Fraud Trial Set for Jackson Accuser’s Mom
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The woman who claimed Michael Jackson molested her son, leading to a sensational trial a year ago, was ordered Wednesday to stand trial Aug. 7 on a charge of welfare fraud.
However, the trial date could be postponed. Superior Court Judge Barbara Johnson said the date would be ``one of 30,″ meaning trial could start within 30 days.
The 37-year-old woman, whose name by marriage is Janet Jackson, entered a not guilty plea through her attorney. She did not speak during the arraignment on a new Superior Court charging document.
The woman’s lawyer, Patricia Hattersley, said outside court she hopes the case can be resolved without a trial.
``We are open to discussions,″ Hattersley said. ``Her position is she never misrepresented anything intentionally.″
During Michael Jackson’s trial last year in Santa Maria, the woman invoked Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination and refused to testify about the welfare issues. She is accused of accepting $8,000 in fraudulently obtained assistance and committing perjury four times on welfare applications.
She is accused of hiding the fact that she received a substantial settlement of a civil suit against J.C. Penny before she filed for welfare.
``We’re scheduled to go to trial unless she makes restitution,″ said district attorney’s spokeswoman Jane Robison.
Michael Jackson was acquitted of the child molestation charges last year. Many jurors said a lack of credibility on the part of the woman and her children on the witness stand were major factors in their verdicts. The defense portrayed her as a con artist who schemed to get money from celebrities and through fraudulent legal claims.
The Associated Press has withheld the identities of the accuser and his siblings, who have a different last name than their mother’s.