Last Update: Thursday, December 05, 2013
|Jackson Trial Drawing To A Close|
|Written by BILL HETHERMAN City News Service|
|Thursday, 26 September 2013 05:44|
LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Final arguments in the Michael Jackson wrongful death lawsuit against AEG Live are expected to end Thursday, Sept. 26. That means the jury could then begin its deliberations.
AEG Live did not hire Dr. Conrad Murray as Michael Jackson's personal physician and was therefore not responsible for supervising him as he cared for the singer before his never-realized comeback tour, an attorney for the concert promoter told a jury on Wednesday, Sept. 25.
"If anyone hired Dr. Murray it was Mr. Jackson, not AEG Live," lawyer
Marvin Putnam told a Los Angeles Superior Court jury during his closing argument in Katherine Jackson's wrongful death/negligence suit against the entertainment conglomerate.
Although a contract was drafted in which AEG Live intended to advance $150,000 a month to Murray on Jackson's behalf, the payments would have had to be repaid by Jackson, Putnam said.
"They (AEG Live) never paid (Murray) because they never hired him to go on tour," Putnam said.
Murray never received any money under the draft contract because Jackson died before he could sign it, the attorney argued. Putnam noted that Murray had treated Jackson and his children since 2006, long before AEG Live ever heard of him.
"It was not for AEG Live to interfere with that long-time, doctor-patient relationship."
Putnam said it would be wrong to hold AEG Live responsible in part for the death of Jackson, who died while in Murray's care.
"You can't save someone. They have to save themselves," Putnam said.
"If that weren't the case, everyone would be responsible for everyone else's decisions."
Putnam said even Murray understood who employed him.
"Dr. Murray and AEG Live both understood that he was working for Michael Jackson, not AEG live," Putnam said.
On Tuesday, Sept. 24, Jackson family attorney Brian Panish told the jurors that AEG Live pushed the pop superstar to be prepared for his planned 50-concert series in London, and it hired Murray to ensure he would be ready – despite the singer's known history of prescription drug abuse.
"They chose to run the risk and make a huge profit," Panish said. "But they lost and they are responsible."
Panish contended that Jackson had an earnings potential of up to $1.2 billion if he had lived to perform the "This Is It" concerts, along with subsequent performances worldwide, a Las Vegas show and a movie deal. He recommended that jurors allocate the total damage award at 30 percent each to the singer's three children and 10 percent to his mother.
"Mrs. Jackson lost a son and the children lost a father," Panish said.
Panish also suggested noneconomic damages of around $300 million for Katherine Jackson and the singer's children, but he said it would be up to jurors to decide a final figure, adding: "There is no formula, it's based on what is just and fair."
He also showed a video montage of Jackson at various stages of his career, performing hits as both a child and an adult.
The 83-year-old Jackson 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 the company hired Murray to be Jackson's personal physician.
Jackson died at age 50 on June 25, 2009, of acute propofol intoxication at a rented Holmby Hills estate. Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for administering the powerful anesthetic to the singer and was sentenced in November 2011 to four years in the Los Angeles County men's jail.
Putnam maintained during the trial 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.
Putnam has insisted that a proposed contract between Murray and AEG Live was never executed before Jackson's death. However, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos found that a contract could be implied by various actions taken by the company, including discussions to pay him $150,000 a month.
Attorneys for the Jacksons maintain that AEG Live, in allegedly hiring Murray, gave little consideration to red flags showing that the doctor was in debt and not a board-certified cardiologist.
Palazuelos dismissed Timothy Leiweke, AEG Inc.'s former president and chief executive officer, and that company as defendants before trial. Several months into the trial, she also tossed all allegations against Phillips and Paul Gongaware, co-chief executive officer of Concerts West – a division of AEG Live.