In the legal battle between concert promoter AEG Live and Michael Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson, a Los Angeles jury has found in favor of AEG.
While the jury agreed that that AEG Live had indeed hired Dr. Conrad Murray, the man who gave Michael a deadly dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol, it rejected the claim that he was "unfit or incompetent to perform the work for which he was hired."
In a statement, lawyers for the concert promoter said, "The jury’s decision completely vindicates AEG Live, confirming what we have known from the start—that although Michael Jackson’s death was a terrible tragedy, it was not a tragedy of AEG Live’s making." Jackson family attorney Brian Panish, meanwhile, said, "We are disappointed by the verdict but respect the jury system."
The jury began deliberating last Thursday, and it reached a verdict after 13 hours and 44 minutes, spaced over four days.
Katherine Jackson had filed suit against AEG, claiming it was responsible for the actions of Dr. Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of the King of Pop. AEG had maintained that that Murray was Michael's personal doctor and thus it was not responsible for his death.
Before the case was handed over to the jury, Panish invoked the names of the singer's three kids and his mother in declaring, "The fate of Prince Michael, Paris, Blanket and Katherine Jackson is in your hands and I know you'll do the right thing.
The verdict came on the 90th day of the trial.
After the verdict was announced, Katherine Jackson's attorney, Perry Sanders, issued a statement on Jackson’s behalf: “AEG has denied for years, and continues to deny, that they hired Dr. Conrad Murray. The jury found unanimously that AEG hired Dr. Murray. AEG has repeated the mantra that this lawsuit was a shakedown. Such a statement is a slap in the face of the entire judicial system that allowed this case to get to a jury. We have said from the beginning that this case was a search for the truth. We found the truth. AEG hired Dr. Conrad Murray, the man who is in jail for killing Michael Jackson. All options regarding the balance of the jury verdict are being considered.”
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