Well more than a year after their son died of a prescription drug overdose, Michael Jackson’s parents have very different ideas of who’s to blame.
On behalf of herself and Michael’s three children, Katherine Jackson filed a lawsuit with California Superior Court on Wednesday claiming that AEG, the promoter behind the concert comeback the 50-year old “Thriller” superstar was about to begin at the time of his death, is responsible.
“AEG’s actions and inactions led to Michael Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009,” says the 16-page lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Brian Panish, Katherine Jackson’s lawyer, said in a statement that the “purpose of this lawsuit is to prove to the world the truth about what happened to Michael Jackson, once and for all.”
Without asking for specific financial damages, the suit also claims AEG caused distinct emotional distress to Prince, one of Michael’s sons, who witnessed his father dying. Prince, the suit says, “was put in a position as bystander to these tragic events.”
“We haven’t seen it yet,” an AEG spokesperson told TheWrap, “so we have no comment.”
That might change fairly soon. Naming AEG itself, as well as company President and CEO Randy Phillips, Jackson tour director Kenny Ortega and several other individuals involved with the much anticipated “This Is It” shows, the suit claims that because they hired Dr. Conrad Murray, the promoter is responsible for his actions.
Earlier this year Murray was charged with involuntary manslaughter in Michael Jackson’s June 25, 2009, death. His trial, which could see him spending four years in jail if found guilty, is expected to start in early 2011.
The doctor, who pleaded not guilty in February, is alleged to have given Jackson the drugs that ultimately killed him. The powerful pain killer Propofol has been cited as the principal cause, though a number of medications were found at his rented Los Angeles home.
Katherine Jackson’s suit also alleges that AEG, who threatened to “pull the plug” on the tour and end Michael’s career if he did not agree to exclusive treatment from Murray, did not provide a nurse or any life-saving emergency equipment.
Murray himself, or at least his legal representatives, also made some court filings Wednesday. The doctor sought to have patriarch Joe Jackson’s wrongful death lawsuit against him dismissed. Murray’s filing called the senior Jackson’s suit, filed on the first anniversary of Michael’s death, “at best a press-release that is intended to prejudice and inflame the jury pool and the public.”
Joe Jackson’s lawyer Brian Oxman told the AP that the lawsuit, which seeks $75,000 in damages, “sets out facts … it doesn’t set out anything other than the day-by-day, moment-by-moment description of what happened.”
Another Jackson thinks that Conrad Murray might not be entirely to blame. Leaving a July 14th hearing that he termed “bulls–t,” Michael’s brother, Jermaine told fans and media, “Dr. Murray’s the fall guy.”
Pamela Chelin contributed reporting to this story.