Jackson's home, Neverland Ranch, was searched, even though other children and family members strongly denied that Jackson was a pedophile. Jackson's older sister, La Toya Jackson, accused her brother of being a pedophile, but later retracted her statement. Jackson became dependent on drugs as the stress of the allegations mounted, and canceled the remainder of his tour. He went into rehabilitation overseas, and began a relationship with Lisa Marie Presley. On his return to the US, Jackson agreed to a 25-minute strip search, which was required to see if the description of his genitals provided by Jordan Chandler was accurate. Doctors concluded that there were some strong similarities but it was not a definitive match. Jackson proclaimed his innocence, and criticized the media coverage. Jackson's friends and legal advisers took over his defense and finances, persuading him to settle the allegations out of court.
Tabloid reaction to the allegations were negative towards Jackson, and complaints about the coverage included bias and accepting stories of criminal activity for money, and engaging in illegal activities themselves. Public polls at the time reported that a large majority of people believed Jackson was innocent. On January 1, 1994, Jackson settled a civil suit out of court with the Chandler family and their legal team for $22 million. Jordan Chandler refused to testify in the criminal proceedings, the state closed its criminal investigation citing lack of evidence, Jackson was not charged with a crime. Jackson's support amongst the public then began to waver, and Jackson's own career and image was significantly damaged, which became a recurring theme in Jackson's future music. Prosecution evidence from the 1993 allegations would also be used against the entertainer in the 2005 People v. Jackson child sexual abuse trial, where he was acquitted on all counts.
On July 2, 1993, in a private telephone conversation, Chandler was tape recorded as saying, In the same conversation, when asked how this would affect his son, Chandler replied, "That's irrelevant to me...It will be a massacre if I don't get what I want. It's going to be bigger than all us put together...This man [Jackson] is going to be humiliated beyond belief...He will not sell one more record". The recorded conversation was a critical aspect of Jackson's defense against the upcoming allegation made against him. He and his supporters argue that he was the victim of a jealous father who's only goal was to extort money from the singer.
In early August, Chandler, a registered dentist, extracted a tooth from his son's mouth, and was later forced to admit that he used the controversial sedative sodium Amytal during the procedure. Under the influence of the drug Jorden alleged that Jackson had touching his penis. Experts state that the drug sodium Amytal "makes patients extremely susceptible to suggestions". Dr Lewis Strong, a Los Angeles psychiatrist stated, "You can't trust it, I never use it in my practice. I have found it to be unreliable. It's certainly not a truth serum". Dr Kenneth Gottlieb, a San Francisco psychiatrist who has used the drug, stated, "I would never want to use a drug that tampers with a person's unconscious unless there was no other drug available, and I would not use it without resuscitation equipment in case of allergic reaction".
Over the next couple of months both parties engaged in unsuccessful (out of court) financial negotiations, with Chandler and his legal team asking for $20 million, or the issue would be taken to criminal court. Jackson declined the offer, saying, "No way in Hell". A few weeks later, Jackson's legal team gave a counter-offer to the value of $1 million, which was declined by Chandler. The father then lowered his request to $15 million; Jackson rejected this and lowered his original counter-offer to $350,000. With both sides unable to reach an agreement, Chandler decided he would take it to court. Chandler then took his son to see a psychiatrist called Dr. Mathis Abrams, and during the three-hour session with the doctor, Jordan Chandler said he had had a sexual relationship with Jackson that included incidents of kissing, masturbation and oral sex that went on for months. He then repeated these allegations to police and gave a detailed description of what he alleged was Jackson's penis.
In the winter of 1993, despite not seeing or speaking to Jackson for a number of years, La Toya Jackson claimed that her brother was a pedophile and that she had proof, which she was prepared to disclose for a fee of $500,000. A bidding war between US and UK tabloids began, but fell through when they realised that her revelations were not what she had claimed them to be. Then in Israel, she stated, "I cannot and will not be a silent collaborator in his crimes against young children... Forget about the superstar, forget about the icon. If he was any other 35-year-old man who was sleeping with little boys, you wouldn't like this guy". She also claimed that checks had been made out to several boys and that Jackson's own physical abuse as a child had turned him into an abuser. She would later claim that Jackson had tried to kidnap and kill her. The rest of the family disowned her, and in subsequent years she would insist that she was forced to make the allegations by her then husband for financial gain. Just prior to making the allegations, her husband was arrested for striking her in the face, arms and legs with a chair. By the turn of the millennium Jackson had forgiven his sister.
In December, Jackson was served with a warrant for a strip search of his body, as police wanted to verify Jordan Chandler's description of Jackson's genitals, and details of patches of vitiligo on the singer's body; an illness Jackson was diagnosed with in the mid 1980s. The order stated that officers were to examine, photograph and videotape Jackson's entire body, "including his penis, anus, hips, buttocks and any other part of his body". The warrant stated that refusal to comply would be used in court as a possible indication of guilt. The strip search took place on December 20 at the entertainer's ranch. Those present for the prosecution were District Attorney Tom Sneddon, a detective, a photographer and a doctor. Those present on behalf of Jackson were his two attorneys, a physician, a detective, a bodyguard and a photographer. The attorneys and Sneddon agreed to leave the room when the examination took place, and Jackson demanded that the prosecution detective should also leave, which he subsequently did. In an emotional state, Jackson stood on a platform in the middle of the room, took off all his clothes and was examined for approximately 25 minutes, although he was never physically touched. The search report concluded that there were some strong similarities between Chandler's description and Jackson's body, but there wasn't a definite match.
The New York Post ran the headline "Peter Pan or Pervert", despite minimal information being disclosed by the police. Just two weeks after the allegations were reported, the headline, "Michael Jackson: A Curtain Closes" reflected the attitude of most tabloid-orientated media. In a piece for Hard Copy, Diane Dimond—a journalist who would spend the next 15 years trying to prove Jackson was a pedophile—ran a story stating, "And one more shocker, Hard Copy has obtained new documents in the criminal investigation of Michael Jackson, and they are chilling; they contain the name of child movie actor Macaulay Culkin". The document itself stated that Culkin strongly denied being harmed by Jackson.
Two tabloid television shows accepted confidential leaked documents from the Los Angeles County Department of Children's Services for $20,000. A number of Jackson's former employees—most of whom had worked at his ranch—sold stories to the tabloids of alleged prior sexual misconduct on Jackson's part, instead of reporting their claims to police. One couple initially asked for $100,000 claiming that Jackson sexually caressed Macaulay Culkin. They were prepared to expand upon this allegation for a fee of $500,000, whereby they would allege that Jackson put his hands down Culkin's pants. When the story broke, Culkin strongly denied the allegation, and did so again in court. A former security guard made various allegations about Jackson, saying he was fired because he "knew too much", and alleged that he was ordered by Jackson to destroy a photo of a naked boy. Instead of reporting this to police, Hard Copy accepted the story in return for $150,000. Afterwards, Jackson's maid, Branca Francia, alleged that she "quit in disgust" after seeing Jackson in a shower with a child, but did not inform the police. It later emerged that Francia was actually fired in 1991, but nevertheless sold her story to Hard Copy for $20,000.
When Jackson left the US to go into rehabilitation, the media showed the singer little sympathy. The Daily Mirror (UK) held a "Spot the Jacko" contest, offering readers a trip to Disney World if they could correctly predict where the entertainer would appear next. A Daily Express headline read, "Drug Treatment Star Faces Life on the Run", while a News of the World headline accused Jackson of being a fugitive. These tabloids also falsely alleged that Jackson had traveled to Europe to have cosmetic surgery that would make him unrecognizable on his return. Geraldo Rivera set up a mock trial, with a jury made up of audience members, even though Jackson had not been charged with a crime.
Today, Jordan Chandler is in his late twenties living in a $2.35 million home in Long Island under an assumed name. He and his family also own a high-rise apartment in Manhattan and a condominium in Santa Barbara. Chandler lives in Long Island under an assumed name, and June Chandler's second marriage ended sometime afterward. Jordan Chandler and Jackson never spoke to each other again; he received his last installment from Jackson in June 1999.
The album he had released prior to the allegations was Dangerous in 1991, and with shipments of seven million copies in the US and 27 million copies sold worldwide, it stands as one of the world's best-selling records. The album's appeal meant that singles were still being released through 1993 (at the time of the allegations) and Jackson was still traveling the world on his Dangerous World Tour. However, by the fall of 1993, with criticism mounting, the ninth single "Gone Too Soon" did not sell enough in the UK, and the tenth single "Dangerous" was canceled. Jackson's canceled the end of the tour, before performing in the US.
After the allegations broke, songs specifically recorded by Jackson for the Addams Family Values movie and soundtrack were dropped. Plans to market new Michael Jackson fragrances for Men and Women were shelved by the maker because of Jackson's drug problems. By the end of 1994, the ten year partnership between Jackson and drinks manufacturer Pepsi was dissolved, even though Jackson had grossed the company $500 million in a decade. Jackson's fans then boycotted the company; its stock value fell 20 percent the following year.
His next studio album was HIStory; released in the summer of 1995. It was a double album, making its level of success difficult to compare up against Dangerous. Worldwide sales were 18 million copies, but as a double disc album, it sold 36 million individual units. It was Jackson's second-best album in terms of grossed revenue, behind Thriller, and is the best-selling multiple-disc album of all time. He promoted the album with the HIStory World Tour; it remains his most successful show to date with 4.5 million tickets sold. Despite the show's success the singer avoided taking it to his home country; Jackson has not toured the world since.
The allegations also had an affect on the content of Jackson's music: HIStory, which was released shortly after the allegations, "creates an atmosphere of paranoia", according to one writer. Its content focuses on the public struggles Jackson went through just prior to its production. In the songs "Scream" and "Tabloid Junkie", along with the ballad "You Are Not Alone", Jackson directs much of his anger and personal hurt at the media. In the track "D.S.", Jackson launched a verbal attack against a character who is often cited to be Tom Sneddon; the District Attorney that requested his strip search. He describes the person as an antisocial, white supremacist who wanted to, "get my ass, dead or alive". Of the song Sneddon said, "I have not, shall we say, done him the honor of listening to it, but I’ve been told that it ends with the sound of a gunshot." In the introspective ballad "Stranger in Moscow", Jackson laments over his "fall from grace".
Released in 1997, and premiering at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival, Ghosts was a short film written by Jackson and Stephen King (directed by Stan Winston). The story was based loosely on how Jackson felt after he was accused of child sexual abuse in 1993. In the plot, the Maestro—played by Jackson—is nearly chased out of his town by the residents and the mayor, because they believe him to be a "freak".
Jackson's last album to date, Invincible, was released six years later in 2001, which was the longest period the singer has ever taken between records. It was seen as a relative commercial disappointment when compared to Jackson's prior solo material; it shipped two million copies in the US (worldwide sales stand at approximately 10 million copies). The album spawned three singles: "You Rock My World", "Cry" and "Butterflies", but only one reached the top 10 in the US. The low sales were accredited to the lack of a supporting world tour, only one music video being released to promote the album, and hampered by a label dispute. Just before the release of Invincible, Jackson had informed the head of Sony Music Entertainment, Tommy Mottola, that he was not going to renew his contract. As a result, all singles releases, video shootings and promotions concerning the Invincible album were canceled.
In 2003, Jackson was charged with seven counts of child sexual abuse and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent in order to commit a child sexual abuse felony against Gavin Arvizo, who was under 14 at the time. Earlier that year, a Granada Television documentary, called Living with Michael Jackson, showed the pop star holding hands and discussing sleeping arrangements with Arvizo. Jackson denied these allegations, saying that the sleepovers were in no way sexual in nature. Sneddon again led the effort to prosecute Jackson. These prosecutions led to complaints that Sneddon was motivated by a "vendetta" against Jackson. Evidence to support these claims include Sneddon joking about Jackson's greatest hits album being released on the same day as his arrest and saying, "Like the sheriff and I really are into that kind of music." He then preceded to call Jackson "Wacko Jacko" and shouting "We got him, we finally got him" to the media, when he had only just began an investigation and had gathered limited information or evidence.
The People v. Jackson trial began in Santa Maria, California, two years after Jackson was originally charged. During the trial the judge allowed the prosecution to bring in evidence needed to determine whether or not a defendant had a propensity to commit certain crimes. This meant that the prosecution were allowed to use any evidence they had against Jackson from the 1993 allegations to help secure a conviction. Although evidence from 1993 was used, Jordan Chandler did not appear in the Jackson trial. The trial lasted five months, until the end of May 2005, Jackson was found not guilty on all counts in June.