Despite monitoring him for more than a decade, the FBI did not uncover any major revelations about Michael Jackson’s private life nor did it find any solid evidence against him in connection with two different molestation allegations, according to newly released files.
The documents made public on Tuesday date from 1992 to 2005, and though the FBI said they number about 600 pages, only 333 were released due to privacy rules and a desire to protect investigative techniques.
Though they do not contain many bombshells, they do reveal that the 1993 sentencing of Frank Paul Jones – a man allegedly obsessed with Michael’s sister, Janet Jackson – was tied to death threats he made against Michael, then-president George H.W. Bush and late mob boss John Gotti, whose son he claimed to be. In a letter obtained by the FBI, dated July 6, 1992, Jones wrote, “I decided that because nobody is taking me serious, and I can’t handle my state of mind, that I am going to Washington, D.C. to threaten to kill the President of the United States, George Bush,” adding, “Michael (Jackson) I will personally attempt to kill, if he doesn’t pay me my money.”
Among the documents is one written by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office, which claimed that on June 22, 1992, the letter’s author “arrives in Calif.” and “threatens to kill.” The FBI interviewed an unidentified “victim,” whose name is redacted but was presumably Michael Jackson, who told authorities that he was aware of the threats and took them seriously. Jones was arrested June 22 and held on $15,000 bail for investigation of trespassing in the driveway of the Jackson family compound in Encino, California, and sentenced in 1993 to two years in prison for “mailing a threatening communication.”
The federal government’s investigative agency continued its probe into Jackson in 1993, after the Los Angeles Police Department asked the FBI if it was interested in working on a possible case against Jackson for transporting a minor across state lines for illegal purposes. The request came after an LAPD investigator traveled to Manila, Philippines, to speak to two former Jackson employees who claimed they saw the singer fondle young boys. The FBI did not join the investigation because the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to get involved, though an FBI agent accompanied California officials to the first interview.
The Santa Maria Police Department asked the FBI to get involved again after Jackson was arrested for child molestation in 2004, believing that the ensuing court case would be a “soft target” for terrorists because of the worldwide attention the trial would attract. The FBI ultimately concluded that there were not imminent threats, though it noted the presence in court of the Nation of Islam’s Fruits of Islam security force and an unnamed member of the New Black Panther Party. Jackson, who used Nation of Islam bodyguards during the trial, was acquitted in the case.
The FBI reviewed case notes from local authorities in the molestation case and examined 16 computers taken from Jackson’s home, but investigators did not appear to find anything of note, prompting one of Jackson’s lead defense attorney’s, Thomas Mesereau, to say that the FBI documents provide further proof that Jackson did nothing wrong.
“He was not a criminal and he was not a pedophile,” Mesereau said. “The fact that so many agencies investigated him and couldn’t find anything proves he was completely innocent.”
In September 1993, an FBI agent in London also reportedly told colleagues in Los Angeles about British press reports concerning a man claiming that Jackson had made a sexually suggestive phone call to him in 1979 when he was 13 and the singer was 20; no further action was taken in that case. And in October 1995, the U.S. Customs Service reportedly asked the FBI to look at a videotape labeled “Michael Jackson’s Neverland Favorites An All Boy Anthology” as part of a child pornography investigation, though the tape was of such poor quality that investigators could not tell what was on it.