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The Michael Jackson Trial

Prosecutor seeks Jackson's financial records

Singer, accounting firm contest subpoena

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The sister of the pop star's accuser testified in the case.
Michael Jackson

SANTA MARIA, California (CNN) -- An accounting firm is fighting a subpoena from prosecutors in the Michael Jackson trial who are seeking records outlining the pop star's financial condition, according to court documents released Thursday.

In the subpoena filed February 23, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Thomas Sneddon charged that Jackson faces "a crushing amount of personal debt mounting to well over $275 million" that will come due in December.

Jackson is accused of molesting a 13-year-old former cancer patient, giving him alcohol and attempting to hold him and his family captive. The singer has denied the charges. (Thursday's testimony)

Sneddon also said Jackson was facing a financial crisis two years ago when he and his accuser appeared together, holding hands, in a controversial television documentary, which damaged Jackson's public image and triggered a chain of events leading to his indictment.

Jackson's financial records are needed to prove that Jackson "was motivated by this financial crisis to do whatever was necessary to preserve his public image," including participating in a conspiracy to intimidate and control his accuser and the boy's family "for his own public relations purposes," Sneddon said in his court filing.

He also said Jackson's present and future earnings as an entertainer "are directly connected to his public image."

But attorneys for the accounting firm of Holthouse, Carlin & Van Trigt moved to quash the subpoena, arguing that it was overly broad, burdensome and sought privileged material that would violate Jackson's privacy.

The California firm also noted that the judge in Jackson's trial already ruled in January that prosecutors cannot use financial evidence in an attempt to show motive.

Jackson also plans to file his own motion to quash the subpoena on the grounds that it would violate his rights of privacy and confidentiality, according to Holthouse's court filing.

A hearing on the subpoena was scheduled for next Wednesday.

The prosecution is seeking statements of Jackson's assets, liabilities and revenues; balances in his bank, asset and credit accounts; check registers; statements of unpaid debts and loan balances; and values for his real estate, property and music catalog.

It also wants statements reporting the publishing activity for his music catalog, which he co-owns with Sony. The catalog includes the rights to music by the Beatles.

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