LOS ANGELES (AP) — Testimony ended Friday in a long-running lawsuit claiming the promoter of Michael Jackson’s planned comeback concerts was negligent in hiring the doctor convicted of causing the death of the superstar.
Closing arguments were expected to begin on Tuesday, with the case possibly going to jurors later next week.
Lawyers for Katherine Jackson, who filed the suit involving her son, concluded testimony in the 21-week case after jurors heard from Michael Jackson’s longtime personal physician, Dr. Allan Metzger, and his attorney.
Metzger testified about Jackson’s skin conditions, burns and other injuries that required medical care by a variety of doctors. He also described Jackson’s generosity.
Jackson died in 2009 at his rented mansion in Los Angeles while preparing for the “This Is It” shows in London. Dr. Conrad Murray was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter for giving him an overdose of the anesthetic propofol, a drug Jackson took to help him sleep.
Metzger considered Jackson a close friend and served as best man at the singer’s wedding to Debbie Rowe.
Metzger said over two days of testimony that he thought Jackson engaged in some doctor shopping but only used prescription medications to treat legitimate pain.
“He needed it,” Metzger said. “He didn’t take it for joy.”
The doctor was among more than 50 witnesses in the case that began on April 29 with opening statements.
Both sides introduced testimony from Metzger. Lawyers for AEG Live, the target of the lawsuit, played his videotaped testimony detailing Jackson’s use of multiple doctors and his close friendship with the singer.
Attorneys for Jackson’s mother called Metzger as a rebuttal witness to remind the jury about Jackson’s generosity toward charities and the enormous pain he endured after his scalp was burned during a Pepsi commercial shoot in 1984.
In a twist, Metzger’s attorney Eric George was the final witness and testified about how he came to represent the doctor after previously working for Rowe in the case.
George said he agreed to represent Metzger for a reduced rate after the doctor contacted him. He also said there was no conflict with his previous representation of Rowe.
AEG Live denies it hired Murray or bears any responsibility for the singer’s death.
Also on Friday, Judge Yvettte Palazuelos ruled that Katherine Jackson was financially dependent to at least some extent on her son for necessities of life, and the family matriarch is entitled to damages if jurors find AEG Live liable for her son’s death.
AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch contributed to this report. McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP