Michael Jackson Abuse Case by 'Leaving Neverland' Accuser Rejected by Court
James Safechuck has claimed the singer started abusing him when he was 10 years old
Published Oct 21, 2020A U.S. judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Michael Jackson accuser featured in Leaving Neverland.
James Safechuck — one of two men featured in the HBO series — had first sued MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures in 2014, alleging they "were created to, and did, facilitate Jackson's sexual abuse of children." Safechuck claimed the singer started abusing him when he was just 10 years old.
Despite legal action first being taken in 2014, the case was then brought back earlier this year after a change to the statute of limitations for alleged victims in California.
However, California Judge Mark Young threw out the case today, stating Safechuck failed to lay out enough facts to support his claims.
In Safechuck's lawsuit, he alleged that Jackson abused him hundreds of times at the singer's various homes and while on tour during the late '80s and early '90s. He claimed MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures were set up by Jackson to run his career, but in reality, "The thinly-veiled, covert second purpose of these businesses was to operate as a child sexual abuse operation, specifically designed to locate, attract, lure and seduce child sexual abuse victims."
At one point, Safechuck was even in a Pepsi commercial with Jackson, as well as appeared with the artist onstage.
"He was an employee that was working on behalf of them as a dancer and entertainer on the stage with Michael," Safechuck's lawyer Vince Finaldi told BBC News. "Because he was a minor, and he was an employee working for them, they had a duty to protect him. That's our argument."
In response to the judge's decision, Finaldi added, "His ruling turns California law on its face. We are going back to court of appeal and we are going to win this thing."
Finaldi is also representing Wade Robson — the other accuser featured in Leaving Neverland — in a separate lawsuit. That case is expected to reach trial next summer.
Leaving Neverland is attempting to return for a second season, but as Deadline reported earlier today, the show is facing legal challenges.