LOS ANGELES (AP) — With a jury's refusal to hold a concert promoter responsible for Michael Jackson's death, the late singer's mother lost perhaps her last best chance to collect millions in damages and place blame for her son's untimely demise.
"I'm OK," was all that the Jackson family matriarch said as she moved slowly out of a courtroom after hearing Wednesday's stunning verdict denying her claim for as much as $1.5 billion and giving her nothing.
Some called it the Jackson family's last stand in court, a longshot effort that may have been doomed by the singer's own history of addiction struggles and headstrong decision-making when it came to his medical care. All of it came out in this trial, and while Jackson's musical triumphs live on, his image took a serious hit.
His mother's grief was on display almost daily as she sat In the courtroom gallery with a bulky bodyguard and listened to the story of her son's troubled life emerge from the shadows that long surrounded it.
Jurors said they believed Dr. Conrad Murray, who went to prison for giving Jackson an overdose of the drug propofol, was hired by AEG Live LLC at Jackson's behest, but they found that he was competent to do the job for which he was hired — to act as a general practitioner looking after the star on his planned "This Is It" concert tour.
"Michael Jackson was a big star," said juror Kevin Smith. "He wanted this doctor and if anyone said no they were out of the mix."
Smith said he believed that had AEG Live executives known that Murray was giving Jackson the hospital anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid they would have cancelled his concerts.
In his final argument, AEG lawyer Marvin S. Putnam said, "AEG would have never agreed to finance this tour if they knew Mr. Jackson was playing Russian roulette in his bedroom every night."