AEG's Fikre calls MJ "the freak" in email

LE FREAK: AEG execs got another lesson in the consequences of email impropriety yesterday during the third day of testimony from Shawn Trell, the company’s General Counsel. According to the L.A. Times, Trell’s cross-examination began with Jackson family attorney Brian Panish asking the lawyer about his visit to Michael Jackson’s house to sign the contracts for the This Is It run, the only time he met the artist. “It was exciting to meet Michael Jackson,” he said. Panish then asked Trell if it was company policy to speak in derogatory terms about an artist they were about to sign a huge deal with. “I may not have necessarily agreed with some of the life choices Michael Jackson made, but I certainly had enormous respect for him as an entertainer,” Trell answered carefully, apparently not realizing he was being set up. Panish pressed on, asking, “Did Mr. Fikre say to you that Michael Jackson was a freak?” referring to Ted Fikre, AEG’s top lawyer, who made his slip-up in an email on Jan 28, 2009. The email chain begins with AEG Live’s Paul Gongaware writing his colleague Randy Phillips, “MJ still on today?” Phillips emailed back: “Yes. 5 p.m. 100 Carolwood Dr. You and Shawn should be there.” Trell forwarded the email to Fikre, who wrote, “Does this mean you get to meet the freak?” Trell replied, “Apparently. Not sure how I feel about that. Interesting for sure, but kind of creepy.” Panish then scolded Trell. “Didn’t your mother ever tell you if you don’t have anything good to say about someone not to say it?” Asked outside court about the email, AEG lawyer Jessica Stebbins Bina replied, “I think it speaks for itself.” (5/23a)