A former lawyer for Michael Jackson, Tom Mesereau, has criticised Martin Bashir for his infamous 2003 documentary about the King of Pop, stating that the journalist played on his "close relationship" with Princess Diana and promised Jackson "a glowing portrayal".
"Michael told me he was led to believe this would be a very positive interview, a positive show and he trusted Mr Bashir to follow through [with this] but he was greatly disappointed", Mesereau said in an interview with The Telegraph.
"What Michael told me was that Martin Bashir had gained his trust, and he was most impressed with his professed relationship with Princess Diana... He seemed to put her on a pedestal. Mr Bashir, according to Michael, professed to have a very close relationship with her, claiming he was the one she trusted the most", he added. "It appeared to be that relationship which levered Mr Bashir into a professional relationship with Michael. He thought if Princess Diana trusted him, Michael could too".
According to the lawyer, the scandal "debilitated Jackson horribly", and the experience "contributed to his untimely death".
After working with the artist for 8 months, Bashir released "Living with Michael Jackson", filming Jackson saying that "many children have slept in the same bed as him", with the star strongly dismissing any sexual context to it, in light of the 1993 child sexual abuse accusations against him.
After the film was released, Jackson complained that it portrayed a distorted picture of his life, and that he felt "betrayed" by Bashir.
The documentary triggered a wave of allegations, resulting in a 2005 trial, where Jackson faced 14 charges, including four counts of child molestation. The singer was found not guilty on all counts, however, further accusations continued to appear even after Jackson's death in 2009.