Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Michael Jackson not to blame for own death, mother tells jury

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LOS ANGELES -- Michael Jackson's mother testified Monday that she does not believe her son had any responsibility for his own death.

Katherine Jackson was responding to a question from attorney Marvin Putnam, who represents AEG Live LLC, the promoter of her son's ill-fated This Is It concerts.

Katherine Jackson, 83, is suing AEG Live, claiming it failed to properly investigate Dr. Conrad Murray, who was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter for giving the singer an overdose of the anesthetic propofol.

Putnam told jurors during opening statements in the negligence lawsuit in April that the case centred on personal responsibility -- specifically Michael Jackson's decision to ask Murray to administer propofol as a sleep aid while he prepared for his shows.

AEG Live denies it hired the doctor or bears any responsibility for Michael Jackson's death.

Katherine Jackson said she believes AEG Live hired Murray, not her son. She said she never heard of the cardiologist until her son died, and indicated that she felt Murray bore responsibility for her son's death.

"Even though he asked for it, he could have said no," Katherine Jackson said of Murray.

She said she asked prosecutors to drop a $100 million restitution claim against Murray because he has several children.

"His money should go to the children," she said.

Putnam also asked Katherine Jackson about her son's payments to her over the years. She said he directly paid many of the expenses on her home and would occasionally give her cash as a gift.

Katherine Jackson said she didn't keep track of the payments and appeared to grow annoyed at the questions.

"What does this have to do with the death of my son," she asked Putnam.

The attorney also asked about Katherine Jackson about conversations she had with her son about prescription drug use.

She said she asked him about it when he lived in Las Vegas and he denied he was abusing prescription medications.

"I'm a mother, quite naturally he denied it," she said. "He wouldn't want me to think that."

She said she was aware her son took medications for pain in his back and scalp after he sustained injuries over his career. She said she never saw signs that her son was abusing medications, including when she and several of her children went to the singer's Neverland Ranch for an intervention.

Her son was fine but upset that they thought he had a problem.

Katherine Jackson began her testimony on Friday. She tearfully described learning about his death and told jurors that he had been her primary means of financial support throughout his life.

"Michael took care of me, my every need, my every want," she said Friday. "He gave me everything."

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 23, 2013 C3

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