Michael Jackson's Wrongful Death Trial Begins

April 29, 2013

Opening arguments began Monday in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Michael Jackson's mother Katherine against the pop star's concert promoter AEG Live.

The trial -- which seeks $40 billion in damages from AEG -- alleges that the company was negligent when it hired Dr. Conrad Murray to oversee Michael Jackson's medical care as the King of Pop prepared for a series of comeback concerts.

In his opening statement, Katherine Jackson's attorney Brian Panish said AEG Live owed it to the late pop star to adequately investigate Murray. "You're going to hear the whole story about what happened in the death of Michael Jackson," he told the courtroom, according to the Associated Press. "His stirring voice, his musical genius, his creativity and his generosity and his huge heart was extinguished forever," Panish added. Katherine Jackson sat in the front row of the courtroom along with Michael's siblings Randy and Rebbie.

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A jury of six men and six women will determine any monetary damages, which experts have estimated could be in the millions -- or possibly billions -- of dollars.

Jackson died at age 50 in June 2009 after receiving a powerful dose of the anesthetic propofol. Murray, who was providing Jackson the propofol, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in his death in November 2011 and is currently serving a four-year jail sentence. Attorneys for the physician had argued that the pop star was addicted to the drug and self-administered the fatal dose when Murray left Jackson's bedroom.

AEG officials have denied any wrongdoing in Jackson's death and the company's lawyers have maintained that executives could not have foreseen the circumstances that led to Murray giving Jackson doses of propofol for use as a sleep aid.

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