Jacko snoops fined

THE OWNER of an air charter service was ordered to pay attorney Mark Geragos and an associate several million dollars for ordering the secret videotaping of Michael Jackson and the lawyers as they flew with the pop star to his surrender on molestation charges in 2003.

According to court papers obtained on Monday, Superior Court Judge Soussan G. Bruguera ordered XtraJet owner Jeffrey Borer and his company to pay Geragos at least $10 million and possibly up to $18 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Geragos’ colleague Pat Harris was awarded between $1.25 million and $2.25 million in damages.

The amount of damages is dependent on whether both the company and Borer are separately responsible for punitive damages, or just Borer. Geragos’ legal team claims the former, while Borer’s claims the latter.

‘Defendant Borer was the mastermind behind a scheme to desecrate and exploit sacred attorney-client communications for personal profit,’ Brugera wrote in the 21-page judgment filed last Friday.

Geragos’ and Harris’ attorney Brian J. Kabateck said he was pleased with the decision. “This is an important day for lawyers who generally represent celebrities and high profile people,” he said.

Borer’s lawyer, Lloyd Kirschbaum, said his client will appeal. He contended the attorney-client relationship could not have been breached because the video recording did not have sound.

“There was not any sound,” he said. “You can’t intercept a communication without sound.”

Borer and co-defendant Arvel Jett Reeves pleaded guilty last year to felony counts of conspiracy. They acknowledged they installed two digital video recorders in a Gulfstream jet that flew Jackson from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara. XtraJet, which was based in Santa Monica, California, has since gone bankrupt, according to Kirschbaum.

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