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Jackson witness: Answer to health was 'Get him a bucket of chicken'

Michael JacksonAEGConrad MurrayKatherine Jackson

Michael Jackson’s makeup artist testified Friday that although the singer once asked her if she had painkillers, she never broached the subject of his addiction with him.

Karen Faye said that during Jackson’s 2005 molestation trial in Santa Maria she would spend a lot of time with the performer, arriving at 3 a.m. to help him get ready, and felt it was not appropriate to confront him about his misuse of prescription drugs.  

“I was a place of safety for him, and peace,” Faye said. “And I didn’t want to bring up the allegations in my time with him. I wanted that to be a really safe place.”

PHOTOS: Michael Jackson | 1958-2009

Faye said it was her duty as Jackson’s longtime friend to keep him calm before he had to go to court.

“And no matter what he was doing, I could never blame him for that because of the pain,” Faye said, referring to the singer’s psychological pain over the charges as well as his physical pain from suffering injuries from a fire and a fall during a performance.

The makeup artist said she never saw Jackson use drugs and that there was only one instance when the singer asked her if she had painkillers.

Faye said she did request prescriptions in her name for Latisse, which is used to lengthen eyelashes, and the hair-growth drug Propecia  so that she could give them to Jackson. She also inquired about Botox as a way to remedy Jackson’s onstage sweat that often caused problems with his hair extensions, but said she ultimately did not get that drug.

Since being hired to do Jackson's hair and makeup for his “Thriller” album cover, Faye said she worked with the pop star for nearly three decades, helping ready the star when he taped the 1993 statement about his decision to enter rehab following the Dangerous World Tour.

An audio recording of that announcement was played in court:

“My friends and doctors advised me to seek professional guidance immediately in order to eliminate what has become an addiction" Jackson said. "It is time for me to acknowledge my need for treatment in order to regain my health. I realize that completing the tour is no longer possible and I must cancel the remaining dates. I know I can overcome the problem and will be stronger from the experience.”

Now at the close of its second week, the civil trial pits AEG against Jackson’s mother and three children, who accuse the concert promoter of negligently hiring and controlling Conrad Murray. The doctor administered a fatal dose of propofol to Jackson in 2009 and is now serving jail time for involuntary manslaughter.

Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, who has been steadily attending the trial, was absent Friday.

Faye said she sometimes spoke about Jackson’s addiction with his siblings, Rebbie, Randy and LaToya. It was her understanding, she said, that the family had attempted additional interventions with Jackson that were unsuccessful.

The makeup artist said she parted ways with Jackson during the HIStory World Tour due to problems with the tour manager as well as with Debbie Rowe, Jackson’s wife at the time.

“[Debbie] told me that she was jealous of me being there as Michael’s makeup artist,” Faye said. “She thought that Michael liked me better than her.”

After a few years, Faye said she returned to working with Jackson and that Rowe apologized.

Hired for Jackson’s comeback concert series “This Is It,” Faye said she was worried about the singer’s frail body and alerted his manager Frank DiLeo.

“[Frank] was saying pretty much, 'I got it under control, don’t worry about it,’” Faye said.

“I said, 'But he’s losing weight rapidly.' … I said, 'Why don’t you ask [costume designer] Michael Bush to verify taking in his pants and how much weight he’s actually losing?’”

Faye said DiLeo went to speak to Bush and she overheard the manager say, “Get him a bucket of chicken.”

“It was such a cold response,” Faye said. “I mean, it broke my heart.”

Kevin Boyle, an attorney for the Jacksons, said plaintiffs have a court order for emails DiLeo wrote during preparation for “This Is It” but were informed by AEG’s attorneys that the manager’s computer had disappeared.

An attorney who previously worked with DiLeo -- who died in 2011 -- has copies of those emails and is willing to turn them over, Boyle said. Plaintiffs believe that the emails could include exchanges between DiLeo and AEG executives.

Despite emotional testimony from Faye, who at times clenched a tissue and wiped her eyes, the overall mood in the courtroom was kept light by her frequent quips.

During cross-examination, she sighed at questions and told AEG attorney Marvin Putnam, “I’m 60 years old, sir, and you’re talking about a 30-year span, I’m going to do the best I can. ... How old are you, sir?”

After jurors and observers laughed, Faye asked slyly, “Is that hearsay?” referring to multiple hearsay objections AEG.

“You go girl,” said one fan in the courtroom who gave her the thumbs-up sign.

Later, when an AEG attorney interrupted a line of questioning, Faye said, “Oh my god, are we objecting? Sidebar?”

When Putnam brought up Faye’s Twitter account and blog and asked her if she had posted unfavorable things about AEG, she stood firm.

“I’ve stated the truth as far as my experience,” she said.

Before court started Friday, Faye had tweeted to her 12,600 followers:  “Another difficult day. Thank you for all the love and support. Michael’s fans are forever on his side and the side of Truth…LET’S DANCE.”

The trial ended for the day at noon to give jurors a break from testimony that is expected to take four months.

On Monday, AEG attorneys are expected to call their first witnesses, choreographers Stacy Walker and Travis Payne.

Because the two must leave for a show in Tokyo, Judge Yvette Palazuelos has allowed the defense to call them early. Faye will return afterward.

ALSO:

Jackson believed God was talking to him, producer testifies

Jackson's weight, absences were of concern, producer testifies

Concert producer feared Michael Jackson was dying, she testifies

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