The 50-year-old entertainer was adored by fans around-the-world and became one of the most significant figures of the 20th century before he died, but recent claims of sexual abuse have thrown his legacy into contention. On June 25, 2008, while preparing for his comeback ‘This Is It’ tour, Jackson was found dead at his rented mansion in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, having suffered from a cardiac arrest after his personal physician – Dr Conrad Murray – gave him medication to help him sleep. In August that same year, the Los Angeles County Coroner ruled that Jackson’s death was a homicide and charged Dr Murray with involuntary manslaughter on February 8, 2010 – which he would later serve two years for.
Jackson had already been at the centre of controversy earlier in his career after he was accused of sexually abusing the child of a family friend, and, in 2005, he was tried and acquitted of further child sexual abuse allegations and several other charges.
Since his death, there have been additional claims of sexual abuse from choreographer Wade Robson and James Safechuck, whose allegations would form the basis of the documentary ‘Leaving Neverland’ in March 2019, which drew ardent criticism from fans and the Jackson Estate alike – with a lawsuit filed for £100million.
But now, in his book ‘Bad: An Unprecedented Investigation into the Michael Jackson Cover-Up,’ investigative journalist Dylan Howard claims to have uncovered “secret FBI files” that show the agency “suspected Jackson was running a child sex trafficking operation and investigated complaints the singer had smuggled a child abuse victim across the US.”
The files supposedly date to 1993 when the LAPD probed allegations that Jackson had abused 13-year-old Jordan Chandler.
Police raided Neverland Ranch in December that year and found books and photographs featuring young boys with little or no clothing, but the publications were legal to own, and Jackson was not charged.
In January 1994, Jackson settled with the Chandlers out of court for $25million (£19.8million) and the police never pressed criminal charges, citing a lack of evidence, and without Jordan’s testimony, the state closed its investigation on September 22, 1994.
But, in his investigation into the singer, Mr Howard reports that he uncovered federal files that he says show that LAPD suspected Jackson had violated the Slave Traffic Act, designed to stop the transportation of adults or kids for “prostitution, debauchery, or any other immoral purpose”.
According to the files cited by Mr Howard, they state a Canadian couple, who both worked in child services, suspected the singer had smuggled a child abuse victim across America by train a year earlier.
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Mr Howard reports that they told investigators that Jackson was “very possessive of the boy at night” and that they heard “questionable noises” during the train ride, but when they asked, they were told the boy was his cousin.
Howard writes: “Incredibly, the situation was never fully investigated.”
The claims were mirrored by Vince Finaldi, attorney for Finding Neverland victim Mr Robson who accuses Jackson of operating ‘the most sophisticated child sexual abuse procurement and facilitation operation the world has ever known.”
Mr Howard claims Jackson had a history of identifying young child companions as relatives, stating how, in 1996, on his honeymoon with Debbie Rowe, he spent lots of time with a ‘new special friend’.
Mr Howard writes that the eight-year-old was called Anthony and Jackson claimed he was a nephew, if anyone asked.
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During his new book, Mr Howard claims to have uncovered evidence of historic patterns of similar behaviour going back decades.
Express.co.uk has contacted the Michael Jackson Estate, the singer’s former publicist Raymone Bain, and the FBI for comment.
‘Bad: An Unprecedented Investigation into the Michael Jackson Cover-Up,’ is published by Skyhorse Publishing and was released in the US on July 7.