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Tapes Used to Allege Plot to Extort Jackson Released : Inquiry: Singer's aides provide purported comments by boy's father, who has told friends allegations are untrue.

August 31, 1993|CHUCK PHILIPS and DAVID FERRELL | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

While Michael Jackson postponed a sold-out concert in Singapore--because of what his doctor called a "slow, recurring migraine"--the soap opera surrounding the pop singer took an unexpected twist Monday with the release of secretly recorded tapes that Jackson's advisers have used to allege an extortion plot against the entertainer.

The tapes, obtained by The Times, contain purported comments from the father of a 13-year-old boy who has become the key figure in a police investigation of Jackson for alleged child molestation, sources said.

"There will be a massacre if I don't get what I want," the father says during 80 minutes of apparently edited telephone conversations between the father and the boy's stepfather, who were part of a bitter custody battle. Sources said the tapes were recorded by the stepfather sometime in July.

At no point, however, did the boy's natural father spell out what he might want from Jackson or detail any allegations against Jackson. Throughout the tapes, the father demanded to meet with Jackson, the child and the boy's mother, from whom he was divorced at least seven years ago.

"I have the evidence (against Jackson)," the father said. "You'll hear it on tape recordings." Police have said their investigation has not produced physical or medical evidence that would support a criminal filing, but they are still interviewing people and reviewing photographs confiscated from Jackson.

Neither the father nor his attorney, Barry K. Rothman, responded to repeated phone calls Monday. But the father has told friends that the extortion allegations against him are untrue.

Jackson's advisers say they have turned over a copy of the tape to the Los Angeles Police Department, which sources say is investigating the allegations that the singer was a target of a $20-million extortion attempt. LAPD officials refused to discuss the tapes.

Together with the accounts of private investigator Anthony Pellicano and Jackson attorney Bertram Fields, the recordings offer new details about Jackson's account of the alleged extortion attempt, the linchpin of his defense against the molestation allegations.

Jackson's advisers portray a celebrity besieged for six weeks by demands from an insistent parent who alleged that his son was molested and wanted to be compensated through lucrative movie development and screenwriting deals.

Throughout the tapes, the father appears to threaten going public with his allegations, saying he felt compelled to do what was best for his son.

He said he had hired an attorney. "Once I make that phone call," the father said, "Michael's career will be over."

A day after marking his 35th birthday, Jackson postponed his performance Monday at Singapore's National Stadium only minutes before he was to take the stage. "Michael Jackson has taken ill," an announcer told the 45,000 people who had jammed the stadium. The concert was rescheduled for Wednesday evening.

Many greeted the announcement with boos. Jackson had been pronounced fit earlier in the evening and went to the stadium. But his doctor, D.L. Forecast, told reporters at the Raffles Hotel that Jackson was suffering from a migraine headache. Witnesses said the singer was so weak he had to be helped into the hotel by aides who supported him under each arm.

The cancellation was the third in scarcely a week for Jackson, who canceled two dates on his "Dangerous" tour last week in Bangkok.

Jackson was joined in Singapore by his friend, actress Elizabeth Taylor, who flew from Los Angeles to provide moral support. Some members of the Jackson family were planning to join him on tour "very soon," said the singer's brother, Jermaine Jackson, who spoke at a news conference in North Hollywood on Monday to tout a charity event.

"I'd like to let the world know that I'm behind my son," said Katherine Jackson, Michael's mother. "I don't believe any of this stuff that's being written."

Meanwhile, Los Angeles police traveled to Las Vegas, where they and local police served a search warrant at a Mirage Hotel room where the 13-year-old boy allegedly spent the night with Jackson, as well as the boy's mother and half-sister. Police, the Associated Press reported, left the hotel room empty-handed.

As KCBS-TV Channel 2 began airing portions of the tape recording Monday night, Jackson's attorney, Howard Weitzman, cited the tape as evidence of an extortion attempt that has been alleged by Jackson's advisers since the day the scandal broke.

But neither Weitzman nor Pellicano were able to provide further evidence of an extortion plot that they allege began unfolding in early July.

Pellicano, who has worked for Jackson for four years, has served as the point man for the singer's public defense. He has conducted news conferences and investigated the allegations against Jackson. He also provided the media with youngsters who served as character witnesses for Jackson.

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