Trials & Litigation

Big-bucks jury question: Did concert promoter select or supervise Michael Jackson's personal doctor?

Opening arguments began Monday in a small Los Angeles courtroom in a wrongful death case that could involve millions, or perhaps even billions, of dollars in damages.

At issue is whether concert promoter AEG Live had a role in hiring or supervising Dr. Conrad Murray, who served as Michael Jackson’s personal physician and was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the pop singer’s 2009 death.

AEG denies it is at fault, and says Jackson selected Murray and chose to take the mix of an intravenous anesthetic and sedatives administered by Murray that was found to have caused the singer’s death. However, Jackson’s surviving relatives contend that it was AEG who chose Jackson, and says the promoter—which was overseeing Jackson’s 2009 comeback concert tour—pressured the physician to engage in reckless practices to get his patient ready to perform, CNN reports.

Because AEG was paying Murray’s $150,000-per-month salary, Jackson was under pressure to do what the promoter wanted, the family’s attorney, Brian Panish told a Los Angeles County Superior Court jury on Monday.

“They put Dr. Murray in a position where if he said Michael can’t go or can’t play, if he said ‘I can’t give you those drugs,’ then he doesn’t get paid,” the attorney contended.

He called AEG executives “ruthless” in their drive to get Jackson on stage, despite their knowledge of his health problems and history of using dangerous drugs while on tour.

The Associated Press, the Detroit Free Press and Reuters also have stories.

See also: “Michael Jackson’s Death a Homicide” “Conrad Murray Gets 4-Year Max in Death of Michael Jackson; Judge Cites ‘Cycle of Horrible Medicine’” “Lloyd’s of London Sues to Void $17.5M Insurance Policy for Michael Jackson Concerts”

CNN: “AEG drops Michael Jackson insurance claim”

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