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Jury finds AEG not negligent in Jackson wrongful death trial

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Brian Panish, attorney for the Michael Jackson family delivers his closing argument to jurors in the Michael Jackson lawsuit against concert promoter AEG Live LLC September 24, 2013 in downtown Los Angeles. Final arguments began today in the Michael Jackson wrongful death case which alledges that entertainment conglomerate AEG is liable in the pop star's 2009 death. (Photo by Al Seib-Pool/Getty Images) Al Seib/Getty Images

Brian Panish, attorney for the Michael Jackson family delivers his closing argument to jurors in the Michael Jackson lawsuit against concert promoter AEG Live LLC September 24, 2013 in downtown Los Angeles. Final arguments began today in the Michael Jackson wrongful death case which alledges that entertainment conglomerate AEG is liable in the pop star's 2009 death. (Photo by Al Seib-Pool/Getty Images)
Al Seib/Getty Images

(CBS) LOS ANGELES - Jurors found concert promotor AEG was not negligent in hiring Dr. Conrad Murray, the doctor who administered an overdose of anesthesia to singer Michael Jackson.

The unanimous verdict, which is a defeat for Michael Jackson's family, brings the case to a close after five months of testimony, three days of closing arguments, and several days of deliberations.

Jackson's mother Katherine and his three children were suing AEG Live, a company responsible for promoting and producing Jackson's comeback concerts in 2009, arguing that the company failed to investigate Dr. Murray, the doctor who treated the pop star, because it was concerned about its own fortunes. It was argued throughout the trial that AEG Live was responsible for Jackson's overdose death in 2009.

Attorneys for the company, who rested their defense Sept.18, argued Jackson maintained secrecy surrounding his medical care, including the treatment Dr. Conrad Murray was providing inside Jackson's bedroom when the pop star died from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol in June 2009.

In this photo released on Tuesday Nov. 29,2011 by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department showing Conrad Murray after his sentencing in Los Angeles on Tue. Nov. 29,2011 for involuntary manslaughter in the death of pop star Michael Jackson.
AP Photo/Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

A jury convicted Murray in 2011 of giving Jackson a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol. The hospital-grade anesthetic was being administered as a sleep aid. He is currently serving time for involuntary manslaughter in the case.

Photos: Michael Jackson: 1958-2009

AEG has repeatedly denied it hired Murray and its attorneys have said they could not have foreseen the circumstances that led to Jackson's death at age 50. The company argued in trial that Jackson was responsible for his own death and the decision to hire Murray as his full-time doctor.

In closing remarks this week reported by KCBS/KCAL in Los Angeles, attorney Marvin Putnam told jurors that AEG Live would have never hired Murray if they had known "Jackson was playing Russian Roulette in his room every night."

"AEG Live didn't choose him. On the contrary, they tried to talk him out of it. They told him there are great doctors in London with some of the best hospitals in the world. They told him he didn't need to use his money to bring his doctor with him, but Mr. Jackson was undeterred," he continued.

"How dare they come up here and accept no responsibility and blame it all on Michael," Jackson lawyer Brian Panish said in his rebuttal.

Attorneys for the Jackson family told the jury a reasonable compensation for the loss of Michael Jackson would be $85 million for each of Jackson's three children, and $35 million for his mother, far less than the $1 billion experts in the case had predicted based on projections of what Jackson could have earned if he lived, reports KCBS/KCAL.

The jury could decide AEG is only partially responsible for the singer's death and assign a percentage of negligence to them.

Michael Jackson's mother testifies in AEG lawsuit
Michael Jackson's mother, Katherine, took the stand in the civil trial against concert promoter AEG Live. The 83-year-old is expected to be the final witness for the plaintiff. Edward Lawrence reports from Los Angeles.

During the trial, jurors heard from 58 witnesses over 83 days of testimony spanning 21 weeks. The testimony delved into details of Jackson's drug use and his desire for propofol so that he could sleep. Putnam argued Jackson went "shopping" for doctors that would give him the painkillers he desired.

Panish did acknowledge in closing statements that Jackson was partially responsible for his own death, but said "it's about shared responsibility." He said Jackson "never had a problem until Dr. Conrad Murray was working and until Conrad Murray negotiated with AEG Live," CNN reports.

Katherine Jackson testified in the trial that the purpose of the lawsuit was to find out what really happened to her son.

Complete coverage of Michael Jackson on Crimesider

  • Stephanie Slifer

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