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'Wrongdoing' at Jackson tribute

INVESTIGATORS looking into events that led Los Angeles to spend an estimated US$1.4 million for police protection and other services at Michael Jackson's memorial have turned up possible criminal wrongdoing.

The disclosure two weeks after Jackson's farewell came amid a public backlash over the bill, which included more than US$48,000 for sandwiches for the police.

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has been reviewing the procedures that led the city to deploy thousands of police and other city workers for the tribute at the Staples Center, hoping to identify a way for taxpayers to recoup some of the money.

"Our investigation has taken an unanticipated turn that raises both civil and criminal aspects," Trutanich told the City Council.

The investigation was continuing, but he said he could not reveal any further details about possible criminal activity.

Trutanich told the council his office had exchanged correspondence with AEG, the company that owns the Staples Center.

Subsidiary AEG Live was the promoter behind Jackson's planned comeback concerts in London.

"That letter is an investigative-type letter," said Trutanich spokesman John Franklin. "He's asking questions and wanting them to produce certain things.

"His main goal here is to recoup the taxpayers' money."

The city attorney's office prosecutes misdemeanors, but the office could also pass on any evidence it uncovers of more serious violations to the county district attorney.

The Police Department deployed 3,200 officers after projecting that as many as 250,000 people would converge on downtown streets. But, apart from ticket holders, only about 1,000 fans showed up.


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