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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 January, 2005, 16:32 GMT
Bashir bid to avoid Jackson trial
Martin Bashir
Martin Bashir's Living With Michael Jackson film was screened in 2003
British TV journalist Martin Bashir has asked not to give evidence at pop star Michael Jackson's child abuse trial.

Bashir made a 2003 documentary in which Mr Jackson admitted sleeping in the same room as children at his ranch.

Prosecutors want him to testify about other things the singer said or did that were not used in the programme.

But Bashir said his work "speaks for itself". Mr Jackson has denied child molestation and his trial is due to start on 31 January.

Bashir, who now works for US network ABC, has asked a judge to turn down the request for his appearance. The judge will decide at a hearing on 28 January.

Michael Jackson
Mr Jackson has denied charges of child molestation and conspiracy
His film, Living With Michael Jackson, was the UK's biggest TV export of 2003, sold to 120 countries.

It sparked outrage from the singer, who said he was "utterly betrayed" and "unfairly treated" by Bashir.

Bashir said under California's shield law, journalists could not be forced to testify about things they observed while doing their job.

The pop star denies 10 charges of child molestation and conspiracy.

Prosecutors also want evidence from child witnesses to be held in private, the judge has revealed.

Judge Rodney Melville mentioned a "motion for order directing that the testimony of child witnesses be closed to the public". He will also consider that request on 28 January.

Last week, Judge Melville delayed a ruling on whether jurors in Mr Jackson's trial can hear evidence of past allegations of sexual offences.

The judge told Santa Barbara Superior Court that he wanted to hear the prosecution's current evidence against the singer before deciding.


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