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Last Updated: Friday, 18 June, 2004, 07:49 GMT 08:49 UK
Jackson hits out at leaked report
Michael Jackson
Jackson believes people are trying to prejudice his court case
Singer Michael Jackson has hit back after documents were leaked that showed he paid $15.3m (8.5m) in 1993 to a boy who claimed the star had molested him.

The documents showed that although Mr Jackson did not admit misconduct he settled the case to protect his career.

"I respect the obligation of confidentiality imposed on all of the parties to the 1993 proceedings," said Mr Jackson in a statement on Thursday.

"Yet someone has chosen to violate the confidentiality of those proceedings."

Mr Jackson, 45, has pleaded not guilty to charges of child molestation relating to another boy.

Speaking about the leaked legal documents, he said revealing the information showed little respect for the judicial process.

I have always maintained my innocence, and vehemently denied that these events ever took place
Michael Jackson
"Whoever is now leaking this material is showing as much disrespect for the Santa Maria court's gag order as they are a determination to attack me," said the singer.

Innocent plea

Mr Jackson's current 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.

Mr Jackson told the public in his statement that they should see the leaks "for what they are".

"These kind of attacks and leaks seek to try the case in the press, rather than to a jury who will hear all of the evidence that will show that I did not, and would not, ever, harm a child," he said.

"I have always maintained my innocence, and vehemently denied that these events ever took place," he added.

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.

'No admission'

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 Mr Jackson 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.




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