Friday, January 06, 2006

Talks Under Way to Settle Jackson Suit

Negotiations are under way to settle Janet Jackson's lawsuit against a New Jersey man over memorabilia that she and her superstar brother claimed were stolen. A federal judge dismissed Michael Jackson's portion of the lawsuit against Henry Vaccaro on Tuesday because he had stopped pursuing the two-year-old case, but his sister's claims remain active, said Edgar Pease III, Vaccaro's attorney. "We're negotiating a resolution of that," he said. After-hours calls to Janet Jackson's publicists seeking comment Thursday were not immediately returned. Vaccaro had a warehouse full of memorabilia from Jackson family members that included gold-trimmed costumes, financial documents, letters, awards and one of Michael Jackson's first outfits worn with the Jackson 5. According to Pease, the items included gold records and personal items including skin bleach, soiled underwear, sexual videotapes, sexual paraphernalia, and a hand-drawn picture by Jackson of a 7-year-old boy. The underwear and some other items were turned over to the Santa Barbara County district attorney's office during its unsuccessful prosecution of Michael Jackson on child molestation charges, Pease said. Vaccaro, an Asbury Park construction company owner, said he was awarded the memorabilia after years of legal wrangling stemming from a failed business venture that wound up in bankruptcy court. He took items that had been in an Oxnard storage facility but were sold during the bankruptcy proceeding involving Jackson family members. The singer and his sister sued, saying some of the items still belonged to them and Vaccaro only had a right to property belonging to his brothers, Tito and Jermaine, and their parents. Virtually all of the items, except for some of the items taken by the district attorney, were sold and Vaccaro no longer has them, Pease said.


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