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Judge rejects bid for new trial in Michael Jackson's mother's lawsuit against promoter AEG

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - A judge on Monday rejected a bid by Michael Jackson's mother for a new trial in her lawsuit claiming the promoter of her son's ill-fated comeback concerts was negligent in his death.

Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos ruled that jurors were given proper instructions and there were no errors in her trial rulings that would warrant a retrial.

A jury determined in October that AEG Live was not liable for Jackson's June 2009 death despite hiring the doctor who was convicted of giving the superstar an overdose of a powerful anesthetic.

Katherine Jackson's lawyers argued that jurors were given an improper verdict form that was contrary to state law and didn't allow them to consider all the issues in the case after five months of testimony last year.

AEG's lawyers argued that there was no mistake in the verdict form and the motion for a new trial should be denied.

Attorneys for the Jackson family matriarch say they will appeal to a higher state court.

Jurors decided the case on a question about whether evidence showed former cardiologist Conrad Murray was unfit or incompetent to serve as Jackson's physician while he prepared for a series of 50 concerts at London's O2 Arena. Katherine Jackson's attorneys argued the question unfairly restricted deliberations, but Palazuelos disagreed.

"Question Two does not restrict jurors to the consideration of Dr. Murray's competence at the time of hiring only," the judge wrote.

She also determined that there was no evidence that the panel was confused by the verdict form, noting that jurors often wrote her notes about scheduling concerns and to ask for supplies during deliberations.

"The court finds no jury confusion based on the admissible evidence," Palazuelos ruled.

AEG Live's attorney Marvin Putnam praised Monday's ruling.

"We were confident that the court would uphold the jury's verdict," he wrote in a statement. "This is also fantastic news for the taxpayers of California, who won't have their hard-earned money wasted retrying plaintiffs' baseless claims. Enough is enough."

Kevin Boyle, an attorney for Katherine Jackson and her grandchildren, said the case was far from over.

"We believe there are numerous ways that we can win on appeal," Boyle wrote in an email.

Katherine Jackson sued AEG Live on behalf of herself and her son's three children, accusing the concert promoter of hiring Murray and creating a conflict of interest in his care of the pop superstar.

Murray, who was deeply in debt, was expecting to be paid $150,000 a month to care for Jackson while he prepared for a planned series of comeback concerts in London's O2 Arena. The singer died on June 25, 2009, after receiving an overdose the anesthetic propofol, which Murray was giving Jackson as a sleep aid.

Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011 and released in October after serving two years.

The trial offered a look into Jackson's personal life as well as his routines as an entertainer and medical treatments for a variety of ailments.

Jurors who spoke after the verdict said their verdict did not mean they thought Murray was ethical in his care of Jackson. But they determined he was fit and competent to serve as the singer's doctor when he was hired.

AEG Live executives denied any wrongdoing throughout the trial and said there was no way they could have known that Murray was giving Jackson propofol in the bedroom of his rented mansion.

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Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP .

The Canadian Press


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