The latest court case involving the untimely death of pop icon Michael Jackson has ended with the vindication of AEG Live, the promotion company tasked with promoting the late performer’s “This Is It” comeback shows. A jury unanimously decided that the company had not acted negligently in the hiring of Jackson’s physician Conrad Murray, who is currently finishing a prison sentence for involuntary manslaughter for his role in administering a lethal dose of a powerful anesthetic to the singer. He is slated to be released this month.
The wrongful death lawsuit against AEG Live had been brought by Jackson’s mother and the Jackson family, claiming that the concert promoter had hired an unfit physician to care for Michael Jackson. If the verdict had gone their way, the family stood to win a settlement worth potentially hundreds of millions of dollars. AEG lawyers maintained throughout the trial that the Jackson himself had hired Murray, that they had no prior knowledge of the singer’s drug problems, and that only Jackson and his doctor had been privy to the singer’s use of the potent anesthetic. As Billboard reports, AEG lawyer Marvin Putnam told the jury, “AEG would have never agreed to finance this tour if they knew Mr. Jackson was playing Russian roulette in his bedroom every night.”
In the end, the jury agreed.
Randy Phillips, an executive of AEG Live and a key witness at the trial, had this to say: “We lost one of the world’s greatest musical geniuses, but I am relieved and deeply grateful that the jury recognized that neither I, nor anyone else at AEG Live, played any part in Michael’s tragic death.”
The trial was the first to go into intensive detail about the singer’s medical history and drug use, involving over 50 witnesses.