The director of Leaving Neverland has denied claims from the lawyer who represented Michael Jackson during his 2005 trial for child molestation that footage included in the controversial documentary was taken “out of context.”
Mark Geragos appears in the controversial documentary during a section of the film that follows archive footage of a news report showing Jackson’s initial arrest in 2003.
The report immediately cuts to a press conference where Geragos appears to defend Jackson against the claims levelled by Gavin Arvizo – who alleged that he was abused by Jackson at his Neverland home. In the clip, Geragos appears to claim that Jackson’s accusers are “seeking money” and says their supporters are “living in their own Neverland.”
However, Geragos took online to argue that the clip was taken out of context.
As the entire clip shows, his comments were instead referring to Jackson’s lawsuit against Xtrajet – the private jet firm company that was found guilty of secretly filming Geragos and Jackson while they travelled onboard a flight from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara, where Jackson would hand himself into police.
Responding to a Twitter user who criticised his appearance in the documentary, Geragos said: “That press conference had nothing to do with his accusers. It was specifically directed at the two adult men who wiretapped MJ and were indicted and plead guilty and went to Federal Prison. But thanks for the heads up as maybe now I have a cause of action.”
However, Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed has since dismissed Geragos claims – adding that “his remarks at the press conference have everything to do with Jackson’s accusers”.
“The press conference in question was on November 25, 2003,” Reed told NME. “Mark Geragos is talking about the allegations’ against Michael Jackson. Later on in the press conference, he talks about ‘accusations’ in the same vein.
“These ‘accusations’ and ‘allegations’ he’s protesting about are not the ones he’s making against Xtrajet but the ones 13-year-old Gavin Arvizo made against Michael Jackson, resulting in Jackson’s arrest five days earlier. ”
A Channel 4 spokesperson added: “At the time Mr Gergaros was acting for Mr Jackson in relation to both the child abuse allegation and the Xtrajet matter.
“We considered that his remarks at the press conference could fairly be interpreted as indicative of the potential legal response to allegations made about Mr Jackson. Previous press reporting took the same view.”
That press conference had nothing to do with his accusers. It was specifically directed at the two adult men who wiretapped MJ and were indicted and plead guilty and went to Federal Prison. But thanks for the heads up as maybe now I have a cause of action. #itsamovie Apush https://t.co/3QJIIkCnAG
— Mark Geragos (@markgeragos) March 16, 2019
Nothing to do? So exactly what "allegations" were you referring to in that very same press conference on 25 Nov 2003, five days after #michaeljackson arrest? Video from #leavingneverland below. pic.twitter.com/IOjQ7jLPOO
— Dan Reed (@danreed1000) March 18, 2019
“Michael Jackson is not going to be abused.” said the lawyer at the press conference in question. “Michael Jackson is not going to be slammed, is not going to be a pinata for every person who has financial motives or every person who thinks that they can get – as the lawyer for the charter company said today ‘we had a lottery ticket and we thought that we were going to do something with it.”
After years of legal wrangling, Geragos eventually reached a settlement for $2.5 million with the owners of the now defunct Xtrajet.
Meanwhile, Jackson’s fans last week announced their plans to sue Wade Robson and James Safechuck for “sullying” the memory of Michael Jackson, after documenting their claims of sexual abuse against the star in Leaving Neverland.