What happened to some jurors after the 2005 trial?
My initial desire was not to have anything to do with the nonsense Arvizo case. But my correspondent David provided so much food for thought about the jurors who suddenly started doubting 2 months after the 2005 trial, that I really got stuck in that subject. It was interesting to see why some jurors ‘changed their minds’.
Let’s see what David has found – he starts with August 2005:
“There is a topic that I thought you should know about, and that is the fact that two Jurors accepted book deals to say that MJ was really guilty. Their names were Ray Hultman & Eleanor Cook. In the first link, they are interviewed by MSNBC in August 2005 to announce their upcoming books. http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/8894410/
In the second link, Ray Hultman announces in September 2005 that he’s going to file a lawsuit to get out of the book deal he signed, because his co-author Stacey Brown (who also co-wrote “The Man Behind The Mask” with MJ’s former publicist Bob Jones) plagiarized one of Maureen Orth’s slanderous articles on MJ in Vanity Fair: http://www.santamariatimes.com/news/local/article_b90a9be6-5773-57e0-bf53-0c8c4ad82ad9.html
This next article is from January 2006. It states how Ray Hultman settled his lawsuit after he was “pressured to sensationalize his story”. (The same way Bob Jones was pressured to lie and say he saw MJ licking Jordie’s head during a flight in his book!!)
As far as Eleanor Cook, she tried to shop her book, but it was “difficult” shopping her book, so she tried to “reposition” her book as an “indictment of the American justice system” (which definitely deserved to be indicted after what it did to MJ!). Her publicist stated that the chances of the book ever being released at “less than 50/50″, and as we now know, it was never released.
Surprisingly, jury foreman Paul Rodriguez was also supposed to get a book deal, but never got one. He has been one of MJ’s staunchest supporters after the trial, and even defended him in Aphrodite Jones’ MJ documentary. I’m sure he lost his book deal for refusing to lie and say that MJ was guilty! http://www.santamariatimes.com/news/local/article_ebc35f04-03a5-5780-a972-f23145f54d40.html?mode=story
In the last link, I included a press release for Aphrodite Jones’ book “MJ Conspiracy”, where she mentions how other jurors were ALSO offered book deals to lie and say MJ was guilty, but they turned them down due to their integrity. They called Ray and Eleanor “traitors”: http://www.themjifc.com/forum/innocent/12547-aphrodite-jones-thomas-mesereau-michaels-attorney.html
I think this is some info that would be valuable to MJ fans, because I’ve seen MJ haters use Ray & Eleanor’s MSNBC interview as an excuse to say that MJ “got away with it just like OJ Simpson”. To be honest, while doing research on MJ after he died, I got a little scared when I found that interview, but was absolutely relieved to know those books didn’t come out, and that coward Ray Hultman had to sue to get out of writing it.
David, thanks a lot for the research and valuable links. Following one of them I came upon a video of the MSNBC show “Rita Cosby: Live and Direct,” which was aired and reported by Associated Press on August 10, 2005 and called “Two jurors say they ‘regret Jackson’s acquittal” http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/8880663/ns/entertainment-music/
This is what they say there:
Eleanor Cook: [During the deliberations] I said he was guilty and I said it in a big way. They came up after me with a vengeance. I really got attacked.
Rita Cosby: How so?
Cook: ‘I didn’t understand’, ‘I didn’t know’, ‘I was too old’…
R. Cosby: How did the foreman [Paul Rodriguez] threaten you?
Cook: If I don’t change my mind, or go with the group, or be more understanding, he’ll have to notify the bailiff, the bailiff will notify the judge, and the judge will have me removed….
R.Cosby: How angry were you at the way you were treated by other jurors?
Ray Hultman: The fact that got me the most was that people could not take those blinds off long enough to really look at all the evidence that was there.
R.Cosby: What happened that day when the verdict came down? How bad was the air?
Cook: The air reeked of hatred. People were angry and I had never been in an atmosphere like that before. I just thought that they could turn on me any minute and there wasn’t anything I could do about it.
R.Cosby: Did you tell anyone how bad it was for you?
Cook: I called my daughter and she was very comforting. She said, Mother, you’ve done right, your conscience is clear, you’re a strong lady and you can handle it, you can handle them.
R.Cosby: But you didn’t?
Cook: I didn’t. I caved in.
Here is the video of their interview:
Interesting to know what the same jurors said immediately after the trial? Were they of the same opinion? Helpfully we have an interview where 8 jurors (out of 12) talk to Larry King on June 23, 2005 – ten days after passing a Non-guilty verdict on all ten counts.
The interview is provided in full for us not to miss any precious details (source: http://community.mjeol.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=4685&start=0)
Please, remember that we are keeping an eye on those two jurors who decided to write books of their own and who two months later will complain to MSNBC’s Rita Cosby that Michael was ‘guilty’ and they were coerced into ‘caving in’. The names of the jurors are COOK and HULTMAN.
Aired June 23, 2005 – 21:00 ET
When we come back, an extraordinary half hour ahead, there were 12 jurors in the Jackson case. And eight of them, eight of them will be right here and we’ll talk to them on LARRY KING LIVE next. Don’t go away.
KING: We have had lots of guests on this program. And sometimes in various parts of the country and world. I don’t think we ever had on eight on together in the room. Maybe in political season. Let’s go around and meet the member of the jury and find out some things about what happened to the Jackson case. Michael, what was it like for you to be on jury duty?
MICHAEL STEVENS, MICHAEL JACKSON JUROR #7: It was the first time I’ve ever done it and what a way to start, I would say. When I got the summons in the mail, I didn’t quite know it was for the Jackson trial, and so I’m sitting going, OK, what is this going to be for? And then the closer it got to the date of the summons, which is the 31st of January, the more news came about that it was going to be for the Jackson jury.
KING: Did you want to be on the jury?
STEVENS: I didn’t care either way.
KING: What was it like for you, Tammy? Tammy Bolton.
TAMMY BOLTON, MICHAEL JACKSON JUROR #6: Well, I never expected to be picked, you know.
BOLTON: There was a pool of, gosh, a lot of people. We had a courtroom full of people. And when they stood us up and swore us in, I was so surprised, I kind of looked around, because I wasn’t sure.
KING: Did you like the experience of serving?
BOLTON: And my heart dropped.
KING: Did you like it?
BOLTON: It’s definitely an amazing experience, I’d have to say.
KING: Wouldn’t want to do it again, though?
KING: Raymond, what was it like for you? You were on with us right after the verdict.
RAYMOND HULTMAN, MICHAEL JACKSON JUROR #1: Yes. Well, it was a little strange. I actually moved to Santa Maria about two years ago, and registered to vote, and that was where I made the mistake.
KING: You got called.
HULTMAN: I got called.
KING: Did you like or not like the experience?
HULTMAN: Well, actually, I’m kind of with Tammy. I never expected that I would actually be selected for the jury. I’ve been summoned a few times before, but I’ve never been actually selected for a jury, and this was totally a surprise to me.
KING: Melissa Herard, what was it like for you?
MELISSA HERARD, MICHAEL JACKSON JUROR #8: It was pretty interesting. I received my summons, and I knew it was for the Jackson trial. And I was the one sitting up against the wall in the back when the judge says, well, there will be somebody sitting up against the wall in the back that will be chosen to come up front, and next thing you know I was the 13th juror called, and I was in the back.
KING: What was the experience like?
HERARD: It was — it was exciting at some times. And other times it was pretty difficult.
KING: And boring sometimes?
KING: Yeah, that’s part of jury duty. Being bored, right? Paulina Coccoz.
PAULINA COCCOZ, MICHAEL JACKSON JUROR #10: Coccoz, very good.
KING: What was it like for you?
COCCOZ: I thought it was great. My first time as well. I couldn’t have, I guess, been picked for a better one. And a lot of ups and downs, a lot of, I guess, rearranging in your life and trying to adapt, I guess, to their schedule opposed to what we’re used to. Change of diets. There was a lot of things involved. But great experience. Loved it.
KING: Wouldn’t want do it again, though, right?
COCCOZ: Hopefully not, no.
KING: Susan Rentchler, what was it like?
SUSAN RENTCHLER, MICHAEL JACKSON JUROR #4: It was interesting. I was selected for jury duty 15 years ago when I was in my eighth month of pregnancy. And…
KING: You were excused.
RENTCHLER: So I was excused. And this is the first time they have called me back.
KING: What was the experience like?
RENTCHLER: It was a good experience. It was real interesting. I’m retired, so it wasn’t a real hardship on my part.
KING: Wouldn’t want to do it again, though?
RENTCHLER: I think I have served my duty for quite a while.
KING: Ellie Cook, you’re writing a book about this, right?
ELLIE COOK, MICHAEL JACKSON JUROR #5: Yes, sir.
KING: And you were the one who got ticked off by the mother, right?
COOK: Oh, big time. Big time.
KING: I’ll get to that. But what was it like to serve?
COOK: What was it like to serve? It was an eye-opener. I really like our country and I like the fact that we do serve. And this is such a diverse group of people. It really — it was a great experience.
KING: Would you say it was a hard-working jury?
COOK: Yes, oh, definitely. Definitely. I really do.
KING: Susan Drake, what was it like for you?
SUSAN DRAKE, MICHAEL JACKSON JUROR #3: It was a life-changing experience. I had a…
DRAKE: Changing. Yes.
KING: How so?
DRAKE: Well, I’m a horse trainer, and I had the Olympic dream and I had a focus and a path, and all of a sudden something even more important came along. And I really took it seriously. I felt the weight of the world’s eyes upon us. And…
KING: This was more important to you than your own…
DRAKE: Absolutely. Absolutely.
KING: … career. And what is the bell for?
DRAKE: The bell was…
KING: Ringing, what is that bell?
KING: What is it?
DRAKE: We were only allowed to talk about the case when everyone was in the room. If you had a potty break or leaving, no one could talk about it. Only one person could talk at a time. And you can imagine at times, several people had opinions that wanted to be voiced at the same time. So I was the official bellringer.
KING: Meaning they had to be all there? If they were all there, you could voice opinions?
DRAKE: Yes. One at a time.
COOK: One at a time. That was the biggie. One at a time.
KING: This was in deliberation, right? You could never discuss it before that, right?
DRAKE: No, with anyone else.
KING: Could you all honestly say, swear, that you watched no media, read no newspaper?
COOK: I swear.
KING: Wasn’t that hard to do?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was hard. Very hard.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.
STEVENS: How can you not like go into a supermarket, you know, and…
KING: And see the headline in the paper.
STEVENS: Overhear two people talking about it, you know.
KING: So what did you do when confronted with everyday life?
STEVENS: Turn around and go do something else.
KING: What did you do?
HULTMAN: I read a lot of newspapers with big holes in them where my wife had cut out…
KING: She cut them out, and you didn’t discuss it with her.
HULTMAN: … Michael Jackson articles. No, I did not. No. And that was a difficult part of the whole five month experience, was it basically became my job. And normally when I come home from work, you know, I talk to my wife about my job. And in this case, I really couldn’t. And that was difficult.
KING: So none of you ever turned on CNN or any of the other networks. Didn’t watch news?
RENTCHLER: I had to stop watching news, because, you know, it was everywhere.
KING: It could come up at any time.
RENTCHLER: So I just stopped — I stopped watching and I — I’m a big news watcher. So.
KING: Let me get a — let me get a break and we’ll come back with more of three quarters of the Jackson jury. Don’t go away.
(Begin video clip)
TOM SNEDDON, SANTA BARBARA COUNTY DA: Obviously, we’re disappointed in the verdict, but we work every day in a system of justice. We believe in the system of justice. And I’ve been a prosecutor for 37 years. In 37 years, I have never quarreled with a jury’s verdict. And I’m not going to start today.
(end video clip)
KING: Susan Drake, were there many arguments in discussion?
DRAKE: No, we were just going over the evidence and 108 pages of jury instruction. It took a long time to go over the information.
KING: Was there ever a time, Ellie, where someone wanted to vote for conviction?
KING: More than — by the way, let me correct. I said three- quarters. And our Raymond Hultman, our fantastic engineer juror, corrected me, that we are two-thirds of the jury. We’re not three- quarters. He’ll never be back. Take a good look at him. You don’t correct the host.
Back to you, Ellie.
COOK: Yes, sir.
KING: Was there more than one? That wanted a conviction on maybe one of the counts?
COOK: There were a couple of things that I wanted — I can’t even remember them now to be honest with you, without my notes and paper here in front of me. But there was a couple of things that I thought that he was guilty of, but we couldn’t prove it. And so we had to go with not being able to prove it; we had no choice.
KING: We had some — two people, different people tell us they thought he was a predator, but that was not proven in this case.
KING: How many of you by show of hands thought he was a predator in his life? The rest of you do not know that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do not know that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nope.
KING: Absolutely not?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely not.
KING: Then what do you make of all the testimony you heard from the previous kid who got a settlement?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, he got a settlement.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were no charges filed. There was no trial.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No criminal case.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a civil case. There was a settlement in that case.
KING: Was there ever a time where you thought, Tammy, that there were time in that trial where you thought I’m going for guilty here? In your mind, going home at night?
BOLTON: I don’t really think there was. I sat and I replayed everything in my head over and over again. And I tried not to stick to one thing or the other and to listen to everything thoroughly. I can’t say there was anything that convinced me to say guilty ever throughout the whole trial.
KING: What was the prosecution’s weakness, Raymond?
HULTMAN: I think…
KING: What didn’t they do right?
HULTMAN: Well, I think the prosecution did everything they could possibly do with this case. I think the problem was the family. But as the prosecutor would tell you, they don’t pick their victims is what they said. And in this case, the accuser and his family had some real credibility problems. And that was kind of the key to the whole issue.
KING: So even though you thought he may have been in the past a predator, they didn’t prove it in this case.
HULTMAN: That’s right. And the evidence from the 1993-94 incident was allowed to come into the case only for that purpose. Which was to provide either evidence that he showed a pattern for doing this kind of thing or he didn’t. And then you could use that as you would…
KING: And you didn’t see that as a pattern.
HULTMAN: I saw it as a pattern.
HULTMAN: But there wasn’t enough evidence to prove he had molested the accuser in this case.
KING: Paulina, why do you think he’s the — the record is clear to you on him?
COCCOZ: I want to say, you know, I think the prosecution did a wonderful job. They went through with a fine toothed comb. And I think Mr. Sneddon, you know, he did his best. And we have to, you know, really give them credit for that.
But there was nothing — we had a closet full of evidence. There was nothing in that closet that was able to convince any of us of the alleged crimes. And, I mean, it was — I kept waiting and waiting throughout the trial you know, when are they going to bring in some kind of evidence that was going to be convincing and they never brought it.
KING: The prior evidence didn’t work on the settlement thing?
COCCOZ: Well, in this case, you know.
KING: It didn’t work?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It didn’t work for us, no.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not for me.
COCCOZ: He’s absolutely innocent of all these alleged accusations.
KING: Was there a chance you would have convicted anything guilty, Susan, on one of the minor counts?
DRAKE: Nothing. I went in there with a courage to convict a celebrity. Because I really believe in doing what is right. And witness after witness I was more convinced of the innocence, because of the motivations of financial gain and revenge, it was just amazing the way it was laid out.
KING: So, when an accuser says this is celebrity justice and celebrities can get justice, all you’ve say no to that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely not.
KING: You can divorce the fact that Michael Jackson was a superstar?
KING: Was that easy to do?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In that courtroom, he didn’t look like a superstar.
KING: What was it like to look at him every day?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, he wore white socks every day.
KING: He did look at you a lot?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He looked like a very unhealthy man.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Towards the end, he just was looking a little — I saw him every day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was very stressful in that courtroom. All of us, I mean, it took its toll on all of us. We — there was days that, like he mentioned, were boring. And things were just like too hard to keep your eyes open and we had some humorous moments, too. We had some good laughs.
COOK: But one thing I can say, anyway, and admiration for his mother, she was the one person, the one relative that was there every single solitary day.
KING: Michael’s mother.
COOK: Michael’s mother. She never missed a day. And she always looked lovely. And sat there with such dignity.
KING: Did you like Mesereau?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought he was an excellent lawyer. I would have him on my team any day.
KING: Did you like the prosecutor?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They did well too.
KING: Did you like the judge?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, very much so. Very much.
KING: Loved the judge?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Loved the judge.
KING: We’ll ask about that. We’ll be right back. With two- thirds of the jury. Right after this.
(Begin video clip)
THOMAS MESEREAU, MICHAEL JACKSON’S ATTORNEY: You never know what a jury is going to do, you don’t know those 12 people. They’re not personal friends of yours. You don’t know what makes them tick.
But I always had a good feeling about this jury. I always felt that our case was going in very well. And I always thought the truth would prevail.
And I really felt that these jurors were very independent minded, that nobody was going push them around, they were going to follow the law and do what’s right. (End video clip)
KING: Not the full jury but what the hell. I ain’t covered by the law. Only two-thirds. What it you make since you couldn’t read the papers or anything, or know about any criticism, what did you make of, Michael, of the pajamas, wearing pajamas?
STEVENS: I didn’t get a good look. Where I sat in the box was number 7. So, I was closest to the witness stand. And where I sat, there is like like — there is the tables is right here and there’s a big, huge podium right there. So, I couldn’t really see.
KING: Who could see?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I did.
KING: What did you think?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn’t think nothing of it. I knew he was late that day, because we had to wait locked up all 20 of us in that little room. And we could tell that he arrived, because we could hear the screaming. And when we were brought into the courtroom, and stuff, I actually — I looked at my — I looked at him and stuff and wrote in my notes, Michael looks kind of sick today. Hope he’s OK.
KING: Do you know that many in the media, many who are critical of your decision at the end thought the pajamas would weigh heavily.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God.
HULTMAN: I didn’t even know he had the pajamas on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We didn’t see the pajamas, No. 1. And No. 2, he went to the hospital. And after reading it, he went to the hospital. And if he didn’t come straight to court after that…
KING: Susan, when you saw him, you didn’t think it was strange?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Honestly, I didn’t…
KING: Ah, the pundits.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn’t tell anybody else, see. We’re not allowed to speak to them. None of them knew. I knew he had jammies on.
KING: But you couldn’t tell him, did you see he has pajamas?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I didn’t talk to him about any of that.
KING: How did your families handle all this? How did your husband, Paulina, deal with you on this case? Didn’t he ask you?
COCCOZ: Yeah. I think at times, he noticed the stress on my face and he would ask me, you know, how I was doing and how I was holding up. But he was very devoted to helping me boil my eggs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, every day.
COCCOZ: I took hard-boiled eggs every day. That was my meal, you know. He was wonderful.
KING: Do you tend to bond?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
KING: As a group?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
KING: Were you going to write a book as a group?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That’s a good thought.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, that’s a good thought.
KING: Might you do it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
KING: Are you going to write a separate book?
COOK: Yes, I’m writing a book. I’m with Larry Garrison (ph) of Silver Creek Enterprises. And my granddaughter is my agent. So we — I worked yesterday.
KING: Why, Ellie? Why the need to write a book?
COOK: I don’t know that I need to write a book, as my granddaughter has said from the beginning, write a book. And I’m — what I’m really writing about is the bonding of this jury and the nice people I’m with. Because I’ve said that’s to me more important.
KING: What about the mother ticked you off so much?
COOK: Well, she was just downright rude to us as far as I’m concerned. And I think she set her son up. I think she’s probably the poorest excuse for a mother I’ve ever known.
KING: Do you all feel that way?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not quite in those words…
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not in those words.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don’t think she’s going to get an award for motherhood, but I just wanted… (CROSSTALK)
RENTCHLER: I feel sorry for them.
HERARD: I feel sorry for (INAUDIBLE).
KING: You do (INAUDIBLE).
HERARD: I do. I do.
KING: Did it bother you, Raymond, that she looked at you?
HULTMAN: You know, I tried to look past that, Larry, but it’s really hard when she is really staring the jury down…
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Intimidating.
HULTMAN: … and being, you know, really in your face. But I really tried to set that aside and listen to what she was saying. But in the end, I think that her demeanor did affect the credibility.
KING: What, Tammy, was the strongest aspect of the prosecution’s case? What to you had some weight?
HERARD: The phone records.
BOLTON: There you go.
KING: The phone records?
BOLTON: Probably. No, because those didn’t link anything together either for us. I mean, there was no links.
KING: Why are you hysterical, Melissa?
HERARD: Because just — I — oh, phone records. When we saw the — towards the end, when the prosecutor came back in with some more phone records, I know what I wrote in my book wasn’t nice. Phone records, that was a very boring, very boring thing.
KING: There is a lot of boredom in the trial, isn’t there?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some.
DRAKE: A comment I had made early on is the credibility was in the phone people, but even prosecutor Nicola was saying 10 seconds on the phone, and you get billed a minute.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
KING: Let me take a break and we’ll be back with more of the jury. Don’t go away.
KING: There were reports that Paulina and Ellie argued at times about guilty or not guilty. Did you ever?
COOK: I don’t think we argued, did we? Well, maybe we did.
KING: In the jury room. Come on, Paulina, (INAUDIBLE).
COCCOZ: I guess we argued. There was just — you know, we’re both I guess pretty stubborn. And…
KING: She wanted guilty?
KING: You wanted guilty?
COOK: There was a couple of things there I thought he was guilty of, yes.
KING: Why did you give in? Why didn’t you hold your ground?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was no proof.
COCCOZ: She couldn’t mix her personal beliefs with what the decision was supposed to be based on, and I think we all had to remind each other that we couldn’t do that, that was not abiding by what the rules were to us.
KING: You think there she was right in pointing that out, that maybe you were leaning toward a personal feeling?
COOK: That was hard not to. And that’s why I — in the beginning, I pleaded with the judge not to be on the jury. And that was one of the reasons.
But I was on the jury. And I did have to leave my personal beliefs aside and go with the proof. And let me tell you, I did try to find proof. I did not find it.
KING: Paulina, you went to the victory party. Why?
COCCOZ: It just kind of happened that way. It wasn’t planned or anything. And I had a lot of fun.
KING: Did any of you think of going? Susan, did you want to go?
DRAKE: I didn’t know of it.
KING: Would you have gone?
DRAKE: I’m not sure that would have been my choice.
KING: Do you want to go, Michael?
STEVENS: If I was invited, kind of. I heard about it.
KING: Was there an invitation to you?
COCCOZ: It wasn’t a personal invitation, no.
KING: They just said, there’s a party, come.
Would you gone?
BOLTON: I might have went. I might have went. Yeah.
KING: Were all of you Jackson fans? Fans of the music?
HERARD: I was. And I said that.
KING: Ellie, no?
COOK: No. Well, my age group, when you’re 79 years old, I’m not going to go out there and do a moonwalk.
COCCOZ: Come on, Ellie.
COOK: Well, maybe I would.
KING: Do you — were you a fan, Raymond?
HULTMAN: I enjoyed some of the music, yeah. But I wouldn’t classify myself as a fan.
KING: Why do we like, Melissa, the judge so much?
HERARD: Because he — because he made us very comfortable. I know for me personally, he made me feel at ease. He was, I think he was very fair to both sides. And when he meant business, he meant business. And it wasn’t all fun and games in the courtroom. He knew when we were getting stressed, because he could look at us, and he would give us the time for, like, an early break, let’s take early break now. You know, and sometimes he would want to take a break.
KING: Did you read, Susan, did you read, Susan Rentchler, his instructions fully?
KING: You did?
RENTCHLER: We all did.
KING: All 120 pages?
RENTCHLER: That was the first thing we did as when we went back is we read all of them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Front to back.
KING: You were the reader?
KING: You read it to the group?
STEVENS: Yeah. Whatever we needed — that needed to be read, we read again and again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We stopped and discussed certain parts of…
KING: I want to thank you for participating with us tonight. I really appreciate you coming. You, two-thirds of the jury. And they were Raymond Hultman, Ellie Cook, Paulina Coccoz, Melissa Herard, Michael Stevens, Tammy Bolton, Susan Rentchler and Susan Drake. And we thank you all very much.
KING: I congratulate you on your service.
KING: By the way, what did you make? What was the pay?
COOK: Oh, $14 a day.
COCCOZ: No, $15 a day.
COOK: $15 a day.
KING: And plus gas?
COOK: Only one way, 37 cents. I got that one right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They got us there and didn’t care about how we got back.
KING: I knew you people would make money off of this. Thank you all very much.
* * *
May I focus on several points and ask a couple of questions now?
- So Eleanor Cook ‘thought he was guilty of a couple of things’ but ten days after the verdict she couldn’t even remember which? Evidently those points were so serious that she couldn’t even recall them? Could it be the conspiracy charges?
- And Eleanor Cook had her personal beliefs from the very beginning (and even pleaded to the judge not to be on the jury because of that), but had to be reminded by others that she should put those personal feelings aside and abide by the law only?
- And she did have to put them aside after ‘120 pages of all those instructions’ were repeatedly read to her and the other members of the jury. Is this the way she thought she was intimidated by others?
- So instead of her personal, clearly negative beliefs she tried to look for the proof of guilt and didn’t find any?
- And this makes her ten non-guilty verdicts all the more PRECIOUS to us as she was hostile towards Michael Jackson all through the trial, right?
- Because she acquitted him in spite of her personal beliefs and despite the fact that ‘the prosecution did everything they could possibly do with the case’. And Tom Sneddon was at his best and did a wonderful job of going through the case with a fine toothed comb?
- And Ray Hultman who later complained about the people who wouldn’t ‘really look at all the evidence that was there’ at that time was saying that ‘there wasn’t enough evidence’ to look into?
- They had a closet full of evidence but there was still nothing there that was able to convince any of them of the alleged crimes. They kept waiting and waiting… and the prosecution never provided it?
- And even the pajamas issue which everyone outside the courtroom thought ‘would weigh heavily’ did not affect their decision? Actually many of them didn’t even notice it but instead saw that Michael was really in bad health, right? And therefore they didn’t pay all the tremendous attention to those pajamas. By the way was it an argument in favour of ‘molestation’ or what?
- And the book Eleanor Cook was writing then was not about her terrible ‘intimidators to whom the poor grandma had to cave in’, but it was “about the bonding of this jury and the nice people she was with”?
- And she actually thinks ‘it was a great experience’? And she did not say a word in that interview about ‘indicting’ America? On the contrary, she said ‘I really like our country and I like the fact that we do serve’?
And my last question is:
- So what happened to these jurors and why did they have a sudden change of heart two months after the trial?
I know it is difficult to walk in their shoes but let us still try to. Let us disregard the publicity they were seeking for their books and put even the ever-present money thing aside and look a little further.
Could this sudden change in their attitude arise from them being so overwhelmed by the media hysteria and accusations of being ‘prejudiced’, ‘biased’, ‘star-struck’, etc., that they cracked under the pressure and decided to side with the majority after the trial?
Poor things, just imagine them sitting there, never reading the press or watching TV and listening to the evidence only and never knowing the sinister media interpretations given to what they hear or see in the courtroom. They were just fulfilling their duty as best as they could – fairly and accurately – only to find out later that this was NOT what was expected of them…
It seems that the hatred Eleanor Cook spoke about two months later in that TV interview was experienced by her not before but after the verdict – she indeed may have never been in an atmosphere like that before (this I truly believe ) and it shattered and confused her attitude to Michael to her very foundation.
One shouldn’t also forget the interests of her granddaughter who was the initiator of the book from the very beginning (as her grandma said), who was her agent and who wasn’t willing to lose this chance of a lifetime for making a fortune out of this story either.
Human nature, you know. Michael wrote a song about it.
* * *
1) Eleonor Cook was so hostile in her attitude towards Michael that she allowed herself misconduct as a juror – she admitted to illegally bringing in a medical text to show (evidently to other jurors) that “Jackson fit the book’s definition of a pedophile to a T.” (http://www.bookrags.com//wiki/People_v._Jackson)
2) David found an interesting commentary on the above story by Jonna M. Spilbor, an attorney and legal analyst on “Kendall’s Court”. She is also a frequent guest commentator on Court-TV and other television news networks, where she has covered many of the nation’s high-profile criminal trials. In the courtroom, she has handled hundreds of cases as a criminal defense attorney.
Let’s listen to her professional opinion:
When The Jury Has Spoken, But Won’t Shut Up:
How the Jackson Jurors’ Book Deals Broke the Law, and How We Can Avoid Having Jurors Undermine Their Own Verdicts
By JONNA M.SPILBOR
Sep 01, 2005
Less than two months after clearing Michael Jackson of all charges, jurors Ray Hultman and Eleanor Cook have come forward publicly to announce they made a mistake. In their words, they feel Jackson’s jury “let a pedophile go.”These surprising revelations are of no legal significance whatsoever to Michael Jackson – double jeopardy prevents Jackson from being retried, no matter what any or all of the jurors say post-verdict. Yet they are significant for us all – for they are destructive to the integrity of our criminal justice system. There is something very powerfully unsettling about a jury, or rogue members thereof, undermining its own verdict.The stakes are high – when jurors whose verdict was “Not Guilty” start to reverse themselves in public statements, their comments degrade the sanctity of the criminal justice system, and violate the paramount right of any defendant — the right to a fair trial. They also threaten the spirit of the double-jeopardy clause; despite his acquittals, Jackson may not be at risk in the courtroom anymore, but his guilt is being debated, once again, in the court of public opinion.
Why Jury Duty and Dollar Signs Don’t Mix
Today – especially when it comes to celebrity trials, – being selected for jury duty is almost like winning the lottery. It leads to lucrative book deals. Movie options. All-expenses- paid interviews in exciting cities. The post-trial money-making opportunities for celebrity-trial jurors abound. And it’s all perfectly legal – indeed, arguably protected by the First Amendment.
And, it isn’t much of a leap from there to imagine an unscrupulous publisher who, with a wink and nod, secretly convinces a juror that his or her advance may include an extra zero should the verdict be, say, guilty. It’s been said that “sex sells,” but acquittals? Eh, not so much.
Put the prospect of making a million bucks in front of a middle-class juror (which most are) and you may create a monster.
And even if eleven jurors have perfect integrity (let’s not forget the admirable ten Jackson jurors who do NOT have book deals), it won’t matter much if the twelfth does not. That twelfth could either hang the jury, or else hold out so strongly for conviction, that he or she batters the rest into submission.
The Case of the Michael Jackson Jurors: Why Did They Come Forward Now?
Looking at jurors Hultman and Cook, I asked myself this: Why come forward now? For that matter, why come forward at all? If they cannot change their verdict (and they can’t), and therefore cannot change the outcome of the case, why speak out?
The answer, sadly, requires little imagination. Obviously, something happened in between what appeared to be an unwavering “not guilty” verdict following several days of deliberation, and August 8th, when they appeared together – on a primetime cable news show – to announce their about-face.
What was it? Did these two people happen to show up at some “Jurors Anonymous” meeting, only to learn the Step Six is admitting when you’ve rendered the wrong decision? Or, were they approached with the prospect of a book and movie deal which (wink, wink) just might make them a whole lot richer if there were (hint, hint) a controversy of sorts surrounding the verdict?
I can’t truly know these jurors’ motivations, but I can hazard a guess based on the timing of events, and the statements they’ve publicly made. I’m putting my money on the book and movie deal because, simply, the revelations of jurors Hultman and Cook coincide with the announcement of their individual books deals and combined television project.
Each juror will be coming out with his or her own book, and both, not surprisingly, will be published by the same publisher. Hultman’s is to be entitled, “The Deliberator”, while the title of Cook’s tell-all is to be, “Guilty As Sin, Free As A Bird.” I imagine that books entitled “Yup, Like We Said, Still Not Guilty” would be a lot less saleable.
How The Jackson Jurors Broke the Law: They Were Supposed to Wait Ninety Days
In California, Penal Code section 1122 states, in part: “After the jury has been sworn and before the people’s opening address, the court shall instruct the jury…that prior to, and within 90 days of, discharge, they shall not request, accept, agree to accept, or discuss with any person receiving or accepting, any payment or benefit in consideration for supplying any information concerning the trial; and that they shall promptly report to the court any incident within their knowledge involving an attempt by any person to improperly influence any member of the jury.” (Emphasis added.)
This is California’s version, but most states, it turns out, have similar statutes – imposing moratoria, but not forbidding jury book and movie deals.
Looking at the calendar, it has not been 90 days since Jackson’s jury was discharged. Clearly, the pair is in violation of the statute — a statute punishable by contempt of court.
But this is an unusual case: Most jurors would simply have complied with the law, and waited the ninety days. Most publishers’ attorneys would have been sure to advise them to do so. And that leads to an important question: In a typical case, is a ninety-day moratorium on juror book deals enough?
In my opinion, absolutely not.
An Ounce of Prevention: Why Not Do Away with the 90-Day Clause of Penal Code §1122?
There is an easy fix. It’s time to do away with statutes that allow jurors to profit from their duty. Until then, a defendant’s right to a fair and impartial jury of his peers continues to be severely compromised. Forget the ninety-day limit. Let’s just say no to juror book and movie deals.
Even in a society as delightfully entrepreneurial as ours, there are a few things in life that simply mustn’t be for sale. For example, judges cannot take gifts, and lawyers cannot represent conflicting parties, no matter how that might negatively affect a lawyer’s income stream. Nor can a lawyer publicize his client’s secrets to the world – then take refuge in a claim that he was only exercising his First Amendment rights.
Similarly, never should the rights of an accused be trumped by the price tag one juror places on his or her sworn duty to be fair and impartial.
An Acquittal Should Guarantee Freedom – Not Being Tried In the Press By the Same Jurors
The conduct of Michael Jackson’s jurors is downright shameful. In this country, an acquittal should guarantee one’s freedom. And I don’t simply mean freedom from future prosecution, I mean freedom from public ridicule, freedom from suspicion, freedom from having to be berated publicly by the same individuals who set you free…
Updated January 27, 2014
Three and a half years have passed but the public continues to fall into the same traps of Michael’s haters as before. The same questions are asked, and again and again you have to go over one and the same thing.
Okay, if Michael’s haters cannot stop and continue to rehash the old lies let us listen to the jurors of the 2005 trial once again and see what the same Eleonor Cook said soon after the trial.
Below is a Good Morning America video where the jurors are asked if there are any second thoughts and Eleonor Cook vigorously shakes her head like all others and says she doesn’t have any.
Watch it once again, look at her face, at her easiness and the way she laughs and agrees with everyone, and this will answer all your questions:
Diane Sawyer: “First question, second thoughts – anybody here?”
All jurors (shaking their heads): “No second thoughts”
(at 2:10 and further):