So, believe it or not, the Jacksons v AEG Live legal battle is still going through the motions in that LA court room, as the former try to convince a jury that the latter should be held liable for death of Michael Jackson in 2009.
AEG’s defence is proving to be as long-drawn out as the Jackson family’s outline of its arguments. The live music giant has led a long line of ‘experts’ and a handful of Jackson associates through the courtroom to explain why the singer himself clearly hired and managed Dr Conrad Murray, the medic jailed for causing the late king of pop’s death through negligence. AEG’s role in employing, or not, Murray is at the heart of the case.
AEG’s witnesses have also discussed the various ‘red flags’ that the Jackson family’s lawyers say the live firm ignored and which should have made them worry about the treatment Murray was dishing out to their star. Team AEG, of course, want to convince the jury that those supposed warnings are only apparent with hindsight.
Dr Conrad Murray, who declined to testify during his own criminal trial, has been resisting efforts to make him answer questions in the civil case, of course, though it’s his words that have got the Jacksons v AEG battle back into the headlines, albeit via a leaked phone message rather than any officially delivered remarks.
In the phone message, obtained by TMZ, the jailed former doctor discusses some of the questions being asked in the Jacksons v AEG case. Although not an official testimony, both sides in the legal battle could pull some useful statements from the remarks for their respective cases.
According to TMZ, Murray says that “both AEG and Michael Jackson were my joint employers”, something that is key to the Jackson family’s case; AEG has argued that while it was contracted to advance monies to Jackson to pay Murray’s bills, it wasn’t actually the medical man’s employer.
Murray does go on to confirm, however, that AEG didn’t actually select him to be Jackson’s personal medic, adding “AEG was involved in the hiring process, but they wanted to hire a less expensive doctor”. He also adds that, once he’d been hired, “to the best of my knowledge, AEG was not aware of my medical treatment of Michael. Michael referred to AEG as ‘snakes’”.
Commenting on the phone message and its appearance via TMZ, Murray’s current legal rep Valerie Wass told reporters: “I was surprised. I wasn’t surprised at the content of the recording, I was surprised that the recording came out. It’s been difficult for him to just sit there, and not tell the truth, and I think he’s been feeling very compelled to get the truth out there”.
Meanwhile, speaking for the Jackson family, lawyer Kevin R Boyle said: “It is disturbing that a convicted felon continues to harass the family of his victim from prison. Although at this point nobody believes a word Murray says, in his latest message, Murray clearly states he was working for AEG and Michael Jackson”.
AEG will continue to present their defence this week.