Michael Jackson’s mother Katherine Jackson “isn’t throwing in the towel,” says Jackson’s lead trial lawyer Brian Panish.
Michael Jackson’s mom was heartened by a private conversation with the jury that rejected her billion dollar wrongful death lawsuit and told her lawyer late Thursday that she supports his research into an appeal.
“She isn’t throwing in the towel,” Katherine Jackson’s lead trial lawyer Brian Panish told the Daily News Friday after his meeting with the matriarch.
“She feels that the jurors ended the trial really liking Michael,” he said, confirming that Katherine was inside the judge’s locked courtroom when both sides spoke with the six men and six women immediately after their verdict was read.
“One question asked of the jury was, ‘What was your impression of Michael?’ And they said it was way better after hearing what a great father he was and how much he did for humanity,” Panish said. “They understood he struggled but that he really did his best.”
The Los Angeles jury that sat through the five-month trial decided Wednesday that defendant AEG Live – the promoter of Michael’s doomed “This Is It” comeback concerts – did in fact hire Dr. Conrad Murray but shouldn’t be held liable for the physician’s actions because he was neither “unfit” nor “incompetent.”
Jurors said in media interviews that they were aware many wouldn’t understand their decision, but they believed Murray was competent at the time of his hiring – with a valid license and no malpractice claims – and that AEG had no reason to suspect he’d go rogue with surgery-style anesthesiology.
Panish said Michael’s oldest son Prince, 16, was mystified by that portion of the verdict.
“Prince is doing okay,” Panish said, recounting a conversation with him Thursday. “He said he felt good about the jury finding that AEG hired Dr. Murray but didn’t understand their answer to the second question – as many of us don’t.”
Dr. Conrad Murray is currently in prison for administering a lethal dose of propofol to Michael Jackson.
Panish said his team is now setting up individual interviews with the jurors and planning to meet with outside appellate lawyers to make a decision on a possible appeal in the next 30 days.
“We can’t give up until we gather all the information. Today is another chapter,” Panish said Friday.
AEG’s lead lawyer said Wednesday that the jury’s verdict “completely vindicates” his client.
“Although Michael Jackson’s death was a terrible tragedy, it was not a tragedy of AEG Live’s making,” lawyer Marvin Putnam said.
He said outside court that he hoped Katherine would forgo an appeal.
“Sadly, the children have been through a lot,” he said. “In many measures, I hope for their sake that there isn’t an appeal.”
He said AEG “loved and cared for” Michael.