LOS ANGELES (CN) — Three nephews of the late pop star Michael Jackson sued celebrity gossip website Radar Online for $100 million on Wednesday, claiming the site falsely accused their uncle of molesting them and then buying their silence to avoid a criminal investigation.
Taj Jackson, TJ Jackson and Taryll Jackson — who form the pop group 3T — filed the complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court and say Radar made the "false and defamatory" allegations in several stories posted in June.
In the stories, the gossip magazine claimed that their uncle had molested his nephews, bribed them with a new car and whisked one of them off to an island, according to the nephews.
Michael Jackson died in 2009.
"In fact, although plaintiffs are Michael Jackson's 'nephews,' 'relatives' and members of his 'family,' none of them was ever sexually abused by Michael Jackson or ever had any sort of sexual contact with him. Nor did Michael Jackson ever attempt to have any such contact with any of them. None of plaintiffs ever, in, any way, resisted any effort by detectives to inquire about Michael Jackson's supposed criminal conduct," the lawsuit states.
The Jackson nephews say they were never "spirited off to any island," received a car or concealed any crimes from authorities.
They deny claims that appeared on Radar Online that Jackson had "sexy photos" of his nephews that he had used to "excite young boys," as well as the claim that a detective report revealed that the star had hoarded pornography at his Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara County.
"Now that Michael Jackson can no longer defend himself or sue for libel, Radar has tried to profit by launching a vicious and unrelenting attack on him based on claims that, years ago, he was guilty of sexual abuse even though, at the time, he was found 'not guilty' of that very charge," the 10-page complaint states.
A Santa Barbara jury found Jackson not guilty of sexual abuse in 2005. The verdict came after prosecutors accused Jackson of sexually abusing a 13-year-old cancer patient.
The detective reports have been available for years, the nephews say, and Radar has "misrepresented" their content while also falsely accusing Jackson's nephews of "being accessories to Michael Jackson's supposed crimes," the filing states.
"Radar's assertions about plaintiffs' are unsupported by any facts and are provably false and defamatory," the complaint says.
American Media owns Radar, and also publishes "The National Enquirer" and "The Globe." A representative for the company told the Los Angeles Times that Radar had not accused Jackson of sexually abusing the nephews.
"The Radar article clearly states that detectives reported that Michael Jackson may have used photos of his nephews 'to excite young boys," the company told the Times. "This theory was, in fact, presented by the prosecution during Michael Jackson's 2005 criminal trial. Radar looks forward to correcting plaintiffs' misstatements in a court of law."
The nephews are represented by Bertram Fields of Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger.
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