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Police probe new Jackson molestation claims

Victim alleges that the pop star molested him in the late ’80s in Los Angeles.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Detectives are investigating a new allegation involving a person who claims to have been abused by pop star Michael Jackson in the late 1980s, a police spokeswoman said.

Jackson pleaded innocent to child molestation charges involving another alleged victim in Santa Barbara County. A pretrial hearing in that case is scheduled for April 30.

On Tuesday, Jackson attorney Benjamin Brafman said he was unaware of the Los Angeles Police Department investigation of the new allegation.

“We have never been informed by the LAPD of any investigation that they are conducting of Michael Jackson,” he said. “I would point out that since I have been involved in this case I have addressed literally dozens of completely baseless rumors on a daily basis, and this appears to be just another one of them.”

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office asked the LAPD to investigate the allegations a month ago, said Mary Grady, commander of the department’s public information office.

“The victim alleges the acts took place in the city of Los Angeles in the late 1980s,” Grady said.

The allegations are being investigated by the Child Protective Section of the department’s Juvenile Division. Grady declined to elaborate on such details as the age or sex of the alleged victim.

Jackson lawyer Mark Geragos said he had looked into the allegations and believes they were prompted by “a money-hungry lawyer trying to shake down my client through the use of unfounded, scurrilous allegations.”

He added, “As soon as we connect the dots, I plan on addressing this in a court of law.”

Los Angeles district attorney’s spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons declined comment.

“This is a matter under investigation by the LAPD,” she said. “We are not the investigative agency.”

Santa Barbara County prosecutors did not immediately return calls for comment Tuesday evening.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that a 1994 California law retroactively extending the statute of limitations on old molestation cases was unconstitutional, effectively nullifying any charges filed in child sex abuse cases that occurred before Jan. 1, 1988.

Also Tuesday, an appeals court rejected a request by several news agencies to lift a gag order placed on the parties in the Santa Barbara County case by Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville.

Attorney Theodore Boutrous, representing news organizations including The Associated Press, said in a filing last week before the state Court of Appeals that the order imposed unconstitutional “prior restraint” on attorneys and potential witnesses. He asked that it be immediately lifted.

Jackson and his attorneys also oppose the order on grounds that it blocks their ability to address false rumors and news reports.