Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Los Angeles (Reuters): Pop star Michael Jackson has stumbled across a conspiracy by former attorneys, associates and advisers to force him into financial ruin, his spokeswoman said. The plot was discovered after someone leaked documents to Jackson showing that unnamed former lawyers for the 47-year-old singer tried to recruit others into a petition that would drag him unwillingly into bankruptcy court, his spokeswoman and manager Raymone Bain said.
''In what could be one of the biggest conspiracies in entertainment history, documents have been sent to Michael Jackson and his representatives which reveal a deliberate plan by some former attorneys as well as associates and advisers to force Mr. Jackson into involuntary bankruptcy,' ' Bain said. During his four-month trial on child molestation charges last year, prosecutors asserted that the self-styled ''King of Pop'' was in perilous financial shape due to mounting debt.
Bain declined to name the conspirators, saying that Jackson had ordered his current legal team to investigate the scheme and file lawsuits in multiple jurisdictions. ''In addition, there is a strong possibility that these documents will be forwarded to the U.S. Attorney General for review and possible involvement,'' Bain said. Bain also declined to say who provided the documents to Jackson, who she said was busy shopping for a home in Europe and recording material for his first studio album of new material since 2001.
Jackson, who has made few public appearances since his acquittal on child molestation charges in 2005, announced in June that he had severed ties with his longtime business managers as part of a ''sweeping restructuring'' of his affairs. In March, state authorities ordered Jackson to close his Neverland Valley Ranch in the California foothills for failing to pay the staff or maintain proper insurance. In April, Jackson reached a deal to finance more than 200 million dollars in loans secured by his stake in the Beatles song catalog.
Bain said it was not yet clear why Jackson's former attorneys and associates would want to force bankruptcy on the onetime child star, who ruled the pop charts during the 1980s with such albums as ''Off the Wall'' and ''Thriller.'' ''That's what we'd like to find out,'' Bain said. ''But Michael Jackson was neither shocked nor surprised. He's always been suspicious that some of those whom he entrusted to act on his behalf ... may not have acted in his best interests.''