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Michael Jackson case may not reach jury until late September

Justice SystemMichael JacksonAEGConrad MurrayRandy Phillips

The judge in the Michael Jackson wrongful death lawsuit said Thursday that she doesn’t expect the case, now in its fourth month, to go to the jury before late September.

Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos said she thought jurors needed an update on the case, which has moved slowly.

One juror, according to the judge, had signaled that the end of August was a “drop dead date.” The judge did not address what will happen at that time, but it raises the question of whether an alternate will take the juror’s place. One juror, who moved to Atlanta, already has been replaced.

The judge gave jurors no explanation for the length of the trial.

“It is what it is,” she said.

Palazuelos told jurors to write her a note if they had problems.

The pace of the trial will slow considerably next month with no court scheduled on several days. Palazuelos said earlier in the trial that jurors had pushed back appointments to September, when they expected the case would be over. As a result some are busy on certain days.

Jackson’s mother and three children are suing AEG Live, saying the concert promoter and producer negligently hired Conrad Murray, the doctor who administered the fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol to the singer to help him sleep in June 2009. AEG says Murray was Jackson’s personal physician, that the singer hired him and that any money it was supposed to pay Murray was part of an advance to Jackson.

Kenny Ortega, the director of Jackson’s ill–fated 50 comeback concerts in London, continued his testimony Thursday after a break of several weeks so he could travel to China for work.

Ortega wrote an email to AEG chief executive Randy Phillips five days before Jackson’s death expressing his concern with the singer’s physical and emotional state, saying the pop star wouldn’t be ready for the concerts and that he needed to be evaluated by a psychiatrist. .

Asked if Jackson was responsible for his own health, Ortega replied, “I didn’t think he was being very responsible but it was his responsibility, in my opinion.”

Debbie Rowe, Jackson’s former wife and mother of two of his children, is expected to be called to the witness stand next week.

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jeff.gottlieb@latimes.com

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Justice SystemMichael JacksonAEGConrad MurrayRandy Phillips
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