Jackson’s life recounted in opening of civil trial

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With Jackson’s mother, brother Randy and sister Rebbie seated in the front row of the courtroom, jurors were shown numerous slides and several scribbled notes.

A couple of jurors nodded when the lawyer referenced Jackson’s achievements, including successful concert tours and a Super Bowl performance.

Katherine Jackson dabbed her eyes after Panish read a note that her son wrote to her, detailing his feelings about her.

“All my success has been based on the fact that I wanted to make my mother proud,” the singer’s note said, “to win her smile of approval.”

The personal touches came after Panish spent the first half of his presentation detailing Jackson’s struggles with prescription drug abuse throughout the last half of his life.

He also showed jurors numerous emails sent between AEG executives concerning Jackson’s health and their concerns that he wouldn’t be able to perform 50 planned concerts in London.

Putnam recounted the chaotic days following Jackson’s death as investigators and the public tried to figure out how the singer died unexpectedly. He urged jurors to remember that propofol killed Jackson.

“One thing became very, very clear,” Putnam said. “While the world may not have heard of propofol, Mr. Jackson certainly had. The evidence is going to show you that he had been using that drug for years and years.”

He said jurors will hear from Jackson’s ex-wife, Debbie Rowe, who would tell them that Jackson used the anesthetic in the 1990s.

“Mr. Jackson got very, very, good at hiding his addiction,” Putnam said. “He didn’t let anyone see it. Not his staff, not his children. This was the private Michael Jackson.”

He said physician-patient confidentiality kept Jackson’s reliance on propofol from becoming publicly known.

That extended to Murray as well. “He couldn’t tell anyone about the propofol use,” Putnam said of the former cardiologist.

Panish, however, said AEG saw the Jackson shows as a way to make a lot of money and better compete with Live Nation Entertainment Inc.

He displayed a March 2009 email sent before a news conference featuring Jackson, in which AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips wrote to Tim Leiweke, the former CEO of AEG’S parent company, that Jackson was drunk and refusing to address fans.

“This is the scariest thing I have ever seen,” Phillips wrote Leiweke. “He is an emotionally paralyzed mess riddled with self-loathing and doubt now that it’s show time. He’s scared to death.”

Panish said Jackson’s behavior was just one of several warning signs the company ignored before the death.

He told the panel that they would be the ones to assign liability for Jackson’s death, but they should look at AEG’s actions and not focus on Jackson’s issues.

“Michael paid the ultimate price. He died,” Panish said. “Michael has taken responsibility.”

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