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Report: Jackson accuser's mom ‘tricked’ paper

Editor says mother used cancer story to solicit money from readers
/ Source: The Associated Press

The mother of a boy accusing Michael Jackson of child molestation tricked a weekly newspaper into running a story seeking donations for her son’s cancer treatments, according to a TV show devoted to the legal woes of stars.

In 2000, the woman told a reporter for the Mid Valley News, a community newspaper that serves Southern California’s suburban San Gabriel Valley, that her son was battling cancer and the editor agreed to print a story, Celebrity Justice reported Monday.

The medical bills, however, were fully covered by an insurance policy held by the boy’s father through his employer and union, according to the TV show.

“My readers were used. My staff was used. It’s sickening,” Mid Valley News Editor Connie Keenan told Celebrity Justice.

An attorney for the accuser’s mother, Michael Manning, did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press late Monday. However, sources close to the accuser's family have vehemently denied that any charity funds are missing.

After learning of the charges against Jackson in 2003, Keenan said she sent a copy of the newspaper story to Jackson’s former attorney, Mark Geragos. She also said she was recently contacted by his defense team.

Jackson, 46, has pleaded not guilty to charges of molesting a boy, conspiracy and administering an intoxicating agent, alcohol, to his alleged victim. His trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 31.