Tom Mesereau: A True Friend to Michael Jackson
I recently found an interesting article about Mesereau from November 2005. I wrote it as a comment, but now I’ve decided to make it a new post, since I have found some additional information that is relevant to this topic. It’s just a retrospective on his career, and the admiration that he receives from the black community for the work he does helping poor and underprivileged clients, especially in the Deep South. There was a passage that stuck out to me, and I wanted to point it out to you guys:
Mesereau quit his longtime membership in the First AME Church, where he helped run a free legal clinic, after the new pastor, John Hunter, refused to let the church send children to Neverland while Jackson was facing charges, and then spoke to Court TV about it.
“I’m very disappointed in the church’s position,” said Mesereau, who also stopped doing his legal clinic work on Sundays at First AME and now offers his services at West Angeles Church of God in Christ. “I just thought it was inappropriate for kids to be going out there at any time,” Hunter said. “This is somebody that has been charged with child molestation, but more importantly has admitted to sleeping in the same room, if not the same bed, with children. And that is inappropriate by most standards.”
Mesereau says Jackson has never acted inappropriately with children or allowed them to stay in his duplex-sized bedroom without parental approval. Nonetheless, Jackson “has to recognize what a target he is,” Mesereau said. “I have counseled him not to let families stay in his bedroom.”
When Mesereau, who has no children, is asked how he would feel about his girlfriend’s young son staying in Jackson’s bedroom, he threatened to walk out of an interview.
“I’m not here to be interrogated with sleazy questions like that,” he said.
Later, he offered a more measured response: “I’ve been at Neverland with my girlfriend and her son. He has spent time playing with Michael and his children and his family. I am absolutely convinced that Michael has never molested any child in his lifetime.”
That passage shows the great lengths that Mesereau has gone to protect MJ, and for him to take the unprecedented step of not only leaving that church, but canceling his free law clinic, simply because the pastor wouldn’t continue to let the kids visit Neverland, that just really blew my mind! Obviously, defending MJ wasn’t just a “job”, but it was a PASSION! Here’s my take on the situation:
I understand where the pastor is coming from. He has a responsibility to protect those kids at all times, and he may have been reflecting the concerns of some of the parents of those kids who were heavily influenced by the biased media coverage. I don’ think that pastor had any malicious prejudice towards MJ, but he was just erring on the side of caution. But for the pastor to give an interview to Court TV (who no doubt spun this story to say to their viewers “Look, even the black community is turning its back on MJ because he’s a molester!”), was just an exercise in poor judgment. That was not something that needed to be broadcast to the entire world, and Court TV exploited it because it fit own agenda.
I would have assumed that Mesereau would have understood the pastor’s position and would have complied, but obviously (based on his actions) he was very offended! The article didn’t elaborate about the specific details of this spat. Maybe Mesereau requested permission to speak to the parents and assure them that it was safe, but was denied? (Especially when you consider that the kids were only taking a field trip to Neverland for a few hours to play on the rides, and NOT to spend the night with MJ!). I’m sure the Mesereau was upset that Court TV was able to exploit the story as well.
I also like how he threatened to walk out of the interview after he was asked if he’d leave his kids around MJ. Wow! He was truly offended by that question, and I only wish that more of MJ’s supporters would have that same mentality!
(For example, ABC News had their anchors ask MJ’s bodyguards, and Karen Faye & the his other costume designers, if they thought MJ was a pedophile. A CBS News anchor asked Ryan White’s mother if she had any problems with Ryan spending time with MJ, and Bill O’Reilly asked Aphrodite Jones if she would let her kids be around MJ.)
Here is video footage from a series called “Parking Lot TV”, where they go to concerts, sporting events, etc. and interview fans. This particular episode was shot in 2003-04, and was dedicated to MJ. It’s 3 parts, and it includes footage from MJ’s visit to First AME Church (with Mesereau & comedienne Steve Harvey), outside Neverland Ranch during a fan vigil, and his arraignment. (The latter two parts are shown at the end of this piece.) This is the church that Mesereau quit because they wouldn’t bus kids to Neverland!
This is the scene from the First AME Church when MJ visited in 2004. Overall, the crowd was extremely supportive and enthusiastic to see him, although a few people expressed concern for MJ. For example one lady (who was obviously tricked by the media) said that because MJ “bleached his skin and has numerous plastic surgeries”, there were parallels between him and real child molesters. Another guy said that MJ just should have stopped being around kids altogether after 1993 (to which I would answer that MJ felt he didn’t need to change his behavior because he didn’t do anything wrong).
Here is a story about MJ’s holiday party for kids from local churches and schools in 2004. They interviewed a few parents as they dropped their kids off, and they were not bothered by it. One said that it’s only an allegation, and nothing more. Unfortunately, one parent said it was the chance of a lifetime, and didn’t seem to fazed by the charges, thus reinforcing the stereotype that only “crazed, irresponsible” parents would let their kids go to Neverland. You know how the media likes to take snippets and soundbites that fit their agenda!
There was another excerpt from that article that stood out to me:
He took up pro bono work, both in Los Angeles and in the Deep South. A fervent opponent of the death penalty, Mesereau has teamed since 1999, mostly with attorneys in Birmingham, Ala., to represent Southern death penalty defendants, both white and black. “If you can, bury them in your opening statement. That’s his philosophy,” said attorney Charles Salvagio, who has worked several times with him.
That quote about “burying them in your opening statement” definitely describes what Meseareau did to Sneddon! I went back and read through his opening statement in the MJ case, and it was brilliant! In fact, CBS News Andrew Cohen called it the best opening statement he ever heard in his entire career!
Also, notice how Mesereau confirms that Uri Gellar really was paid by Bashir! After the interview was a done deal, Gellar was paid fee for his services, and I’m sure that was part of the deal he made with Bashir. “I’ll help you con MJ into giving you an interview, and if he agrees you owe me a % of the profits!”
Excerpts from Mesereau’s Opening Statement:
Let me tell you how the Bashir documentary happened. It didn’t happen exactly as the prosecutor told you. A journalist, British journalist, named Bashir, Martin Bashir, wanted to do a documentary on Michael Jackson. He wanted it to be scandalous, and he wanted to get rich. And that’s what he did. But he knew that getting close to Michael Jackson may not be easy. After all, so many people around the world want to get near him. They want opportunities they believe he carries with him. This has been an ongoing issue with Michael Jackson his whole life. Because he’s a musical genius, because he’s so well known, because he’s perceived as being so successful, people are always buzzing around him trying to get a hook into his business, trying to just grab something that will give them fame and fortune. It’s an ongoing reality. It’s an ongoing problem. And as Michael Jackson has said many times, “I am very lonely because of it.” He has written that in his autobiography and he has said it; “Everybody wants a piece of me.” Martin Bashir was no exception, just like the Arvizos were no exception. So Martin Bashir decided the best way to get to Michael Jackson is a form of flattery. “I will misrepresent to him my true intentions, and I will find that little point of vulnerability that will get him to me so I can work with him and get this project that’s going to make me wealthy.” Bashir had interviewed Princess Diana of England sometime previously. He knew Michael Jackson was a great fan and friend of Princess Diana. To any of you who know anything about Princess Diana, you can understand why.
She had the opportunity to simply live in wealth, pomposity, a rigidity in the social structure in England, and she didn’t want it, she wasn’t happy with it, and she branched out on her own and offended people. And she went to Africa and she worked with children with AIDS, and she made a crusade out of trying to stop land mines around the world which explode and hurt children, mines for civil war. And she decided she was going to live her life the way she chose. She and Mr. Jackson had a friendship and camaraderie, because he saw that he had pursued a similar life. Bashir concluded that, “I’ll get to him through his love and affection for Princess Diana.” Bashir knew that a psychic in England named Uri Geller, who’s been on T.V. doing things, he thought Uri Geller could get to Michael Jackson. And it turns out he could. He called up Uri Geller and he was gushing with flattery. He said he admired what Michael had done for children around the world. He specifically referred to Michael’s visits to sick children in hospitals around the world. He said, “I so admire this. We need to promote it better. We need to do a documentary that will show the world what kind of a person Michael is, and we will focus on children.”
And he had some specific ideas. He told Uri Geller that Michael Jackson has always wanted an International Children’s Day, much like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. And he told Uri Geller that he wanted to bring Michael Jackson to meet Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations, and he was hoping by doing so, that Michael would visit Africa and help children with AIDS. He told Uri Geller, “I can accomplish that,” and Geller was very interested. Geller arranged a meeting between Michael Jackson and Martin Bashir in London. And Bashir gave the same routine that I just described: “You are misunderstood. What you’ve done is so phenomenal. The world needs to know. I’m the one best positioned to do this project so the world really will understand who you are and what you’ve accomplished.” And he showed him a letter, somewhat crumbled up letter, from Princess Diana commending him for the way he had conducted her interview. Everything was sugar and spice and everything nice. Unfortunately, it was false. It was deception par excellence. The meeting was arranged. Michael met with Mr. Bashir. He agreed to do the documentary because he believed what I just told you. Michael had some conditions. He didn’t want his children’s faces to appear on the documentary. Michael loves his children. They’re beautiful little kids. They live with him at Neverland, and they were living there throughout these alleged events, these so-called crimes that didn’t happen. But nevertheless, Bashir wanted to follow him around, and he did follow him to various cities, Berlin, et cetera. Michael was terrified that his children’s faces would be on that documentary. He is perpetually terrified that something will happen to his children. They’ll be kidnapped; there will be extortion; there will be a ransom request; they’ll be injured, or worse. Bashir agreed. “Their faces will never appear. They will not be recognizable on that documentary.” And that was false. Michael asked him if he could see the footage before it was broadcast, because Michael has been in this business his whole life. He has seen what the media can do to anybody. They can take footage and remove it. They can take footage and connect it. They can take words and replace them. They can do whatever they want and make you look terrible if they want, and it had been done to him often throughout his career. He didn’t want that to happen in this documentary. Martin Bashir assured him he would have full editorial control, and that was a falsehood.
Michael wanted any money he received to go to charity. Bashir assured him it would. Uri Geller also wanted money to go to charity, but he also wanted a personal service fee. He wanted a percentage of the net proceeds, and he worked that out with Bashir, not with Michael. Let me give you a flavor for what Bashir said to Michael Jackson to induce him to do this project: On July 23rd, 2002, he sent a letter to Michael’s assistant. He had a plan of action for filming at Neverland. He said on July 29th, they wanted to feature Michael with a large group of children, around 50, welcoming them and sharing with them his extraordinary home so that, for one day, their lives can be enriched seeing Michael with the children on the rides and then taking them into his movie theater to watch a film. The next day, Tuesday, July 30th, “I was hoping that Mac Culkin will be available to visit.” He is an extremely close friend of Michael’s and has provided support throughout the years. That’s Macauley Culkin, the actor. Wednesday, July 31st, this would be a day spent working with Michael, the musical genius, listening to the song he has written for the international children’s holiday, and also viewing some tapes from his extraordinary career, reflecting upon 30 years of success. Thursday, August 1st, a walk around Neverland, the zoo and all the other attractions that have been built both for Michael and the benefit of others. The beautiful landscape encouraging all of us to become “as little children again,” quote, unquote. Friday, August 2nd, late-night drive through L.A, how Michael still connects with the inner city, and how he has drawn inspiration for his dance scenes from the ghetto kids. “I shall give you a call tomorrow to check through this, but hope that it will be possible. Obviously, the trip to Africa, plus the U.N. visit are in the early stages of planning, but I shall certainly give you full details as soon as matters are confirmed.”
You will learn, ladies and gentlemen, what Bashir said to Michael face to face, as he did this project, a project designed to humiliate, degrade and deceive, he said to him at one point with respect to Michael and children, “I saw yesterday, just to explain, a very special interaction between you, and it was a privilege to see it. I’ve got three children, and to be honest, it was a bit of an education to watch,” referring to Michael and children. He said to Michael, “You know, nobody ever asks you these questions about how you approach children, how you love children, what you do for children, and how you raise your own.” He said, “Nobody ever asks Michael any of these questions. They all ask these ignorant things,” and he called those people “scum.” He told Michael, “Neverland is an extraordinary, a breath-taking, a stupendous, an exhilarating, an amazing place. I can’t put together words to describe Neverland,” flattering Michael, trying to lead him to his destruction. He said, “One of the things that puzzles me, that I find difficult to understand, is why an artist like yourself, who has brought such beautiful music to the world, who has written the melody of most of our lives, my life – my romantic development was partially shaped by your records – why I find it so difficult to understand is why is it that, having brought this to the world, people are quick to criticize.” He said being with Michael and children was like a beautiful journey. He said to Michael Jackson, “One of the things I noticed about you over the last year is your relationship with your children. Your relationship with your — and I have to say to you that I didn’t know you before, but your relationship with your children is spectacular. It almost makes me weep when I see you with them, because your interaction is so natural, loving, so caring, and everyone who comes in contact with you knows that.” As the prosecutor has told you, he will show you that documentary. Keep in mind, if you will, what I just told you when you see it. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Bashir traveled with Michael through Europe and the United States, spent time at Neverland. Took about eight months to put it together. And on that documentary, Michael Jackson makes very clear, “I don’t do anything sexual with children. I don’t commit crimes.”
Bashir arrived at Neverland and he did film Michael Jackson and he filmed Gavin, and he took statements from both. Nobody expected any of this to be secret or quiet. Everyone knew it was for worldwide distribution. What Michael said on that documentary he expected to be publicized throughout the world. It wasn’t meant to be a private thing. It was meant to be a public thing, and that needs to be understood as you watch it and hear his words. And I repeat, he repeatedly says, “Nothing sexual happens with me and children, ever.” He does display some idealism on the film. He talks about children coming to school with guns and why they need love, why they need caring, that there’s got to be a way to change this. He talks about children who need attention and affection, and something must be wrong with all the violence in the world. Yes, that’s Michael Jackson’s idealism, some might say, to some extent, naiveté. Certainly naiveté when it comes to making yourself vulnerable to false claims. At this point, I would like to go through some of what was said in Bashir. Much of what was said did not appear on Bashir. Fortunately, Mr. Jackson had his own videographer filming while Bashir filmed, and as you can imagine, and this is not unusual with eight months of work, it had to be condensed down into a show. Much of what Michael said about his view of the world, his view of the need for peace and love, his desire to see more creativity in the world and his great belief in children as a cause was left out, and in its place what you will see is commentary by Bashir designed to create a scandal, and he did. In September of 2002, ladies and gentlemen, the Arvizo family made numerous visits to Neverland, one of them with Actor Chris Tucker. As Gavin says on the Bashir documentary, on one occasion he slept on Michael’s bed and Michael slept on the floor. Nowhere in that documentary does he say, “I had sex with Michael Jackson.” In fact, months afterward, he was saying in various recorded statements, “He saved my family. He saved me from cancer. He’s never done anything wrong.” Now Janet’s spin was, “That was because we were falsely imprisoned.” I’m going to go through those statements also. Incidentally, the prosecutor talked about a videotaped interview with the family, and he used the word “scripted.” He used the word “scripted” to suggest that everything you’re going to see – because if they don’t play it, we will – was somehow memorized, forced, false and fabricated. Not only is that not true, I invite you to watch it. Watch their facial expressions. Watch their demeanor. Watch the spontaneous answers. Watch how long those answers go on for, and watch the point where Janet doesn’t think she’s on tape. And when you see that stuff, you ask yourself, “Is this all memorized, or is something wrong here.”
I want to emphasize that Mr. Jackson was paid nothing from Bashir. The original negotiations were that money would go to charities in England. They were talking about 250,000 pounds, British pounds they are. That, from Mr. Jackson’s point of view, the incentive for doing that documentary was that he trusted Mr. Bashir was going to present him in an appropriate and honorable and honest light. And that’s not what happened.
Lastly, here is some more footage of loyal MJ fans supporting him in his darkest hour:
Here is the scene outside of MJ’s arraignment. With the exception of the one idiot who actually believed Sneddon was a good DA, everyone was pro-MJ. The one lady who said she was “saving herself for MJ” took it a little too far though, and by doing so she reinforced the negative stereotype that anyone who supports MJ is “a crazed, rabid fan”.
Here is the vigil held outside of Neverland. Nothing too crazy to report about, mostly just MJ fans spewing against the media’s coverage.
It’s easy to see that MJ had the best and most loyal fans in the world from the beginning of his career! If only Mesereau had been involved in MJ’s life from the beginning of his career, things would have been so much different! Do you think Mesereau would have “negotiated” with Evan Chandler? HELL NO!!! Do you think Mesereau would have allowed MJ to be strip searched? HELL NO!!! Do you think Mesereau would have allowed MJ to let Bashir film that documentary after discovering Bashir’s checkered past? HELL NO!!!
For more info on Mesereau’s background, legal accomplishments, and articles, open this link:
UPDATE! January 29th, 2012
Here are two videos of Mesereau defending MJ against any similarities to the Penn. State sex abuse case!
Here is Mesereau receiving an award for excellence from the Fidler Institute:
And here he is speaking well of Michael at a fan event!
Here is Mesereau being interviewed by attorney Allison Hope Weiner on December 15th, 2011. At 1:08:30, Mesereau begins to talk about the sycophants and opportunists who surrounded MJ, and how he told MJ to get rid of the Nation of Islam bodyguards because he didn’t want to make the issue of race a central focus of the trial. Notice how he says that the “prior counsel” offered the Nation of Islam an office at his firm because he thought that the Nation of Islam would keep him on the case!
The “prior counsel” that Mesereau’s referring to is none other than Mark Geragos, and to me his comments confirm that Geragos was nothing but another ambulance chasing lawyer who only wanted to represent MJ beause it would boost his fame and notoriety! He couldn’t have cared less about what was truly best for MJ, and who knows how that trial would have went had Geragos represented MJ! Thank goodness Mesereau had the wisdom and foresight to realize that the Nation of Islam was hurting MJ in the court of public opinion!
To show how little Geragos cares about MJ, look at how he threw MJ under the bus on the Jane Velez Mitchell show, of all places! Watch this video, and ask yourself if you could ever picture Mesereau saying this about MJ?