24 Apr 2013
Michael Jackson trial date set, but defense won’t even admit he’s actually dead (Video)
The Michael Jackson wrongful death lawsuit trial is now set to begin Monday, April 29, in Los Angeles, after the final six alternate jurors were seated yesterday. Michael died in 2009 from a lethal dose of anesthetic propofol, allegedly administered by his personal physician Dr. Conrad Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011. Jackson’s family is suing concert promoter AEG Live for damages over his death in the hiring of Dr. Murray to oversee Michael as he prepared for a 50 date London concert tour. One of the oddest moments already occurred when the defense team refused to stipulate that Jackson is indeed dead, according to the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday, April 23.
On Tuesday, AEG attorney Marvin Putnam said he would not stipulate that Michael Jackson was dead. Jackson was frequently the subject of eccentricities and odd behavior, and now even in death it seems we’re already getting a glimpse into how surreal this trial may get.
It’s believed the trial could be quite sensational, given the superstar status of Michael Jackson’s legacy, being pitted against the entertainment powerhouse company. The Jackson family has already described AEG as a, “heartless, money-driven machine”, in court papers.
They claim the promoters pushed Michael past his physical limits in preparing for a tour he was too frail to embark upon. The singer died on June 25, 2009, just two weeks before the series was set to begin in London.
Once Superior Court Judge Yvette M. Palazuelos announced the jury had been impaneled, the rest of the jury pool erupted in cheers, knowing they would not have to spend the next several months hearing the civil wrongful death case.
Michael Jackson's 82 year-old mother Katherine, along with his children Prince, Paris and Blanket, are suing L.A. entertainment giant AEG, alleging liability for Jackson’s death because they hired and supervised Dr. Conrad Murray.
He was convicted of using the powerful surgical anesthetic in an effort to help the singer cope with chronic insomnia, but just recently filed an appeal in his case alleging errors were made at his trial.
Some of the famous names announced as potential witnesses are singer Prince, Dianna Ross and ex-wife Lisa-Marie Presley. Bio mom to Michael’s eldest two kids, Debbie Rowe, is also expected to testify.
Other named witnesses include Dr. Conrad Murray himself, who is named by both sides, according to E! News. Jackson’s children, 16 year-old Prince and 15 year-old Paris are also expected to take the stand.
A judge has already dismissed several of the lawsuit's original claims, but allowed the allegation that AEG was negligent in hiring Conrad Murray to go forward. AEG is denying they had an employment contract with Murray.
The Jackson family is seeking $40 billion in damages over loss of past, present and future earnings. Should AEG be found responsible in this case, a jury will ultimately determine a damage amount, which could then also be altered by the judge.
AEG first maintains they didn’t hire Murray to care for Michael. However, in allowing the negligent hiring count to remain, the judge determined the $150,000 per month salary for the doctor could imply there was an employment contract between the parties.
Even if a contract is found, the concert promoters will then assert they could not have foreseen that Murray posed a danger to Jackson, as he was one of several doctors who’d treated him in the past.
Finally AEG intends to point out that Michael had a severe drug problem. They will argue it was Jackson who administered the lethal dose to himself when Murray stepped out of the room.
The trial is expected to last well into the summer.