LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The civil trial over the death of Michael Jackson is set to get formally underway next week after jury selection was completed on Tuesday in the $40 billion case that pits the pop star’s mother against concert promoters AEG Live.
Six alternate jurors were chosen on Tuesday following the selection a day earlier of a jury of six men and six women for what is expected to be an emotional three-month trial.
The conclusion of the month-long search for a jury set the stage for opening statements to begin in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday.
Jackson’s 82-year-old mother, Katherine, is suing AEG Live, the promoters of his never-realized series of 2009 London comeback concerts, for the wrongful death of her son.
The lawsuit alleges AEG Live was negligent in hiring Dr. Conrad Murray to care for the singer while he rehearsed for a series of 50 shows.
AEG Live contends that it did not hire or supervise Murray and that Jackson was addicted to prescription drugs for years before he agreed to do the “This Is It” London concerts.
The concert promoters also argue that they could not have foreseen that Murray, who was convicted in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson’s death, posed a danger to the singer.
Jackson, 50, died in Los Angeles on June 25, 2009, from a lethal dose of the surgical anesthetic propofol that Murray was administering for sleep problems. Murray, who is not being sued, formally appealed against his criminal conviction on Monday.
Potential witnesses in the civil trial include Jackson’s mother, his two oldest children, Prince, 16, and Paris, 15, as well as Murray, singers Prince and Diana Ross, and Jackson’s ex-wives, Lisa Marie Presley and Debbie Rowe.
Katherine Jackson and her son’s three children are seeking some $40 billion in damages from privately held AEG Live for loss of the singer’s earnings and other damages. The final amount will be determined by the jury should it hold AEG Live negligent.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Eric Beech