Responsibility a Key Topic in Jackson Civil Trial

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  • LOS ANGELES (AP) — A look at key moments this past week in the wrongful death trial in Los Angeles between Michael Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, and concert giant AEG Live LLC, and what is expected at court in the week ahead:

    THE CASE

    Jackson’s mother wants a jury to determine that the promoter of Jackson’s planned comeback concerts didn’t properly investigate Dr. Conrad Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter by a criminal jury for Jackson’s June 2009 death. AEG’s attorney says the case is about personal choice, namely Jackson’s decision to have Murray serve as his doctor and give him doses of a powerful anesthetic as a sleep aid. Millions, possibly billions, of dollars are at stake.

    WHAT HAPPENED THIS PAST WEEK

    — “This Is It” Director Kenny Ortega testified about his interactions with AEG Live executives and said he felt Jackson was the one who should have been responsible for his own health. Ortega also said it would have been responsible of AEG to not place Murray in a conflict of interest in response to questions by a plaintiff’s lawyer.

    — AEG Live’s outside counsel, Kathy Jorrie, testified that she told the company’s CEO that Murray was properly licensed in four states and had told her that his clinics were earning more than $1 million a month.

    — Jurors watched the videotaped testimony of Timm Woolley, a tour accountant who said he suggested that the need for CPR machines be written into Murray’s contract because the doctor wasn’t forthcoming in an initial conversations about what he needed to treat Jackson.

    — Jurors watched the videotaped testimony of Jackson’s younger brother Randy, who described more than half a dozen intervention attempts by the singer’s family to try to get the superstar to stop taking prescription medications.

    WHAT THE JURY SAW

    — Attorneys for Jackson’s mother and AEG Live lob rapid-fire questions at Ortega toward the end of his testimony, asking the director about whether a doctor should be discredited because of debts, whether actions that both sides took were responsible ones, and other topics. By the time Ortega was done answering all the lawyers’ questions, the jury rewarded him with a round of applause.

    — Ortega stoop down and quietly speak to Katherine Jackson in the audience before departing the courtroom.

    QUOTABLE MOMENTS

    — “I didn’t think he was being very responsible. But it was his responsibility,” Ortega said of the need for Jackson to be responsible for his own health.

    — “Michael was very clear, bold, strong in his ideas, what he wanted all through the process,” Ortega said of his friend and collaborator at the beginning of tour preparations. “Eventually he started to decline and disappear.”

    — “Michael didn’t want to be around the family too much because he didn’t want them to see him like that,” Randy Jackson said. “He was hiding from me.”

    — “Did he want to be remembered as the greatest entertainer in the world or the greatest father,” plaintiff’s attorney Deborah Chang asked Jackson’s former head of security Michael La Perruque. “I would say the greatest father,” he replied.

    WHAT’S NEXT

    AEG Live’s lawyers are expected to continue playing the videotaped depositions of several medical care professionals who worked with Jackson throughout his life.

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