, hair make up,

costumes all of that.

Q.

A.

Q.

A.

Q. After the June 6 th A. Yes

Q.

A.

Q. June 13 th , is a Saturday right

A. Yes

Q.

A. Yes

Q.

A.

*Email is entered as evidence*

Q. Ok now June 14 th at 3:21 and June 14 th was a…

A. Sunday

Q.

A. Yes

Did you see these meeting happen?

I saw quite a few production meetings happening

Who generally joined?

Paul Gongaware would be there, Kenny…and whoever else needed to be there in that moment

the day after the meeting with Mr. Jackson, did you ever see Dr. Murray at the Forum

Did you have any idea who he was?

No not until somebody told me who he was

Is it the same day of the email, that I just showed you were Mr. Jackson had the doctor sick day

Did you receive an email dated June 14

th

I was copied on the email, yes

, regarding Michael’s health from Mr. Ortega?

And there was no schedules that day, Sundays were off, right

So Mr. Ortega at 3:21 in the afternoon is writing an email. Ok this is actually the chain from Bother

Michael’s email sent June 13

June at 3:21 by writing to Paul Gongaware

Q. And you were copied on this:

A. Yes

th saying that MJ wasn’t coming to rehearsal. Ortega responds on the 14 th of

“Are you aware that MJ’s doctor didn’t permit him to attend rehearsal?? Are Randy and frank

aware of this??

Q. And Randy Being Mr. Phillips and Frank being Mr. Dileo

A. Yes

Panish continues to read:

“Are Randy and frank aware of this?? Please have them stay on top of his health situation.

Personally, I feel he needs a top nutritionist and physical therapist working with him on a regular

basis.”

Q. Now is this consistent with the concerns you were expressing and discussing with Mr. Gongaware

around this time period?

*AEG upset about the phrasing wants rephrase, Panish ok I will*

Q.

Is this email consistent with what you were observing?

A.

Yes

Q.

Is this consistent with what you and Mr. Ortega had been discussing

Yes

Do you believe that Mr. Ortega based on what it’s in this email, had the same concerns that you did?

Yes

And this says that he was expressing these concerns to Mr. Gongaware who is the promoter and producer of

the This Is It tour, correct

Yes

Then the next email that night 7:29pm. Your honor I’m sorry going forward too far. Ok wait June 14

Ortega writes at 3:21 and then 50 minutes later Mr. Gongaware right back. Sankey says correct.

*Mr. Panish starts to read the email. AEG says I’m just objecting to the reading of the email because Mr.

Panish just went out of turn. Judge asks was MS. Sankey copied on it and Panish says yes. Judge so why

don’t she read it. Panish says Ok fine why don’t you (Ms. Sankey) read for us what Mr. Gongaware says to

Mr. Ortega at 4:11 on a Sunday afternoon, about Mr. Jackson and Conrad Murray.

Ms. Sankey begins to read the email. “Frank and I have discussed it already and have requesting a face

to face meeting with the doctor hopefully Monday. We want to remind him that it is AEG not MJ

who is paying his salary. We want him to understand what is expected of him. We have been

vouching for him so far. Paul G”

th

Mr.

Q. So you was cc on an email where he (Dr. Murray) canceled a practice and Paul Gongaware & Frank

Dileo wanted to have a face to face with the doctor because of it, is that your understanding

A.

Yes

Q.

What did this email mean to you when it was sent on Sunday at 4:11 when this was sent out by Paul

Gongaware the man in charge of everything, what did it mean to you, tell us please?

A. It meant to me that Dr. Murray was definitely on board as Michael’s doctor and from my interpretation

of this email, is that he was being paid by AEG. And Kenny was voicing his concerns and this is what Paul

answered back to him.

Q. And did you have an understanding what Paul meant when says that we want to remind him to

understand what is expected of him

*AEG objection speculating as to what Paul meant, Judge sustained it’s her understanding*

A.

I understand that the doctor was on board and that AEG was paying him

Q.

And as far as what was expected of him do you have an understanding of what Mr. Gongaware’s

message he was trying to deliver?

A. That said to me that doctor knew, he knew what to do to treat Michael

Q. And did you have the understanding that Michael was to go to practice or not go to practice

*AEG objects speculation. Panish, it her understanding, Judge Rephrase*

Q. Did you have an understanding at this time of whether they wanted Michael to come to rehearsal or not

come to rehearsal?

A.

Everybody wanted Michael to come to rehearsal

Q.

And did Mr. Gongaware not care and was like go to the beach and come to rehearsal when you want to

or did he want Mr. Jackson to com rehearsal all the time.

*AEG objection recommentive, Judge sustained*

Q. Counsel told the jury in their opening statement, that Michael Jackson did not have to be at rehearsals, is

that a true or untrue statement

A. Michael Jackson needed to be at rehearsal and was on the schedule for rehearsals. Which is definitely

most of the time we had him on schedule.

Q.

Was Mr. Ortega happy that Mr. Jackson didn’t come or was he unhappy that he didn’t come to rehearsal?

A.

He was frustrated every time Michael didn’t show up to rehearsal.

Q.

What did you think, did you think this was normal practice in the concert business that these types of

emails were sent. Were they surprising, better yet, what were your thoughts about the tone of the emails?

*AEG objects lacks foundation, judge sustains*

Q. Have you ever seen an email like this before, in anything you have ever done in the entertainment

business?

A. No

Q. Where you worried about Mr. Jackson at that time

A. Yes

Panish shows Sankey another email from Kenny Ortega.

Q. Is this Mr. Ortega’s email in response to the email that we just went thru?

A. Yes

Q. And this is then 3 hrs. later Mr. Ortega than replies back to the email that Mr. Gongaware replied to still

on Sunday June 14

th

I don’t want to read it as it will just be objected to, so why don’t you read for us the first few sentences

please.

“Paul, MJ did not have a good day and he didn’t show on Saturday. I realize that he is up against a

lot. I have sympathy for what he has been thru. We must do all we can, all that we can as a team, to

stay on top of his needs every day. He requires more attention and management. As I mentioned I

truly believe he needs nourishment guidance and physical therapy massage for his fatigued muscles

and injury. He is not in great physical shape, I believe he is hurting. He is slow at grasping all the

work. We have 20 days, we can’t let him slip I am doing all that I can every day to build up his

confidence and to create a schedule that will help him and ready him to arrive us at our goal.”

Q.

Do you agree with this part of what Mr. Ortega Wrote?

A.

Yes

Q.

Do you believe that Mr. Jackson was slow in grasping all of the work?

A.

Yes

Q.

Where you concerned

A.

Yes

Q.

Was Mr. Ortega Concerned?

A.

Yes

Q.

Then when it says, to create a schedule that will help to ready him to arrive us at our goal; do you know

what he meant by goal

A.

Yes

Q.

And what was that

A.

Our goal was to get the show up and running at full speed before we left

Q.

Every time he (MJ) delays or cancels it chisels away at the possibility of getting the show up and

running

A.

Yes

Q.

It says, do you know about Travis, having to come to the house; what does that mean?

A.

Yes it means Travis would go to Michael’s house and work with him one on one

Q.

In other words he wasn’t at the rehearsal with everyone else

A.

Yes

Q.

Then it says he must take care of himself so that he can meet the schedule or there is going to be

consequences, do you know that means

A.

Q. How were the rehearsals the next week, I think that was the 15 th thru the 20 th

Can I see the calendar and I can tell you?

*Panish reintroduces the schedule as evidence*

Q. The 15 th thru the 20 th

A.

It meant that he needed to take care, get healthy, get in shape, or there wouldn’t be a show basically

is after that email was sent

A.

Q.

A.

Michael the whole show from top to bottom. And Travis was standing in as Michael, doing all his parts.

This was to show him, give him visuals of how the show would run.

Yes On the 15 th and the 16 th

It was planned… actually it was one of those days when Michael came in and Kenny wanted to show

what was planned on those days

Q.

After that what was the plan for the next two days after this

A.

We was to continue rehearsals and Michael was to come.

Q.

At some time was Michael dressing differently

A.

He was wearing leathers

Q.

Describe that please

A.

He was cold and he would tell me that he was cold and a couple of times that he was cold, he would

have layers of clothing on

Q. Did he wear gloves?

A. He did wear gloves on that the day that we all sat for the run thru and his hands were cold he was just

sitting there watching the show

Q.

Was it cold in the forum?

A.

We had a light and a lot of lighting and the light heats up the room

Q.

What was he wearing when he showed up, was it a t-shirt or was it layers on that night of the 19

th

, what

did you observe

A. Michael was not dressed necessarily for rehearsal, but there was a concert fitting and it was the last

fitting. I was outside of Kenny’s office and Travis Payne and Michael Bush was the dressing room with

Michael and after about 30 minutes Travis comes and informed me that they had to take everything back

*AEG objects to Sankey speaking about what Travis Payne said, says it hearsay Panish says that Payne will

testify and based on his deposition he will say what Ms. Sankey is saying in regards to the conversation

after the last show fitting, side bar in the judge’s chambers. Sankey is sitting on the stand, jury still present

waiting for judge and plaintiff to return*

Q. Can we go back to that meeting that you had where you and Mr. Ortega that night, where you and Mr.

Ortegh crying that night

A.

Yes

Q.

Why were you two crying?

A.

Mr. Ortega sent Michael home that night after the fitting, Michael wasn’t looking good. And he shared

with me in his office after he sent Michael home

Now hold on a second, why were you crying, why were you and Mr. Ortega crying weeping together on the

night of the 19

weeping

A. Kenny had told me that night when he was with Michael and he was rubbing his feet that Michael told

th

. I want you to explain to us what information was shared between you two that had you

him that he heard God speaking to him, he heard God speaking to him

Why were you crying?

Q. Where you and Mr. Ortega concerned about Mr. Jackson’s health and physical condition on the night of

June 19 th 2009

A.

Yes I was very concerned that night

Q.

What did you do, did you do anything else that night, besides crying to Mr. Ortega and discussing how

upset you were?

A. I left the forum that night and on my home when I was in my car, I pulled over and called Kenny and

that was around 1

1:30 in the morning

Q.

A. No

Q. Why was it that you called Mr. Ortega that night of June 19 th I guess it would be June 20 th now as it

Is it normal for you to call Mr. Ortega that time of morning?

1

1:30

in the morning

A.

Q.

A. Yes

Q.

voice slow medium high, how was your pitch? How did you sound when you called Mr. Ortega at 1…1:30

in the morning on June 20

I had a very strong feeling that Michael was dying.

Did you tell that to Mr. Ortega?

How was the tone of your conversation, how did you sound when you called Mr. Ortega? Was your

th

2009?

A.

I was very upset and I was screaming into the phone

Q.

Did you tell Mr. Ortega that you thought something should be done with Mr. Jackson?

A.

Yes

Q.

What did you say?

A.

I said he needs to be taken to the hospital now

Q.

And what did Mr. Ortega say to you

*AEG objection speculation, Judge overruled.*

A. He kept listening to me as I was balling. I kept saying that Michael was dying, he is going to die. He

needs to go to a hospital. Please do something why won’t anyone do something please please…. please do

something. I asked why someone isn’t doing anything

Q. And what did he say

A. He said that he would go over there. And I said promise promise me that you will go over there and he

promised and we hung up and I went home.

Panish says to the court, and what did Mr. Ortega do that night, he emailed Mr. Phillips to explaining to

your(Sankey) concerns

Panish presents an email from Kenny Ortega

AEG objects, Panish says it goes in line with what she (Sankey) just said.

Q.

A. Yes

Q.

A. No

Q. Did you see Mr. Ortega on June 20 th , June 20 th is now Saturday?

A. Yes

Q.

A.

Q.

A. No

Q.

wellbeing over the two months you worked with him?

Did you have a lot of email conversation with Mr. Ortega?

Was it common for Mr. Ortega to send emails at 2:09 in the morning?

Did you have rehearsal that day?

We had rehearsal that day

Did you see Mr. Ortega?

Did you see changes in Michael Jackson’s body, physical change in his body emotional state and

A.

Yes

Q.

Did you discuss those changes with Mr. Ortega?

A. Yes

Q. Did Mr. Ortega say he was going to do something about it?

A. Yes

Q. Did Mr. Ortega try to relay those concerns to AEG?

A. Yes

Q. Did you see any action taken by anyone at AEG in regards to your concerns that you expressed to Mr.

Ortega?

A. No

Q. Where you concerned that nothing was happening?

A.

Q.

A.

Q. Did you learn that that Mr. Ortega was going to have a meeting at Michael’s house that night?

A. Yes

Q. And did you learn who was going to the meeting

A. Yes, Kenny had said that he and Randy Phillips were going to the house

Panish wants to play a bit of Randy Phillips’ deposition

*Aeg objects and says that its hearsay and then says that they would like the chance to review the

deposition and object to portions of it. They want Panish to finish with Sankey and stating that Panish has

gone over the allotted time and would like the opportunity to cross. Panish says that he has not had Sankey

on the stand for an hour and a half due to multi-objections and sidebars. The rules says that he can pull the

deposition any time he wants and reads portions of it. He reminds the judge and AEG counsel that he is

within his agreed upon rights. Aeg wants the video out of the presence of the witness. Another side bar*

Break

Yes

June 20

Yes

th

Saturday, did Mr. Ortega and you have a conversation?

Q. June 22

A.

Q.

A.

Q.

A.

Q.

A.

Panish: In your deposition you said he came

Sankey: I was mistaken it had been a long while

Q.

A. No he wasn’t there

Q. Now on the 23 rd was he there?

A. Yes

Q.

A.

excited to have him there.

Q. Now when he was there was he doing anything other than marking?

A. He still wasn’t strong or at a full production ready caliber… but he was definitely doing the work and

going a little more full out than usual

nd

was the next day of rehearsal after the 20

th

Yes, we were moving and had moved completely into the Staples Center

And why we you there

The center became available after the basketball season

How long were you supposed to be there?

We were scheduled to be there thru the last day of June or two days after

Was Mr. Jackson there on the 22

He did not come that day

nd

So he (MJ) wasn’t there on the 22

nd

How did you remember?

He came… he jumped in, he did a lot of the show and he was in great spirits. It was exciting, we were

Q.

Was Michael there on the 24

A.

Yes he was there

Q.

How was Michael dressed for rehearsal, was he dressed normally?

A.

When I saw Michael that evening at the Staples Center he was layers and wrapped in a blanket

Q.

Is it normal to see entertainers wrapped in a blanket?

A. No not like that

*A picture is then shown of the Staples Center*

Q.

So you just walked passed Mr. Jackson

Q.

How did he (MJ) look that day

A.

He didn’t look good, I asked him if he was cold and he said yes

Q.

Did he do songs that night?

A.

He rehearsed and did two songs

Q.

Is it normal to see performers with blankets wrapped around them like this?

A.

No not like this

 

Q.

And he still appeared thin, skinny

A.

Yes

Q.

What happened the next day?

A.

We were all at the Staple Center for rehearsal

Q.

Did Mr. Jackson come to practice the next day?

A.

No

Q.

Were you concerned that he didn’t come to practice?

A.

Uh

when

I got there I was told that he was in the hospital

Q.

And how did that make you feel

A.

Very concerned

 

A.

Then Kenny was called outside to receive a phone call from Mr. Randy Phillips and he was then told

that Michael had died

Q.

And what did Mr. Ortega do

A.

Kenny collapsed

Q.

And what did you do?

A.

I told Mr. Woodall (sp?) to get Kenny up, get Kenny up and out of the room

Q.

And then what happened

A.

We went to out back offices and we sat there and just cried and cried and cried a lot and got Kenny

together to go and talk to everyone and make the announcement that Michael had died.