Just days after a British tabloid published a story in which Michael Jackson's older sister LaToya Jackson alleged that the 50-year-old singer was murdered for his money by unnamed members of a "shadowy entourage," CNN has reported that LaToya was paid for her interview.
A common practice in tabloid journalism, Jackson's payment for the interview was confirmed for CNN by an unnamed source said to be close to the Jackson family and "another source familiar with the interview arrangements." It was not disclosed how much money LaToya was paid, but Caroline Graham, the reporter for the Daily Mail who conducted the interview last Thursday, said Jackson was "very candid" throughout the four-hour sit-down, which took place in Los Angeles just two days after her brother's public memorial.
LaToya, 53, a onetime Playboy model who was estranged from the rest of the Jackson family for a time in the early 1990s after she claimed her brother acted inappropriately with children, did not give any proof to back up her murder claim. She told the Mail that the family has received the results of a private autopsy it ordered, but she declined to reveal the findings of those tests.
"I believe Michael was murdered, I felt that from the start," the Mail quoted LaToya as saying over the weekend. "Not just one person was involved; rather it was a conspiracy of people."
Reporter Graham said the choice of words from LaToya "stopped me dead in my tracks," prompting her to ask, "Are you sure the word 'murder' is what you want to use?" Jackson responded that she purposely chose that word. "He was surrounded by a bad circle," LaToya said in the interview. "Michael was a very meek, quiet, loving person. People took advantage of that. People fought to be close to him, people who weren't always on his side."
A cause of death has not yet been announced pending the results of toxicology tests. The tests were ordered after the initial coroner's autopsy could not determine what triggered the cardiac arrest that is believed to have felled the singer just weeks before he was to begin a 50-show residency at the O2 Arena in London.
While at press time the family had not commented on LaToya's interview, Jackson's father, Joseph Jackson, has also suggested in several interviews that he believes foul play was involved in Michael Jackson's death, though he too has not revealed what evidence he has to support those claims. Los Angeles' assistant chief coroner told CNN that the autopsy report on Jackson could be released within a week, and several media outlets reported on Tuesday (July 14) that the results of the toxicology tests could also be available within the week.
For complete coverage of the life, career and passing of the legendary entertainer, visit "Michael Jackson Remembered."
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