LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A judge has denied a request by AEG Live for a levy of $50,000 in fines against Michael Jackson’s mother and her lawyers, who the entertainment giant alleged were the likely source of leaks of some of its internal email excerpts to the news media.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos ruled Tuesday that AEG Live lawyers failed to prove that Katherine Jackson and her attorneys were behind the leaks, which would have been a violation of the court’s order preventing the dissemination of such information.
In September, The Los Angeles Times published excerpts of emails connected to AEG Live in which one of its executives, as well as various people working on the concerts, expressed concern over Michael Jackson’s health.
The Jackson family matriarch and her lawyers offered alternative possible sources of the leaks that AEG Live could not rebut, Palazuelos wrote in her 11-page opinion.
The judge also rejected a request by AEG Live to keep Jackson and her lawyers from using the leaked documents during trial. The company maintained that so many people would have read about the emails in a Los Angeles Times article that it would be hard to find an impartial jury.
“Defendants failed to show why the jury pool has been hopelessly tainted by the release of these documents,” Palazuelos wrote.
Any harm done by publicity created by the emails can be cured by careful interviews of prospective jurors, the judge said.
After hearing about an hour of heated exchanges between the two sides, with Katherine Jackson looking on, Palazuelos on Oct. 24 took AEG Live’s request for sanctions under submission before ruling this week.
Attorneys for the law firm Panish, Shea & Boyle, which represents the Jackson family matriarch and her grandchildren, accused AEG Live attorney Marvin Putnam of smearing their reputations by implying through his motion that they could have been the source of the disclosures. Jackson, 82, and her grandchildren allege AEG Live negligently hired Dr. Conrad Murray to care for Michael Jackson. The singer was set to perform 50 shows in London for AEG Live, but died on June 25, 2009, of acute propofol intoxication in Los Angeles while rehearsing for the concert series.
The negligence suit was filed in September 2010 by Katherine Jackson on behalf of herself and her late son’s three children, Michael Jr., Paris-Michael Katherine and Prince Michael.
Howard Mann, with whom Katherine Jackson collaborated on a book, was later quoted in published reports as admitting that he leaked the messages to the newspaper.
Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson’s death and was sentenced Nov. 29 to four years in the Los Angeles County men’s jail.