Jackson prosecutors seek to raise previous allegations

PROSECUTORS in the Michael Jackson child molestation case asked the trial judge yesterday to schedule a hearing as early as next week on whether to admit evidence of alleged prior sexual offences by Jackson.

Jackson, 46, has never been convicted of a prior sexual offence but prosecutors want to present witnesses they believe will show that the current case is part of a pattern.

On Thursday, a witness mentioned Jordy Chandler who made allegations against Jackson in 1993 and received a multimillion-dollar civil settlement.

District Attorney Tom Sneddon asked Judge Rodney Melville that a hearing on the issue be held on March 25 or 28.

Mr Sneddon said that would be soon after prosecutors wrap up the section of their case alleging that Jackson molested Gavin Arvizo at the pop star’s Neverland ranch in 2003.

The next stage of the prosecution case will focus on allegations that the singer held the alleged victim and his family captive to get them to rebut a February 2003 television documentary in which Jackson appeared with the then 13-year-old boy and said he allowed children to sleep in his bed, although he described it as innocent.

There was no immediate ruling on the hearing date.

Only motions were being heard in the Santa Maria court yesterday, and Jackson had been told he did not have to attend.

One of his lawyers said the singer was still in pain from a back injury and would rest through the weekend.

Jackson is charged with molestation, giving Gavin alcohol and conspiring to hold the family captive.

A former housekeeper for Jackson has testified that she called his Neverland ranch “Pinocchio’s Pleasure Island” because children were allowed to run wild without adult supervision.

Kiki Fournier said on Thursday that on several occasions she saw children who appeared to be intoxicated, and that many young guests became unruly.

She said they included Jackson’s accuser and his brother, who trashed their living quarters.

Ms Fournier named nine boys between the ages of 10 and 14, including actor Macaulay Culkin, who became close friends of Jackson and spent lots of time at the ranch during her intermittent tenure from 1991 until she left in September 2003.

Under questioning by Deputy District Attorney Gordon Auchincloss, the witness said children became wilder when they were allowed “free rein” at Neverland, which has an amusement park, arcade, trains and a zoo.

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