September 26, 2013 14:49

Michael Jackson was 'playing Russian roulette' with drugs, says lawyer

Marvin Putnam says singer died because of his own 'bad choices'

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Michael Jackson was "playing Russian roulette" with drugs before his death, according to concert promoter AEG's lawyer.

As the BBC reports, AEG legal representative Marvin Putman appeared in court to provide AEG's closing arguments in the wrongful death lawsuit brought by the singer's family. He claimed that Jackson's death had been caused by the star's own "bad choices".

Jackson's family are demanding $290 million (£181 million) in damages from AEG following his death in 2009, which was caused from an overdose of the anaesthetic drug propofol. Before his passing, Jackson had been scheduled to play a number of high-profile comeback gigs in London.

Although members of Jackson's family have alleged that AEG failed to investigate Conrad Murray, who served as Jackson's doctor and was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, and failed to miss warning signs before his death, Putnam said: "AEG only learned the truth after Mr Jackson passed. AEG would have never agreed to finance this tour if they knew Mr Jackson was playing Russian roulette in his bedroom every night."

He also insisted that hiring Murray had been Jackson's choice and that there was no contractual agreement between themselves and the doctor, adding: "He didn't ask AEG. He said, 'We're using this doctor'. He was a grown man of 50 and as a grown man he is responsible for his own health and his own choices no matter how bad those choices may be.

"It was his money and he certainly wasn't going to take no for an answer," he continued. "You can't negilgently hire someone unless you hire them. The evidence is very clear that Michael Jackson was the one who hired Dr Murray."

Putnam also described the claim for $290 million in damages, which they said was based on Jackson's potential earnings, as "speculation and guesswork" and added: "I'm sorry, that's an absurd number. And they haven't remotely proved it."

Earlier in the trial, which began in April, Michael Jackson's mother Katherine accused concert promoters AEG of failing to contact the singer's family as he "wasted away" while rehearsing for the 'This Is It' live tour shortly before his death in 2009. The singer's lawyer, Brian Panish, is expected to have one final opportunity to address the jury and respond to Putnam's closing arguments today (September 26).

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