Since no televisions are allowed in the civil trial and none of the prominent witnesses have yet to be called in the legal battle between Michael Jackson’s family and AEG Live, the media coverage has yet to zoom on the public stage.
But already in the week-old trial in which the Jackson family is suing the concert promoter AEG Live in the wrongful death of Michael Jackson in June 2009 there are signs that the trial will be long and eventually ugly, the LA Times reports.
The first two witnesses last week after opening statements from the lawyers on both sides provided indications of the nastiness to come, particularly during their testimony about the role of Dr. Conrad Murray, who was convicted two years ago of involuntary manslaughter for administering propofol, a sleep aid, to the troubled entertainer. He was sentenced to four years in prison.
Last Tuesday in the Los Angeles courtroom Dr. Murray was the center of attention as Richard Senneff, a veteran paramedic and firefighter, told of his failure to revive Jackson when he arrived at his home and later during the ride to the hospital. “He looked like someone who was at the end stage of a long disease process,” he recounted to the packed courtroom. Jackson, Senneff continued, was not breathing and appeared to be dead.
Murray took further blows to this reputation when LAPD detective Orlando Martinez took the stand. His testimony centered on Murray’s financial predicament, i.e., the doctor’s home in foreclosure proceedings, a string of outstanding debts, and arrears in child support payments.
“He may break the rules, bend the rules, and do whatever he needed to get paid,” Martinez testified. “It might solve his money problems.” In effect, the detective contended, that Murray’s motivation was directly related to the guarantee of the $150,000 monthly payment by AEG Live as Jackson prepared for the This Is Live concert date.
AEG Live, stated Brian Panish, representing the Jackson family, “wanted to be number one at all costs.” Jackson’s concert, AEG Live expected, would put them ahead of their competitor Live Nation, as the number one concert promoter.
Katherine Jackson, 82, Michael’s mother, and her children claim that AEG Live is responsible and liable because it hired Murray who made the medical choices leading to Jackson’s death.
Attorney Marvin Putnam, counsel for AEG Live, requested that none of the Jackson family members be allowed in the courtroom since most, if not all, of them will be called to testify.
Given Mrs. Jackson’s condition, Judge Yvette Palazuelos consented to allow one Jackson family member to be with her during the trial.
Attorney Putnam has promised that as the trial proceeds, it will get dirty and the
dark side of Jackson’s life will be revealed.
Besides Jackson family members, others slated to be called to testify are Quincy Jones, Diana Ross, Prince and Spike Lee.