Michael Jackson bodyguard libel case dropped

A libel action brought by a former bodyguard to Michael Jackson against Channel 4 has been dropped at the last minute.

Martial arts expert Matthew Fiddes was suing Channel 4 over a November 2008 broadcast – The Jacksons are Coming – which was watched by two million viewers. The case was due to get underway at the High Court in London this morning but Fiddes has decided to drop the action.

Fiddes, who acted as the local guide for the production, alleged that the documentary, which followed members of Michael Jackson’s family – including older brother Tito – as they were planning to move to Devon, included fabricated footage and false statements about him.

Channel 4, production company Studio Lambert Limited and journalist Jane Preston denied libel, pleading justification and fair comment.

It had been expected that Tito and his mother, Katherine, who is caring for the late Michael’s children, would be flying to London next month for the trial.

The hearing was estimated to last at least 20 days. Costs of more than £3 million have already been racked up in the case. The case was due to be heard by Mr Justice Tugendhat without a jury.

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