LONDON — Singer Michael Jackson is due to take the stand at London’s High Court on Monday afternoon to counter allegations that he breached a music contract with sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad al-Khalifa, a wealthy Bahraini prince.
Jackson’s lawyer Robert Englehart initially argued that the U.S.-based singer has too unwell to travel by plane to London but the “sick note” was withdrawn Thursday with Englehart saying, “He has been cleared by his medical advisors to travel in two days time.”
The surprise announcement near-guarantees a fierce scrum at the High Court on Monday as reporters and fans make a beeline for the King of Pop.
The Arab sheikh, who is the second son of the king of Bahrain, claims Jackson reneged on a contract to record a new album and write a candid autobiography. He also says Jackson owes him $7 million after the prince paid for his legal costs, travel and other expenses.
Case focuses on the six-month period Jackson spend in the small Gulf State after his high-profile child molestation trial in 2005.
In court on Thursday, Englehart said Al-Khalifa’s case is based on “mistake, misrepresentation and undue influence.” In his pleaded defense, Jackson said the payments he received were “gifts” and that no project was ever finalized.
Appearing in court, Al-Khalifa, who confirmed he had sent Jackson $1 million before the pair met, described Jackson as a “fantastic businessman and fantastic intellectual” but agreed under questioning that Jackson is an “emotionally vulnerable” person.
Grace Rwaramba, Jackson’s former personal assistant, told the High Court Friday that the sheikh was a generous friend. “He (Al-Khalifa) would say, ‘What can I do for my brother?’ ‘What can I give the children?'”