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Title: Judge Rejects Jackson Lawsuit

Date: May 14, 1997 Publication: Los Angeles Sentinel



Los Angeles Sentinel
05-14-1997
Judge Rejects Jackson Lawsuit


A Los Angeles Superior Court judge agreed Monday to throw out most of a lawsuit filed
by Michael Jackson against several parties involved in a media report about the pop
star.


Jackson filed the $100 million slander lawsuit in January 1995 against "Hard Copy"
parent Paramount Pictures and reporter Diane Dimond, who has since left the show.


The entertainer also sued KABCAM, several employees of the radio station and free-
lance writer Victor Gutierrez.


The lawsuit alleges Gutierrez told Dimond there was a videotape of Jackson having
sexual relations with a 13-year-old boy, and she relayed the comments on KABC's "Ken
and Barkley Show."


Jackson's attorney, Zia Modabber, said he hasn't talked to the pop star, but expects the
case will be appealed.


"This doesn't change anything about the fact that the story was an absolute and
complete fabrication," Modabber said.
He also said Gutierrez, the only defendant left in the case, will go to trial and pay
damages to the entertainer.


"He's still on the hook," Modabber said.


Patty Glaser, one of the defendants' attorneys, asserted the ruling was "fabulous" and
"a victory for the good guys."


"It's the right decision from a really good judge and we're really, really, really pleased,"
she said.


The defendants,--except for Gutierrez--filed two motions for summary judgment and
argued the case last week. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Reginald Dunn released
his decision Monday.


Dunn granted the motions in a seven-page ruling, and will dismiss the lawsuit against all
parties except Gutierrez.


Because Jackson is a public figure, he was required to prove the defendants knew it
was a false story or were reckless in their reporting.


The plaintiffs said Lisa Marlowe--another Dimond source--told the reporter that
Gutierrez' account was probably fake, and said "unless you've got (the video) sitting in
your office, I wouldn't believe it."


But the judge said Gutierrez had been a reliable source in the past, correctly tipping
Dimond off to Jackson's marriage to Lisa Marie Presley.


After Guiterrez repeatedly tried to invoke his "shield law" rights last year, and would not
reveal his supposed source, Dunn found the writer liable to Jackson for damages for
failing to back up the tape's existence.


The judge also issued a ruling last year that Gutierrez' can't claim the story was true,
although the writer's lawyer maintained his source was legitimate.


Dunn set a June 2 hearing to check on the status of the case against Gutierrez, which is
scheduled to begin trail on June 23.


In 1994, Jackson reached an out-of-court settlement in a sexual molestation lawsuit
brought by a Southland boy the entertainer had befriended several years earlier.


The boy is the subject of Gutierrez' self-published book, "Michael Jackson Was My
Lover."


Investigations by the district attorney's office in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara
counties did not result in criminal charges, and Jackson has repeatedly said the
allegations were false.


In another case involving Jackson, a judge said Monday that he will consider whether to
dismiss the final claim in a lawsuit alleging that Jackson owes a production company
most of a $1.7 million judgment.


The case was filed after another judge ordered Jackson Communications Inc. (made up
of various members of the Jackson family, minus LaToya) to pay Smith-Hemion
Productions money it lost by producing the ill-fated "Jackson Family Honors" TV special.


Smith-Hemion sued Jackson, claiming the entertainer did not honor his contract and
was responsible for a sizable portion of the money JCI owes Smith-Hemion.


Los Angeles Superior Judge Sherman Smith is considering whether to throw out Smith-
Hemion's allegation that the company was harmed because it relied on Jackson's
written promise.


An attorney for Smith-Hemion told the judge that $1.6 million was spent "on the
assurance that Michael Jackson would appear," and that the singer's promise caused
"everyone to go forward with the show and lose their shirts."


Jackson's lawyers contend the entertainer never entered into an enforceable contract to
appear on the show and that the letter was at most a "gratuitous, unenforceable"
intention to appear, not a promise to JCI.


Smith listned to attorneys argue for about 15 minutes before he took the matter under
submission. He did not indicate when he would make his ruling.


Ethnic NewsWatch SoftLine Information, Inc., Stamford, CT




This material is published under license from the publisher through ProQuest
Information and Learning Company, Ann Arbor, Michigan. All inquiries regarding rights
should be directed to ProQuest Information and Learning Company.




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