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WARRANT ALLOWS A STRIP-SEARCH OF JACKSON

Police have a warrant to strip-search Michael Jackson to corroborate a 13-year-old boy's allegations he was molested, a source says.

Jackson's lawyers, meanwhile, said the pop superstar was not trying to duck the criminal investigation when he checked into a drug rehabilitation center overseas."If Michael Jackson wanted an excuse to stay out of the United States, all he had to do is stay on his tour," lawyer Bertram Fields said. "This is his home. He's coming back. He doesn't intend to desert the United States."

A source speaking on condition of anonymity said Los Angeles police had obtained a warrant to check the boy's description of spots on Jackson's genitals. In February, the singer revealed he had a skin condition known as vitiligo, which can produce white patches.

"We know nothing about it," Jackson lawyer Howard Weitzman said Monday. "We are not concerned about those issues in the case. We don't believe it, period."

The boy's attorney, Larry Feldman, refused to comment.

Jackson canceled his "Dangerous" concert tour Friday, saying the pressures of the investigation led to an addiction to the painkillers he was taking after recent scalp surgery for burns he suffered while making a Pepsi commercial in 1984.

Fields said a U.S. drug rehabilitation center would not have afforded the privacy Jackson needs to treat the addiction. The lawyer refused to say where Jackson was, although the singer's last stop was a hotel in the French Alps.

The boy sued the 35-year-old Jackson in September, claiming he was molested. No criminal charges have been filed, and Jackson's representatives say the allegations stemmed from a $20 million extortion attempt by the boy's father.

Fields said the addiction mentally incapacitated Jackson.

"His life was in danger if he continued taking these massive quantities of drugs," he said. "He was barely able to function adequately on an intellectual level."