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Media Coverage Played a Role in Settlement; Lawyer Who Represented Boy in Molestation Suit against Michael Jackson Says Intense Coverage Facilitated Agreement before Trial

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Media Coverage Played a Role in Settlement; Lawyer Who Represented Boy in Molestation Suit against Michael Jackson Says Intense Coverage Facilitated Agreement before Trial

Article excerpt

THE LAWYER WHO represented a 13-year-old boy in a molestation lawsuit against superstar Michael Jackson said intense media coverage of the case played a role in reaching an agreement before trial.

No dollar figure for the settlement was revealed by either side, but estimates have ranged from $10 million to $40 million.

In an interview published in the Los Angeles Daily Journal, lawyer Larry Feldman said he felt a need to take the case to the media when he began representing the boy.

"...when I got into the case, I saw polls that showed 85% of the people believed that Michael Jackson was innocent and my lawsuit was an extortion attempt. That potentially could influence a jury .... Something had to be done to turn the tide so at least we could have a jury that was open-minded," Feldman told staff writer Dick Goldberg.

The lawyer said he was frustrated by the fact that the media seemed to be interested only in Jackson and showed "very little interest in my client, a little boy who was doing something very courageous in filing the suit and deserved the same respect as Michael Jackson."

Asked if media coverage hastened a settlement, Feldman replied, "I can only speculate on that, but logic dictates that Michael Jackson was more affected by it because his career depended on it .... "

Feldman, a Santa Monica, Calif., lawyer who is a former president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, also was asked if there was a difference in coverage between the tabloid press and the "general press. …

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