LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Michael Jackson’s potential lost earnings again dominated testimony Wednesday as a financial expert for AEG Live took the stand for a third day in the late singer’s wrongful death trial.
Entertainment industry consultant Eric Briggs was grilled by Jackson family attorney Brian Panish over the conclusions he offered as AEG’s financial expert.
He disputed prior testimony given by the plaintiff’s expert Arthur Erk, who claimed the singer’s death had caused a loss of income estimated between $1.1 to $1.5 billion, earned from 37 months of touring, along with merchandise, endorsements, and royalties from a Las Vegas show.
Briggs argued any estimate as to how much money Jackson’s death would have cost his estate is pure speculation.
“Mr. Jackson, according to you… wouldn’t have earned a dime?” Panish asked.
“Yes taking into (account) his risk factors we know as of today…” Briggs responded.
Panish then called into question a graph produced by the witness which compared the top four grossing world tours by U2, The Rolling Stones, ACDC and Madonna, to Michael Jackson’s tour proceeds.
The amount appeared to be a small fraction compared to the other artists.
Panish noted Jackson’s HIStory tour was more than a decade ago, when the average ticket price was under $40. He noted ticket prices for top tier artists today are more than double that amount.
Panish also noted U2 and the other artists performed nearly twice as many shows on their tours.
“Let’s compare apples to apples,” Panish said.
He then produced another chart, which assumed Jackson could charge today’s ticket prices and that he performed the same number of concerts as other artists.
“Michael Jackson would have earned $300 million more than The Rolling Stones, wouldn’t he?” Panish asked.
“That’s the math,” Briggs said.
Briggs also testified potential ticket sales was just one of many factors he used in drawing his conclusion.
Michael Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, is suing AEG Live for what she claims was negligence in the hiring and supervision of Conrad Murray, who was brought on board as Michael Jackson’s physician while the singer prepared for his ill-fated comeback concert series.
AEG denies any wrongdoing and maintains the doctor was brought on at Jackson’s request.
Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011 after he was found guilty of administering the fatal dose of propofol that killed Jackson in 2009.
He is currently serving a four-year sentence in a L.A. County jail.
The case continues.