Michael Jackson's father plans wrongful death suit

Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:48pm EDT
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A lawyer for Michael Jackson's father said Tuesday he intends to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the late pop star's doctor within 90 days, claiming the physician's actions amounted to murder.

Brian Oxman, who represents Joe Jackson, said the amount of the powerful anesthetic propofol given to the "Thriller" singer by Dr Conrad Murray before Jackson's death on June 25, 2009 "was reckless, and it amounts to second-degree murder."

"The continuous administration of drugs over six weeks -- he (Murray) gave him propofol every night -- that is Russian roulette, that is loading six bullets into a gun with only six chambers," Oxman told Reuters.

As part of a criminal investigation, prosecutors have charged Murray with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Jackson, 50, who had been rehearsing for a series of concerts in London before his death.

Murray had been hired by concert promoter AEG Live to care for Jackson in the months leading to the London shows.

The wrongful death lawsuit would be a civil lawsuit, which can run in parallel with the criminal suit. The criminal suit can result in a jail sentence whereas the civil lawsuit's main purpose is winning monetary damages against a defendant.

Los Angeles officials have ruled the death a homicide caused by "acute propofol intoxication" at a level that was equivalent to that used for anesthesia during "major surgery."

Jackson had been taking propofol for insomnia, and Murray has admitted administering the drug to him the day he died. Murray has said he did nothing wrong and has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.   Continued...

<p>Joe Jackson, father of the late Michael Jackson, arrives at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards in New York, September 13, 2009. REUTERS/Eric Thayer</p>