LOS ANGELES (CN) – A superior court judge ordered the owner of XtraJet to pay Michael Jackson’s former lawyer, Mark Geragos, and an associate nearly $12 million for conspiring to secretly videotape Jackson and his lawyers on their charter flight to Santa Barbara for the singer’s surrender on molestation charges in 2003.
XtraJet owner Jeffrey Borer and co-defendant Arvel Reeves pleaded guilty in 2006 to conspiracy for installing digital cameras on the XtraJet flight from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara. Borer told Reeves to install the cameras that recorded two tapes of the in-flight conversation between Jackson and his attorneys. Defendants planned to sell the tapes to the media for “a large sum of money,” the ruling states.
Judge Soussan Bruguera ruled that Jackson, Geragos and his associate, Eugene Harris, had a reasonable expectation of privacy on the jet. Defendants’ intrusion was a “serious invasion” of privacy that would be “highly offensive to a reasonable person.”
Bruguera ordered defendants to pay Geragos $2 million in actual damages and $8 million in punitive damages, and awarded Harris $250,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages.
Borer’s attorney said the charter company plans to appeal.
Jackson was acquitted on the molestation charges in 2005.