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Jackson in Major Dept


05/04/05
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(antiMusic) Michael Jackson may have to declare Neverland Ranch a sovereign nation as his spending habits seem to parallel that of a government. A forensic accountant testified for the prosecution in the Jackson molestation trial on Tuesday and said that Jackson was $285 million in debt at the time the damaging documentary "Living With Michael Jackson" aired.

The prosecutors case so far speculates that the release of that documentary set off a chain reaction related to the young accuser in the case where Jackson reportedly held the boy and his family captive while attempting to force them to film statements to counter the damage done when "Living With Michael Jackson" aired in February 2003. Witnesses testified that there may have also been a plot to kidnap the family and fly them out of the country.

Forensic accountant John Duross O'Bryan testified on Tuesday that he reviewed Jackson's finances from 1999 thru 2004 for the prosecution and found that Jackson had a history of deficit spending, to the tune of $20 to $30 million a year. This testimony added a financial dimension to the prosecutor's argument that Jackson panicked when the damaging documentary aired.

O'Bryan testified that at the time the documentary aired in Feb 2003 that Jackson had $10.5 million in unpaid vendor invoices and only $38,000 in cash in bank accounts, according to the Associated Press.

Jackson's defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. countered that O'Bryan had undervalued Jackson's 50% share of the Sony-ATV music catalogue, which contains the rights to works of the Beatles among other artists. Mesereau said the catalogue has an estimated worth of between $4 billion and $5 billion.

O'Bryan stated that Jackson share was reduced to about $200 million because he had taken out more royalties from the catalog than Sony.

The Mesereau suggested that Jackson could fix his cash flow problems by accepting a lucrative offer including a $100 million offer in 2002 for a world tour.

"Wouldn't it be relevant if you knew Mr. Jackson could accept one opportunity and solve (his cash flow problem) in a day," Mesereau asked.

"If it could be solved, why wasn't it?" O'Bryan replied.

A sheriffs investigator also testified on Tuesday about statements reportedly made by Jackson's ex-wife Deborah Rowe where she supposedly described Jackson as a "sociopath" and that there was a "plan" in place to always paint a positive picture of their relationship when speaking about it in public.

Rowe, the mother of two of Jackson's three children, shocked the prosecution last week when she testified that Jackson was a wonderful parent, a generous person and claimed that the pop star was a victim of "opportunistic vultures".

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