Katherine Jackson seeks new trial in AEG wrongful death case

Katherine Jackson is heading back to court Friday to ask a judge for a new trial in the family's wrongful-death case against AEG Live, which previously ended with jurors finding the concert promoter not liable for her son Michael Jackson's overdose death.

Her motion came after four jurors gave sworn statements that they found the verdict form confusing.


The 12 jurors had to answer yes to five questions in order to find AEG liable.

Jurors agreed that AEG Live had hired Dr. Conrad Murray, who administered the fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol to Jackson.

But they rejected the second question, which asked whether Murray was unfit or incompetent, ending deliberations.

The Jacksons' attorneys argue that the verdict form only allowed jurors to focus on Murray's fitness when he was hired, not "during the course of the relationship" with the pop star.

"There is no question in my mind that AEG Live was liable," one juror said in a declaration filed with the motion.

Another juror said, "I believed that Mrs. Jackson had proven her case against AEG Live. Despite this fact, I had no way of voting in favor of the plaintiffs because of the way the verdict form was worded."

A third juror wrote that "some of the jurors were stunned and upset after learning that we had to stop deliberations after answering 'no' to Question 2."

After the verdict, the jury foreman told reporters that panel members were somewhat confused by the question about Murray's competence but understood its ramifications.

"We felt he was competent," Gregg Barden said.

"That doesn't mean we felt he was ethical. If ethical was in the question, it might have been a different outcome," the foreman said.

In a statement to The Times after the motion was filed last month, AEG attorney Marvin Putnam called it "an act of pure desperation."

"Katherine Jackson just can't accept that her son is gone and that there is no one left that she can blame, well, aside from Dr. Murray, obviously," Putnam said. "The evidence at trial and the verdict told her just that. This long trial showed us — and her — that Michael Jackson had abused and demanded propofol, the drug that killed him, for decades."


The Jacksons argued during the five-month trial that AEG Live negligently hired and supervised Murray.

AEG said that Murray worked for Jackson and that any money the company was supposed to pay the doctor was an advance to the singer.

Putnam also noted that the juror affidavits were not admissable under California law. And even if they were, he said only two of the four jurors indicated they would have changed their answers on the forms -- not enough to change the outcome of the verdict.