Here's the latest on Michael Jackson. The singer seeks seclusion in a rented Beverly Hills mansion. Plus, everyone's filing motions, including the boy and the media

By Gary Susman
Updated January 08, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST
Credit: Michael Jackson: Jonathan Exley

Making good on the promise, made during his ”60 Minutes” interview last week, never to live at Neverland again, Michael Jackson has moved his family into new digs: a $20 million mansion in Beverly Hills, reports. The mansion, a 37,000-square-foot, nine-bedroom home, sits on a 2.25-acre hillside plot overlooking a children’s park (uh-oh). Jackson is renting the property for an undisclosed monthly fee, in a deal reportedly brokered by his new advisor, Nation of Islam official Leonard Muhammad.

If Jackson wants out of Neverland — he said in his TV interview that the house had been forever tainted by the Nov. 18 raid there in search of evidence to back the child-molestation charges against him — the media want in. A consortium of media outlets (NBC, CBS, CNN, ABC, Fox News Channel, and The New York Times) filed a motion Wednesday in the hopes that the court would release documents stemming from the raid, including a list of the seized items. Those documents had been sealed initially for 45 days, a period extended recently at the request of both prosecutors and Mark Geragos, Jackson’s attorney, the Associated Press reports. The media outlets argued that court didn’t properly notify the public about the extension, which will last until Jackson’s arraignment on Jan. 16, and they petitioned the court for a hearing to call for the papers to be unsealed. It could be a historic event, marking the first time that CNN and Fox News have agreed on anything.

That motion was one of several behind-the-scenes legal actions in the Jackson case. Wednesday also saw the Santa Barbara district attorney’s office filing a motion requesting a gag order on Geragos. (If it passed, it would be the second such order barring him from talking to the media, since he’s also under a gag order as the lawyer for alleged wife slayer Scott Peterson.) According to AP, the motion argued that Geragos was potentially tainting the jury pool with his comments on the case. ”Attorney Geragos has not been shy about offering his own opinion about the supposed ‘financial motive’ of the boy identified as the victim in this case and the boy’s family for reporting their concerns to the authorities,” the motion read. Geragos responded that Santa Barbara law enforcement officials have been similarly vocal. ”When I first read it, I wondered if the district attorney’s office was suffering from short-term memory loss,” Geragos said of the motion. ”I was not the one conducting multiple press conferences with audio and visual displays.”

Too much information is also the complaint of Larry Feldman, who represents the family of the alleged victim. AP reports that Feldman filed a formal complaint Wednesday against the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, whose internal memo about its investigation of the relationship between Jackson and the boy — a report that said the boy told investigators Jackson had done nothing improper — was leaked last month to The Smoking Gun. The agency did not comment on Feldman’s complaint, but deputy district attorney Richard Doyle told AP the matter was the subject of an internal probe at the child welfare department.