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Jacko Paid Off Another Family to Shut Up

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Michael Jackson’s lawyers deny there was any payoff, but the Daily News has learned the identity of a family who allegedly got $300,000 from an aide to the pop star after agreeing to lie low during the 2003 child-molestation probe.

The top-secret payment allegedly was made to Ruby and David Martinez, a mother and son who fled the U.S. for Argentina to duck questioning by cops after Jackson’s arrest in November 2003, according to a source familiar with the pair.

“The family had previously received money from Jackson . . . . It’s not clear whether the boy claimed he was abused or that he \[claimed he\] witnessed another child being abused,” the source said.

The Martinezes’ names appear on the final witness list for the $1.5 million breach-of contract suit filed by former Jackson video producer Marc Schaffel, but the duo did not appear or testify in the trial.

Schaffel testified that days after Jackson’s arrest, he flew to Brazil, then Buenos Aires and delivered the money in cash to someone he later called Mr. X in his ledger book.

Jackson’s former business adviser Alvin Malnik testified the entertainer had asked him to have Schaffel go to South America to “take care of a personal matter.” Malnik said Jackson wanted Schaffel to come up with the $300,000 for the payment and be reimbursed later by the singer’s accountant.

Schaffel says Jackson never repaid the $300,000, and it is part of the $1.5 million he claims Jackson still owes him.

The judge ruled witnesses could not dish about the payment and could only refer to it as a “personal matter.”

Santa Barbara County law enforcement sources said they are not familiar with the Martinez situation. The family was not one of “about a dozen mother-son teams” they had been seeking to question about the goings-on at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Jackson was acquitted of charges that he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor.

In closing arguments yesterday, Jackson’s lawyer Thomas Mundell insisted Schaffel had no proof he ever made the payment. “He has no receipt from Mr. X. How can we believe this one? There are dark hints that it was a payoff . . . but no one pays off and doesn’t get a release,” said Mundell.

Jury deliberations are set to begin today.


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