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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings

Graham Nash has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice – once for his work with The Hollies and once as part of Crosby, Stills & Nash. The legendary folk-rocker joins "Border Crossings" host Larry London to talk about his latest project, “CSN 2012,” which captured on video recent live performances by Crosby, Stills & Nash.