Michael Jackson’s fourth death anniversary today

LOS ANGELES: Almost four years after his shocking death, the bizarre life and sorry demise of Michael Jackson is playing out again in a $40 billion civil trial that pits the singer’s family against the organizers of a musical comeback that never happened.

The jury trial, which started in April, seeks to hold AEG Live, the promoters of the never-realized series of 2009 London concerts, liable for the wrongful death of the “Thriller” singer.

Jackson’s immediate family, led by mother Katherine accuse AEG Live of negligence in hiring Conrad Murray, failing to conduct proper background checks on the doctor and going to extreme lengths to get the singer ready for the shows.

AEG Live maintains that Jackson kept his dependency on propofol secret from outsiders, that a proposed contract with Murray was never fully executed and they could not have foreseen that Murray posed a danger to Jackson.

Top AEG Live executives have testified as well as those who were close to singer in his final days, like his personal chef and tour choreographer.

Jackson’s three children and family members could be called as witnesses in the trial.

Jackson, 50, drowning in debt and seeking to rebuild a reputation damaged by his 2005 trial and acquittal on child molestation charges, died in Los Angeles of an overdose of the powerful surgical anesthetic propofol and a cocktail of other sedatives on June 25, 2009.

His personal physician, Murray, is serving a four-year prison sentence after being found criminally negligent by administering propofol to Jackson as a sleep aid.

Murray’s six-week trial in 2011 portrayed the former child star known for his stunning dance moves and spectacular public performances as a slurring, drugged-up man off-stage who slept with a toy doll on his bed and whose planned comeback tour was plagued with problems.

Jackson’s daughter Paris recently made headlines of her own, after being rushed to the hospital for an apparent suicide attempt. Since their father’s death, Paris and her two brothers Prince Michael and Prince Michael II, also known as Blanket, live under the court-ordered custody of their 83-year-old grandmother, Katherine, and cousin, T.J. Jackson, the son of Jackson’s older brother Tito.