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Jackson's attorneys say his accusers are professional plaintiffs



Published: Fri, February 18, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Michael Jackson's attorneys want to introduce evidence at his child molestation trial from a 2001 lawsuit filed by his accuser's family against a department store, saying it shows family members are "professional plaintiffs" with a history of committing fraud.

The family received more than $150,000 in a settlement with J.C. Penney and Tower Records, another defendant in the case, after claiming they were beaten by security guards for the two companies.

In the lawsuit, the family alleged that Jackson's accuser, his mother and his brother were beaten in a parking lot in 1998 after the boy left the store with clothes that hadn't been paid for.

The boy's mother amended the 2001 lawsuit to say a guard had sexually assaulted her by groping her during the beating.

Prosecutors are seeking to limit evidence about the lawsuit from Jackson's criminal trial, calling it irrelevant. The 46-year-old pop star is charged with molesting the boy, plying him with alcohol, and conspiring to hold his family captive.

But defense attorneys argued in a motion unsealed Thursday that the Penney's lawsuit demonstrates a "history of making false allegations that become more outrageous as time passes" and of making accusations that are not corroborated by other witnesses.

Defense attorneys also argued that the defendants in the 2001 case settled in part because Jackson's accuser was fighting cancer at the time, which might have made him sympathetic to jurors for reasons "totally irrelevant" to the case.




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