Michael Jackson's Estate Blasts New Pornography Reports as Sheriff and Former Prosecutor Weigh In
Reports claim he kept a stockpile of pornography at his Neverland Ranch
Seven years after his death, Michael Jackson is in the news again, this time over reports that claim he kept a stockpile of pornography at his Neverland Ranch.
On Tuesday, Radar Online released documents, including photographs that were purportedly from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office’s investigation of the pop star back in 2005. The items detailed in the article were described as evidence of Jackson’s penchant for adult and child pornography.
“Everything in these reports, including what the County of Santa Barbara calls ‘content that appears to be obtained off the Internet or through unknown sources’ is false,” Jackson’s estate said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. The statement claims the new reports are “no doubt timed to the anniversary of Michael’s passing.”
Jackson’s reported affiliation with pornography first came to light at his 2005 molestation trial in Santa Monica, California, when Jackson’s accuser claimed he searched internet porn sites with the pop star.
A jury later found him not guilty of four charges of child molesting, one charge of attempted child molesting, one conspiracy charge and eight possible counts of providing alcohol to minors.
Addressing this week’s reports, Kelly Hoover, a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office tells PEOPLE that while some of the reportedly unearthed documents appear to be valid, others do not.
“Some of the documents appear to be copies of reports that were authored by Sheriff’s Office personnel as well as evidentiary photographs taken by Sheriff’s Office personnel interspersed with content that appears to be obtained off the internet or through unknown sources. The photos that are interspersed appear to be some evidentiary photos taken by Sheriff’s investigators and others are clearly obtained from the internet.”
Hoover said that the police department did not release any of the photographs or reports to the press.
Former Santa Barbara Senior Assistant District Attorney Ron Zonen, who helped prosecute Jackson and recalls viewing the actual documents tied to the case, tells PEOPLE that law enforcement did discover adult pornographic magazines and videos, though nothing constituting child pornography.
“There were all kinds of conventional porn magazines,” says Zonen. “Things like Playboy, Penthouse. There was one called Barely Legal. It was a publication that featured young women presumably over the age of 18 but selected because they look much younger.”
Law enforcement also discovered a book of “masochistic” type drawings.
When it comes to items relating to children, “There were photos of nude children but they weren’t sexually graphic,” he says. “They weren’t children engaged in sexual activity and there was no child pornography. There were no videos involving children. There were videos that were seized but they were conventional adult sexually graphic material. No children involved.”
Specifically, the nude images of children he says, showed children “playing in the stream, climbing trees, nature photographs, nudist colonies, things like that,” he said. “They came from professional publications. Were they designed for pedophiles or designed as artistic photographic books I can’t comment on that.”
For more on Michael Jackson, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
The statement from Jackson’s estate continues: “Those who continue to shamelessly exploit Michael via sleazy internet ‘click bait’ ignore that he was acquitted by a jury in 2005 on every one of the 14 salacious charges brought against him in a failed witch hunt.”