Wade Robson, James Safechuck going to trial over Michael Jackson abuse claims
Michael Jackson’s accusers, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, have been granted the opportunity to have their day in court, as stated in a recent ruling by the California Court of Appeal. Justices Elizabeth Grimes, John Wiley, and Victor Viramontes expressed in an opinion filed on Friday that the companies associated with the deceased pop icon may be held responsible for any alleged abuse committed by Jackson. The court documents state that the plaintiffs had a rightful expectation for the defendants to protect them from the foreseeable danger of being left alone with Jackson.
Wade Robson, a professional dancer, initially filed a lawsuit against the late King of Pop in 2013, alleging that he had been molested and raped by Jackson when he was a child between the ages of 7 and 14. James Safechuck, an actor, then filed a lawsuit the following year, claiming that Jackson had groomed him for sexual abuse after they appeared together in a Pepsi advertisement when Safechuck was 10 years old. Both men gained national attention for their claims with the release of the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland” in 2019. The companies associated with the late King of Pop may be held accountable for his alleged misconduct.
Initially, Robson and Safechuck’s lawsuits were dismissed in 2017, with a judge ruling that Jackson’s companies, MJJ Productions Inc. and MJJ Ventures Inc., could not be expected to provide protection for a child under their care. However, in 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law that allowed individuals who allege childhood sexual abuse more time to file lawsuits. As a result, the cases were reopened in the appeals court. In 2021, another judge dismissed the cases again, stating that there was no evidence to support the plaintiffs’ claim that the defendants had control over Jackson. However, Friday’s opinion reverses those decisions.
Jonathan Steinsapir, the attorney for Michael Jackson’s estate, expressed disappointment with the court’s decision. He stated that the cases had been dismissed multiple times over the past decade because the law required it. Steinsapir maintained that he had full confidence in Jackson’s innocence, as the allegations were made years after his death by individuals motivated solely by money. He expressed trust in the truth prevailing and cited a quote from Michael Jackson himself: “lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.”
The latest filing resurfaced the allegations, including claims that Jackson abused Safechuck hundreds of times between 1988 and 1992 in various locations. It was also alleged that Jackson had performed a mock marriage with Safechuck, complete with a ring and a signed document. The court documents further state that Jackson’s employees witnessed the sexual abuse or circumstances suggesting sexual abuse. Security guard Charli Michaels allegedly saw Jackson touch Robson’s crotch area while they were on amusement park rides at Neverland Ranch. She also claimed to have witnessed Jackson holding Robson’s genitals in the dance studio. Additionally, it is mentioned that Jackson’s security staff made inappropriate comments about his preferences for young boys.
According to Holly Boyer, the plaintiffs’ attorney, during a video conference hearing on July 26, the defendants ignored the fact that Jackson’s house was staffed with employees who implemented policies and procedures to isolate Jackson and the children, despite knowing about his history of sexually abusing minors. A court date for the trial has yet to be set, but the case is expected to proceed unless the defendants choose to bring it to the Supreme Court.
Michael Jackson accusers Wade Robson and James Safechuck will get their day in court, according to a new ruling in the California Court of Appeal.
Justices Elizabeth Grimes, John Wiley and Victor Viramontes wrote in an opinion filed Friday and obtained by TheFantasyTimes that the deceased pop icon’s companies may be held liable for any alleged abuse he committed.
“Plaintiffs had every right to expect defendants to protect them from the entirely foreseeable danger of being left alone with Jackson,” the court documents state.
Pro dancer Robson, 40, first filed his suit against the late King of Pop in 2013, alleging at the time that he had been molested and raped by the “Smooth” criminal singer when he was just a child, specifically from the ages of 7 to 14.
Actor Safechuck, 45, then sued the following year, claiming that Jackson had groomed him for sex when he first appeared in a Pepsi ad alongside the star at age 10.
Both men’s claims garnered a national platform with the release of HBO’s “Leaving Neverland” documentary in 2019.
Robson and Safechuck’s initial lawsuits were first dismissed in 2017, with a judge finding at the time that Jackson’s companies MJJ Productions Inc. and MJJ Ventures Inc. could not be expected provide protection for a child under their care.
However, after California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law in 2020 giving those who allege childhood sexual abuse longer to file lawsuits, the cases were reopened in appeals court.
Another judge then tossed out the cases again in 2021, with a judge writing at the time that there was “no evidence supporting plaintiff’s contention that defendants exercised control over Jackson.” Friday’s opinion reverses those decisions.
Jonathan Steinsapir, attorney for the estate of Michael Jackson, tells TheFantasyTimes in response, “We are disappointed with the Court’s decision. Two distinguished trial judges repeatedly dismissed these cases on numerous occasions over the last decade because the law required it.”
“We remain fully confident that Michael is innocent of these allegations, which are contrary to all credible evidence and independent corroboration, and which were only first made years after Michael’s death by men motivated solely by money,” the attorney continues.
“We trust that the truth will ultimately prevail with Michael’s vindication yet again. Michael Jackson himself said, ‘lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.”
The allegations were again resurfaced in the latest filing, stating in part about Safechuck that “from 1988 through 1992, Jackson abused plaintiff hundreds of times in various locations. Jackson performed a
‘marriage’ with plaintiff with a ring and a signed document to pretend they got married.”
“Whenever plaintiff visited Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, he slept in Jackson’s bedroom,” the claims continued. “They would ‘mess up’ another bedroom to make it seem as if plaintiff had slept there.”\
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According to the court documents, Jackson’s employees allegedly “witnessed the sexual abuse” of at least “or circumstances suggesting sexual abuse.”
“Defendants’ security guard, Charli Michaels, saw Jackson put his hand on Robson’s crotch area while they were on the amusement park rides at the Neverland Ranch,” the records claim. “On another occasion, she saw Jackson holding Robson’s genitals in the dance studio at the ranch.”
Security staff also allegedly joked that Jackson did not have any girlfriends because he liked “little boys” and “little white butts,” per the court papers.
According to People, the plaintiff’s attorney Holly Boyer said during the video conference hearing on July 26, “The defendants ignore the fact that Jackson’s house was staffed with employees who enacted policies and procedures to isolate Jackson and these children knowing that Jackson had sexually abused minors before and was sexually abusing these plaintiffs.”
A court date for the trial has not yet been set. The case is reportedly set to move forward with a hearing unless defendants decide to bring it to the Supreme Court.