A look at key moments this past week in the wrongful death trial in Los Angeles between Michael Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, and concert giant AEG Live LLC, and what is expected at court in the week ahead:
Jackson’s mother wants a jury to determine that the promoter of Jackson’s planned comeback concerts didn’t properly investigate Dr. Conrad Murray, who a criminal jury convicted of involuntary manslaughter for Jackson’s June 2009 death. AEG’s attorney says the case is about personal choice, namely Jackson’s decision to have Murray serve as his doctor and give him doses of a powerful anesthetic as a sleep aid. Millions, possibly billions, of dollars are at stake.
WHAT HAPPENED THIS PAST WEEK
— Jurors heard from AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips, the highest ranking executive to testify in the trial so far. He told jurors that he didn’t consult a mental health professional for Jackson despite that recommendation from two high-level production workers on the singer’s “This Is It” tour.
— Phillips testified that five days before Jackson’s death, he emailed the singer’s business manager that the singer might be in breach of his contract for the shows because he was skipping rehearsals. AEG executives have previously testified that rehearsals weren’t required in Jackson’s contract, but Phillips said he felt it was a requirement.
WHAT THE JURY SAW
— Phillips verbally spar with Katherine Jackson’s lawyer, Brian Panish. The pair had numerous testy exchanges and had to be repeatedly warned by a judge to not argue with each other.
— “I wish you wouldn’t call it a baseless shakedown because it’s a derogatory,” Phillips said moments after testifying that he believed the lawsuit against his company was an extortion attempt by the Jackson family.
— “I just expect doctors to be ethical. Their financial side of their life shouldn’t affect their medical judgment,” AEG executive Paul Gongaware said about why he never considering doing a background check on Jackson’s personal physician.
OUTSIDE THE COURTROOM
— Jackson’s daughter, Paris, was hospitalized after paramedics responded to her home on a report of a possible overdose. Her grandmother’s attorney said the 15-year-old is physically fine and receiving appropriate medical treatment. A judge overseeing Paris Jackson’s guardianship ordered an investigation into her wellbeing. The teenager is listed as a plaintiff in the case, has been deposed, and is on the witness list, although it remains unclear whether she will actually be called to the stand.
— A probate judge said he was inclined to unseal portions of legal filings by a choreographer who claims he was abused by Jackson over a seven year period while he was a child. The judge said he would likely redact portions of the documents that include private and personal details on Wade Robson, as well as a psychologist’s report.
— AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips is expected to remain on the stand for several more days.
— Katherine Jackson’s case is expected to last at least another three weeks, and AEG Live may call numerous witnesses, including bringing back Gongaware for additional testimony.