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Jury selection begins in Michael Jackson wrongful death AEG trial

April 02, 2013|By Steve Marble
  • Michael Jackson's "This Is It" comeback concerts were supposed to begin in London.
Michael Jackson's "This Is It" comeback concerts were… (Kevin Mazur )

Michael Jackson’s doomed comeback attempt is again taking center stage in Los Angeles as the pop singer’s family and the entertainment behemoth AEG square off in a legal showdown that could last months.

Jackson’s mother and children are suing the Los Angeles entertainment giant, alleging it is liable for Jackson’s death because it hired and supervised Dr. Conrad Murray, who used a powerful surgical anesthetic in an effort to help the singer cope with insomnia. Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011.

Jury selection in the case began late Tuesday morning and is expected to run for days before opening statements in the case are made.

The case is likely to veer into the sensational, pitting Jackson’s towering legacy against a business enterprise that has had a profound influence on the entertainment scene, particularly in Los Angeles.

Though the trial will zero in on whether the singer or AEG is responsible for hiring Murray, testimony will likely touch on the singer’s death, his feeble state as his much-anticipated comeback tour approached and his eccentricities.

In court papers, Jackson’s family has described AEG as a heartless, money-driven machine that pushed Jackson to prepare for a tour that he was not physically capable of pulling off.

AEG says it in no way controlled the singer and that bringing Murray aboard as Jackson’s personal physician was Jackson’s choice. The company, in court papers, said it recommended hiring a British doctor.

Jackson’s “This Is It” comeback concerts were to have debuted in London in 2009. The singer died two weeks before the tour was to launch.

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Twitter:

steve.marble@latimes.com

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