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Judge in Jackson Trial to Allow Evidence of Past Abuse Allegations

In a major development in the child molestation trial of Michael Jackson, a judge has ruled the prosecution may present evidence regarding previous allegations of child abuse by the pop star.

In California Monday, Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville said he will permit testimony about alleged prior offenses and a pattern by Mr. Jackson of what he called "grooming" young boys for abuse.

The prosecution tried to introduce evidence on seven previous allegations of abuse by the 46-year-old entertainer. But the judge's ruling will allow evidence related to only five previous allegations.

Legal experts say Judge Melville's ruling is one of the most important in the trial, and could prove devastating to Mr. Jackson's defense.

The pop star has denied all the charges against him.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.