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Mistrial Declared in ‘Jackson Family Honors’ Trial

September 27, 1996

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A production company is willing to let a federal judge decide its breach of contract lawsuit over the ``Jackson Family Honors″ TV special, which flopped after Michael Jackson did not perform solo.

Juror confusion led U.S. District Judge Laughlin Waters to declare a mistrial Thursday, following last week’s convoluted verdict in Smith-Hemion Productions’ suit against the Jackson family.

An attorney for Smith-Hemion said his client would be willing to submit the case to the judge. Michael Jackson’s attorney Zia Modabber said he couldn’t agree to that until he contacted his client, who is on tour and out of the country.

The case plunged into chaos last week when one juror said she voted in favor of the plaintiffs simply to end deliberations, which began Sept. 16. Another juror apparently misunderstood the legal concept of punitive damages.

The 1994 television special reunited Jackson family members in Las Vegas. Jackson handed out two awards and sang a group song with his family.

Producers claimed they lost $1.7 million after relying on a promise by Jermaine Jackson that his younger brother would perform solo. Michael Jackson testified that he had never planned to perform, merely to present awards.

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