Michael Jackson's estate executors are demanding the dismissal of another child molestation accusation, insisting the alleged victim has no grounds to sue. James Safechuck's accusations were added to a 2013 lawsuit filed by dancer Wade Robson, who claims he was repeatedly molested as a kid by the King of Pop.
Lawyers for Safechuck insist their client also had an inappropriate relationship with the Thriller hitmaker when he was a pre-teen, after appearing with Jackson in a 1987 Pepsi commercial.
In court papers, they write, "(Jackson) engaged in a calculated course of conduct to lure both (Safechuck) and his parents into a false sense of security and normalcy that was far from reality.
"And (Jackson) was successful in his efforts to the point that (Safechuck) endured repeated acts of sexual abuse of a heinous nature and was brainwashed by the decedent into believing they were acts of love and instigated by James himself rather than the decedent."
Safechuck's representatives are seeking permission from Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff to file the late claim, reports the Los Angeles Times.
A hearing on the petition has been set for 4 September (14), but Howard Weitzman, Jackson's estate attorney, is adamant the case should be dismissed as the statute of limitations has long expired.
He has also called Safechuck's account into question, telling TMZ.com that he had previously "given sworn testimony that Michael never did anything inappropriate to him".
Jackson was acquitted of child molestation following a lengthy trial that began in 2004. The singer passed away in June, 2009.
Last year director Garry Marshall hit upon a devilishly canny approach to the romantic comedy. A more polished refinement of Hal Needham’s experimental Cannonball Run method it called for assembling a gaggle of famous faces from across the demographic spectrum and pairing them with a shallow day-in-the-life narrative packed with gobs of gooey sentiment. A cynical strategy to be sure but one that paid handsome dividends: Valentine’s Day earned over $56 million in its opening weekend surpassing even the rosiest of forecasts. Buoyed by the success Marshall and his screenwriter Katherine Fugate hastily retreated to the bowels of Hades to apply their lucrative formula to another holiday historically steeped in romantic significance and New Year’s Eve was born.
Set in Manhattan on the last day of the year New Year’s Eve crams together a dozen or so canned scenarios into one bloated barely coherent mass of cliches. As before Marshall’s recruited an impressive ensemble of minions to do his unholy bidding including Oscar winners Hilary Swank Halle Berry and Robert De Niro the latter luxuriating in a role that didn’t require him to get out of bed. High School Musical’s Zac Efron is paired up with ‘80s icon Michelle Pfeiffer – giving teenage girls and their fathers something to bond over – while Glee’s Lea Michele meets cute with a pajama-clad Ashton Kutcher. There’s Katherine Heigl in a familiar jilted-fiance role Sarah Jessica Parker as a fretful single mom and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as the most laid-back cop in New York. Sofia Vergara and Hector Elizondo mine for cheap laughs with thick accents – his fake and hers real – and Jessica Biel and Josh Duhamel deftly mix beauty with blandness. Fans of awful music will delight in the sounds of Jon Bon Jovi straining against type to play a relevant pop musician.
The task of interweaving the various storylines is too great for Marshall and New Year’s Eve bears the distinct scent and stain of an editing-room bloodbath with plot holes so gaping that not even the brightest of celebrity smiles can obscure them. But that’s not the point – it never was. You should know better than to expect logic from a film that portrays 24-year-old Efron and 46-year-old Parker as brother-and-sister without bothering to explain how such an apparent scientific miracle might have come to pass. Marshall wagers that by the time the ball drops and the film’s last melodramatic sequence has ended prior transgressions will be absolved and moviegoers will be content to bask in New Year's Eve's artificial glow. The gambit worked for Valentine's Day; this time he may not be so fortunate.