The lawsuits brought by two men against Michael Jackson (1958-2009) that he sexually abused them as a boy for years should not have been dismissed. That was the verdict of a three-judge panel of the California Court of Appeals. This means that the lawsuits have been approved again, as reported by “Sky News”, among other things.
Choreographer Wade Robson (40) and James Safechuck (45), who accuse the deceased musician of the deeds, explained their allegations in detail in the documentary "Leaving Neverland" (2019). Robson has been suing since 2013, Safechuck since 2014. Michael Jackson and the late singer's lawyers have always maintained his innocence.
The lawsuits can now be filed again against companies owned by the late singer. A judge who dismissed the lawsuits in 2021 found at the time that the companies MJJ Productions Inc and MJJ Ventures Inc, named as defendants in the case, could not be expected to act like the Boy Scouts or a church function in which a child is in their care and protected. But the latest ruling means Robson and Safechuck can claim the companies had a responsibility to protect them.
Jonathan Steinsapir, attorney for the Jackson estate, told The Associated Press they were "disappointed" with the decision: "Two respected trial judges have repeatedly dismissed these cases on numerous occasions over the past decade because the law required it." He continued: "We remain fully convinced that these allegations, which are contrary to all credible evidence and independent confirmation and were first made by the men years after Michael's death and were motivated solely for financial reasons, is innocent."
Vince Finaldi, an attorney for Robson and Safechuck, said in an email that they were "pleased but not surprised" that the court "overturned the previous judge's erroneous rulings in these cases, which violated California law and would have set a dangerous precedent [...] We look forward to a trial on the matter."
The judges did not decide on the veracity of the allegations themselves. That will be the subject of an upcoming jury trial in Los Angeles.
Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch in California sold for $22 million in December 2020.