October 29, 2009
Posted: 11:56 AM ET
Last week I received a telephone call from a photo agent in London who I had met in 1999 while investigating the death of Princess Di for Talk magazine.
Then, he had helped me chase down rumors of photos snapped immediately after the accident in the Pont Alma tunnel. In the spring of ’99, surrounded by tight security in a clandestine location, I was shown low-resolution images of a dying Diana still trapped in the crumpled Mercedes. Those pictures were offered to me for $2 million. I passed.
Some of the less graphic ones were finally aired in 2004 by CBS’s 48 Hours. CBS was widely condemned for showing the pictures, from Diana's brother who said he was "sickened" to Prime Minister Tony Blair who called the broadcast of the grainy black-and-white images "distasteful."
But the call from London was not this time about Di. It was about Michael Jackson, and an equally distasteful photo, one supposedly snapped at Jackson’s autopsy. “There are rumors that a photo is being flashed around Los Angeles,” he told me. “Supposedly was given to someone from who was at the autopsy.”
If what he told me was true, it would constitute a remarkable breach of security for the Los Angeles investigators on the Jackson death probe, as well as the coroner’s office where the autopsy was conducted.
Since that call, The Daily Beast followed a trail through dozens of people in the U.S. and Europe and tracked down a prominent Los Angeles restaurant owner who has a high-resolution copy of what is evidently a photo from the Jackson autopsy.
That person has shown it to friends on his BlackBerry, including several California-based television executives. The restaurant owner told at least one of those TV execs that the photo had been given to him by a “high-ranking police friend.”
Filed under: Michael Jackson
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