After a five-month long trial on the lawsuit filed by the family of King of Pop- Michael Jackson, a Los Angeles jury gave entertainment giant, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), a clean chit Wednesday, saying that the company had no hand in promoting Jackson's death.
Jackson's three children, Paris, Prince and Blanket and his mother, Katherine Jackson claimed that AEG had been negligent in hiring the personal doctor for Jackson who administered the drug that killed him. They sought $1.9 billion in damages, which is the amount Jackson would have earned if he were alive, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Jackson passed away in 2009 of an overdose of propofol, a drug used in surgery. Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson's doctor, was found guilty of giving him an overdose of propofol as sleep aid in a trial November 2011.
Countering the lawsuit, AEG maintained that they had no hand in hiring Dr. Murray and the physician was kept on Jackson's insistence.
The jury unanimously decided that though AEG had hired Murray, the doctor was not incompetent and was well qualified to take care of Jackson and AEG was found 'not-responsible', reports USA Today. The decision came after three days of deliberation.
A series of e-mails proved that the company did hire Murray. The promoter held its ground claiming that Jackson was illegally doing drugs and had they known about the fact, they would have pulled the plug on the 'This is It' world tour, reports Fox News. AEG could have settled the lawsuit with Jackson's family but they didn't want anything to shake them down.
After the hearing, which was attended by 150 people, Jackson's mother left the courtroom without a word. Though AEG was content with the decision, the Jacksons' attorneys said they would appeal the verdict and explore all legal ways to gain justice.
"It's nice to have this in the rear-view mirror,'' Shawn Trell, AEG Live General Counsel, said to USA Today.
On the other hand, Kevin Boyle, attorney for Katherine Jackson voiced his displeasure on the verdict. "We, of course, are not happy with the result as it stands now. We will be exploring all options legally and factually and make a decision about anything at a later time," he explained.
Meanwhile, Murray is scheduled to be released later in October under rules to reduce prison crowding, reports WSJ. He was given a four-year sentence.
Fans are pained by the verdict. According to the Los Angeles Times, Barbara De L'orme of Studio City wore a t-shirt with Katherine Jackson's picture on it.
"My heart is broken," she said. "This was the greatest artist that we ever had and they treated him like this. The evidence was right there."