It was always rumored that Michael Jackson’s settlement with the boy who accused him of molestation in 1993 was worth tens of millions of dollars, but now, there appears to be a concrete figure: $25 million. That’s the amount Jackson had to cough up to the boy, his parents, and the boy’s attorney in order to avert a lawsuit, according to documents unveiled Tuesday by Court TV. According to the documents, which are posted on Court TV’s website, Jackson set up a trust fund of $15.3 million for the boy (paid over time as an annuity), plus a lump sum of $2 million up front for him, another $1.5 million to each of his parents, and $5 million for the boy’s legal costs. (That’s not to mention the singer’s own legal costs in the matter.) In the papers, Jackson admits to no sexual improprieties with the 13-year-old, agreeing to pay the settlement for claims of ”negligence” and not claims of ”intentional or wrongful acts of sexual molestation.”
The settlement kept the boy’s allegations from ever going to trial; after Jackson agreed to pay him, the boy declined to cooperate with prosecutors, and criminal charges were never filed against Jackson in the matter. The agreement was sealed, with both sides agreeing to confidentiality, so it’s not clear how Court TV obtained the documents.
Jackson’s camp responded to the release of the documents by questioning their authenticity and denouncing the leaker as someone trying to taint the jury pool in Jackson’s current molestation case. (He has pleaded not guilty to the current charges and is tentatively scheduled to go to trial in September.) ”Whoever released this agreement, whether it is actual or not, did it deliberately and willfully, with the intent of influencing potential jurors – which is outrageous, and an act of desperation,” said Jackson spokeswoman Raymone Bain in a statement.