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Michael Jackson Wrongful Death Trial Begins in Los Angeles

Family says concert promoter AEG is liable for singer's death

Michael Jackson performs in 1986.
Kevin Mazur/WireImage
April 2, 2013 12:45 PM ET

A wrongful death lawsuit Michael Jackson's family filed against concert promoter AEG Live over the pop singer's death in 2009 goes to trial today in Los Angeles, where AEG will argue that Jackson was to blame for his own demise. 

The lawsuit claims that AEG was responsible for Jackson's death on June 25th, 2009, just two weeks before his "This Is It" comeback shows were set to begin in London. AEG was promoting the shows, and Jackson's family seeks to hold the company accountable for hiring Conard Murray, the doctor convicted of involuntary manslaughter after giving Jackson a dose of the powerful anesthetic that resulted in the singer's death.

Michael Jackson Promoter Withdraws Insurance Claim Over Singer's Death

The trial is expected to last several months, CNN reports, and could include testimony from Jackson's mother and his two oldest children, Prince and Paris. They're seeking $40 billion from AEG, contending that the company must pay an amount equivalent to what Jackson would have earned throughout the rest of his life. 

AEG Live had previously attempted to have the case thrown out, but Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos ruled that the Jackson family lawyers had enough evidence to support their claims of negligence in the hiring of Murray, and that AEG executives could have predicted Murray would use dangerous drugs while treating the singer.

The company is expected to argue that Murray was an employee of Jackson's, not AEG's, and to cite the singer's history of peculiar behavior, as well as the child molestation charges he was acquitted of in 2005, to show that a pattern of drug use.

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