Jacksons v AEG Timeline Legal Top Stories

A load of Jacko: LAPD take it slow, Janet accuses the doc, Joe appeals

By | Published on Tuesday 17 November 2009

The police investigating the death of Michael Jackson say they are taking their time because they don’t want to botch the case, citing both the OJ Simpson and Robert Blake murder investigations as examples of times when rushing on the part of the LAPD hindered subsequent prosecution cases in court.

Both Simpson and Blake were acquitted of murder charges, of course, after high profile defence lawyers managed to pick sufficient holes in the prosecution cases against their clients. Yet both men were subsequently deemed liable to pay wrongful death damages, when sued by the families of the victims who they, in the eyes of the criminal courts, hadn’t murdered. The anomaly is the result of the lesser ‘burden of proof’ required in civil cases, but the fact liability could be proved while guilt could not led to many to criticise both the prosecution lawyers pursuing the cases against Simpson and Blake, and also the police officers who amassed the evidence used in court.

Anyway, none of this is really relevant, except that, according to TMZ, the fall out from the Simpson and Blake trials mean the LAPD are extra careful when it comes to celebrity murder cases which are likely to generate many column inches if and when they reach court, not wanting to be seen to bungle again.

Of course this case is rather different to Simpson, Blake and that other celebrity murder case heard in the Californian courts in recent years, the Phil Spector trial. Firstly the celebrity is the victim not the defendant, and secondly there’s no dispute over who was holding the gun, knife or, in this case, the needle. The question is, was Jackson’s doctor – Dr Conrad Murray – criminally negligent in administering a surgical anaesthetic to help the late king of pop sleep, and did he or anyone else break laws in order to secure the drug for domestic use?

Commenting on the slow progress of the LAPD’s investigation into Murray, one source told TMZ: “There is not a problem with the case. Time is on our side. We want to do this right. We’ve had bad luck with big cases like OJ in the past, and we don’t want to repeat those mistakes”. Said sources say it’s hoped their investigations may be done by Christmas, but that there is a chance it may run into January.

The TMZ report on the slow progress of the Jackson homicide investigation came as Janet Jackson, for the first time, formally pointed the finger at Dr Murray. In an interview with ABC in the US, due to air later this week, she says: “He [Murray] was the one that was administering [the drugs]. I think he is responsible”.

Murray maintains his innocence, and yesterday a spokesman for the doc restated his claim that he didn’t prescribe or administer any drugs to Jackson that he could have known would kill the pop star.

In the ABC interview Jackson talks about her “tough year”, and recalls the day in June when her brother died. She said: “I was at my house in New York. You know, another day, another morning. And I get a call. [My assistant] said, ‘Your brother’s been taken to the hospital. It’s on CNN right now’. I called everyone. There’s a line busy or – someone wasn’t picking up. I spoke to mother. I spoke to Tito. I spoke to my nephew Austin. I spoke to my sister La Toya”.

She continued: “I told them to call me when they got to the hospital. And I remember thinking nobody’s calling me back, so I tried calling again, and that’s how I found out that he was no longer … I couldn’t believe it. It just didn’t ring true to me. It felt like a dream. It’s still so difficult for me to believe. It’s, you know, you have to accept what is. But it’s hard. You have to move on with your life. You have to accept what is and I understand that”.

In related news, Murray’s spokesman also yesterday claimed that AEG Live, promoters of the Jackson O2 residency that never happened, owe him $300,000 for the two months work he did caring for Jacko prior to the late king of pop’s death.

Given the police investigations into Murray, and allegations his negligence led to the death of AEG’s biggest act, you can perhaps understand why the concert promoter isn’t fast tracking his invoices. But Murray claims that he gave up a lot of work to become Jackson’s full time medic, and that AEG is bound by contract to pay him his fees. Murray’s people say he won’t tap the Jackson estate for his money because he was hired by the live music giant directly.

AEG are yet to respond. Murray’s finances have been under the spotlight ever since Jacko’s demise, and are seemingly in a bit of a mess. The doc was in court yesterday trying to get our of child support commitments on the basis he’s broke. The judge wasn’t overly sympathetic it seems.

Talking of courts and the late king of pop, but away from the doctor now, and Jackson’s father Joe Jackson is expected to appeal that previously reported ruling that rejected his objections to the administration of his late son’s estate by John Branca and John McClain.

Joe, who was cut out of his son’s will, has become increasingly antsy since his estranged wife Katherine, who initially also objected to Branca and McClain’s running of the late king of pop’s affairs, announced last week she was now happy for them to continue to do so. Joe Jackson disputes the validity of the 2002 will from which Branca and McClain get their authority.

The LA court last week rejected Jackson Senior’s claims, which, TMZ reveals, has led to the Jackson patriarch taking his case to the California Court of Appeal. Legal experts don’t seem to reckon much for Joe’s chances though.

Finally, from a rather busy Michael Jackson news desk, the law firm which represented Jacko in his custody battle against Debbie Rowe in relation to the couple’s two children have filed a financial claim to the executors of his estate. They are owed for work done relating to the custody arrangement earlier this year, legal work for which Jackson only paid a portion of the fee.

The sum they are tapping the Jackson estate for? $1419.70. For 4.35 hours work and a $14 parking charge. Sitting alongside a string of six figure claims against Jackson, the estate’s lawyers must be tempted to send a ‘This Is It’ box set signed by the Jacko kids and tell the custody lawyers to make their money back on eBay.