Michael Jackson Trial Verdict: AEG Live Gets Off
Updated at the bottom with AEG's claim that it has been vindicated.
Jackson fans by Timothy Norris for LA Weekly.
Jurors in the Michael Jackson civil trial decided in favor of concert promoter AEG Live today after four days of deliberation.
Jackson's mother Katherine sued the L.A.-based promoter over the 2009 death of the King of Pop following Conrad Murray's involuntary manslaughter conviction, which arose from Murray's supervision -- or lack of it -- during a fatal injection of Propofol anesthesia:
A key topic of debate in this latest trial: Who hired Murray, the singer's personal physician?
Was it AEG Live, which allegedly took on a doc who didn't supervise Jackson's medical needs properly as the star prepared for a multimillion-dollar schedule of "This Is It" shows at London's 02 Arena? Or did Jackson, allegedly stuck on drugs, hire Murray?
At about 3:40 p.m. the jury said AEG Live hired Murray, but that Murray was not unfit as a doctor. Thus it would appear the company was not liable for Murray's actions.
Will there be an appeal? Probably.
The entertainer died June 25, 2009 at his leased Holmby Hills residence during a week in which he was preparing strenuously for a 50-date London show that could have expanded to a full-on tour.
Katherine Jackson, the 83-year-old in charge of Jackson's estate, was suing for as much as $1.5 billion because of lost revenue attributed to the King of Pop's potential future concert and record-sales income.
Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced in November of 2011 to four years behind bars in county jail. Interestingly, he's scheduled to be released from jail this month -- Oct. 28 -- as a result of good behavior and lockup overcrowding.
[Update at 4:43 p.m.]: AEG Live's lawyer, Marvin Putnam, said in a statement this afternoon that the company has been vindicated:
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.
He said this was big win for AEG Live executive Randy Philips:
There was simply no evidence that anyone at AEG did anything wrong. The win was a great victory for Mr. Phillips in particular, who was personally sued by the Jacksons.
AEG states, in part:
During the lengthy trial, numerous witnesses testified about Michael Jackson's decades-long history of secret drug abuse and his pattern of seeking out doctors who would give him the drugs he wanted. Some of the most explosive testimony came from Jackson's own medical providers, who testified that Jackson sought out and used propofol on several occasions over the years prior to his death.
The jury's decision came after the Honorable Yvette M. Palazuelos previously threw out all of the Jackson family's other claims, finding a lack of evidence providing any legal basis to support them, and dismissed parent company AEG, Inc. from the lawsuit.