The Michael Jackson Watch

Your guide to pop music's biggest thriller

January 7, 2004 12:00 AM ET

CBS and the New York Times continue to exchange barbs over the paper's assertion that 60 Minutes paid $1 million to secure Ed Bradley's December 28th interview with Michael Jackson. 60 Minutes boss Don Hewitt wrote in a letter to the paper that the December 30th story was a "colossal lie." The network claims it did not pay Jackson for the interview, but did reach an unspecified deal to air the Michael Jackson Number Ones special, for which Jackson had already been paid in excess of $1 million in licensing fees . . .

Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin drew Jackson-like scorn last week when he dangled his month-old infant son Robert in one arm while feeding a chicken to a thirteen-foot, 770-pound crocodile with the other. No criminal charges have been filed to date . . .

Dick Gregory has ended his forty-day fast in support of Jackson. The actor/activist dropped more than thirty pounds over the course of his fast, during which he lived on a daily mix of one gallon of water with lemons and a cup and a half of maple syrup. "If you had a choice between leaving a child with him or Crocodile Dundee," said Gregory, referring to Irwin, "who would you pick?"

Two weeks after authorities took the unusual step of returning Jackson's passport to him so that he could fly to England for a pair of promotional appearances, the singer was forced to surrender it again on Tuesday. Jackson was scheduled to travel to Britain from December 20th until January 6th, but it remains unclear if he ever left U.S. soil . . .

Attorneys for the media outlets covering the Jackson case have asked a judge to unseal the court records on the search of Neverland Ranch. The documents were sealed for forty-five days on the day of the search (November 17th), then District Attorney Tom Sneddon and Jackson lawyer Mark Geragos had a judge extend the seal until at least after the singer's January 16th arraignment . . .

Celebrity Justice recently found a way to link the Jackson case with the other most prominent celebrity legal drama currently unfolding: the Kobe Bryant rape case. The TV newsmagazine reported that the child at the center of the Jackson case was befriended by Bryant in 2001. In confidential court documents from the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services and State of California Health and Welfare Agency allegedly obtained byCJ, a caseworker writes, "Mom showed [Case Worker] numerous photos of her children with various celebrities -- Kobe Bryant, Michael Jackson, etc." . . .

Jackson's upbringing influenced his oft-stated belief that it is okay to share his bed with children, according to Geragos. The attorney told Fox News that Jackson was "raised in a small house in Gary, Indiana. The boys all shared beds" . . .

The Globe tabloid is reporting that Jackson has secretly taken his third bride. The paper claims that the singer wed a twenty-three-year-old Muslim woman known only as Alisha during the summer in a ceremony arranged by the Nation of Islam.

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