Michael Jackson said he is confident the Los Angeles Police Dept.’s criminal investigation that included searches of his homes over the weekend will clear him of any wrongdoing. But sources close to the probe added a new wrinkle to the story Tuesday, revealing that the allegations were made by a 13-year-old boy who had toured with the singer.
LAPD officials continue to refuse to elaborate on why Jackson is being investigated or what they found during weekend searches at the entertainer’s Santa Ynez Valley and Century City homes, which were confirmed by officers involved in the probe.
“We don’t want to feed any wild speculation on this matter and we request responsible coverage by members of the media,” said LAPD spokesperson Dan Gascon on the department’s refusal to acknowledge whether Jackson’s homes were searched or which division of the LAPD is handling the investigation. Gascon would confirm only that the singer is the subject of a criminal investigation.
According to sources, the probe is being conducted by the LAPD’s Sexually Exploited Child Section.
Michael Freeman, attorney for the child’s mother, told the Associated Press the woman knew nothing of abuse allegations until police launched their investigation. Nor was she part of any possible extortion attempt, he said.
Shocked by allegations
“She was shocked at what the allegations are,” said Freeman. “Obviously she had no idea whatsoever that anything was going on of that nature or she would have stopped it.”
An attorney for the boy’s father, who reportedly is divorced from the mother, refused to comment and no one answered the door at his home.
In a statement read by Jackson’s attorney Howard L. Weitzman during a crowded and very brief press conference Tuesday, the singer also praised LAPD Chief Willie Williams and vowed to continue his tour.
“My representatives have continuously kept me aware of what has and is taking place in California … I am confident the department will conduct a fair and thorough investigation and that its results will demonstrate that there was no wrongdoing on my part,” read the statement from Thailand, where Jackson began the first leg of a worldwide concert tour Tuesday.
Weitzman would not take any questions, nor elaborate beyond the statement.
Private investigator Anthony Pellicano also made a statement. Pellicano has been the only Jackson representative to articulate aspects of the investigation that even the LAPD has refused to acknowledge.
Pellicano said the allegations made against Jackson stem from a blackmail attempt that backfired. He has also stated that he believes the same woman behind the extortion attempt phoned in an anonymous tip to authorities as an act of retaliation, kicking off the investigation.
$ 20 million demanded
“As I said last night, for years I have been working for Michael, who unfortunately has been a victim of this and other types of extortion attempts.
“A demand of $ 20 million was made and presented. It was flatly and consistently refused. The refusals have, in our opinion, caused what has transpired in the last few days,” Pellicano said.
Representatives for Jackson said the singer is the target of “a couple of dozen” extortion attempts each year.
A spokeswoman for the county Department of Children’s Services refused to comment on the specifics of the Jackson matter or confirm that it is conducting an investigation.
“All cases are treated the same. We want to make sure all children are safe.” But, she added, “We don’t always service the case if it doesn’t seem there are serious allegations.”
A spokeswoman for Pepsi, the sponsor of the singer’s “Dangerous” tour, said the company has no plans to withdraw support, believing that there isn’t any truth to the accusations lodged against Jackson.