Jackson defense in lawsuit targets plaintiff’s backdated checks

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Posted on Mon, Jul. 10, 2006 [b]Jackson defense in lawsuit targets plaintiff’s backdated checks[/b] LINDA DEUTSCH Associated Press SANTA MONICA, Calif. – In the days after being fired by Michael Jackson, former associate F. Marc Schaffel rushed to issue 18 backdated checks totaling $784,000, the pop star’s attorney showed Monday. Schaffel, who is suing Jackson for $1.6 million, testified in Superior Court that he wrote the checks for items including prepayment of $54,000 in rent on his home, prepayment of utilities and phone bills, and reimbursement for expenses such as camera rentals after he received the termination letter on Nov. 15, 2001. Showing Schaffel one of the checks, Jackson attorney Thomas Mundell said, “And you dated it Nov. 14 because you knew if you dated it after that you would run into problems because of the termination?” “Yes,” said Schaffel. Mundell asked, “Isn’t it true you falsified books and records to try to get as much money as possible from Mr. Jackson before your termination?” Schaffel replied, “I just didn’t want to get caught holding the bag for expenses Mr. Jackson had agreed to.” He said he and Jackson had an agreement for Jackson to pay his expenses for six months subsequent to the date of termination. “I wasn’t sure with the jockeying that was going on with the advisers that part was going to happen,” Schaffel said. Schaffel also testified that, even after being informed he was being let go, he and Jackson remained friends and talked frequently about projects. But Mundell produced an e-mail written by Schaffel to the man who introduced him to Jackson, Dr. Arnie Klein, which seemed to contradict that assertion. The e-mail written on Jan. 30, 2002, said, “I am deeply saddened this has cost my friendship with Michael Jackson. … I was the only one willing to fight for him all the time. I miss being able to help him. I miss my friend. All our projects have come to a stop.” Much of Monday’s testimony consisted of Mundell showing ledgers and checks to Schaffel. Schaffel continued to interject comments about a claim he made last week that Jackson wanted him to help find children in Brazil to adopt. Mundell let the comments pass but pressed Schaffel to explain a charge of $300,000 to Jackson for money that Schaffel claimed to have delivered to a “Mr. X” in South America on the pop star’s behalf. “Payment was made from a bank account you had in Brazil?” asked Mundell. “No,” said Schaffel. “I had money in Brazil from an earlier transaction. It wasn’t in the bank. It was in a safe.” “It was in a safe in Brazil?” Mundell asked. “Yes,” Schaffel said. “I see,” replied the attorney. Mundell has previously pointed out that there is no receipt for the $300,000. Source: http://www.montereyherald.com/mld/montereyherald/news/15007869.htm

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