Attorneys for Michael Jackson‘s family have begun the first day of closing arguments, as the wrongful death trial of the King of Pop comes to an end.
The Jackson family’s lawyer, Brian Panish, delivered an emotional speech to the jury and spectators, in which he called Michael the “greatest entertainer of all time” and a “real-life Peter Pan”.
Michael’s mother Katherine Jackson and her daughter Rebbie and her nephews Taj and TJ sat front row as their lawyer gave his argument.
Brian played a video that documented Michael’s successful career, starting with clips of the singer performing as a young boy and ending with his heart-wrenching ballad Gone Too Soon, and Michael’s voice saying “I love you”.
A home video was then presented which showed Michael and his three children Prince, Paris and Blanket celebrating birthdays and playing at Neverland.
The clip was too much to take for some fans in the courtroom who rushed out in tears at the end of the video.
“We’re not looking for sympathy, we’re looking for justice here,” said Brian. “Full and complete — not partial, not half way — full and complete.”
The high-profile attorney then asked the jury to consider how much Michael’s family had suffered. Brian stated a price of around £181million in personal damages — £21.8million to Katherine, and £53.1million to each of the singer’s children.
“They love their grandmother Katherine, but it’s not the same,” said Brian, referring to Michael’s children. “It’s never going to be the same.”
The jury now has to decide whether concert promoter AEG was responsible for hiring Conrad Murray, the Las Vegas doctor who gave Michael the fatal dose of anaesthetic propofol, and was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011.
AEG was too eager to launch Michael’s comeback by selling tickets of his This Is It tour, that they failed to properly investigate Conrad, said Brian. AEG has denied any wrongdoing.
“AEG wanted the King of Pop in their arena in London,” said Brian. “They would do whatever it took to get him on stage. “They were so excited about how much money they were going to make. They chose to run the risk, to make a huge profit, and they lost and they’re responsible.”
Jurors were also shown emails suggesting it was AEG, not Michael, who had hired the doctor.
Attorneys for the concert producer will give their closing arguments on Wednesday, after which Brian will make final rebuttals and the jury will state their final decision.