Jackson agrees to make deposition


LOS ANGELES -- Michael Jackson has agreed to be deposed on Jan. 18 about allegations that he sexually molested a 13-year-old boy, lawyers on both sides of the case said yesterday.

Mr. Jackson's attorneys have said that he is eager to tell his side of the story under oath, but they also have warned that they may oppose efforts to take Mr. Jackson's deposition if criminal charges are filed against the entertainer or still are under consideration when the date for his deposition arrives.

In a hearing last month, Superior Court Judge David Rothman ordered Mr. Jackson's deposition scheduled before the end of January. But Judge Rothman also noted that he might reconsider that order if Mr. Jackson is indicted on criminal charges.

Bertram Fields, one of Mr. Jackson's lawyers, said yesterday that the entertainer might request a change in the deposition date if there are significant changes in the status of the criminal investigation before the end of January.

"We do want him to testify in the civil case for sure," Mr. Fields said. "If things change in the criminal case, we would reconsider the whole question of the civil case. We want the criminal case to go first."

Even if Mr. Jackson's deposition goes ahead as scheduled, it does not necessarily mean that the singer would need to return to the United States by that time because depositions sometimes are done in foreign countries. But the boy's lawyer, Larry R. Feldman, said he expected Mr. Jackson to give his deposition in the United States.

Mr. Jackson, believed to be under treatment in a London clinic for drug addiction, spoke to his parents and a brother by telephone, pledging to appear in the Feb. 5 "The Jackson Family Honors" show in Las Vegas, the family said in a news release reported by the Associated Press.

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