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Did the FBI have evidence that Michael Jackson paid off dozens of young boys to silence them after he sexually abused them?

No, they did not. The claim that they did comes from a British tabloid and it is not true.

On June 30, 2013 British tabloid Sunday People (the Sunday edition of The Mirror) published an “exclusive” article in which they claimed that they had insight into “secret FBI files” which “reveal Michael Jackson spent £23million (about $35 million) buying the silence of at least two dozen young boys he abused over 15 years” [1].

They claim the files were in the possession of a private investigator Anthony Pellicano who worked for Jackson in 1993. When Pellicano was arrested for illegal wiretapping in 2002, the FBI confiscated these documents, the article claims. That is their claim to these documents being “FBI files”.

In the article they talk to a private investigator who claims that he worked with Pellicano in 1993 on the Jackson case. The unnamed man is claimed to have kept copies of the documents that he now presented to the Sunday People – so the narrative of the story.

The article claims Pellicano was hired by Jackson to pay-off other “victims” when the singer was accused of child molestation by Jordan Chandler in 1993.  The sloppy tabloid article manages to contradicts itself on how many boys it claims were allegedly paid-off: in some parts of the article (including the title) they claim 24 boys, in another part they claim 17 boys and in yet another part of the article their source talks about three.

Despite the contradictions, the sloppiness of the article and the lack of supporting evidence, the “news” spread like wildfire. Apparently the term “FBI files” were enough to convince people, including other journalists who did not bother to check out the veracity of the story, that the tabloid’s claims were true.  In no time many other publications and websites ran the story, stating it as a fact that “the FBI revealed thousands of pages of their secret files which prove Jackson was a serial molester and paid-off dozens of young boys”. The claim even crossed-over to mainstream, non-tabloid media. No one in the media who published the story as a fact ever asked the logical question: if it was true how come that this evidence was never presented to Court at Jackson’s 2005 trial? And why should we take the words of an unreliable tabloid for it without any evidence?

When we review the documents those were attached to the Sunday People article as “evidence” we see they do not prove what is alleged in the article, nor do they represent an official stance by the FBI. Evidence of abuse and pay-offs, let alone the FBI verifying anything, is nowhere to be found in them. For those who are familiar with the details of the allegations against Jackson it is easy to spot what these documents really are – and they are not what the tabloid claims them to be. Let’s see them one by one.

Document 1

1

Apparently this is a fax sent to Pellicano on July 26, 1993. The name of the sender is blacked out. The sender claims that a source (which is unnamed) told him or her that Jackson “has paid off child victim’s parents dating back to the summer of 1992”. Then the sender elaborates on this supposed $600,000 pay-off by quoting what is alleged to be the settlement agreement. The actual agreement is not presented. Instead we are just supposed to take the words of this person for it, of whom we do not even know who he or she is as the sender’s name is blacked out.

Fortunately we have another source for this story, which source, unlike the Sunday People, also provided a context for these claims, as well as the names which are blacked out in the document.

During Michael Jackson’s trial in 2005 journalist Roger Friedman, who worked for Fox News at the time,  received audio tapes from a private investigator and tabloid broker, Paul Barresi. These were recordings of a tabloid journalist (National Enquirer, Globe) Jim Mitteager, who had a habit of secretly taping his conversations. When he died his wife gave the tapes to Barresi. These tapes, among others, included some conversations about Jackson. One of those conversations sheds light on the  above mentioned document as Friedman wrote about this story extensively in 2005:

“Mitteager, at least in the case of Jackson, relied heavily on a sketchy stringer named Taylea Shea. Her veracity consequently became integral to a lot of tabloid reporting at the time.
Shea, who seems to have gone by a number of aliases and had a long list of addresses and phone numbers, could not be contacted for this story, despite many tries.
Neighbors at the Los Angeles address at which she lived the longest do not remember her fondly. They recall a hustler and con woman who was always on the take.
“She should be in jail, if she hasn’t been already,” one former friend and neighbor said.
On one tape, Shea reads what sounds convincingly like a legal document drawn up between Jackson and a 12-year-old boy named Brandon P. Richmond, who is represented by his mother, Eva Richmond.
Brandon, according to the document, received $600,000 from Jackson. He and Jackson would no longer have any contact with each other.
Shea read the document, which is dated July 1992, to Mitteager the following year.
This would have been a blockbuster, if true, because it would make Brandon, not the differently-named boy who settled with Jackson in 1993, the first of Jackson’s accusers.
Shea also says on the tape that the legal document came from the offices of famed Hollywood lawyer Bert Fields, Jackson’s attorney at the time.
No reason is given why Jackson and Brandon Richmond should be separated. The implication, however, is clear.” [2]

So we learn from Friedman that the original source of this story was a “sketchy stringer”, a woman who is recalled by her neighbors as a hustler and a con woman. We also learn that no one actually saw this alleged agreement, Shea only “read it” to Mitteager. (It is possible that it was Mitteager who sent this fax to Pellicano about his conversation with Shea.) Shea is the only person who claimed to have seen the alleged agreement. Moreover, there was never a Brandon P. Richmond around Jackson. The boy and his mother seem to be completely fictional. As well as this “Michael Jackson Organization” on the other side of this supposed agreement, as Jackson never had a company or organization named Michael Jackson Organization.

Because neither tabloids, nor authorities found evidence that a Brandon P. Richmond ever existed in Jackson’s life, Friedman suggested that the boy in question might be Brandon Adams, a boy who played in Jackson’s 1988 movie, Moonwalker. Besides sharing the same first name, Adams, was an actor and a dancer just like the fictional Brandon P. Richmond. However Friedman contacted Adams and his family in 2005 and they denied they had ever been paid off by Jackson. Nor does the name of Brandon Adams’ mother have any similarity to the mother’s name in Shea’s story. Friedman wrote in 2005:

“The Globe published the story without using names. Over time, it was assumed that Brandon P. Richmond was in fact Brandon Adams, a boy who had appeared in Jackson’s “Moonwalker” video.
Discussions on the tapes indicate that the tabloids also believed the two Brandons were one and the same. But there’s a problem with Shea’s story: Nothing adds up.
For one thing, a source close to Fields says the document uses language uncommon to their usual agreements.
Then there’s the actual family.
According to the Adamses, whom I met in January, they don’t know an Eva Richmond.
Brandon Adams’ mother is named Marquita Woods. And Brandon’s grandmother assures me she knows nothing of a $600,000 payment. The family has lived in a modest home in Baldwin Hills, Calif., for 30 years.
Brandon Adams, who is now 25, is a struggling actor. He appeared in “D2: The Mighty Ducks” and the indie film “MacArthur Park,” and is currently working on building a music career.
“I wish I had $600,000,” he said. “I’m broke.”
The Adamses pointed out that Brandon never visited Neverland, just the Jackson family home in Encino.
For a short time they were friendly not only with the Jacksons, but with Sean Lennon and his mother Yoko Ono, who were also part of “Moonwalker.” But the relationship seems to have ended well before Taylea Shea’s big scoop.” [2]

Brandon Adams was again contacted and asked about it on his Twitter when the Sunday People article came out in 2013. Here is what he said:

Question: “Hey, there’s a British tabloid today claiming again that MJ paid you off in 1992, can you deny it once again?”

Brandon Q Adams: “smh… Lol.. Not me!”
“they luv 2 tell lies about people… I guess it just comes with the territory #MJ #Greatness” [3]

Additionally the text of this alleged agreement is far too sloppy to be an agreement drawn up by professional top lawyers.

Friedman concluded that Shea likely made up the story: “Was Shea simply lying to Mitteager to collect a big fee? It would seem so.”  [2] The prosecution in the Jackson case never brought up this story in Court or elsewhere either.

At the end of the the document the writer says: “In the end, Jackson allegedly paid off the following victims” [1] and then gives a list of names. No source is given as to who alleges that and based on what. If this is supposed to be the Sunday People’s “evidence” of Jackson paying off dozens of boys then it’s about as convincing as their fictional Brandon. All of this is according to only one questionable source – a “sketchy stringer” who was called a hustler and a con woman by her neighbors – allegedly informing Pellicano about rumors, not an established fact, and it is definitely not information verified by the FBI.

In actuality, anyone who wants to give credit to the claim that the FBI had evidence that Jackson paid-off dozens of boys, must ask the question: why then that evidence was never introduced to Court at Jackson’s 2005 trial? The FBI cooperated with the prosecution during the trial, but no such evidence ever emerged.

Document  2

2

This is apparently a note written by someone to Anthony Pellicano. The sender’s name is blacked out here as well. On this document there is no date given, but from the text we can derive it was probably in March, 1994.

“Detectives [blacked out] escorted [blacked out] yesterday, March 2nd, to [blacked out] house.”

This part of the text, as well as the full first half of the document, is about Blanca Francia. She was the maid who received $20,000 from Hard Copy for an interview in 1993 in which she claimed she witnessed Jackson be inappropriate with boys and that possibly her own son was molested by the singer. She and her son were prosecution witnesses at Jackson’s 2005 trial, so their allegations are no new revelations either. You can read about Jason Francia’s allegations in detail in this article. We will address Blanca Francia in detail later on this website.

On January 26, 1995 British tabloid Today reported that “it had been discovered that Blanca Francia had used a National Enquirer reporter, Lydia Encinas, as her translator when she was interviewed by police in 1993/4 as part of the criminal investigation of Jackson”.  [4] That story was based on Mitteager’s tapes:

“Paul Barresi, tabloid broker and investigator – after listening to a series of illicitly taped conversations recorded by reporter Jim Mitteager (now deceased) and left to Barresi when Mitteager died – discovered that an Enquirer reporter, Lydia Encinas, had helped to transcribe Francia’s interview statements with the police in 1993. Back then, the Enquirer, were actively offering substantial incentives to anyone with a ‘molestation’ story to sell on Jackson – all sanctioned by the Enquirer’s then editor, David Perel.”

and

“On April 4, 2005, journalist, Michelle Caruso, then working at the Daily News, reported in a piece about the upcoming ‘prior acts’ testimonies in Jackson’s 2005 trial, that the ‘Mitteager Tapes’ included sessions with then Enquirer editor – David Perel, telling Mitteager on March 23, 1994, that: ‘the reason why Lydia Encinas is involved is because she speaks Spanish and she’s got a good relationship with Blanca.’ [4]

Caruso talked to detective Russ Birchim, who interviewed Francia in 1993-94.

“Caruso reported that Birchim told her, “ Lydia Encinas was not the translator. But I did meet with her in Los Angeles.” Caruso also noted, that when asked to explain why, in the course of a criminal investigation, he had met up with a National Enquirer reporter in the first place – Birchim refused to elaborate.” [4]

All this seems to corroborate that the above document is some kind of note about what is on Mitteager’s tapes and can be traced back to Paul Barresi – just like the previous document.

Instead of revealing new allegations, the document just records Blanca Francia’s dealings with the media. At Jackson’s 2005 trial Blanca Francia admitted that besides Hard Copy she also contemplated to sell her story to the National Enquirer, but then she did not. From this document it appears this was because after her Hard Copy interview “the cops put her under wraps”.

“She got $20,000 from Hard Copy and supposedly regrets doing it because after her segment aired the cops put her under wraps.”

Of course, when the cops “put her under wraps” she was not able to sell her story to more tabloid media. We also learn from this document that Blanca Francia already planned a civil lawsuit against Jackson before the criminal proceedings were even over:

“[She] told her friend that when the Jackson criminal case is over, she will sue Jackson for molesting her son.”

The document further states that “the cops are looking for agreements between Jackson and parents of children who [blocked – presumably Blanca Francia] allegedly eye witnessed being molested including [blocked].”  No such agreements were ever presented despite a decade long investigation.

The second part of the document contains more rumours and speculations, nothing that was ever confirmed or proven. The document cites an unnamed “source” about certain allegations and rumours (none of which was ever confirmed or proven) and about detective’s beliefs and what actions they plan to take. It states:

“Detectives believe that so many people have been bought off, there is nobody to talk to.”

It is well documented that investigators in the Jackson case were biased and very hostile against the entertainer from the beginning. For example, in this article you can read about how they tried to convince boys to say that Jackson molested them by using improper interrogation techniques. In our article about Jason Francia you can read even more about those interrogation techniques.

So when their preconceived opinion about Jackson’s guilt was not supported by evidence and testimony they excused that by “believing” that the reason for that is that Jackson paid off people and not that maybe he was innocent, after all. However, there was never any evidence in support of the “belief” that Jackson paid-off people to keep silent about abuse. Instead of any proof that Jackson paid off dozens of boys, what we find in this document are speculations on the part of a desperate and biased prosecution and media to excuse their lack of evidence against the singer. Beliefs however need to be proven to become more than just uncorroborated opinions. Jackson was put to trial in 2005, after more than a decade of investigation, and no evidence of him paying off people to silence boys was ever presented.

Moreover, consider the fact that Jackson’s first accuser did everything feasible in order to receive a settlement in order not to go public or to trial in 1993. It is recommended to read our article about the Chandlers’ monetary demands which puts this uncorroborated myth of Jackson paying off people left and right into perspective. If it was routine for Jackson to pay off boys to not to go public and to authorities with their allegations then why did he refuse to pay off the Chandlers when they admittedly wanted nothing more than a pay-off from the very beginning?

Document 3

3

This is a document that appears to record a conversation between Jim Mitteager and Anthony Pellicano on December 10, 1993. It is a mystery about what it is supposed to prove, because it actually contradicts what the Sunday People claims, as here Pellicano tells Mitteager that there is no other accuser than Jordan Chandler.

“There is no other kid. Now that’s the thing that nobody is paying any attention to. They keep looking and looking and calling and calling. There is no other kid.”

Please also consider that the date of this alleged conversation is December 10, 1993 – which is around the time when Pellicano stopped working for Jackson. Previously Pellicano worked closely together with one of Jackson’s lawyers Bert Fields, they left the case because they did not agree with the direction that some of Jackson’s other lawyers were taking. Upon leaving Pellicano stated that he believed in Jackson’s innocence and his leaving was no indication of otherwise.

The Sunday People chose not to include it, but there is another conversation between Pellicano and Mitteager that is recorded on Mitteager’s tapes. It was recorded in September 1994. Paul Barresi gave this tape to reporter Aphrodite Jones a couple of years ago, who published the transcript on her website. On this tape Pellicano talks about his conversation with Jordan Chandler who told him that Jackson never molested him and that his father only wanted money.

“PELLICANO:  You have to understand something. I have nine kids.  Michael [Jackson] plays with my baby.  They crawl all over him.  They pull his hair.  They pull his nose.  Sometimes he wears a bandage across his face.  If I let my own kids (unintelligible) do you think there’s a chance?

MITTEAGER:  Well, all things being equal, I would say, no.

PELLICANO:  Not only that.  If you sat this kid [Jordie Chandler] down like I did, as a matter of fact, he couldn’t wait to get up and go play video games.  I said, “you don’t understand how serious this is.  Your dad [Evan Chandler] is going to accuse Michael of sexual molestation.  He going to say all kinds of stuff.”  He [Jordie] says, “Yeah, my dad’s trying to get money.”  As a matter of fact, I (unintelligible) for 45 minutes.  Then I tried tricking him.  I mean, I want you to know, I’m a vegetarian.  I picked this kid with a fine tooth comb.  So we’re there (unintelligible) with this kid… and If you sat down and talked to this kid, there wouldn’t be any doubt in your mind either.  And I said Michael is all upset.  We went over and over.  I tried to get him to sit down and he wants to play video games while I’m sitting there.  I’m sitting there with the kid’s mother [June Chandler] and David Schwartz walks in and (unintelligible) what’s this all about?  And [Barry] Rothman (unintelligible) asking questions.  There is no question that Rothman (unintelligible) what this is all about.” [5]

Document 4

4

This is a transcript of an audio taped interview with a couple, Philip and Stella LeMarque. The couple who worked for Jackson in 1991 for ten months (they claimed two years in the media, but at Jackson’s 2005 trial Philip LeMarque admitted it was only ten months), alleged on this tape that they witnessed Jackson behave inappropriately with certain boys. The Sunday People presented these allegations as if they were some kind of bombshell news, never before heard allegations, even suggesting that the couple’s claims were verified by the FBI.

In reality the LeMarques’ claims are nothing new and certainly not proven. Philip LeMarque testified at Jackson’s 2005 trial about his allegation that he witnessed Jackson put his hand in Macaulay Culkin’s pants, but was discredited by Culkin himself.

The document the Sunday People presented in 2013 was the transcript of an interview that tabloid broker Paul Barresi conducted with the LeMarques on August 28, 1993 – five days after the Chandler allegations hit the media. However, in a 1994 documentary entitled Tabloid Truth even Barresi himself expressed  doubt about the credibility of the couple. Barresi, a self-confessed opportunist, admitted he did not care if a story he sold to tabloids was true or not as long as he was paid. Watch Barresi talk about the LeMarques between 30:14-35:35 and between 36:55-37:10 in the video below:

Like neither one of these so called “third party witnesses” the LeMarques initially did not turn to authorities either, but tried to sell their story to tabloids for money. First their asking price was $100,000 then they promised to further embellish their story if they got $500,000. (Watch Barresi talk about it in the above documentary at 36:55-37:10.) It was admitted by Philip LeMarque in Court as well.

Q. You upped the price to 500 from $100,000 at one point?

A. Yeah, to see if we were going to do it. [6]

and

Q. Did you have a discussion with Paul Baressi where you said, “We don’t want 100,000. We want 500,000”? Yes or no.

A. Yes. [6]

It has to be noted that the LeMarques were in huge debt when they attempted to sell molestation stories about Jackson to tabloids. In their interviews with Barresi, the LeMarques alleged to have witnessed improprieties between Jackson and other boys as well, not only Macaulay Culkin, but interestingly those stories were never even brought up by the prosecution at Jackson’s 2005 trial.  Perhaps because not even this prosecution, which otherwise threw everything but the kitchen sink at Jackson, felt these stories were credible?

Document 5-6

56

These documents are property receipts about someone providing audio tapes to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office and the FBI respectively. They were probably attached to the Sunday People’s article in an attempt to give the documents some sense of “officialism” and somehow to link them to the FBI. However, the only thing they prove is that someone provided audio tapes to authorities. They do not reveal anything about the authorities’ opinion about the provided material.

Thanks to the 1994 Tabloid Truth documentary (see above) we know how and why Document 5 was produced. That document is the property receipt about someone giving the audio tape of the LeMarque interview to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office on August 30, 1993. From the Tabloid Truth documentary we know this was Paul Barresi himself and that it is his name that is blacked out on the document attached by Sunday People. Please stop the above shown documentary at 34:00. It is exactly the same document that the Sunday People tried to pass on as some newly discovered “FBI file” in 2013! However, in the documentary Barresi himself explains what it really is and the purpose why it was produced. The relevant part is at 33:00-35:01 in the documentary.

Barresi’s explanation in the documentary gives us an insight into the manipulative tactics of the tabloid world:

“I knew how to play the tabloids like a harp.”

If Barresi brought the tape to the DA he’d have nothing to fear for his illegal tape recording. Besides it would juice up the story. If the DA’s working on it that’s action, that’s inside information!

“That was the edge that worked well. If my story appeared in the slightest innocuous they would throw it out the window. So this is one way to do it with grand style, certainly.”

“So I called the editor of the Globe and I said: ‘I have a tape, I’m on the way downtown to hand it to the District Attorney.’ And his words were: ‘Let us come with you.’ And then I knew I had them. The next though on my mind was I’m gonna ask for 30 thousand dollars. You always ask twice as much as what you hope to get. He put me on hold and within less than a minute came back and said: ‘well, we can’t give you 30, we give you 10.’ I said: ‘Make it 15.’ He said ‘You have a deal’.”

“Could you see the headline coming?”

“Oh, yeah. Sure. And I could see that money coming too.”

The Sunday People used the same manipulative tactics when they presented these documents as “FBI files”, knowing that linking them to the FBI would give them a sense of credibility and officialness in many people’s eyes – even though just because a paper is submitted to the FBI it does not mean it is credible or that its contents are proven. Upon scrutiny the documents fail to provide evidence for the paper’s claims, and can be traced back to Paul Barresi rather than the FBI. Barresi was clearly the anonymous source behind the Sunday People’s story presenting himself as someone who worked together with Pellicano on the Jackson case in 1993. However, Barresi never worked for Jackson, he is simply an opportunistic tabloid broker.

Jackson was on trial in 2005 and during that trial the FBI closely co-operated with the Santa Barbara prosecution. If the FBI had evidence of Jackson paying off people left and right why didn’t they introduce that evidence to the Court? In actuality, the only evidence of pay-offs which came out at the trial was the money the prosecution’s many witnesses – including  Blanca Francia and Philip LeMarque – received from the tabloid media for their allegations! It is ironic that the same media who paid out fortunes to people for the slander of Michael Jackson over the course of two decades, accused the singer of  secret pay-offs with no evidence to back any of it up.

For more about the media’s role in the Michael Jackson allegations please read this article!

Sources:

[1] James Desborough, David Gardner – Michael Jackson paid £23MILLION buying silence of at least TWO DOZEN young boys he abused over 15 years (Mirror.co.uk, June 30, 2013)
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/michael-jackson-paid-23million-buying-2011662

[2] Roger Friedman – Was There an Unknown Jacko Accuser? (FoxNews.com, March 25, 2005)
http://www.foxnews.com/story/2005/03/25/was-there-unknown-jacko-accuser/print

[3] Brandon Q Adams Twitter
https://twitter.com/BrandonAdams22/status/351200257968840704

[4] Michael Jackson: The Making Of A Myth – Part 1
http://www.stereoboard.com/pdfs/Michael-Jackson-The-Making-Of-A-Myth-Part-I.pdf

[5] Taped phone conversation between Anthony Pellicano and Jim Mitteager (September, 1994)
It was originally posted on Aphrodite Jones’ website at http://www.aphroditejones.com/Michael_Jackson_Trial/Michael_Jackson_Trial.htm
The website has been since then reorganized and the Michael Jackson Trial section is not available anymore.

[6] Phillip LeMarque’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (April 8, 2005)

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