Michael Jackson-AEG Trial Hits Closing Arguments
Posted by Joseph Lee on 09.25.2013
The trial is finally nearing its end...
Billboard reports that the wrongful death civil trial against AEG Live reached closing arguments yesterday, with a lawyer for Jackson's family, Brian Panish, calling AEG Live and Conrad Murray "mercenaries" who sacrificed Jackson's life to make more money. He asked the jury: "Do people do things they shouldn't do for money? People do it every day."
He argued that a $15,000 per month contract to care for Jackson was able to help Murray get out of a $500,000 debt and help him save his home. AEG Live wanted to launch a world tour that would give them millions of dollars in profit.
Katherine Jackson filed a lawsuit that accused AEG Live of negligence in hiring Murray. Panish said that the jury should award $290 million to Jackson's family for non-economic damages like the loss of love and comfort. He gave no figure for economic damages, telling them to make their own decision. He reminded them that expert witnesses said Jackson could heave earned over a billion if he remained alive. He also talked about the pain of Prince, Paris and Blanket Jackson over the loss of their father. The judge warned that the jury should not base their verdict on sympathy.
He said: "We're not looking for sympathy. We're looking for justice, not partial but complete justice."
Then, the jury was shown an hour of videos produced for the trial including home movies, featuring Jackson's songs and photos of his children as babies.
He also focused on the relationship between AEG and Murray. Panish said that AEG didn't know about his financial problems when Jackson proposed him as his private physician because they didn't research him. He said Murray's willingness to close his office to take the job should have been a red flag. He added: "Obviously, he was incompetent and unfit. He caused the death of Michael Jackson."
Murray was convicted in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter after giving Jackson an overdose of the anesthetic propofol. Jackson used the drug to sleep for his "This Is It" concerts in London.
Attorneys for AEG will give their closing argument today. They have claimed that Jackson insisted they hire Murray because he was giving him the drug, which is not meant to be used outside of operating rooms. AEG Live wrote a contract for Murray's services but it was only signed by Murray. Panish said it was valid because of oral negotiations.
Panish said the jury should act as the "conscience" of the community and ward damages to his family. His mother, her daughter Rebbie and nephews Taj and TJ were in the front row. The trial had been moved to a larger courtroom to make room for media, spectators, lawyers and fans. Justice officials from Thailand watched from the gallery.
The jury were shown another video about Jackson's life from his start in Gary, Indiana to his success. Most of the footage was from his early career. There were scenes of performances in arenas.
Panish said: "That is the best evidence that Michael Jackson would have sold tickets."
It ended with the song "Gone Too Soon" and Jackson's voice saying, "I love you."
If jury rules in favor of the Jackson family, they were told by the judge not to consider the wealth of both sides or the family's grief. A unanimous verdict is not required. Only nine of the 12 jurors must agree.