CNN's Drew Griffin: "None of this is new -- zero -- and there was no FBI involvement"
"This stuff was not in the FBI files," former Jackson lawyer Tom Mesereau says
"The paper took this old story and (made) it seem new," journalist Diane Dimond says
A former porn actor whose investigator's license was revoked is linked to the material
A London tabloid declared Sunday that “secret FBI files” reveal Michael Jackson paid millions to silence dozens of boys he abused.
The story quickly echoed throughout global media, perhaps in part because of the trial of the Jackson family’s wrongful death lawsuit against a concert promoter and the recent suicide attempt by Jackson’s teenage daughter.
A website can enjoy a sharp spike in traffic – which can translate into advertising revenue – with a sensational headline.
But journalists and others who have closely followed the controversies and legal fights surrounding the pop star found the description by the Sunday People newspaper of the documents as being from FBI files to be questionable.
’Recycled tabloid reports’
“None of this is new – zero – and there was no FBI involvement,” said CNN Special Investigations reporter Drew Griffin. “It just sounds like recycled tabloid reports from 20 years ago.”
Griffin saw and reported on the same material more than a decade ago as a local Los Angeles reporter.
“The bottom line is this stuff was not in the FBI files,” said Tom Mesereau, the lawyer who successfully defended Jackson against child molestation charges in a lengthy trial in 2005. “The FBI closed the investigation. It sounds like a bunch of utter nonsense.”
Journalist Diane Dimond, who is no defender of the pop icon, also attacked the Sunday People article.
“It is obvious the paper took this old story and proceeded to make it seem new by adding numbers to it – 24 boys paid off $35 million by Michael Jackson,” Dimond said. “The problem is there’s no evidence to back up the claim that Jackson made that many payoffs.”
Dimond’s book “Be Careful Who You Love: Inside the Michael Jackson Case” details her coverage of allegations of improper relationships between Jackson and boys.