Saturday, May 25, 2024

Michael Jackson: AEG’s Lawyers File for Monetary, Evidentiary Sanctions Against Jackson Family


Exclusive: as I told you it would happen AEG Live has filed two motions in Los Angeles Superior Court against the family of Michael Jackson. The motions are a response to the leaking of emails in the Jackson family’s wrongful death suit against AEG to the Los Angeles Times. AEG wants monetary sanctions and they want to make sure everything concerning Michael Jackson’s health and other personal information is sealed.

There had been a protective order prior to this, blocking any release of information that AEG had turned over to the Jackson side during the case. Now that that’s been violated, AEG wants the court to fine the Jacksons at least $50,000 and to investigate how it happened. They also want everything sealed including testimony from Kenny Ortega, producer of the “This Is It” concerts. The court date for hearing both motions is October 24th.

In addition to monetary sanctions, AEG wants evidentiary sanctions, too. They’re asking the court to prevent the Jacksons from using the leaked emails as evidence in the future–that they’re essentially tainted. If the judge rules in AEG’s favor, the Jacksons would essentially have done themselves in.

On Sunday, September 2, 2012, the Los Angeles Times published a misleading and inaccurate article about AEG’s supposed role in Michael Jackson’s life and death. This article was based on an incomplete set of highly confidential documents leaked to the press despite the fact that a court had ordered that they not be disclosed. As such, the documents were taken horrendously out of context and were calculated to be as damaging to AEG and as misleading as possible.

This is from AEG:

“AEG believes the unequivocal evidence shows that Katherine Jackson and her attorneys leaked these documents to the press. The documents released to the press were given to Mrs. Jackson and her attorneys—and to no one else—confidentially in discovery and subject to a court order. Accordingly, AEG has today filed a motion for sanctions against Mrs. Jackson and her counsel for this unlawful leak.

AEG was asked to comment on the article and to provide documents in its defense that would tell a different and more complete story. AEG, however, was unwilling to violate the court’s order in its defense. Many of the documents and other sources that support AEG’s position had also been designated as confidential by third-party witnesses in Katherine Jackson’s lawsuit against AEG. These witnesses trusted that their materials had been provided in confidence, that their confidentiality would be respected, and that only the court could order the materials’ release. AEG could not and would not violate those witnesses’ rights by turning their documents over to the press without their permission.

Even without those documents, however, the story as written shows that Katherine Jackson’s claims against AEG are simply not true. The story acknowledges, for instance, that Dr. Conrad Murray was Michael Jackson’s long-term physician, and that it was Michael Jackson who demanded to bring him on tour. The story also acknowledges that no agreement with Dr. Murray was ever signed, and that Dr. Murray was never paid by AEG.

The story also acknowledges, albeit obliquely, that even after Michael Jackson appeared ill on June 19, 2012, both Dr. Murray and Michael Jackson himself repeatedly insisted that Michael Jackson was fine, healthy, and eager to perform the concerts. And again, as the story acknowledges and the film This Is It demonstrated, Michael Jackson backed up that claim by performing brilliantly at the next two rehearsals. AEG could not, and did not, cancel its agreement with Mr. Jackson, a respected performing artist who insisted he was ready and willing to perform, simply because he’d been ill one night.

Given all this, one might wonder why Mrs. Jackson or her counsel would choose to leak these documents. After all, their publication hurts her son’s memory and her grandchildren more than anyone else. Unfortunately, the reason plaintiffs chose this course is transparent—plaintiffs know they cannot win on the law and are losing control over the case. After months of discovery, plaintiffs now know what we have known all along – there is nothing to support their claims. Defendants did not hire Dr. Murray nor were they responsible for the death of Michael Jackson. In the meantime, we’ve all watched the press as the Jackson family has made ever-more-wild accusations against everyone involved in Michael Jackson’s life— except themselves.

We look forward to telling the full, complete and accurate account of what actually happened, when the materials that were unlawfully leaked to the press can be put in context and the full story can legally be told. Until that time, defendants will continue to abide by their ethical obligations and the orders of the court.”



Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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