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Men plead guilty to taping Michael Jackson

Wanted to sell tape of pop star to highest bidder
/ Source: Reuters

Two men have pleaded guilty to conspiring to secretly videotape Michael Jackson while the pop star flew on a private jet to surrender to child sex abuse charges in 2003.

Jeffrey Borer, owner of the charter plane company Xtrajet, and Arvel Jett Reeves, who owns the maintenance company that serviced the jet Jackson flew on, admitted late Monday they had intended to make an audio and videotape of Jackson and sell it to the news media for the highest bid.

They could face prison terms of up to 16 months when they are sentenced in July.

The videotape was made in November 2003 when Jackson flew from Las Vegas with his then lawyer, Mark Geragos, to surrender at a Santa Barbara court for the first time on charges that he had molested a teen-age boy he had befriended.

The video system on the plane was not hooked up properly and Jackson could only be seen and not heard on the tape.

After a four-month trial, Jackson was acquitted of all the charges against him in June 2005.

The two men had previously denied any wrongdoing but in a plea bargain they pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiring to illegally videotape Jackson and prosecutors dismissed two other charges of witness tampering and attempting to intercept oral communications.

“The bottom line is that even famous celebrities deserve some level of privacy in their private communications, especially when they are meeting with their attorneys,” prosecutor Daniel Shallman said after Monday’s court appearance.

“These guys went out and tried to make a bundle of money by attempting to sell these tapes to the tabloids... It was pure greed,” Shallman said.