Michael Jackson died in 2009
The judge has taken the bench to hear a lawsuit by Michael Jackson’s mother against AEG Live, the concert promoters she claims failed to properly investigate the doctor convicted in the pop star’s death.
The Los Angeles jury will hear opening statements from lawyers who hope to frame the issues before testimony begins in what is expected to be a months-long trial.
Michael’s mother Katherine, and siblings Randy and Rebbie, are present in the packed courtroom. Outside, a large contingent of news media has gathered.
Millions, and possibly billions, of dollars are at stake in the civil trial.
Lawyers for AEG Live contend the company did nothing wrong and could not have foreseen the circumstances that led to Michael’s death in June 2009 aged 50.
The case will focus on the last few months of Michael’s life and his overall health and financial history.
Jurors will also hear evidence throughout the case about Conrad Murray, the former cardiologist convicted in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter after giving Michael doses of the powerful anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid.
Any award in the case will be determined by a jury of six men and six women who have agreed to hear proceedings.
Lawyers for Katherine Jackson and the singer’s three children have said AEG failed to spot red flags about Murray’s finances and created a conflict of interest for him between a major payday and maintaining the superstar’s health.
Murray agreed to serve as Michael’s doctor for the planned series of This Is It comeback shows in London for 150,000 US dollars (Â£97,000) per month, but Michael died before the superstar and AEG officials signed the agreement. AEG contends it did not hire Murray, who had previously treated Michael and who the singer requested serve as his physician.