Skip navigation
Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Top Stories

AEG Not Liable For Michael Jackson's Death

Jackson family loses bid to hold concert promoter liable and won't receive a cent of the more than $1 billion in requested damages.

In a substantial victory for AEG Live, a jury ruled Wednesday that the global concert promoter was not liable for the death of Michael Jackson.

After three days of deliberations, the six men and six women of the jury found that the concert promoter did hire Jackson’s physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, as the singer was preparing for a sold-out series of comeback concerts.

But contrary to the claims of Jackson’s mother Katherine and his three children – who charged AEG with negligently hiring Murray and pushing the entertainer beyond his limits - his personal doctor was not unfit or incompetent for the job.

The jury's deciding that Murray was not incompetent ended further deliberation about the case, effectively absolving AEG Live of liability for Jackson's 2009 death from an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol.

“Michael Jackson was pretty used to getting his own way. He was a big star,” said juror Kevin Smith outside a downtown Los Angeles courtroom Wednesday, referring to the pop star’s pattern of prescription drug abuse.

“All along, we saw the same pattern going on,” Smith said. “How could AEG have done anything about it when they were kept in the dark?”

The jury’s decision marks the end of the five-month-long wrongful death trial during which jurors heard from more than 50 witnesses including Jackson's son Prince and his ex-wife, Debbie Rowe. Jurors and a loyal flock of fans in the courthouse and, tracking daily updates posted online, were offered a candid glimpse into the private life of one of the greatest entertainers of the past century.

But the jury's rejection of the Jackson family's claims translates to a victory for AEG. The verdict absolves the entertainment company of paying the more than $1 billion in damages which Jackson’s mother and children had originally requested.

To jurors, talk of victory on either side appeared fruitless.

“There are really no winners in this,” said the jury’s foreman Gregg Barden outside the courthouse. “Somebody had to die for us to be here.”

As the verdict was read aloud in the courtroom of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yvette M. Palazuelos, AEG’s attorney Marvin Putnam was smiling. Outside the courthouse, Putnam said he couldn't be more pleased with the verdict.

Jackson's mother Katherine refused requests for comment. Family attorney Kevin Boyle said outside the courthouse that he was not pleased with the verdict, adding that he would consider an appeal on behalf of his clients. 

Leave a comment

We've Moved!

By Sam Bergum
01/21/16 | 11:09 a.m. PST

Visit us at!

USC Basketball Knocks Off Rival UCLA 89- 75

By Scott Cook
01/14/16 | 12:05 a.m. PST

USC defeats UCLA with stellar play from their Freshmen. 

Holiday Bowl - USC vs Wisconsin Post-Game Press Conference

Su'a Cravens: "It's the players that need to step up"

Darreus Rogers: "It comes down to the players"

Trojans Fall to Wisconsin in the Holiday Bowl 23-21

We detected that you might be on a mobile device such as an iPad or iPhone. Sorry, at this time the video box is only visible on desktop computers.