Michael Jackson: Court dismisses lawsuit from accuser James Safechuck
Safechuck’s attorney, Vince Finaldi, tells TMZ, “Young Jimmy Safechuck was employed by this company and was entertaining with Michael Jackson. The notion that this company and its employees would not have a duty to protect him and keep him safe is ludicrous.”
Finaldi continues, “His ruling turns California law on its face. We are going back to the court of appeal and we are going to win this thing.”
James Safechuck has said the singer started abusing him when he was 10. In 2014, he sued MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures, and has alleged they “were created to, and did, facilitate Jackson’s sexual abuse of children”.
But the judge dismissed the case, saying the companies didn’t have a duty of care for Mr Safechuck.
Mr. Safechuck was one of two men who accused the late pop star of abuse in last year’s Leaving Neverland documentary.
In his lawsuit, he said Jackson abused him hundreds of times at his homes and on tour in the late 1980s and early 90s.
MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures were set up by Jackson to run his career. But in the lawsuit it was claimed: “The thinly-veiled, covert second purpose of these businesses was to operate as a child sexual abuse operation, specifically designed to locate, attract, lure and seduce child sexual abuse victims.”
Mr. Safechuck also featured with Jackson in a Pepsi commercial and often appeared on stage with the singer.
Mr. Safechuck’s lawyer Vince Finaldi told BBC News: “He was an employee that was working on behalf of them as a dancer and entertainer on the stage with Michael.
“Because he was a minor, and he was an employee working for them, they had a duty to protect him. That’s our argument.”
Mr. Safechuck, who is seeking unspecified damages, will appeal.
Jackson vehemently denied the abuse. Mr. Safechuck (a child at the time) reportedly gave a witness statement defending Jackson when allegations against the singer first emerged in 1993.
Mr. Finaldi is also representing Wade Robson, who appeared in Leaving Neverland too, in a separate lawsuit, which is expected to reach trial next summer.
Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed is reportedly making a sequel about the pair’s legal battles. Deadline reported on Wednesday that Jackson’s companies had taken legal action against the film-maker.
Jonathan Steinsapir, representing MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures, declined to comment on the latest ruling.