Just one of Michael Jackson’s brothers and sisters can sit in the courtroom at one time in the family’s wrongful death suit against AEG Live, a judge ordered Tuesday.
AEG Live lawyers argued at the start of the second day of the trial that there was “a risk in allowing any of them in the courtroom.”
AEG expects to call Janet, Jermaine, Jackie, Tito, La Toya, Rebbie and Randy Jackson as witnesses in its defense. Only Jackson brother Marlon is not on the defense witness list.
AEG lawyer Marvin Putnam said in his opening statement Monday that Jackson family members will testify about their failed attempts to intervene with Michael Jackson’s drug addiction and their lack of knowledge about what was happening.
The defense lawyers asked that Randy Jackson, the only one attending the trial Tuesday with his 82-year-old mother, Katherine Jackson, be booted from court.
After that, Jackson lawyer Brian Panish told the judge that Katherine Jackson, who can stay in court since she is a plaintiff, needed one of her children to sit with her each day.
“He can remain, but you cannot have five in the courtroom,” Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos said.
Randy and Rebbie Jackson attended court Monday, the trial’s opening day. All of the brothers and sisters attended the 2011 criminal trial of Dr. Conrad Murray at various times.
Having members of the famous entertainment family in court could influence the jury, as their seats are just a few feet away from the jury box in the small Los Angeles courtroom.
The first witness called Tuesday was Richard Senneff, one of the Los Angeles County paramedics who responded to the 911 call to Michael Jackson’s home on June 25, 2009.
Senneff mostly repeated the testimony he gave as one of the first witnesses in the Murray trial, describing how he initially “thought perhaps this was a hospice patient.”
“He looked like someone who was at the end stage of a long disease process,” he said.
“No, no, this just happened,” Murray told him, Senneff said.
Jackson was not breathing and appeared to be dead, he said.
Los Angeles Police Detective Orlando Martinez, who initially investigated Jackson’s death, is scheduled to be the second witness.
Michael Jackson’s mother and three children are suing AEG Live, the promoter of his planned comeback concerts, saying the company’s executives were liable in his death because they hired, retained and supervised Murray. Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and received four years in prison, a sentence he is serving in a Los Angeles County jail.
AEG says Murray was hired and supervised by Jackson, whom they blame for making bad choices because of his drug addiction.
The coroner ruled Jackson died from a fatal combination of the surgical anesthetic propofol and sedatives, which prosecutors said Murray administered in an effort to help Jackson sleep.