An LA court has ruled in favour of concert promotions powerhouse AEG Live LLC following a legal battle championed by the family of deceased pop icon Michael Jackson, who claim AEG were responsible for Jackson’s death in 2009.
The company was the driving force behind a scheduled run of live dates throughout UK, the anticipation of which is said to have driven Jackson to breaking point.
Mother of the deceased, Katherine Jackson, argued that in order for the concerts to go ahead AEG enlisted the help of Dr Conrad Murray, the man currently incarcerated after being found guilty of Jackson’s involuntary manslaughter.
Lawyers for AEG successfully proved that Jackson sought the confidence of the doctor on his own accord, prompting Murray’s fast and loose approach to the controlled, powerful anesthetic Propofol. Jackson was allegedly paying him $150,000 a month from his own money resulting in nightly hits of the substance.
The court found that though AEG apparently did draft a contract that was signed by Murray, no AEG official nor Jackson himself signed it. To distance themselves from the shamed doctor, AEG presented facts about Jackson’s history of drug dependence following a struggle with insomnia and pain, including specific reference to a tour through Germany when doctors were requested by the singer to administer Propofol. Several doctors testified that they refused to do so.
Following the jury’s not guilty verdict, AEG Live lawyer Marvin S Putnam commented, “I couldn’t be more pleased with the way the jury came out. They got it exactly right.” he adds “AEG would have never agreed to finance this tour if they knew Mr. Jackson was playing Russian roulette in his bedroom every night,”
Sources close to the King Of Pop have said there was unprecedented amount of pressure on the performer in the lead up to the UK concert series, though it may have been self-inflicted. Jackson was generally accepted to be viewing the run of comeback shows as personal redemption following lengthy legal battles resulting from child molestation charges, which were all dismissed.
Katherine Jackson has explained she was OK after the verdict, however had the jury gone the other way it would have meant a multi-million dollar payout for herself and Jackson’s children.
The suit was widely seen as a cash grab by Jackson’s family, who never seem be too far away when his money is being handled. Largely thanks to the release of posthumous sales, Jackson’s estate is now far more stable than when he was alive. It is unlikely that they make an appeal, unless this is genuinely about justice.
As for the rest of us, we should be left feeling somewhat concerned at what big touring agencies are willing to do to get our favourite musicians on the road. As pointed out by Hit Fix, AEG had multiple opportunities to notice Jackson was not OK, from noticing he was missing rehearsals, to crying in his trailer, but instead chose to cover them up and push on towards a highly profitable deadline.
(Via The Guardian)