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News |  30 Apr 2013 21:10 |  By RnMTeam

MJ's family and promoters begin $40 billion courtroom battle

MUMBAI: The first salvos are fired in the supposed $40 billion lawsuit between the late Michael Jackson’s family and his promoters, AEG Live.

Jackson, 50, died in June 2009, while preparing for his comeback ‘This Is It’ tour promoted by AEG Live. Jackson, had been lying low since his damaging court room battle on child molestation charges case in 2005 for which he was acquitted and from a mountain of debt.

Michael’s mother, Katherine Jackson sued the AEG Live in September 2010, claiming it failed to properly investigate former physician Conrad Murray before allowing him to serve as Jackson's tour doctor. She is also suing on behalf of her son's three children, Prince, Paris and Blanket.

A jury of six men and six women will determine whether AEG is liable and any damages award.

In his opening statement Monday 29 April,  attorney for Michael Jackson's mother Brian Panish said AEG Live owed it to the pop superstar to properly investigate the doctor held criminally responsible for his death.

Concert giant AEG Live owed a duty to properly investigate the doctor who treated Michael Jackson, Panish said.

"His stirring voice, his musical genius, his creativity and his generosity and his huge heart was extinguished forever with Jackson's death. You're going to hear the whole story about what happened in the death of Michael Jackson," Panish said.

Panish told jurors they would be putting together a puzzle, with three pieces being Jackson, Murray and AEG Live.

He told the panel that Jackson suffered from addiction to prescription medications and Demerol at times during his life, and the problem increased when he was keeping up a rigorous schedule. Panish cited a 1984 accident that injured Jackson during a Pepsi commercial suit as causing the singer tremendous physical pain throughout his life.

"Over the years Michael family's and people who knew him believed he had a problem with prescription medication," Panish told jurors. He said the only group that would claim they didn't know about Jackson's addiction issues were AEG and its executives.

AEG Live’s attorney Marvin Putman making his opening statement in what is expected to be an emotional wrongful death trial, said AEG officials had no idea that Jackson was taking the surgical anesthetic that led to his death.

Warning jurors they would see a very different view of the charismatic Michael Jackson as the company seeks to prove it was not liable for the pop star's death, Putman said  the three-month civil case would bring to light "some ugly stuff" about the singer's private behavior.

"The public Michael Jackson was very different from the private Michael Jackson," Putnam said. "He erected a wall between himself and his family. Even his family wasn't sure what was going on at the house. He kept those who might have been able help him at a distance."

He said Jackson had been using the powerful anesthetic propofol for years to help him sleep “and almost no one knew”.

“AEG, like everyone else, was an outsider,” Putnam said. “They had no idea. It was going on behind locked doors.”

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