Michael Jackson’s Wrongful Death Trial Opens As Lawyer Slams AEG Live As ‘Ruthless’ For Hiring Conrad Murray

Source: Nancy Dillon / New York Daily News

Michael Jackson died in 2009 because a “ruthless” group of concert promoters pushed the drug-addicted superstar and ignored his downward spiral, a lawyer for the star’s heirs said Monday.

In his opening statement in the Jackson wrongful death trial in Los Angeles, lawyer Brian Panish said the concert company AEG Live was so desperate to stage Jackson’s comeback show that it negligently hired Dr. Conrad Murray, the jailed doctor whose prescriptions caused the King of Pop’s overdose death.

“There will be no question in your mind they were ruthless,” he told jurors. “They wanted to … be No. 1. They wanted to be No. 1 at all costs.”

He said AEG’s top brass knew Jackson had a history of substance abuse while touring, that he was drunk before a press conference announcing the 2009 comeback concert tour deal and that his doctor was asking for an “exorbitant” $5 million payday that belied the professional risks he was taking.

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