Michael Jackson to Respond to 'Primetime Live' Report

ByABC News via logo
January 19, 2005, 7:53 AM

Jan. 19, 2005 — -- The judge in the molestation case against Michael Jackson has allowed Jackson to break a court-imposed gag order and respond to the exclusive report by ABC News' "Primetime Live" on the grand jury testimony given by his accuser.

Jackson, 46, is scheduled to face trial Jan. 31 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 "Living With Michael Jackson." He has pleaded not guilty to 10 charges that include felony conspiracy with 28 overt acts involving child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion.

The accuser's grand jury testimony had been sealed but "Primetime Live" co-anchor Cynthia Mc Fadden reviewed the more than 1,900 pages of the transcript. ABC News has learned that Judge Rodney Melville has allowed Jackson to respond to "Primetime Live's" report and other leaks in the case.

Jackson, sources told ABC News, has recorded an interview with reporter and talk show host Geraldo Rivera. Jackson made a personal statement and then Rivera asked him about topics other than the case. The interview, sources said, will be broadcast sometime before the start of jury selection.

Melville made his decision after meeting with prosecutors and defense attorneys. Prosecutors, sources told ABC News, were not happy about the judge's decision because they believe Jackson's public statement could poison the jury pool.

After "Primetime Live's" report, Jackson's lead attorney, Thomas Mesereau Jr., released a statement complaining about the "leak" of the testimony.