Jackson family sue concert promoter for $290m damages
Michael Jackson's family is asking for $290m (e214.m) in personal damages from the promotional firm AEG Live following the King of Pop's death in 2009 in the run-up to a series of comeback concerts.
The family's lawyer, Brian Panish, has demanded $35m (e26.m) for Jackson's mother, Katherine, and $85m (e63.m) each for the three children.
The scale of the damages sought was revealed as Mr Panish made his closing arguments in the final week of a five-month wrongful death trial, which included emotional testimony from Katherine Jackson (83) and two of her grandchildren, Prince (16) and Paris (15).
During a presentation that lasted all day, Mr Panish quoted Abraham Lincoln and the Old Testament, before introducing two videos to support the family's case. The first chronicled Jackson's rise from modest beginnings via success with the Jackson Five, to the heady heights of his solo career.
The second video focused on Jackson's personal life, incorporating home videos of a happy family life at his Neverland estate. After the video ended with Paris's emotional eulogy for her father from his June 2009 memorial service, several fans left the courtroom in tears.
"That is the best evidence that Michael Jackson would have sold tickets," Mr Panish said. Jackson died aged 50 from an overdose of the anaesthetic propofol, during rehearsals for 'This Is It', a planned series of 50 comeback shows at London's O2 arena promoted by AEG.
The star's family says his personal physician, Dr Conrad Murray, had been inadequately vetted by the firm, and that AEG executives conspired with the former cardiologist to push Jackson to perform in spite of his ill health. Murray was sentenced to four years in prison for involuntary manslaughter in 2011.
During the trial, Mr Panish presented emails as proof that AEG and not the pop legend himself had hired Murray.
Mr Panish claimed AEG were "so excited about how much money they were going to make" from Jackson's concerts that they failed to fully investigate Murray. "They chose to run the risk, to make a huge profit, and they lost and they're responsible," he said. (© Independent News Service)