SANTA MARIA, Calif. – The producer of a documentary in which Michael Jackson (search) said he let children sleep in his bed has asked a judge to deny a request for him to testify at Jackson's child molestation trial.
Martin Bashir (search), who now works for ABC News, was called by prosecutors to testify about other things the pop star said that may not have made the 2003 documentary's final cut. In the documentary, Jackson said he shared his bed with children, but it was not sexual.
Bashir said in a motion filed Tuesday that his work "speaks for itself" and that under California's shield law, journalists cannot be forced to testify about what they observe while reporting a story.
ABC, which aired his report in the United States, has also said it will fight the prosecutors' request.
Bashir's motion is to be considered at a Jan. 28 hearing.
Meanwhile, a brief order issued by Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville indicated that prosecutors are asking that testimony from child witnesses be taken in secret. Melville indicated he would consider both the motion and requests to unseal it in some redacted form at the Jan. 28 hearing.
Attorney Theodore Boutrous, who has represented the news media in legal battles to keep the trial open to the public, said he would file a motion opposing the prosecution's request.
"The presumption of openness, especially during trial testimony, generally requires that such testimony be held in open court," Boutrous said.
Jackson, 46, is charged with plying a boy with alcohol and molesting him. He has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to face trial Jan. 31.