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MARY FISCHER on why Michael settled the 1st case out of court

November 21, 2009

To give you a ‘feel’ of the atmosphere in which the decision to settle with the Chandlers was taken in 1993 here is an extract from Mary Fischer’s article “Was Michael Jackson Framed?”  Among many other interesting details it shows how much friction there was between Michael’s lawyers at the time and what hysteria in the media and among the public they had to deal with.

Michael began taking painkillers to deal with the stress,  lost approximately 10 pounds in weight and stopped eating.  His health deteriorated to the extent that he cancelled the remainder of his Dangerous tour and flew to the UK for rehabilitation treatment. The Jackson legal team was of the opinion that Michael’s health was so bad he wouldn’t be able to endure a lengthy trial.
Mary Fischer said:

“From the day Weitzman joined Jackson’s defense team, “he was talking settlement,” says Bonnie Ezkenazi, an attorney who worked for the defense. While Fields and Pellicano were still in control of Jackson’s defense, they adopted an aggressive strategy. They believed staunchly in Jackson’s innocence and vowed to fight the charges in court.  Pellicano began gathering evidence to use in the trial, which was scheduled for March 21, 1994.

“The Chandlers had a very weak case,” says Fields. “We wanted to fight. Michael wanted to fight and go through a trial. We felt we could win.”

Dissension within the Jackson camp accelerated on November 12, 1993 after Jackson’s publicist announced at a press conference that the singer was canceling the remainder of his world tour to go into a drug-rehabilitation program to treat his addiction to painkillers.

Fields later told reporters that Jackson was “barely able to function adequately on an intellectual level.”  Others in Jackson’s camp felt it was a mistake to portray the singer as incompetent. “It was important,” Fields says, “to tell the truth. Larry Feldman (Chandler’s lawyer) and the press took the position that Michael was trying to hide and that it was all a scam. But it wasn’t.”

On November 23, the friction peaked.  Based on information he says he got from Weitzman, Fields told a courtroom full of reporters that a criminal indictment against Jackson seemed imminent. Fields had a reason for making the statement:  he was trying to delay the boy’s civil suit by establishing that there was an impending criminal case that should be tried first.

Outside the courtroom, reporters asked why Fields had made the announcement, to which Weitzman replied essentially that Fields “misspoke himself.”  The comment infuriated Fields, “because it wasn’t true,” he says. “It was just an outrage. I was very upset with Howard.”  Fields sent a letter of resignation to Jackson the following week.

“There was this vast group of people all wanting to do a different thing, and it was like moving through molasses to get a decision,” says Fields. “It was a nightmare, and I wanted to get the hell out of it.”  Pellicano, who had received his share of flak for his aggressive manner, resigned at the same time.

With Fields and Pellicano gone, Weitzman brought in Johnnie Cochran Jr. and Jonh Branca, whom Fields had replaced as Jackson’s general counsel in 1990, was back on board.  In late 1993, as DAs in both Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties convened grand juries to assess whether criminal charges should be filed against Jackson, the defense strategy changed course and talk of settling the civil case began in earnest, even though his new team also believed in Jackson’s innocence.

Why would Jackson’s side agree to settle out of court given his claims of innocence and the questionable evidence against him?

His attorneys apparently decided there were many factors that argued against taking the case to civil court. Among them was the fact that Jackson’s emotional fragility would be tested by the oppressive media coverage that would likely plague the singer day after day during a trial that could last as long as six months.

Politics and racial issues had also seeped into legal proceedings — particularly in Los Angeles, which was still recovering from the Rodney King ordeal — and the defense feared that a court of law could not be counted on to deliver justice.

Then, too, there was the jury mix to consider.  As one attorney says, “They figured that Hispanics might resent Jackson for his money, blacks might resent him for trying to be white, and whites would have trouble getting around the molestation issue.” In Resnick’s opinion, “The hysteria is so great and the stigma [of child molestation] is so strong, there is no defense against it.”

Jackson’s lawyers also worried about what might happen if a criminal trial followed, particularly in Santa Barbara, which is a largely white, conservative, middle-to-upper-class community. Any way the defense looked at it, a civil trial seemed too big a gamble.

Others close to the case say the decision to settle also probably had to do with another factor — the lawyers’ reputations. “Can you imagine what would happen to an attorney who lost the Michael Jackson case?” says Anthony Pellicano. “There’s no way for all three lawyers to come out winners unless they settle. The only person who lost is Michael Jackson”.

Jackson, says Branca, “changed his mind about taking the case to trial when he returned to this country. He hadn’t seen the massive coverage and how hostile it was. He just wanted the whole thing to go away”…

By January 1, 1994 $2million had been spent by prosecution departments in California, two grand juries had questioned two hundred witnesses but Jordan’s allegations could not be corroborated.

A few weeks later Chandler’s attorney, Larry Feldman, petitioned the court that he should be allowed access to Jackson’s finances over concerns that the singer’s wealth would give him an unfair advantage in court.

One adviser to Jackson stated “You can take pictures of Michael’s dick and he’s not gonna like it, but once you start trying to figure out how much money he has, that’s where he stops playing around” .

On January 25, 1994 Jackson settled a civil suit out of court. When asked why he paid off his accuser, Jackson answered: “I wanted to go on with my life. Too many people had already been hurt. I want to make records. I want to sing. I want to perform again… It’s my talent. My hard work. My life. My decision”. He also wanted to avoid a “media circus”.

This is  how Mary Fischer sums up the 1993 case:

“It is, of course, impossible to prove a negative — that is, prove that something didn’t happen. But it is possible to take an in-depth look at the people who made the allegations against Jackson and thus gain insight into their character and motives. What emerges from such an examination, based on court documents, business records and scores of interviews, is a persuasive argument that Jackson molested no one and that he himself may have been the victim of a well-concieved plan to extract money from him”.

Michael later admitted that the 1993 financial settlement had been a MISTAKE.

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LunaJo67 has uploaded the interview Mary Fischer gave to Greta Van Sustern in 2003.
3 Comments leave one →
  1. David permalink
    July 12, 2010 9:43 am


    I don’t know if you knew about this, but here is Mary Fischer’s website! All the times that I’ve googled her looking for her article or for interviews with her, but this is the first time I’ve seen her official website.

    I can only assume that she only recently set up her website. It lists all of her articles that she’s written for various magazines, although not all of them are available online yet. (They’re “coming soon”.)

    She obviously doesn’t do too many TV interviews, because according to her site the last televised interview she did was in 2004 for the MJ case. I think you and other bloggers should email her and try to get her to do some interviews with the fan community on MJ and her article. I hope that one day she posts some of the videos of her TV interviews, if she has them. (Like the one she did with Greta Van Susteren, for example).

    Personally, I’d like to know more about the sodium amytal, and the reporter who broke the story in May 1994. I want to know WHEN Evan gave that interview when he admitted that Jordie didn’t admit to molestation until after his tooth was pulled. I’m assuming it was before the confidentiality agreement was signed, and the reporter just didn’t report it until May 1994.


  2. July 12, 2010 10:09 am

    David, thank you for the link. I hope Mary Fischer goes on with her investigation of lies around Michael Jackson.

    The way I see it there is an interesting thing happening in journalism now – Michael Jackson is attracting professional, serious, truly investigative reporters like Mary Fischer, Charles Thomson, Aphrodite Jones, while Michael’s haters are attracting junk journalism, tabloid press and their natural audience. Since the readers are also subdiving into two different groups I am beginning to think that it is impossible to establish any type of meaningful communication with the audience of junk journalism.

    If they are ready to believe ANYTHING they are told – what can we do?


  3. Suzy permalink
    August 27, 2010 1:59 pm

    Hi guys!

    I came across another hater site. Actually it’s more a collection of rants, rather than factual arguing. In one article he says he got convinced that MJ was guilty BECAUSE Mary Fischer – whom he considers a “pedophile apologist” – defended him….

    He also attacks Mary Fischer for her article on the McMartin Preschool sex abuse allegations, where she also defended those who were alleged with the crime (it is widely believed that that case was a fraud).

    There are also a lot of ridiculous claims made on that blog, things like:

    “Roseanne Barr maintains that Jackson told her of his Dissociative Identity Disorder – multiple personalities. It is possible that one of his alter personalities molests children. ”



    “And Jackson was a perp. I’ve known this since a member of a well-known rock band explained to me that while shooting a video at Neverland, he saw child porn lying out in the open.”

    Can it possibly be Gene Simmons from Kiss? But I don’t remember Kiss ever shooting videos at Neverland – or any other “well-known rock band”, for that matter…. And if they indeed saw child porn lying out in the open, why didn’t they inform the authorities or why didn’t they testify in the trial at least? Of course, it’s just another ridiculous claim that doesn’t even make sense.


    “Then there was the famed child psychologist I went out with ten years ago who told me that she had patients who talked about Jackson’s sexual impositions. (I live in Southern California.)”

    Yeah, right.

    The whole site looks to be a collection of a lot of crazy conspiracy theories, but the author is obviously obsessed with MJ.


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