Michael Jackson Fined for No-Show
08/18/2005 AT 07:00 AM EDT
On Wednesday, judge in New Orleans fined the singer $10,000 for failing to appear in court to face sexual abuse allegations claimed by Joseph Bertucci, now 39, who says he was abused by the pop star in 1984, during the World's Fair, when he was 18, the Associated Press reports.
Jackson lawyer Charles F. Gay Jr. explained to U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon that the summons for the earlier court date was simply lost in the confusion of Jackson's trial in Santa Maria, Calif. The summons for the New Orleans court appearance arrived June 13.
"I would like to point out that June 13 was probably the most anxious day of Michael Jackson's life," Gay said. "That was the day the jury reached the verdict."
The judge scheduled a conference Sept. 7 to choose a trial date, and Bartucci's attorney, William A. Pigg, said he will push for a quick trial.
"My client has been under a great deal of stress," Pigg said. "He has been the victim of character assassination. He had animal blood smeared on his door a couple of weeks ago."