…. After pointing out that AEG put Dr. Conrad Murray in charge of Jackson’s rehearsal schedule, attorney Brian Panish said, “Why would a doctor you haven’t hired be responsible for someone working for you to go to practice or rehearsal? Why? Because you hired him, that’s why.”Panish tried to educate jurors, explaining that unlike in a criminal trial they needed only to find that their claims were more likely true than not for them to find in favor of Michael Jackson’s mother and three children.Panish explained that Murray did not need a written agreement to have a valid contract, that an oral agreement was just as good.
Jacksons vs AEG trial. BRIAN PANISH’S CLOSING ARGUMENTS
The judge allowed cameras in the court room to show the closing arguments of both sides in the case!
“Closing arguments in the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial begin Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013.
AEG is accused of negligently hiring Dr. Conrad Murray, who was convicted in 2011 of giving Michael Jackson a lethal dose of propofol, which led to his death. If jurors find that it was AEG that hired the doctor, they must also decide whether AEG was negligent in hiring Murray, and whether the concert promoter knew he was incompetent.
The trial has lasted nearly five months. Jurors have heard from more than 30 witnesses. Once the closing arguments are completed, jurors can begin deliberating as early as Thursday.”
The first to speak is Mr. Panish of the Plaintiffs.
ABC is livestreaming his closing arguments:
LA Times is also streaming. They say that it works best on slow connections:
CNN is streaming too:
HLN is live-blogging the closing arguments and provides some of the highlights here:
The comments on the HLN website are horrendous. It is time Michael Jackson’s supporters had their say there too!
Live blog: Who’s responsible for MJ’s death?
By Amanda Sloane
Tue September 24, 2013
HLN is live-blogging closing arguments. Read below for minute-by-minute updates from the trial (best read from the bottom up):
6:59 p.m. ET: Panish has ended his closing argument. He thanked the jury, and told the jury he will give a shorter rebuttal argument Thursday. AEG’s attorneys will give their closing argument tomorrow. The judge told the parties to report to the courtroom tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. ET.
6:55 p.m. ET: Panish said he believes each of Jackson’s children should be awarded $85 million dollars for past and future losses.
6:50 p.m. ET: Panish is playing a song Jackson wrote for his children, while video plays of Jackson with his children.
6:47 p.m. ET: Panish said Paris was there when her father overdosed, and it was very traumatic for her.
6:42 p.m. ET: Prince was very close to his father, and he was like his father’s little assistant according to Panish.
6:36 p.m. ET: Panish is now detailing the non-monetary loss Jackson’s children have suffered from his death.
6:33 p.m. ET: Jackson wrote poetry for his mother.
6:29 p.m. ET: This is a picture of the Jackson family home in Gary, Indiana.
6:27 p.m. ET: Panish is showing the jury some pictures of Jackson with his family.
6:25 p.m. ET: “Death lasts forever,” said Panish. “This will never be replaced.”
6:23 p.m. ET: Panish is now discussing how the Jackson family has suffered loss besides monetary losses. He is explaining that Jackson family will no longer feel MJ’s love or comfort.
6:19 p.m. ET: Panish has picked back up with his closing argument. He says AEG wanted Jackson to perform, because his tour was going to make a large profit. He also says Jackson invested in his family.
5:57 p.m. ET: The video is over, and Panish said the video of past performances was the best evidence that Jackson could have still sold out shows if he had lived. Court is now in a 15 minute break.
5:52 p.m. ET: The video of past performances has been playing for more than 10 minutes now.
5:48 p.m. ET: The video also showed Jackson’s first moonwalk at the 25th Anniversary of the Grammy’s.
5:42 p.m. ET: The video of past performances shows Jackson performing with the Jackson 5 as a child, and also shows him performing to sold out crowds as an adult.
5:38 p.m. ET: Panish is playing a video of Jackson’s performances for the jury so they can see he could have still earned a substantial amount of money if he lived.
5:36 p.m. ET: AEG’s own accounting figures indicate that Jackson was going to earn close to $1.5 billion on his final tour.
5:34 p.m. ET: Panish just played a clip from “This is it” with Kenny Ortega saying that Jackson could have sold out 200 shows on his final tour.
5:31 p.m. ET: Panish said Katherine Jackson should awarded less money that his children, because her life expectancy is much shorter.
5:27 p.m. ET: When deciding how much to award Katherine Jackson and Michael’s kids, Panish tells jurors they have to use common sense to decide “what is just and fair.”
5:25 p.m. ET: “Unfortunately nothing can bring Michael Jackson back… in our society there’s a tremendous value placed on human life,” said Panish. He has started talking about Jackson’s mom, Katherine, saying there is no word for a parent who has lost a child because it’s “an indescribable loss that no parent should ever experience.”
5:22 p.m. ET: Panish is moving on to the next set of questions, which address compensatory damages.
5:19 p.m. ET: A timeline of Jackson’s medical treatments is displayed on a slide. Panish says Jackson survived 50 years of procedures with “never a single issue.” He says the one thing that changed was AEG and Murray.
5:16 p.m. ET: Panish tells jurors they don’t need to spend much time on question #4 and moves on to question #5: “Was AEG Live’s negligence in hiring, supervising, or retaining Dr. Conrad Murray a substantial factor in causing Michael Jackson and the Jackson Plaintiffs’ harm?”
5:15 p.m. ET: Panish moves on to question #4, saying the answer is “obviously” yes: “Did Dr. Conrad Murray’s unfitness or incompetence harm Michael Jackson and the Jackson Plaintiffs?”
5:10 p.m. ET: Jackson was described by a witness earlier in the trial as “very, very underweight… like someone who was at the end stage of a — of a long disease process.”
5:04 p.m. ET: One AEG employee [Michael Bush] said Jackson was so thin, he could see his heart beating in his chest. Another employee expressed fears Jackson was going to die and needed to be hospitalized, according to Panish.
5:01 p.m. ET: The director of Jackson’s show e-mailed AEG executives, telling them Jackson was in trouble and needed a mental evaluation, according to Panish.
4:59 p.m. ET: E-mails Panish reads in court show there were concerns about “trouble at the front” when it came to Jackson’s health and his tour.
4:56 p.m. ET: The director of the show, Kenny Ortega, was supposed to monitor Jackson’s health, according to Panish. “The pressure was on,” said Panish. Jackson and Ortega then put the pressure on Murray, according to Panish.
4:52 p.m. ET: Panish says everyone knew Jackson had problems sleeping and needed help to treat his insomnia.
4:48 p.m. ET: Testimony from earlier in the trial continues to be played by Panish.
4:41 p.m. ET: Panish warns the courtroom not to laugh as he replays testimony by a few AEG executives who are edited together to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember” several times.
4:38 p.m. ET: Jackson family attorney Brian Panish has continued working his way through the jury verdict form, addressing question #3: “Did AEG Live know or should it have known that Dr. Conrad Murray was unfit or incompetent and that this unfitness or incompetence created a particular risk to others?”
4:36 p.m. ET: Court is now in session.
4:32 p.m. ET: Closing arguments should begin again any minute now.
2:59 p.m. ET: The judge has recessed the court for lunch. Closing arguments will resume at 4:30 p.m. ET.
2:57 p.m. ET: “It’s not a stretch that he was unfit and incompetent — come on,” Panish said, in reference to Murray.
2:55 p.m. ET: A detective working for the LAPD was easily able to determine Murray was financially “a mess,” which was a motivation for what he did, according to Panish.
2:52 p.m. ET: Conrad Murray asking for $5 million to go on tour was a red flag showing he was “unfit, incompetent and outrageous,” according to Panish.
2:50 p.m. ET: Panish says AEG Live wanted complete control over Murray and that some people do things they normally wouldn’t do because of a need for money.
2:47 p.m. ET: Video being played in court shows AEG executive Paul Gongaware being asked about the e-mail he sent (mentioned in previous entry). He says he doesn’t member sending it or what it means. “We weren’t paying his salary,” Gongaware said. He then says he doesn’t know whose salary he’s even talking about.
“It would be funny, but for somebody who has lost his life… I don’t think it’s funny,” Panish said.
2:42 p.m. ET: Panish shows this e-mail to the jury, sent between AEG execs: “We want to remind him that it is AEG, not MJ who is paying his salary.”
2:40 p.m. ET: Panish says Murray swore to do no harm but did it anyway: “Why did he do it? For the money.”
2:39 p.m. ET: “Was Dr. Murray swayed by the conflict of the money vs. the patient?” asked Panish.
2:36 p.m. ET: Murray had two obligations: One to the entity paying him money (AEG) and one to his patient (Jackson), according to Panish.
2:27 p.m. ET: Panish moves on to the second question on the verdict form: “Was Dr. Conrad Murray unfit or incompetent to perform the work for which he was hired?” Panish says it’s obvious Murray is unfit and incompetent because he killed the King of Pop and wasn’t trained to treat insomnia.
2:22 p.m. ET: Panish says Murray was included on AEG Live budgets.
2:19 p.m. ET: Why would AEG let Murray have control over Jackson’s rehearsal schedule if he wasn’t hired by them, asks Panish.
2:13 p.m. ET: Panish is showing e-mails between AEG Live and Murray that he says prove they had a contract.
2:04 p.m. ET: Panish is still going over the first jury question: “Did AEG Live hire Dr. Conrad Murray?” He says a contract can be written or oral, partially written or partially oral and that oral contracts are just as valid as written contracts.
1:58 p.m. ET: On the issue of whether AEG Live hired Dr. Murray, Panish says the evidence overwhelming shows that they did.
1:55 p.m. ET: “If the scale [of justice] tips ever so slightly, we have met the burden of proof,” said Panish, who must show AEG Live negligently hired, supervised or retained Dr. Murray.
1:53 p.m. ET: Panish is walking jurors through what needs to be proven in this case and who has the burden of proof.
1:51 p.m. ET: Dr. Murray broke his Hippocratic oath and AEG Live is responsible, according to Panish.
1:47 p.m. ET: An AEG exec had to throw Jackson in a shower and slap him before the press conference that announced his “This Is It” tour, according to Panish. Executives exchanged e-mails after saying, “We can’t back off now, it would be a disaster for the company.”
1:45 p.m. ET: Panish says AEG wanted Jackson to perform so badly “they would do whatever it took to get him on stage and they told that to Dr. Murray.”
1:42 p.m. ET: “He had abused prescription medications during times of pain, anxiety, stress,” said Panish.
1:39 p.m. ET: “The whole world stopped when the King of Pop died and everyone grieved,” said Panish.
1:37 p.m. ET: Panish says Michael Jackson “danced, walked, moon walked on this earth for nearly 50 years… someone like that only comes around every so often. We may never see the likes of Michael Jackson ever again… That gift came at a huge price.”
1:34 p.m. ET: Jackson family attorney Brian Panish begins his closing argument by thanking the jury for its service. Jurors have been listening to this case for five months.
1:24 p.m. ET: Katherine Jackson and daughter Rebbie have entered the courtroom. Grandchildren Taj and TJ Jackson (the sons of Tito) are now sitting with their grandmother.
* * *
Jackson family is seeking $290 million in personal damages from AEG
For the first time, the family’s attorneys put a dollar figure on what they want for the singer’s death. That doesn’t include economic damages of as much as $1.6 billion.
By Jeff Gottlieb
September 24, 2013, 8:45 p.m.
An attorney for Michael Jackson’s family told jurors Tuesday that concert promoter AEG Live hired the doctor who administered the fatal dose of an anesthetic and that the company now should pay for the singer’s death.
Brian Panish told jurors that AEG should have to pay non-economic or personal damages of $85 million to each of Jackson’s three children and $35 million to his mother.
This marked the first time in the nearly five-month-long trial that the Jacksons have placed a dollar figure on damages they are seeking from the entertainment company.
Those figures could be dwarfed by the economic damages, however. Panish told jurors they would have to sort that out, but he showed them a slide that reminded the panel that an expert witness testified the singer would have earned $1.2 billion to $1.6 billion if he had lived, from new music, tours, endorsements and a Las Vegas show.
“We’re not looking for sympathy,” Panish said. “We’re looking for justice, full and complete.”
Panish, speaking in a much more low-keyed manner than when he took testimony, quoted Abraham Lincoln and the Book of Exodus during his daylong closing argument.
He also went straight at the question of Jackson’s culpability in his death. “It’s about shared responsibility,” he said. “Michael probably has some fault…. I’m not going to deny that Michael used prescription drugs and that people told him it’s risky to use propofol.”
But he said that if Dr. Conrad Murray, who gave Jackson the anesthetic for 60 days to fight his insomnia, had not been hired by AEG, Jackson would still be alive.
“No Murray, no AEG, no propofol, Michael’s still here,” he said.
The Jacksons have sued AEG for Jackson’s death, saying the entertainment firm negligently hired and supervised Murray. AEG maintains that the doctor worked for Jackson and any money the firm was supposed to pay the doctor was an advance to the singer.
AEG attorneys are set to make closing arguments Wednesday, and the case could be in the jury’s hands by the end of the week.
Throughout the day, Panish showed jurors the emails that are perhaps the Jacksons’ strongest evidence that AEG hired Murray.
One from AEG executive Paul Gongaware talked about an upcoming meeting with Murray. “We want to remind him that it is AEG, not MJ who is paying his salary,” Gongaware wrote. “We want him to understand what is expected of him.”
Panish used the faulty memories of Gongaware, AEG Live Chief Executive Randy Phillips and Tim Leiweke, then chief executive of parent company Anschutz Entertainment Group, to his advantage.
Panish put up a rapid fire video showing the three men testifying during their depositions using a variation of “I don’t know” or “I can’t remember” as many as 30 times each.
“They made a legal strategy not to remember anything when they testified under oath,” Panish told jurors. “They’re not credible or worthy of belief.”
Panish also showed a television interview in which Phillips talked about Murray.
“The guy’s willing to leave his practice for a very large sum of money, so we hired him,” Phillips said.
“It’s real simple,” Panish said. “He’s the CEO of the company, as high as it gets. He admitted it.”
Michael Jackson jury told to be conscience of community
AP/ September 24, 2013, 9:20 PM
A lawyer for Michael Jackson’s family asked a jury on Tuesday to act as the conscience of the community and award damages for the loss of the pop star’s life.
Attorney Brian Panish delivered his closing argument in a packed courtroom, explaining why jurors should believe that concert promoter AEG Live LLC was negligent for hiring the doctor whose actions led to Jackson’s death.
Panish played videotapes of testimony from the 21-week civil trial and said it’s clear that AEG hired Dr. Conrad Murray, even though the contract with him may have been more oral than written.
AEG Live is accused of failing to investigate Murray’s background because the company was anxious to launch lucrative concerts.
Murray was convicted in 2011 of giving Jackson an overdose of the anesthetic propofol as he tried to sleep during preparations for his “This Is It” concerts in London.
Some witnesses said Jackson was ailing at the time.The promoter claims it was Jackson who insisted that Murray treat him because the former cardiologist was giving him propofol as a sleep aid.
AEG Live drafted a contract for Murray’s services, according to testimony, but it was never signed by anyone except Murray before Jackson died.
The lawyers who brought the suit on behalf of Katherine Jackson and the superstar’s children were allotted four hours on Tuesday for their initial presentation.
Attorneys for AEG will speak on Wednesday, also for four hours.
The plaintiffs, who have the burden of proof, get to speak a second time. In that grand finale, probably on Thursday, they are likely to tell jurors how much money the Jacksons are seeking for the loss of the superstar.
They are expected to ask for more than $1 billion, citing testimony of experts who said Jackson had a long lucrative career ahead of him when he died at the age of 50.
The judge moved the proceedings from her tiny courtroom to a larger courtroom to accommodate media, spectators, lawyers and Jackson fans who line up daily for a lottery to win seats in the courtroom.
The fans huddle and discuss the case in the hallway and wait to see Katherine Jackson enter the courtroom. Some wear T-shirts emblazoned with her picture and messages of support.
On Monday, Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos gave the jury legal instructions. Everyone has biases, she said, but they must not be swayed by prejudice, sympathy or public opinion while deliberating. They also were told how to evaluate evidence and witnesses.
If the jury finds that damages should be assessed, the judge said they must not consider such issues as the grief endured by the Jackson family or the wealth of both sides in the bitterly fought case.
The instructions lasted about 30 minutes, a relatively short time because there is really just one central issue in the case: Who hired Murray? Was it AEG Live or Michael Jackson?
A unanimous verdict is not required. Only nine of the 12 jurors must agree.