Media Offer Cash For Interviews In Jaycee Dugard Case

10/18/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

ANTIOCH, Calif. — Revelations that Jaycee Lee Dugard was allegedly imprisoned for 18 years at a convicted sex offender's home have sparked cash-for-interviews offers from a few of the hundreds of journalists digging for information.

Manuel Garrido, the father of suspect Phillip Garrido, said he was given $2,000 from an overseas media agency but declined to say which one.

On Monday, the elder Garrido, who lives in Brentwood, refused an interview with The Associated Press unless he was paid.

"I'm not giving any more free advice, interviews," Manuel Garrido said. He had previously talked to an AP reporter without payment.

Many news organizations prohibit so-called checkbook journalism, but paid interviews are not without precedent and not illegal. The AP does not pay sources.

Phillip Garrido, 58, and his wife, Nancy Garrido, 54, have pleaded not guilty to kidnap, rape and imprisonment charges related to Dugard's 1991 abduction. Police say Garrido fathered Dugard's two daughters and lived with them in a backyard encampment of tents and sheds.

The house is in a ramshackle neighborhood of modest single-family homes in an unincorporated area of Antioch hit by the foreclosure crisis and job losses.

Garrido's next door neighbor Damon Robinson was interviewed several times by the AP, Los Angeles Times and other media. During those conversations, he revealed his ex-girlfriend, Erika Pratt, had called police in 2006 to report Garrido had children living in tents in his backyard.

While Robinson was being interviewed by the AP and others, three members of a British media group walked onto his property without his permission.

When Robinson asked what they were doing, a British reporter told Robinson his deadline was coming quickly and offered him $2,000 if he would quit talking to everyone else and provide them an exclusive showing of his backyard.

The reporter flashed $100 as an apparent sign of good faith. Robinson, who acknowledged that another British outlet had also paid him, agreed. Robinson, who is unemployed, did not disclose what outlets paid him and it was not clear from the interaction.

Robinson led the crew deep into his backyard, where a hole in his fence provided a glimpse of the shambled compound next door.

Robinson said he would use the money for his two children and might also give some to Dugard's daughters.

Building contractor Mike Rogers owns a home with a backyard fence abutting part of Garrido's yard. He said he got offers for money from about three media organizations ranging from about $500 to $5,000, which he declined.

"You can't profit off of someone else's grief," he said.

But Rogers said he did not fault the neighbors who did accept money, saying the neighborhood has fallen on hard times and he can understand why the offers would be attractive. Still, he hoped they would find a way to give a portion of the money to Dugard's children or charity.

"If they gave it to the kids, that's one thing," he said.

Rogers said the offers were from a U.S. talk show and overseas media organizations he did not name.