Michael Jackson: Sexual assault cases against the star’s estate could be revived, court documents show



CNN

Wade Robson and James Safechuck — two men who have long claimed the late Michael Jackson sexually abused them when they were children, and who appeared in the 2019 documentary “Leaving Neverland” — are now able to revive their since-dismissed lawsuits against Jackson. The property, according to a court opinion filed Friday and obtained by CNN.

California’s Second Court of Appeals ruled Friday that “a company that facilitates child sexual abuse by one of its employees is not relieved of its affirmative duty to protect such children simply because it is owned solely by the abuser.”

The summary of the judgment also stated, “It would be wrong to find any duty on the basis that the defendant company has only one shareholder. We therefore reverse the judgments made by the companies.”

Both Robson and Safechuck made allegations of abuse on the part of Jackson towards them when they were minors, after initially contacting the artist professionally.

Safechuk, at the age of eight, appeared with Jackson in a 1986 Pepsi commercial. and Robson, at the age of five, after winning both a dance competition when Jackson performed in Brisbane, Australia.

In Leaving Neverland, they both explain in strikingly similar fashion how Jackson’s alleged sexual abuse of them gradually escalated over several years, accompanied by his alleged pressure on them not to reveal what was going on. (Leaving Neverland was an HBO documentary. HBO, like CNN, is also part of Warner Bros. Discovery.)

Jackson died in 2009, but the plaintiffs are seeking damages from two entertainment companies that, over much of their existence, were owned and operated by Jackson.

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The cases, which were consolidated in the Court of Appeals, will now go back to trial.

“We are disappointed with the court’s decision,” Jonathan Steinsaber, the attorney for Michael Jackson’s estate, said in a statement to CNN, later adding, “We are absolutely confident that Michael is innocent of these allegations.”

“We’re pleased but not surprised that the appeals court overturned” the previous rulings, which he said were “invalid” and “contradicting California law” setting a dangerous precedent for exposing children. risk across the state and country. We look forward to a trial on the merits.”

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