Michael Jackson wrongful death suit to begin in Los Angeles

LONDON - 1987: (UK NEWSPAPERS OUT) Music star Michael Jackson performs during the Bad Tour in 1987 at Wembley Stadium, in London. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
Dave Hogan

(CBS News) A jury is set to hear opening statements on Monday, in a $40 billion wrongful death lawsuit surrounding the death of the so-called King of Pop, Michael Jackson. The Los Angeles courtroom will host an all-star cast of celebrity witnesses as the Jackson family battle for the estimated $400 million in potential profit from Jackson's "This Is It" tour.

Lawyers for Jackson's mother and children will try to convince the jury that AEG, the company behind the 2009 comeback "This Is It" tour, prioritized profit ahead of the pop star's health.

Diana Ross, Quincy Jones, and Spike Lee are among the big names expected to take the stand and Jackson's ex-wives -- Lisa Marie Presley and Debbie Rowe -- will also testify.

The family's suit alleges that AEG hired and pressured Dr. Conrad Murray to try to control the singer and ensure that he showed up ready to work.

An email from AEG that was leaked to the press reads, "We want to remind [Murray] that it is AEG, not MJ, who is paying his salary. We want to remind him what is expected of him."

Defense attorneys will argue there was never a signed contract between AEG and Murray and make the case that executives had no idea Murray was treating Jackson with the powerful anesthetic Propofol. They will also attempt to prove that Jackson had a long history of substance abuse.

Murray, who is also convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death, recently gave an interview to CNN's Anderson Cooper and addressed Jackson's Propofol use.

"Yes indeed, I did order Propofol to his home, but I was not the one who brought Propofol into his home. I met him with his own stash," Murray told Cooper.

While he was deeply in debt at the time of his death, Jackson's family claims AEG's negligence deprives them of potential earnings of up to tens of billions of dollars from future concerts.