By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated December 06, 2002 10:45 AM
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Michael Jackson was a no-show in court Thursday for the ongoing $21 million breach-of-contract lawsuit against him.

But according to Reuters, Superior Court Judge Zel Canter ordered the pop star to undergo a medical examination for failing to appear. Jackson has been claiming to be the victim of a spider bite on the foot that’s left him hobbling around shoeless and on crutches.

Skip Miller, an attorney for the plaintiff, promoter Marcel Avram (who claims Jackson reneged on two millennium concerts), angrily protested Jackson’s absence and said it was obvious that the star was trying to duck out of cross-examination.

“We’ve got an order from the court for an independent medical examination,” Miller said. “This is the third time he has either not shown up or been late (for cross-examination).”

Jackson’s attorney, Zia Modabber, countered, “Mr. Jackson is injured and needs medical attention, and he’s getting it. Today would have been his sixth day on the stand. He’s not afraid of this courtroom.”

Later, after meeting with attorneys in his chambers, Judge Canter said Jackson had offered what appeared to be a legitimate medical issue. No further details were reported.