News Article

Leave Me Alone

Michael Jackson sues XtraJet over secret in-flight video. Feds are also probing the airline over the tape, secretly shot during Jackson's flight to turn himself in on child molestation charges last week

Getting an injunction against carrier XtraJet to bar the release of a surreptitiously taped in-flight video of Michael Jackson wasn't enough for his attorney, Mark Geragos. Tuesday afternoon, hours after a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge granted the injunction, Geragos announced he'd filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging invasion of privacy, public disclosure of private facts, common law misappropriation of name and likeness, use of name and likeness, recording of confidential information, and unfair business practices, according to MTV News.

At the time of the injunction a lawyer for XtraJet denied that the company had placed the hidden cameras in the plane that captured footage of Jackson and Geragos during last Thursday's flight from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara, where Jackson surrendered to police on child molestation charges and was released on $3 million bail. However, XtraJet had shown the footage to various media outlets, including Fox News, which reported that it shows Jackson in good spirits, doing nothing more outrageous than drinking a soda. The suit alleges that XtraJet tried to sell Fox the video for a six-figure sum, the Associated Press reports.

XtraJet officials have said they were only seeking advice from the media outlets about the company's legal and financial options regarding the footage, according to the Los Angeles Times. They were also seeking to rebut rumors that Jackson had behaved erratically during the flight and had tried to get the pilot to take him out of the country.

XtraJet is also facing legal trouble from the feds, who've launched a criminal probe into the matter. The Times reports that FBI agents searched the company's Santa Monica Airport offices Tuesday and seized videotapes in an effort to determine whether the carrier may have violated laws against surreptitious electronic surveillance.

In a statement, Geragos said the secret taping was part of a larger pattern of exploitation of his client thst has marked the current scandal surrounding the allegations that Jackson molested a 12-year-old Neverland guest. ''This entire case is about cash, and anyone who believes differently is living in their own Neverland,'' Geragos said. ''We will be absolutely relentless in our pursuit of any and all extortionists regardless of how they try to gift wrap their lies in the cloak of justice. Michael is not going to be a piñata for every money-hungry publicity seeker to strike in the hopes of hitting it rich.''

Originally posted Nov 26, 2003
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