A year after Michael Jackson was acquitted of child molestation charges, a lawsuit by a former associate is headed for a trial that will put Jackson's chaotic financial dealings in the spotlight. The

A year after Michael Jackson was acquitted of child molestation charges, a lawsuit by a former associate is headed for a trial that will put Jackson's chaotic financial dealings in the spotlight. The pop star is not expected in court but he will be seen through videotaped depositions.

"To my knowledge, he's not scheduled for any court appearances," said Jackson's spokesperson, Raymone K. Bain. She said that Jackson, who has been living in Bahrain, is traveling in Europe. He answered questions twice in depositions in London.

Jackson is being sued by F. Marc Schaffel for $3.8 million in what Schaffel says are unrepaid loans and expenses, unpaid salary for work on a charity record and his share of proceeds from two TV specials that were produced to bolster Jackson's battered reputation after child molestation allegations surfaced.

Facts involved in Jackson's criminal trial last year are likely to be revisited when Schaffel testifies about his role in attending to the family of a boy who claimed he was molested by Jackson.

But most of the witnesses called by Schaffel will be money managers and business advisers. Jury selection is set for July 26.

Bitter feelings between Jackson and Schaffel are evident in pretrial briefs. Schaffel's attorney, Howard King, portrayed the singer as an incurable spendthrift who sought financial guidance from advisers, then ignored it.

"Jackson carried no credit cards, wrote no checks, carried no 'walking around money' and had people attending to his every need," said King's trial brief. "Jackson hired competent advisers to make business decisions then frequently ignored the decisions being made and ... incurred expenses without regard to any rational limits or accountability, as though funds were endless..."

For his part, Jackson claims that Schaffel defrauded him and hid the facts of his allegedly shady past.


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