Prosecutors want to review Michael Jackson ‘s financial records, saying they believe serious money troubles drove the entertainer to force his accuser’s family to help him rebut a damaging television documentary.
Assistant District Attorney Gordon Auchincloss requested copies of the documents Friday at a hearing that included several rulings in the singer’s child molestation case, including that “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno may joke about Jackson despite a gag order on prospective witnesses.
Law enforcement officers hug at the Fulton County Courthouse after a judge, a court recorder and a deputy were fatally shot there. (John Bazemore — AP)
Auchincloss told Judge Rodney S. Melville the state only wanted “a concise snapshot” of Jackson’s finances to show the entertainer is “on the precipice of bankruptcy.”
Melville said he would allow only minimal evidence on Jackson’s financial condition. He asked both sides lawyers to confer and reach an agreement by Thursday on what financial records would be released.
“I don’t want to inundate the jury with a lot of figures that don’t tell a story,” the judge said. “I don’t think you can turn the jury into accountants.”
Jackson lawyer Robert Sanger denied Auchincloss’ assertion and said the state’s focus on the singer’s finances today has no relevance to his finances in 2003, the year at issue in the trial.
Despite Sanger’s denial, Auchincloss called Jackson “a spend-a-holic” who has “an insatiable appetite for money.” From 1999 to 2001, he said, Jackson was spending $35 million a year while earning only $11 million to $12 million.
“He is in debt to the tune of $300 million and has liabilities close to $400 million,” the prosecutor said.