Jurors indicated they reached the $900,000 figure by accepting Schaffel's claims that he was owed commissions from the two videos — which were made to counter bad publicity from the Living With Michael Jackson documentary and were aired on Fox — and Schaffel's claim that he spent $300,000 of his own money on a secret mission to South America for Jackson in November 2003, even though he didn't record the transaction in his business ledger.
Schaffel, who had obviously been rehired for some reason by the Jackson camp, claimed he gave the money to a "Mr. X" in Argentina in "a very private transaction of a very sensitive nature for Mr. Jackson."
"SOMETHING unpleasant was involved," said one juror who refused to give his name.
"This is just the beginning of Michael fighting back," said showbiz attorney L. Londell McMillan, Jackson's new business manager. "It's a new day for Michael Jackson. It should be something for people to think about in the future."
Perhaps, but was the dredging up the tawdry events and accusations of the last five years once again in court — including the possibility that the $300K South American payment was to the family of yet another boy who claimed abuse by Jackson — worth the effort?
"Obviously, I'm very happy," Schaffel told reporters outside court. "We got less than I asked for but considering all the factors on what we were able to present, I'm pleased."
Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Connor will hold a separate specific accounting phase of the trial to look at the claims, which could lead to an adjustment of the awards. Schaffel turned down a settlement of $500,000 a month before trial - he may not wind up with even that.
"When the accounting phase is over, the judgment will be in Michael's favor," Mundell, said. King countered that that "is never going to happen."