LOS ANGELES — After a bitterly fought five-month trial, a negligence lawsuit by Michael Jackson’s mother against his concert promoter is in the hands of a jury after a final plea by a Jackson lawyer to punish the company he portrayed as a heartless, money-making machine.
In his argument Thursday, attorney Brian Panish, who represents Katherine Jackson, urged the six women and six men on the jury to find that defendant AEG Live LLC and Jackson shared responsibility for hiring Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician whose treatments killed the superstar.
Earlier this week, a lawyer for AEG Live suggested the promoter was pressured by Jackson to hire Murray as his personal physician, and was deceived when Jackson and Murray hid the fact that the singer was receiving nightly doses of the anesthetic propofol in his bedroom.
The drug is intended for use during operations at hospitals.
Murray was convicted in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter after giving Jackson an overdose of propofol as a sleep aid as Jackson fought chronic insomnia. Murray is in prison.
Jurors were led out of the courtroom by 10 armed sheriff’s deputies assigned to guard them during deliberations. They spent two hours behind closed doors, then retired for the night and returned Friday for their first full day of talks.
Panish used his rebuttal argument Thursday to urge the jury to find that AEG hired Murray without considering whether he was fit for the job. AEG lawyers say it was Jackson who hired the doctor.
In his speech to jurors, Panish suggested they might decide there was shared negligence in hiring Murray.
“Think of a bicycle built for two,” he said. “Both can cause the harm.”
He did not blame Jackson for seeking propofol and instead cited AEG for hiring the doctor who gave it to him.