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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 November 2006, 09:41 GMT
Jackson trial mother admits fraud
Janet Arvizo at the trial of Michael Jackson
Ms Arvizo was a key prosecution witness in the Jackson case
The mother of the boy who accused pop star Michael Jackson of child abuse has pleaded no contest to welfare fraud.

Janet Arvizo, 38, had been accused of illegally claiming thousands of dollars in assistance and committing perjury.

The Los Angeles resident was ordered to perform 150 hours of community service and repay more than $8,600 (4,500).

A no-contest plea is not regarded as an admission of guilt under California law but is treated as such for the purposes of sentencing.

Outside court, defence attorney Patricia J Hattersley said Ms Arvizo chose to plead no contest because she wanted to "move on with her life".

"She doesn't want to put her family and her children through a major trial," she told the Associated Press.

Witness credibility

Janet Arvizo was a key prosecution witness in Jackson's sex abuse trial, which ended with the singer being acquitted of all charges.

Evidence of her alleged benefit fraud was presented during the trial by Mr Jackson's defence lawyers in an attempt to undermine her credibility as a witness.

Ms Arvizo refused to testify about her financial situation during the trial on the grounds she might incriminate herself.

Michael Jackson is in London this week to appear at the World Music Awards, where he will perform his hit single Thriller and receive an award for his contribution to music.

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