Jury rejects case against Jackson promoter
LOS ANGELES (AP) — More than four years after Michael Jackson’s death, a jury on Wednesday rejected the notion that the promoter of his ill-fated comeback concerts was linked to his demise, ending a long-running case that offered an unprecedented look into the singer’s addiction struggles, concert preparations and his role as a parent.
The latest chapter in the often bizarre Jackson saga stemmed from a lawsuit filed by his mother against AEG Live LLC as she sought to financially punish the company for hiring the doctor convicted of killing her superstar son with an overdose of the anesthetic propofol.
At five months, it was the longest of any trial involving Jackson and gave the panel an inside look at his homes, concerts and even the offices of his doctors.
Jurors concluded that the case had many tragic elements but stopped short of awarding the singer’s family hundreds of millions of dollars.
Katherine Jackson sued AEG Live in 2010 claiming the company hired her son’s final doctor, Conrad Murray, and created a conflict of interest by agreeing to pay the debt-saddled cardiologist $150,000 a month to work with her son while he prepared for the “This Is It” concerts in London.
During the trial, AEG presented a parade of Jackson’s physicians but also endured harsh scrutiny of its own business practices and whether it did enough to investigate Murray’s background.
Jurors determined that AEG hired Murray but said he was fit and competent to serve as a general practitioner to Jackson.
“That doesn’t mean we felt he was ethical,” the jury’s foreman Gregg Barden said after the verdict.
Barden acknowledged the tragic circumstances of Jackson’s death that left his three children to be cared for by his mother.
“It took the tragic passing of a tremendous father, son and brother for us to even be here. And of course nobody wanted that,” Barden said. “We reached a verdict that we understand not everybody is going to agree with. But the decision was reached after very careful consideration.”
Katherine Jackson’s attorneys said they were disappointed by the verdict but would consider further legal options.
AEG lawyers lauded the jury’s decision.
“AEG didn’t do anything wrong and would not allow themselves to be shaken down,” lead defense attorney Marvin S. Putnam said.