Los Angeles, Dec. 1: Recording bugs have been discovered around the police station where officers are investigating the Michael Jackson case, amid accusations that they were planted by journalists seeking to out-scoop each other.
The microphones were found in an area of brush beside the building, where officers in the Santa Barbara Sheriff Department take cigarette breaks and from where reporters are banned. The discovery is the latest in a series of increasingly brazen attempts by media organisations that have given saturation coverage to the story of the star’s arrest on charges that he molested a child under the age of 14.
Sergeant Chris Papas said the microphones were discovered on Sunday in a routine search. It follows the arrest of a photographer who was discovered by Jackson’s bodyguards hiding on the private jet that carried the singer from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara to surrender to authorities on November 20.
Last week it emerged that the singer and his legal team were secretly videotaped on the same aircraft by a hidden camera. Its existence became known after the jet’s owners, XtraJet of Santa Monica, tried to sell the tapes to news networks. The discovery triggered an FBI investigation, and a lawsuit from Jackson’s lawyer that he said was intended to put the firm “out of business”.