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Judge dismisses AEG Live executives from Michael Jackson lawsuit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Los Angeles judge on Monday dismissed two AEG Live executives from the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of late pop star Michael Jackson, but the case will still go forward against the concert promoter.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos threw out the case against AEG Live executives Randy Phillips and Paul Gongaware, who had been named in the lawsuit.

Attorneys for AEG Live had asked Palazuelos to dismiss the suit, saying that Jackson family attorneys had not proven their case that the defendants had negligently hired Conrad Murray, the physician who administered the lethal drug dose to Jackson, and ignored signs of the pop star's poor health.

Jackson died in 2009 aged 50 in Los Angeles from an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol as he prepared for his "This Is It" series of 50 concerts in London.

Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011 for his role in Jackson's death. AEG Live alleges that Jackson chose Murray as his physician and they did not control Murray.

Both Phillips and Gongaware denied any wrongdoing during testimony in the trial, which began in April and is expected to go to the jury by the end of the month.

The trial has opened a window into Jackson's final days and guarded private life with the singer's mother, Katherine Jackson; son, Prince Michael; and ex-wife, Debbie Rowe, each testifying.

AEG Live has argued that Jackson had prescription drug and addiction problems for years, while Rowe testified that physicians took advantage of the singer and over-prescribed medications to compete for his business.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Eric Walsh)

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