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Jury selection begins in Michael Jackson family's suit against AEG

April 15, 2013|By Jeff Gottlieb and Corina Knoll

About 100 potential jurors have been summoned to a downtown Los Angeles courtroom Monday in the legal clash between Michael Jackson’s mother and three children and entertainment powerhouse AEG over the death of the pop singer.

For days, potential jurors have been asked to determine whether they could spend up to four months weighing the wrongful death case. Those who made the cut will now be questioned by attorneys before a jury is sworn in.

Jackson’s mother and children contend that AEG negligently hired and supervised Dr, Conrad Murray, who gave the singer a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol on the eve of what was to be Jackson’s comeback tour.

The lawsuit alleges that AEG relentlessly pushed Jackson to move forward with the "This Is It" tour, knowing the singers was neither physically nor mentally capable of handing it.

AEG had advanced Jackson "substantial sums of money" and threatened that if they were forced to call off the tour "there would be lawsuits and Jackson’s career would be over.”

AEG, however, contends it was Jackson who insisted on bringing Murray aboard and that the entertainment giant had favored a British doctor instead.

The trial is expected to delve into the sensational – the singer’s eccentric lifestyle, his purported drug use, his enormous debt and his allegedly erratic behavior in the days leading up to his death.

Witnesses in the trial could include celebrities such as Prince, Diana Ross and Quincy Jones, as well as his ex-wives Lisa Marie Presley and Debbie Rowe. 

Director Spike Lee and actor Lou Ferrigno are also among the listed witnesses, as are AEG founder Philip Anschutz and his former chief executive, Tim Leiweke.

Attorneys may add or withdraw names from their initial lists. Some witnesses will appear via deposition testimony.

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jeff.gottlieb@latimes.com

corina.knoll@latimes.com

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