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“No AEG, no Murray, no propofol, Michael’s still here”: Jacksons v AEG Update

By | Published on Wednesday 25 September 2013

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson may have played a role in creating the perfect storm that caused his death in 2009 – we know he was dependent on prescription drugs, and that he desired access to the propofol that ultimately killed him – but, said legal reps for the Jackson family yesterday, without AEG Live the singer would not have hired Dr Conrad Murray, and without Murray, Jackson wouldn’t have had access to the medications that caused his demise.

Attorney Brian Panish was presenting his closing arguments in the very long running Jacksons v AEG court battle. As much previously reported, the Jackson family say that, as the employer of Murray, the doctor convicted for causing the late king of pop’s demise through negligent treatment, AEG should be liable for Michael Jackson’s death. AEG counters that, while it may have provided the money to pay Murray, Jackson himself recruited and managed the negligent doc.

According to the LA Times, Panish summarised his arguments to the jury by saying: “We’re not looking for sympathy. We’re looking for justice, full and complete. It’s about shared responsibility. Michael probably has some fault… I’m not going to deny that Michael used prescription drugs and that people told him it’s risky to use propofol. [But] no Murray, no AEG, no propofol, Michael’s still here”.

Panish also touched on the issue of damages, for the first time formally commenting on the sorts of money the Jackson family would be looking for if the jury finds in their favour. The Jackons’ legal team previously denied news reports they would seek $40 billion in damages, a figure five times what the entirety of AEG is worth. But it’s no secret that the Jackson family will seek mega-bucks if they win.

Panish told the jury that, if they find in his client’s favour, the issue of economic damages would need to be discussed further, though, he added, let’s not forget the expert his team presented in court who reckoned that Michael Jackson would have earned between $1.2 billion and $1.6 billion had he lived and continued to release records, tour, do endorsement deals and go through with a planned Vegas residency. Meanwhile Panish said he thought each of Jackson’s three children should be due in the region of $85 million in personal damages, and his mother – the main plaintiff in the case – a further $35 million.

AEG’s lawyers will present their final arguments later today, with the jury due to begin their deliberations later this week. On Monday judge Yvette Palazuelos provided the jury with instructions ahead of their deliberating, telling jurors that they must not be swayed by prejudice, sympathy or public opinion in reaching a judgement, and if a debate on damages is required, they should not consider grief or either side’s wealth when deciding on figures. A unanimous verdict will not be required, the judge added, though nine of the twelve jurors must agree with the final ruling.