Thursday 27 June 2019

Michael Jackson sex abuse lawsuit dismissed

The judgment resolves one of the last remaining major claims against the late singer's holdings (AP)
The judgment resolves one of the last remaining major claims against the late singer's holdings (AP)

A judge has dismissed the lawsuit brought by a choreographer who alleged Michael Jackson molested him as a child, resolving one of the last major claims against the late singer's holdings.

Judge Mitchell L Beckloff's summary judgment ruling against the now-35-year-old Wade Robson found that the two Jackson-owned corporations, which were the remaining defendants in the case, were not liable for Robson's exposure to Jackson.

He did not rule on the credibility of Robson's allegations themselves.

Mr Robson's lawyer, Vince Finaldi, said he strongly disagrees and plans to appeal.

Mr Robson, a native of Australia who has worked with Britney Spears and NSYNC, met Jackson when he was five years old.

He testified in Jackson's defence at the singer's 2005 criminal trial, saying he had spent the night at Jackson's Neverland Ranch more than 20 times and usually slept in Jackson's room, but Jackson never molested him. Jackson was acquitted in that trial.

Then in 2013 about four years after the singer's death, Mr Robson sued the Jackson estate for what his lawyers described as molestation that spanned a seven-year period.

A court ruled in 2015 that Mr Robson had filed his lawsuit too late to get any of Jackson's estate. That left two remaining defendants, both corporate entities owned by Jackson in his lifetime: MJJ Productions, Inc, and MJJ Ventures, Inc.

The judge ruled on Tuesday that those two corporate defendants could not be held responsible for Robson's exposure to Jackson, the way a school or the Boy Scouts can be found liable for bringing together an abusive adult and a child victim.

Jackson estate lawyer Howard Weitzman said in a statement that he "believes the court made the correct decision in dismissing Wade Robson's claim against it".


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