FBI files documenting death threats, extortion attempts, and child molestation accusations against Michael Jackson were released on Tuesday.
The bureau declassified more than 300 pages from its secret dossier on the singer following a Freedom of Information Act request from several news organizations.
Some of the information was procedural, and 346 pages were held back to protect sources, but there were several shocking revelations regarding the pop star’s notorious friendships with teenage boys.
The documents illustrate the FBI’s close involvement in probing charges of sexual abuse against the singer. According to the documents, the FBI assisted California law enforcement in their investigations of Jackson — once between 1993 and 1994 and again between 2004 and 2005 — for possible child molestation.
The files also mention an unnamed source who discusses a case against the singer, involving two Mexican boys that he purportedly molested in 1985 or 1987. The source said he was told the investigation allegedly was covered up because Jackson was to "receive an honor at the White House."
The specter of Jackson’s controversial relationships with young boys is the sinew that ties together the seven files, much of which are concerned with the minutiae of investigative work. Among the questionable behavior cited in the files, some of which has been reported before, was the concerns of a Canadian couple who were riding on a train with Jackson in 1992. They had a compartment next to the pop star and a 13-year-old boy he described as his "cousin."
"Jackson was very possessive of the boy at night," the couple told the bureau. They also said they "heard questionable noises through [the] wall."
Another file – regarding the first alleged child molestation case — details the LAPD’s plans to investigate the allegations against Jackson, stating that “two investigators from their task force would be traveling to Manila to interview two prior domestic employees of the Santa Barbara residence of Michael Jackson.”
“The United States Attorney’s position of not pursuing a federal investigation was expressed to the group,” a briefing reads.
The files contain information pertaining to the FBI’s aborted 2004 investigation of Jackson on child molestation charges. The bureau closed this investigation when the key witness “advised the agents that he had no interest in testifying against” Jackson and “would legally fight any attempt to do so” and "believed he had done his part." Some are speculating that the bureau was trying to revive the 1993 child molestation case involving Jordan Chandler, a California boy who was 13 at the time.
Another FBI file — with documents detailing a request by the U.S. Customs to review a videotape involved in a later child-molestation case — refers to a videotape labeled “Michael Jackson’s Neverland Favorites An All Boy Anthology.” Analysis of the tape was hindered by its poor quality. Handwritten notes cite the video’s "poor resolution, noise bars from mistracking throughout" and speculate that it "could be a copy of a copy of a copy."
Files spanning from January 15 to April 27, 2004, primarily concern a request by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s office to provide digital forensic analysis on 16 computers as well as DVDs and CDs seized from Jackson’s home. A "string search" of the materials turned up "nothing."
The bureau also investigated “threats made against Mr. Jackson and others by an individual who was later imprisoned for these crimes.”
One of the files contains letters sent to the FBI in 1992 by a man who threatened to kill George H.W. Bush, John Gotti and Jackson, if they didn’t pay him.
“I’ll commit mass murder at a Michael Jackson concert if necessary,” one letter reads.
(Other letters in the file include a bizarrely detailed pitch to Paramount Pictures for an Earth, Wind & Fire concert film and a rant about the 1992 Academy Awards broadcast.)
The subject, who is not identified, pled guilty and was sentenced to prison in 1993, according to the FBI.
Even though the singer was plagued by legal battles in his later years that drained his coffers and tarnished his reputation, the threat of violence continued. Files from March 1, 2003, to June 29, 2005, touch on security concerns at Jackson’s trial. The FBI expressed concern that a Jackson court appearance might present a "soft target" for terrrorism. The files mention that there was no evidence of any terrorism threats or threats on Jackson’s life, but a "known new black panther" was observed in the crowd during an appearance by Jackson.
The documents mention that it was believed that Jackson was switching his security for the 2004 court appearances from Nation of Islam bodyguards to a private L.A. security team staffed by former LAPD officers.
Click here to view the files.