Prosecutors seeking access to Michael Jackson’s financial records told the judge in his child molestation trial today (March 11) that the singer may be “on the precipice of bankruptcy.” Testimony by Jackson’s accuser resumes Monday.
Assistant District Attorney Gordon Auchincloss said during a hearing on motions that prosecutors believe financial problems may have motivated Jackson to take part in an alleged conspiracy to hold his accuser’s family captive and try to get them to help rebut a TV documentary that damaged the singer’s public image.
Prosecutors believe Jackson may be $300 million in debt, then said the singer may have $400 million in liabilities and that his financial troubles “will all come crashing down on him in December of 2005,” Auchincloss said. “All we are looking for is a concise snapshot of the defendant’s financial condition,” he said.
The defense is fighting the request. Jackson attorney Robert Sanger said that Auchincloss’ statements, “whether they are accurate or not, and I don’t believe they are, are totally irrelevant to this.”
Sanger said that what was at issue was Jackson’s financial picture in February and March 2003, the time of the alleged conspiracy. He said existing case law should prevent admission of evidence about any possible financial motive.
Meanwhile, Melville today delivered the punch line Jay Leno has been wanting to hear: The comedian is allowed to crack jokes at Jackson’s expense. The judge made his ruling about Leno as he clarified a gag order preventing everyone involved in the case from discussing it. Leno has been subpoenaed to testify at the trial, and the comedian feared that the order would apply to his monologues on “The Tonight Show.”
“I am not attempting to prevent anybody from making a living in the normal way that they make their living,” the judge ruled, adding that Leno may not talk about the specific things to which he is a witness.
Leno has been finding creative ways to make jokes about Jackson without opening his mouth. After arriving “late” for the taping of yesterday’s “Tonight Show,” Leno stepped out of a black limousine wearing SpongeBob SquarePants pajamas and accompanied by several bodyguards. One of the bodyguards held an open umbrella over Leno’s head as the comedian remained silent when asked why he was late.
Earlier in the day, Jackson had arrived late to court wearing pajama bottoms and a T-shirt under a coat. His lawyers explained the pop star had come straight from a hospital where he had been treated for a back injury caused by a fall.
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