Judge: Michael Jackson in California when man claimed abuse

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[b]Judge: Michael Jackson in California when man claimed abuse[/b] By Janet McConnaughey ASSOCIATED PRESS 1:56 p.m. April 18, 2006 NEW ORLEANS – Michael Jackson proved that he was in California when a New Orleans-area man claimed the pop star kidnapped and molested him for nine days in 1984, a federal judge ruled. U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon’s reasons for tossing a lawsuit filed by Joseph Bartucci Jr. against Jackson were posted Tuesday on the court’s Web site. Bartucci had claimed that he was forced into a white limousine on May 19, 1984, during the New Orleans World’s Fair, and driven to California while being molested, held at gunpoint and cut with steel wire and a razor blade. His attorney, Louis Koerner, did not answer his telephone Tuesday. On Monday, he had said he was shocked by the dismissal but could not comment more until he saw the judge’s reasons. Bartucci claimed the emotional and physical trauma cost him his memories of everything that happened until 2003, when he saw a Court TV show about child molestation charges brought against Jackson in California. Jackson was acquitted in that case. Fallon said Wayne Nagin, who kept Jackson’s appointment calendar in the spring of 1984, provided a sworn statement saying Jackson was rehearsing in California for his Victory Tour from May 20-27, 1984. “The calendar reflects a series of appointments each day during the period,” Fallon wrote. Moreover, he said, Charilette R. Sweeney of Encino, Calif., swore that she had known Jackson since 1976 and remembered talking to him on May 13, 17 and 20, 1984, about getting an award from President Reagan on May 14 of that year. “This evidence conclusively demonstrates that Mr. Jackson was in California from May 19 to May 27, 1984, and could not have been in New Orleans to participate in the events alleged” by Bartucci, Fallon wrote. To counter this, Bartucci provided only Michael Boudreaux, a retired New Orleans Levee Board police officer who said he saw a white limousine with California plates “near the Convention Center in the spring of 1984,” and that the driver told him Jackson was inside. However, Boudreaux could not give specific dates, and never saw or spoke to Jackson, Fallon noted. The Convention Center opened in 1985 in what had been an exhibition hall built for the world’s fair. “There’s no question we believe the entire case is trumped up by Mr. Bartucci,” said Jackson’s lead attorney, Charles Fenner Gay Jr. Bartucci could appeal the decision. The lawsuit was filed in 2004. There is a one-year statue of limitations on the crime when victims are adults. However, Bartucci, who was 18 in 1984, argued that the law applied only from when he remembered what had happened. Fallon said he was not ruling on that claim because he was dismissing the suit. The judge noted, but did not rule on Jackson’s contention that Bartucci is a “professional litigator.” In a December 2005 motion asking for dismissal, Jackson’s lawyers said Bartucci had been involved in 18 civil and criminal suits over the previous 17 years. They included four damage suits filed by Bartucci, including one raising allegations of sexual abuse against a minister, according to the motion.

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