Jackson sent witness 'to adopt boys in Brazil'

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The Independent US

A former associate suing Michael Jackson for alleged unpaid debts suddenly claimed on the witness stand that he was once dispatched on a mission to help the pop star adopt boys in Brazil, but the singer's attorney denounced the story as a smear.

Even the lawyer for the plaintiff, Marc Schaffel, said he was shocked when his client blurted out the claim on Friday as Jackson's attorney was questioning him about his own background in the gay pornography business. "It's not really relevant to this case," Mr Schaffel's attorney, Howard King, said outside court.

Jackson's lawyer, Thomas Mundell, said that he had never heard the allegation during all of the pretrial investigations. "It was an effort to smear Mr Jackson with a remark that could be interpreted to hurt him in light of the case against him last year," he said.

Jackson was acquitted of child molestation charges last year in Santa Maria, California.

Mr Schaffel is seeking $1.6m (£865,000 ) from Jackson, a reduction in the $3.8m his lawsuit originally claimed he was owed for unpaid loans, royalties and other debts.

The plaintiff was being questioned by Mr Mundell about his personal ties in Brazil when he denied that he had been on a trip to recruit talent for gay videos. "No, I've not used any Latin models," Mr Schaffel said.

Mr Mundell then asked if he had an interest in a company known as Latinboys. Mr Schaffel bristled and said he did not, then blurted out, "The main purpose of my trip was Mr Jackson wanted to adopt some boys."

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