During the AEG trial of 2013, the general fan consensus was of a watertight faith in a positive outcome for Michael’s mother and his children – it being seemingly inevitable that justice would prevail. The expectation to win was almost palpable. The facts, after all, were starkly evident.

However, upon AEG being backed into a corner by the terrible truth, they became a dangerous animal. Although wounded, the company possessed a great deal of power within the media; a power they were not afraid to wield. Thus commenced the first of several smear campaigns, the first one promulgated by AEG-affiliated UK tabloid newspaper The Mirror. The timing of the rehash of twenty-year old allegations was deemed “suspicious” by Michael’s 2005 attorney, Tom Mesereau. AEG stooges had to up the ante in their Public Relations war, hence the front-page tabloid frenzy. Oblivious as usual to fact-checking, and with the requisite attempt at maximum reputation assassination, the truth was that the tapes forming the foundation of this slandering had been discredited ten years ago: to the extent that they were dismissed as useless and baseless by investigators involved in the farcical 2005 trial.

In a barely-mustered effort to appear neutral, the tabloids then afforded a small article to Prince Jackson’s damning eyewitness testimony of AEG’s negligence in the care of his father; one that included a mention of his cousin’s testimony, incorporating what would normally be the earth-shattering comment that he believed Michael had been murdered.

These perennial reappearances to the forefront of the public eye returned once again in the 2014 historical allegations of anal rape. These accusations took us to a hitherto unmentioned level of bestiality, beyond the allegations of mutual masturbation and plying of alcohol to minors. The ante was upped because those previous ‘lesser’ accusations were discredited in a court of law. The maids quoted by tabloids in an attempt to lend credence to the stories had already been dismissed off-hand by the 2005 jury as “liars”. The loaded terminology of ‘anal rape’ was specifically chosen to leave an indelible smear on the psyche of those that heard it.

In an attempt to counteract such flagrant tabloid mendacity, Michael’s nephew Taj Jackson has twice now filed claims to ombudsman authorities. His first appeal was to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC).

However, when the Estate of Michael Jackson got wind of Taj’s efforts, they then filed their own complaint to the PCC. So, due to the Esate being considered the official point of reference for “all things Michael Jackson”, their appeal then superceded Taj’s, whose complaint then became all-but sabotaged.

Subsequently – as evidenced on the PCC’s public complaints logging system – the Estate neglected to respond to the PCC’s follow-up emails, and the case was dismissed.

Taj has also responded to the latest round of baseless tabloid slander. His initial counterfire included the Tweet:

“Dear media, before you print/post stories about my family, please consider & question the “credibility” and “agenda” of your $ource. Thanks”

Which was swiftly followed by:

“MJ Fam… I filed a complaint to the @IpsoNews on April 6th. Patiently waiting to hear back 🙂 #MJlegacy”

Furthermore, the Wade Robson accusation elicited a very personal and courageous defence of Michael by Taj, with it prompting him to publically announce himself as an abuse survivor. Taj revealed that he had been abused by a male relative on his mother’s side of the family, and that it was Michael who had helped him overcome the trauma of it.

During their heyday, I went to see 3T a number of times. My father was a photographer, which enabled him to acquire tickets for such events as Top Of The Pops Live, in which 3T would often perform. My younger sisters especially enjoyed this privilege, with them fully appreciating the toned abs that featured so prominently on their bedroom posters coming to life before their very eyes. As a fifteen-year-old boy, I’ll admit, I wasn’t quite as enthused – especially after having endured Peter Andre and Ronan Keating. However, the tangible pain inherent in 3T’s self-penned song ‘Anything’ (reputedly inspired by the grief of losing their mother), as well the tracks ‘Why’ and ‘I Need You’ in which Michael features so majestically (those adlibs!), combined with the fact that the brothers performed a Jackson 5 tribute in their live set, meant I couldn’t help but be a fan, as hard as my pubescent sensibilities tried.

These days, however, I accept my 3T fanhood with pride and honour.

Taj Jackson is a hero.

This article includes edited extracts from the First Book of Michael by Syl Mortilla, available in paperback and on Kindle at http://amzn.to/1GycUw1 and for all other eBook devices at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/511371