Singer Michael Jackson has returned to the U.S., but his attorneys refused to disclose the singer’s whereabouts. Jackson’s reps also deny any deal was cut with prosecutors for the return of the pop star.
During a courthouse-steps press conference Monday, Jackson attorney Johnnie Cochran confirmed the singer had returned to the U.S., but would not say if he is holed up at his Neverland Valley Ranch near Santa Barbara.
Cochran also said the singer’s return was not contingent upon an agreement that the authorities would not arrest him. Cochran also denied he has agreed to surrender Jackson for a physical examination so authorities could corroborate statements made by the 13-year-old boy who claims he was sexually molested by the singer.
On Friday, a chartered plane landed at the airport near the singer’s home and witnesses observed Jackson getting off the plane.
“He’s back to establish his innocence,” Cochran said. “He came back to take charge of the case.” Jackson returned to the U.S. several weeks ahead of the scheduled completion date of his treatment for addiction to painkillers.
Cochran was in court Monday seeking an order against Larry Feldman, the boy’s attorney, in an attempt to prevent him from going public with information obtained in the course of the civil case against Jackson. Cochran also said authorities were using Feldman to obtain information helpful to their investigation.
“Why should they be piggy-backing on Mr. Feldman,” Cochran said. “They have subpoena power, let them use it.”
Superior Court judge David Rothman granted a temporary “gag order” in the case and ordered attorneys to return Friday for a more permanent ruling.
Feldman took umbrage at the order, saying the Jackson camp is actually getting the lion’s share of the publicity.
“It is unfair to let Michael Jackson and all his people give primetime interviews,” Feldman said. “But when we want to give the facts in this case, we’re hamstrung.”