Jurors in the Jackson family lawsuit against AEG Live defended their decision Wednesday to side with the international concert promoter in the $1.5 billion case.
“We reached a verdict that we know not everybody is gonna agree with. But the decision was reached after very careful consideration of five months of testimony, thousands of documents and, of course, the guidance of the court,” Gregg Barden, juror No. 6, told reporters outside Los Angeles County Superior Court.
The six men and six women of the jury spoke with reporters outside Los Angeles Superior Court after the verdict was read.
Jurors were tasked with answering a 16-item questionnaire to determine whether AEG was negligent in hiring Dr. Conrad Murray, who is serving a four-year prison term for the involuntary manslaughter of Michael Jackson.
If they responded "no" to any of the first five questions, their verdict would be sealed in favor of the promoter.
After two days of deliberations, jurors decided that AEG did hire Murray but that the doctor was not "unfit or incompetent to perform the work for which he was hired."
“Now, that doesn’t mean we felt he was ethical and maybe had the word ‘ethical’ been in the question, it could’ve been a different outcome,” Barden said.
Barden repeatedly referred to the questions, calling them “confusing” and saying the group wrangled with the language.
“There were several votes taken, minds were changed more than once,” Barden said.
After three or four votes, the jury decided unanimously that AEG hired Murray. They decided 10-2 that the doctor was not unfit to do the job for which he was hired. They needed nine votes to carry.
“In the end, (Murray) was very unethical,” Barden said. “He did something he shouldn’t have done. But again, if you read the question, it didn’t refer to – it referred to the job that he had to do, what he was hired for.”
The juror cited Murray’s medical license and graduation from an accredited college as evidence he was capable of performing the duties of a general practitioner.
Another juror said Jackson’s star status made it nearly impossible for concert promoters to know details about his health.
“Michael Jackson was pretty used to getting his own way,” Kevin Smith, juror No. 9, said of the King of Pop’s nightly propofol injections.
“How could AEG have done anything about it when they were kept in the dark?” Smith added.
Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson, filed the negligence case against AEG Live, promoter of Jackson's "This Is It" tour, in 2010.
Jackson died in 2009 at age 50 and is survived by three children.
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