Michael Jackson Says ‘Vicious Lies’ Will Prompt Lawsuits
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Michael Jackson has ordered his lawyers to sue newspapers, TV shows and anyone else spreading ``vicious lies and rumors″ about a videotaped sexual encounter between him and a 13-year-old boy.
The London Sun and Today newspapers carried reports last weekend about the purported 27-minute black-and-white video. The story was carried Monday and Tuesday by TV’s ``Hard Copy″ and other shows.
The reports said one of the entertainer’s own security cameras captured an explicitly sexual Christmas holiday encounter between Jackson and the teen-ager, whose name wasn’t disclosed.
The reports are based on allegations by Victor Gutierez, a freelance writer who claims he saw the tape. He said it was given to the boy’s mother, who wants to sell it back to Jackson.
``Enough is enough!″ Jackson said in a statement. ``I will no longer stand by and watch reckless members of the media try to destroy my reputation. I intend to protect myself and my family.″
Jackson attorney Howard Weitzman said the tape does not exist.
There was no immediate reaction from the London tabloids. ``Hard Copy″ senior correspondent Diane Dimond said she stood by her reports.
In his statement, released through Weitzman, Jackson said the whole thing was a lie.
``I have instructed my attorneys to immediately file lawsuits against those persons who continue to spread vicious lies and rumors about me in their attempts to make money, benefit their careers, sell papers or to get viewers to watch their programs,″ he said.
The tabloids said Los Angeles authorities had reopened the Jackson child-sex investigation. But prosecutors said the case remains closed.
``We have heard about the alleged tape. We have not seen it and we don’t have it,″ said Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. She added that prosecutors aren’t searching for it.
Jackson, 36, settled a sex abuse lawsuit filed by a teen-age accuser in February 1994, reportedly for as much as $15 million. Prosecutors said they didn’t file charges because the boy, who was 13 when he made the accusations, would not cooperate with authorities after reaching the settlement.