The Case Against Michael Jackson
The Predator: Boys detail lurid acts of alleged sexual abuse in sealed court, police, grand jury records
JANUARY 6--While jury selection is scheduled to begin later this month, specific details of the criminal molestation case against Michael Jackson have been shrouded through a judicial gag order, heavily redacted legal filings, sealed court proceedings, and other secrecy measures. But now, for the first time, The Smoking Gun has compiled an authoritative, behind-the-scenes account of the prosecution's case against the King of Pop, who was indicted last April on ten felony counts for the alleged sexual abuse of a Los Angeles boy in early 2003. This story (and the ones linked at right) are based on a review of confidential law enforcement and government reports, grand jury testimony, and sealed court records provided to TSG by sources.
If the harrowing and deeply disturbing allegations in these documents are true, Jackson is a textbook pedophile, a 46-year-old predator who plied children with wine, vodka, tequila, Jim Beam whiskey, and Bacardi rum. A man who gave boys nicknames like Doo Doo Head and Blowhole and then quizzed them about whether they masturbated and if "white stuff" came out. A man who conducted drinking games with minors and surfed porn with them on a laptop in his Neverland Ranch bedroom, noting that if anyone asked what they were looking at, the kids should just say they were watching "The Simpsons." A man who frequently talked sex with his little companions and explained that "boys have to masturbate or they go crazy." A man who told one pajama-clad boy that he wanted to show him how to "jack off." When the tipsy child declined the demonstration, Jackson announced, "I'll do it for you," and buried his hand in the boy's Hanes briefs, size small. And a man who emphasized to his little friends that these activities were "their little secret" and should not be disclosed to anyone, even if a gun was at their head.
The heart of the Jackson prosecution rests largely on accounts provided to investigators by the teenage boy, his younger brother, older sister, and the children's mother (at the time of the alleged molestation, the victim, who had been diagnosed with a rare cancer in 2000, was 13, his brother was 12, and their sister was 16). In the documents reviewed by TSG, the brothers appear a potent one-two punch of first-hand accounts of alleged Jackson misdeeds. They corroborated many of each other's lurid stories, providing the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department and District Attorney Thomas Sneddon with a stereophonic sleaze compendium.
While their sister did not witness any sexual abuse--nor was she ever invited to stay in Jackson's bedroom--she told investigators that the entertainer provided her and her brothers with wine at Neverland and also said that her siblings each confided in her about Jackson's explicit sex talk. The older boy, she said, told her that Jackson gave them tequila and Skyy vodka and asked her not to tell their parents about his drinking (Jackson, the boys reported, often concealed the pair's wine (a/k/a "Jesus Juice") in cans of Diet Coke and Sprite). In addition, she told detectives that the older boy said Jackson would touch his behind outside his clothes, something that made her brother feel uncomfortable.
According to the documents, the children's mother is a critical witness to the alleged conspiracy to imprison her family at Neverland in the wake of the February 2003 broadcast of "Living with Michael Jackson," the devastating Martin Bashir documentary. It was during that program that Jackson admitted--and strongly defended--sleeping with boys. At one point in the documentary--which first aired in England on February 3 and then in the U.S. three days later--the performer is seen with the 13-year-old accuser, who rests his head on Jackson's shoulder and talks glowingly about the singer. The woman contends that Jackson and several business associates began illegally scheming to keep her family caged up at Neverland the day after the Bashir documentary aired on Great Britain's ITV.
Though Jackson is the only person charged in connection with this purported plot, five of his business associates were identified as unindicted co-conspirators in the performer's heavily redacted April 2004 indictment. Aides Frank Tyson and Vincent Amen, business managers Dieter Wiesner and Ronald Konitzer, and video producer Marc Schaffel are accused of helping Jackson orchestrate the conspiracy, which included plans to ship the family off for safekeeping in Brazil. Family members were repeatedly told by the Jackson camp that the foreign move was necessary because numerous death threats had been directed at the family, according to investigative records.
In a bid to buttress the conspiracy claim, prosecutors elicited grand jury testimony from several Jackson associates, most of whom dealt with the family post-Bashir. Those witnesses included Neverland employees like security chief Jesus Salas, guards Christopher Carter and Brian Barron, public relations aide Ann Gabriel, and Schaffel cohort Christian Robinson, who testified with limited "use immunity" about the filming of the family's so-called rebuttal statement, a videotape they later told detectives they were strong-armed into making.
Also, as they did during last year's grand jury presentment, prosecutors will display items seized from Jackson's ranch during a November 2003 court-authorized raid. Agents went in searching for pornography, underwear, and any material--photos, correspondence, etc.--further linking Jackson to the alleged victim. They left with more than they could have expected, netting items corroborative of the accounts provided to them by the two boys.
The children's 36-year-old mother is, of course, a principal target of the Jackson defense team, which views her as a scheming grifter who has fabricated the abuse accounts, programmed these tawdry tales of masturbation and soiled underwear into her children, and, despite assertions that she is not chasing money, is expecting some kind of future financial windfall. The confidential law enforcement records also document how the family's story changed shortly after the mother hired legal counsel in mid-2003. Until that point, the family had vehemently denied any improprieties by Jackson in interviews with Los Angeles child welfare officials and Santa Barbara Sheriff's deputies. And they sang Jackson's praises in the rebuttal videotape shot by Schaffel's film crew two weeks after the Bashir documentary aired on ABC's "20/20." In addition, Jackson's lawyers have pointed out that, according to Sneddon, the alleged conspiracy to silence the family began more than two weeks before the first molestation incident is alleged to have occurred. The cover-up, Team Jackson argues, began before any crimes occurred.