(Adds new lead, headline, more testimony from T.J. and Taj Jackson)
By Dana Feldman
LOS ANGELES, June 27 (Reuters) - Michael Jackson's nephew and co-guardian to his three children testified on Thursday in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the late pop star's family that the "Thriller" singer appeared happy at a family party about month before his death in 2009.
"He was in a good mood, he was happy, making jokes," T.J. Jackson, 34, the son of Jackson 5 member Tito Jackson, told jurors in a Los Angeles courtroom about the last time he saw the self-styled "King of Pop."
"We talked primarily about the children," T.J. said. "I wanted to have more kids, so did he."
Jackson died about a month later at age 50 in Los Angeles from an overdose of surgical anesthetic propofol ahead of a run of 50 concerts in London.
T.J. said he could not gauge Jackson's health at the party, a wedding anniversary for the singer's parents, Joe and Katherine Jackson.
"I wasn't in the mentality to check him out," T.J. said, adding that Jackson wore a suit. "He seemed happy, jolly."
Jackson's 83-year-old mother, Katherine, is suing privately held AEG Live, which was promoting Jackson's "This Is It" comeback concert series in London, for negligence in hiring Dr Conrad Murray as his personal physician.
Murray was caring for the singer as he prepared for the shows and was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011 for administering the propofol that killed Jackson.
T.J. is the second Jackson family member to testify in the trial. He followed Jackson's eldest son, 16-year-old Prince, who took the stand on Wednesday, four years and one day after the pop singer's death.
Jackson's nephew said he had never heard of propofol and did not know the singer was using it at the time he died.
When asked by an attorney for AEG Live if he believes Jackson was murdered, T.J. said, "I do."
'HE WAS JUST THERE FOR ME'
"He (Jackson) would tell me and my brothers that he was going to be murdered because of his position (celebrity), that he was a target," T.J. said of recurring conversations he had with Jackson from the mid-1990s to early 2000s.
AEG Live has said that Jackson had prescription drug addiction problems for years before entering into an agreement with the company and that the singer chose Murray as his physician.
AEG Live also has said it could not have foreseen that Murray posed a danger to Jackson.
T.J.'s older brother Taj, 39, also testified on Thursday, and the brothers offered a view into Jackson's private life. They described him as a humble family man who supported his family in times of need, telling jurors that he helped and comforted them after their mother was murdered in 1994.
"He kept me inspired and ambitious. He was just there for me," said T.J., who broke down in tears.
"I still feel lost sometimes without him here," Taj testified, adding that Jackson gave him moral support and helped pay for him to attend college.
T.J., who is in the R&B group 3T with Taj and a third brother, echoed Prince's testimony that Jackson's death has been hardest on the singer's teenage daughter, Paris, who has spent time in a hospital after an apparent suicide attempt this month.
"The loss of my uncle has hit her at a different level," T.J. said. "She was daddy's girl; my uncle was her world."
Paris, 15, and Jackson's youngest son, 11-year-old Prince Michael II, also known as Blanket, are not expected to testify during the trial, which began in April.
Testimony over the past two days has focused on Jackson's relationship with his children, with the family's attorneys showing home videos and photos of the pop star with his kids. (Reporting by Dana Feldman; Writing by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy, Sandra Maler and Eric Beech)