Los Angeles (AFP) – The jury which will decide if tour promoters AEG Live should pay massive damages to Michael Jackson’s family over his 2009 death has began considering its verdict.
The six-man, six-woman panel retired to deliberate after a last appeal from Jackson family lawyer Brian Panish, who said AEG Live were trying to “hoodwink” jurors and shirk blame for the singer’s demise aged 50.
“AEG Live is a money-making company,” he said, accusing the promoter of negligently hiring Conrad Murray, the doctor found guilty in 2011 of causing Jackson’s death while he was preparing for his “This is It” comeback tour.
“They didn’t want to help Michael do a comeback. They wanted Michael so they could make money, and that’s why they did it,” he said. “They think they can hoodwink you,” he told the six-man, six-woman jury.
The panel deliberated for a couple of hours before going home for the day, to resume their discussions on Friday morning.
Jackson died on June 25, 2009 from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol at his rented mansion in Los Angeles, where he was rehearsing for the shows at London’s 02 Arena.
Murray, a cardiologist, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in a criminal trial in 2011 for giving the drug to the star — who suffered from chronic insomnia — to help him sleep. Murray was jailed for four years.
In the civil trial, the singer’s mother Katherine Jackson, 83, alleges that AEG Live negligently hired an inappropriate and incompetent doctor and missed a series of red flags about the star’s failing health in the run-up to his death.