The $35 Million Question
New documents have come to light purporting to prove Michael Jackson paid off alleged abuse victims — but the pop star's former lawyer says they're fake.
A report in a British tabloid alleges that secret FBI files prove Michael Jackson sexually abused children at his Neverland Ranch, but his former lawyer says it's all bull.
The documents, obtained by Britain's People magazine, come from the files of jailed Hollywood private investigator Anthony Pellicano and purport to show that Jackson paid out over $35 million to families to keep them quiet about the alleged abuse.
The papers also include investigator reports, audio tapes, phone transcripts and the names of 17 boys — including five child actors, two dancers and choreographer Wade Robson — and were leaked by another investigator hired by Pellicano to do the groundwork in the case after he was in turn hired by Jackson to help with his defense.
"It showed at least two dozen children were given money to stay quiet — which came to around $35 million," the investigator said.
"Wade Robson was one of the kids identified as a victim while our reports show many others were paid off before their names even emerged."
Attorney Tom Meserau told RadarOnline that no such files exist, and if they had they would have been presented at trial.
"Remember, in 2009, the FBI released their files relating to Michael Jackson and even though some of it was redacted, there were absolutely no findings of any wrongdoing on behalf of my client," he said. "Leading up to the 2005 molestation trial, the Santa Barbara District Attorney was working with the FBI and Interpol and they came up with no evidence of any sexual abuse."
"Believe me, if they had such information, it would have been presented at the trial."
Jackson was acquitted at trial with the help of Wade Robson, who repeatedly testified that Jackson never behaved in any inappropriate manner toward him and never touched him sexually.
Now Robson has changed his tune and is suing the star's estate for damages.
"These revelations confirm what we've been saying: that Michael Jackson was a pedophile and Wade Robson was one of his victims," said Robson's lawyer Maryann R. Marzano.
"To continue to deny this defies both common sense and common decency."
MJ's baby mama Debbie Rowe called Robson's move opportunistic.
"His publicity-seeking attempt is opportunistic and just oozes falseness," she said. "It will be quickly forgotten, and will do nothing, nothing to tarnish Michael's extraordinary legacy."
Meserau agrees. "It's sickening that people are still trying to profit and exploit Michael Jackson in death," he said.
Image courtesy Chris Connor/WENN