Grammy-award winning music producer Quincy Jones took the stand Thursday in his $30 million royalties suit against Michael Jackson’s production company, saying he was “cheated out of a lot of money” generated by the hit albums he produced for the late King of Pop.
According to Law360, Thursday was the first day the legendary producer was present at his Los Angeles trial; he has been in Switzerland in recent weeks participating in the Montreux Jazz Festival, an event he has co-produced in the past. Brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair, the 84-year-old Jones testified for several hours, frequently veering off course from questions to tell stories about his life, his musical projects and the artists he’s worked with over the years.
Jones' attorney Mike McKool asked Jones about the first time he worked with a then 20-year-old Jackson making his major movie debut as the scarecrow in "The Wiz."
“I watched him very carefully, I really wanted to produce him. He knew everybody’s dance steps, he knew everybody’s dialogues, everybody’s songs,” Jones said about Jackson. “He was so attentive and that really impressed me.”
“After Michael died what was the first thing you saw that caused you to think that maybe you weren’t being treated fairly by the estate?” McKool asked.
Jones said when he saw the Jackson documentary, “This Is It,” which uses some of the master recordings from the albums he produced for Jackson.
“My name is nowhere in it,” Jones said. “Not on the screen, nowhere.”
Jones’ suit alleges that after Jackson died in 2009, MJJ Productions, a company controlled by Jackson's estate, wrongfully withheld $30 million in royalties as well as licensing revenues for the use of songs from the Jackson albums he produced, in such projects as the posthumous documentary and two Cirque du Soleil shows featuring videos of Jackson and his music.
On Thursday, MJJ Productions attorney Howard Weitzman of Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP cross-examined Jones, pushing a defiant Jones to concede that his contracts don’t provide for licensing revenue, only song royalties, and noting that Jones has received $18 million in compensation in the years since Jackson’s death in 2009.