Michael Jackson's Family Claims Mistreatment Of Singer In Wrongful Death Suit (Photo : flickr.com)
A Los Angeles hearing over the overdose death of pop legend Michael Jackson heard its opening statements on Monday, and it appears that this trial will raise plenty of eyebrows over the singer's final months.
Jackson's family is suing Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) in a wrongful death case, claiming that they had no regard for his safety and well-being. The defense has so far remained adamant that Michael Jackson's problems were self-inflicted, and that they bear no responsibility for his death.
"This case is about the choices we make and the personal responsibility that comes with them," said defense attorney Marvin Putnam.
The Jackson team doesn't quite see it the same way, and claim that AEG abused it's relationship with the entertainer. They intend to portray AEG as a money-hungry business with no regard for a man who was struggling both financially and physically.
"Michael had a problem, Dr. Murray had a problem and AEG had a problem," the Jackson's lawyer Brian Panish told the jury of six men and six women. "You know what AEG's problem was? They were not No. 1 in the concert business but they wanted to be."
One of the accusations made by the plaintiffs has been that AEG hired Dr. Conrad Murray to look after Michael Jackson because they knew Murray had his own financial problems and therefore would be more susceptible to monetary pressure. They claim that AEG hired the doctor to disredard Michael's health and focus only on making sure he performed.
"They put Dr. Murray in a position where if he said Michael can't go or can't play, if he said I can't give you those drugs, then he doesn't get paid," Panish told jurors Monday.
Already evidence has put forth supporting that claim. Panish has already submitted as evidence an e-mail from AEG executive Paul Gongaware that explicitly states that Murray is being paid by AEG and therefore should be looking out for their best interests, and not necessarily Jackson's.
"I'm happy I can go in, but not looking forward about what's going to be said," she said. "This is a trial where Michael Jackson will be thrown under the bus by both parties. It's not really about justice. It's about who's going to make money."
If AEG is found responsible in the death of Michael Jackson, the court will decide how much the Jackson family is to be paid as a result. The hearing is expected to be a star-studded event, including big names such as Spike Lee, Quincy Jones, and Diana Ross.