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Michael Jackson Wrongful Death Trial: Singer's private life on display

Randy Jackson and Rebbie Jackson, background right, brother and sister of late pop star Michael Jackson, arrive at a courthouse for Katherine Jackson's lawsuit against concert giant AEG Live in Los Angeles, Monday, April 29, 2013. An attorney for Michael Jackson's mother says AEG Live owed it to the pop superstar to properly investigate the doctor held criminally responsible for his death. (AP Photo/Nick Ut) Nick Ut

Randy Jackson and Rebbie Jackson, background right, brother and sister of late pop star Michael Jackson, arrive at a courthouse for Katherine Jackson's lawsuit against concert giant AEG Live in Los Angeles, Monday, April 29, 2013.
AP/Nick Ut
(AP) LOS ANGELES - Jurors in the civil case between Michael Jackson's mother and concert giant AEG Live got another glimpse of the singer's private life on Tuesday through the eyes of a paramedic who described Jackson's bedroom and the frantic efforts to revive the King of Pop on the day he died, in June 2009.

Many other private moments from the singer's life will be exposed as the case progresses over the next several months, with witnesses expected to testify about secret medical treatments, lavish spending and tender moments spent with his mother and children.

In the nearly four years since his death, nearly every aspect of Jackson's life has been explored in court proceedings, documentaries, books and news stories.

Still, the negligence case filed by his mother against AEG promises to deliver the most detailed account of the singer's addiction struggles, including testimony from his ex-wife Debbie Rowe about treatments involving the anesthetic propofol dating back to the 1990s.

Jackson died from a propofol overdose in 2009 while preparing for a series of comeback concerts at AEG's O2 Arena in London.

Katherine Jackson contends AEG didn't properly investigate Doctor Conrad Murray, who administered the fatal dose of the drug. The company denies wrongdoing.

During opening statements, attorneys framed Jackson's prescription drug addiction through the prism of his superstar status.

Attorney Brian Panish, who represents Katherine Jackson, said the drug problems worsened when the pop star was under the stress of live performances.

AEG attorney Marvin S. Putnam countered that Jackson's stardom provided a cover to receive multiple, secret medical treatments, many involving propofol.

At one point in the proceedings, the harsh portrayal of Jackson's struggle with addiction led one juror to lean forward and stare at the floor for several moments.

Katherine Jackson and two of the superstar's children, Prince and Paris, are potential witnesses whose testimony would likely focus heavily on their grieving and losses.

Panish played a song Jackson wrote for his children as a montage of photos played during opening statements. He also read a handwritten note from Jackson that his mother framed and has hanging on her wall.

"The only way you can assess damages, is to know what they had," Panish told jurors Monday before reading the letter and playing "You Are My Life."

Katherine Jackson dabbed her eyes with a tissue. On Tuesday, she left the courtroom while the paramedic described her son's condition on the day he died.

It may be several days before jurors get another look at Jackson's softer side.

The trial will also feature testimony about Jackson's troubled finances, with debts that reached nearly $400 million by the time he died.

AEG contends the debts made him desperate to have a successful concert series.

"The private Michael Jackson was like a lot of Americans in the 2000s, spending a lot more than he was making," Putnam told the jury after describing the singer's lavish Neverland Ranch, his art collection and other spending.

A Los Angeles police detective who investigated Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, told jurors Tuesday the physician was more than $500,000 in debt and may have been motivated by a large payday for working with Jackson.

Complete coverage of Michael Jackson on Crimesider

  • Crimesider Staff

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