Jackson Wrongful Death Trial: Who Hired Conrad Murray?




By: Dana Brenklin 

September 24, 2013


On the 85th day of the Jackson wrongful death trial closing arguments begin and at the last minute the judge has allowed cameras inside. 


The jury will be partially sequestered, meaning they will be using private exits and entrances and they will be having lunch away from the general public. 


There have been over 30 witnesses in this five month long trial and today we prepare for a decision.  Did AEG Live hire Conrad Murray?  Did AEG Live fail to supervise Conrad Murray?  Questions that have been asked for 5 months will finally be answered in a matter of days. 


Mrs. Jackson was in attendance along with daughter Rebbie and grandsons Taj and TJ. 


We began promptly at 10:30 am with Jackson lawyer Brian Panish telling the jury and the judge thank you. 


Panish then went into the questions on the verdict form, explaining to the jury what each question meant and how and why they should rule in the plaintiffs favor.  He also told the jury that we will never see the likes of a Michael Jackson again. 


He told them that Michael Jackson’s gift came at a huge price and that the king of pop experienced more pain and abuse than any of us could ever imagine. 


Panish also said in the beginning of his closing arguments that Michael believed in the good of others even though others didn’t believe in him.  “No one was ever attacked more than Michael but he always came back”, he said. 


He explained to the jury each question on the verdict form and showed them why they should answer “yes” to the first five questions, as answering “no” would end deliberations immediately.  If juror get to number six, that means that they have found AEG responsible or at least somewhat at fault and will now have to come up with economic and non-economic damages for his mother and three children.


The first question was “Did AEG Live hire Conrad Murray?”  Which can be answered yes by using the smoking gun email that says “done at 150 K per month” sent by AEG executive Paul Gongaware or could be answered yes by using Murray’s email that says “I am already fully engaged”.  Panish tells the jury that an oral agreement is just as valid as a written agreement and that conduct can be used to say that there was an agreement as well. 


Panish says that AEG assumed responsibility when they brought Murray into this.  He says AEG said the show must go on and Mr. Panish says that is not the right thing to do. 


During the closing Panish reminded the jury of the three executives that did not recall, showing a slide show of executives Paul Gongaware, Phillips and Tim Leiweke not being able to recall or remember a total of 78 times, to which the audience laughed, even Michal’s nephews and Jackson’s lawyer says that that was a blatant disrespect for the law.  The executives who were involved in bringing Conrad Murray on, being asked about emails that they sent, not being to recall is not funny, he said.  


Jackson’s lawyer went over different witness’s testimony and said that AEG was aware of Michael Jackson’s deterioration, saying that Karen Faye, Kenny Ortega and a host of others sounded alarms, bells and whistles, but AEG only wanted the show to go on.


He also posed the question for the jury, if AEG didn’t hire Conrad Murray why did they need a contract with him. 


During closing he explained to the jury economic damages and non-economic damages


If the jury finds AEG hired Conrad Murray they must also find that AEG was negligent in hiring him and that they knew or should have known that Murray was incompetent and unfit for the plaintiffs to win, among other things.


A sort of video time line was shown of Michael Jackson’s life to prove he would have made more money in his life time, which refutes defense’s expert witness who said he would not have made another dime.  Randy Phillips’ sky news interview of him saying “so we hired him” speaking of Dr. Murray was also shown twice. 


You have to wonder how defense’s Marvin Putnam will follow this.  We shall see tomorrow.


Plaintiffs are seeking an unspecified amount of damages, but could be awarded as much as 1 billion dollars. 


Since this is a civil trial only 9 out of 12 jurors have to agree. 


Jackson lawyer ended his closing with beautiful home videos telling the jury not to award in sympathy but in line with the law and that he prays the verdict will be sanctioned by their conscience. 


Defense will close tomorrow and Panish will give his rebuttal Thursday and then, what we’ve all been waiting for, the jury will decide.