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Jackson promoters cleared of negligence lawsuit

A California jury has rejected a negligence lawsuit brought against a tour promoter by the family of the pop star Michael Jackson over his 2009 death. The verdict ends five months of court proceedings.

The concert promotions firm which hired the doctor involved in Michael Jackson's anesthetic overdose death in 2009 was cleared of negligence by a Los Angeles jury on Wednesday after a five-month hearing.

The 12-person panel agreed that the promoter AEG Live had hired cardiologist Conrad Murray, who administered an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol, but found that Murray was neither unfit nor incompetent for the job as Jackson's personal physician.

The Jackson family, including the singer's mother Katherine Jackson and the singer's three children, had alleged that AEG Live had negligently hired and supervised Murray.

The verdict rules out millions of dollars of damages sought by the family.

Outside the court, Jackson family lawyer Kevin Boyle said attorneys and the family were "of course not happy" with the verdict.

"We will be exploring all options, legally and factually," Boyle said.

Insomnia and pain

Murray was convicted in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter. That trial illustrated the late-Jackson's battles against chronic pain and insomnia. Murray had offered Jackson propofol on a nightly basis although it is intended for hospital operating rooms.

Jackson died in Los Angeles in 2009, aged 50, while rehearsing for a major come-back tour.

AEG Live executive Randy Phillips, who testified at the latest hearing said he was "deeply grateful" that the jury had recognized that neither he nor the promotions firm "played any part in Michael's tragic death."

During proceedings, a lawyer for the Jackson family, Brian Panish, had claimed that Murray took on the highly-paid job as Jackson's personal physician to climb out of financial troubles.

AEG Live's attorney Marvin Putnam said the company had not known that Jackson often used the drug. Had it known, it would have "never agreed to finance this tour," Putnam told the jury in closing arguments.

ipj/jm (AP, AFP)