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Michael Jackson wrongful death trial: Jury gets instructions

September 23, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Things are coming to a close in the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial. The jury received instructions from the judge on Monday, and final arguments get underway on Tuesday.

Jackson's hopes for a series of comeback concerts ended before they could begin. After hearing nearly five months of testimony, a jury received its instructions about determining potential civil liability for the star's death.

"I think we put on the best evidence we could put on, and I think we put on an extremely compelling case," said Jackson attorney Kevin Boyle.

Attorneys for Katherine Jackson claim AEG Live contracted Conrad Murray, the doctor who supplied a lethal dose of propofol anesthetic to his celebrity patient.

"They absolutely haven't proven their case; they really haven't," said AEG attorney Marvin Putnam.

With the instructions, jurors now have a legal road map to lead them to a verdict. The first question could end the case. Did AEG hire Murray? If the answer is no, the case is over.

But the jury has three other choices, including an option that AEG and Jackson both hired the doctor. The Jackson attorneys say AEG had a motive to be involved.

"Our claim is that, why would AEG have needed a contract with Dr. Murray if they didn't want to have some control with Dr. Murray?" said Boyle.

AEG says its motive was to facilitate Jackson's wishes, providing payment for the doctor until the cash-strapped pop idol was making money again.

"We couldn't hire him, we couldn't fire him. That was for him to do. We were not nor should we be in the position of telling Mr. Jackson whether he could use his own doctor," said Putnam.

It's the Jackson side that has the burden of proof. If AEG played a role in hiring Murray, it must also prove four other points as well, including that AEG knew or should have known that Murray would be a negligent doctor.

The AEG defense has two points to prove: that Jackson did not use reasonable care to provide for his own well being and that his failure was a substantial factor in causing his harm.

Not specified in the instructions is the amount of damages the Jackson attorneys will ask for Jackson's loved ones -- Katherine Jackson, Prince, Paris and Blanket.


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