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Michael Jackson

Drug Addict On Trial

4/2/2013 6:40 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

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Michael Jackson's intense and decades-long addiction to powerful prescription drugs will be front and center in his family's wrongful death trial ... which kicks off today.

Katherine Jackson and Michael's 3 kids are suing AEG Live, claiming the company negligently hired and supervised Dr. Conrad Murray ... who killed MJ with a massive overdose of Propofol.

TMZ broke numerous stories after MJ's death ... revealing how Jackson had at least 19 aliases to score Rx drugs from various doctors.  It was well known in L.A. and Beverly Hills medical circles that MJ would doctor shop to find professionals who would open their surgery centers to give him Propofol.  The doctors -- and dentists -- would justify the drug by saying they needed to put him under for minor procedures, such as acne removal.

We reported in one case ... a famed doctor used a gynecologist's office -- run by a doc who specialized in vaginal rejuvenation -- to perform a minor acne treatment under full anesthesia.

The Jackson family will argue AEG Live had a duty to monitor Murray.  The problem is ... Jackson's the one who found Murray in the first place and that Murray administered Propofol long before the doc signed on to the "This Is It" tour.

AEG has a slew of doctors on its witness list ... to make the case that Jackson's addiction was in full bloom long before it entered the picture.

Katherine and the kids are asking for more than $40 BILLION in damages.

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286 COMMENTS

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136.

Pegasus    

Go Tom Messeaura!

534 days ago
137.

Pegasus    

Conrad Murray from jail: 'I was in the wrong place at the wrong time'

By Alan Duke, CNN

updated 8:48 PM EDT, Tue April 2, 2013


STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Dr. Conrad Murray talks to CNN twice as Jackson v. AEG Live trial starts
Murray: "I did nothing wrong and all I tried to do was to help a friend"
"Prince Jr., Paris and Blanket are like my own kids," Murray says
These are Murray's first interviews since his involuntary manslaughter conviction

For more from Don Lemon's interview with Conrad Murray (left), watch "Michael Jackson: The Final Days," a CNN do***entary that will premiere at 10 p.m. Friday.

Los Angeles (CNN) -- The doctor convicted in Michael Jackson's death says he is a scapegoat who had the bad luck of being "in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Dr. Conrad Murray, speaking to CNN by phone from his jail cell, said he "did nothing wrong and all I tried to do was to help a friend who I encountered in a devastated state."

Murray gave CNN two interviews -- one recorded Friday with Don Lemon and a second broadcast live with Anderson Cooper on Tuesday evening. They come as the trial begins in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Jackson's children and mother accusing concert promoter AEG Live of the negligent hiring of Murray.

These are his first interviews with a journalist since he was sentenced to four years in prison in November 2011 for an involuntary manslaughter conviction in Michael Jackson's death.

Katherine Jackson: Michael's mother, 82, was deposed for nine hours over three days by AEG Live lawyers. As the guardian of her son's three children, she is a plaintiff in the wrongful death lawsuit against the company that promoted Michael Jackson's comeback concerts.


Prince Jackson: Michael's oldest son is considered a key witness in the Jacksons' case against AEG Live, since he is expected to testify about what his father told him about the concert promoter in the last days of his life. Prince, who turned 16 in February, is becoming more independent -- he now has a driver's license and jobs.


Paris Jackson: Michael's daughter, who turns 15 on April 3, is on the list of witnesses and was questioned by AEG Live lawyers for several hours on March 21 about her father's death. Paris is an outspoken teen who often posts messages to her 1 million-plus Twitter followers.


Blanket Jackson: Although AEG Live asked the judge to order Blanket, 11, to sit for a deposition, and he is one of the four plaintiffs suing them, Michael's youngest son will not be a witness in the trial. His doctor submitted a note to the court saying it would be "medically detrimental" to the child.


Kevin Boyle: The Los Angeles personal injury lawyer is leading the Jackson team of at least six attorneys in the wrongful death suit against AEG Live. One of his notable cases was a large settlement with Boeing on behalf of two soldiers injured when their helicopter malfunctioned and crashed in Iraq.


Perry Sanders, Jr.: Katherine Jackson's personal lawyer is helping steer the Jackson matriarch through her relations with her son's estate, probate court and the wrongful death suit. He is also known for representing the family of Biggie Smalls in their suit against the city of Los Angeles over the rapper's death investigation.


Marvin Putnam: He's the lead lawyer for AEG Live, defending against the wrongful death suit. The primary focus of his legal practice is "media in defense of their First Amendment rights," according to his official biography.


Philip Anschutz: The billionaire owner of AEG, parent company of AEG Live, is on the Jacksons' witness list. He is the force behind the effort to build a football stadium in downtown Los Angeles to lure a National Football League team to the city. He recently pulled his company off the market after trying to sell it for $8 billion.


Tim Leiweke: He was recently fired as AEG's president as Philip Anschutz announced he was taking a more active role in the company. The Jackson lawyers say Leiweke's e-mail exchanges with executives under him concerning Michael Jackson's health are important evidence in their case.


Joe Jackson: Michael's father, 84, is on the witness list for the trial and may testify. The Jackson family patriarch, who lives in Las Vegas separately from his wife, has suffered several ministrokes in the last year, which some close to him say have affected him.


Randy Phillips: He's president of AEG Live, the concert promoter that contracted with Michael Jackson for his "This Is It" comeback shows set to start in London in July 2009. The Jackson lawsuit says Phillips supervised Dr. Conrad Murray's treatment of Jackson in the weeks before his death, making the company liable for damages. E-mails between Phillips and other executives showed they were worried about Jackson's missed rehearsals and sought Murray's help getting him ready.


Paul Gongaware: The AEG Live co-CEO worked closely with Michael Jackson as he prepared for his comeback concerts. He testified at Dr. Conrad Murray's criminal trial that he contacted the physician and negotiated his hiring at the request of Jackson. AEG lawyers say it was Jackson who chose, hired and supervised Murray. Gongaware knew Jackson well, having been tour manager for the singer in previous years.


Kenny Ortega: He was chosen by Michael Jackson and AEG Live to direct and choreograph the "This Is It" shows. Ortega, who choreographed for Jackson's "Dangerous" and "HIStory" tours, testified at Dr. Conrad Murray's criminal trial that "Jackson was frail" at a rehearsal days before his death.


Dr. Conrad Murray: He was Michael Jackson's personal physician in the two months before his death, giving him nightly infusions of the surgical anesthetic that the coroner ruled led to his death. Murray, who is appealing his involuntary manslaughter conviction, has sworn that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination and refused to testify in the civil trial. There is a chance that Murray will be brought into court from jail to testify outside the presence of the jury to allow the judge to determine if he would be ordered to testify.


John Branca: He's one of two executors of Michael Jackson's estate. Branca was Jackson's lawyer until about seven years before his death. He said Jackson rehired him just weeks before he died.

Watch this video

How Michael Jackson's death unfolded

Watch this video

Jackson's doctor sings to Anderson Cooper

Watch this video

Conrad Murray claims innocence on phone

Watch this video

Was AEG responsible for hiring Murray?
Jackson died on the morning of June 25, 2009, after a long, sleepless night in which Murray used sedatives and propofol to treat his amnesia, according to court testimony in the doctor's criminal trial. It was a practice that Murray had followed most nights in the previous month and other doctors had done for Jackson in past years.

Michael Jackson remembered

Murray: Just happened to be there at the end

"I have taken the front of the storm for the entire life of a man 50 years old, who has had a monumentally destructive, painful life that has been so damaged it is of huge proportions," Murray told Lemon.

He called himself a scapegoat in Jackson's death, which the coroner ruled was caused by a lethal combination of sedatives and the surgical anesthetic propofol.

"It is in terms so humongous that for 50 years of pain that he (Jackson) has lived and I did not do him for all of that," Murray said. "All of the mishaps that he has encountered in life seem to trickle down on me and I think that is the definition of a scapegoat. Nobody has taken any responsibilities for anything that they may have done to this man but, because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, then here I am."

"You just happened to be there at the end," Lemon said.

"Yes," replied Murray.

"Conrad Murray, as you sit here now in jail, do you believe you are innocent?" Lemon asked.

"Absolutely," Murray said. "No doubt."

"He's never wavered," his lawyer Valerie Wass added.

"Why am I innocent?" Murray continued. "Because I did nothing wrong and all I tried to do was to help a friend who I encountered in a devastated state and I tried to do everything possible to help my friend. I have been called names and who knows what. Nobody else was there at that time and I can say with the effort that I made I could've suffered a cardiac arrest myself. It was not an easy task but I never gave up on my friend -- never did."

Wass then stopped Murray from saying more that might relate to his criminal case, which she is appealing.

Paris Jackson questioned about dad's death in lawsuit

Murray: Michael was my great friend

Murray talked about his relationship with Michael Jackson in the last months.

"I've lost a friend, a great friend, a man who was imperfect like all of us are," he told Lemon. "He has had his dark sides and he has had his good sides and I've known them both."

His role in the friendship was to bring Jackson peace, Murray said.

"But as he left in a state of total absorption of all of the pains he has encountered and all of the stories that haven't been told that was important to him to either regurgitate, ruminate, whatever he wanted -- to think about an opportunity to release himself and I gave him that opportunity," Murray said. "There was an opportunity where Michael finally found an opportunity to tell someone almost anything and knew he was protected. I gave him that. I gave him that peace."

Alleged 'smoking gun' e-mail revealed

Murray: I love Michael's children

Murray asked to speak about Jackson's children, with whom he said he had "a beautiful, blessed relationship—an extremely good one."

"Prince Jr., Paris and Blanket are like my own kids," he said. "They are my children. I love those children. I worry about them."

"There are things I can share about the children, but I don't think I will go into that, not in this forum," he said. "But at the same time I hope the children are doing well, that they are looked after very well."

He then took aim at other members of the Jackson family, without calling names.

"I am pretty sure there are a number of bottom dwellers right now who are sucking up for anything they can, but I do hope the children will not fall victim of that," Murray said.

Michael Jackson's assistant accuses promoter

Murray: No anger

Murray said he holds no anger toward anyone, however.

"I can certainly be upset and say, 'How did this happen to me?' but I am not doing that," he said. "I think I take the high road in this. My friendship was good and genuine and for everything it is worth I want to remember it that way."

"What do you want people to know about Conrad Murray?" Lemon asked.

"I want to be known as just a simple human being who came from the most humblest of backgrounds, who has worked his way through life through difficult times and good times," he said. "I have been an ambitious man, but the ambitions have not been in any way directed to self. Self is only one part. I spent my life to make man better, to improve the lives of everyone I encounter."

He said he would always be a free man "because of my spirituality, my beliefs. I have carried the weight of this world on my shoulder and I know that I cannot carry that by myself so I was also carried by my heavenly father."

Murray: Jail's no day at the beach

He spoke from a cell he described "a small space where there is no penetration of sunlight, but I can say there is room for improvement in everything. Certainly not like being in the sand or being in Bora Bora, but I am hoping for enduring the task as best that I can."

His expected release date is in late October, after he serves half his sentence, unless the sheriff decides to free him earlier under jail overcrowding guidelines.

534 days ago
138.

obvious    

Give me a break. Did not get pas first sentence. What are you writing a novel?

534 days ago
139.

gayforliztaylor    

Jackso became all the cliches of a spoiled celebrity and drug addict. If we were all manipulative to our children, other kids and mentally ill "friendly drug dealers", we'd be rotting in prison for the rest of our lives.

Jackso didn't molest boys, but guess what?
He promoted lies about sleeping with neighborhood boys in his home. Lies his mother told him and the prostitute Katherine wants 40 billion.

What if the molester living in his town listened to his advice about loving children in his bed? I doubt Jackso would take credit for this "mistake".

Nobody who knows nothing about you should be allowed in your home, especially conniving criminals with MENTAL ILLNESS.

He couldn't let his kids into his bedroom but he brought his described "Godlike Children" in his bedrooms?

Did Jackso think if you can't beat doctors, join them and use money you earn to give away like candy to criminals' children?

534 days ago
140.

tucker    

AEG hired him because Jackson stomped his little foot and demanded it. He wanted a "yes man" who would give him whatever he wanted - not a "real" doctor. Sadly, it was a fatal mistake. The defense deserves to prevail.

534 days ago
141.

Pegasus    


THOMAS MESEREAU in an interview with Piers Morgan on the AEG trial


Here is what Thomas Mesereau has to say on the lawsuit of the Jacksons' family against AEG Live. Yesterday he spoke to Piers Morgan of CNN. The video is followed by the transcript of their conversation.

As usual Thomas Mesereau is dotting all i's and crossing all t's:

PIERS MORGAN LIVE

Aired April 2, 2013 - 21:00 ET

PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Tonight, you just heard Conrad Murray. This is what Michael Jackson's mother says.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATHERINE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S MOTHER: He did a terrible thing. And it might have been others involved, I don't know that, but I feel that.

........

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN'S AC 360...: At the heart of this trial, of the AEG trial, is a simple question. Were you an AEG employee, someone they had a responsibility for, or were you an employee of Michael Jackson? Can you answer that question?

VALERIE WASS, DR. CONRAD MURRAY'S LAWYER: I don't want Dr. Murray to answer that question.

COOPER: OK.

CONRAD MURRAY, MICHAEL JACKSON'S PHYSICIAN: No, I cannot. Not at this time.

COOPER: Okay. I understand that. Can I ask you, do you know -- I mean, do you know the answer to that question?

MURRAY: Absolutely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Anderson Cooper just a few minutes ago talking to Conrad Murray and asking him the key question, who hired him? Murray's lawyer wouldn't let him answer, but the Jackson family is suing concert promoter AEG, saying the company is to blame for hiring Murray in the first place.

Joining me now, a man who knows Michael Jackson pretty well better than most people. Thomas Mesereau, who represented him, of course, during his molestation trial. Tom, fascinating interview that he had there with Anderson Cooper. What did you make of it, in particular that first clip there which I guess is into the key of all this. Who was employing Conrad Murray to be a practitioner for Michael Jackson?

THOMAS MESEREAU, MICHAEL JACKSON'S FORMER ATTORNEY: Well, there's no question in my mind, Piers, that the concert promoter employed Conrad Murray. Michael Jackson may have introduced Murray to them. But they had their lawyers draft an employment agreement, they sent that agreement to Murray to sign, he signed it. Apparently there's e-mail correspondence where they're admitting they had employed him. And I think they'll have a tough time getting out of that position.

MESEREAU: How will that affect the litigation that's about to start tomorrow with the family led by Michael's mother suing for $40 billion? How will that affect that, if you assume that what you've just said is correct, which I concur with? MESEREAU: I don't think this Conrad Murray interview is going to affect that case at all. I think everyone knows that Murray was incompetent. He was convicted of criminal negligence. He caused the death of Michael Jackson.

The question is, was AEG, the concert promoter, also negligent, and they can't just hide behind Conrad Murray. I think there's an e-mail trail where they're taking responsibility for hiring him. They're instructing him what to do, they're reminding him that they pay him his money. I think they'll have a tough time. I think Katherine and the kids have a strong case.

MORGAN: Let's listen to another clip. This is where he talks about Propofol, which is of course the killer drug.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: Yes, indeed, I did order Propofol to his home, but I was not the one that brought Propofol into his home. I met him at his own stash. I did not agree with Michael. But Michael felt it was not an issue because he had been exposed to it for years and he knew exactly how things worked. And given the situation at the time, it was my approach to try to get him off of it. I never knew he was an addict. He was going to Dr. Kline's office and being loaded up with humongous -- you know, levels of Demerol. That was his addiction. And basically, this was causing his insomnia and -- because that's a huge side effect.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: And you hear -- I listened to Conrad Murray when he came out. He obviously didn't testify in his case but he then gave an interview to the Today Show at the time, and it's sort of more of the same, I guess. Very much you can't blame me, you know.

But in the end, he was the doctor who was being paid to care personally for Michael Jackson. It all comes down to him, doesn't it, in the end?

MESEREAU: Well, not all of it. He is the doctor that treated Michael Jackson. He's responsible for his death. The question is, should AEG, the concert promoter, have hired him? Should they have supervised him properly, and did they have enough information to know that he was a danger to Michael Jackson, should they have fired him?

There are three theories the plaintiffs are relying on. They're saying they negligently hired him, they negligently supervised him and they negligently kept him around. Three different theories. They had agreed to provide medical equipment. Murray actually had asked for a CPR equipment, portable equipment. He asked for a gurney. He wanted saline. He wanted syringes. They agreed to provide this equipment to him and never did.

So, I think the negligent supervision issue and negligently keeping him on when it was obvious he was deficient and they had problems with him, I think is going to be a big hurdle to overcome. MORGAN: I have two clips to play. This is from interviews with Jermaine Jackson and then Latoya Jackson. Both talking about the people around Michael Jackson, including AEG. Let's listen to these back-to-back. First Jermaine, then Latoya.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JERMAINE JACKSON, BROTHER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: They were only concerned about the show, moving the show forward.

MORGAN: These are people working for AEG?

J. JACKSON: These are people working for AEG, working for him, working for the show.

LATOYA JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S SISTER: They controlled everything that he did, the people that were around him. They knew he wasn't healthy enough to do those shows, but yet they said he was fine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Now, when you hear the family talk like that, not entirely surprising, but certainly a familiar pattern. From Michael's father to his mother to the siblings, all repeating this same pattern about how they believed all these people were around Michael, forcing him against his health, really, to do this tour. How significant will any of that be when this trial starts?

MESEREAU: Could be very significant. Apparently, there are e-mails from his choreographer, Ken Ortega, warning AEG that he's not well. He has serious physical problems, serious psychological and emotional problems, he's asking for professional help. And I'm informed that there are some e-mails from AEG basically telling Murray you better get him to rehearsals.

So I think this issue is well founded by the siblings, and I think it's going to be a big issue for the plaintiffs. And I think AEG will have a tough time explaining it.

MORGAN: AEG's lawyer, Marvin Putnam, said it was the 2005 child molestation trial which you obviously were involved in, which caused Michael to dramatically increase his drug use. Do you think there's any truth in that?

MESEREAU: I really don't. Now, I was his lead criminal defense counsel in that trial. I talked to him throughout the trial. He was lucid, he was articulate, he was cooperative. I never had a problem working with Michael. My co-counsel, Susan Yu and I both thought he was one of the nicest clients we ever represented. And I did not see drug use as a problem during the trial.

Now, the verdict day, he didn't look well, I will say that. He had been through over five months of trial, all the stress and strain, we were in court five days a week. And I do think that he suffered physically and emotionally during the trial. But I never saw him take a prescription drug. It would not have been unusual if he had, because people in situations like that are sleep-deprived, they are depressed, they have anxiety. If he did take something, it would not have surprised me, and it would not have been abnormal.

But he never was a problem for us when it came to talking to him, getting information from him, telling him what was going on. He was a delightful client to represent.

MORGAN: One of the e-mails you alluded to is from AEG Live CEO or co- CEO Paul Gongaware, which says, "We want to remind Murray it is AEG, not MJ, who is paying his salary. We want to remind him what is expected of him." Quite explicit really there, you would think, in terms of who's responsible.

I suppose on the flipside, Michael Jackson was a very well known, highly temperamental pop superstar prone to canceling concerts, having a variety of health issues of various types of severity, unpredictable. All those things, like many pop artists. Could that work against the family's claim in the sense AEG may say look, we did try to get him to work but he was a bit flaky?

MESEREAU: Well, if they thought he was that flaky and they thought he was that disturbed, why did they enter into a contract with him to do all these concerts? They invested over $30 million before the concerts even began. If they thought he was that bad and they thought his reputation was suffering from all these other issues, why in the world did they go into business with him? I think it's an uphill battle for AEG.

MORGAN: Let's just play the final clip from the Anderson interview. Quite extraordinary moment when Conrad Murray burst into song.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: You know what surprises me, Anderson? Let me sing something for you. This is important to me. (SINGING) He's a little boy that Santa Claus forgot. And goodness knows he did not want a lot. He wrote a note to Santa for some crayons and a toy. It broke his little heart when he found Santa hadn't come. In the streets, he envied all those lucky boys. But goodness knows he didn't want a lot. I'm so sorry for that laddie who hasn't got a daddy -

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: I mean, it's almost comical on one level, that. You can quite see why he didn't testify, because clearly, I suspect his legal team weren't entirely sure how he would behave on the stand. But when you hear Conrad Murray behave like that, that's not the behavior of, as he would pitch himself to us, being a decent, honorable, straightforward physician, is it?

MESEREAU: No. He has never taken responsibility for what he did. He has always blamed Michael Jackson for everything that's happened to him. He wasn't professional. He violated medical ethics. When the paramedics came to the scene, they asked him what did you give him? He never mentioned Propofol. There was evidence that he tried to hide Propofol from the paramedics and the police. He can't get out of this. He's responsible for his death. AEG should not have retained him. They should have checked him out beforehand, and if they had any problem with him, they should have gotten rid of him. No, he's not a good doctor. He shouldn't be a doctor and I think he's where he belongs.

MORGAN: Final question and very quickly, if you don't mind. Is she going to win, Katherine Jackson on behalf of the family?

MESEREAU: She and the children are going to win, in my opinion. They have a very strong case. They have a great lawyer, Brian Pannish, the best in Los Angeles, for a case like this. And I think they have the evidence on their side. And I think they have morality on their side. So, I think the defendants have a tough go.

MORGAN: Tom, great to see you, as always. Please come back soon.

MESEREAU: Thank you very much, Piers.

MORGAN: Tom Mesereau. Can't think of a better guy to talk to about Michael Jackson

533 days ago
142.

Pegasus    

AEG Live to put Michael Jackson on trial in his own deathBy Alan Duke, CNN
updated 6:50 AM EDT, Wed April 3, 2013
Katherine Jackson: Michael's mother, 82, was deposed for nine hours over three days by AEG Live lawyers. As the guardian of her son's three children, she is a plaintiff in the wrongful death lawsuit against the company that promoted Michael Jackson's comeback concerts. Katherine Jackson: Michael's mother, 82, was deposed for nine hours over three days by AEG Live lawyers. As the guardian of her son's three children, she is a plaintiff in the wrongful death lawsuit against the company that promoted Michael Jackson's comeback concerts.
Prince Jackson: Michael's oldest son is considered a key witness in the Jacksons' case against AEG Live, since he is expected to testify about what his father told him about the concert promoter in the last days of his life. Prince, who turned 16 in February, is becoming more independent -- he now has a driver's license and jobs. Prince Jackson: Michael's oldest son is considered a key witness in the Jacksons' case against AEG Live, since he is expected to testify about what his father told him about the concert promoter in the last days of his life. Prince, who turned 16 in February, is becoming more independent -- he now has a driver's license and jobs.
Paris Jackson: Michael's daughter, who turns 15 on April 3, is on the list of witnesses and was questioned by AEG Live lawyers for several hours on March 21 about her father's death. Paris is an outspoken teen who often posts messages to her 1 million-plus Twitter followers. Paris Jackson: Michael's daughter, who turns 15 on April 3, is on the list of witnesses and was questioned by AEG Live lawyers for several hours on March 21 about her father's death. Paris is an outspoken teen who often posts messages to her 1 million-plus Twitter followers.
Blanket Jackson: Although AEG Live asked the judge to order Blanket, 11, to sit for a deposition, and he is one of the four plaintiffs suing them, Michael's youngest son will not be a witness in the trial. His doctor submitted a note to the court saying it would be "medically detrimental" to the child. Blanket Jackson: Although AEG Live asked the judge to order Blanket, 11, to sit for a deposition, and he is one of the four plaintiffs suing them, Michael's youngest son will not be a witness in the trial. His doctor submitted a note to the court saying it would be "medically detrimental" to the child.
Kevin Boyle: The Los Angeles personal injury lawyer is leading the Jackson team of at least six attorneys in the wrongful death suit against AEG Live. One of his notable cases was a large settlement with Boeing on behalf of two soldiers injured when their helicopter malfunctioned and crashed in Iraq. Kevin Boyle: The Los Angeles personal injury lawyer is leading the Jackson team of at least six attorneys in the wrongful death suit against AEG Live. One of his notable cases was a large settlement with Boeing on behalf of two soldiers injured when their helicopter malfunctioned and crashed in Iraq.
Perry Sanders, Jr.: Katherine Jackson's personal lawyer is helping steer the Jackson matriarch through her relations with her son's estate, probate court and the wrongful death suit. He is also known for representing the family of Biggie Smalls in their suit against the city of Los Angeles over the rapper's death investigation. Perry Sanders, Jr.: Katherine Jackson's personal lawyer is helping steer the Jackson matriarch through her relations with her son's estate, probate court and the wrongful death suit. He is also known for representing the family of Biggie Smalls in their suit against the city of Los Angeles over the rapper's death investigation.
Marvin Putnam: He's the lead lawyer for AEG Live, defending against the wrongful death suit. The primary focus of his legal practice is "media in defense of their First Amendment rights," according to his official biography. Marvin Putnam: He's the lead lawyer for AEG Live, defending against the wrongful death suit. The primary focus of his legal practice is "media in defense of their First Amendment rights," according to his official biography.
Philip Anschutz: The billionaire owner of AEG, parent company of AEG Live, is on the Jacksons' witness list. He is the force behind the effort to build a football stadium in downtown Los Angeles to lure a National Football League team to the city. He recently pulled his company off the market after trying to sell it for $8 billion. Philip Anschutz: The billionaire owner of AEG, parent company of AEG Live, is on the Jacksons' witness list. He is the force behind the effort to build a football stadium in downtown Los Angeles to lure a National Football League team to the city. He recently pulled his company off the market after trying to sell it for $8 billion.
Tim Leiweke: He was recently fired as AEG's president as Philip Anschutz announced he was taking a more active role in the company. The Jackson lawyers say Leiweke's e-mail exchanges with executives under him concerning Michael Jackson's health are important evidence in their case. Tim Leiweke: He was recently fired as AEG's president as Philip Anschutz announced he was taking a more active role in the company. The Jackson lawyers say Leiweke's e-mail exchanges with executives under him concerning Michael Jackson's health are important evidence in their case.
Joe Jackson: Michael's father, 84, is on the witness list for the trial and may testify. The Jackson family patriarch, who lives in Las Vegas separately from his wife, has suffered several ministrokes in the last year, which some close to him say have affected him. Joe Jackson: Michael's father, 84, is on the witness list for the trial and may testify. The Jackson family patriarch, who lives in Las Vegas separately from his wife, has suffered several ministrokes in the last year, which some close to him say have affected him.
Randy Phillips: He's president of AEG Live, the concert promoter that contracted with Michael Jackson for his "This Is It" comeback shows set to start in London in July 2009. The Jackson lawsuit says Phillips supervised Dr. Conrad Murray's treatment of Jackson in the weeks before his death, making the company liable for damages. E-mails between Phillips and other executives showed they were worried about Jackson's missed rehearsals and sought Murray's help getting him ready. Randy Phillips: He's president of AEG Live, the concert promoter that contracted with Michael Jackson for his "This Is It" comeback shows set to start in London in July 2009. The Jackson lawsuit says Phillips supervised Dr. Conrad Murray's treatment of Jackson in the weeks before his death, making the company liable for damages. E-mails between Phillips and other executives showed they were worried about Jackson's missed rehearsals and sought Murray's help getting him ready.
Paul Gongaware: The AEG Live co-CEO worked closely with Michael Jackson as he prepared for his comeback concerts. He testified at Dr. Conrad Murray's criminal trial that he contacted the physician and negotiated his hiring at the request of Jackson. AEG lawyers say it was Jackson who chose, hired and supervised Murray. Gongaware knew Jackson well, having been tour manager for the singer in previous years. Paul Gongaware: The AEG Live co-CEO worked closely with Michael Jackson as he prepared for his comeback concerts. He testified at Dr. Conrad Murray's criminal trial that he contacted the physician and negotiated his hiring at the request of Jackson. AEG lawyers say it was Jackson who chose, hired and supervised Murray. Gongaware knew Jackson well, having been tour manager for the singer in previous years.
Kenny Ortega: He was chosen by Michael Jackson and AEG Live to direct and choreograph the "This Is It" shows. Ortega, who choreographed for Jackson's "Dangerous" and "HIStory" tours, testified at Dr. Conrad Murray's criminal trial that "Jackson was frail" at a rehearsal days before his death. Kenny Ortega: He was chosen by Michael Jackson and AEG Live to direct and choreograph the "This Is It" shows. Ortega, who choreographed for Jackson's "Dangerous" and "HIStory" tours, testified at Dr. Conrad Murray's criminal trial that "Jackson was frail" at a rehearsal days before his death.
Dr. Conrad Murray: He was Michael Jackson's personal physician in the two months before his death, giving him nightly infusions of the surgical anesthetic that the coroner ruled led to his death. Murray, who is appealing his involuntary manslaughter conviction, has sworn that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination and refused to testify in the civil trial. There is a chance that Murray will be brought into court from jail to testify outside the presence of the jury to allow the judge to determine if he would be ordered to testify. Dr. Conrad Murray: He was Michael Jackson's personal physician in the two months before his death, giving him nightly infusions of the surgical anesthetic that the coroner ruled led to his death. Murray, who is appealing his involuntary manslaughter conviction, has sworn that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination and refused to testify in the civil trial. There is a chance that Murray will be brought into court from jail to testify outside the presence of the jury to allow the judge to determine if he would be ordered to testify.
John Branca: He's one of two executors of Michael Jackson's estate. Branca was Jackson's lawyer until about seven years before his death. He said Jackson rehired him just weeks before he died. John Branca: He's one of two executors of Michael Jackson's estate. Branca was Jackson's lawyer until about seven years before his death. He said Jackson rehired him just weeks before he died.

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Key players in Jackson wrongful death trialKey players in Jackson wrongful death trialKey players in Jackson wrongful death trialKey players in Jackson wrongful death trialKey players in Jackson wrongful death trialKey players in Jackson wrongful death trialKey players in Jackson wrongful death trialKey players in Jackson wrongful death trialKey players in Jackson wrongful death trialKey players in Jackson wrongful death trialKey players in Jackson wrongful death trialKey players in Jackson wrongful death trialKey players in Jackson wrongful death trialKey players in Jackson wrongful death trial<<< 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 >>>STORY HIGHLIGHTS
NEW: Judge hears arguments for and against allowing cameras in courtroom
Michael Jackson's mom and kids claim AEG Live is liable in his death
The suit accuses AEG Live of the negligent hiring of Dr. Conrad Murray
Murray was Jackson's employee, not AEG Live's, promoter's lawyer says
He was convicted of causing the death of pop star Michael Jackson. Now, Dr. Conrad Murray tells his side in his first TV interview from jail.
Watch the "AC360...º" exclusive Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.

Los Angeles (CNN) -- Michael Jackson's last concert promoter will defend itself in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the pop icon's family by arguing that Jackson was responsible for his own demise.

Child molestation accusations against Jackson, for which he was acquitted after a trial, and evidence of his drug addiction will likely be presented by AEG Live's lawyers as they argue that the company had no liability in his death.

The Jackson v. AEG Live trial, which could last two or three months, began with jury selection in a Los Angeles courtroom Tuesday.

The judge also heard arguments for and against allowing cameras in the courtroom, a request made by CNN. She did not make an immediate ruling.

Jackson died two weeks before his "This Is It" comeback concerts, organized by AEG Live, were to have debuted in London in the summer of 2009.


Watch this videoMichael Jackson's family suing promoter
Watch this videoHow Michael Jackson's death unfolded
Watch this videoConrad Murray from jail: I'm innocent
Watch this videoWill Murray conviction be overturned? "I don't know how you can't look to Mr. Jackson's responsibility there," AEG lawyer Marvin Putnam said. "He was a grown man." Putnam was interviewed for "Michael Jackson: The Final Days," a CNN do***entary that will premiere at 10 p.m. Friday.

"Mr. Jackson is a person who was known to doctor shop," Putnam said. "He was known to be someone who would tell one doctor one thing and another doctor something else."

The child molestation trial is relevant because it "resulted in an incredible increase in his drug intake," Putnam said.

Michael Jackson remembered

Jackson's eccentricities are fair game, AEG Live says

"We're talking about Michael Jackson," Putnam said. "This is a man who would show up in pajamas. This is a man who would stop traffic and get out and dance on top of his car. This is a man who would go to public events with a monkey named Bubbles. This is a man who said he slept in an oxygen chamber."

Lawyers for Jackson's mother, Katherine, and children, Prince, Paris and Blanket, argue that AEG Live is liable because the company hired and supervised Dr. Conrad Murray, who used a surgical anesthetic in a fatal effort to treat the singer's insomnia as he prepared for the comeback concerts. Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and is serving a prison sentence.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos ruled in February that Jackson lawyers have shown enough evidence to warrant a jury trial on the negligent hiring case. She also ruled there was evidence to support the Jacksons' claim that AEG Live executives could have foreseen that Murray would use dangerous drugs in treating the singer.

The lawsuit seeks a judgment against AEG Live equal to the money Jackson would have earned over the course of his remaining lifetime if he had not died in 2009. If AEG Live is found liable, it could cost the company several billion dollars, according to estimates of Jackson's income potential. AEG Live is a subsidiary of AEG, a global entertainment company that was up for sale recently with an $8 billion asking price.

Prince and Paris Jackson to testify about dad's last days

The wrongful death trial, which could last several months, is expected to include testimony from Jackson's mother and his two oldest children, Prince and Paris.

Putnam questioned why their lawyers would call them to testify, suggesting it was "for the emotional response."

"I can't understand why bringing them to the stand has anything to do with whether or not Dr. Conrad Murray was hired by AEG or hired negligently. But perhaps they're bringing them to the stand for different reasons."

Paris Jackson questioned about dad's death in lawsuit

He bristled at the allegation, made by the Jackson lawyers in a court filing last month, that he was "behaving aggressively and erratically" in his questioning of Prince Jackson during pretrial depositions.

"We went out of our way to ensure we did precisely not that," Putnam said. "They may want to try to make the world believe that AEG Live is doing something inappropriate as to these children, but I'd ask the world to pause for a moment and look at what's actually happening here. They're the ones who are bringing this lawsuit and they're the ones who are saying they're going to put these children on the stand, something that I'm relatively certain their father would never, ever want to occur."

Jackson lawyers, he said, "are trying to sensationalize things that never happened" with their allegations about the way Prince was treated, he said. "I think in that scenario they're going to try to whip things up into a frenzy in the hopes that justice will not be served."

The only way AEG Live can lose the case, he said, "would be on an emotional basis outside of the facts."

Murray worked for Michael Jackson, not AEG, lawyer says

The key to AEG Live's defense is its contention that Murray was never an AEG employee but rather was chosen and paid by Michael Jackson for nearly four years until Jackson died.

While Murray has indicated he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right to avoid answering questions, Putnam pointed to the interview the doctor gave to police two days after Jackson's June 25, 2009, death. Murray told detectives it was his understanding that he was Jackson's employee, not AEG Live's, even though the concert promoter would be the party cutting his paychecks.

Conrad Murray says he won't testify in Jackson trial

"He was chosen by Michael Jackson," Putnam said. "He was brought to Los Angeles by Michael Jackson. He had been Michael Jackson's longtime physician and continued in that capacity and was directed by him and could only be fired at will by him."

AEG Live became involved with Murray only after Jackson had persuaded him to join his "tour party" for the "This Is It" concerts, Putnam said. "Then what happens is AEG starts to go back and forth with him and his attorney [and] Dr. Conrad Murray, with drafts of contracts."

Although Murray began treating Jackson six days a week in May 2009, it was only the night before Jackson's death that Murray signed a contract. AEG executives and Jackson never signed it, Putnam said. The Jackson lawyers will argue the signed contract was not necessary to establish employment.

The unsigned contract and the oral understanding with Murray called for the doctor to be paid $150,000 a month while he served as Jackson's personal physician as the pop star performed 50 shows at London's O2 Arena in the second half of 2009 and into 2010.

AEG's role was like MasterCard, lawyer says

AEG Live's role with Murray was only to "forward" money owed to him by Jackson, just as a patient would use their "MasterCard," Putnam said. "If you go to your doctor and you pay with a credit card, obviously MasterCard in that instance, depending on your credit card, is providing the money to that doctor for services until you pay it back. Now, are you telling them MasterCard in some measure in that instance, did MasterCard hire the doctor or did you? Well, clearly you did. I think the analogy works in this instance."

In fact, Putnam said, he learned during the discovery process that Michael Jackson was paying Murray during the last two months of his life.

"He was paying for him during his entire time in Los Angeles and during the time we're talking about, Dr. Conrad Murray was being paid by Michael Jackson," he said. "We know this. We know this because the plaintiffs have said so."

The revelation that Jackson paid Murray during that period has not been reported. Jackson lawyers declined to comment, citing ethical limitations to their ability to talk to the media about the case.

E-mails reveal AEG's involvement, Jacksons say

A cornerstone of the Jacksons' case is an e-mail AEG Live Co-CEO Paul Gongaware wrote 11 days before Jackson's death. The e-mail to show director Kenny Ortega addressed concerns that Murray had kept Jackson from a rehearsal the day before: "We want to remind (Murray) that it is AEG, not MJ, who is paying his salary. We want to remind him what is expected of him."

Jackson lawyers argue the e-mail is evidence that AEG Live used Murray's fear of losing his lucrative job as Jackson's personal physician to pressure him to have Jackson ready for rehearsals despite his fragile health.

The AEG Live lawyers say the Jackson lawyers have "taken it completely out of context." Gongaware and the others were only concerned with making sure Murray had all the help he needed, such as perhaps a physical therapist or a nutritionist for his patient, Putnam said.

Alleged 'smoking gun' e-mail revealed

"Not only was there no such pressure, there couldn't be in a professional relationship," Putnam said in his CNN interview. "To say that that was the case would say that a doctor in some measure was not abiding by his Hippocratic Oath. If there's a professional who's providing a service for you, others outside of that professional relationship may go to that person, as you might any doctor and say, 'Are you doing all the things necessary for Mr. Jackson?' That doesn't apply pressure or control."

Ortega, who had worked closely with Jackson on previous tours, sounded a loud warning about his health after Jackson showed up shivering at a rehearsal a little more than a week before his death. He wrote in an e-mail to AEG Live President Randy Phillips: "It is like there are two people there. One (deep inside) trying to hold on to what he was and still can be and not wanting us to quit him, the other in this weakened and troubled state. I believe we need professional guidance in this matter."

In the e-mail, which was disclosed during Ortega's testimony at Murray's criminal trial, the show director also said he was worried about "real emotional stuff" Jackson appeared to be dealing with. "Everything in me says he should be psychologically evaluated," he wrote. Ortega said Jackson had "strong signs of paranoia, anxiety and obsessive-like behavior" and suggested they hire a "top psychiatrist in to evaluate him ASAP."

AEG Live worried about the flu, not drugs, lawyer says

The Ortega e-mail was not sounding an alarm about Jackson's health but just telling Phillips that Jackson was suffering "flulike symptoms," Putnam said.

"Mr. Jackson was not in a position to get up on the stage and do the rehearsal because he had flulike symptoms," Putnam said. "He was cold, he was shaky and as a result he didn't perform that evening."

"People were worried about that flu," so AEG Live executives called a meeting with Jackson and Murray the next day at Jackson's home to discuss it, he said.

"So Mr. Phillips went to that meeting at Mr. Jackson's home, that would be on the 20th of June, that's five days before Mr. Jackson passed," Putnam said. "And they got there, and Mr. Jackson was emphatic about the idea that he was great. 'You guys are all worrying about nothing. Look at me. I am fine.'"

Phillips sent Ortega a glowing endorsement of Murray: "This doctor is extremely successful (we check everyone out) and does not need this gig so he is totally unbiased and ethical."

The flu scare was one of only "a couple of occasions" that AEG Live's president had to be concerned about Jackson's health, Putnam said.

Other than "little instances like that," there "was nothing that ultimately gave rise any time before Mr. Jackson's death that there was any problem with Mr. Jackson," he said.

AEG Live would not have rushed Jackson, lawyer says

If there had been a health problem with Jackson, AEG Live would have had no problem postponing the start of the tour, Putnam said.

"AEG Live had already moved the concerts because they weren't going to be ready in time for early July because of the number of set pieces Mr. Jackson wanted," he said. "There would be no rush for AEG Live to have to get to the stage by, I think at that point, by July 13. If there was a problem here AEG wanted to know there was a problem because they could simply move the concerts."

The 50 shows were to be spread out over a year in the O2 Arena, which AEG owned and controlled, he said. "AEG had no interest in rushing to get to July 13. On the contrary, if there was an issue they would have wanted to know."

What did Randy Phillips know?

An earlier e-mail leaked to the Los Angeles Times last year suggests that AEG Live's president saw Jackson's problems firsthand the day the pop star was to appear at the O2 Arena to publicly announce the shows.

"MJ is locked in his room drunk and despondent," Phillips wrote in a March 5, 2009, e-mail to AEG Live's parent company, the paper reported. "I (am) trying to sober him up."

"I screamed at him so loud the walls are shaking," Phillips wrote. "He is an emotionally paralyzed mess riddled with self-loathing and doubt now that it is show time."

Despite this, Putnam insisted that Phillips was "incredibly impressed" and "saw a really engaged, interested, very smart, and savvy Michael Jackson."

Michael Jackson's assistant accuses promoter

The AEG Live chief had only "certain limited encounters" with Jackson in the months leading up to the scheduled shows, but he did get glowing reports, Putnam said. "Mr. Phillips kept hearing from various people in the tour party from rehearsals, and practices and meetings with various promoters, meetings with people who were going to do clothes, makeup, things of that nature," he said. "It was the same, that Mr. Jackson was incredibly engaged, was incredibly interested and seemed great."

AEG Live executives also had "no indication at any point that there was a problem with Conrad Murray," Putnam said. "He was licensed in four states. He had never been reprimanded. There were no indicators or warning signs of a problem. "

"Mr. Phillips had met him once, and he seemed quite happy that this was a fine, outstanding doctor in all appearances and he liked that fact," Putnam said. "And he liked that fact that he didn't appear to be a sycophant."

Trial judge thinks Jackson may have a case

Judge Palazuelos, in her ruling rejecting an AEG Live's request to have the case thrown out, said she agreed that the Jackson lawyers had provided evidence that AEG Live didn't do "a sufficient background check of Dr. Murray, which would have established that Murray was deeply in debt."

Jackson's previous relationship with Murray, who treated him and his children for minor illnesses in Las Vegas, did not relieve AEG Live of liability, "although the fact may be relevant in determining proportional liability and damages," she said.

While the AEG Live lawyers argued the company could not have foreseen that Murray might use dangerous drugs on Jackson in preparation for the tour, Palazuelos said there was evidence that Gongaware had "previous tour experiences" with Jackson in which "tour doctors" gave "large amounts of drugs/controlled substances to him."

Gongaware testified in Murray's trial that he worked as tour manager for Jackson's "Dangerous" and "History" tours before joining AEG Live. The judge cited "Gongaware's general knowledge of the ethical issues surrounding 'tour doctors' and the practice of administering drugs to performing artists."

"There is a triable issue of fact as to whether it was foreseeable that such a physician under strong financial pressure may compromise his Hippocratic Oath and do what was known by AEG Live's executives to be an unfortunate practice in the entertainment industry for financial gain," the judge wrote.

533 days ago
143.

Jen    

The guy was a drug addict for the love of god!!! Sue yourselves for your own stupidity!

533 days ago
145.

Pyegow    

Usually it's the addict in denial! In this case, it's the disgusting mother!

532 days ago
146.

Barbara    

TMZ, stupid and nasty way to speak about someone still mourned by millions of people around this planet ! Filthy so-called journalism !

532 days ago
147.

serious    

I guess none of you watch the trial with the doctor who killed MJ, He didnot have a drug addicted body except for what the doctor put in him. He was in perfect health!. This is not so for drug addicts. His problem was what they call walking Insomia. If he was so much an addict he would have found a way to do this without a doctor thats what real drug addicts do.! There is no evidence MJ was a drug addict and you and I both have no proof. Can't we just let him rest in peace? These comments hurt his family and children which are minors. Its so easy to talk bad about a person but lets not forget he acheived more than the average person and gave back more than any entertainer. Just pray for his family and kids and keep the unproven accusations away unless there is factual info.

531 days ago
148.

Cookie382    

Michael was no more a drug addict than any normal person that goes to the dr. for their ailments. People who say he was I have 1? Did you see the results of his toxicology report?

531 days ago
149.

zachsumner    

Some of you all are crazy. You want to call MJ a drug addict? fine, there is actual evidence to support that, but calling him a pedophile is RIDICULOUS! Look into the facts of the case perhaps, it took me no more then 11 minutes to figure out MJ was setup, BOTH TIMES! And I'm not a conspiracy person, but there actually was a conspiracy against MJ. Drug addict? Fine. Pedophile? NO!!!!!

527 days ago
150.

Dose Of Reality    

What's the only outfit a Jackson is comfortable in?


A lawsuit.

517 days ago
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