Jackson Suing KABC Morning Radio Team - Dimond (Jan 14 1995)


Staff member
Jackson Suing KABC Morning Radio Team
Daily News. Los Angeles, California
Jan 14, 1995 . pg. L.5

Until late Thursday, the most outrageous event associated with talk-radio KABC-AM's (790) folksy morning team of Ken Minyard and Roger Barkley was a Name That Tune segment featuring a Led Zeppelin song.

But then the radio show was mentioned in a $100 million slander lawsuit brought by pop star Michael Jackson against Minyard and Barkley, TV's "Hard Copy" and the tabloid show's reporter Diane Dimond.

The suit, filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims Dimond damaged Jackson's reputation with a false story about the existence of a 27-minute videotape showing the singer involved in a sex act with a 13-year-old boy.

The story was broadcast nationally on "Hard Copy" on Monday and then repeated by Dimond locally on the KABC morning show, "Ken and Barkley Company."

Dimond also said the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office had reopened its investigation of Jackson as a result of the tape. The District Attorney's Office, however, later denied that an investigation was under way.

After the story was broadcast, Jackson announced he would sue anyone in the media who "spread vicious lies and rumors about me in their attempts to make money, benefit their careers, sell papers or to get viewers to watch their programs."

KABC spokesman Bill Lennert said Friday that the station had first heard the news in media reports, and had not yet been served with official notice of a lawsuit.

"At this point in time, I'm unable to comment on the suit," he said.

Meanwhile, Minyard and Barkley - whose show is rated No. 1 overall in the 5-to-9 a.m. hours in Los Angeles - had fun with the situation on the air Friday, at one point dispatching field reporter Sondra Lowell to collect listener contributions for a "defense fund."

She returned with $12.83, Lowell said.

"That's a start," Minyard joked.

Barkley said he got the news he had been named in the $100 million suit on Thursday afternoon when he received a call at home from a station employee.

"The guy said, `I've got some good news and some bad news,' " Barkley recalled. "`The good news is Michael Jackson's people listen to your program. The bad news is they're suing you for $100 million.' "

The suit contains two counts of $50 million each against the TV program and the radio show, a spokesperson for Jackson attorney Howard Weitzman explained.

"Hard Copy" representative Gary Rosen in New York did not return phone calls by press time Friday.

Copyright Daily News Jan 14, 1995
Source: Indy researcher 'TSColdMan' at MJJF