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March 29, 2005
Jacko 'abuse' airing
March 29, 2005 [AFP]
From correspondents in Santa Maria, California
THE judge in Michael Jackson's child sex trial today dealt a major blow to the defence by allowing prosecutors to tell jurors of previous cases of alleged abuse by the star.
Judge Rodney Melville granted a hotly fought prosecution motion to tell jurors of prior accusations against Jackson that never made it to court.
"The decision I have reached is: I will now admit the testimony with regard to the sexual offences and the alleged pattern of grooming," he said.
Prosecutors had asked to be allowed to tell of seven prior allegations of child sex abuse against Jackson in order to show jurors an alleged pattern of child molestation.
But only one of the five alleged victims of prior abuse by the 46-year-old superstar will testify at the trial, with the other allegations to be recounted by other witnesses, the court in California was told.
Two of the five cases that jurors will be told about were resolved in out-of-court settlements, but the judge barred prosecutors from telling jurors the amounts of the payments.
Jackson's camp had bitterly fought the effort to present potentially damaging testimony, saying such unproved allegations could poison jurors against the embattled superstar.
Legal analysts say the admission of such explosive testimony could deal a serious blow to the defence by lending credence to the accusations in the present case.
Posted by Nancy at March 29, 2005 10:29 AM