Discuss the Michael Jackson trial verdict with Times reporter Jeff Gottlieb at 9 a.m.
On Wednesday, a Los Angeles jury found that concert promoter AEG Live was not liable for the death of Michael Jackson, capping a marathon civil trial that laid bare the troubled singer’s health problems, struggles with drugs and fateful attempt at a comeback tour.
The verdict came four years after Jackson received a fatal dose of an anesthetic from his doctor as he was about to launch a concert series produced by AEG aimed at reviving his stalled career.
Jackson’s mother and three children filed the lawsuit, alleging that AEG was to blame for the King of Pop’s death because it was negligent in the hiring and supervision of the doctor, Conrad Murray. AEG argued that Jackson had a history of abusing drugs, including the anesthetic, and was responsible for his own death.
The outcome marked a decisive victory for AEG. The jury had been given five questions that it had to answer affirmatively to find AEG liable.
The jury agreed that the answer to the first question, whether AEG had hired Murray, was yes. But in answering the second question, the jury did not agree that Murray was unfit or incompetent. That made the rest of the questionnaire moot.
The jury foreman, Gregg Barden, called the five-month trial “exhausting” and the three days of deliberations “extremely stressful.”
“We reached a verdict we understand that not everybody is going to agree with,” he said. “There are really no winners in this. Somebody had to die for us to be here … it was really a tragic situation."