Two AEG executives who promoted Michael Jackson's comeback tour before his June 2009 death will have the case against them thrown out, according to a ruling issued Monday by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge.
Concert promoter AEG Live will remain as a defendant in the trial, which has entered its fifth month.
Jackson's mother and three children filed a lawsuit against AEG Live, Chief Executive Randy Phillips and executive Paul Gongaware. Both men testified earlier in the trial for several days.
The judge ruled that lawyers for Katherine Jackson did not prove claims that Phillips, CEO of AEG Live LLC, and promoter Gongaware could be held responsible the death of the pop star. The family's attorneys have attacked the company officials, arguing they missed warning signs about the superstar's health and created a conflict of interest for his physician.
“You couldn't find either one of these individuals negligent in any way,” said AEG Live attorney Marvin Putnam. “And that's what the court ruled today.”
The lawsuit alleges that AEG hired and was responsible for Conrad Murray, who delivered a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol to help the pop star with his insomnia as he prepared for his "This Is It" tour. Jackson's family alleges that AEG did not properly investigate Murray.
An attorney for Jackson's family called the impact of Monday's ruling "negligible."
But AEG claims Jackson hired Murray, sentenced to four years in prison for the singer's death after his involuntary manslaughter conviction, as his personal physician.
“I was a little bit surprised that the judge ruled that way,” said Jackson family attorney Brian Panish. “Disappointed? I don't know that I would characterize it as that.”
The trial has included testimony from Jackson family members, AEG officials and doctors.
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