Crime & Justice

Jurors begin deliberating in Michael Jackson wrongful death suit (Update)

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Update 4:55 p.m. Key question in the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial: Who is responsible for his death?

One of the questions for the jury deliberating in the Micheal Jackson wrongful death trial is this: who hired the physician that administered the lethal dose that killed Jackson? The jury started their deliberations Thursday after hearing the final closing argument from the plaintiff's attorney.

“They think that they can come down here, big bad AEG – we have an army of lawyers, seven or eight people,"  said Jackson family attorney Brian Panish. "They got rows of them — you see them all.” 

He took a final swing at AEG Live during closing arguments. He was also responding to the argument made by the entertainment company’s attorney that Michael Jackson hired Dr. Conrad Murray — and therefore was responsible for his own death.

Panish maintained that the draft contract that AEG  had for Murray's services showed it had a motive to hire the cardiologist.  

“They brought Murray in because they knew they needed Murray," Panish told the panel. "And they brought Murray in to keep Michael going, and now they want to act like nothing happened.”

The attorney emphasized that AEG’s CEO said Murray had agreed to give up his practice to treat Jackson during the planned "This Is It" concerts and said it was proof that the firm hired him.

Katherine Jackson, the pop star’s mother, sued in September 2010 on behalf of herself and Jackson’s three children. She accused AEG for hiring Murray to be Jackson's personal doctor. Therefore, AEG is liable for his death and should pay the family hundreds of millions of dollars, according to Katherine Jackson.

AEG said during the five-month long trial that it never hired Murray and that Jackson had a drug problem for years before it ever came into the picture.

Some other questions the Los Angeles Superior Court jury will answer: did AEG hire Jackson? Was Murray unfit or incompetent? And should AEG have known?

Unlike a criminal trial where a unanimous verdict is needed, only nine of the 12 jurors need to agree to reach a verdict. The jury has concluded its deliberations for the day and is set to return on Friday.

Previously: Jurors begin deliberating in Michael Jackson wrongful death suit

After months of testimony, jurors began deliberating Thursday in the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial. 

Attorneys have maintained that AEG Live is responsible for the pop star's death.

Jackson family attorney Brian Panish came out swinging against the concert promoter in his final argument to the jury, saying that while the singer was 20 percent responsible for his own death — because he chose Dr. Conrad Murray — AEG Live was 80 percent responsible for hiring the physician.

Panish added that the company cut out footage from the documentary film "This is It" that showed Jackson looking sickly.  Panish implored jurors not to buy the argument from AEG Live's attorney that Jackson's death was unforeseeable because the star looked healthy in that movie.

On Wednesday, AEG's attorney told jurors during closing arguments that Michael Jackson hired Dr. Murray and therefore was solely responsible for his own death.  

Murray gave Jackson a deadly dose of propofol in 2009 and was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.