Michael Jackson trial winds down; AEG team to give closing arguments

Attorneys for AEG are set to give closing arguments Wednesday in the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial, and the case could be in the jury's hands by the end of the week.

The singer's family has sued the entertainment firm, saying the company negligently hired and supervised Conrad Murray, the doctor who administered the dose of propofol that killed the singer. AEG maintains that Murray worked for Jackson and that any money the firm was supposed to pay the doctor was an advance to the singer.

On Tuesday, Brian Panish, an attorney for the Jacksons, told jurors that AEG hired Murray and should pay the family at least $290 million in damages: $85 million to each of Jackson's three children and $35 million to his mother.

Those amounts for so-called non-economic or personal damages could be dwarfed by any economic damages, if awarded. Panish told jurors they would have to sort that out, but he showed them a slide reminding the panel that an expert witness testified the singer, if he had lived, would have earned $1.2 billion to $1.6 billion from new music, tours, endorsements and a Las Vegas show.

"We're not looking for sympathy," Panish said. "We're looking for justice, full and complete."

Panish acknowledged that Jackson shared responsibility for his death -- using prescription drugs and ignoring the risks of propofol.

But he said that if Murray, who gave Jackson the anesthesia drug to fight insomnia, had not been hired by AEG, Jackson would still be alive.

"No Murray, no AEG, no propofol, Michael's still here," he said.


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jeff.gottlieb@latimes.com