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Judge considers dismissing lawsuit against Michael Jackson

Jan 18, 2006 | AP

A federal judge sought more information Wednesday about repressed memories before deciding whether to dismiss a lawsuit by a man claiming he was molested by pop star Michael Jackson more than 20 years ago.

Jackson's lawyer, Charles F. Gay Jr., has asked U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon to throw out the suit by Joseph Bartucci Jr. because the alleged incident happened more than 20 years ago.

There is a one-year statute of limitations on filing a lawsuit in such cases.

Bartucci, who was 18 in 1984, argues the statute applies only from the time he recovered a repressed memory of the event after seeing a television show about child molestation charges against Jackson in California. The singer was acquitted in that case.

Bartucci claims he was lured into Jackson's limousine in 1984 and held for nine days during which he was sexually assaulted.

Jackson's attorneys have called Bartucci's claim a "fantastic tale" in court papers seeking to have it dismissed.

"They have no facts or evidence to support the claim of repressed memory," Gay said, contending the notion is not supported by medical studies.

Attorney Louis Koerner, who represents Bartucci. countered that his client "went through a terrible, terrible, terrible time."

Judge Fallon asked Koerner to depose Dr. L. Mulry Tetlow, a psychologist who agreed that Bartucci had repressed the memory.

"I want to look at what he says about repressed memory," Fallon said.

Lawyers for Jackson said Bartucci was a party to 18 civil suits and criminal complaints in the past 17 years.

"We think this whole thing was conjured up by a guy who knows how to use the system," Gay said.

Neither Jackson nor Bartuccit were in court. Jackson, 47, has been living in the Persian Gulf nation of Bahrain since shortly after being acquitted of child molestation charges last year.

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