A US judge asked lawyers to explain some lyrics to Michael Jackson’s Thriller in a tax court.
BBC News reports that Tax Court Judge Mark Holmes had long been perplexed by Vincent Price’s rap at the end of Jackson’s 1982 single, so when the star’s former lawyer, John Branca, appeared in front of him on Monday (6 February), he asked for clarification.
Holmes asked, “You’re familiar with Thriller, what exactly does ‘the funk of 40,000 years’ mean?”
“Karma,” answered Branca. He was appearing at the first day of a trial looking into Jackson’s tax debts. Jackson’s estate, according to the IRS, owes more than $700 million (£566 million) in taxes. A considerable portion of his $1 billion worth.
Jackson’s legal team are now arguing that the star was in fact worth far less due to his image being damaged by by accusations of child abuse, skin bleaching and drug use. The IRS are claiming he was worth $434 million (£350 million). Jackson’s estate are estimating the figure as $2,105 (£1,701).
Branca had represented Jackson for many years. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he became emotional while on the stand. “I’m going to tear up,” Branca said, “Michael was a genius. He was a great guy. When I tell these stories, I actually tell them with affection.”
The IRS attorneys declined to cross-examine Branca, they will call him back to testify when they present their case.
Revisit the iconic single below.