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Jackson family friend attacks Vanity Fair article

Report: Singer gave children alcohol, showed pornography

Jackson family friend Firpo Carr criticized allegations against Michael Jackson reported in Vanity Fair.
Jackson family friend Firpo Carr criticized allegations against Michael Jackson reported in Vanity Fair.

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ENCINO, California (CNN) -- A man who called himself a longtime friend of Michael Jackson's family attacked as "trash" Friday a magazine article alleging that the pop star plied children with alcohol hidden inside soda cans and showed them pornography.

"This news conference has been called to refute the outrageous, inaccurate, baseless statements made in the March issue of Vanity Fair magazine," Firpo Carr told reporters outside the Jackson family home. "The family is outraged, and justifiably so."

Carr, who said he has been a "close friend" to the family for more than a decade, said he was speaking because Jackson's legal team is restricted by a gag order and cannot respond "to this irresponsible yellow journalism."

Jackson faces seven felony counts of child molestation and two counts of giving a child an intoxicating agent. The charges involve incidents alleged to have occurred in February and March 2003.

"This [article] is trash," Carr said. "Since the legal team can't respond, I, as a private citizen and as a friend of the family, can respond, and I'll do that every time it happens. These are my friends."

Carr said the magazine article "breaks the rules of Journalism 101" by quoting second- and third-hand and anonymous sources.

"In a court of law, this would all be hearsay and dismissed summarily," he said.

News reports require a lower burden of proof than courts, and reporters routinely include such material in news articles.

Carr said the article contained an error of fact: it stated that another boy -- who has involved in a 1993 accusation against the singer that Jackson settled out of court a year later -- has graduated from college.

"We happen to know, it's my understanding, that that is not the case," Carr said. "That should cast some doubt on the veracity of the rest of the article."

A call to Vanity Fair seeking comment was not returned.

Author echoes criticism

Carr was echoed by Geraldine Hughes, a former legal secretary for Barry Rothman, who represented the boy in the 1993 case.

"It was outrageous, it was totally false," said Hughes, whose book on the subject -- "Redemption: The Truth Behind the Michael Jackson Child Molestation Allegations" -- was published Tuesday.

"I know for a fact that, in 1993, Michael Jackson was not guilty of a child molestation," she said. The latest accusation faced by the singer is "an extortion scheme," she said. "To me, this is looking like a copycat."

Hughes said the Jacksons did not encourage her to write the book.

"I have never even met Michael Jackson," she said. "My reason for writing the book is in order for justice. In any situation, the truth has got to come out."

Rothman did not respond to a call for comment.

Carr: Fame and fortune attracted suits

Carr said Jackson's fame and fortune have drawn many of the more than 1,000 suits filed against him, and dismissed most as "nuisance" suits.

"I would think that money or extortion or something is at the base of this or behind this," he said. "Also, everybody wants at some point their 15 minutes."

Carr, whose book "Wicked Words: Poisoned Minds -- Racism in the Dictionary" was published in 1997, said he teaches at the University of Phoenix. No one at the online school returned a call for comment.

He added that he worked as a systems analyst for the Los Angeles Police Department for 10 years but resigned January 5 "to pursue other interests."

In the Vanity Fair article, writer Maureen Orth followed Jackson's legal problems back to the 1993 case and concluded there were similarities between it and the current case.

"They're both the same age, 13," Orth told CNN. "They look a lot alike. When their parents came to the ranch or their families came to Neverland, the mothers were always put aside. It was only the boys that were allowed in the bedroom, not the sisters, with Michael Jackson.

"He basically tries to sort of insert himself in weak families between the mother and the father. He, in both cases, tried to put his own attorneys in custody battles between the parents," Orth said.

And according to the article, in both cases, it is alleged that Jackson "sort of keeps the underwear of boys."

One of her sources was Myung Ho Lee, a former business adviser to Jackson who had a falling out with the singer and collected several million dollars from him in a civil suit, she said.

"I mean, he just isn't making allegations. He has paper to back it up. You know, Vanity Fair does not go into print on spurious allegations. We have a very thorough fact-checking process."

One of the allegations of a boy is that he was given wine, and was shown pornography on the Internet and in magazines, she said

"I have eyewitnesses saying that Michael Jackson regularly pours white wine into soda cans," Orth said. "That's 'Jesus' juice.' Red wine is called 'Jesus' blood.' And these boys were given this wine."

She also recounted a 1998 incident in which Jackson took the 13-year-old son of a Japanese business partner to an amusement park "and allegedly he was also given Jesus' juice, and it blew the whole deal."

Orth dismissed the claims by Hughes and Carr that the latest case is simply about money.

"This case is not about money because this boy is a cancer victim of stage four who is in danger of death," Orth said. "There's no way you should go through the criminal justice system if what you're after is money."

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