Pop star Michael Jackson agreed to pay a boy he was accused of molesting $15.3m (£8.5m) in 1993, it is reported.
Mr Jackson is said to have worried about the effects on his career
According to legal documents, Mr Jackson did not admit misconduct but settled because the case could have harmed his career, US Court TV said.
This is the first time details of the settlement have been made public.
Mr Jackson's spokeswoman said the documents were leaked with the intent of "influencing potential jurors" at the singer's child abuse trial.
"It's outrageous, and I see it as an act of desperation," she said.
In 1994, the young accuser's family, Mr Jackson and lawyers all agreed on keeping the deal's details confidential, according to the documents seen by the Associated Press news agency.
The document stated that the settlement should not be construed as an admission that MrJackson had "acted wrongfully" towards the child.
It also stressed the singer had only chosen to pay because of the impact the allegations could have on his future income.
The documents said the money was to be paid into a trust administered by the boy's lawyers.
Mr Jackson's trial is due to start in Santa Barbara, California, on 13 September, with the last of his pre-trial hearings due to take place on 25 June.
He has pleaded not guilty to 10 child molestation charges, including a charge of conspiracy to abduct a 12-year-old child.
Earlier this week the trial's judge said he feared it would be difficult to choose a jury for the case because of the sensational nature of media reports about the case so far.