The judge presiding over the Michael Jackson child molestation case has ordered ABC News "20/20" correspondent Martin Bashir -- who produced the documentary "Living With Michael Jackson" -- to testify at the pop star's upcoming trial. ABC News plans to challenge the order.
Jackson, 46, is facing trial for allegedly molesting a now-15-year-old boy who spent time at his Neverland ranch and is believed to be a cancer survivor who appeared in the 2003 British documentary, which was broadcast on ABC. He has pleaded not guilty to 10 charges that include felony conspiracy with 28 overt acts involving child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion.
Bashir, who was hired by ABC News in May 2004, interviewed Jackson and the boy believed to be at the center of the current case for the documentary. Jeffrey Schneider, vice president of media relations at ABC News, said the network would challenge Judge Rodney Melville's subpoena of Bashir and argue that the order would compromise his news-gathering ability.
"ABC News and our correspondent Martin Bashir will fight the subpoena, which seeks to invade both the news-gathering and editorial process," Schneider said. "We feel strongly that the California shield law protects the rights of journalists who cannot be -- or be perceived to be -- arms of either the prosecution or defense as they pursue the news."
Jury selection in Jackson's trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 31.