US judge drops bosses from Jackson suit
AFPLOS ANGELES--The judge in Michael Jackson's family's lawsuit against promoters AEG Live dismissed claims on Monday against two two executives accused over the 2009 death, leaving their firm as sole defendant.
September 11, 2013, 12:11 am TWN
Judge Yvette Palazuelos ruled that Jackson lawyers have not proved claims that AEG Live chief executives Randy Phillips and Paul Gongaware could be held responsible for the singer's death.
The trial, in which the late pop icon's mother Katherine Jackson accuses AEG Live of negligently hiring the doctor convicted over his death, started in April, and could wrap up later this month.
Phillips and Gongaware were named as defendants, along with AEG Live as a company. Both have faced grillings earlier in the trial at the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Monday's decision streamlines the case before the jury, leaving the 12-strong panel to decide only if they thought AEG Live had negligently hired Conrad Murray and failed to supervise him properly.
Murray was jailed for four years in 2011 after being found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for administering the surgical anesthetic propofol to help Jackson, 50, cope with chronic insomnia.
The self-styled King of Pop died on June 25, 2009 at his rented Holmby Hills mansion, where he was living while rehearsing for the doomed “This is It” series of concerts in London, which was set to be followed by a world tour.
Lawyers for Katherine Jackson, who brought the lawsuit in her name and those of her son's three children, have argued that AEG Live ignored a series of warning signs about the singer's alarmingly failing health.
AEG Live insists that Jackson himself hired Murray as his personal physician, and was therefore responsible for his own medical care.