Lawyer details Jackson's life, struggle with drugs
FILE - In this April 27, 2011 file photo, Katherine Jackson poses for a portrait in Calabasas, Calif. Opening statements are scheduled to begin Monday April 29, 2013, in Jackson’s lawsuit against concert giant AEG Live over her son Michael’s 2009 death. Katherine Jackson claims the company failed to properly investigate the doctor who was convicted in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter for the singer’s death, but the company denies all wrongdoing. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Michael Jackson's family and friends knew he was addicted to prescription medications, but the only ones who refused to acknowledge it were the promoters of his ill-fated final series of comeback concerts, an attorney for the singer's mother told a jury on Monday.
Lawyer Brian Panish traced Jackson's addiction in opening statements during the trial of a wrongful death lawsuit against concert giant AEG Live, telling jurors the company ignored numerous warning signs about the singer's health in his final months.
The opening remarks included emails between AEG executives about Jackson's health. Panish also played a clip of the singer performing days before his death in June 2009.
"You're going to hear the whole story about what happened in the death of Michael Jackson," the attorney said.
Jackson's mother, brother Randy and sister Rebbie sat in the front row of the courtroom as Panish detailed aspects of Jackson's life. Jurors looked at numerous slides and several scribbled notes. A couple of jurors nodded their heads when the lawyer referenced Jackson's achievements, including successful concert tours and a Super Bowl performance.
Panish told the jury of six men and six women that it would ultimately have to decide whether Jackson's mother and his three children deserve compensation for AEG's conduct. Millions, possibly billions, of dollars are at stake, but Panish did not give a suggested damage figure in his opening remarks.
He did, however, praise Michael Jackson.
"His stirring voice, his musical genius, his creativity and his generosity and his huge heart was extinguished forever," he said.
An attorney for AEG was expected to begin addressing the panel later Monday.
Katherine Jackson sued the company in September 2010, claiming it failed to properly investigate physician Conrad Murray before allowing him to serve as Jackson's tour doctor as he prepared for his "This Is It" shows. She is also suing on behalf of her son's three children, Prince, Paris and Blanket.
AEG denies it hired Murray, and its attorneys have said they could not have foreseen the circumstances that led to Jackson's death at age 50.
A jury previously convicted Murray of involuntary manslaughter after prosecutors said he gave Jackson a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol in 2011. The hospital-grade anesthetic was being administered as a sleep aid.