LOS ANGELES (AP) — A look at key moments this past week in the wrongful death trial in Los Angeles between Michael Jackson‘s mother and concert giant AEG Live LLC, which is drawing to a close after more than four months of testimony.
THE CASE SO FAR
Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, is asking a jury to determine that AEG Live is liable for her son’s 2009 death because the company hired and failed to properly investigate Dr. Conrad Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter by a criminal jury. Her attorneys have presented numerous emails sent by AEG executives expressing concerns about Jackson’s health and ability to perform his “This Is It” comeback concerts, as well as messages referencing the $150,000 a month payments Murray was expecting to work on the tour.
AEG denies it hired Murray and points to language in the doctor’s contract that required Jackson’s signature to make it valid. The singer died before signing. The company has shown jurors testimony from several of Jackson’s doctors who have described their treatments on the singer. Some also became friends with Jackson, and a few testified that they were concerned about the singer’s use of prescription medications.
More than 50 witnesses have testified over 19 weeks of the trial, including Jackson’s mother, his eldest son, his ex-wife Debbie Rowe, and some top AEG Live executives. Several entertainers listed as potential witnesses have not been called, but the trial has provided a behind-the-scenes look at Jackson’s life, his meticulous nature and the pain he suffered from injuries sustained while performing.
WHAT HAPPENED THIS PAST WEEK
— A judge dismissed AEG Live executives Paul Gongaware and Randy Phillips from the lawsuit, determining that there hadn’t been enough evidence shown to allow jurors to consider whether they are liable for Jackson’s death.
— Testimony was halted all week to allow a juror to care for a sick family member. Jurors will not return to the case until Wednesday Sept. 18.
— A judge ruled that AEG Live’s attorneys can question Jackson’s mother about a statement of damages her attorneys submitted early in the case seeking more than $40 billion. Katherine Jackson’s attorneys argue the questioning is unfair because the statement was never filed in court or approved by their client, but was sent in merely to preserve her rights.
AEG Live is expected to conclude its case after showing the testimony of Jackson’s longtime physician, Dr. Allan Metzger. AEG’s lead lawyer has said he intends to call Katherine Jackson to the witness stand. Once AEG’s case is over, Katherine Jackson’s attorneys plan to call several rebuttal witnesses. Closing arguments from both sides will follow before the case then goes to the jury.