Accusations against Michael Jackson. OVERVIEW
In his relatively short life Michael Jackson had to face the unbelievable number of 1500 suits and give testimony some 1000 times (http://www.mjfriendship.de/en/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7&Itemid=9)
People accused him of the craziest things on earth – from stealing their songs and owing them half a million dollars for working overtime (I wish my salary were that high) to some totally ridiculous stuff like suing him for the death of a patient moved by the doctors to another ward when Michael was taken to hospital for emergency treatment.
Since it is impossible to dwell on all the 1500 cases I suggest focusing only on the main ones. None of us here are as tough as Michael Jackson and I bet that getting familiar with only a few of them will give you a feel of what his life was really like. For a start let me recommend you an excellent overview of the major accusations Michael had to deal with which was made by LisaG at http://www.michaeljackson.com/us/node/153765
It will give you at least some idea of the amount of malice and spite Michael Jackson had to face almost non-stop in his short and comet-like life:
1993 – Jordie Chandler
“Michael met Jordie and the two quickly became friends when Michael was 34 and Jordie was 13. Michael met Jordie when his car broke down near a Rent-A-Wreck then owned by Jordie’s step-father, David Schwartz. David helped Michael and asked that he wait his wife, June Chandler to bring Jordie to meet Michael.
Jordie, his half-sister Lily and mother June became regulars at Michael’s Neverland Ranch. This was particularly true when June and David later separated. Jordie’s father, ex-husband Evan Chandler was an aspiring writer. He also became friendly with Michael through his son. Evan apparently liked being Michael’s friend and in the spot light. However, after several confrontations where Evan acted erratically, Michael started to avoid Evan. Michael continued his friendship with Jordie, but would no longer spend time around Evan.
Evan then asked June to keep Jordie for a few days. He actually had already gone to an attorney and had begun to hatch a plot to extort money from Michael based upon sexual abuse of Jordie. He gained June’s cooperation by threatening never to return Jordie to his mother. While with Evan, who was a dentist, Jordie was given sodium amytal. The drug used to be used as “truth serum” during confessions. However, it has now been discredited and is known to implant false memories. During that session, Jordie claimed that MJ had molested him. The acts alleged involved kissing and touching (masturbation) — allegations that cannot be proven (or more importantly, disproven) through physical evidence.
Before commencing the civil lawsuit, Evan Chandler met with Michael Jackson and demanded $20 million dollars. Schwartz recorded Chandler who said that if he goes through with this, there was no way he could lose. He had hired a mean, son of a b***** lawyer and would ruin Michael’s life.
After the civil lawsuit was commenced, the DA opened its own criminal file. Enter Tom Sneddon.
The DA was able to get a search warrant allowing MJ to be photographed in the nude to determine whether descriptions of MJ’s penis and buttocks area, provided by Jordie, matched. The Smoking Gun claimed that it had an affidavit by a police officer describing Jordy’s description of MJ’s penis.
I won’t get into the legal technicalities of that form of double hearsay, but I will say that the affidavit indicated that Jordie’s description included that MJ was circumcised. MJ was not circumcised. (To me, that detail was the most important reason that the DA in 1993 would not have been able to proceed in 1993. Who could have made so integral a mistake if they had really viewed his penis?)
In addition, it is claimed that Jordie described a dark spot present on an area at the base of Michael’s penis. The photographer was a police photographer who had read the affidavit and was familiar with the descriptions. Therefore, he asked that Michael re-arrange his (a-hem) anatomy so that he could view the area in question. I got this from a portion of Diane Dimond’s book that was part of a free preview. She interviewed the photographer who said that while he saw this dark spot, he did not get a picture of it! Are you kidding me? The whole purpose of being there was for him to corroborate the affidavit. If such a dark spot really existed, why didn’t he get the picture? Of course, Ms. Dimond does not explain the issue of circumcision at all in her book.
The media perpetuated the erroneous belief that Jordie Chandler accurately described MJ’s privates. Lisa Marie said to Diane Sawyer that when the description did not match, the newspapers only printed a tiny article detailing that fact.
After the photographs turned out to be a bust, in the civil action, Evan Chandler decided that he wanted to review MJ’s finances. He claimed that he was at a disadvantage in litigating the case because MJ had so much money. At the same time, the DA decided that it would not pursue criminal charges against Evan Chandler for extortion. I guess that when you’re trying to build a case for molestation against a person, you cannot simultaneously bring charges against the accuser for extortion.
MJ apparently cracked under the pressure and went in to drug re-habilitation even though he was on tour at the time. Based upon the recommendations of Liz Taylor, Lisa Marie and his recently retained attorney, Johnny Cochran, MJ was persuaded to pay the Chandlers. It is relevant to mention that the attorneys who represented MJ prior to Cochran did not recommend settlement and had filed a counterclaim against the Chandlers for extortion.
Based upon the advice of his friends, MJ agreed to settle. A lot of people think that MJ settled the 1993 suit with money from his own pocket. However, when I’ve explained to people that the money was actually paid by MJ’s insurer, the payout made a lot more sense. In doing a quick mathematical calculation, I’ve estimated that in 1993, assuming 6 attorneys at 8 hours a day, it would have cost the insurer over $10 million to defend MJ for 365 days. The 2005 investigation and trial lasted 572 days. Plus, in 1993, there was also a pending civil suit and a counterclaim suit where MJ claimed extortion by the Chandlers. Civil suits can drag on for years. A conservative estimate would be 3-5 years. No insurance company is going to pay $20 million annually for defense when they can settle and be done. My estimate does not include investigators, paralegals or other litigation costs.
Non-lawyers seem to think that an insurance company cannot make you settle. However, insurance is to provide you with an attorney and pay for any judgment. It does not exist to guarantee you a day in Court. Therefore, once you are sued, the insurer can make any settlements that are in their best interests. Since they are in the business of making money, settling for less than defense costs is in their best interests.
In 2004, Michael Jackson’s defense attorneys filed legal papers seeking to preclude evidence of the 1993 settlement specifically because Michael did not have control over the settlement and both Michael and his legal team objected to the settlement. If you do not agree to settle within the policy limits, an insurer can rescind the policy leaving you without coverage.
I question the motives of the Chandlers. What parent in the whole world would accept money if their child was truly molested? Besides, there would have been absolutely nothing to prevent bringing the suit after a criminal trial if MJ had been convicted. According to the civil attorney at the time, quite a bit of money had been spent in preparing the civil case. The risk to the Chandlers and their attorney would have been an acquittal in the criminal case which would have–as it did for the Arvizos–foreclosed a subsequent law suit.
As part of the settlement, all of the parties signed a confidentiality agreement. When Jordie Chandler accepted the money, he refused to testify.
However, Mr. Sneddon did not close his file on MJ. The Police Departments in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara continued searching for evidence. The DA scoured the earth (literally) looking for another witness to corroborate molestation claims in 1993 and came up with nothing. There are reports that even the people who sold stories to tabloids would not come forward and testify under oath.
Criminal claims against Michael Jackson were brought to TWO grand juries. Neither one would indict. It is important to note that grand juries hear the evidence that the prosecution intends to present. There is no cross-examination or questioning. Therefore, it is the prosecution’s evidence without any opportunity to rebut any of the claims. Even though this one-sided form of evidence was presented to two different grand juries, Michael was not indicted.
Evan Chandler subsequently sued MJ for $60 million claiming that MJ had violated the terms of the confidentiality agreement by denying the molestation claims. However, the confidentiality agreement specifically said that neither party was guilty of any crime or had committed any wrongdoing. The case was tossed out of court.
Evan Chandler also brought suit when MJ wrote “They Don’t Care About Us.” He claimed that the song portrayed him in a bad light because the lines “Jew me, sue me” and Kick me, kike me” referred to him. Since he was Jewish, the statements were derogatory. That suit was also tossed.
1994 — Jason Francia
The only other settlement was with MJ’s maid — Jason Francia’s mother. Diane Dimond – then of Hard Copy offered her $20K for a juicy story. Once paid, she provided a story about an event when Michael was tickling her son. The story contradicted her sworn deposition testimony about her employment by MJ and her personal observations. It appears that in this tickling event, she later claimed that MJ got too close to her son’s testicles. She did not come forward with this tale until money was offered.
Further, once the story was out there with Diane Dimond, she capitalized with a demand on MJ. Jason Francia’s first session with a psychiatrist was attended by none other than Tom Sneddon. Jason Francia was never told that his mother had accepted money from Diane Dimond until years later when he was having his own financial difficulties and decided that he wanted to sue MJ.
Jason Francia’s statement and testimony was presented to the grand jury in 1994. It did not result in an indictment.
Blanca Francia has wavered on her tale suggesting that her son has made allegations and has not made allegations. Regardless of her own wavering, neither police nor a grand jury found Francia credible enough to proceed with charges.
2003 — Gavin Arvizo
The Arvizo kids were poor Latinos who lived in East LA. They spent time at a comedy club and were exposed to numerous entertainers including George Lopez and Chris Tucker. Gavin was then diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. He asked to meet Michael Jackson. MJ invited the family to Neverland. It was apparent that Gavin’s father was abusive to the entire family. Gavin’s mother, Janet eventually divorced him.
I won’t go into the background and character of the Arvizos who, in my opinion, were grifters. However, prior to the MJ criminal action in August 1998 the Arvizo family was detained on a shoplifting charge at a J.C. Penney department store in West Covina, California. According to J.C. Penney, Gavin and Star Arvizo were sent out of the store by their father with an armload of stolen clothes, the family was detained and Janet started a “scuffle” with security officers.
The shoplifting charge was dropped, but Janet filed a lawsuit for $3 million, saying that when she was detained she was “viciously beaten” by three security officers, one of whom was female. The psychiatrist hired by J. C. Penney to evaluate Janet Arvizo found her to have rehearsed her children into supporting her story and to be both “delusional” and “depressed,” although Janet’s own doctor found her to be only the latter.
More than two years after the original alleged incident Janet added a further charge that one of the male officers had “sexually fondled” her breasts and pelvis area for “up to seven minutes”. Star Arvizo and Gavin Arvizo corroborated her allegations in depositions. Ultimately, the department store settled out of court with the family for $152,000. The defense was not permitted to introduce the testimony of JC Penney security guards Dexter Mason and Paul Krugman to whom Janet Arvizo apologized one day after the scuffle. However, these young children testified about sexual acts against their mother and got money out of the deal.
It is also noteworthy that Janet and her daughter Davellin Arvizo testified that David Arvizo sexually abused them during the divorce proceedings.
Once Gavin started feeling better, it appeared that Michael started to withdraw from the Arvizo family. Once while at Neverland, Gavin was told that Michael was not there. However, Gavin bumped into Michael. Gavin said he was crushed. In addition to the three Arvizo children, several other children were there including the brother and sister of Michael’s friend Frank Cascio.
The staffers at Neverland said that the Arvizo children were obnoxious, messy and rude. However, they were apparently given the run of Neverland. They knew the security codes to every part of Neverland and used them to gain access into Michael’s room, even when he was not there.
MJ agreed to do the Bashir interview in part because Bashir indicated that he would help promote Michael’s charities including those in Africa. It was in that televised interview that the world learned that children slept in MJ’s bedroom. To me, it is so significant that MJ came on (inter)national television and said that he allowed children to sleep in his bed. This was not a salacious detail that came out in cross examination, but one that MJ freely admitted and reiterated to Ed Bradley on 60 Minutes.
Strange? Yes. Criminal? No. What criminal would go on national television and admit that he was committing a crime? If MJ had understood how people would take such a statement, perhaps he would not have said it. In fact, he was able to see the program before it aired. He apparently signed off on it. However, regardless of how this statement was viewed by the wide world, it came from his own mouth.
Shortly after the televised interview, in February 2003, the Department of Children Services interviewed Gavin Arvizo and found that there was no wrongdoing by MJ. However, the Arvizos decided to bring a lawsuit against Bashir because, Janet Arvizo claimed that she did not give anyone permission to have her children on television. After going to a civil attorney, she was referred to the same civil attorney who had represented Jordie Chandler. He recommended that she take Gavin to a psychologist–the same one that saw Jordie Chandler. Based upon his results, the Arvizos decided to bring a civil lawsuit claiming molestation.
However, rather than spending time and money conducting an investigation for a lawsuit, the attorney went to the DA–Tom Sneddon. That way, the DA would spend taxpayers’ money to conduct his investigation. Had Tom Sneddon gotten a conviction, the Arvizos would have gotten an easy payday.
Initially, the Arvizos claimed that the molestation, which included touching — again, something that cannot be easily disproven — occurred before the Bashir documentary. In other words, while the entire world was focused on what MJ had said about sleeping in the same room with children and the media was hounding MJ, that’s when MJ is alleged to have committed these acts.
However, this claim contradicted the statements he had given to the Dept. of Children’s Services. When the Department of Children Services report was leaked to the media, the Arvizos brought a lawsuit claiming that this report defamed them as it contradicted the molestation claims against Michael Jackson. In order to avoid his sworn statements in the report, Gavin later testified that the molestation began AFTER the report was written, in March 2003. Of note, the Arvizos and MJ were at Neverland from March 2-March 5 and again from March 9-March 12. The Arvizos never returned.
Rule 1108 of the California Penal Code allows evidence of prior similar acts even if there was no conviction in the prior incidents. The judge in the MJ case permitted witnesses to testify that they saw these acts of molestation without bringing in the actual alleged victims.
Prior to the trial, it was alleged that there were a number of other victims including Macaulay Culkin, Wade Robson and Brett Barnes. All three of these men testified for Michael Jackson’s defense. Diane Dimond claimed that during the investigation, police also considered that Omer Bhatti was a “victim.” Yes, Omer Bhatti, the same guy that the media now claims is “Michael’s Secret Son!”
Tom Sneddon again scoured the earth for anyone who could support his claims against MJ. The only people who supported the claims were four disgruntled former employees who had sued MJ and lost. In fact, MJ had countersued and all of the former employees owed him money from a judgment secured against them. Apparently, they had stolen items from Neverland. They had also signed a contract with a media company to give the company stories about MJ. Under cross-examination by Tom Mesereau, one of the witnesses stated, “I just want to go home.”
In 2005, when June Chandler testified for the prosecution, she denied that she was named in the original Chandler lawsuit and made statements that Michael was just a big kid. She also said that Michael treated her and her children like his own family. Jordie Chandler did not testify. However, according to Tom Mesereau, he was prepared for Jordie Chandler’s testimony. In an interview available on Mr. Mesereau’s website, he stated that he had witnesses who Jordie told that the accusation was untrue. In fact, Jordie told these witnesses that he would not speak to his parents ever again for what they made him say. In fact, June Chandler admitted in 2005 that she had not spoken to her son in eleven years.
Prosecutors tried to get him in but he would not show up. Friends said that he told that it had never happened and that he would never speak to his parents because of what they made him say. He had in fact gotten legal emancipation from him parents.
Ten search warrants were executed upon MJ for several residences including Neverland. The police had every opportunity to find incriminating evidence but found nothing. I would note that now the deputies are showing photographs depicting various sedatives. If MJ had so many sedatives, why did he try to give the kids “Jesus Juice”? He could have just knocked them out with the sedatives. Most likely, it’s because these children did not know about the drugs that were present in the house. The DA probably left the drugs out of the case because it would run counter to his theory.
On June 13, 2005, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty on all of the charges against MJ.
On August 5, 2005, Jordie and his father were living together in a high-rise luxury building overlooking the Hudson River in New York City when, from behind, Evan hit Jordie with a 12 ½ lb. dumb bell. For good measure, Evan then sprayed Jordie in the face with mace. Jordie sought a permanent restraining order against his father. The case was initially dismissed, but on appeal, the appeals court in New Jersey determined that Jordie presented enough evidence to warrant a trial to determine if Evan Chandler presented enough of a danger to warrant a permanent restraining Order. In June 2006, Jordie finally obtained a permanent restraining order against his father.
So far, I have read Moonwalk, The Magic…, the Michael Jackson Conspiracy and I’m in the process of reading Redemption. I have also read Mary A. Fischer’s GQ article and have listened to Mesereau interviews and any other “reliable” sources that I can think of. While I will not purchase Diane Dimond’s book, the portions that I have read on the internet are enlightening due to Ms. Dimond’s omissions. I intend to read the transcripts and any other public documents that I can get my hands on and will let you all know what I find out”.
Great job, LisaG!