Celebrity attorney Mark Geragos and his law partner have settled a lawsuit for $2.5 million against the owner of a defunct charter jet company that secretly recorded the men and Michael Jackson as they flew from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara for the pop star to turn himself in on child molestation charges.
The amount awarded to Geragos and partner Pat Harris will be difficult to collect because defendant Jeffrey Borer is insolvent, his attorney Lloyd Hirschbaum said. The agreement was reached Friday, the last court day before a re-trial in the case was scheduled to begin to determine how much Geragos and Harris were owed.
Borer attempted to sell the video, which contains no audio, of the flight to media outlets after Jackson's surrender. Geragos, Harris and their attorney Brian Kabateck have argued that the lawyers had an expectation of privacy on the private jet that flew them and Jackson from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara in November 2003. The video, which has never been released, also violated the attorney-client privilege, the said.
An appeals court in 2010 threw out a judge's $20 million award to the attorneys and instead offered them $750,000.
Geragos' attorney Brian Kabateck said he was pleased with the settlement sum and would work vigorously to collect it. He said the amount will send a strong message.
Borer and an associate pleaded guilty to conspiracy two years ago for videotaping Jackson and his lawyers as they flew to the pop star's surrender on molestation charges. A jury later acquitted Jackson of 14 charges in the case.
Hirschbaum argued Monday that Geragos didn't have any provable damages, but the settlement avoided a three to four day retrial.
Geragos, Harris and Jackson filed the invasion-of-privacy suit against Borer and XtraJet in November 2003. Jackson dropped out as a plaintiff in April 2005.