26 May 2013
Civil trial over Jackson's death focuses on AEG
Photo credit: AP | FILE - In this March 5, 2009 file photo, US singer Michael Jackson announces that he is set to play ten live concerts at the London O2 Arena in July, which he announced at a press conference at the London O2 Arena. Los Angeles jurors hearing Katherine Jackson’s lawsuit against AEG Live saw detailed contracts the company drafted for her son and his personal physician, as well as budgets and an email chain in which two of the company’s attorneys exchanged messages in which the singer was called “the freak” during the trial’s fourth week on May 20-23, 2013. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, File)
A look at key moments this past week in the wrongful death trial in Los Angeles between Michael Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson, and concert giant AEG Live LLC, and what is expected at court in the week ahead:
Jackson's mother wants a jury to determine that the promoter of Jackson's planned comeback concerts didn't properly investigate Dr. Conrad Murray, who a criminal jury convicted of involuntary manslaughter for Jackson's June 2009 death. AEG's attorney says the case is about personal choice, namely Jackson's decision to have Murray serve as his doctor and give him doses of a powerful anesthetic as a sleep aid. Millions, possibly billions, of dollars are at stake.
--Jurors heard from AEG General Counsel Shawn Trell, who discussed in detail the company's contracts with Jackson and Murray, as well as its dealings with the pop singer's estate.
--The jury was shown an email in which Trell's boss described Jackson as "the freak" on the same day the singer signed a multi-million dollar agreement to perform the "This Is It" shows. Katherine Jackson's attorney said it demonstrated AEG's disdain for Jackson, while defense lawyers said it was shown to merely embarrass the company.
WHAT THE JURY SAW
-- Katherine Jackson left the courtroom in tears after her attorney questioned Trell about whether AEG pushed Jackson too far.
-- The anatomy of a mega-concert tour as attorneys flashed budgets and Trell explained the mechanics of contracts, tour cancellation insurance and wrangling over how to handle Jackson's health and missed rehearsals.
--"This is the kind of respect that your lawyer shows to this artist, referring to him as a freak," plaintiff's attorney Brian Panish, visibly agitated, questioning Trell about emails the lawyer and his boss exchanged.
--"My chance meeting, my one meeting at the house, he was very personable. I won't forget it," Trell said of meeting Jackson in January 2009.
OUTSIDE THE COURTROOM
--Several Jackson fans lined a courthouse hallway wearing t-shirts emblazoned with a picture of Katherine Jackson and the words "We Support You" and (hash)TeamKatherineJackson" as the family matriarch returned to court from a lunch break.
-- The trial's focus will stay on AEG Live, with one of its top executives, Paul Gongaware, taking the witness stand on Tuesday. Gongaware worked directly with Jackson and negotiated with Murray.
--Makeup artist Karen Faye, who tearfully described Jackson's health in earlier testimony, returns for cross-examination by AEG's attorneys.
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