March 1, 2019 The author, who spent more than a decade covering the scandal for V.F., shares the key revelations and insights that viewers of the new HBO documentary Leaving…
Disfigured, deeply in debt, and with a history of drug addiction—at 46, Michael Jackson is also at the end of a criminal trial for allegedly molesting a 13-year-old cancer patient. But the fading pop icon has shown he still has the power to intimidate key prosecution witnesses. After 12 years of covering Jackson’s downward spiral and the recurring allegations of pedophilia, Maureen Orth explores the absurd and painful spectacle of this courtroom reckoning, the dysfunctional families on both sides of the case, and the dark tactics of Jackson’s entourage.
Charges against Michael Jackson—of molesting a 13-year-old cancer patient—are more than a déjà vu of allegations that led to his $25 million settlement with young Jordie Chandler in 1994. Once again, Jackson and his lawyers are saying the motive of the boy and his family is pure greed. But the King of Pop’s shield of fame and money is wearing thin. Maureen Orth reveals new information from the star’s former business adviser, the ex-wife of his notorious p.i., and other insiders about alleged porn and wine seductions, the forensic search of Neverland, and how both accusers’ lives have been torn apart.
Does it get more bizarre than it’s been getting lately? Apparently, yes. From Michael Jackson’s increasingly freakish appearance to his voodoo death spells, to the disturbing revelations in a $21.2 million civil suit against him, the pop star’s life has been spinning out of control. Investigating his spiraling debt, his grandiose schemes, and his controversial relationship with children, the author wonders if Jackson is as crazy as he seems—or a cool manipulator of his own fame.
While Michael Jackson was whisked away to detox treatment, the star’s lawyers fought a desperate battle to protect him from facing the sexual-abuse charges brought by his 13-year-old accuser. The author untangles the whole painful story to provide the definitive account of Jackson’s fall, and in it finds a late-20th-century parable of manipulation, corrupted fantasy, and lost innocence.