Jacko's Items | Steinberg Book | Moore, Julia, et al.

Police Confiscated Porn and Pills From Neverland

It's good news and bad news for Michael Jackson, according to my sources, when it comes to items taken from his bedroom by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's office.

This week, Jackson's lawyers lobbied judge Rodney S. Melville to keep sealed those parts of the indictment that would reveal what had been taken from Jackson's Neverland ranch last November when police conducted their all-day raid.

Since then, it's seemed that the objects confiscated bore less of a consequence on any specific physical interaction Jackson might have had with his accuser, but showed questionable judgment on his part.

My source, who has seen documents related to the case, tells me that police found a "collection" of pornography in Jackson's large two-story bedroom. Among the items my source said were confiscated were magazines and DVDs of adult movies, including at least one that involved lesbian sex. That's the bad news.

The good news — and this is relative — is that the material, as far as can be determined so far, was of a heterosexual nature and did not involve children.

The magazines said to be found included the more conventional Playboy and Penthouse and more hard-core magazines such as Hustler and Cheri. How many issues of each magazine were confiscated is unknown, but according to my source, Jackson apparently kept them in a drawer next to his bedside.

What's troubling about this is that Jackson has boasted in the past about letting children sleep in his bed and, presumably, having access to the bedroom itself.

My source says that also taken by police during the raid were unspecified coins, framed and unframed pictures, and more seriously, prescription-pill bottles for controlled medications such as Oxycodone.

The big problem with the latter, I'm told, is that several of the vials' labels were made out not to Jackson but to employees whose name he used to secure unauthorized prescriptions.

As for the porno, the magazines and DVDs are said to have been purchased by Jackson's nephews and friends.

"It's not like Michael can go out and get this stuff himself," my source says. "He has to have others do it for him."

Nevertheless, my source says that the DVDs were kept in a locked briefcase in Jackson's bedroom.

The Santa Barbara grand jury that indicted Jackson might have actually felt that the accusing child's proximity and potential access to these materials constituted abuse or neglect, I am told.

Certainly, another big issue in Jackson's child-molestation case and indictment is alcohol. Way back on the day the Jackson story broke in November 2003, this column reported that there would be an accusation of pills and liquor given to the then-13-year-old boy.

Now a source says that the boy and his brother were found by a Jackson employee in the Neverland wine cellar.

"They were pouring Harbor Mist into cups," says my source, who says the inexpensive liqueur, which comes with twist-off caps, was used as a mixer.

I'm told that once this was discovered, the kids were lectured and cut off from entering the room again.

The wine cellar, I am told, is just down a few steps from the Neverland game room, and next to a jukebox. Even though it had a lock, my source claims that one of Jackson's cooks broke it, making the liquor easy to get at.

After the wine cellar was re-locked and the boys were cut off, they are said to have approached the Neverland chef for drinks. Wisely, he refused.

The Book on Joel Steinberg

All New Yorkers know the frightening story of madman Joel Steinberg, who in 1987 killed a 6-year-old girl he'd illegally adopted.

Steinberg — who was convicted on the testimony of his accomplice and live-in-lover Hedda Nussbaum, who turned state's evidence — was released from prison yesterday after serving time for 16 years.

Steinberg illegally adopted two children: Lisa, whose haunting wide-eyed face was on the cover of every newspaper here for years, and a little boy who was rescued, returned to his family and has grown up out of the spotlight.

The most compelling book on this subject is still "What Lisa Knew," written by Joyce Johnson and published in 1988 by Penguin.

"What Lisa Knew" remains a fascinating read, and tells how Nussbaum was complicit in Steinberg's sick machinations. At the time of its publication, "What Lisa Knew" was the most insightful look into this bizarre and awful story.

Hearing about Steinberg yesterday on the news, I pulled it off the shelf immediately. It's a great read considering that Steinberg — who should be shunned by society — is instead said to be getting his own public-access cable show. It's like something out of Kurt Vonnegut or Thomas Pynchon. Amazing.

Johnson's credentials were, and are, quite good as well. She edited several well-known books, including Ron Kovic's "Born on the Fourth of July."

As a writer herself, she won the 1983 National Book Critics Circle award for her memoir about Jack Kerouac and the beat poets, entitled "Minor Characters." A very moving, impressionistic subsequent novel, "In the Night Café," picked up that story in fictional form.

More recently this spring, Johnson published a new book, "Missing Men," also from Penguin (or now VikingPenguinPutnam, et al.) that has won unanimous raves from every single book review section and magazine.

Just as she had an unsparing view of Steinberg and Nussbaum, Johnson recalls the significant men in her life, starting with her grandfather, who committed suicide before she was born.

The Washington Post said of the book: "Unlike so many memoirs in which authors repay the real or imagined grievances inflicted upon them by others, in 'Missing Men' Joyce Johnson reaches out to all these complicated people and thanks them for what they gave her. It is a big-hearted, commonsensical, thoroughly adult book."

'F9/11' Still Rolling; Julia's Next

Michael Moore's controversial documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" shows no sign of abating at the box office. On Tuesday night the Bush-bashing film took in nearly $4 million, unusual for a weekday night and only slightly down from the night before.

"Soul Man" Sam Moore (no relation to Michael) starts a Canadian tour this weekend with the Funk Brothers, singing only Motown songs for the first time in his life.

Sultry singer Julia Fordham will release her new album, "That's Life," on August 10 on Vanguard Records. Fordham, whose distinctive voice and songwriting skills put her in a category with Diana Krall and Tori Amos, tapes a DVD concert on July 20 at the House of Blues in Los Angeles.

Get ready for the Autumn of Jamie Foxx. After great jobs in both Oliver Stone's "Any Given Sunday" and Michael Mann's "Ali," he's about to hit a trifecta: first in Mann's "Collateral," then in Taylor Hackford's "Ray," as Ray Charles, and finally, as a recording artist. If Foxx doesn't have a deal with Clive Davis by Labor Day, I'll be very surprised!