×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Quincy Jones Testifies Against Michael Jackson Estate: ‘I Was Cheated Out of a Lot of Money’

Quincy Jones took the witness stand on Thursday, telling jurors he was “cheated out of a lot of money” by Michael Jackson’s estate.

Jones’ lawyers have alleged that the veteran producer is owed $30 million in revenues that have flowed to Jackson’s estate since the singer’s death in 2009. Jones, 84, has been touring in Europe for most of the trial, which has been underway in Los Angles Superior Court for two weeks. He entered the courtroom Thursday in a wheelchair.

At issue is the interpretation of two contracts for the albums “Off the Wall,” “Thriller,” and “Bad.” Jones testified that he left such details to lawyers and never read the actual agreements.

Instead, in often rambling testimony, Jones articulated a basic principle that he deserves to be paid for any use of songs from the albums.

“If we made the record, we deserve to get paid,” he said. “It’s that simple.”

An attorney for Jackson’s estate, Howard Weitzman, tried to get Jones to concede that he is entitled to a share of album sales but not to licensing revenues for the Jackson recordings.

“That’s a joke,” Jones answered.

As Weitzman pressed him, Jones added, “I don’t care what the agreement says. If I put my heart and love into making a record, I want to get paid. I don’t care what the paper says.”

At another point, Jones asked the lawyer: “You ever made a No. 1 record?”

“No,” Weitzman said.

“I know that,” Jones replied.

Jones’ lawyers contend that his contracts entitle him to significant proceeds from “This Is It,” the backstage concert film released after Jackson’s death, as well as those from two Cirque du Soleil shows. The attorneys also contend that Jones is owed a larger share from a Sony contract that was renegotiated after Jackson’s death.

Under questioning from his own lawyer, Mike McKool, Jones gave extensive reminiscences about his music career and his collaboration with Jackson. He testified that his relationship with Jackson was founded on “love, respect, and trust,” and that financial considerations rarely surfaced.

“That never in my life crossed my mind — money and fame,” he said. “If that happens, God walks out of the room. If you try to sell Ciroc vodka, forget it.”

Under cross-examination, Weitzman played Jackson’s demo versions of “Workin’ Day and Night,” “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” and “Beat It,” as well as the finished album versions of each song. Jones nodded his head in rhythm, and at one point raised his arm as if conducting musicians.

Weitzman’s point was that Jackson himself made major contributions to the sound of each song, which rankled Jones, who testified that producers often take the blame for failures while artists get credit for hits.

“I believed in Michael like my own son,” he testified. “I spent more time with him than his family. They weren’t in the studio.”

Weitzman repeatedly noted that he is representing Jackson’s three children, who are the beneficiaries of the estate, and asked if Jones would sue Jackson if he were still alive.

“I’m not suing Michael, I’m suing y’all,” Jones said, noting that the estate’s lawyers have been handsomely paid. Another attorney for the estate testified earlier that the executors have received about $50 million in fees since Jackson’s death.

When Weitzman raised the children again, Jones rebutted, “I got children, too.”

More Biz

  • Stan Lee, left, and Keya Morgan

    Stan Lee's Former Business Manager Arrested on Elder Abuse Charges

    Stan Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan, was arrested in Arizona Saturday morning on an outstanding warrant from the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD’s Mike Lopez confirmed that the arrest warrant was for the following charges: one count of false imprisonment – elder adult; three counts of grand theft from elder or dependent adult, [...]

  • promenade Cannes Croisette Cannes Placeholder

    Cannes Market Claims Record Visitor Numbers

    The Cannes Market, the Cannes Film Festival’s commercial wing, says that its 2019 edition welcomed a record number of participants. It reported 12,527 attendees. The largest group by nationality was from the U.S. with 2,264 participants, followed by France with 1,943 participants, and the U.K. 1,145. Comparable figures for 2018 were not available. The number [...]

  • Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein (L)

    Some Weinstein Accusers Balk at $30 Million Settlement

    Updated: Some of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers are balking at a proposed $30 million settlement of their harassment claims, which could scuttle the deal, Variety has learned. Attorneys in the Weinstein Co. bankruptcy case told Judge Mary Walrath on Thursday that they are close to a global resolution of the civil litigation. The accusers, their lawyers [...]

  • Director Dean DeBlois and online game

    'Dragon' Director Dean DeBlois and PUBG's CH Kim to Keynote 2019 VIEW Conference

    Dean DeBlois, director and executive producer of DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” and PUBG Corporation CEO CH Kim are the first keynote speakers announced for the 2019 VIEW Conference in Turin, Italy, in October. Since it began 12 years ago, VIEW, which stands for Virtual Interactive Emerging World, has continually [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Harvey Weinstein Accusers Near Settlement in Bankruptcy Case

    Attorneys in the Weinstein Co. bankruptcy case say they are getting close to reaching a settlement that would compensate Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct accusers. The company went bankrupt last year, as it faced hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and numerous civil suits on behalf of Weinstein’s alleged victims. The company sold to Lantern [...]

  • Ari Emanuel Endeavor

    Endeavor IPO Filing Offers Details of Company's Financials, Leadership Pay Packages

    Endeavor’s IPO filing Thursday offers a hard look at the company’s financial performance during the past three years during a period of rapid growth for the company that’s home to UFC, WME, Professional Bull Riders and a clutch of other assets. Endeavor is generating solid free cash flow from operations and healthy adjusted earnings for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content