BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- The Beverly Hills District Attorney's office
said that pop singer George Michael's claim during a live interview Wednesday
that he was set up by an undercover officer in his arrest for lewd conduct is too
little, too late.
"It doesn't offend me if he wants to make light of this in his video," Deputy District
Attorney Ellen Aragon said of Michael's decision to address the April arrest in
his new video for the song "Outside." "But for him to be going through all this
revisionism when he's already pled guilty to it -- if [George Michael] thought it
was entrapment, he could have bloody well had a trial."
Appearing on MTV to premiere the "Outside" video, Michael claimed that an
undercover officer fooled him into thinking he was interested in engaging in a
sex act with the singer in a Beverly Hills park restroom.
Aragon said that she questioned the officer involved in the arrest before filing
the charges, because the police report included a comment from Michael
stating, "This is entrapment." However, Aragon said that she felt satisfied, after
speaking with the officer, that he had not done anything to prompt Michael to
commit the act.
"I was impressed more so with his earlier, and I have to believe, more sincere
reactions, when he faced up to the fact that he'd done something that was
beneath him, for whatever reason -- thrill-seeking, whatever," she continued. "I
was impressed that he was willing to directly take responsibility for it and plead,
and essentially admit his guilt in the press as well. For him to now to be doing
this -- I don't really know what he's about."
Michael pled no contest to his lewd conduct charge May 14; he was sentenced
to 80 hours of community service, fined $910 and ordered to undergo
The singer has yet to perform any of his community service, though his deadline
is next Tuesday, the same day his greatest-hits album, Ladies & Gentlemen,
the Best of George Michael, hits stores.
On Thursday, Michael's attorney, Ira Reiner, appeared in Beverly Hills Municipal Court five days before his client's deadline and received a continuance for Michael until December 21.
Reiner asked Judge Charles Rubin for an extension until February, but Rubin did not grant the full extension because he said he felt Michael had enough time to fulfill the service, noting that the singer made time to shoot a video referencing his arrest ("Outside"). Aragon offered to show a copy of the video, which she had in the courtroom at the time, to Rubin, who declined to watch it.
Reiner also claimed that the press's attention to reports that Michael would perform his service at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center complicated the possibility of him working through the organization, Aragon said. Michael announced on MTV Wednesday that he now plans to serve his time through the A.I.D.S. charity, Project Angel Food.
As for the arrest, Aragon said she specifically asked the undercover officer
involved whether he did anything prior to Michael's committing the lewd act to
lead the singer to believe that the officer was gay -- even an action as small as a
smile. Saying that the officer denied making any such advances, she added that
he is an "extremely honest and straightforward guy," and that he and the other
officer involved in the arrest didn't recognize the singer.
"They didn't even know it was George Michael, so it's not like they were out to
get him, or out to get homosexuals," Aragon said. "It's a very tolerant area, a
very tolerant police department."
She added that arrests in public places known to be gay cruising areas -- such
as the park where Michael was arrested -- usually result from complaints and
are designed to protect the community.
During the MTV interview that preceded the premiere of the "Outside" clip,
Michael alleged that his "arrest itself was illegal."
"I got followed into the restroom. I didn't know it was a cop, obviously. He started
playing this game -- 'I'll show you mine, and when you show me yours, I'll nick
you,' " Michael claimed.
Aragon said that the officer did not expose himself to Michael.
Lt. Ed Kreins, a spokesperson for the Beverly Hills police department, said that
the case is out of the police's hands and that Michael should have dealt with his
allegations in court.
Reiner could not be reached to comment as to why his client pled no contest if he believed he was set up.
Responding to Michael's additional claim Wednesday that he was given a
harsher punishment than what's typical for a lewd-conduct conviction, Aragon
agreed that punishment in similar cases does not typically include community
service as well as a fine.
She said that the service was not proposed by the District Attorney's office and that it was
Rubin's decision, speculating that the judge may have added the service
because the fine wasn't much of a punishment for the pop singer.