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SOURCES SAY JACKSON ON VERGE OF SETTLING BOY’S MOLESTATION SUIT

SHARE SOURCES SAY JACKSON ON VERGE OF SETTLING BOY’S MOLESTATION SUIT

Michael Jackson, the pop superstar whose career has been jeopardized by accusations of child molestation, is on the verge of privately settling a civil suit against him, sources close to Jackson said on Saturday.

Under the agreement, the 13-year-old boy who asserted that Jackson molested him will receive a financial settlement from the millionaire star. In return, the boy will drop his civil suit against Jackson, the sources said.At the same there, there was a likelihood that the criminal case against Jackson might also be set aside because the boy, who is unidentified, would decline to testify against Jackson, the sources said. Under California law, a minor cannot be compelled to testify.

Details of the possible settlement are not known. A London tabloid reported recently that Jackson had agreed to pay the boy more than $40 million. Time magazine is reporting this week that sources close to Jackson called that figure "preposterous" and said the settlement would be closer to $5 million, in the form of cash and a trust fund.

Sources interviewed on Saturday said the settlement figure would not be disclosed.

Should the case against Jackson be dropped, the superstar's career would probably still suffer a setback but would almost certainly continue. Had Jackson been found liable in the civil case - and had he faced a full-scale criminal investigation and trial - his extraordinary career would probably have collapsed.