Times of Oman
Nov 25, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 09:06 PM GMT
Jackson v AEG trial heads towards climax
September 22, 2013 | 12:00 AM
(FILES) In this file photo dated September 27, 2011 shows Michael Jackson's mother Katherine Jackson arriving outside Los Angeles Superior Court to hear opening statement in the involuntary manslaughter trial of pop superstar Michael Jackson's personal physian Dr Conrad Murray. The trial pitting Michael Jackson's family against his last tour promoter is finally winding down after five months, with the jury expected to retire possibly within a week, accoring to an AFP report filed on September 22, 2013. Photo - AFP

The trial pitting Michael Jackson's family against his last tour promoter is finally winding down after five months, with the jury expected to retire possibly within a week.

His mother Katherine has sued AEG Live for allegedly negligently hiring doctor Conrad Murray and failing to properly supervise him in the months before the pop icon's June 2009 death.

The 83-year-old family matriarch has listened attentively to proceedings from a front-row seat in the downtown Los Angeles courtroom, where the trial got underway in April.

She is seeking billions of dollars in damages -- $1.5 billion in lost income and an unspecified amount for emotional loss and other damages -- on behalf of Jackson's children Prince, 16, Paris, 15 and 11-year-old "Blanket."

While it is tough to predict the jury's verdict, observers say her case appears difficult to prove. Earlier this month the judge dismissed her claims against two AEG Live bosses, leaving only AEG Live itself in the line of fire.

The self-proclaimed King of Pop died on June 25, 2009 at his rented Holmby Hills mansion outside Los Angeles, from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol. He was 50 years old.

Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011 for giving the drug to the "Thriller" star -- who suffered from chronic insomnia -- to help him sleep. He was jailed for four years.

Pop legend Jackson was rehearsing for a planned "This is It" series of comeback concerts in London, which were expected to be followed by a world tour of the show.

Katherine Jackson alleges that AEG Live negligently hired an inappropriate and incompetent doctor for her son -- Murray is a cardiologist -- and missed a series of red flags about his failing health in the run-up to his death.

AEG Live counters that it did not sign a contract with Murray, and that a promised $150,000 a month for his services would come from an advance it was making to Jackson, meaning effectively that the star hired his own medic.

During the trial -- which has dragged on far longer than expected -- her lawyers have summoned dozens of witnesses to back their claims that Jackson was driven too hard as he prepared to stage up to 50 shows at London's O2 Arena.

Highlights included the testimony of Katherine Jackson herself in July, when she broke down in tears recalling the day her son died, and lashed out at critics who described the star as a "freak."

"When I lost Michael, I lost everything," she said, repeatedly wiping away tears.
Jackson's elder son Prince testified that his father was overwhelmed by the pressure that AEG Live placed on him.

"He would cry sometimes. He said: 'They're gonna kill me, they're gonna kill me'," Prince told the trial.

Perhaps the most dramatic moment occurred outside the courtroom: the star's daughter Paris, who had been expected to testify, was rushed to hospital after trying to commit suicide in early June.

A court spokesman said this week that the trial was "winding down to the last few weeks," while the LA Times said the jury was expected to retire to consider its verdict in the coming week.

The "This is It" shows would have marked a dramatic comeback following Jackson's 2005 trial on child molestation charges, after which he withdrew from the spotlight, living in the Middle East for a time.

He reportedly had massive debts that could have been paid off by a successful tour.

But his death snuffed out those hopes, while paving the way for a string of still-ongoing lawsuits over his personal and financial legacy.

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