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Jacko Paid $23M To End Molest Suit

Court TV is putting a dollar figure on the settlement Michael Jackson gave to his first accuser.

Court TV's Diane Dimond says she's acquired a copy of the final settlement Jackson made to the boy who accused him of molestation in 1993. The document, dated January 1994, says Jackson set up a trust fund worth more than $15 million.

Court TV quotes unnamed sources as saying the boy got a seven-figure payment up front. It says each of his parents got $1.5 million, and the family's lawyer was given $5 million expenses.

The settlement has Jackson's signature on it but it does not mean Jackson admitted guilt. Dimond quotes the document as reading, "This agreement shall not be construed as an admission by Jackson that he has acted wrongfully with respect to the minor."

CBS News Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen notes the legal language is standard for any settlement agreement.

"Jackson's lawyers never would have allowed him to pay all that money without language that says it's not an admission of any wrongdoing. But that admission isn't objective proof that nothing happened; in fact, prosecutors likely will argue that the settlement is financial proof that something did,'' says Cohen.

"This is a devastating leak for Jackson because it's likely that those in his jury pool will hear about this reported settlement long before they know that they may be called to duty in his case," Cohen says. "And that knowledge clearly will have a negative impact on Jackson's image with those potential jurors."

Jackson is currently facing unrelated criminal charges that he sexually molested another young boy.

On Monday, a judge refused to lower Jackson's $3 million bail, saying the singer's wealth justified setting his bail at an amount higher than normal.

Santa Barbara County Judge Rodney S. Melville said that although Jackson's bail was more than the normal amount for defendants facing similar charges, it should remain high to ensure that Jackson appears at future court dates.

"While there has to date been no significant issue with regard to the defendant's appearance at scheduled court events, it continues to appear to the court that a cognizable financial incentive to do so should be in place," Melville wrote.

Jackson's bail was set when he was arrested in November, but his attorneys did not fight the amount.

Jackson's new attorney, Thomas Mesereau Jr., requested that Jackson's bail be reduced to no more than $435,000 after he took over the case in April.

Mesereau said at a May 28 hearing that the judge should lower Jackson's bail because of his charitable contributions, lack of criminal record, and ties to Santa Barbara County, where the case was filed. He said there were no legal grounds for setting Jackson's bail above the normal amount just because of the singer's wealth.

But prosecutors said Jackson was likely to flee the country if his bail was reduced.

Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen said $3 million was "roughly comparable to what he (Jackson) would spend in a weekend in Las Vegas," and noted that the pop star is a self-declared billionaire.

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