Lawyers representing Michael Jackson’s heirs are claiming that an expert for the IRS perjured himself in Tax Court during testimony over the value of the late pop star’s estate.
The expert, Weston Anson, testified on behalf of the IRS in the February trial, which was part of a long-running dispute between the estate and the IRS. The service claims that the estate vastly undervalued Jackson’s record catalog, the rights to his image and likeness, and other assets (see “Court hears IRS dispute over value of Michael Jackson estate.”), and that it should pay as much as $500 million more in estate taxes.
Anson’s testimony supported the IRS position, including that the singer’s name and image at the time of his death was approximately $161 million, rather than just $2,105, as the estate contends.
According to court filings obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, under cross-examination, Anson said that he had never worked for the IRS before, and that he had not written an intellectual property valuation of late singer Whitney Houston.
In their filing, lawyers for the estate allege that Anson and his valuation company had actually prepared an IP report on Houston’s estate for the IRS back in 2009, and so he committed perjury – and that he acknowledged as much in later testimony, claiming that he had said he hadn’t worked for the IRS because he believed it would be illegal for him to reveal tax information that wasn’t related to the Jackson case.
Given that, they are seeking to have Anson’s testimony removed entirely from the record.
"The context in which the lies began reveals Mr. Anson's true intent in lying under oath was to disguise his bias in favor of the IRS and to hide the fact he had been awarded multiple contracts from the IRS for substantial sums of money," the estate’s lawyers wrote.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the IRS responded that the questions about the Whitney Houston case were improper, that Anson’s responses contain “confidential information,” and that they should be stricken from the record.
Tax Court Judge Mark Holmes is expected to rule on Anson’s testimony soon, though his final ruling in the case is expected to take much longer.
Anson did not immediately reply to a request for comment.