King’s pop files suit against son’s doctor
LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson fans the world over paused Friday to remember the man they called the King of Pop with songs, dances and prayers on the first anniversary of his death, a day Jackson’s father marked by filing a wrongful-death lawsuit against the doctor charged with giving his son a lethal dose of sedatives.
In the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale, thousands filed silently through the gates of Forest Lawn Cemetery, where Jackson’s body is entombed in the mausoleum.
Several of Jackson’s relatives visited the mausoleum, which was off limits to the public. Brother Tito shook hands with fans as he arrived, and brother Jermaine rolled down a window and waved as the family left in a fleet of luxury vehicles.
In Jackson’s hometown of Gary, Ind., Jackson’s mother, Katherine, unveiled a monument in the front yard of the modest home where her children grew up.
“This past year has been very hard on the family,” she said. “If it wasn’t for the help of all of you, we wouldn’t have made it through.”
Jackson died June 25, 2009, at age 50, just before he was to begin a comeback tour. Dr. Conrad Murray has pleaded not guilty to felony involuntary manslaughter in his death. Authorities say Murray provided the entertainer with a mix of sedatives – including the powerful anesthetic propofol – that killed him.
As Jackson fans everywhere grieved, the entertainer’s father, Joe Jackson, filed suit against Murray in federal court in Los Angeles.
The complaint, which seeks more than $75,000, accuses Murray of professional negligence and contends the physician tried to conceal his administration of propofol after Jackson’s death. Propofol is normally administered only in hospital settings. Murray had been providing it in the bedroom of Jackson’s rented mansion in Los Angeles to help him sleep after the physically grueling rehearsals the performer had been putting himself through to get in shape for his comeback.
Murray attorney Charles Peckham said in a statement he expected his client’s innocence to be “proven in a court of law.”
Jackson’s father is also fighting with his son’s estate, seeking more than $15,000 a month. Father and son had a strained relationship and the elder Jackson was left out of his son’s will.
As Jackson’s father went to court in Los Angeles, tributes to his son unfolded around the world.
One took place at Jackson’s star in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Many of the dancers were dressed as the King of Pop himself, wearing sequined gloves, black shirts and pants, white sox, black loafers and snappy looking Fedoras.
“I watched all the videos 50 times,” said 5-year-old Kamal Ali, who wowed the crowd as he performed with nearly two dozen others as the Jackson hit “Thriller” was played.
The Gary, Ind., memorial also had a strong party vibe, with people dancing to Jackson music as they waited for live performances of his songs to begin.
Earlier, in Japan, hundreds had met at Tokyo Tower to honor Jackson with a candlelight vigil and a gospel concert.
“I don’t know what to say. Seeing all his things makes it all come back to me,” said Yumiko Sasaki, a 48-year-old Tokyo office worker. “It makes me so sad to think that he is gone. He was wonderful.”
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