LOS ANGELES – Prosecutors will not seek restitution against the doctor convicted of killing Michael Jackson after conferring with the singer's parents and attorneys for his estate and children.
The request for payments from Conrad Murray was withdrawn Wednesday during a brief court hearing, just days before a judge was scheduled to consider how much the former cardiologist should pay to members of Jackson's family or his estate.
Deputy District Attorney David Walgren told the judge handling the case that he was withdrawing the restitution request after speaking with Jackson's mother, Katherine, and attorney for his father, Joseph. Walgren also consulted with an attorney for the singer's estate and a court-appointed attorney representing the interests of Jackson's three children, a transcript of the proceedings shows.
Murray remains in jail after being convicted in November of involuntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to serve four years in jail, but his incarceration will be cut in half due to overcrowding and California's budget crunch.
Jackson's estate estimated the singer would have earned at least $100 million if he had performed his "This Is It" concerts planned for London's O2 arena. Murray might have also been found liable for Jackson's funeral expenses, which totaled more than $1.8 million. Murray's attorneys said he had nowhere near the money to pay either amount, and he filed paperwork last month indicating he is indigent.
Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor ruled that the family was waiving its right to restitution permanently, although two separate cases pending in a Los Angeles civil court seek damages for the King of Pop's June 2009 death. Katherine Jackson is suing concert giant AEG Live, which was promoting Jackson's planned series of comeback concerts, claiming they failed to properly supervise Murray.
Joseph Jackson is suing AEG Live, alleging negligence by the entertainment promoter in his son's death, and he is suing Murray for wrongful death in the case.
Murray's attorney, J. Michael Flanagan, said he was pleased to have the restitution issue resolved. Flanagan said during Wednesday's hearing that he intends to seek bail for Murray while he appeals his conviction, according to the transcript, but he was told to put the request in writing.
The fate of Joseph Jackson's civil case remains unclear. A California bar court in Los Angeles recommended Friday that the Jackson family patriarch's attorney, Brian Oxman, be barred from practicing law because of conduct on other, unrelated cases. Oxman filed Joseph Jackson's lawsuit in federal court on the one-year anniversary of the singer's death, but a judge later ruled it should be heard in state court. Oxman is the only attorney who has been listed on the case so far and has been a vocal antagonist against Murray and AEG Live.
Reached by phone, Oxman declined to comment on the recommendation, which still must be approved by the California Supreme Court.
The disciplinary court found that Oxman and his wife, who is also his law partner, mixed clients' and personal funds in an effort to evade creditors and sanctions imposed against Oxman. He had been disciplined previously, which the court cited among its reasons for seeking the revocation of his law license.
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