DOCUMENT: Bizarre, Celebrity, Investigation

FBI Took Shot At Jackson

Victim derailed bureau attempt to revive 1993 molest case

Michael Jackson

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FBI Took Shot At Jackson

DECEMBER 22--A decade after a California boy lodged child molestation charges against Michael Jackson, the FBI believed that a federal criminal case could still be pursued against the entertainer, records show. But the bureau's probe was quickly closed after the alleged victim told agents that he would not testify against Jackson and would "legally fight" any government attempt to get him on a witness stand.

During a June 2004 meeting at the FBI's Behavior Analysis Unit in Quantico, Virginia, Santa Barbara prosecutors (who had filed molestation charges against Jackson six months earlier) spoke with agents about the 1993 abuse allegations against the entertainer.

[Those charges were made by Jordan Chandler, a 13-year-old California boy who detailed his alleged abuse in a tawdry court declaration. No criminal charges were ever filed against Jackson in connection with his contact with Chandler, though the star paid about $15 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the boy's family.]

"After hearing the facts about the captioned victim," FBI officials told the California prosecutors "that a Federal case could still be pursued." To that end, the bureau officially opened a case and dispatched two agents to meet with Chandler at a New York City hotel in September 2004 (Chandler's name was redacted from documents released today by the FBI). But Chandler, now 29, told investigators he "had no interest in testifying against Jackson" and "advised that he would legally fight any attempt to do so," according to an October 2004 FBI memo.

Apparently referring to his coming forward years earlier, Chandler told agents he "believed that he had done his part." Denied cooperation, the FBI formally closed its case--opened as Innocent Images National Initiative (IINI) matter--two months after the Chandler interview. The memos on these pages were among 343 pages of Jackson-related material released today by the FBI. Almost all of the material involved previously reported incidents. (5 pages)