Jackson's 'past' allowed in court Jackson says he is the victim of a conspiracy The judge in the Michael Jackson trial has ruled that previous allegations of child abuse made against the pop star can be used in evidence. Judge Rodney Melville announced his decision on Monday after hearing submissions in the jury's absence. The ruling could have a significant impact on the future direction of the trial, correspondents say. The pop star denies 10 charges of abuse and false imprisonment and says he is the victim of a conspiracy. "I am completely, completely innocent," he said on Sunday. 'Similarities' Judge Melville has set aside half a day to hear the lawyers' arguments on Monday. Santa Barbara district attorney Tom Sneddon argued that the jury should be told about at least two cases in the 1990s where the singer was accused of molesting young boys. Jackson supporters have stayed put outside the courthouse Speaking of one previous alleged victim, Mr Sneddon said: "The victims are similar in age, the way the victims were cultivated are similar, the crimes are similar." He did not give details of when the alleged abuse happened, but said the accuser would testify to three incidents that "involve the genitalia of the child." The most widely reported case involved teenager Jordan Chandler, who said he was abused by the pop star in 1993. The case was settled out of court, reportedly involving a payment of $26m. At the time, Mr Jackson vehemently denied anything improper ever took place and later said he chose to pay the boy a "considerable sum of money" to avoid being subjected to a "media circus" at a trial. No criminal charges were ever filed. Documents which are understood to be Jordan Chandler's sworn declaration, a graphic account of alleged sexual encounters with Michael Jackson, have since been published on the internet. The prosecution wants such evidence to back up and give credibility to the claim of Gavin Arvizo - the boy at the centre of the current trial. Gavin Arvizo says he was abused by the singer in 2003. The prosecution is hoping to expose similarities between the nature of the current allegations and those from a decade ago, says the BBC's Peter Bowes in Santa Maria, California. The defence was expected argued that the past has no relevance to this trial.
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