Saturday, May 18, 2024

Michael Jackson Family: Huge Setback in AEG Live Trial


Michael Jackson’s mother and his three children received a huge setback yesterday in their lawsuit with AEG Live. The judge ruled that AEG executives Randy Phillips and Paul Gongaware should be removed as defendants. The family had not proven that either exec was responsible for Jackson’s death. The jury can still consider whether or not AEG had hired Dr. Conrad Murray or if he was Jackson’s physician.

This is a major turning point in the trial and absolutely right. From the beginning I told you, right after Jackson’s death in June 2005, that the King of Pop had insisted on having Murray with him. I wrote then that AEG was simply funding Jackson’s request and hoping for the best. No one there had any idea of the scope of Jackson’s history with drugs, or the way he manipulated doctors to do his bidding.

In Murray Jackson saw a man who was in enough financial trouble that he would indeed carry out  the craziest instructions. The irony was that AEG never actually paid Murray and that he wound  up in jail for negligence in Jackson’s death. The most egregious part of that story is that Murray gets out of prison shortly and will probably try to peddle a book and go on TV to proclaim his innocence. He will be met by a frenzy of rabid Jackson fans out for his blood, however.

It does seem like Michael Jackson’s siblings should stop counting their winnings from this trial. With the execs removed, the jury has gotten the signal that AEG didn’t kill their brother. The one thing Michael didn’t want was his family– aside from his mother and children– to become rich off of him. He may get his way after all.

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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