Putting a Price Tag on MJ’s Death

As closing arguments wrap up, jurors must decide one question: Who hired Jackson's killer, Conrad Murray?

Michael Jackson (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)
Michael Jackson (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

(The Root) — Michael Jackson’s wrongful-death trial is finally coming to an end after nearly five months in court and testimony from more than 50 witnesses for the suit filed by the pop star’s family against concert promoter AEG Live.

Closing statements by AEG’s attorney are under way today, with the possibility of the jury deliberation beginning toward the end of the week.

In his closing, the Jacksons’ attorney, Brian Panish, told jurors that AEG negligently hired Dr. Conrad Murray, who administered the lethal dose of propofol to Jackson. AEG insists that Murray worked under the singer’s orders and any money that the firm gave to the doctor was an advance to the singer.

The trial really comes down to one simple question for the jury: Who hired Murray?

If the jury finds that AEG hired Murray and was thus liable for Jackson’s death, the family could be awarded at least $290 million in noneconomic or personal damages, $85 million each for Jackson’s three children and $35 million to his mother, the Los Angeles Times calculated. If economic damages are awarded, the suit could potentially award billions of dollars to the family.

Jackson’s two eldest children, Prince Michael Jackson I and Paris Jackson, participated in the emotional trial, though Paris was limited to only parts of deposition testimony, following a suicide attempt in June.

“My dad was hanging half off the bed and his eyes were rolling,” Prince said in his June testimony, choking up, according to ABC News. Prince told jurors that his father was so exhausted from rehearsals that he thought they were going to kill him.

“Their father is dead,” Debbie Rowe, the mother of the two eldest children, said during her own testimony in June, CNN reports. “I almost lost my daughter! She is devastated. She tried to kill herself. She is devastated. She has no life. She doesn’t feel she has a life anymore.”

“Paris was screaming, looking up at the sky saying, ‘Daddy, I want to go with you, I can’t live without you,'” Katherine Jackson, the mother of the pop icon, testified, describing Paris’ reaction after learning that her father was dead.