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Leave Me Alone

Will judge toss Jacko lawsuit, or air it? The suit that threatens to reveal his finances may be broadcast -- or dismissed

This month's breach of contract suit filed against Michael Jackson by his former financial advisers may air on TV -- or it may not happen at all. Reuters reports that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Andria Richey is weighing two requests, both from Jackson's camp, to either dismiss the suit, or if not, then to keep cameras out of the courtroom.

The suit, filed by former Jacko financial adviser Myung-Ho Lee's Union Finance and Investment Corp., is scheduled to go to trial June 18. Lee claims that Jackson owes unpaid fees of $12 million. The trial also threatens to throw a spotlight on Jackson's finances, which, according to Lee's filings, are in such a sorry state that the singer is near bankruptcy. Jackson's lawyer, Zia Modabber, filed a motion to throw the suit out on the grounds that Jackson's contract with Lee was invalid because the Korean-based Lee is not licensed in California, but Lee's lawyer argued that an exception in California law that takes into account advisors based out of state made the contract kosher.

But Modabber may be less worried about scrutiny of Jackson's finances than scrutiny of his features. In his request to bar cameras from the trial, Modabber cited last November's trial of another Jackson lawsuit. ''The vast majority of the press in that case had to do with what his face looked like and how he acted when he walked through the door,'' Modabber said. "''He has to come in here and endure what really no-one else does by virtue of who he is.'' But a lawyer for Court TV argued that Jackson can't bar the media just because he was unhappy with press coverage last time. Judge Richey was expected to rule on these and other pre-trial motions early this week.

Originally posted Jun 03, 2003