An air service businessman on Monday was sentenced to eight months in federal prison for secretly videotaping Michael Jackson as the pop star flew to Santa Barbara with his attorney to surrender in a child-molestation investigation.
Arvel Jett Reeves also was ordered to spend six additional months in a halfway house that offers drug and alcohol rehabilitation treatment, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Shallman. He also must pay a $1,000 fine.
Reeves and co-defendant Jeffrey Borer admitted they installed two digital video recorders to record “a professional entertainer” and his lawyer on a private jet from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara in November 2003, according to their plea agreements filed last September.
The entertainer they recorded was Jackson and his attorney Mark Geragos, although they are not cited by name in the plea agreements. Jackson was later acquitted of child molestation.
Borer, who instructed Reeves to obtain and install the equipment, intended “to sell these recordings to the media for a large sum of money,” according to a plea agreement.
Borer and Reeves each pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy. As part of the deal, federal prosecutors agreed to dismiss two other charges — endeavoring to intercept oral communication and witness tampering — in a three-count indictment filed against them.
Borer’s sentencing was postponed to September. U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz agreed Monday to give Borer more time to submit information about his ailing wife.
Borer was the owner of XtraJet, which operated a Gulfstream jet that carried Jackson. Reeves was the owner of Chino-based Executive Aviation, which provided maintenance service for XtraJet’s aircraft fleet.
Reeves purchased video and audio equipment and, with the help of a third party, secretly installed the recorders in the airplane’s cabin, according to the plea agreement. They were unable to install the remote microphones because Reeves didn’t get the proper connectors, so the two recordings were made without sound.