US judge delays trial of Michael Jackson show promoters

May 16, 2012, 09:14 IST | PTI

A US judge today postponed until next year a trial of the promoters of Michael Jackson's doomed 2009 comeback shows, accused by the star's mother of sharing the blame for his death.

Lawyers for AEG Live won a postponement of the trial, which had been set for September, until next April, after arguing that they need more time to prepare their case. Jackson's mother Katherine -- who claims that AEG Live pushed her son too hard to prepare for a series of 50 shows in London -- had asked for the trial to be scheduled on a speeded-up priority list.

Specifically, she alleges they were negligent in letting the star be cared for by doctor Conrad Murray, who was jailed for four years last November over Jackson's death from an overdose of powerful sedatives. But AEG Live lawyers filed a request with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos last week for the trial to be delayed, saying they needed more time due to the complexity of the case.

Their legal submission also claimed that new information shows Jackson had a history of drug abuse long before the singer met Murray, hired to care for him before and during the shows at London's O2 Arena. Today judge Palazuelos found in their favour, putting the trial back from September 10 this year to April 2, 2013.

After the ruling, Jackson family lawyer Kevin Boyle said he could still seek a priority trial date, but suggested that the delay could actually help his clients. "The way we keep obtaining more information, it might be beneficial," he said. Jackson died on June 25, 2009, from an overdose of powerful sedatives including the clinical anaesthetic propofol, which Murray administered to help the singer combat chronic insomnia. 

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