TODAY

TODAY   |  April 02, 2013

Michael Jackson wrongful death trial begins

Jury selection starts today in the suit by the pop superstar’s mother against tour promoter AEG Live. Katharine Jackson is claiming they placed profit above Michael Jackson’s health and well-being, resulting in his death. NBC’s Diana Alvear reports.

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>>> let us begin with jury selection which is getting under way today in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by michael jackson 's mother, katherine, suing the promoter of her son's "farewell" concert for billions of dollars. diana is at the los angeles county courthouse good morning to you.

>> reporter: matt, good morning. this trial is shaping up to be worthy of a hollywood setting. we're expecting to hear testimony from dozens of witnesses, among them two of jackson's children and those make a strong case. this was michael jackson rehearsing for his final tour "this is it." days later he was dead. now the long-awaited trial that will determine whether aeg live , the company handling the tour, should be held liable for the singer's death.

>> the trial is really going to come down to did aeg have sufficient control over dr. murray to encourage dr. murray to treat michael jackson in an improper way.

>> reporter: katherine jackson is suing the tour promoter for negligence, claiming the company pushed michael too hard, threatened to cancel the tour if he missed rehearsal and forced him to accept treatment from dr. conrad murray , the man convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the 2009 death of the king of pop . attorneys for aeg argue they merely had a performance agreement with jackson to put on a tour and was in no way responsible for the singer's health or death. michael's two older children, prince and paris, will reportedly take the stand, as well as katherine. the potential witness list also features serious star power including prince, quincy jones , and spike lee . dr. murray 's attorney says he plans to plead the fifth but acknowledges that might not work in a civil trial .

>> it is possible he may have to answer questions on a question by question basis.

>> reporter: even though michael jackson was acquitted the jury will still hear about the child molestation trial, ag attorneys believe that may have influenced the singer's emotional state and health at the time of his death.

>> diana alvear in los angeles ,