As Michael Jackson's January 31 court date on charges of child molestation approaches, prosecutors are turning up the heat on the pop star. In papers filed on Monday, Deputy District Attorney Gerald Franklin suggested that the 46-year-old singer had a "propensity" for committing similar crimes.
Franklin wrote that "this evidence will be offered to prove the material, relevant issues of the defendant's intent, motive, opportunity and common plan or scheme to commit the charged offenses," according to reports. "The best way to prove that a man is a sex offender is to prove that he has sexually offended again and again." The motion argued that prosecutors should be able to admit the evidence under a 1995 California law that allows previous acts in sex-crime cases to be admitted into evidence, whether they were prosecuted or not.
Prosecutors wrote that they also plan to use the evidence to counter claims by Jackson — accused of sexually abusing a young boy at his Neverland Valley Ranch — that he is being falsely accused of offenses "fabricated by the victim and his family for financial gain."
Prosecutors laid out their evidence of "prior sexual offenses" in the 65-page motion, but Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville blacked out the pages before releasing them to the press on Tuesday. Jackson has never before been arrested and charged with a sexual offense. In the mid-'90s, a young boy accused the singer of molesting him, but an out-of-court financial settlement was reached, and charges were never filed.
Jackson's defense team — which asked the judge to delay the trial earlier this week to allow more time to prepare — had not filed a response at press time. Both sides were prohibited from discussing the latest wrinkle in the case due to a court-imposed gag order.
For full coverage of the Michael Jackson case, see "Michael Jackson Accused."