While the lawsuit has been reinstated, the court didn’t rule on the veracity of accusations against the late ‘King of Pop.’
An extension to California’s statute of limitations on child sex abuse has revived two lawsuits filed against the estate of the late ‘King of Pop,’ Michael Jackson.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the decision was issued Friday. The ruling, made by the Second Appellate District in the California Court of Appeals, reinstates litigation brought by Jackson accusers James Safechuck and Wade Robson. Their lawsuit is seeking damages from two companies owned by the late pop star, MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures Inc.
Safechuck and Robson have been among Jackson’s most persistent accusers. Both men alleged that Jackson sexually abused them as children, recalling the ordeal in last year’s award-winning documentary, ‘Leaving Neverland.’
Attorney Vince Finaldi, representing both Safechuck and Robson, told the Times he’s grateful California’s extended its statute of limitations.
“We are pleased that the Court has recognized the strong protections California has put into place for sexual-abuse victims under the state’s new law extending the statute of limitations,” Finaldi said in a statement. “We look forward to sharing the facts of the terrible abuse of James Safechuck and Wade Robson with a jury.”
“The time is coming for the Jackson estate and lawyers to ‘face the music’ regarding all of these lies and misrepresentations they have been making about Wade and James, and we welcome that day,” Finaldi said.
The Times adds that the duo’s lawsuit was dismissed in 2017, a judge ruling that “no one other than Michael Jackson had the legal ability or authority to control Michael Jackson.”
However, on Wednesday, California extended its statute of limitations for sex abuse claims from 26 years to 40 years. That doesn’t mean Safechuck and Robson will convince a jury of Jackson’s guilty—but it does give them an opportunity to tell their story again.
But, as The L.A. Times notes, Jackson’s estate has vehemently denied any and all accusations levied against him.
Howard Weitzman, an attorney for Jackson’s companies, responded to the cases’ revival by saying that both lawsuits “absurdly claim that Michael’s employees are somehow responsible for sexual abuse that never happened.”
Weitzman pointed out that, while the Court of Appeals is allowing litigation to proceed, it did so without remarking on the veracity of Safechuck and Robson’s claims.
“The ruling was the result of a change in the law signed by Governor Newsom that extends the time for genuine victims to file claims,” Weitzman said. “The Court of Appeals specifically did not address the truth of these false allegations, and we are confident both lawsuits will be dismissed and that Michael Jackson will be vindicated once again.”
The Jackson estate is currently locked in litigation with HBO, which it accuses of “posthumous character assassination” for airing ‘Leaving Neverland’ last year.