News / Arts & Entertainment

Wrongful Death Trial to Revisit Michael Jackson's Checkered Life

In this March 5, 2009 file photo Michael Jackson announces that he is set to play ten live concerts at the London O2 Arena in July, which he announced at a press conference at the London O2 Arena.
In this March 5, 2009 file photo Michael Jackson announces that he is set to play ten live concerts at the London O2 Arena in July, which he announced at a press conference at the London O2 Arena.
Reuters
Jury selection began on Tuesday in a Los Angeles civil trial that will revisit the checkered life and sudden death of superstar Michael Jackson before a planned comeback that he had hoped would revive his tattered personal and musical reputation.

Jackson's elderly mother Katherine is suing AEG Live, the promoters of a never-realized series of 2009 London concerts,  for the wrongful death of her son, alleging they were negligent in hiring Dr. Conrad Murray to care for the singer while he rehearsed for a planned series of 50 shows.

AEG Live contends that it did not hire or supervise Murray and claims that Jackson had prescription drug and addiction problems for years before entering into any agreement with it for the "This is it'' London concerts.

The concert promoters also argue that they could not have foreseen that Murray posed a danger to Jackson.

Jackson's mother, his two oldest children Prince, 16, and Paris, who turns 15 on Wednesday, as well as Murray, are all on the witness list in what promises to be days of emotional testimony about the death of the "Thriller" singer.

Murray, who is not being sued, was convicted in 2011 for the involuntary manslaughter of Jackson after a long trial that depicted the singer known for his spectacular public shows as an odd, sometimes slurring, drug-dependent person when off-stage.

Jury selection under way

Jury selection is expected to take several days. On Tuesday several dozen potential jurors were given questionnaires that sought information ranging from their ability to serve in a long trial to their knowledge and views of Jackson's music, his death in June 2009, media coverage and Murray's subsequent trial.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos on Tuesday agreed to consider again requests from TV broadcasters CNN and NBC for live coverage of the wrongful death trial that is expected to last two to three months.

Attorneys for Katherine Jackson support the idea of live coverage but AEG opposes the notion. The concert promoters have also asked the judge to issue gag orders that would prevent both legal teams from talking to the media during the trial.

Billions in damages sought

According to celebrity website TMZ.com, Katherine Jackson and Michael Jackson's children are seeking more than $40 billion in damages from privately held AEG Live for loss of the singer's earnings and other damages.

Attorneys for AEG Live have argued that the figure is absurd because Jackson's career was in a downward spiral, according to TMZ.com.

Jackson, 50, died in Los Angeles on June 25, 2009 from a lethal dose of the surgical anesthetic propofol that Murray was administering for sleep problems. The day before he had been in final rehearsals for the concerts due to start on July 13.

Judge Palazuelos ruled last month that AEG Live could raise Jackson's 2005 trial and acquittal on child molestation charges as part of their defense as it may be relevant to the singer's history of drug abuse and despondency.

Although the pop star was cleared on all charges of molesting a 13-year-old boy he had befriended at his Neverland Ranch in central California, his reputation was badly tarnished, his music career slumped and he ran up huge debts.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”