Jury finds AEG not liable in Michael Jackson’s death

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LOS ANGELES (CNN) — A Los Angeles jury decided Wednesday that AEG Live hired Dr. Conrad Murray, but also concluded that the concert promoter was not liable for Michael Jackson’s drug overdose death.

The verdict brings the five-month-long trial to a close.

Jackson’s mother, Katherine, and the singer’s three children sued AEG Live in 2010, contending the company’s negligence in hiring, retaining or supervising Murray was a factor in the singer’s June 25, 2009, death.

Jackson died of an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol, which Murray told investigators he was using to treat the singer’s insomnia so he could rest for rehearsals. Murray is set to be released from jail later this month after serving two years for involuntary manslaughter.

Jackson died just days before his comeback tour — promoted and produced by AEG Live — was set to debut in London in the summer of 2009.

The company’s lawyers contended Jackson chose Murray, who had treated him for three years as a family physician, but Jackson lawyers argued the promoters chose to negotiate their own contract with the doctor so they could control him.

AEG Live lawyers also argued they had no way of knowing that Murray — licensed to practice in four states and never sued for malpractice — was a risk to Jackson. The singer was a secretive drug addict who kept even his closest relatives in the dark about his use of propofol to sleep, they contended.

Jurors appeared engaged and entertained during the 21-week trial that included dramatic testimony by Jackson’s mother, son and former wife.

By Alan Duke

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