Attorney: Filmmaker ‘misrepresented’ intentions to Jackson

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[b]Attorney: Filmmaker ‘misrepresented’ intentions to Jackson[/b] Thursday, May 12, 2005 Posted: 1844 GMT (0244 HKT) SANTA MARIA, California (CNN) — Michael Jackson signed “terrible contracts” with British journalist Martin Bashir prior to the filming of an unflattering television documentary, Jackson’s former attorney said Thursday. Additionally, Bashir never followed through on a promise to let the pop star “screen and edit” the final product, testified David LeGrand. Taking the stand for the defense in Jackson’s child molestation trial, LeGrand said he “found it hard to believe” Jackson had signed two, one-paragraph documents giving Bashir and Grenada Television the rights to the footage shot at Neverland Ranch, including an interview with Jackson. LeGrand said such contracts are usually specific and detailed. The agreements Jackson made with Bashir were neither, he said. Jackson also did not receive any money from the production, which LeGrand said earned “millions” of dollars. The footage, shot in the summer and fall of 2002, formed the basis for the documentary “Living With Michael Jackson,” which aired in Britain on February 3, 2003. Three days later, ABC aired a slightly different version of it in the United States. LeGrand said that in January 2003, before the program aired, he was asked by Jackson to assemble a team of lawyers in Britain and the United States because he was concerned that no one in his camp had been allowed to review the final work. LeGrand said Grenada TV insisted that it had the rights to the material, but the production company agreed to several concessions: No outtakes from the footage would be used to create a second program. The documentary would not be sold as a videotape or DVD. Faces of Jackson’s children would be obscured. The documentary, which sparked a worldwide media sensation when it aired, showed Jackson holding hands with the then-13-year-old boy who now says the entertainer molested him. In the documentary Jackson also defended his practice of allowing children to sleep overnight in his bed. A grand jury indicted Jackson last year on charges of molesting the boy, giving him alcohol and conspiring to hold him and his family captive in 2003. Jackson pleaded not guilty to the charges. Jury see videotaped conversations LeGrand told jurors that he believed Bashir “had misrepresented to Mr. Jackson what they were going to accomplish in this production.” On Wednesday and Thursday, the defense — trying to support its contention that Bashir deceived Jackson — played for jurors nearly three hours of video of Bashir’s conversations with Jackson. The footage was shot by the pop star’s personal videographer, Hamid Moslehi, who had his cameras trained on the British journalist when he was at Neverland. The footage showed Bashir heaping praise and flattery on Jackson, calling him a “musical genius” and a “stupendous” performer with an “extraordinary voice” who had an “incredible” interaction with children. When Jackson at one point complained that media coverage of him is often “twisted,” Bashir assured him, “We aren’t going to do that here.” He also told Jackson that the entertainer was “looking so sexy” during the taping. “Women are going to be taking their pants off and throwing them at the screen,” Bashir said. LeGrand said Jackson filed a lawsuit against Bashir and Grenada over the program; that suit is still pending, but LeGrand is no longer involved. He said he was “terminated” by Jackson on March 28, 2003, less than two months after the program aired. LeGrand did not tell jurors why he was fired. Also Thursday, Carlos Velasco — the son of a Jackson employee who attended high school with a boy who testified earlier in the trial that Jackson molested him — said the boy never spoke about being molested at the time. Velasco also said he saw Jackson and the boy together on several occasions and never saw or heard anything inappropriate. However, under prosecution questioning, Velasco admitted that he did not know whether molestation had actually occurred. Source:

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