Jackson Verdict Watch: Could This Verdict change The Music Industry As We Know It?


By: Dana Brenklin

September 29, 2013


Friday was the second day of deliberations in the Jackson wrongful death trial and the first full day of deliberations.  As we sat in the courtroom that had been filled with testimony, tears and even laughter at times, waiting to hear buzzes, we were told that in a civil trial there would be one buzz for small things and two buzzes for the verdict. 


In a criminal trial, such as Dr. Conrad Murray’s (the man convicted of killing Michael Jackson), there were three buzzes that everyone waited for and ultimately heard.  We did hear one buzz and we were told that one the jurors or maybe all, wanted a soda, now that may not be your drink of preference, but in a case like this one, I’m sure everyone was thinking, get that juror whatever he or she wants, fast.


This week started closing arguments in the Jackson trial.  As the plaintiff’s attorney started out Tuesday morning, everyone thought maybe Brian Panish was a little too mellow as he gave his closing, but after Wednesday, you realize Panish was just setting the defense up for his comeback Thursday. 


Panish was much more, shall we say, himself Thursday morning.  His rebuttal was strong, sincere and passionate.  There is no way that the jury will forget his delivery going into deliberations.


Panish acknowledged parts of Putnam’s delivery, saying that he made things up, “Poof” he said, “I just made it up”, as he showed the jury the evidence that was not made up. But was right in front of them and had been put into evidence earlier.


He told the jury that AEG did not care about Michael Jackson, but only cared about putting on a concert as Putnam told them that they only wanted to put on a concert.


Friday morning, as we arrived for verdict watch 2013, we see plaintiff’s counsel Kevin Boyle in the hallway and watched the jury arrive to the courtroom full of life and laughter as they get ready to make one of the biggest decisions in history, the decision that some pray will change concert promoters’ ways, as everyone familiar with the music industry knows that concert and club promoters have always had a bad name and have been known to bully artists and they’ve had this reputation for decades. 


We shall see.  Will AEG Live be made an example out of?  Will concert promoters change their ways and will Katherine Jackson be the new billionaire in town and receive justice for the death of her son, the king of pop Michael Jackson.  Nine out of 12 people will make that fateful decision soon. 


The alternates are seen walking through the hallway, just waiting around in case of an emergency and happy to do their civil duty. 


So much has happened during this trial.  Paris Jackson, the only daughter of the famous pop star tried to harm herself, obviously still missing her father, jurors were tampered with, fans accused AEG Live attorney Sabrina Strong of making faces and communicating with a juror and more.


Think about it, a lot can happen in five months, that is almost half a year.  Pregnant women have a full human being inside of them in that length of time, you are also closer to another birthday in the course of five months.  This has been a really long time and a lot of important things have taken place since the start of this trial, whether we missed them or not.


We will see through the eyes of nine people we didn’t know last year, what they saw during this trial and how they understood it to be in very short order and we will find out how this decision will shape the music business in the future. 


Some say Michael deserves justice and he earned that money, his family deserves it.  Some say that his mother is greedy and she shouldn’t be there.  Ask yourself this, if it was your child, king, queen or homeless, what would you do and how much would you ask for?  While you’re talking to yourself, ask yourself, even after justice is served and things change, will that bring your child back? 


There will never be another Michael Jackson, but he sure left a mark on the music industry, the legal system and maybe more.  This case will more than likely go down in history.  Law students will study this case and question conflicts of interest, musicians will study his work and others may study his work ethics and just him as a human being. 


There will never another one. 


He moonwalked, he sang, danced, won awards, gave to the needy, he suffered, loved people, people talked about him, they locked him up and they are still doing the same things, even in death.  People are praising him, talking about him, making fun of him, taking up for him and will more than likely be doing the same thing for years to come.  The only other name that I can think of that causes so much togetherness, division, controversy, happiness and excitement and talk is Jesus.  I am not saying he is Jesus, but even presidents, kings, queens, Buddah, none of them cause so much anger, passion and conversation as the name Michael Jackson does. 


Make no mistake about it, Michael Jackson is the king of pop and will be forever, but he isn’t the biggest name just because he sang and danced, he is so big because he touched people, he gave, he helped and he loved and made others want to do the same.  He wasn’t a jerk, a womanizer or hard to get along with, maybe that is part of the reason people bullied him and referred to him as a freak, they didn’t understand why he didn’t have that superstar attitude, but instead was


No one else would’ve have been able to stand the abuse, on one else is going to garner that much attention.  It was like time stood still for 50 years of this phenomenon joining us on the earth and now time is moving.  I know he and his brothers wrote and sang a song “Time Waits For No One”, but it did, just a little, we were all waiting and enjoying sharing this planet with this guy and now he is gone and he is still fighting the haters in death


Will it ever end?  I doubt it.  They will never stop talking, making fun and some will always take up and fight for him, even after the trials and news reporters stop, there will be some lonely kid on a playground 40 years from now standing up for the man, son, father, brother, uncle, friend and cultural phenomenon known to the world as Michael Jackson, the king of pop. 







Jackson Wrongful Death Trial: AEG Lawyer’s Closing Arguments

Debbie Rowe

By: Dana Brenklin

September 25, 2013


Wednesday September 25, 2013 was the last time the jury would ever hear from AEG Live attorney Marvin Putnam as he gave his closing arguments defending the Concert Promoters against a lawsuit filed by the king of pop’s mother Mrs. Katherine Jackson


As Putnam took the stand with everyone wondering how he would follow the plaintiff’s closing and with Jackson Matriarch along with eldest daughter Rebbie Jackson and grandsons Taj and TJ looking on, he starts off in the same fashion, thanking the jury and the judge for their time. 


Immediately Mr. Putnam starts in with, in his bedroom behind locked doors the plaintiffs want you to think the concert promoters are at fault.


He says to think about all the things you’ve heard and tells the jury that Michael Jackson had been seeing Dr. Murray for years and he said this repeatedly during his closing.  Michael Jackson saw Murray for about seven years off and on before he died. 


He also tells the jury that Michael Jackson was a grown man several times and that he was responsible for his own health.  He mistakenly says in the beginning that Michael was a grown man about to turn 50, he was actually already 50 and about to turn 51. 


Putnam said that it is a tragedy what happened to Michael Jackson, but it was not AEG’s fault and Michael was playing Russian roulette by taking propofol nightly. 


Putnam told the jury in closing that Jackson did not ask to bring the doctor, he told them he was bringing the doctor on his tour.


Putnam says that Michael Jackson was nearly half a billion dollars in debt and Michael Jackson spent decades doctor shopping for pain killers.  At the beginning of the trial Putnam said he would show deep and ugly secrets of Michael Jackson, but the only thing that really came out that nobody knew of, was that Michael had a legitimate issue with pain and sleep. 


Brian Panish has never said that Michael didn’t have a problem with pain killers or that Jackson searched for something that he thought would help him sleep, so he said yesterday that Michael had some responsibility for his own death, but today AEG’s lead attorney said that Michael Jackson was totally at fault and AEG had nothing to do with his demise and a grown man is responsible for his own health. 


Putnam said that AEG knew nothing that went on behind locked doors of the Carolwood home Michael Jackson was occupying and Michael hired Dr. Conrad Murray a long time ago.


Putnam says that it would have happened with or without AEG, even though Jackson lawyer said yesterday that it never happened before a contract and money was involved.  Jackson lawyer said yesterday that the king of pop had propofol to sleep in Germany years ago and with Dr. Conrad Murray, but he didn’t die until money and a contract was involved. 


AEG’s lawyer told the jury that the damages plaintiffs are seeking is absurd as he went through the jury instructions saying that Panish stopped at number one while telling them everything from 1-5 needs to be answered “no”, which is of course is opposite of the “yes” Panish told them it had to be for their side to win yesterday. 


He says that AEG tried to talk Michael out of bringing the doctor, but he insisted, saying he would not take no for an answer. 


When it came time to deal with the negligence issue, Putnam says that Michael and Conrad Murray were secretive and all AEG knew was that Murray was his longtime doctor. 


Putnam told the jury several times that AEG Live executives could not have known what was going on between the doctor and Michael Jackson behind locked bedroom doors


Putnam says that Murray had several practices, never had a malpractice, and never had a suspension of his license and that Michael trusted him with his ownchildren


AEG’s attorney says that Michael and Murray lied to his clients, saying that Michael was alright.  He also showed the jury Michael rehearsing two nights and one night before he died from the “This Is It” documentary, to which loyal fans say he did not look great and was too thin


Plaintiff’s Brian Panish will have the final word, giving his rebuttal tomorrow.  The jury will be handed a few final instructions and by tomorrow afternoon should be heading to deliberations. 







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. 





Jackson Wrongful Death Trial Hits Home Stretch

By: Dana Brenklin

As jurors in the Jackson wrongful death lawsuit were greeted this afternoon, it was brought to their attention by Judge Palazuelos that we are now entering the home stretch of this 5 month long trial.

Jurors in the case were off for the last week and a half due to a family emergency with one of the jurors. That doesn’t mean that the attorneys were not being productive. Attorneys on both sides were in court almost every day last week battling it out, discussing verdict forms, jury instructions and everything else that will help get us to the finish line in a decent and orderly fashion.

Attorneys even had one last meeting out of the presence of the jury this morning. Once court got underway, some may have been surprised to see Mrs. Jackson in the audience and not in the witness box. It seems that defense’s Marvin Putnam had a change of heart and did not call the Jackson matriarch to the stand as his last witness. Some heard yesterday that she would not be taking the stand and instead Michael’s son Prince’s deposition would be shown or at least portions of it.  Well, that was not the case either.

The defense finished their case with Dr. Metzger’s video deposition. If you recall, that is where the defense left off last week.

Dr. Metzger testified to Michael being secretive and not telling him about other doctors he would see when he wasn’t in Los Angeles. He did say that Michael suffered from insomnia and that when not under stress his insomnia could be treated with Tylenol PM. Metzger says that he saw Michael in April of 2009 and stated completely opposite of more than a few witnesses, that Michael looked lucid, was bright eyed and not skinny, but muscular.

Several witnesses have testified in direct contrast to that, saying that Michael was dying, scared, skinny and incoherent.

The doctor that the former Mrs. Jackson, Debbie Rowe says was the only doctor that cared about Michael Jackson said they talked about the “This Is It” shows and they brainstormed on how to deal with his sleep issues during the upcoming shows. He says they never settled anything and that was the last time he saw or spoke to the king of pop.

Doctor Metzger says that Michael was a great and loving father and he was a very generous and caring man.

Plaintiff’s Brian Panish brought on a rebuttal witness at the end of the day, a Detective Scott Smith who says that the Defense’s Putnam and their witness and outside counsel Kathy Jorrie said there was going to be a two to three year show after “This Is It”. The defense argues the statement was taken out of context. Plaintiff’s Brian Panish asks the witness would he have written down in the report maybe or potential had she said that and also asks him if he was trained make such a distinction and the witness answered, “yes”.

Plaintiffs will call Dr. Metzger live against the defense’s objection tomorrow to clarify a few things and Friday should start the preparations for closing arguments set to begin Monday.

The case should be handed to the jury by next Thursday. The jury will be partially sequestered and closing arguments will be held in a larger courtroom.

The Big Cheese Backs Down: AEG Live Attorneys will Not Call Mrs. Jackson Back To The Stand


By Dana Brenklin

September 17, 2013

AEG Live attorneys have changed their mind about calling Jackson Matriarch back to the stand Wednesday.  Instead, they will be playing a portion of Prince Jackson’s video deposition before resting this week.

Court has not been in session for the last week due to a juror having a family emergency.  Closing arguments are expected as early as next week.

Last week in court, out of the presence of the jury, the judge in the case warned AEG Live Attorney Marvin Putnam against calling Mrs. Jackson and Jackson’s attorney said their reason for calling her back was to show greed.  The judge said that relatives in a wrongful death lawsuit will tell you that no amount of money will take the place of their loved one.

Putnam has referred to a statement of damages letter multiple times, but the judge ordered him not to ask the king of pop’s mother about that letter.

Plaintiff’s Deborah Chang said in court last week that it was very difficult assessing how much money Michael Jackson would have made had he not been given a fatal dose of propofol by Dr. Conrad Murray June of 2009.

The defense will rest their case Wednesday and plaintiff’s will call at least five rebuttal witnesses.

Katherine Jackson To Be Called Back To Testify

Debbie Rowe

By: Dana Brenklin

September 11, 2013

Although the jury was not present today and hasn’t been all week as one of them has had a family emergency, there were still fireworks in the case of Jackson VS AEG Live in a downtown courtroom today.  Very few members of the media were present, but attorneys fighting for AEG and Mrs Jackson were ready to rumble when court began today.

They argued several motions Monday and said they would not convene until today.  As the day started off Superior court Judge Yvette Palazuelos called off all of the issues that were to be discussed in this 5 month long trial that is very close to ending. 

The lawyers started with damages and how to award damages, who was at fault and more.  Defense’s Marvin Putnam said he will question Mrs. Jackson about the ridiculous amount of damages she wants the jury to award if they find AEG at fault, against the judges’ best advice.  The Judge says he can question her, but he is not to refer to a statement of damages letter sent to him by Mrs. Jackson’s attorney.

Plaintiff’s Deborah Chang said it was very difficult assessing what Michael Jackson would have made had he not died in June of 2009.  When discussing the non economic damages Chang spoke of Paris Jackson, Michael’s daughter who attempted suicide earlier this year and said the damages could be enormous given what happened to Paris.

Katherine Jackson testified earlier this year, saying she wanted to know what really happened to her son.  Mrs. Jackson will be the final witness in the defense’s case. 

The defense still plans to rest their case next week.  Plaintiff’s counsel plans to call at least 5 rebuttal witnesses.  Closing arguments are expected as early as next week.

If AEG is found liable the jury could award damages based on money that Michael would have made and based on the children and Mrs. Jackson’s loss of support. 

The trial continues.

Judge Dismisses Two AEG Live Executives In Jackson Lawsuit

By: Dana Brenklin

Sept 9, 2013

Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos dismissed AEG executives Randy Phillips and Paul Gongaware from a negligence lawsuit filed by Katherine Jackson, mother of pop star Michael Jackson, however she has allowed the case against AEG Live, LLC to continue on its course.

The Los Angeles judge said that plaintiffs had not shown enough evidence to say that two executives Randy Phillips and Paul Gongaware were responsible for Michael Jackson’s death.  The jury will decide whether or not AEG Live hired Dr. Conrad Murray, who is currently serving a four year manslaughter sentence for giving the pop star a lethal dose of the anesthetic Propofol.

With two of the defendants out and the main party still in, this could make deliberations a lot easier for the jury.

Plaintiff’s attorneys have blamed Phillips and Gongaware for the last 5 months of ignoring signs and red flags of Michael Jackson’s failing health.  AEG attorneys deny any wrong doings.

AEG Live attorneys argued this morning that Katherine Jackson’s lawyers have not proven their case, with defense’s Marvin Putnam saying that it would be inappropriate to hand this over to a jury.

The lawsuit will continue against AEG Live, LLC and the defense still plans to rest next week.  Mrs. Jackson’s lawyers say they have at least 5 rebuttal witnesses.

This may or may not be the end of Randy Phillips’ and Paul Gongaware’s troubles.  If Mrs. Jackson wins her lawsuit, depending on how much money is dished out, Anschutz Entertainment Group’s Phillip Anschutz could go after the very two who were dropped from the lawsuit today.  They are by no means in the clear.

On another note, jurors are not expected back until next Monday.  Due to a family emergency with one of the jurors.  There will be no testimony this week and both parties will work on witness scheduling, motions and arguments this week.  Defense’s Putnam says they may call Katherine Jackson back to the stand next week.

Closing arguments are expected next week.  The trial continues.