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Law

Jackson 'regrets' out-of-court settlements


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Michael Jackson leaves court after Friday's hearing.
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The mother of Michael Jackson's accuser testifies.
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SANTA MARIA, California (CNN) -- Shortly after hearing pretrial testimony from the mother of Michael Jackson's accuser, the pop singer's attorney told reporters that Jackson "would never harm a child" and he now regrets reaching out-of-court settlements years ago with two children who accused him of wrongdoing.

Attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. said all sorts of Jackson accusers have constantly made "efforts to exploit, undermine and take advantage of this wonderful human being."

"As a result, many years ago, he did pay money rather than litigate two false allegations that he harmed children. People who intended to earn millions of dollars from his record and music promotions did not want negative publicity from these lawsuits interfering with their profits," Mesereau said with Jackson at his side.

"Michael Jackson now regrets making these payments. ... These settlements were entered into with one primary condition -- that condition was that Mr. Jackson never admitted any wrongdoing. Mr. Jackson always denied doing anything wrong. Mr. Jackson had hoped to buy peace in the process."

Mesereau went on to say that Jackson has made more than $1 billion in his career and, taken in that light, the settlements "were actually very small compared to money he could make in music."

"Mr. Jackson now realizes the advice he received was wrong. He should have fought these actions to the bitter end and vindicated himself."

Jackson, dressed in a white suit and sporting black sunglasses, walked with his entourage to nearby SUVs, stopping to wave at hundreds of supporters who cheered behind a chain-link fence. He then left.

In 1993, Jackson paid more than $20 million to a then-13-year-old boy who accused him of child molestation. A multimillion dollar settlement was reached with a separate boy around that same time, although details on it have been less publicized.

Jackson, 46, currently faces multiple counts of child molestation, including committing a lewd act upon a boy and conspiring to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. He has pleaded not guilty.

The trial is set to start January.

Accuser's mother testifies

The mother of the accuser testified in an evidence-suppression hearing Friday, telling the court that Jackson's people "choreograph everything" and that everything from the district attorney's office is "the truth."

Asked if she was told the purpose of the hearing, she said, "To bring more torture on me and my children."

During the testimony, the mother, identified only as Jane Doe, was evasive and almost hostile. She often answered questions with long pauses, tilting her head in the air, closing her eyes and saying, "I'm looking in my mind." The defense argues that authorities overstepped their bounds in various searches, and Mesereau wants to prevent some items seized from Jackson's home and a private investigator's office from being used as evidence.

Mesereau claims that videotaped interviews seized by police from the office of a Beverly Hills private investigator, Bradley Miller, should not be allowed as evidence because he worked for Mark Geragos, Jackson's former attorney. The defense contends the search should be barred under rules of attorney-client privilege.

The defense also claims that the search of Neverland Ranch exceeded the scope of the warrant and should be discounted.

The accuser's mother told the court she did not think much of Geragos. "He's a bad guy," she said, later describing him as a "horrible guy."

She used similar terms for the private investigator, saying she knew he was part of Jackson's "damage control team."

"I knew he was a terrible guy," she said.

She also said she had been warned about "all the people they can buy off" and that she was afraid her children would be "ripped from my arms."

"I do a lot of staying up all night," she said.

At the close of Friday's hearing the judge said he would issue written rulings on the evidence suppression requests, but he did not say when.

Among those attending the hearing were Jackson's sisters, Janet and LaToya, and his brother Jermaine. Jackson watched attentively throughout the mother's testimony.

The prosecution revealed Friday that the mother and her son, the alleged victim, had been moved to another county, apparently as a safety precaution.

Another hearing is set for October 14 on another defense motion to try to get Jackson's $3 million bond reduced.

CNN's Miguel Marquez contributed to this report.


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