Michael Jackson Wrongful Death Trial: Did AEG Live Hire Conrad Murray?

Michael Jackson's mother Katherine Jackson speaks to the media as she leaves the courthouse
Katherine Jackson has been reinstated as the guardian of Michael Jackson's three children. The arrangement made on Thursday by Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff keeps their cousin TJ Jackson as temporary co-guardian. Reuters

The jury will decide if AEG Live is liable for Michael Jackson’s wrongful death. According to CNN, the jurors reached a verdict, which is supposed to be read 6:30 p.m. ET. The news site added that the late pop star’s mother, Katherine, 82, patiently waited in court and played a game on her iPad.

On June 25, 2009, the singer died after being given a lethal dose of the surgical anesthetic propofol prescribed by Dr. Conrad Murray. AEG Live is being sued by Katherine and Jackson’s three children, who said the company was negligent in hiring Murray. The doctor said he administered the drug so Jackson could properly rest for his performances. Allegedly, the “Thriller” star suffered from insomnia.

AEG Live produce and promoted what was supposed to be Jackson’s comeback tour, but the star tragically died just days before the “This Is It” tour was supposed to kick off.  Ironically, Murray will be released from prison just weeks after the verdict in the wrongful death suit is read. He served two years behind bars for involuntary manslaughter.

Eleven days before Jackson passed away, Paul Gongaware, the AEG Live co-CEO sent an email that read: "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."

To convict AEG Live of any wrong doing, CNN pointed out, jurors will have had to have decided if the entertainment company hired Murray, because according to AEG Live lawyers, it was Jackson who hired the doctor. But Jackson’s attorneys said the entertainment company was responsible for Murray’s hire so they could control the doctor.

Jackson’s family also cites a television interview where the company’s CEO, Randy Phillips, said they “hired” Murray.

In the company’s defense, AEG Live’s lawyers contend that they were unaware that the singer was a secret drug addict and that Murray would be a risk to Jackson. 

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