AEG Live was cleared Wednesday of any wrongdoing in the death of Michael Jackson, with a Los Angeles jury rejecting a lawsuit by the singer’s mother alleging the concert promoter negligently hired the doctor who gave the pop superstar a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol.
Dr. Conrad Murray was sentenced to four years in jail for the June 25, 2009, death of the 50-year-old Jackson, who died at a rented Holmby Hills estate where he was staying while rehearsing for his never-realized, 50-performance concert series in London.
After nearly 14 hours of deliberations over four days, the six-man, six-woman jury determined that AEG Live did hire Murray as Jackson’s doctor, but it answered “no” to question number two, which asked if Murray was “unfit or incompetent to perform the work for which he was hired.”
Katherine Jackson alleged in her lawsuit that AEG Live hired Murray to care for Jackson while he was preparing for the London concerts, but failed to supervise him, leading to the pop sensation’s death.
Jurors deliberated for about two hours Thursday, a full day Friday and all day Tuesday. The panel deliberated this morning and indicated around 2 p.m. that it had reached a verdict.
Ironically, Katherine Jackson showed up at the courthouse today to wait for a verdict. It was the first day she had been seen at the courthouse during the deliberations.
During his closing argument, Jackson family attorney Brian Panish insisted that AEG Live was responsible for hiring Murray, but AEG Live attorney Marvin Putnam argued that AEG Live never hired Murray and it was Jackson himself who brought the cardiologist aboard.
Katherine Jackson, the 83-year-old family matriarch, sued in September 2010 on behalf of herself and her son’s three children, Michael Jr., Paris- Michael Katherine and Prince Michael, claiming that AEG Live hired Murray to be Jackson’s personal physician.
Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for Jackson’s death, is scheduled to be released Oct. 28 -- an early release due to good-behavior credits.
Panish had asked that jurors award Katherine Jackson and the singer’s three children as much as $1.5 billion, although he conceded that Jackson likely bore about 20 percent responsibility for his own death. He insisted, however, that AEG live should be held accountable for about 80 percent of the negligence involved.
Putnam argued that his clients never hired Murray and that the cardiologist, in fact, had been one of many doctors who had treated the singer in the past. Putnam also said Jackson had a drug problem for years before he entered into any agreements to perform on behalf of AEG Live.