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Jackson defense scores victory at hearing

Michael Jackson's attorneys will be allowed to see school and psychiatric reports involving the accuser and his family that were gathered for an unrelated lawsuit after a ruling in Friday's preliminary hearing.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The judge in the child-molestation case against Michael Jackson agreed Friday to let Jackson’s attorneys see school and psychiatric reports on the boy and his family.

The documents — gathered as part of an unrelated lawsuit — are among 100 items of “clearly exculpatory material” that the defense wants presented to the grand jury investigating the pop star, attorney Benjamin Brafman told Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville.

The reports were part of a 2000 lawsuit filed by the accuser’s family against two store chains. The family members claimed they were beaten by security guards while leaving a shopping center.

A J.C. Penney security guard had alleged that Jackson’s accuser had left the store without paying for items. The boy was not charged and the lawsuit was later settled for about $150,000.

Jackson attorney Mark Geragos told a judge he had subpoenaed the records on the boy and his family. Melville ordered the records released to prosecutors and the defense.

It was unclear what role the medical and psychiatric records could have in the case. The accuser underwent chemotherapy in 2001. His father said in a January request for visitation with the boy and his siblings that the child’s mother sought mental health treatment in 1998.

Jackson was not required to attend Friday’s hearing and was not in the courtroom.

The molestation case against Jackson continued to unfold in extraordinary secrecy. The judge told all parties to make sure witnesses’ names are not released publicly.

The judge also made a slight modification to a gag order.

Attorneys are still forbidden from speaking about most aspects of the case. But the judge said they could give him proposed written responses to news reports. Melville would then decide if the statements could be released.

Jackson was charged last year with committing lewd or lascivious acts upon a child under 14 and with administering an intoxicating agent to the boy — reportedly wine.