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Michael Jackson death acquittal may not be end for AEG Live

Oct. 3, 2013 at 2:30 AM   |   Comments

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The acquittal of concert promoter AEG Live in U.S. singer Michael Jackson's death may not be the end of the Jackson family's legal action, a family lawyer said.

"We, of course, are not happy with the result as it stands now," Kevin Boyle, attorney for Katherine Jackson, the pop singer's 83-year-old mother, said.

"We will be exploring all options legally and factually and make a decision about anything at a later time," he said.

Jackson lawyers have said they have grounds for an appeal.

Katherine Jackson told reporters she was OK after the verdict but otherwise said nothing.

She sued entertainment giant Anschutz Entertainment Group in 2010, a year after the pop singer's death, arguing the concert promoter negligently hired and controlled Dr. Conrad Murray, a cardiologist who gave Jackson a fatal overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid.

Murray was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in November 2011. He is scheduled to be released next month.

In the wrongful-death lawsuit, the jury of six men and six women ruled after 13 hours of deliberation over four days that Murray was indeed hired by AEG but was not unfit to care for Jackson.

The verdict saved AEG Live, the world's second-largest concert company after Live Nation Entertainment, from paying what could have been hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

Jackson's lawyers, who filed the wrongful-death lawsuit with the star's three young children, sought up to $1.5 billion, most of that based on estimates of what Jackson could have earned if he'd lived and continued his career.

"We felt [Murray] was competent [to be Michael Jackson's general practitioner]," jury foreman 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. In the end, he was very unethical. He did something he shouldn't have done," Barden said.

Barden explained the jury reached its competency ruling after much struggle, and with several votes.

"There are really no winners in this," Barden added. "Somebody had to die for us to be here. ... It was really a tragic situation."

Randy Phillips, an AEG executive named in the lawsuit, said in a statement, "We lost one of the world's greatest musical geniuses, but I am relieved and deeply grateful that the jury recognized that neither I, nor anyone else at AEG Live, played any part in Michael's tragic death."

AEG had sponsored a planned series of 50 Jackson "This Is It" comeback concerts that were to be held at London's O2 Arena from July 2009 through March 2010.

Jackson died June 25, 2009, at age 50, less than three weeks before the first scheduled concert July 13.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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