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Jacko: Documentary Set Legal Wheels In Motion

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AP’s Linda Deutch has snooped around and come up with some new information about the Michael Jackson case, which was apparently set in motion by the freakfest Bashir documentary of Jackson that aired in February.

Here are some of our reactions to the doc at the time – Sydney Smith:

    There were many telling moments in last night’s Michael Jackson interview on 20/20, both explicit and implicit. But the most telling were these:

    1) When his first son was whisked away to the neonatal intensive care unit soon after his birth, Michael’s prayer wasn’t, “Please don’t let my child be sick,” but “Please don’t let me have a sick child.”

    2) The portrait hanging on the wall of his Neverland home that portrays Michael as Apollo, wrapped in loin cloth and surrounded by adoring and adorable cherubim.

    Shudder.

My own:

    What Jackson doesn’t get is that we saw his interaction with his own and other children for ourselves – who cares what the documentarian said in voice-overs? It’s all about Michael and always has been: the children are merely props in his grand story. He cares about them only as they relate to him: not “please don’t let my child be damaged,” but “please don’t let me have a damaged child.” Jackson – with his money and fame – may be a boon to the children of the world in the macro, but he is a menace to them in the micro, kind of like Ted Kennedy and women.

    I can’t help but wonder where Michael would be without all of his money to shield him: jail or dead I imagine.

Now jail is a very real possibility:

    “Living With Michael Jackson” may have triggered the child molestation case that threatens to destroy Jackson and his multimillion-dollar music empire.

    Exactly what happened is a matter of dispute, but interviews with several sources close to Jackson and the accuser’s family reveal one consistent thread: The documentary set in motion a series of events that led to the pop star’s arrest last month.

    The TV special, broadcast worldwide last February to an audience of millions, offered images of Jackson’s fairy-tale estate, Neverland, his lonely trips to Las Vegas and his lavish spending habits. It also showed him talking about sleepovers with children at Neverland and holding the hand of a cancer-stricken boy – the boy who is now Jackson’s accuser.

    Those close to Jackson’s defense team allege that around the time the TV special aired, the mother demanded a fee for her son’s appearance. When Jackson refused, they say, the relationship between the family and Jackson soured.

    In an alternate version, those close to the mother’s side say she did not ask for payment. Instead, they say Jackson began acting strangely just before the special aired, telling the family they were in danger and would have to pack their belongings and leave their home.

    According to this account, Jackson barred the family from Neverland, after which the mother hired an attorney – the same lawyer who had represented a boy in a molestation claim against Jackson 10 years ago.

    The sources spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity but are in a position to know each side’s version of events.

    ….[According to the second version] Shortly before the special aired, a source close to the family said, Jackson sent his assistants to the boy’s home and told the family to pack their belongings and leave, saying, “Someone wants to hurt you.”

    They were then taken to Neverland, where Jackson met with them and said they had to leave town. There was talk of their leaving the country, but that never happened. Instead, they were whisked off to a lavish hotel in Florida, later returning to Southern California. Jackson then paid for them to stay in a hotel in Ventura, not far from Neverland.

    At some point, Jackson told the family they were not welcome at his home anymore, a source close to the family said. The source also said Jackson put the family’s furniture and other belongings from their home in storage, and did not return them when the mother asked for them back.

    It was then, the family source said, that the mother consulted lawyer Larry Feldman, who had handled the case of the boy who leveled the molestation allegations against Jackson a decade ago. She said she thought her son had been molested, and she claimed Jackson had given him wine.

    The lawyer advised her to have the boy see a psychologist, according to other sources close to the family. Ultimately, the psychologist, who had handled celebrity cases before, went to authorities under a legal requirement to report any claims of child molestation.

    ….Meanwhile, authorities investigating the 1993 allegations against Jackson said they spoke to a second child who also claimed to have been molested, but no charges were ever filed.

    Former Santa Barbara County Sheriff Jim Thomas said late Thursday that the child was reluctant to testify, and the case was abandoned.

    Thomas said the claims of molestation were not as severe as what was being alleged by the first boy. The second child could have been used as a corroborating witness if the primary victim had testified in court, Thomas said.

Either one of two things have happened: because Jackson is a weirdo who really digs kids and has a ton of loot, he has allowed himself to be set-up and milked by unscrupulous parents, or his attraction to children – in particluar boys – has veered into the criminally improper range.

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