LOS ANGELES (CN) – Entertainment giant AEG Live scored a victory against the family of Michael Jackson Wednesday, ducking claims that it was responsible for the singer’s death in 2009.
After five months of trial and just three days of deliberations, an LA jury unanimously exonerated AEG after finding that the concert promoter hired Dr. Conrad Murray and that Murray was a competent doctor, despite an earlier criminal conviction for manslaughter.
Jackson died on June 25, 2009, weeks before opening a series of comeback concerts promoted by AEG. The LA County Coroner concluded that while the singer died of acute Propofol intoxication, he had “a polypharmacy” of drugs in his system.
Jackson’s mother Katherine sued AEG in 2010, blaming the promoter for hiring Murray and contributing to the singer’s death.
She claimed that AEG threatened that if Michael missed any more rehearsals, “they were going to ‘pull the plug’ on the show,” and that Jackson would owe for “all the expenses for which they paid,” including his advances. “AEG said that if they called off the tour, there would be lawsuits and Jackson’s career would be over. They said Jackson must work with Murray.”
The Jackson family wanted $85 million for each of the singer’s three children and $35 million for his mother. They also sought another $1.5 billion for economic losses.
“The jury’s decision completely vindicates AEG Live, confirming what we have known from the start – that although Michael Jackson’s death was a terrible tragedy, it was not a tragedy of AEG Live’s making,” AEG lead attorney Marvin Putnam from O’Melveny & Myers.
The Jacksons were represented by Brian Panish with Panish Shea & Boyle. Katherine Jackson left the courtroom without speaking to reporters, the LA Times reported.
In 2011, an LA trial court convicted Murray of involuntary manslaughter and handed down the maximum sentence of four years in county jail. At sentencing, LA County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor said Murray had “absolutely no sense of remorse” and “remains a danger to society.”
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