Michael Jackson's mother Katherine is set to return to the witness stand next week (begs16Sep13) as her wrongful death lawsuit against concert promoters AEG Live draws to an end. Defence lawyer Marvin Putnam plans to call the Jackson family matriarch to give evidence in Los Angeles County Superior Court for a second time as he wants to question her about the "absurdity of the damages" she is demanding from AEG amid claims company bosses were responsible for hiring Dr. Conrad Murray as the King of Pop's physician. The medic is currently serving time behind bars after he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for administering the fatal dose of anaesthetic propofol which caused the superstar's death in 2009 - weeks before he was due to make his live comeback with a string of concerts in London.
Katherine Jackson, who is suing along with the singer's three children, is seeking more than $40 billion for loss of future earnings and other damages.
She previously testified in July (13), when she broke down on the stand and admitted she had no idea who Murray was when she first heard his name. She also told the court that she did not believe her son had any responsibility for his own death.
AEG Live executives maintain Jackson had prescription drug and addiction problems, and that they're not to blame for the King of Pop's demise. Two bosses, Randy Phillips and Paul Gongaware, were excused from the trial earlier this week (09Sep13), after Judge Yvette Palazuelos insisted there was not enough evidence to hold them personally accountable.
Defence lawyers are expected to rest their case following the 83 year old's testimony on Monday (16Sep13).
Two AEG Live executives have been dismissed from the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial after the judge overseeing the case ruled there was not enough evidence to suggest they had negligently hired convicted doctor Conrad Murray as the King of Pop's physician. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos excused Randy Phillips and Paul Gongaware from the trial, which has now been running for four moths.
But that doesn't mean Katherine Jackson's case against AEG Live has been dropped - her attorneys still insist the company bosses hired Murray, who is currently behind bars after he was convicted of administering the fatal dose of anaesthetic propofol which claimed the Thriller star's life in 2009, as he was preparing for a series of comeback concerts in London.
AEG Live executives maintain Jackson had prescription drug and addiction problems, and that they're not to blame for the King of Pop's demise.
Both Phillips and Gongaware denied any wrongdoing during testimony in the trial.
A doctor who once treated Michael Jackson for pain on tour has testified in court that he told an AEG Live executive that the King of Pop was a drug addict back in 1993. Dr. Stuart Finklestein, who travelled the world with Jackson on his 1993 Dangerous tour, testified via a video deposition that he gave the singer a shot of Demerol and a 24-hour intravenous morphine drip while he was in Thailand with the Thriller star, and told his tour manager Paul Gongaware that his patient had drug issues.
In what was the 43rd day of the ongoing wrongful death trial, Dr. Finklestein, who is now an addiction specialist, revealed he was called to administer pain relief to Jackson. He spoke with the singer's Los Angeles doctor on the phone and agreed to give him pain medication to help the singer cope with a severe headache.
Finklestein told jurors he gave Jackson a shot of Demerol, and noticed "his buttocks were so scarred up and abscessed that the needle almost bent," adding, "He obviously had had multiple injections in his buttocks prior to arriving in Bangkok."
The doctor then revealed he gave Jackson morphine throughout the following 24 hours until he was well enough to go onstage.
Finklestein also recalled that Jackson was wearing a Duragesic patch, which contained another opiate which is absorbed through the skin and he also testified that the singer's longtime make-up artist and hairstylist also gave the King of Pop two ampules of Demerol that were for Jackson's injections.
He concluded his video testimony by telling the court he told the concert promoters that he thought Jackson was an addict but that no one believed him. The doctor said he also told Gongaware, who is now an AEG Live executive, that Jackson was dependent on opiates.
The ill-fated world tour came to an abrupt halt in Mexico City when Jackson's friend Elizabeth Taylor flew in for an intervention and took Jackson to a hospital in England.
Jackson's mother Katherine and his three children are suing AEG Live executives, claiming they were in part to blame for the singer's death in 2009 for failing to pay attention to the superstar's health issues. The Jacksons also allege AEG bosses negligently hired and controlled Conrad Murray, the incarcerated doctor who administered the fatal dose of the anaesthetic propofol, which claimed the singer's life.
The case continues.
The president of AEG Live demanded a series of images depicting Michael Jackson in a skeletal state onstage be removed from his posthumous This Is It concert documentary, a court has heard. Emails exchanged between boss Randy Phillips and executive Paul Gongaware were read out in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Thursday (30May13), as the superstar's mum Katherine Jackson and his three kids continued their wrongful death battle against the concert promotion company, accusing heads of ignoring key signs the singer was seriously ill as he prepared to perform a gruelling 50-date residency in London.
In a pre-trial deposition, Gongaware alleged that there had been no mention of fears the singer would look too skinny in the This Is It documentary, which was released after his death, although prosecutors appeared to challenge that claim by producing the messages sent by the two bigwigs on 9 August, 2009 - six weeks after Jackson's death in June (09).
Phillips wrote, "Make sure we take out the shots of MJ in that red leather jacket at the song stage... He looks way too thin and skeletal", prompting Gongaware to reply, "OK, will have a look when it comes on screen."
Questioning Gongaware on the witness stand, Jackson family lawyer Brian Panish asked, "You didn't want anyone distressed that Michael Jackson looked so emaciated, correct?" The executive responded, "No, we didn't try to control anything."
The jury also heard that the Thriller hitmaker's super-skinny frame even prompted his tour production manager, John 'Bugzee' Hougdahl' to joke about fattening him up while on the road in an email sent to Gongaware on 14 June, 2009 - 11 days before the star suffered a drug overdose.
Hougdahl wrote, "He needs some cheeseburgers... and a couple of brats (sausages) and beers."
Gongaware brushed off the joke at the time and maintained in court that he had no concerns about Jackson's health in the run-up to the summer (09) tour.
Katherine Jackson's lawsuit accuses the concert promotion company of negligently hiring and controlling Dr. Conrad Murray, the medic who was jailed in 2011 for involuntary manslaughter after he was found guilty of administering a fatal dose of the surgical anaesthetic Propofol, which claimed the singer's life.
The case continues.
Janet Jackson caused a stir in a Los Angeles court on Tuesday (28May13) when she joined her mother Katherine and sister Rebbie as the family's ongoing wrongful death trial began its fifth week. AEG Live attorneys protested to Judge Yvette Palazuelos, reminding her she had previously ruled that Katherine could only be joined by one family member, as many of the Jacksons are on the witness list. Palazuelos offered to revisit the issue later in the day.
Meanwhile, taking the stand on Tuesday, an executive at AEG Live has confessed he knew of Jackson's issues with painkillers when the King of Pop signed on for his ill-fated London comeback concerts.
Paul Gongaware testified that although he knew of the pop superstar's dependence on medication, he had no idea he was abusing prescription drugs until the Thriller hitmaker cancelled his Dangerous world tour in the early 1990s to enter rehab.
Gongaware, who was the manager of the Dangerous tour, revealed he knew a doctor was medicating Jackson at the time.
Katherine Jackson and her late son's three children have accused the concert promotion company of negligently hiring and controlling Dr. Conrad Murray, the medic who was jailed in 2011 for involuntary manslaughter after he was found guilty of administering a fatal dose of the surgical anaesthetic Propofol, which claimed the life of Michael Jackson in 2009.
The Jacksons also claim AEG Live bosses ignored the King of Pop's ongoing medical problems as his This Is It concert run loomed.
The case continues.