Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 August 2006, 10:15 GMT 11:15 UK Jackson in split from legal team Michael Jackson has parted from lawyers representing him in a court action, with the law firm claiming it quit but the pop star saying he fired them. A New York judge allowed law firm Wachtel & Masyr to quit the case after it said it had not been paid and had difficulty contacting Mr Jackson. [b]But a letter from Mr Jackson said he had fired the lawyers last month.[/b]

MJEOL NOTE: Another report details the fact that Jackson sent a letter to the law firm, and faxed to the Associated Press, dated July 17 2006 saying that the law firm was fired. See report: Fired Lawyers Inform Judge

Finance company Prescient Acquisition Group is suing the singer, saying it is owed $48m (£26m). The firm alleges it helped Mr Jackson find investors to help pay off a $272.5m (£145m) debt, and arrange $537.5m (£287m) in financing to secure the Beatles’ back catalogue.

MJEOL NOTE: The judge previously threw out claims against Jackson individually, though the case against the ‘trust’ set up will go forward. See report: Judge Dismisses Individual Claim Against Jackson, Trust to Defend Suit

In a letter to the court on Tuesday, attorney William Wachtel said his law firm had dealt with Mr Jackson through a series of intermediaries who repeatedly quit or were fired. Mr Jackson had promised to be in better contact after the sole face-to-face meeting in June, the letter said. “Unfortunately, Mr Jackson has failed to respond to every e-mail and telephone message left for him over the past four weeks,” it said. US District Judge Kevin Castel said he wanted the parties back in court on 5 September, and that Mr Jackson had to hire a new lawyer or appear himself. A California court last month awarded $900,000 (£480,000) to an ex-business associate of Mr Jackson who sued for $3.8m (£2m) he said he was owed. The court awarded Mr Jackson $200,000 (£107,000) in a cross-complaint. Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/5238010.stm

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