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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 January, 2005, 09:24 GMT
Jackson seeks ban on 'victim' tag
Michael Jackson
Mr Jackson has denied charges of child molestation and conspiracy
Lawyers for singer Michael Jackson have asked that his accuser is not called a "victim" at his forthcoming trial.

Mr Jackson's defence team argued that prosecutors' use of the term would prevent him from getting a fair trial.

In a nine-page motion made public on Wednesday, they added it was the jury's job to decide whether the complainant and his family were "victims".

Jackson is due to stand trial in California on 31 January on 10 counts of child molestation and conspiracy.

Statement recorded

"The prosecution, court personnel and the state's witnesses should not be allowed to characterize the complaining witnesses as 'victims' before the jury has had a chance to decide the ultimate question of whether they are victims," said Jackson's lawyers.

Meanwhile, the judge in the Michael Jackson child molestation case has permitted the singer to respond to leaked evidence from his accuser.

The singer has recorded a statement for the Fox television network, which has been approved by Judge Rodney Melville.

Martin Bashir
Martin Bashir has asked not to give evidence at the trial

A statement from the broadcaster said they had not yet reviewed the footage, along with an interview given by Jackson to Fox chat show host Genaro Casataldo.

The interview is said to be about Jackson's "personal life and family relationships", and does not deal with the criminal case.

Fox added they had yet to decide when or how the Jackson material would be aired.

The ABC network carried a report last week which included quotes from Jackson's accuser, in a leak from sealed evidence brought before the case's grand jury, prompting strong objections from the singer's legal team.

Documentary material

Judge Melville has kept documents in the case, including testimonies, private in the run-up to the trial.

Earlier this week British TV journalist Martin Bashir asked not to give evidence at Mr Jackson's 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.

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.

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