A former lawyer for Michael Jackson testified Tuesday that he has felt compelled to take extraordinary measures to ensure discussions with his clients remain private since he and the singer were secretly videotaped aboard a private jet.
Attorney Mark Geragos, who was secretly videotaped with Jackson on a November 2003 flight from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara, where Jackson surrendered on child molestation charges, is suing the jet company XtraJet.
Jackson, who was initially a plaintiff in the civil lawsuit against XtraJet, later dropped out of the case. He was acquitted of the molestation charges in 2005.
Testifying in the non-jury trial, Geragos called the taping one of the worst experiences of his 24-year legal career. He said he obtained a court order preventing XtraJet's then-owner, Jeffrey Borer, from selling the footage after learning of it through the news media.
"I can't think of any act more distressing to me at a professional level than what was done here," he said.
Geragos said he has taken extraordinary measures to protect his clients' privacy since the incident, including meeting with some under freeway overpasses and in hotel rooms. He said he twice sent a colleague overseas to discuss a case rather than have them discuss it over the phone or by e-mail.
Borer and co-defendant Arvel Jett Reeves pleaded guilty in 2005 to installing two digital video recorders to record "a professional entertainer" and his lawyer as the pair traveled by private jet.
Borer was sentenced in October to six months of home detention and three years' probation, and was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.
Reeves was sentenced in July to eight months in prison, six additional months in a halfway house and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. Reeves testified on a videotape shown in court Monday that no sound was recorded on the flight tapes.
Messages left after hours Tuesday with lawyers for Geragos and XtraJet were not immediately returned.