Transcript of the 2005 Harvard Law Seminar on Race and Justice, part 2. DAN ABRAMS
Dan Abrams: Professor, thank you for inviting me, it’s an honor to be here. You know, I thought I was going to be so short, and have around 5 minutes, and then Tom attacks the media, so suddenly I have something to talk about. First, before I talk about the Jackson case, and before I talk about media coverage of trials, etc., in terms of the Jackson case, I don’t think that Tom Mesereau is giving enough credit to Tom Mesereau. He’s talking about the evidence, and something about trial tactics, etc. But Tom Mesereau is, and I’m going to attack him for something in a moment for some of the things he just said, he is one of the few lawyers in the country who puts his money where his mouth is. He is a guy who doesn’t just talk about pro bono work, he doesn’t just talk about the community, this is someone whose face should not be known for the Michael Jackson case, but should be known for all of the work that he does pro bono, and in the communities, and for underprivileged defendants, etc. That’s why Tom Mesereau should be the famous attorney that he is, and he deserves every bit of the attention and the compliments that he gets, and that’s not the case, I would not be saying that with many lawyers who would be sitting here. I don’t feel any obligation to compliment Tom. I will say that the other person who I think deserves that sort of credit, who didn’t get it, who became known for something other than that sort of work is Johnnie Cochran, who in the early 90s and late 80s was doing all sorts of work, wonderful work, that I think, to a certain degree, became obscured by his work on the OJ Simpson case. And I considered Johnnie a very close friend. We co-hosted a show together, and I often felt that he too didn’t get sometimes enough credit for the amount of work he did for free, for causes that he cared about.
Let me speak broadly before I talk about the Michael Jackson case, and before I talk about some of the things that Tom was saying. The question that I get asked most often is if I think celebrities get a different kind of justice in this country. Put aside race for a moment. Do juries tend to like celebrities, and as a result, treat them better? Because people say “Oh, it seems like every time a celebrity is on trial, they’re getting off, from Robert Blake, to OJ, to Michael Jackson!” You name it, and people say “They seem to be walking free!” And the answer that I give in response to that is that I don’t really think it’s as much about the jurors saying “Oh, there’s a celebrity! I’m not going to convict that person!” as I think that they actually evaluate the evidence more carefully than they do in an ordinary case. In an ordinary, everyday murder case, where there isn’t a great attorney representing the person, where they don’t feel that they’re being scrutinized as closely, I don’t think that they really do apply the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. I don’t think that they look at the evidence as critically as they do in high profile cases. Now I think that Tom is right, to a certain degree, that it does become somewhat of a technicality when you say “Beyond a reasonable doubt vs. preponderance of the evidence, etc.” But when you look at it from a slightly broader perspective, I think that jurors in high-profile cases do examine the evidence more closely because they know that the world is watching. And I think that you see verdicts that you might not ordinarily see in an everyday case. And depending on how you look at the system, it’s either a good or a bad thing. If you think that ten guilty people should go free in order to protect one innocent person, then that’s exactly what you’re seeing in high profile cases. It just depends on your perspective on how you look at trials. In regard to the Jackson case specifically, let me talk about the media coverage. Both the prosecution and defense in this case spent a lot of time attacking the media. You’re hearing Tom talk about how horrible the media coverage was, and I will tell you as an observer that Michael Jackson got a fairer shake in the media than just about any other high profile defendant that I’ve seen. Geraldo Rivera is saying that he’s going to shave his mustache if Michael Jackson is convicted because “this is definitely a shakedown!” You don’t generally get someone with Geraldo’s profile saying that he’s going to shave his mustache if a particular defendant is convicted because he’s that sure that the person is not guilty! Now there is a difference, and I think it’s important to distinguish opinion-based programming and straight news casts. And I’ve done both; I’m now doing an opinion based program. I admit it! I tell people what I’m thinking each day. I think there’s something refreshing and honest about people who do that. Tom refers to people who do that as sort of non-professional, when I would say that it’s the most professional thing you can do, which is to come forward and say “Here’s what I’m thinking; you can now take that opinion and decide for yourself how I’m perceiving the case.” I think it’s a lot more dangerous when people don’t admit how they fell about things up front, and there were certain people who covered this case who opposed Tom’s view who I think were dishonest about their views, and pretended to be fair and straight across, and never have an opinion one way or another. “Oh, I’m just saying! I’m just telling you! Here’s what he said in court!” And they’re being dishonest! Because they’re not giving you the context! And I think that as long as you provide context, you can offer opinion based programming that can be professional, and can be honest.
Look, I started this case believing that Michael Jackson would not be convicted. I said it on my program. I thought that this was a family with too many problems. A jury just couldn’t believe beyond a reasonable doubt the testimony of this family. That’s how I came into the case, and I told my viewers that. I said “Here’s what I’m seeing so far, but let’s see what we get as the case proceeds.” And again, I think that Tom deserves a lot of credit for what he was able to do with the evidence. But, with that said, I think that a lot of the evidence worked against Tom, and what I thought at the end of the case is that the jurors wouldn’t look just at the evidence in this case. I thought that they would say “The evidence that Michael Jackson molested another boy, or other boys, was compelling enough that we can’t let him walk out the door.” That wouldn’t have been the proper way to look at it. That wouldn’t have been applying the instructions that the judge gave them, but I, like Tom, also believe that you can’t just always assume that jurors are going to abide by each and every one of these technical instructions that they get on how they look at a case. And so by the end of the case, and I’m not going to get as detailed into it as Tom did about the various pieces of evidence, etc., but I’ll just tell you by the end of the case, and I’ll read it to you because I brought a couple of statements that I made about the case, and the end of the case Tom’s right, and I got it wrong. I said that “I’m starting to question whether Michael Jackson will be able to leave this courthouse a free man. Before this case started I predicted that he would likely be acquitted, or that there would be a hung jury, but now the evidence is in, and I’ve listened to the closing arguments, and I have to say that I’m leaning towards just the opposite outcome. A hung jury or a conviction on at least one of the more serious charges against him. Why? Because the prosecution has laid out a pretty compelling case that Michael Jackson molested another child, one of the other children.” And I said “Regardless of the specific law, if these jurors think that Michael Jackson is a child molester, I think they’ll figure out a way to convict him. The defense’s closing just glossed over the allegations from other boys, merely saying that Jackson may have been naïve or immature, and may have had problems with his personal life, that they didn’t specifically address those allegations.” I said that “That could be trouble. That Jackson says that his bedroom was just an innocent place for children to enjoy milk and cookies and bedtime stories, but the defense never explained why this innocent child-like man had all these porn magazines and books with naked boys in his bedroom.” “The prosecutors” I said, “were fairly convincing in pointing out that Jackson’s only long-term relationships were with children. Children who often slept in his bed, and not just for a night or two, but one boy for a full year. In a tape the prosecution played, the accuser first, after telling authorities about the alleged abuse”, which was pretty powerful, and I hadn’t seen it before, and “either that boy was reluctantly telling a difficult story about abuse, or he does have a bigger future in Hollywood than his mother thought.” I said “this mother has major issues when it comes to her credibility, and if this case comes down to her Jackson will walk, period. And that’s still a possibility. The prosecutors were smart to point out that she was not the brightest bulb, but still could have pulled off this massive conspiracy to bring an international celebrity down without first asking for money. I said that this is the closest call yet that I’ve seen in a high profile case, but it’s a stronger case than I thought.” I have no problem admitting that I was wrong about that. I did view this as a very close case going to trial. And I think that’s why the defense team deserves so much credit. But in the end, do I think this was the right verdict? Yes. I believe that there was not enough evidence to believe beyond a reasonable doubt that Michael Jackson molested this boy, and served him alcohol with the intent to molest him. The conspiracy charge was based primarily on the boy’s mother, whose credibility was simply decimated. But, I don’t think that it means that Jackson has been vindicated. It doesn’t mean that he’s the gentle, terrific guy that Tom is portraying. Misunderstood and targeted. I think he’s spent far too many nights in bed with boys to believe that. I think he’s paid too many millions of dollars to settle claims to accept that. The stories of the boys was often too consistent. The boys look similar. His bedroom was filled with the sort of smut that a milk and cookies loving, Peter Pan-like figure would either ignore or abhor. And I’m reading in part from something that I said at the end of the case, that I thought the jurors might dislike Jackson enough just to convict him. But they didn’t do that. And it doesn’t mean that the result is a moral one, but it wasn’t the question the jurors were asked to answer. And I think on the specific questions the jurors were asked to answer, that they answered it in the only way that they could. Let me make a final point about the media coverage of these cases. When I express an opinion, I’m not rooting for one side or another. I don’t feel like I had a stake in the outcome. I don’t mind. If my reasoning is sound for offering up an opinion on what’s going to happen, I don’t feel ashamed to come and say, I didn’t have to bring in these statements of myself, admitting to you that I didn’t get it right. I’m perfectly comfortable, as long as I view my reasoning as sound, and my ability to relay the facts is accurate. I did that throughout this case. And again, when I was reporting strictly for the news cast, for example in the OJ Simpson case, I was not involved in an opinion based show. I was strictly reporting what was in court, and despite the fact that we went to great lengths to be as objective as possible. And I think in cases like the OJ Simpson case, objectivity can actually be a form of bias, in and of itself. I’ll talk about that if you have any questions later. But I think that certain times, certain pieces of evidence, there is a right and a wrong. And as a reporter who wasn’t allowed to take a position, I couldn’t differentiate between the two. I had to basically say this: “The prosecution says this, but keep in mind that the defense argues this, or the defense is saying this, whenever the prosecution argues that.” And even when we would do that –and of course OJ Simpson claimed again and again that the media coverage was unfair. The problem that OJ Simpson had, in my opinion, was the evidence. It wasn’t the way it was being reported, it was the fact that it was being reported! And it is such an easy scapegoat in all these cases, to blame the media. At every single high profile trial, you will hear attorneys blaming the media, on both sides. “Oh, it’s so unfair!” And in the Jackson case it was almost humorous to hear both sides saying “It was the media’s fault!” And I would say, in response to Tom’s attack on the media, that the only people who I think should have less credibility than lawyers on TV are lawyers who are paid to take a position! The notion that somehow, some member of the media, and let’s assume they have a bias, let’s assume that they’re too opinionated, that that person is less credible than someone who is being paid to advocate for someone? It’s an absurdity! But I love Tom Mesereau! I do! This is the response that I believe applies in response, not specifically to Tom, but to attorneys who try to undermine the credibility of the media. And let me say that Tom is right: we do have different goals than the legal system, and it does create a tension. There’s no doubt about it. Journalists have a different goal than the legal system, and it frustrates lawyers. That we can’t play by the legal rules. For example, hearsay evidence. We report it all the time. Lawyers would love for us to just report what comes into evidence, and not report anything beyond what’s in evidence, because they’re concerned that it will unfairly impact their client’s right to a fair trial. Ok, I understand that. That’s generally what jury selection is for. It’s for smart lawyers to be able to get up there and ascertain whether prospective jurors are telling them the truth or not.
But there are also instances, and the Supreme Court has ruled on this, and a number of the justices have written very interesting accounts, and particularly if you want a recommendation on this I would recommend Justice Brennan’s in the Nebraska Press Association case. He wrote a concurrence that I think really lays out why we can’t do that. And why we shouldn’t do that. For example, in this case where there’s this convicted sex offender in Florida, who has been arrested, confessed to committing a horrific crime on a little girl, and it turns out that it’s possible that his confession will get thrown out because at one point he asked for a lawyer. He said “Maybe I should get a lawyer?” They paused, and started questioning him again later. You can’t do that. And as a result, that confession may get thrown out, and there is a chance that the charges could get dropped. Does the community not have a right to know that? This wasn’t a coerced confession? No one’s suggesting that he was sitting there feeling – and you could argue that anytime you mention the word “lawyer” that somehow it’s then coerced – but as a practical matter, there’s no argument that it was a coerced confession, and I think the community has a right to know that. To know what’s really going on as opposed to the specific constraints that the legal system imposes. The reason that there are rules in a courtroom is because the government has the power. The government has the power to take away someone’s freedom. That is an enormous power, and as a result we try to stack the case against them. You could argue that the deck doesn’t wind up getting stacked against them anyway, but the reason we have a standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, basically says that the government has this enormous power. And if they’re going to take away someone’s freedom, to better darn well be able to prove it. We don’t have that power in the media. I don’t buy the argument that “media pressures somehow leads to a particular conclusion.” If that’s the case, and Tom’s right that the media was so awful and horrible to Michael Jackson, these jurors are saints if they were somehow able to avoid the insidious media coverage! And anytime these celebrities are found “Not Guilty”, “OJ Simpson! Oh the media coverage was so unfair against OJ!” He was found “Not Guilty”! Robert Blake was found not guilty!” It just doesn’t prove to be true.
I’m sure you guys probably have more questions, and would rather ask questions than hear me go on and on, so I will just say “Thank You”, and I really mean what I say about Tom. And Martha, I did see try a part of a case a long time ago, but I can’t say that I know. And I also watched Tom in the Robert Blake case, where I think that he was single handedly responsible for getting some of the charges dropped against Blake in the preliminary part of the case, which he’s right, it was televised. And I remember he came on my show at that time and said “Well, you know it’s the evidence”, and this and that, but it was really the lawyering. And so I give him enormous credit for that. And I always love having Martha on as a guest on my program. And thank you professor for inviting me.
Charles Ogletree: Thank you Dan. The final presentation, before we start taking questions, comes from Martha Coakley, who not only gives – let me also say this so that it’s clear. I did invite the prosecutors in the Michael Jackson case twice (his emphasis!), and both times they refused. The second time they adamantly (his emphasis!) refused to come and be on the panel with Tom Mesereau. And we also invited Judge Melville, who thought about it, and very much was interested in coming, but decided that because there’s still some remaining legal issues in the case, that he would not come in, but maybe come in later.
Martha Coakley, who has other side, and many of the students here, and those practicing also, will be prosecutors, and here’s where race and justice also intertwine. Here is a very impressionable and compelling white defendant. A foreign defendant. And where the community, and the press loved Louise Woodward! And it wasn’t that “she didn’t do it”, it was the view that “she couldn’t have done it! Look at her!” And what challenges that plays for prosecutors to try your present their evidence when the defendant in this case looks like everyone’s daughter, or granddaughter, and where, in this case, while people were looking at Louise Woodward, Martha Coakley was looking at the forensic evidence, trying to prove that she did do it, even if you didn’t believe that she couldn’t have done it. And to share some reflections on that case, and on race and injustice, an in dealing with the media, please welcome Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley.
1. “I don’t think that Tom Mesereau is giving enough credit to Tom Mesereau.” You’re right Dan, Mesereau should give himself more credit than he does, but unlike most lawyers who are hungry for fame and fortune (like Carl Douglas), Mesereau‘s first priority was defending his client Michael Jackson, both before, during, and especially after the trial. He knows he needs to continually reinforce to the public that MJ wasn’t merely “not guilty”, but in fact he was innocent, and if he takes sole credit for the acquittal, it implies that MJ “bought his way out of it” by hiring high priced lawyers, which couldn’t be further from the truth!
2. “But when you look at it from a slightly broader perspective, I think that jurors in high-profile cases do examine the evidence more closely because they know that the world is watching.” This is an excellent point made by Dan. We always hear about how celebrities “get away with it”, and I’m glad that Dan pointed out the fact that celebrity juries will more thoroughly evaluate the evidence in a case because they know the media will scrutinize their verdict to a greater degree than they will for a poor person who comes from a low income area. It’s funny how the media constantly undermines the acquittals of celebrities, but never questions the wrongful convictions of poor people! When was the last time someone said “Hey, let’s hire convicted felons because maybe they were innocent but too poor to afford a good lawyer!” When was the last time you heard someone say “Hey, let’s allow ex-cons have their voting rights restored, because maybe they were maliciously prosecuted!”
3. “You’re hearing Tom talk about how horrible the media coverage was, and I will tell you as an observer that Michael Jackson got a fairer shake in the media than just about any other high profile defendant that I’ve seen.” Oh, please! What a total joke! I could easily wax poetic about the media’s biased coverage, but our good friend Charles Thomson has already addressed this issue thoroughly in his column that was published earlier this year to coincide with the 5th year anniversary of MJ’s acquittal. In addition, here is a compilation of various media pundits leading up to the verdicts. Pay attention to Video #5, where at the beginning you see Eleanor Cook say that she thought that Janet set up Gavin to lie, which totally destroyed her credibility two months later when tried to say MJ was really guilty in order to sell her book!
And here is a compilation of these same so-called experts after the verdicts, with analysis provided by comedian John Stewart.
4. “….there were certain people who covered this case who opposed Tom’s view who I think were dishonest about their views, and pretended to be fair and straight across, and never have an opinion one way or another. “Oh, I’m just saying! I’m just telling you! Here’s what he said in court!” And they’re being dishonest! Because they’re not giving you the context!” Well, let’s give Dan some credit. As someone here at this seminar to defend the media, he could have completely whitewashed them, but I’m glad he had to courage to criticize his peers for their less than honest coverage of MJ. And although he didn’t name names, we all know who he’s talking about!
5. “But, with that said, I think that a lot of the evidence worked against Tom, and what I thought at the end of the case is that the jurors wouldn’t look just at the evidence in this case. I thought that they would say “The evidence that Michael Jackson molested another boy, or other boys, was compelling enough that we can’t let him walk out the door.” This is exactly why Sneddon fought so hard to use the 1108 witnesses, and why Mesereau fought so hard against using them! This evidence is prejudicial by its very nature, and gives jurors the ability convict someone for a past crime that they could have committed, instead of convicting someone of a current crime that they are currently charged with. It was a very questionable move for Judge Melville to allow this evidence, and many pro-prosecution legal pundits said this would be the nail in the coffin for MJ’s innocence, but in retrospect this ruling helped vindicate MJ of the 1993 charges as well. Can you imagine what this trial would have been like without the Neverland 5, or without Jason and Blanca Francia? They provided a lot of much needed comic relief to the courtroom! So much so that some jurors actually laughed at Jason’s testimony during one of their breaks! (For more info on this incident, and on legal criticisms of the 1108 evidence, read this post.)
Recently, a reader asked the following question: “Should MJ have testified in court?” In my humble opinion, based on what Abrams just said about the jurors possibly convicting him if they thought he had been guilty in the past (regardless of the current Arvizo case), I felt that it was best for MJ to not testify, because he had the POTENTIAL to shoot himself in the foot if he wilted under Sneddon or Zonen’s vigorous and vicious cross examination. He had nothing to gain, and his FREEDOM to lose! If he would have kept a calm, composed demeanor (as he did with his interview with Geraldo, which I reference later on), and reassured the jury by saying “I used bad judgment, and I will never put myself so vulnerable a position ever again”, then they would have still acquitted him. But if he continued to show a lackadaisical attitude toward sharing his bed and bedroom with non-related children (something that they admitted made them uncomfortable), if he pointed his finger at Sneddon or Zonen the same way he pointed his finger at Bashir, and definitely if he said that anyone who questions him is “ignorant” or has a “dirty mind”, than its PLAUSIBLE they would not have trusted him, and COULD HAVE found a way to convict MJ, as Abrams said. This phenomenon is called “jury nullification”, where juries convict or acquit based on their “feelings” or prejudices, regardless of the evidence (or lack thereof).
Also, here is a video of Abrams and a panel of lawyers from January 2005, right before MJ’s interview with Geraldo Rivera that was designed to refute the recent leak of Grand Jury testimony. Abrams asked the panel if MJ was doing the right thing by giving an interview right before jury selection, and they unanimously said “NO!”, and not out of any malicious animosity towards MJ, but they all felt that MJ is not good at conveying what he means, and what he says is often misconstrued (especially when it comes to his love for children), and they would have taken the conservative approach of merely releasing a statement condemning the Grand Jury testimony leak. (Macauly Culkin also said that MJ is not good at explaining himself in this interview in 2004.) However, they all unanimously agreed that because Geraldo was fair to MJ, that giving him the interview was the right decision.
Finally, here is yet another video of Abrams interviwing pro-prosecution legal analyst Susan Filan, who gleefully stated that she wished she could cross examine MJ! Now in this clip Abrams was very fair, and stated that MJ would deny any and all allegations on the stand, but nevertheless Filan made an excellent point: based on his demeanor from the Bashir documentary, he doesn’t look like the type of person who could withstand being cross examined!
6. “But, I don’t think that it means that Jackson has been vindicated. It doesn’t mean that he’s the gentle, terrific guy that Tom is portraying. Misunderstood and targeted. I think he’s spent far too many nights in bed with boys to believe that. I think he’s paid too many millions of dollars to settle claims to accept that. The stories of the boys was often too consistent. The boys look similar. His bedroom was filled with the sort of smut that a milk and cookies loving, Peter Pan-like figure would either ignore or abhor.” Sorry Dan, but MJ has been vindicated! Every single accuser was thrashed under cross examination, and Jordie was so afraid to show up that he threatened legal action if he was subpoenaed! And the issue of MJ’s settlements has thoroughly addressed in this post and this post, while the so-called “smut” that Dan refers to was analyzed in a series of posts, beginning here.
7. “I thought the jurors might dislike Jackson enough just to convict him. But they didn’t do that. And it doesn’t mean that the result is a moral one, but it wasn’t the question the jurors were asked to answer.” Once again, Dan is referring to the fact that some jurors could have convicted MJ solely on their prejudice against him, but they couldn’t because the case was so bad! But if MJ gave the same unconvincing answers on the witness stand that he gave during the 60 Minutes interview, at the very minimum there COULD HAVE been a hung jury!
8. “The problem that OJ Simpson had, in my opinion, was the evidence. It wasn’t the way it was being reported, it was the fact that it was being reported!” Dan is absolutely correct! In the OJ Simpson case, there was so much inculpatory evidence that it was (justifiably) a foregone conclusion that he would be convicted. The media was inundated with evidence that proved his guilt, but in the MJ case it was the total opposite! MJ wasn’t mad that evidence was reported, he was mad that it was NOT reported! For example, the media would deliberately omit Mesereau’s cross examination from their reports, thus giving impressionable viewers the idea that MJ was losing! In this promo video for her television series, Aphrodite Jones explains “what you didn’t hear” from the media during the trial
9. “The notion that somehow, some member of the media, and let’s assume they have a bias, let’s assume that they’re too opinionated, that that person is less credible than someone who is being paid to advocate for someone? It’s an absurdity!” Here is where Dan contradicts himself! He’s saying that you can’t trust either the defense or prosecution lawyers because they are automatically biased for or against the defendant, respectively, but in Bullet Point #4 he mentioned how there were certain reporters who were “dishonest”, and “pretended to be fair”! So what is it, Dan? Who should we trust?
Here is a perfect example of Dan contradicting himself! He presents himself as being fair and balanced, yet after the trial he conducted this softball interview with Ron Zonen! Notice how he says that the jurors were “star struck”, and tried to blame the Arvizo’s questionable background for MJ’s acquittal. He said his case was “credible, and Gavin’s accusations had a “ring of truth” to it (so much truth that he had to completely change the alleged dates of the molestation when MJ was indicted), and that it would have been “irresponsible” not to prosecute MJ. He then goes on the give Janet “credit” for getting her kid out of Neverland the fastest, out of all of the mothers who had ever visited Neverland! Afterwards, he goes on to praise Gavin as being an honor student, a football player with only one kidney, blah blah blah, and in a snide manner he says that Mesereau would never admit that! He repeats the myth that the Chandler and Francia settlements were “pay offs”, and overall he said everything he could to garner sympathy from the general public. Absolutely no tough questions from Abrams at all! In fact, he said he saw “good lawyering” from the prosecution!
Well, after listening to Zonen’s crap for 10 minutes, I’m sure you guys need a morale boost, so here is Abrams’ interview with Mesereau! No summary is needed from me! You already know what he’s going to say!
10. And let me say that Tom is right: we do have different goals than the legal system, and it does create a tension. There’s no doubt about it. Journalists have a different goal than the legal system, and it frustrates lawyers. That we can’t play by the legal rules.” Yes, this certainly is a confirmation of Mesereau’s comment from earlier: “Keep this in mind; the media’s priorities are completely different than those who participate in a trial. They are not under oath. They have no responsibility for what happens to the defendant in court, or the victim, if there’s a victim, or the family of the victim, or the family of the defendant. They are never going to blame themselves for whatever the outcome is. There are very few court orders they have to follow. There may be orders that they have to sit in a certain place, or park in a certain place, but that’s about it. And the only things they care about are ratings and money.” Dan’s example of reporting on hearsay evidence is a perfect example of how sleazy and corrupt the media can be when it comes to reporting irrelevant information about a trial that is salacious, lurid, and prejudicial in the court of public opinion. Case in point: when Sneddon tried to submit MJ’s photos as evidence at the trial (near the end of the trial, mind you, because at that point the case was lost and he needed one last bombshell to try to prejudice the jury), the media went ballistic, despite the fact that it wasn’t even admitted! Yet the media did not report when Mesereau won his motion to not allow Sneddon to give the jury the details of the 1994 settlement, and by not reporting that with the same intensity as the photos, it allowed the “he paid them off” myth to continue fester in the minds of the public.
11. “If that’s the case, and Tom’s right that the media was so awful and horrible to Michael Jackson, these jurors are saints if they were somehow able to avoid the insidious media coverage!” What Mesereau is saying is that the jury didn’t acquit MJ because of the media but IN SPITE of the media! They were not sequestered (i.e. segregated from their families and outside media for the duration of the trial), so they had access to all of the pundits and their analysis, yet they chose to decide their verdict based on the facts without being swayed by outside forces. Dan is trying to imply that the “Not Guilty” verdict is indicative of the media’s “fair” coverage, and that if the coverage was so unfair than MJ would have been acquitted. But of course we all know that his so-called analysis couldn’t be further from the truth, and I confirmed this earlier in those five videos that I posted.