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Jenni Rivera Plane Crash Update: Makeup Artist’s Estate Files Legal Petition

Jenni Rivera
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera died, along with six others, in a plane crash in Mexico on Dec. 9. Now, the estate of one of the victims, makeup artist Jacob Yebale, has filed a legal petition “for discovery” and is expected seek a multi-million dollar award in the process.

The petition, filed in Cook County in Illinois, seeks to find information from Learjet about the plane, its owners and operators and its maintenaince history. The jet crashed moments after departing Monterrey, Mexico, killing all onboard.

The petition isn’t solely about money. It is about bringing “to justice all responsible parties including the owner, the leasing company; the maintenance company, and Learjet, a division of Bombardier Aerospace, the company that designed and manufactures the aircraft,” said Monica Kelly, head of Global Aviation for the law firm.

“Lives were lost,” Kelly told Billboard. “Someone is responsible. We want to know who and make sure the person or entity is brought to justice. It is a search for justice. Jacob was very much loved and his family needs answers.”

“The companies have to be punished for their dangerous wrongful behavior that has caused the loss of seven lives,” Kelly also said in a statement about why the petition has been launched. “These companies do not have feelings. They only understand dollars and cents. That is why we have to get a multi-million dollar award, to hurt them in their pockets, where it really hurts them, so they change the way they conduct business.

Rivera and Yebale lost their lives along with publicist Arturo Rivera, who was not related to his client; stylist Jorge Sanches; attorney Mario Macias; and pilots Miguel Perez and Alejandro Torres. The plane nosedived from 28,000 feet at a speed of 600 miles an hour in a terrifying crash.

Immediately following the crash, the aircraft’s owner, Las Vegas-based Starwood Enterprises, and its operations manager, Christian E. Esquino Nuñez, were the subject of scrutiny, with plenty of disconcerting details about the OM coming to light. He appears to be a shady character.

He has a lengthy criminal history, serving time for drug trafficking and forgery related to Starwood. He owes millions in state and federal taxes. He and partner Lance Z. Ricotta were convicted in 2005 of falsifying logbooks for six planes. He was also sent to jail in 2002 for a similar offense.

He spoke to the L.A. Times after the crash, laying blame on the 78-year-old pilot, suggesting he suffered a heart attack mid-flight and that his co-pilot, 20, was not experienced enough to right the plane’s course.

A court date is set for February regarding the petition.

Watch the Jenni Rivera ‘Basta Ya’ Video

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