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FBI investigating taping of Jackson aboard plane

Geragos:
Geragos: "This is not the lottery. This is this man's life."

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CNN's Frank Buckley on an audiotape in which the mother, the alleged victim and his brother apparently praise Michael Jackson.
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CNN's Art Harris reports on District Attorney Tom Sneddon's apology for off-the-cuff remarks about Michael Jackson.
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CNN's Gary Tuchman reports on Michael Jackson's defense attorneys going on the offensive.
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Attorney Mark Geragos vows action after revelations that he and Michael Jackson were secretly videotaped.
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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- The FBI Wednesday was looking into whether federal laws were broken when singer Michael Jackson and his attorney were secretly videotaped aboard a private jet last week.

Jackson attorney Mark Geragos obtained a temporary restraining order to prevent release of the tapes, made last week as Jackson flew from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara, where the singer surrendered to authorities to face child molestation charges and was released on $3 million bail.

In another development, an audiotape played for CNN apparently revealed the mother and child behind the molestation allegations praising Jackson last February, calling him a "father figure" and saying God had blessed them by bringing Jackson into their lives.

As federal authorities began investigating the taping incident aboard the charter jet, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Yaffe issued a restraining order prohibiting XtraJet, the airline Geragos said placed the cameras aboard the plane, from releasing the tapes until a hearing in December on a permanent injunction, according to a statement from Jackson spokesman Stuart Backerman.

Geragos told reporters he also had filed a civil suit against XtraJet and reserved the right to sue anyone connected with making or trying to sell the tapes.

"The videotaping of my client conferring with me was illegal and outrageous, as was the aircraft company's attempt to sell that tape for profit," Geragos said. "We will be absolutely relentless in our pursuit of any and all extortionists, regardless of how they try to gift wrap their lies in the cloak of justice. Michael is not going to be a piņata for every money-hungry publicity seeker to strike in the hopes of hitting it rich."

Backerman, meanwhile, issued a statement saying, "New lows are being hit every day in the case."

"Motivated parties are taking obscene measures to injure Michael with false allegations," Stuart Backerman said in the statement. "We will aggressively challenge the rogue's gallery of grifters who are seeking dividends from Michael's ordeal."

XtraJet said Wednesday it had no comment on the matter.

Attorneys learned of tape from media

Matthew Geragos, the brother of Mark Geragos and one of the attorneys filing the civil suit against XtraJet, told CNN's "Larry King Live" that his brother began getting calls about the tapes Monday "from other media outlets, indicating that they had seen portions of this tape, telling him specifically things that they saw about him and about Michael Jackson on the plane."

"We understood that they offered it to several networks," said Brian Kabateck, another lawyer representing Jackson in the civil suit. Kabateck said the company was asking for "a lot of money" for the tapes, but no network has accepted to pay the money or has aired the video.

Mark Geragos says Jackson, 45, is innocent, and argues that his accusers are motivated by greed. "This entire case is about cash, and anyone who believes differently is living in their own Neverland," he said.

But prosecutors in Santa Barbara have said the accuser in this case does not plan to file a civil lawsuit against Jackson, and they say they have evidence to support claims that Jackson molested a boy.

Legal analyst: Mother, alleged victim praised Jackson

In the other tape incident surfacing in the case, Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, a San Francisco assistant district attorney on leave and a contributor to CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" program, said a source close to Jackson's defense played her an audiotape in which the mother, the alleged victim and his brother say Jackson "never acted inappropriately."

start quoteMichael is not going to be a piñata for every money-hungry publicity seeker...end quote
-- Michael Jackson attorney Mark Geragos

The tape was recorded by a private investigator on Jackson's behalf, she said. It lasts more than 20 minutes, she said.

It was played for her in Las Vegas, Newsom said. She was not given a copy to keep. CNN cannot independently confirm that the voices on the tape are those of the mother, the alleged victim and his brother

Newsom said the mother and child also signed an affidavit a month after the tape was recorded that stated Jackson never abused the child.

The tape and affidavit could be extremely damaging to the prosecution's case, Newsom said. The prosecution would have to show that the alleged abuse was uncovered after the tape was recorded and affidavit signed.

The time of the alleged incident is not known.

The tape was made after a documentary about Jackson was shot. The widely seen program showed the alleged victim, then 12, with Jackson. (Full story)

A few months later, in June, the boy's family retained the services of an attorney who took the boy to see a therapist and then referred the case to the Santa Barbara district attorney's office.

Charges expected to be filed in mid-December

Multiple charges of child molestation are expected to be filed against Jackson in mid-December. A source told CNN that investigators need time to examine evidence recovered at Jackson's Neverland ranch and two other locations -- the offices of Jackson's private investigator and of a man who shoots videos for the pop star.

The sources would not discuss what evidence might have been seized. Officers had raided Jackson's Neverland Ranch last Tuesday. (Full story)

In other developments:

• Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon Tuesday rejected accusations that he was trying to advance his career by taking on the high-profile singer. He also apologized for some comments he made last week after announcing the arrest warrant for Jackson. (Full story)

• The boy behind the allegations grew up in a family in which violence "was a daily occurrence," according to court documents. (Full story)

Jackson was investigated in 1993 after allegations of sexual misconduct involving a 13-year-old boy. He settled that case out of court -- a move that prosecutors now say prevented them from charging him because the accuser would not testify.


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