Jackson’s private life on display in civil trial
FILE - This March 5, 2009 file photo shows singer Michael Jackson announcing his concerts at the London O2 Arena. Jackson's words and music rang through a courtroom once again on Monday, April 29, 2013, this time at the start of wrongful death trial, as a lawyer tried to show jurors the pop singer's loving relationship with his mother and children. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, file)
FILE - This Feb. 1, 1993 file photo shows Pop superstar Michael Jackson performing during the halftime show at the Super Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Jackson's words and music rang through a courtroom once again on Monday, April 29, 2013, this time at the start of wrongful death trial, as a lawyer tried to show jurors the pop singer's loving relationship with his mother and children. (AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy, file)
Randy Jackson and Rebbie Jackson, background right, brother and sister of late pop star Michael Jackson, arrive at a courthouse for Katherine Jackson's lawsuit against concert giant AEG Live in Los Angeles, Monday, April 29, 2013. An attorney for Michael Jackson's mother says AEG Live owed it to the pop superstar to properly investigate the doctor held criminally responsible for his death. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Jurors in the civil case between Michael Jackson’s mother and concert giant AEG Live got another glimpse of the singer’s private life yesterday through the eyes of a paramedic who described the singer’s bedroom and the frantic efforts to revive the King of Pop on the day he died.
Many other private moments from the singer’s life will be exposed as the case progresses over the next several months, with witnesses expected to testify about secret medical treatments, lavish spending and tender moments spent with his mother and children.
In the nearly four years since his death, nearly every aspect of Jackson’s life has been explored in court proceedings, documentaries, books and news stories.
Still, the negligence case filed by his mother against AEG promises to deliver the most detailed account of the singer’s addiction struggles, including testimony from his ex-wife Debbie Rowe about treatments involving the anesthetic propofol dating back to the 1990s.
Jackson died from a propofol overdose in 2009 while preparing for a series of comeback concerts at AEG’s O2 Arena in London.
Katherine Jackson contends AEG didn’t properly investigate the doctor who later administered the fatal dose. The company denies wrongdoing.
During opening statements in Los Angeles, attorneys framed Jackson’s prescription drug addiction through the prism of his superstar status.
Attorney Brian Panish, who represents Katherine Jackson, said the drug problems worsened when the pop star was under the stress of live performances.
AEG attorney Marvin Putnam countered that Jackson’s stardom provided a cover to receive multiple, secret medical treatments, many involving propofol.
Katherine Jackson and two of the superstar’s children, Prince and Paris, are potential witnesses whose testimony will likely focus heavily on their grieving and losses.
With the start of testimony yesterday, the panel was transported by paramedic Richard Senneff into the singer’s bedroom, a place he kept locked and where his propofol treatments were administered out of sight of everyone but Murray.
Senneff, a paramedic and firefighter for nearly 28 years, told the panel about responding to Jackson’s bedroom on June 25, 2009, and finding an unusual scene.
He described a frazzled Murray’s efforts to revive Jackson.
“He was pale, he was sweaty,” the paramedic said of Murray. “He was very busy.”
He said Jackson appeared to be terminally ill.
“To me, he looked like someone who was at the end stage of a long disease process,” Senneff said, adding that Murray told him that he was treating Jackson for dehydration.
Senneff told the panel he found an IV pole, oxygen tanks and a nightstand with several medicine bottles.
Just as he has previously testified in Murray’s criminal trial, the paramedic told the panel that Murray never mentioned propofol, the hospital-grade anesthetic that killed the singer.
Jackson’s blue hands, feet and lip, and the singer’s dry eyes all signaled to Senneff that the singer was dead and hadn’t been breathing for a long time.
Onlookers and paparazzi were already gathering at Jackson’s gate and someone pressed a camera to the ambulance window to get pictures of the stricken star.