The Grammy-award winning producer was a frequent MJ collaborator and he is demanding about $30 million in unpaid royalties from posthumous releases like ‘This Is It,’ ‘Bad’ reissue and Cirque du Soleil show.
Jones sued the estate in 2013, claiming he was owed $10 million from various projects that were released after the singer’s death — projects that the estate greatly profited from, per Rolling Stone.
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The trial is currently underway in Los Angeles Superior Court, where attorney Mike McKool said in his opening statement that Jones was shorted on his share of the profits from “This Is It,” which made use of Jackson’s original recordings, but that Jones was not given an adequate share of the licensing fee, Variety report. The film grossed more than $500 million, of which the estate took $90 million, but that Jones was paid only $455,000.
Zia Modabber, attorney for Jackson’s estate, countered in his opening argument that Jones has been more than adequately rewarded.
“We believe the evidence will show that Mr. Jones is not entitled to anything but a fraction of the money he’s after,” Modabber said. Since the death of the King of Pop, he said, “Mr. Jones has been paid over $18 million, and he will make millions more.”
Modabber also noted that Jones is not owed additional money from Sony’s joint venture with Jackson.
“He didn’t get paid any of the money Michael was going to get because he didn’t do any of the work,” he said. “Mr. Jones is asking for tens and tens of millions of dollars. He just wants it and he hopes you will give it to him.”
John Branca, Jackson’s longtime attorney and now the co-executor of his estate revealed that Jones was once offered $2-$3 million to settle the case.
“It was never our practice to cheat … Mr. Jones,” Branca testified, as the debate became heated. “You’re creating a false impression.”
Quincy Jones will reportedly testify during the trial, which is expected to last about three weeks.