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tv   Piers Morgan Tonight  CNN  October 4, 2011 3:00am-4:00am EDT

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work for our team. work that we honestly love. i wouldn't be here without the advice of a special person who died a few months ago. my friend mark haines. he was my mentor and my friend. he gave me my first shot and he made journalism a joy for me. mark's intolerance for talking points and his fun loving personality were out front. knox amanda is free. >> tonight, bombshell in italy. after nearly four years in jail for murder, amanda knox goes free when a court overturns a conviction on appeal. i'll talk with a close friend of the knox family, legal expert dan abrams on what changed and the man who wrote the book on the nightmare amanda knox has gone through. and a look inside michael jackson's multibillion dollar estate. >> it's been reported that sony tv is worth up to $2 billion and michael owns half. >> i'll talk to two of the men who knew him best. >> one of a kind. >> plus a new preview of
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michael's new show >> seems like a match made in heaven. >> this is "piers morgan tonight." american student amanda knox walked free from an italian prison after serving four years for a horrific crime she didn't commit. her roommate was brute ale murdered in an apartment they shared in perugia. tonight amanda and her boyfriend rafael sollecito are free. she's preparing to fly home to the united states to rebuild her shattered life. for the latest, let's go to matthew chance in perugia. you've been out there the whole time. you were in court today. dramatic scenes. were you expecting that? you've been following this very closely for years. >> reporter: yeah, well, i wasn't quite expecting the level
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of emotion that i witnessed in the court today. it really was tense. you had both the knox family and the kercher family sitting in the same course. the kerchers very much wanted for amanda knox to stay in prison. they wanted the conviction to be upheld. obviously, the knoxes wanted the opposite. when it went the knoxes' way, there were whoops and chants. and powerful tension. amanda was just so overcome with emotion. she could barely walk she was crying so much when she walked past me. but there were tears as well from the kerchers because they were obviously upset. they've gone through such a lot in the past few years since meredith was killed. they truly believed the first conviction was the right way for the police to go and they're devastated that it's gone this way. >> the kerchers, unless i'm wrong, haven't really said
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anything since this verdict came in in public, whereas the knox family, as you would expect, have been pretty jubilant. what's going through the kerchers' mind. their daughter was brutally murdered, and right now they don't know who did it. they obviously suspected and believed it was amanda knox and her boyfriend. but now the justice system and many people would argue fairly has said there wasn't the evidence. >> reporter: well, that's right. in fact, the kerchers have been very, you know, kind of under the radar as it were for the past several months, for the past several years since meredith was killed. they did give a press conference today, spoke to the media saying they believe the original sentence was the right one. they believed that amanda knox and raffaele sollecito were guilty in the killing of their daughter, their sister. and they wanted that sentence to be upheld. but obviously the jury didn't see it the same way.
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from this hearing from this trial and what we were left with was an acquittal. this wasn't the evidence putting amanned do knox and raffaele sollecito at the murder scene. >> matthew chance, thank you very much. abc legal analyst dan abrams has had a close eye on this case for the last four years. what did you make of this stunning verdict today? >> i thought it was the right call. i think that once the dna evidence was discredited, the link to murder simply wasn't there. i expected that there would be some sort of compromise verdict as we saw here with the three-year sentence, but basically saying it's time served. >> and the complication came from this issue of defamation where amanda knox had accused patrick lumumba, an early suspect in the case, of doing the killing. he was awarded damages. explain how this all works legally.
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>> he was completely cleared. he turns out he had an alibi. and she had pointed the finger at him. so in italy, you sort of move forward with the civil and the criminal cases together. so his lawyer was present throughout the process. but this really brings up a bigger issue. and that is that the reason amanda knox got into a lot of this trouble is because she made inaccurate, untruthful statements to the authorities about significant points in the investigation like this. now, she would say she was coerced. she would say she was effectively forced to make them. if that's true, then this has been a complete travesty of justice. but if that's not necessarily true, even if there isn't a link to murder here, that means that there were statements that explain why the authorities went down this road in first place. >> see what is very interesting to me, having been in america the last few months where the media were definitely slanted, i felt, towards her being acquitted and that she was an innocent young american woman,
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here in britain, where i am at the moment, a very much different view. because, of course, meredith kercher was a british girl and her family have given impassioned interviews. the media here have latched on to a lot of these -- as they say -- lies by amanda knox and that she's not a trustworthy witness. it's quite a messy situation. >> that's right. but just because she wasn't a trustworthy witness, so to speak, doesn't mean she was involved in the murder. that's why i think this was the right decision. because the key to the murder
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case was the two pieces of dna. one of amanda knox, one linking her boyfriend. those became the essence in many ways of the prosecution's case in conjunction with what they said were her lies. without those pieces of evidence, i simply don't see how they would have been able to uphold this murder conviction. remember, this judge, who ordered them to retest the dna evidence, is one of the same judges who determined her fate. so imagine this. imagine the judge says, you know what? we need some new testing on the dna evidence. the dna evidence then comes back and it's totally discredited. then the judge says, thank you very much. i appreciate that it was discredited. i'm still going to uphold the murder conviction. it would have been very, very hard to do. >> where are we now with the legal process? it is over? apparently they can appeal but only on the legal technicality. could you explain what that means. >> that's right. meaning up to this point, the appeal in the appeals court was a retrial of all the facts. both sides got to present new evidence, new facts. they had a second shot at the apple. remember, prosecutors were asking for a stiffer sentence
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here. in the highest court in italy, it's very similar to our courts in the sense here this the united states in the sense that you can only really challenge legal error. you don't get to retry all the facts again. but interestingly, the prosecution can still appeal again. they can say, we think that there were legal errors made. for example, not letting -- not allowing for another test of the dna evidence. but even if they want, meaning even if the prosecution won in italy's highest court, i simply can't see the italian authorities demanding extradition and the u.s. complying. i think amanda knox will be safe and sound at home. >> dan abrams, thank you very much. >> good to be with you, piers. >> how will amanda knox and her family move on? i'm joined by the author of "the fatal gift of beauty request ", thomas wright, the founder of the friends of amanda knox. and the prosecutor for acquittal. you wrote a book of amanda knox, a fascinating young woman in many ways. are you aware of the pressure put on her when she tries to return to normal life? >> well, i don't know that
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there's been a lot of celebrification going on as much as demonization. that has to do with the tabloid press, especially in the uk, where they pay for interviews and pay sourceses to talk to them. and one of the interviews that they did with patrick lumumba was one of the most damaging interviews done, really painted her as a character who was going to be replaced in her job by meredith kercher. he put a motive into the case. when i interviewed him because american journalists don't pay for interview, when i interviewed him for my book, he retracted every bit of it. i don't know that she's been
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celebrityfied as demonized. >> thomas wright, you're a knox family friend. it's been a trial by media as much as trial in a courtroom for amanda knox. very tough for her and her family. how have they all been baerg up? >> it's been incredibly difficult, piers. one of the things i'd like to do is correct the record. amanda knox is not a liar. this is an outstanding young woman. those of us who have known her for years know that. number one, we don't know what took place in the police station because it wasn't recorded as required by italian law by the prosecutor. it's very curious that that prosecutor didn't record it considering that he'd already been convicted and has been convicted of illegal wiretap of public officials and sentenced to 16 months. he's on appeal now. in terms of the defamation, it's also very curious that he would go out and arrest pat lumumba and keep him incarcerated for two weeks if he had an ironclad
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alibi. in terms of the coercion, i would say it's suggestive of coerce that over 12 police officers kept her in a room and 12 police officers signed the arrest warrant at the end of that period. we'll learn an awful lot about her experience when she gets home and she gets settled in and she begins her transition. we knew her as an outstanding individual, an athlete, a scholar, someone who was popular, well thought of and a very, very kind and gentle person. >> and you're a former prosecutor yourself. clearly, as i say, passions running high. you'd understand why friends and family of amanda knox feel so angry tonight. but at the same time, you know, an apparently innocent man patrick lumumba was accused directly and was arrested and held, so on, with this crime, which he was later found to have a castiron alibi for. so where do you think amanda's blame lies here? do you believe she was guilty of
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lying? >> no, i don't. and tom wright has worked tirelessly on behalf of amanda and with the friends of amanda knox, piers. that interrogation went overnight in italian. she didn't speak any italian. it was rudimentary. they gave a description of somebody, the police did, to her, that matched patrick in certain respects. i won't go into here other than to say certain parts, hairs, things like that. it wasn't that she said he did it and falsely accused someone else and the fact of the matter defamation in italy, they've accused ogi magazine which is "people" magazine in italy and amanda, they tried to indict one of our newspapers the west seattle herald for defamation and they don't even have an international section. that's great news for amanda and her family. this is a long time in coming. she's innocent of this horrible murder. she was demon i'ded like neen is a ped. foxy knoxy, the she-devil. that's how they started the
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case, that's how they ended the case. but ultimately the evidence carried the day and this conviction has been correctly overturned. >> finally, let me ask thomas wright again. do you believe the family feel so angry about the defamation conviction that they may seek to have that overturned? >> i can't speak for the family. i know there's a great deal of relief. this poor young lady went through a lot of suffering in the last four years. the family was brought to the brink of bankruptcy. they're going to have a lot to heal. i would say there's a great deal of relief and a great deal of joy and she'll be welcomed back into her community because she was well thought of when she left and she's well thought of upon returning. >> thomas wright, nina buehrle and anne bremner, thanks very
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much. >> thanks. >> after the break, what will be the emotional impact of amanda knox? we'll ask dr. drew pinsky. [ [ female announcer ] in the grip of arthritis, back, or back joint pain?
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because i am innocent. >> that was amanda knox today in court pleading her innocence. she's been freed after serving four years in priz fortune a brutal crime she didn't commit. the emotional scars may take longer to heal. joining me is dr. drew pinsky host of "dr. drew's life changes" on the cw. what was your overall take? >> there was nothing that i could glean from this young lady's history that suggested anything like the way she was portrayed in the italian press or by the prosecutors in this case. not only that, this whole nonsense of there having been this bizarre threesome with people taunting each other with knives. people don't behave like that, not out of the blue. even then, when somebody's cut excessively in that kind of acting-out behavior, it was somebody who was into that cutting and it goes too far or
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somebody into this violence, has a long history of acting out in intimate encounters, and it goe too far. there was absolutely nothing about this case that fit reality, frankly. although there were lots of peculiarities of amanda knox's behavior as she was brought into custody, the human reality was nothing about this case made sense to me. >> what could you deduce about amanda knox herself? obviously very young when this happened? >> yes. >> just hit her 20s. i heard from a family friend right now very eloquent saying she was a very nice, quiet, normal girl, he doesn't believe she's even capable of lying, and yet she has been convicted of defamation. that may be another one of the vagaries of the italian justice system. we may never know the answers to all these things. but from your assessment what kind of woman is amanda knox? >> two things i want to comment. one was this idea that she was promiscuous. because she was sexually active with a boyfriend and the roommate was upset about that and they were fighting about that? if there was a motivation for murder, there would be dead bodies all over college campuses across this country. that's absurd, number one.
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but the answer is this young lady was naive, exceedingly naive. a cautionary tale for all the young americans that go overseas with the naive notion that they can carry on like they do over here and they're not dealing with a different culture with a different set of standards and a legal system that you can get trapped in and bizarre behaviors that were reported on after she was brought in for questioning, this is a fantasy, this isn't something real, the depth of her naivete was profound and that's been shattered. that's what we'll hear from her when she gets back to seattle. >> dr. drew, thank you for your analysis. when we come back, i'll talk to one of michael jackson's friends about the singer's death, the estate he left behind and the new cirque du soleil show he inspired. our 4 new rich & hearty soups really have people talking...
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co-executor of michael jackson's estate. the estate has grossed more than every other celebrity estate combined. howard weitzman join me now. you very rarely give television interviews. what is your primary motivation in going public now? >> well, piers, michael is no longer with us, obviously. and we felt that we have a message to get out to talk about the cirque show and various
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other questions that we thought would be good to address at this time. >> you knew michael for well on 30 years. an extraordinary long relationship with him. how would you describe the nature of your relationship over that time? it was a bit roller coaster, wasn't it? you sort of dipped in and out of his business life. >> well, we started in january of 1980. and i'll never forget the first meeting. michael had his sunglasses on. and in the middle of the interview, he leaned over and he said, branca, do i know you? i said, i don't think so, michael. i think this is the first time we met. he said, you are sure? i said, michael, i think i would remember. so we went for a decade, then on and off for pretty close to three decades. i was his principle business adviser through much of that period, we developed a friendship as well.
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>> i interviewed him once. fascinating experience. i discussed this on the show a few times but you're the most interesting guy to talk to about that. when i talked to him about charity work, children, he had a soft high pitched voice. when i talked to him about business, it seemed to drop a couple of octaves and he became much more serious and, dare i say it, adult in the way he spoke. did you find that? >> absolutely. michael was multifaceted. he was misunderstood in some ways, but we think that the movie "this is it" gave fans a pretty good glimpse at the real michael. he was a perfectionist and at the same time he was a humanitarian who respected the work of his fellow artists. >> like a good businessman, would you say? >> yeah, michael had great instincts, particularly with regard to marketing and promotion. he was always connected with his fans. and he's had a loyal fan base to
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this day. >> you had this extraordinary experience with him on "thriller" when most videos at the time were going for about $50,000 to make them. and michael had this ever more fanciful plan, which meant the cost of making the "thriller" video was going to be a million dollars. he came to you and said, right, branca, make this work. and the brilliant idea of going off and pitching the making of the "thriller" video as a tv show in its own right and a video. and you sold that for 1.2 million. you ended up making michael a profit. he must have thought you were a genius, didn't he? >> well, michael was the genius. but the "thriller" video is so good, it's been considered the greatest video of all time. >> the other smart business move that yakson made -- i know you were heavily involved in this -- was his decision to get his hands on the beatle catalog. tell me about that process.
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>> well, michael was good friends with paul mccartney. and after "thriller," michael had a lot of money, a lot of cash. so michael asked me to call paul mccartney and yoko ono, his good friends. he did not want to bid against them. and i spoke with yoko. and i said, yoko, are you bidding on this catalog? she said, no. we'd be thrilled if michael could get it rather than some big corporation. i spoke to paul mccartney's lawyer who said they were not bidding. so we went out. it took us a year to close that deal. it wasn't easy. there was a lot of competition. but michael was passionate. he wanted to invest in things that he was passionate about. so we did buy the beatles catalog. we later brought some elvis presley publishing. that's now the cornerstone for his net worth. >> is that still part of michael's estate? >> absolutely, yes.
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>> in terms of the sheer number crunching here, can you tell me now what he paid for it and what it might now be worth? >> well, we bought the catalog in 1995. we spent $47.5 million, which is well known. we sold off a background music library. so his net investment was about $41 million. and while i can't give out confidential details, it's been reported that sony is worth up to $2 billion and michael owns half. >> he took 40-odd million to a billion dollars? >> yes. and i would say in addition to sony atv, michael has his own publishing company which owns all of his own songs as well as many other songs we bought over the years. when you add the two companies together, it's even more valuable. >> all this stuff about michael being half a billion in debt when he died is a lot of baloney, isn't it? assuming the publishing rights alone by the sound of it were
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worth several billion dollars. >> well, piers, i'd like to comment on speculation about michael's debt. net worth, you know, one doesn't want to have to sell those assets. so you know, those are cornerstone assets that we keep on -- we plan on keeping for michael's children and keeping those in the family. >> what kind of decisions have you taken which have turned out to be very smart ones in relation to handling his estate? >> well, my co-executor john maclean and i -- let's face it, piers, we're fortunate to represent michael jackson. which makes our job an easy one in some senses. but i think the first thing we did was we made a decision to greenlight "this is it," the motion picture. i will say at the time we were criticized. people, some family members said michael wouldn't want these rehearsal tapes out there. but john and i felt that you
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really saw michael as a great artist and a great humanitarian. that was our first big decision. and it went on to become the biggest documentary and the biggest concert film of all time. and i think we converted even new followers for michael. >> when i interviewed jermaine jackson recently, he said there were lots of outtakes from that film which, if people saw those, they would be concerned about michael's fragility, his fragile condition. what would you say to that? >> i'm not sure if that's true or not. kenny ortega, who is a great director, went through all of the footage to assemble it together. and you know, i think with any artist, they have their great days and they have off days. that's the nature of rehearsal. so i have not seen all the
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outtakes, but i'm pretty confident that what you see on the screen represented the true michael. >> you were so close to him that at one stage when you got married for the first time, michael came, was best man. he brought bubbles the chimp who wore a tuxedo. little richard was the minister. hard to imagine anyone being as close to him as you were at the time. he brought you back into his business life shortly before he died, didn't he? was that to run the concert stage of things. i know you weren't working for aeg, but explain that relationship. >> i'm glad you mentioned that first wedding because i have fond memories of michael being the best man and bubbles in the tuxedo. it was priceless. it was priceless. in terms of coming back into michael's life, we separated amicably in 2006. and i got a call from michael's manager frank dileo about a month before we met, and michael was excited and frank was excited about the tour. and they wanted me to give some thought about some ideas of what we could do around the tour.
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frank dileo and i met several times, then finally i met again with michael about a week before he passed away. we met at the forum where he was rehearsing. and i'm so glad that we got that chance to see each other again. >> how did he seem to you? >> it wasn't a long meeting. you know, i was there for perhaps an hour. and michael seemed fine. he seemed -- you know, there were different michaels. i've seen michael at times where he's been very introverted and very quiet and other times where he's very extroverted. i think that night he was really preparing for the show. he was leaving for england soon. so it was hard to draw any conclusions from that meeting. >> we'll take a short break, john. when we come back, i want to talk to you and howard about the moment you heard that michael had died, and the problems that you've had in running this extraordinarily complex estate.
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i'm back now with johnbranca and howard weitzman, jackson's attorney. howard, let me bring in you in here. obviously fascinating conversation there with john.
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people didn't really understand, i don't think, just what a business empire michael jackson had amassed by the end. in all your experience in working in the entertainment industry, how did michael's business empire rank? >> michael truly was one of a kind. there are very few legitimate icons in the entertainment business. a lot of people try to get to that level or are looked at in different ways, but michael was really one of a kind. he had the ability to generate millions and millions of fans worldwide that converted to huge numbers. and we see that, unfortunately, post death as well as when he was alive. an extraordinary individual. >> is it right to say -- i don't want to be morbid about this, but is it right to say -- there's an old sort of joke about this when entertainers die, it's often their best career move because billions and billions of their records get sold and so on and so on. but there is a certain truth to that, elvis, john lennon, freddie mercury and so on, their death can spark huge sums of money coming into the estate. >> i think that's true. the catalog sales spike for a
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while. what differentiates michael from others, in my opinion, "this is it" record or the "this is it" film, for example, the "this is it" cd, now the cirque shows he was able to create different businesses well beyond the music. and that's unusual. >> john, let me ask you. michael was known to be pretty profligate with his spending. how much of a difficulty was that for him? i don't want to get into details of what debt he may have had. but was his spending out of control as people say it was? >> well, that was an area that was handled by michael's business managers and accountants. and michael made a lot of money and i probably believe it's true that he spent a lot of money, but he left a lot behind. he had a lot to show for it. >> you worked on the elvis estate briefly, i know that.
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>> yes. >> how does this compare, two great entertainers, solo artists. how do their estates compare in terms of how you manage them? >> well, it's hard to compare. elvis came up in a different era in the '50s. i was a big elvis fan. that's one of the reasons i got in the music industry. but michael, you know, went to the berry gordie music school of the business, then learned from great teachers. one of the things i found representing various members of the hall of fame is as the generations have gone by, musicians have become very much smarter. and so michael, i think, learned from his predecessors, as did i. and so he was able to control his assets in a way that previous entertainers had not. >> how fast have those assets appreciated since his death? >> well, you know, we've tried to do the right things. i think john maclean and i have had the advantage of having a
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decades long relationship with michael. john went to school with michael and his brothers, managed michael at one point. i was a principle business adviser since 1980. so we kind of knew how michael thought, what kind of choices he would make. i was familiar with the assets. so we've been able to make decisions that we think were true to michael. so therefore, we hope we're adding value to michael's estate in that regard. >> it's not been without its problems, this estate, because both katherine jackson and joe jackson challenged the will quite early on. what was that all about. why were the family unsettled by the will? the will was written in 2002. so a long time before he died. >> well, i think they were ill advised and the challenge was ill conceived. michael clearly appointed john maclean, john branca to be the executors of his will. ultimately the court rejected
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the challenge and john maclean and john branca are the executors and the trustees. >> the estate is positioned to distribute $30 million to the will's beneficiaries who would be his immediate family and children? >> yeah. it's something we had planned on a year ago. it's only a preliminary distribution. you know, the court has a certain process we have to go through. you deal with irs issues, state of california estate issues, but ultimately the executors, john branca and john maclean decided it was time for a preliminary distribution, $30 million went into michael jackson's family trust. >> presumably as the co-executor, would you have read the will to the family? >> yes, i did. to mrs. jackson and several of michael's siblings.
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>> a pretty extraordinary experience. how was that? >> very emotional. mrs. jackson had lost her son. michael's brothers and sisters have lost a beloved brother. and we gathered at jermaine's house and read the will. and i left her with a copy of the will. i think we were all in a state of shock. no one could have anticipated michael's passing. >> what was your first reaction, i guess? did you know you were co-executor still? were you aware that that 2002 will was still in play? >> no, not at all. michael had a succession of attorneys and business advisers subsequently. and i did not know which was the final will. we turned the will into the court, and we did not know if there would be another more recent will. >> have you managed to -- not patch things up, but have you managed to calm the family down now about your intentions being perfectly honorable in relation to the will. are they in a more relaxed frame of mind about it? >> i would think so, i would
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hope so. michael's brother jackie is a consultant to the estate as is michael's nephew taj and, of course, mrs. jackson and michael's three children are the sole beneficiaries of the estate other than, of course, the contribution we will make to charity. >> not sure, i want to talk about in particular the cirque du soleil project, which is probably the biggest thing that you sanctioned as a co-executor and see what the plan is for that. ♪ ooh baby, looks like you need a little help there ♪ ♪ ooh baby, (what) can i do for you today? ♪ [ female announcer ] need help keeping your digestive balance? align can help. only align has bifantis, a patented probiotic that naturally helps maintain your digestive balance. try align to help retain a balanced digestive system. try the #1 gastroenterologist recommended probiotic.
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right now guests john branca and howard weitzman. tell me about cirque du soleil, because your history with michael and this particular show goes back to santa monica pier, is that right? >> that's true, piers.
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i remember a night, i believe it was in 1989, where michael and i went to the first ever cirque du soleil tent show which was at the san to monica pier. what i remember about that night, we were in a van. i was driving. and why we were in a van, i cannot remember. michael had a nice car, i had a nice car. here was michael, the biggest star in the world, and we went with no security, and i was so nervous driving michael i got lost on the 405 freeway. we got lost going to the cirque show. michael was clearly captivated. he said to me, branca, we have to go backstable after the show. of course, michael. we go backstage and he wanted to meet the cast. i will never forget. i can't tell who was more excited, michael to meet the cast or the cast to meet michael. it was one of those magical nights. and subsequently, michael visited montreal on more than one occasion to meet with the cirque owner gilles la liberte. michael was a huge fan of cirque. so we knew we had to create a live show. berry gordon called michael the
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greatest entertainer that ever lived. to do a live show properly, we knew it had to be something really special. you couldn't put somebody up on stage to try to impersonate michael. that would be absurd. so we considered the various alternatives. and lo and behold, we got a call from gilles la liberte. if you've seen the cirque du soleil shows, they've created some of the greatest shows ever made. we figured this might be the perfect marriage. if you saw this, you saw what a perfectionist michael was. and we see the same level of detail in cirque du soleil. >> is it kind of fusion of cirque du soleil mixed with michael's music, is that right? >> that's right. one of our key objectives, cirque has a number of shows, and they're all outstanding. we wanted to make sure this was a michael jackson show. michael's fans wanted a michael jackson show. and cirque was on board for that. we hired many people who collaborated with michael. jamie king danced with michael. two of the choreographers worked with michael.
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there's a live band in the show, run by greg philinganes. this is a traveling rock show that will travel to arenas throughout the world, live band, michael's vocals, incredible visuals and incredible choreography. and you'll come away seeing something that i don't think has ever been done before. a michael jackson show done by cirque du soleil. >> in 2013 it goes to vegas permanently and there will be a michael jackson museum? >> there will be another show that's created permanently and specifically for a theater in las vegas in 2013. >> let me bring you in, howard. i think it's appropriate to ask you about the ongoing trial with conrad murray. you were the person that represented michael over the child abuse allegations in 1993. what do you make of all this? >> the issue in this case will be, did conrad murray engage in the appropriate standard of care in that situation. i read the same stuff you have about his defense. i tried over 200 jury trials. i know enough to know you can't predict it, the evidence will be what it is. it seems to me, pointing the finger at the victim is always an uphill battle, that appears to be dr. murray's defense. what i hope is that the jury
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does the right thing. >> many people have said to me that the catalyst for michael's problems with painkiller addiction, and sleep problems and so on was two fold. one was the horrific accident with the pepsi commercial where his hair was set on fire and it caused him severe burning. secondly, the child abuse allegations had a hugely detrimental effect on his health and on his sleep. you were obviously at the center of that. what do you think? >> i think the pressures of allegations, even though they're false put tremendous pressure on you. and i also think the demands of one's business can put preb ours on you. i'm not privy to michael's drug use. only what i've read about and heard about. either way someone else pointing the finger at him as being responsible for his own death is a concept that i reject.
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>> let me finish with you. i saw michael jackson perform a you were obviously at the center of that. what do you think? >> i think the pressures of allegations, even though they're false put tremendous pressure on you. and i also think the demands of one's business can put preb ours on you. i'm not privy to michael's drug use. only what i've read about and heard about. either way someone else pointing the finger at him as being responsible for his own death is a concept that i reject. >> let me finish with you. i saw michael jackson perform a couple times live, and to me he
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was the greatest entertainer that i ever saw. you represented many of the great entertainers in the world. what did you think of his status as a performer? >> i think it was unparalleled. it's very rare you can see someone who can write the songs like michael did. sing them with his vocal ability. choreograph them, produce them, and then go out and perform them. anyone who could do any one of those things can be a star. then y add in michael's fashion sense and you have a one of a kind superstar. >> what do you think his legacy will be? >> as berry gordy said, the greatest performer who ever lived. >> howard? >> for me, when people ask me to describe michael jackson, i say push the play button on your video or ipod and that says it all. >> yeah, i couldn't agree more. to me, he was the real king of
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pop. >> absolutely. >> john, howard, thank you very much, indeed. >> thank you. after the break, our exclusive with michael jackson's mother and his children as they attend to launch the show, keeping the memory of their father alive. with diabetes,
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michael jackson the immortal world tour, a tribute to michael
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with his music with cirque du soleil. michael jackson's mom and children were in attendance. >> i thought every song was very good. my impression of the show, it was fantastic. i thought it was one of the best shows i've seen. this is thriller thriller night >> it was like amazing, it brought tears to my eyes. i almost cried. it was really amazing. >> they performed very well, it kept getting better and better. >> i'm his mother so quite naturally, i just thought everything was good. billie jean is not my lover >>

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