Opening statements begin in Jackson death trial
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) — Concert giant AEG Live failed in its duty to properly investigate the doctor who treated Michael Jackson because it was concerned about its own fortunes, an attorney for the singer's mother told a jury Monday morning.
"His stirring voice, his musical genius, his creativity and his generosity and his huge heart was extinguished forever," attorney Brian Panish said in opening statements of a civil lawsuit filed over Jackson's June 2009 death. Katherine Jackson is suing AEG claiming it failed to properly investigate the doctor convicted of involuntary manslaughter over Jackson's death.
"You're going to hear the whole story about what happened in the death of Michael Jackson," Panish said.
Panish made his remarks in an opening presentation filled with slides detailing the case against AEG, which was promoting Jackson's planned comeback concerts, "This Is It."
Jackson's mother, brother Randy and sister Rebbie sat in the front row of the courtroom as Panish detailed aspects of Jackson's life.
An attorney for AEG is expected to begin addressing the panel later Monday.
Millions, and possibly billions, of dollars are at stake. A jury of six men and six women will determine any damage award.
Katherine Jackson sued the company in September 2010, claiming it failed to properly investigate former physician Conrad Murray before allowing him to serve as Jackson's tour doctor. 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 convicted Murray of giving Jackson a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol in 2011. The hospital-grade anesthetic was being administered as a sleep aid.
Panish told jurors they would be putting together a puzzle, with three pieces being Jackson, Murray and AEG Live.
He told the panel that Jackson suffered from addiction to prescription medications and Demerol at times during his life, and the problem increased when he was keeping up a rigorous schedule. Panish cited a 1984 accident that injured Jackson during a Pepsi commercial suit as causing the singer tremendous physical pain throughout his life.
FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 28, 2005 file photo, Michael Jackson follows his mother, Katherine Jackson, as they arrive for court on the opening day of his child molestation trial at Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria, Calif. Opening statements are scheduled to begin Monday April 29, 2013, in Katherine Jackson’s lawsuit against concert giant AEG Live over 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/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
"Over the years Michael family's and people who knew him believed he had a problem with prescription medication," Panish told jurors. He said the only group that would claim they didn't know about Jackson's addiction issues were AEG and its executives.