Jury gets first glimpse of defence in Jackson wrongful death case
Michael Jackson follows his mother, Katherine Jackson, as they arrive for court on the opening day of his child molestation trial at Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria, Calif., Monday, Feb. 28, 2005. (AP / Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
The Associated Press
Published Saturday, May 18, 2013 2:02PM EDT
LOS ANGELES -- A look at key moments this past week in the wrongful death trial in Los Angeles between Michael Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson, and concert giant AEG Live LLC, and what is expected at court in the week ahead:
Jackson's mother wants a jury to determine that the promoter of Jackson's planned comeback concerts didn't properly investigate Dr. Conrad Murray, who a criminal jury convicted of involuntary manslaughter for Jackson's June 2009 death. AEG's attorney says the case is about personal choice, namely Jackson's decision to have Murray serve as his doctor and give him doses of a powerful anesthetic as a sleep aid. Millions, possibly billions, of dollars are at stake.
- Jurors heard from AEG Live's first two witnesses, a pair of choreographers who worked on Jackson's ill-fated "This Is It" shows. Stacy Walker told the panel she never saw any signs Jackson was impaired or ill during rehearsals. Her colleague Travis Payne, who rehearsed one-on-one with Jackson, acknowledged he couldn't say how many times the pair actually rehearsed and said he was concerned the singer was under the influence of prescription medications in the weeks before his death.
- An AEG accounting executive testified about the budget for "This Is It," which was planning on paying Murray up to $1.5 million for the first few months of the shows. The former cardiologist was never paid because Jackson died before signing his contract.
What the jury saw
- Payne shift from a composed, sometimes-smiling witness to one who fought back tears toward the end of his day-and-a-half of testimony. His devotion to Jackson was evident from his wardrobe, which included a black blazer with an emblem stitched onto each sleeve containing the letters "MJ" and golden wings.
- Lots of courthouse hallways and downtown Los Angeles. Friday's session featured a four-hour lunch break due to witness availability issues. The trial's third week featured only three days of live testimony and the jury was kept waiting or sent out of the room numerous times while attorneys argued legal issues.
- "Sometimes in rehearsal, Michael would appear just a little loopy," Payne said of Jackson's demeanor after visiting his longtime dermatologist Dr. Arnold Klein, who is not a party to the case.
- "I just never in a million years thought he would leave us, or pass away," choreographer Stacy Walker said of Jackson. Walker testified for AEG and said she never saw signs Jackson was under the influence of medications or was ill.
Outside the courtroom
- A state attorney urged a court to reject an appeal by Jackson's former doctor, Conrad Murray, stating there were no legal errors by a trial judge and the physician's own attorneys failed to raise issues at the appropriate time. Murray has shown no remorse for playing "Russian roulette" with Jackson's life.
- A corporate attorney for AEG Live will testify, reflecting a shift in the trial focus away from Jackson and toward a central issue in the case - whether Murray was hired by the concert promoter.