Jackson damages claim 'absurd', court told

Jackson damages claim 'absurd', court told
Brian Panish, attorney for the Michael Jackson family delivers his closing argument to jurors in a packed courtroom.

LOS ANGELES - The promoters of Michael Jackson's doomed last tour slammed as "absurd" Wednesday a massive claim by his family for damages over the star's 2009 death, at the climax of a five-month trial.

Making his closing argument, a lawyer for AEG Live said the promoter would never have funded the "This Is It" tour if it knew the star was playing "Russian roulette" with his own life by abusing drugs.

On Tuesday, the Jackson family's lawyer, closing his own case in a Los Angeles courtroom, proposed a figure of US$290 million (S$362 million) for non-economic damages, as well as an unspecified sum for economic damages.

Jackson lawyer Brian Panish cited accountants' analyses of Jackson's potential future earnings of between about US$900 million and US$1.6 billion, but said the jury would have to decide its own figure. AEG Live's attorney Marvin Putnam said Wednesday a claim on such scale was ridiculous.

"Their dollar amount is US$1.5 billion dollars. They kinda rushed through that," he said, referring to the studies cited by Panish the previous day, including in slides shown in court.

"I'm sorry, that's an absurd number. And they haven't even remotely proved it."

Jackson, 50, died on June 25, 2009 from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol at his rented mansion in Los Angeles, where he was rehearsing for the "This is It" shows at London's 02 Arena.

Dr Conrad Murray, a cardiologist, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in a criminal trial in 2011 for giving the drug to the star - who suffered from chronic insomnia - to help him sleep. Murray was jailed for four years.

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