Singer's life set to play out in court as mother Katherine Jackson seeks damages against promoter
Details of Michael Jackson’s personal life is set to play out in court as a £26 billion civil trial putting the singer’s family against concert promoters AEG Live begins today (April 29)
Opening statements are due to begin today, as Reuters reports, with the late singer’s children Prince, 16, and Paris, 14, due to appear on the stand at Los Angeles County Superior Court at some point. Jackson’s family are seeking £26 billion in damages against AEG Live, accusing the promoter of negligence which contributed to Jackson’s death before his 50-show comeback tour at London’s O2 Arena. Other stars expected to testify during the three-month long trial include Prince and Diana Ross as well as producer Quincy Jones and Jackson’s ex-wives, Lisa Marie Presley and Debbie Rowe.
The family claims AEG Live was neglectful when it hired doctor Conrad Murray, who gave the singer the overdose of sedative Propofol that lead to his death in 2009. Murray was jailed in 2011 after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Jackson died three weeks before the start of his string of London gigs and Katherine Jackson believes rehearsals for the tour pushed her son too hard.
AEG Live claims that Jackson had a history of drug abuse long before the singer met Murray, hired to care for him before and during the comeback shows, stating that the amount of damages sought is a “preposterous” amount considering Jackson’s ”descending career”. “He was chosen by Michael Jackson, to be there at Michael Jackson’s behest, to be Michael Jackson’s doctor alone. This was only being done because Michael Jackson asked for it,” AEG Live lawyer Marvin Putman told CNN previously.
Katherine Jackson, however, claims that AEG Live hired Murray and pursued profits with no regard for her sons health. “AEG had legal duties to Michael Jackson to treat him safely and to not put him in harm’s way. But AEG, despite its knowledge of Michael Jackson’s physical condition, breached those duties by putting its desire for massive profits from the tour over the health and safety of Michael Jackson,” their complaint alleges.
Los Angeles Superior Court judge Yvette Palazuelos ruled last month that AEG Live can also raise Jackson’s 2005 child abuse case as it may be relevant to the singer’s history of prescription drug abuse and despondency.