Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Jury selected for Jackson lawsuit

Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009, at the age of 50

A jury of six men and six women has been accepted by both sides for the trial of a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the mother of Michael Jackson against AEG concert promoters.

Lawyers immediately began questioning prospects to sit as stand-by jurors.

The jury was seated a week after a pool of more than 100 candidates was assembled. Many prospects were eliminated because they said serving on a three-month trial would be a hardship.

Others were excused when they said they had a bias against Jackson or disapproved of big-figure lawsuits. Others were rejected because they had business ties to AEG or the Jackson family.

Jackson's mother Katherine filed the case on behalf of herself and her son's three children. Their lawyers have put the potential damages at 40 billion US dollars (£26 billion) but jurors will have to determine any amount the family might receive.

The lawsuit claims AEG, the company that promoted the ill-fated This Is It concert, hired Conrad Murray as Jackson's physician without checking his credentials. Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of the superstar from an overdose of the anaesthetic propofol. Coincidentally, Murray's lawyer filed an appeal on Monday over his criminal conviction.

The lawsuit jury was selected ahead of time estimates. Lawyers were aided by a long questionnaire filled out by jury prospects that sought their views on Jackson and his famous family along with his life and death, and their feelings about multimillion-pound jury verdicts.

The civil case will focus on the pop singer's possible role in his own death. Witnesses will also testify about his troubled finances and whether AEG wielded too much influence over a cash-strapped Murray by offering him 150,000 dollars (£100,000) a month for his job as Jackson's doctor during the concert tour.

Neither AEG nor Jackson signed Murray's contract before the singer died.

Some evidence excluded from Murray's trial, including Jackson's financial and medical records, could be used in the civil case, possibly offering new insight into the singer's life before his death on June 25, 2009, at the age of 50.

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