National News

May 4, 2013

First week of Jackson trial previews massive case

A look at key moments this past week in the wrongful death trial in Los Angeles between Michael Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, and concert giant AEG Live, and what is expected at court in the week ahead:


Jackson’s mother wants a jury to determine that the promoter of Jackson’s planned comeback concerts didn’t properly investigate Dr. Conrad Murray, who a criminal jury convicted of involuntary manslaughter for Jackson’s June 2009 death. AEG’s attorney says the case is about personal choice, namely Jackson’s decision to have Murray serve as his doctor and give him doses of a powerful anesthetic as a sleep aid. Millions, possibly billions, of dollars are at stake.


— Jurors heard opening statements in which both sides told them Michael Jackson struggled with prescription drug addiction. Katherine Jackson’s lawyers said AEG is the only entity that claims it didn’t know there was a problem, but the company’s lawyer countered that Jackson was so secretive about receiving the anesthetic propofol, only he and a few doctors knew about it.

— Testimony began with familiar faces from Murray’s criminal trial, including the first paramedic to reach Jackson’s bedroom on the day he died and a police detective who investigated Murray. Detective Orlando Martinez told jurors he believed the former doctor’s debts of roughly $1 million prompted him to bend or break rules in his care of Jackson.


— Upon entering the courtroom, Katherine Jackson stood in the front row along with her son Randy and daughter Rebbie. They were among the first people that jurors likely saw in the packed courtroom.

— A video montage of private family photos of Jackson and his children, including one in which the singer presented younger son Blanket to President Bill Clinton. Jackson’s daughter Paris was seen clutching her father’s leg in the picture as the singer’s ode to his children, “You Are My Life,” played.


— “We’re not looking for any sympathy. We’re looking for truth and justice.” (Attorney Brian Panish, who represents Katherine Jackson and told jurors that the trial is the “whole story” of how Jackson died.)

— “The truth is, Michael Jackson fooled everyone. He made sure that no one, nobody, knew his deepest darkest secrets.” (Attorney Marvin S. Putnam, who represents AEG Live and told the jury that while Jackson’s death was a tragedy, the company isn’t responsible for it.)


— On the trial’s first day, some of Jackson’s fans who couldn’t get a seat in the courtroom craned their necks to peek through tiny windows to get a glimpse of the proceedings.

— Court officials later established an overflow room with closed-circuit video of the proceedings for reporters and members of the public who can’t fit in the 45-seat courtroom.


— In the upcoming week, coroners’ staff will testify about what killed Jackson and will likely be asked about the singer’s overall health when he died.

— Conrad Murray and Michael Jackson’s children could be called as witnesses in the months-long trial.


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