October 3, 2013 8:36
Court decides promoters were not to blame for death of Michael Jackson
The singer's family sought damages against AEG Live for hiring Dr Conrad Murray
After a five-month trial and 14-hour deliberation, a jury of six men and six women concluded that the doctor looking after Jackson ahead of his concert tour was not unfit for his job, reports the BBC.
The singer's mother, Katherine Jackson, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the promoters of Jackson's O2 Arena concerts, which he was rehearsing for at the time of his death on June 25, 2009. Jackson's mother claimed that AEG Live were negligent in hiring Dr Conrad Murray (pictured), who was convicted in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter for giving Jackson an overdose of the anaesthetic propofol. She was seeking costs of around £985m.
Delivering the verdict, jury foreman Gregg Barden said that although they found Dr Murray to be not unfit or incompetent for the job, "That doesn't mean we felt he was ethical."
AEG Live executive Randy Phillips, who testified at the trial, expressed relief at the verdict. "I counted Michael Jackson a creative partner and a friend," he said. "We lost one of the world's greatest musical geniuses, but I am relieved and deeply grateful that the jury recognised that neither I, nor anyone else at AEG Live, played any part in Michael's tragic death."
Throughout the trial, the promoters maintained that Murray was hired at the request of Jackson himself, and that they had no knowledge of the singer's drug dependency. AEG's lead lawyer, Marvin S Putnam, said: "I couldn't be more pleased with the way the jury came out. They got it exactly right."
The lawyer representing Jackson's 83-year-old mother, who was present at the verdict, said the family were "of course… not happy with the result as it stands now. We will be exploring all options legally and factually and make a decision about anything at a later time".
Conrad Murray is due to be released later this month after serving two years in jail.
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