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Transcript of the 2005 Harvard Law Seminar on Race and Justice, part 4: Q & A Session

February 19, 2011

This is the final part of this series on the 2005 Harvard Law seminar, and I saved the best for last!  A seminar is only as good as the guest speakers that it can attract, and the questions that are asked to those guest speakers by the audience.  There were some great questions asked, and they were far more detailed and substantive than those that were asked at the Frozen In Time seminar.

There was even a question from somone who identified herself as being a member of the MJ fan community!

Question and Answer Session:

Charles Ogletree: Thank you Martha.  We’ll take questions now for the panel.  There are two microphones right there, if you want to get a question, and we’re going to have each one of our panelists turn their mic’s on.  And we’ll take our first question right here, to the right:

Audience Member #1: I’ll direct this question to Tom Mesereau.  This is something that is kind of delicate, and I understand if you want to skirt the question, but in general terms, a lawyer of your caliber would charge what kind of an hourly rate when you’re not doing pro bono work? Not you personally, but people on your level, let’s say.

Tom Mesereau: It really depends on the case.

Audience Member #1: The range?

Tom Mesereau: It could be a flat fee, and not a terribly large one at that, if it’s a case that I want for particular reasons, or it could be a very, very high fee.  If it’s someone who has the money, and involves a lot of forensic work, so it’s really hard to answer the question.  I can’t. I’ve taken cases from no money to a lot of money.   It really depends on the case.

Audience member #2: This question is also directed at Mr. Mesereau.  While you were speaking, you brought up your very diligent defense of individuals, and I respect that, but one thing that was a little bit troubling to me was that, in that defense, it seems as though the overarching needs of the community may tend to suffer.  You said you didn’t want Jesse Jackson there.  You didn’t want Al Sharpton there.  My question is, when can you strike a balance between uplifting a community in general, and maintaining a diligent defense of your client? Or is that better saved for appeals?

Tom Mesereau: Well, let me ask you a question. Do you mind if I ask you a question? Would the black community had been better off if Jesse and Al had been there, and Michael had been convicted?

Audience Member #2: but I don’t pretend to speak for the black community.

Tom Mesereau: But you know what I’m saying? Well, let me explain.  First of all, I think as I said before, my primary obligation was to Michael Jackson, and to no one else.  I really mean that. I was at a judicial conference recently at the University of Nevada, Reno with some judges and media people, and the media people were really attacking me for supporting the gag order, and for supporting sealing orders, where pleadings were sealed.  And I looked at one person and I said “With all due respect, my job is not to vindicate the First Amendment, my job is to save my client’s life in this case.” And I really believe that was my primary obligation here. But as I said before, there have been cases where the client, and the lawyer, got together and decided that the primary obligation of both of them was to make a political statement, make a moral statement, make a social statement, and they wanted to make sure that was done, and the Mr. Kunstler, who I mentioned before, was someone who did that quite often. Mr. Darrow, who I mentioned before, did that quite often, and was attacked for taking cases and trying to present a social issue far broader than the future and freedom of his client.  There is a struggle there, in terms of values, and I think you have to work that out with the client.  I really believe in the cases that I mentioned –well, not the first case, where I felt that I had to absolutely go all out to raise a racial issue and expose what the prosecution was doing in the case, and what the FBI was doing in the case, and their racist statements, and their racist motives, and the fact that they would never do this in a white community, how they targeted this black community for four years, went into churches, went in everywhere and were recording people.  There was some other evidence also; there was one white city council member who they just brushed off very quickly, and didn’t really just keep after her like they did the black members of the council.  But in the other two cases, first of all I did not think that there was a racial issue to raise in the Michael Jackson case, and I said that before. In the Larry Carol case, there certainly was.  They went after three black men, and let the white men get a pass. But I still thought the best way to acquit my client was not raising it.  And frankly, when I mentioned my reasons to black activists, they all said “Fine. Win the case.  We want you to win the case. We want him vindicated.”  And by the way, after that, when asked, I wasn’t hesitant to say “How come the white guys who put these fraud scams together were never touched? And the three black men who were sucked in and told they would get commissions – and one of whom, my client, who even invested himself in it, thinking it was legitimate – how come they went after them tooth and nail?” I don’t know if I’ve answered your question.  It’s a value judgment.  It’s a compromise of something, and you have to decide what your primary obligation is as a defense lawyer.

Charles Ogletree: Let me ask Martha and Dan to make a brief comment on that because there is also  the role of the media and prosecutors in both the Peterson case and Jackson case. Gloria Allred, for example, was on the news every night, there for the victims.  A great story for the media, but the question is whether or not an important aspect of the government’s case. Your sense about whether or not a “victim’s advocate” is someone you want sitting next to you, or attending a press conference, or playing a role in your case Martha, as a prosecutor. And Dan, is there an appeal to the media whether or not either side likes it, to get people like that, like Gloria Allred, who are very well known, or controversial, who will generate some interest the debate?

Martha Coakley: well, I still think that we do this case by case. We do cases by facts, not because a “victim’s advocate” is out because there’s a victim, or defense lawyers are out because this person is black or purple, and so that’s important that we do it that way. Whenever other evidence comes in, the rhetoric rises and we lose sight of what we’re trying to do is figure in this case, did this person do what we said they did? And that’s where all the other stuff comes in.  Now, it happens in a trial, child abuse cases in particular, people bring a lot of baggage about child abuse , and who does it, and who doesn’t, and “where’s the forensics, and the CSI people?”, and all of that stuff.  But as a prosecutor, we’re prohibited from commenting, especially during a trial.  We don’t really want anyone else doing it.  And keep in mind, presumably your jury is sequestered, and whatever else is going on while that trial is occurring, your jury  isn’t and shouldn’t be seen by them.   If the rest of the world does, so be it.

Dan Abrams: I love victims’ rights advocates because at trial, this again goes to the difference between what we’re doing, which I view as trying to access the totality of the circumstances and the truth, versus what I view sometimes as legal fictions inside courtrooms.  A criminal trial is between a state and a defendant.  And I think that, rightly so, inside the courtroom we limit the amount of say a victim can have.  I have no problem with having that victim’s advocate have their say in terms of the court of public perception. To be honest, whether it’s one person or another person, it depends.  But I also we can be honest about saying “This is what this person does”, and there’s no ambiguity. Sometimes I get concerned when we say “a former prosecutor or criminal defense attorney”.  I like the viewer to know where the person is coming from.  To me that adds a level of intellectual honesty to the presentation.

Charles Ogetree: Question to the right, and then to the left.

Audience Member #3: Thank goodness for people’s skepticism of the media.   I hope you keep doing your job because you create more skepticism, the way you’re doing your job.  Since the prosecution heaped so many charges on Michael Jackson, the fact that it wasn’t sequestered, do you think that stacked the deck against you, and do you think that putting all those charges on Jackson guaranteed the prosecution could get at least one conviction? Mr. Abrams kept saying at the end of the trial “I thought he was going to get convicted of at least one charge!”  And also, the prior victim or alleged victim, why didn’t you try to force him to get on the stand and to break him down? Or could that have been done?

Tom Mesereau: Well first of all, as I said before, I had great faith in the jury, but it was more of an intuitive feeling than anything else.   I didn’t want them sequestered.  I think a sequestered jury is an unhappy jury, an uncomfortable jury, and I always fear that that will hurt the defense.  I also felt they were a very stubbornly individualistic and very honorable group who would listen to the judge’s instructions and avoid the media, and indeed since the trial they have said that they didn’t know certain things were being said out there.  They made a very, very strong effort not to watch tv, and not to read the papers.  So I put my trust in them, in that regard.  As far as loading up on charges, I think it clearly was a prosecutorial tactic.  They really only wanted him convicted on one, to get what they wanted.  I always felt the conspiracy charge was bogus from day one, and we used it to help our side out.  They had a conspiracy charge that Michael Jackson had organized a conspiracy to abduct children, falsely imprison a family, and commit extortion.  And I think the more the jury learned what kind of a person he is, the more absurd those charges became.  I think the prosecution did it for a lot of reasons, some of the tactical, some of them strategic. I think I said before that if they just used these charges to dirty Jackson up, then it would be possible that something would fall out in their favor.  And they also, in my opinion, were trying to use the conspiracy charge to allow hearsay evidence that normally would not be admitted. The exception to the prohibition on hearsay, and that’s called co-conspirator hearsay, and what this allowed the mother to do is come in and say “All these people said A,B,C,D, and E”, and whereas she normally would not be allowed to say that because it would be hearsay, because there’s an exception if there’s a conspiracy charge.  They also did it to scare these alleged conspirators away so they wouldn’t come in with the defense, and come in and exonerate Michael Jackson. But I think in the process of pursuing what I think is a very disingenuous allegation, they undercut their own credibility because along with the charges looking absurd, and the evidence just looking absurd, there was a timing problem because, as we pointed out, they tried to claim that Michael Jackson formed a conspiracy because this Bashir documentary had aired, which was very unflattering, and he then formed a conspiracy to make this family to make statements that exonerated him, and then disappear to Brazil, and the molestation is supposed to start in the middle of all of this.  And it just didn’t make any sense.  And I think they really hurt themselves by bringing these crazy charges because it also allowed me to just point out “You can’t believe what they’re saying or doing.”      They will almost just say anything to dirty up Michael Jackson.

Charles Ogletree: Next question.

Audience Member #3: First case?

Tom Mesereau: Pardon me? Oh, first case. You know, this is interesting because anyone who followed knew about the issue of 1108 evidence, which in California is known as “prior bad acts” evidence, and what California allows, and few states do allow, is in a case like this you can bring in evidence of other alleged similar acts, even if they were never charged with a crime, and even if they are not the essence of the charge in this particular case.  So what they said in their opening statement is that “We have evidence that five young men were molested, and we’re going to present all of that to you.”  And what’s worse, it appears, is that the judge did something that I’ve never seen happen in a case, with respect to  three of those alleged five victims, he allowed witnesses to come in and say they saw them molested, without the prosecution having to bring the alleged victims in, OK? So they did that. They put on three guards who worked at Neverland to say they saw these three people molested, one of whom was Macaulay Culkin, the actor.  Now, those three guards had sued Michael Jackson, claiming that they wrongfully terminated him, and he cross complained, saying that they had stolen property from him, and it was the longest civil trial in the history of Santa Maria. They lost their case, Jackson won his cross-complaint, won a million dollar judgment against them, there were findings of judicial fraud against them, they had gone to the tabloids and sold stories, and the three people they say they saw molested, they were my first three witnesses and said they were never touched! So when that happened, I think we were able to effectively say to the jury “Ladies and gentlemen, you can’t believe what these prosecutors.  You can’t believe their case. They’ll say anything to try and win.” Now, the one you’re talking about never showed up.  He’s the one that got a settlement in the early nineties. Now my understanding is that prosecutors tried to get him to show up, and he wouldn’t.  If he had, I had witnesses who were going to come in and say he told them it never happened, and he would never talk to his parents again for what they made him say, and it turns out he had gone into court and gotten legal emancipation from his parents. His mother testified that she hadn’t talked to him in eleven years.  So there was a problem there as well.  There was a fifth alleged victim who testified, and said that Michael Jackson had been playing with him, and had gone too far and touched his testicles, and he needed five years of therapy.  And during the first therapy session, the DA was present.  And he also admitted that he wanted money from him, and his mother wanted money from Jackson, and his mother went to a tabloid and sold a story as well.  So you put all that together, and I submit that it helped us.   (Note: this quote can be heard in this video.)

Charles Ogletree: Next question? We’ve got about four more minutes.

Audience Member #4: With all due respect, I think that the trial of the century was neither OJ nor Michael, but the trial of the century happened in the early nineties, where it was found that Martin Luther King’s murder was a conspiracy, and I think his family was awarded $20 dollars, or something like that.  My two quick questions are  do you believe that there are other external, political factors in the Michael Jackson trial, as far as his ownership of the Beatles catalogue, some of his Elvis Presley songs? And my second question is deals with a trial going on right now in the so-called Middle East with Saddam Hussein.  Do you think it will be a proper, legal maneuver to have Mr. Hussein given amnesty for his crimes, that’s he’s charged with the same way the racist white supremacists in South Africa were given amnesty through the Truth in reconciliation Commission, where they went and admitted of their crimes and were let off scott-free?

Tom Mesereau: Well, I can talk about the first issue, but the second one, I’m not an international lawyer and I don’t know much of the details, except I have trouble believing that anyone’s going to give Saddam Hussein amnesty, but nevertheless, first question: Michael Jackson has been the greatest target for civil lawsuits  that I’ve ever experienced.  He’s literally been sued thousands of times by people he hasn’t met, people who he knows nothing about, and yes there are people who would like obtain his property, including his interest in the Beatles catalogue. Their desire to obtain his assets would have been significantly enhanced had he been convicted.  He would be disabled from defending cases. If he defended them, he would walk into court a convicted felon, or child molester, or conspirator, or whatever the conviction might have been.  I happen to fervently believe that there were people waiting in the winds, hoping he would be convicted so they would simply walk in and grab assets.  Can I tell you definitively people who want the catalogue are in that group?  No I can’t.  But what I can tell you is that he would have been substantially disabled from defending himself in any of these situations if he had been convicted and was in prison.

Charles Ogletree: Any comments on that, Dan?

Dan Abrams: I’m assuming that your question is rhetorical, right? You’re asking more about South Africa than you are about Iraq?  Seriously? There’s no chance that Saddam’s getting amnesty.  Why not?  Because there’s no reason to give Saddam amnesty, first of all.  And if you’re going to ask it as a comparative question, then it’s a political question.  It’s not a legal question.

Audience Member #4: It’s a question of race. You have Europeans in South Africa, who for centuries committed atrocities against people……………

Dan Abrams: I’m not going to argue one bit with you on any of those statements that your making because those are political statements.

Charles Ogletree: Next question.

Audience Member #5: I noticed that there is an interesting choice of language among the three of you in that you have a defense attorney using the term “accuser”, and you have a prosecutor using the term “victim”.  When in court or the media do you think it’s appropriate to use the either term or neither term?

Charles Ogletree: Are you a 1L?

Audience Member #5: I’m actually a freshman undergraduate.

Martha Coakley: Most of the time in court we will get a routine motion from the defense counsel, and we cannot use “victim”.  We can say “alleged victim.”  And certainly the newspapers do that, and we do that because people are innocent until proven guilty, although sometimes someone is a victim, it may just be a question of “Who did it?” Even so, in court we don’t use the term “victim” without an adjective in front of it.

Dan Abrams: And you knows it’s interesting is reflecting on the media’s perception of Michael Jackson cases, I’ve heard more people refer to this boy as “the accuser” than I have in any other case.  In almost any other case, it seems like the media is bending over backwards to call the person “the alleged victim”, which suggests a level of truth in the allegation, even though you call him “alleged”.  In this case, and I think this further supports the point I was making before, that Michael Jackson got as fair shake in the media as I’ve seen any high profile defendant get in that the boy was constantly referred to as “the accuser” in this case, more than I’ve seen in any other case.

Audience Member #6: First of all, thank you for coming tonight, it’s been really enlightening to hear your comments. Producing for cable TV, I actually found your comments quite interesting on how people attack the media, even though I’m glad the media fosters the truth and giving the truth to the public. My question is posed to the two lawyers in the room, and my question is:  Having had all of the experience and knowledge that you have, practicing  for a long period that you have, what is one thing you wished you had learned while you were in law school that you wish you had learned now?

Tom Mesereau: I wish I had emphasized trial practice more. I think it’s not right that people graduate from a medical school, and they can’t operate in a life-or-death situation without real, hands-on training, yet people get out of law school and people’s lives are in their hands, and they don’ know the first thing about trying a case.  I think that’s wrong. I think there are too many guinea pigs out there who are lawyers, who just don’t know what they’re doing in a trial courts because someone can go to prison for the rest of their life.  Someone can be executed. Someone could lose all of their assets, which can destroy a family, because a lawyer is not skilled, and not experienced, and we just don’t require that as a ticket for trying cases. So I think the legal profession needs to realize that trying cases is no different than a doctor operating.

Martha Coakley: And the corollary to that is on the public side   is that people have to pay for it because we don’t want to pay our prosecutors, we don’t want to prepare our defense counsel, and then we wonder why we have mistakes and wrongful convictions, and the medical analogy is apt because if we underfunded our medical health system the way we do our criminal justice system, you would have a lot of autopsies of people who’ve died because people weren’t skilled.  However, the one thing that is true, and Tom will agree with me on this, is that there’s just no substitute for experience.   You can be in law school for six years, but if you’re not putting juries in the box, doing that witness, getting feedback from people, and that’s why watching yourself do stuff is helpful, but getting feedback, you just can’t do it unless you do it.

Charles Ogletree: I’m going to take all three of the last questions at once, and then give one answer. So why don’t you all come up to the microphone.

Audience Member #7: Thanks for coming Mr. Mesereau, but I’m going to articulate what you first started speaking about racism being applied to individuals along the board, and I’m going to take you back in this state, in 1738, a case named Massachusetts Bay Colony vs. Henry Negro James Bodies and strangers in plain view. Do you remember that case when you were a student here? Because I’ve never been to law school a day in my life, and I know the case almost in its entirety, and every time I ask for a copy in this state, no one’s heard of the case.  No one’s heard of that case.  But I found that case in a law library at in 1979, and I left it with some individuals there, and I haven’t been able to find it, because I can sheppardize any case I see in front of me, and I don’t have any legal practice.  And I just cannot find that case.  And my second question is: I can’t understand why that when, in Massachusetts, and I’ve had this conversation with Mr. Stephen Sack, who is a very renowned attorney here, and we speak briefly a lot on different cases, a lot of cases in this state where attorney are very quick to plea bargain especially when they have all the information that can lead them to more than just a gist of why an individual is being tried, and they don’t want to try the cases. You almost spoke about it a little while ago. But the attorneys in this state, I don’t even want an attorney if it’s not Stephen Sack, or Mr. Maxwell Stern, because those are the two individuals that I have any faith in, and it’s really sad that the jurisprudence in this state, it doesn’t even exist for an individual to get a fair trial, because I don’t believe there’s no such things justice, because the constitution relegates that when it speaks about it, because I’m from St. Louis, Missouri, and I do know about the case of United States vs. Monroe, and I can’t remember the citation right now, but it’ll come back to me in a little while.  The individual was a slave individual, and his ownership was transferred…

Charles Ogletree: Dred Scott?

Audience Member #7: Yes, Dred Scott.  I can remember cases like that which transcend anything that Michael Jackson would ever want to be a witness to.

Charles Ogletree: Ok, now Mr. Jones, Mr. Cooke, last questions. I’ve got three people who are going to research that and get the answer.  They’ll find it.

Audience Member #8: I’d like to kinda attach to what my brother was saying.  I’m one of the students who was under the tutelage of Professor Ogletree in the criminal justice institute, and one of the issues that comes up for me listening here, and everyday is how do you arrive at your version of the truth? Did there come a time when you sat across the table from Michael Jackson and say “Mike? Did you do it?”  Or did you look at the evidence in whole and come to a conclusion there, which is fine, I’m not making a normative judgment either way, but it’s a question also for the other side of the table, the prosecution. Because as I watch in Roxbury, everything is so rushed, everything is so blurred, everything is just chugging right along.  How do you as a prosecutor arrive at the truth?  Do you ask the victim broader questions, besides what specifically happened at this moment? Or do you really try to get the bigger picture, and try to do justice with the broader sense of truth?

Audience member #9: Good evening Mr. Mesereau, and Dan, and Mrs. Coakley.  I wanted to ask a question of Mr. Mesereau, and I also wanted to ask a question of Mr. Abrams.  In the case of Michael Jackson, we realized that cameras were not allowed in the courtroom.  In general, I’d like to know what your disposition towards having trials, especially high profile trials of this nature, what’s your position or perspective is on cameras in the courtroom.  The comments that you’ve made in the Michael Jackson case, in respect to race, are interesting, and I think that you have provide an apt and sophisticated perspective on how you handled the racial issues from that vantage point.  But one of the concerns that I think a lot of black people have had, and certainly that I’ve had in looking at the Michael Jackson phenomenon, is that Michael Jackson is an eccentric type of person, or he has characteristics or behavioral aspects of his personality that are apparently considered eccentric.   And it seems to me that the media has highlighted those supposed eccentricities, and made him look like a buffoon and a fool. And to me, there is a racial element there because I think Michael Jackson is one of the very few high profile black people who we’ve grown up with, who is more or less an artistic eccentric. But on the other hand, there are many wealthy, artistic, white people that are well known who are also eccentric, so I’d like for you to comment a little bit about that aspect of it.  I think the media has exploited this, and I think there is a racial element in a sense that his eccentricities are no more bizarre than that of other white artistic personalities. Mr. Abrams, in your defense of the criticisms of Mr. Mesereau of the performance of the media in the Michael Jackson case, you have suggested that it was more balanced there, than it was. And you pointed out how Geraldo Rivera, as an example, showed some balance, but I would really ask you if you could cite three or four other personalities that were out there in this case that appeared to defend the defense side of the case?

Dan Abrams: And that’s balanced, right? Balanced from your perspective is defending the defense’s case?

Audience Member #9: Balanced in terms of the……….

Dan Abahms: Is advocating Michael Jacksons’ position?

Audience Member #9: Yes. And secondly, in your personal opinion, were you unaware of information that would have had a more exculpatory impact in Michael’s benefit, and some of the points that Mr. Mesereau mentioned about that. I’d like your comments on those things.

Charles Ogletree: Final question.

Audience Member #10: Actually I just want to say that I’m not a law student; I’m just representing the Michael Jackson fan community online and I was going to add to what he said about the “race card” being played. I think we were really blessed to have the jury on our side.  And I think that even if you wanted to, you couldn’t have played, I mean component of race, I don’t know how effective it would have been for you to actually go out and say that because, like he was saying, the media has propagated this image Michael Jackson is not an African-American and he’s disowned his race, and they changed his whole Vitiligo into “skin-bleaching” thing.  Even if you had gone out and said that there was a component of race, I don’t think it would have been effective, because most people just look at him and they say “Oh, he’s a white guy, he doesn’t own his race.” So that’s something I want you to react to.

Charles Ogletree: We’ll have to stop there.  The first question is about plea bargaining, whether or not it’s good for the system, and the other is the search for the truth from the prosecutor and defense point of view, cameras in the courtroom, and then the issue of race in the Michael Jackson case. Martha, which one of those would you like to take?

Martha Coakley: I’ll take like my practice has been that I need to believe the victim myself, and I need to feel, at least reasonably certain, that we prove that case beyond a reasonable doubt.  We’ve had tons of victims, particularly kids, sometimes young women, sometimes young men, who have been sexually assaulted, and I believe them, but a jury isn’t, because there’s not enough evidence, or they were intoxicated, or there’s contradictory evidence out there, and it’s just not going to work.  I’m realistic about before I put people through a trial about what the odds are, and I’m not going to put a six-year-old or a seven-year-old through a trial if I don’t think there’s a reasonable chance that there will be success there.  It’s just not fair. There are cases where we just have a victim’s testimony, and we go with that.  But if you don’t believe the victim, if you as a prosecutor do not believe the victim, nobody else will, and you need to know that.  And it’s important for me. The defense has a different job.  The defense is to make sure we do our job. Our job is to bring charges that we believe in and prove beyond a reasonable doubt, and that’s different than what a defense lawyer does, I believe. So I think we have a different and a higher obligation not to bring cases that we don’t believe the victims are telling the truth and we can prove it.   Now I will say that we don’t always know that.  Sometimes you say “I believe the victim, but I don’t know”, but then I’m not the truth finder, and that’s why we have an adversarial system.  But my experience has been if I have doubts about the victim, then the jury or judge will to.

Charles Ogletree: Dan, you can pick one.  Cameras in the courtroom, or race and Michael Jackson?

Dan Abrams: Cameras in the courtroom, the concern about bias in the media, to me the answer is put a camera in there, and if you want to watch it the whole trial, you can watch it, and you don’t have to rely on me if you don’t trust me or whoever else.  I think that’s the strongest argument for a camera in the courtroom.  I think that’s a good question that you asked about Michael Jackson and his appearance, and I do think that there’s too much focus on his appearance in the media, but I don’t think that the reason is because of race. I would argue that he has changed before the eyes of the public, and as a result I think he’s getting a harder time than another person might, because people are seeing how much different he looks, and again, whether it’s based on disease, or makeup, or whatever the case may be, I think that’s why he’s getting “teased”, so to speak, and I think there’s no other way to say it, honestly, than someone else might. And in response to your question about do I think that people were being fair to Michael Jackson, again as someone who came into this very dubious of this family, and I remain dubious of this family.  I think that’s exactly the kind of person that you want.  I’m skeptical, as I am in general.  I was skeptical of this story that this family was telling.  I think what Tom said about the conspiracy charge was right on.  It didn’t make sense.  I’d say it again, and again, and again: “It doesn’t make sense!” I think that’s fair. If you think Michael Jackson is absolutely 100% innocent, and you accept everything that Tom Mesereau said, that these were simply invented charges by a vindictive prosecutor, and that’s your position, then you’re not going to think that I was being objective. But I think that if you view if from a more balanced perspective, which is that these prosecutors came into it thinking that – and the Grand Jury found that there was enough evidence to bring Michael Jackson to trial – but in the end, that’s what a trial’s for, and the system worked in this case, and I think that’s a pretty balanced perspective on the case.

Tom Mesereau: Let me start with the issue of race. I recently addressed the annual convention of the National Bar Association in Los Angeles, and if any of you don’t know what the National Bar Association is, that’s an organization of lawyers that was formed in the 1920’s when black lawyers couldn’t get into the American Bar Association. They had a strict prohibition; blacks were not allowed to join, and black lawyers formed the National Bar Association in response to that prohibition.  And I gave my views on race in the Michael Jackson case.  A law professor from Florida asked me a few questions.  He had just published a book about race and the law, which I want to read as soon as I can.  And he sort of was skeptical about did I really understand the deeper implications of race in this case, and I answered him this way; I said “Look, I am convinced that the prosecutors were very, very attracted to the idea of convicting the world’s greatest celebrity.”  I’m convinced they were far more attracted to that than destroying a black person.  These are three white prosecutors, OK?  However, racism can exist on a unconscious or subconscious level as well as a conscious level. And I said the following: I said “You know, you’ve got me thinking about his I’m still convinced I’m correct, but it was the celebrity part that was most attracted to them.  It was the celebrity part that was going to get them significant advantages as the prosecutors who took down Michael Jackson, the world’s greatest known entertainer.”  However, did the fact that Michael Jackson is black, and he is from a prominent black family, that he has black security people around him, factor into their feelings or belief, be it conscious or unconscious, that this would somehow help them disconnect them from this jury and this community, and make him less valuable and easier to convict?  Maybe. Maybe.  I just don’t think it was the primary motive.  I just don’t. But, you know, the fact that he was going to clearly arrive at court surrounded by black people, he was going to have black people in the court room, his family primarily, supporting him, and the fact that you were not likely to get any blacks on the jury – in fact, two black women were possible jurors, and they removed the two of them, and I did raise a constitutional objection, which was denied. Did that play a part in their effort to figure out convictable he was? How they could degrade and devalue him in a courtroom, in some level? I think it could have, because this was a very mean spirited prosecution that had to attack everything about him: his sexuality, his finances, his music, his attire, they were willing to do anything. And I gotta tell you, I heard Dan, who‘s show I appeared on after the verdicts, and I didn’t appear on many of them, but I did appear on his because he’s always been very professional and honorable with me, but I heard him mention this idea of pornography.  Well, he’s correct.  They found approximately ninety girly magazines in Michael Jackson’s home.  Playboy, Hustler, Penthouse, his fingerprints were on them, he had bought them.  They never found any kiddie porn on computers or anywhere else, and I used that fact in my closing argument to explain why this guy is not a pedophile. So, a lot of things that the media picked up, and gave you a surface impression about, were not at all what they were made to seem.

Charles Ogletree: I want to thank all of our presenters, Martha Coakley, Dan Abrams, and Tom Mesereau, thank you for coming, have a great evening.

Analysis:

1. “And I looked at one person and I said “With all due respect, my job is not to vindicate the First Amendment, my job is to save my client’s life in this case.” And I really believe that was my primary obligation here.” This is what makes Mesereau such a great lawyer.  As Randy Jackson insisted when he first recommended Mesereau to Michael, he isn’t a “camera happy” lawyer who is looking to make a name for himself.  He simply wants to serve his client and make sure that their Constitutional Rights are upheld in a court of law, and that they don’t get taken advantage of by overzealous prosecutors trying to profit from a conviction. If Mesereau wanted to get publicity in order to solicit other high profile clients, or to secure a television analyst job, then he would have tried to “vindicate” the First Amendment in this trial by fighting Judge Melville’s gag order!

2. “Gloria Allred, for example, was on the news every night, there for the victims.  A great story for the media, but the question is whether or not an important aspect of the government’s case.” Gloria Allred represents everything that is wrong with the justice system today! She is certainly a “camera happy” lawyer who has never met a microphone that she didn’t like, and would fight tooth and nail to “vindicate” the First Amendment in a high profile case!  She has also shown that she had no respect whatsoever for MJ, and has tried on numerous occasions to get his kids taken away from him!  It got so bad that MJ said she should go to hell!

I believe that her antipathy towards MJ lies in the fact that she was gullible enough to believe Jordie Chandler in 1993 when she briefly represented him, but because she wanted justice instead of money she was fired by Evan Chandler!  As a result, she lost out on millions of dollars that instead went to Larry Feldman, so she tried to get even with a “phantom victim” named Daniel Kapon.  I totally destroyed her in this post, so please read it for more details.

Here is a story from September 1993 covering the beginning stages of the allegations, and @ 5:20 you see Gloria Allred (BEFORE she cut her hair! LOL!) stating that Jordie is “ready, willing, and able” to testify, and is “looking forward” to his day in court! Yeah, right!

3. “A criminal trial is between a state and a defendant.  And I think that, rightly so, inside the courtroom we limit the amount of say a victim can have.  I have no problem with having that victim’s advocate have their say in terms of the court of public perception.” And that’s exactly the problem!  These so-called “victim’s advocates” are giving the public the wrong perceptions of high profile cases!  I already dismantled Gloria Allred, but there are a few others as well, such as attorney Wendy Murphy, another serial MJ basher.  She is thoroughly excoriated in this aptly titled article “Why Cable News Never Punishes Liars”, which attempts to explain why pundits like her are routinely invited to debate topics on cable news shows (which have devolved into primetime “info-tainment”) despite their lack of credibility on the topic that they are debating!  I will further expose her for the liar that she is in a future post!

4. “And they also, in my opinion, were trying to use the conspiracy charge to allow hearsay evidence that normally would not be admitted.  The exception to the prohibition on hearsay, and that’s called co-conspirator hearsay, and what this allowed the mother to do is come in and say “All these people said A,B,C,D, and E”, and whereas she normally would not be allowed to say that because it would be hearsay, because there’s an exception if there’s a conspiracy charge.  They also did it to scare these alleged conspirators away so they wouldn’t come in with the defense, and come in and exonerate Michael Jackson.” Mesereau perfectly explains why MJ’s five unindicted co-conspirators (Frank Cascio, Vince Amen, Marc Schaffel, Dieter Wiesner, and Ronald Konitzer) did not testify in on his behalf during the trial.  They could not afford to be charged with conspiracy, especially since they did not know what the outcome of the trial would have been.  They could have been convicted merely on prejudice, regardless of the facts of the case. (And that applies to ALL criminal cases! It’s called “jury nullification”.) Sneddon and his goons knew the jury could only convict if they were prejudiced into doing so, which is why they wanted as much hearsay evidence allowed as possible (in addition to the “Prior Bad Acts” witnesses). Hearsay evidence is defined as “evidence of a statement that was made other than by a witness while testifying at the hearing in question and that is offered to prove the truth of the matter stated”. If not for this co-conspirator exception, Frank Cascio and Vincent Amen could have testified that Gavin and Star were never alone with MJ when they claimed to be, and that they accompanied the Arvizos on their numerous shopping sprees which occurred when they claimed they were being held “captive” at Neverland.

5. “My two quick questions are  do you believe that there are other external, political factors in the Michael Jackson trial, as far as his ownership of the Beatles catalogue, some of his Elvis Presley songs?” For many years, there has been a lot of fan speculation that the 2005 trial was part of an elaborate 3-way conspiracy involving Sneddon, the media, and Sony to destroy MJ by putting him behind bars, profiting exponentially from a cottage industry of MJ prison coverage, and to getting control of his Catalogue, respectively. The ironic thing is that those 3 entities did NOT have to sit down and agree to this conspiracy because an MJ all 3 had an equal incentive to see MJ go down with only indirect help from the other 2 entities!  Mesereau opines on this theory in further detail to Aphrodite Jones in “Michael Jackson Conspiracy”, pages 12-13:

As for Michael, the superstar has long been public in his claims that conspirators have been trying to ruin him as part of an attempt to regain control of his large stake in the SONY/ATV music catalogue, which includes songs by Elvis Presley and the Beatles.  Jackson made reference to a conspiracy which appeared in a nasty Vanity Fair article that hit newsstands just days  before the verdicts in Santa Maria.  The Vanity Fair piece mocked Michael Jackson’s alleged belief that the accuser and his family were being paid by “enemies” who wanted to take over the SONY/ATV music catalogue.  The vicious article poked fun at Jackson, who believed that former Sony Records president, Tommy Mottola, and the “powers-that-be” at Sony Records – along with DA Tom Sneddon – were the “main conspirators” against him.

About all this, Michael Jackson’s defense attorney, Tom Mesereau, has remained somewhat neutral.  Though Mesereau had no actual evidence to prove Jackson’s theory that he’d been the victim of a corporate conspiracy, the defense attorney agreed that it was perfectly possible that a “subconscious conspiracy” between Sony and the Santa Barbara DA might have existed.

“What Michael said about a conspiracy makes logical sense, but I have no evidence of it,” Mesereau confided.  “If Michael were in jail or in prison how would h defend his ownership in the catalogue? How would he defend all of these frivolous lawsuits? Sony had so much to gain if there was a conviction, and Sneddon would have gained celebrity status.  These people didn’t have to actually sit down to conspire together.  They might have helped each other on an unplanned level – because they had a common interest.”

6. “In this case, and I think this further supports the point I was making before, that Michael Jackson got as fair shake in the media as I’ve seen any high profile defendant get in that the boy was constantly referred to as “the accuser” in this case, more than I’ve seen in any other case.” Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me, right?  I won’t even comment on this because it’s just so absurd.  Maybe Dan Abrams should seriously pursue a career in stand-up comedy! Ironically, Abrams’ assertion of the media treating MJ fairly was subsequently rebuffed by a later question!

7. “And it seems to me that the media has highlighted those supposed eccentricities, and made him look like a buffoon and a fool. And to me, there is a racial element there because I think Michael Jackson is one of the very few high profile black people who we’ve grown up with, who is more or less an artistic eccentric. But on the other hand, there are many wealthy, artistic, white people that are well known who are also eccentric, so I’d like for you to comment a little bit about that aspect of it.  I think the media has exploited this, and I think there is a racial element in a sense that his eccentricities are no more bizarre than that of other white artistic personalities.” Bravo, sir!  This is an excellent observation! The media, which is almost exclusively white owned, has been accused of having a racial bias against MJ ever since “Thriller” became the #1 album of all time, and he outbid Paul McCartney for ATV Catalogue.  The perception is that he was too young, too black, and too successful, so he needed to be brought down to earth, and ever since the media has been waiting to devour MJ like a school of blood-thirsty piranhas!  There are many white artists who are even MORE eccentric than MJ, but aren’t subjected to half of the ridicule that MJ was subjected to.  A perfect example would be the rock band KISS, and their MJ-hating lead singer Gene Simmons, who Charles Thomson thoroughly chastised in this article after Simmons claimed that MJ was guilty of child abuse.

When you look at that photo, just ask yourself “How could they get more respect than MJ?”

8. “if you could cite three or four other personalities that were out there in this case that appeared to defend the defense side of the case?” & “were you unaware of information that would have had a more exculpatory impact in Michael’s benefit, and some of the points that Mr. Mesereau mentioned about that. I’d like your comments on those things.” Abrams didn’t get to specifically answer these two questions, but they were indicative of the media’s bias against MJ.  Geraldo was by far the most high profile pundit to take a pro-defense slant in the case, and you would be hard-pressed to find three or four other media personalities who were equally pro-defense.  And of course Abrams and the entire media were totally aware of the mountains of exculpatory evidence, but chose not to report it in order to further build the suspense to an MJ conviction.

9. “I’m just representing the Michael Jackson fan community online and I was going to add to what he said about the “race card” being played.” & Even if you had gone out and said that there was a component of race, I don’t think it would have been effective, because most people just look at him and they say “Oh, he’s a white guy, he doesn’t own his race.” Yes! We had a representative of the MJ fan community representing us at the seminar!  This is one of the best observations of the night!  Mesereau didn’t have to mention race because it’s effect on the case was microscopic, and as this fan adequately noted, the media would have further ridiculed both MJ and Mesereau if race had been brought up as a motive for MJ’s malicious prosecution.

10. “You don’t have to rely on me if you don’t trust me or whoever else.” You’re damn right we don’t have to rely on you, Abrams!  That’s why we have fan sites, blogs, YouTube, books, documentaries, and other media that we can rely on for MJ information! If you think that the fan community is going to sit back and let you guys spoon feed us, then you’re out of your damn mind!

11. “I would argue that he has changed before the eyes of the public, and as a result I think he’s getting a harder time than another person might, because people are seeing how much different he looks, and again, whether it’s based on disease, or makeup, or whatever the case may be, I think that’s why he’s getting “teased”, so to speak, and I think there’s no other way to say it, honestly, than someone else might.” This is a complete contradiction of what Abrams said earlier! He is saying how MJ is getting a “harder time” than another person would, due to his looks, but earlier he said the media was more fair to MJ than any other celebrity, merely because they referred to Gavin as “the accuser” instead of “victim”! How is it fair when the media only reports on “the accuser’s” direct examination but totally ignores his cross examination!

12. I’m skeptical, as I am in general.  I was skeptical of this story that this family was telling.  I think what Tom said about the conspiracy charge was right on.  It didn’t make sense.  I’d say it again, and again, and again: “It doesn’t make sense!Well, even though Abrams is a hack for the media, at least he was honest from the beginning, and he was one of the more balanced journalists to cover the trial.  Overall, I’m just disappointed that he didn’t attack the prosecution’s case more aggressively in other areas, in addition to the conspiracy charge.  And he also missed a golden opportunity to scrutinize DA Ron Zonen in this softball interview that he conducted shortly after the acquittals. As you can see, he was just way too easy on him!

13. “However, did the fact that Michael Jackson is black, and he is from a prominent black family, that he has black security people around him, factor into their feelings or belief, be it conscious or unconscious, that this would somehow help them disconnect them from this jury and this community, and make him less valuable and easier to convict?  Maybe. Maybe.  I just don’t think it was the primary motive.  I just don’t.” I think that this statement perfectly sums up the role that race played in the case.  It was a motive, but not the primary motive!  I don’t think anyone will argue with this assertion.

Do you guys agree or disagree with Mesreau’s opinion on race in the MJ trial?  Do you think that MJ ever suffered from racism by the media, or any of his critics?  Do you think that racism only played a part in the 80’s when he was “too big and too powerful”, while in the 90’s it was all about his “weirdness”?  Please share your thoughts on race in the comments below!

35 Comments leave one →
  1. vulcan permalink
    May 12, 2015 4:43 am

    “Michael stupidly said on television that he brings children into his bed.”

    He said no such thing!
    And this is one of the biggest lies about MJ’s life.
    That he invited kids in his bed.
    That he told them to sleep in his bed.
    And that it was only boys.
    And that it was only kids.

    Bullshit.

    In reality MJ let ANYONE stay in his bedroom who was his guest and how wanted to be there. Whether they were men, women, boys or girls.
    And MJ spent the night not with boys, but men, women, boys and girls ranging from Joy Robson to Dr. van Valin.
    The only occasion when MJ actually invited someone to stay in his room , according to the testimonies, was when he invited Marie Barnes, a woman, to stay with him and the kids in his bedroom!

    MJ NEVER said that he invited or brought kids into his bed. Never.
    He said that he slept with children in a bed and that the most loving thing to do is to share your bed with SOMEONE. Not boys. Not kids. SOMEONE.
    He also said very clearly in the Diane Sawyer interview that he does not invite kids to stay in his room but the kids wants to stay with him!
    And when Gavin Arvizo himself said in plain English to Bashir and in court that it was his idea to sleep in MJ’s room and he asked him whether he can sleep in his room nobody in the media bothered to ask: why in the world did he ask such a thing in the first place?
    When June Chandler testified that Jordan Chandler told her he wanted to stay in MJ’s room noone asked: hey, did he like to be molested or what? Why did he want to stay with MJ?
    When Joy Robson testified that Wade and Chantal Robson asked her Can we stay with Michael? noone in the media asked: why did those kids want to say with Michael in the first place?
    When Karlee Barnes testitfied that they didn’t have any problem with Brett sleeping in MJ’s bed because he wanted it noone asked why did he want it?
    If we are to believe that they kids were molested why on Earth did ALL of them want to stay with MJ over and over and over again?
    why did they want to do such an “immoral” thing?

    Frank Cascio explained the phenomenon, but the media didn’t care:

    “Michael has never ever once ever invited a child to stay in his room, sleep in his bed. Michael’s never invited a child to stay in his room. You know, it’s different. You want to stay with him. You wanted. It’s like hanging with your buddy. It’s like having a slumber party. And Michael was a child at heart. There was nothing sexual about Michael. He had no attraction to young children. It’s just disgusting. I’m so hurtful [sic] by those misconceptions, that in particular. Michael loves children for their innocence and their purity and that was his inspiration. It just hurts me because Michael is not a pedophile and has been falsely accused and that’s hurt him.”

    http://www.cyinterview.com/2012/01/frank-cascios-ordinary-relationship-with-the-extraordinary-michael-jackson-love-believing-and-making-things-happen-tales-of-the-man-in-the-mirror-in-the-book-my-friend-michael-an-ordinar/

    It was the kids who wanted to be there and he simply let it happen because he didn’t have the heart to turn them away, it would have reminded him of the rejection he suffered from his father.
    And since sex was the last thing on his mind he had no reason to turn them away.
    And that Schmuley and 99% of American society are so arrogant as to think that everyone MUST associate sleeping in a bed with sex is just mindblowing!

    It’s like if you are human you are obliged to have a dirty mind.
    You MUST think about sex when you think about a bed.
    And if you don’t you are immoral.

    Let’s put aside the absurdity that somehow sleeping in a bed as opposed to a car, a floor or a tent is somehow automatically immoral.

    Consider the fact that MJ himself shared a bed with adult when he was a kid and interestingly noone said boo about it!

    This is Bobby Taylor talking about little Michael sleeping with him:

    I guess he too was immoral.

    This is MJ himself telling Schmuley that some Jewish lawyers slept in his bed next to him!:
    :Schmuley heard this and didn’t jump up WHAT? You slept with lawyers in a bed? How did that happen?
    No. Instead he said nothing.

    MJ: When I was a little kid, Jews, we had Jewish lawyers and Jewish accountabts and they slept in my bed next to me
    and they would call each other kike. I said What is that? and they said That’s the bad word for Jews.
    http://jetzi-mjvideo.com/books-jetzi-04/tape/tape40.html

    He and Marlon slept with Bill Bray.

    From the Glenda tapes:

    MJ: And we used to tease him when we were little boys and stuff like that. We used to share a room with him, me and Marlon. First thing he did in the morning, he farted reeaal loud. Oh god we were like, “Clear the room, clear the room!”

    Also, nobody seem to notice this in MJ’s 60 minutes interview:

    ED BRADLEY: Would you allow your children to sleep in the bed with a grown man, who was not a relative, or to sleep in the bedroom?

    MICHAEL JACKSON: Sure, if I know that person, trust them, and love them. That’s happened many times with me when I was little.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/jackson-interview-transcript/

    That happened many times with me when I was little!

    Noone seems to have problem with little Michael Jackson sharing a room with adults!
    Being with adults virtually all day. Having adults as his best friends.

    Bu hey if it’s Michael Jackson who shares his room with kids, and it’s him who befriends kids that’s immoral! That’s wrong.

    The hypocrisy is just staggering.

    Like

  2. mjjyo permalink
    May 23, 2012 10:11 pm

    IN THIS STORY, IT’S I THAT FEEL BEING HARASSED BY…,
    FIRST ONE, BY MARTIN BASHIR
    SECOND ONE, BY TOM SNEDDON
    LAST ONE, BY THE MEDIA.
    I SAY TO THE THESE PEOPLE “GO TO IN HELL!!!”
    Yoshimi

    Like

  3. ares permalink
    March 8, 2011 2:22 pm

    @lcpledwards
    What do i think about Rabbi Boteach’s article? I think that there were people working on MJ’s “best interest” whithout him ever knowing what was going on behind his back. I believe that most of the drama in MJ’s life came from people who were misinforming him or, like Mesereau said, were keeping him under a constant fear so he would be depended from them. I also don’t understand people obsession on the fact that MJ said that he had ones shared his bed with children. So let me see, if he had said that he had slept in the same sofa or armchair or floor with kids then there wouldn’t have been any problem right? It is the bed that makes the whole sleeping thing sinister because they automatically connect bed with sex. I think someone should tell them that pedophiles don’t need a bed to do whatever they do to a kid and certenly they don’t go around and admit on national tv something that would create suspicions on them ,if it involved criminal activities. They would try to hide it insted of being so open about it.

    Like

  4. lcpledwards permalink
    March 6, 2011 7:31 pm

    @ Teva
    Yes, it’s a shame that MJ’s managers were more worried about profits than philanthropy! Race played a big part because the corporate sponsors that they were worried about losing are all white owned companies who they felt could possibly be offended by MJ’s association with Sharpton, who has a reputation of being a “race baiter” here in America. After the two concerts were over, it didn’t matter to them if MJ associated with Sharpton when he was protesting against Sony……………………….or if MJ decided to film a documentary with a British journalist without doing a thorough background check and having his lawyers review the contract!

    Like

  5. March 6, 2011 3:55 pm

    I think the article shows the ridiculous drama that was part of being Michael Jackson. Why should going to Africa to highlight slavery be a show stopper? George Clooney went to Darfur, Angelina Jolie went to Ethiopia and Madonna to Malawi – just to name a few. As a matter of fact these people took a hard hit in the BLACK community because it was seen as PR stunts. Oprah put her money where her mouth was and opened 2 schools in South Africa. IMO Rabbi Shmuley was right it would have done MJ some good. I don’t see how helping others less fortunate is a bad thing.

    The article also highlighted how delicate MJ’s public image was, delicate to the point of permanently fractured. If his handlers could be so concerned about Rev. Al Sharpton’s affect on MJ’s image then in 2001 his image had not been rehabilited, or mended it was still tenuous. It is ironic though that later Michael would be aligned with Rev. Al Sharpton against Sony/Mattola. GO FIGURE.

    I think Michael was always caught in a tug-of-war between his advisors and his friends. After reading an indepth inteview with Dieter Wiesner and hearing his side, then to read Rabbi Shmuley’s take everyone felt they knew what was best for Michael Jackson.

    Like

  6. Suzy permalink
    March 6, 2011 6:34 am

    @ David

    I wonder who this manager was. It would be a little ironic if it would be Marc Schaffel or Dieter Wiesner. Them calling Sharpton controversial would be like the pot calling the kettle black.

    Like

  7. lcpledwards permalink
    March 6, 2011 3:16 am

    Here’s an amazing article that I recently found! It was written in Rabbi Boteach in Dec. 2003, and it’s titled “Is Michael Jackson Being Persecuted Because of Racism?”

    Rabbi Boteach talks about how race played a part in MJ’s life, image, public perceptioin, and prosecution. There was a very interesting excerpt from the article that jumped out at me, where he discusses how a potential goodwill trip between MJ and Al Sharpton to Africa to fight child slavery was halted at the last minute due to MJ’s handler’s fearing that MJ associating with Sharpton would hurt corporate sponsorship of his upcoming MSG concert:

    In about March of 2001, I was having dinner at a kosher restaurant in Miami when Michael, who was in New York, reached me on a cell phone. “Shmuley,” he told me, “did you see the terrible story of all these hundreds of thousands of African kids who are being sold into slavery every year? Can we please do something about it? We have to. We just have to.” I told Michael I would look into it.

    It turned out that the Rev. Al Sharpton had just gone to Africa, accompanied by the New York Post, to highlight the issue of black children in places like the Sudan who were being sold into slavery by Islamic slave brokers. As providence would have it, just a few weeks earlier, I had debated Rev. Sharpton in New York City in a fiery, take-no-prisoners exchange, on the subject of black-Jewish relations. After the event, however, I invited him for dinner to a kosher restaurant and a friendship began to emerge.

    I called Rev. Sharpton and said to him: “Look, you highlighted this cause. So in all fairness, rather than doing this on our own, Michael should join you on a mission to Africa to bring further attention to this unbelievable scourge of child slavery.” Rev. Sharpton was understandably excited at the prospect of so big a star joining him. A few days later, the New York Post, having been alerted by Rev. Sharpton’s publicist, even ran a headline saying that Michael would be joining Rev. Al’s campaign to liberate African kids from the slave trade.

    The day that headline appeared, my phone rang off the hook. One of Michael’s managers called me and said, “Are you insane? Sharpton? You know he’s controversial. We just announced that Michael is performing a 30th anniversary concert at Madison Square Garden in September. Now sponsors will pull out.”

    I responded: “Actually, I think you’re the one who’s insane. Michael needs to be reconnected to his people. He needs to be seen working on behalf of the black community. It’s good for his image, but more important, it’s good for him. We all need to be connected with our roots if we are to have an authentic and healthy identity. Going to Africa to highlight the plight of enslaved African children is honorable. And Sharpton was the one who brought this to America’s attention, so no matter what you think of him, we should go with Sharpton. I believe in gratitude.”

    The manager responded: “We’re not going to discuss this. It’s over. Michael simply will not travel with him and ruin his concert.”

    Not knowing what to do, I called my old friend and New York’s leading PR whiz, Howard Rubenstein, who was advising me and Michael at the time. Heavily involved in many worthy causes, Howard is one of the finest and most decent professionals I know. We got the Rev. Sharpton on the phone and in a three-way conversation, Howard explained to him what was going on.

    The Rev. Sharpton said, correctly, that he had not approached Michael. Rather, we had approached him, and there was no way he was going to let Michael’s people embarrass him by distancing themselves from him. He further said that if Michael’s people were to utter a single word against him, he would organize a public protest against Michael’s concerts.

    I told him that I understood how he felt, that his annoyance was justified, but since I had nothing to do with Michael’s career, I had no control over this situation. In the end we settled for a simple press release that said that due to Michael’s pressing recording and concert responsibilities, he would not be traveling to Africa as announced.

    Bascially, what the Rabbi is saying is that MJ was criticized by many blacks for “abadoning” his race, but when he tried to work on a cause that would resonate with the black community (ending child slavery in Africa), his handlers were more concerned about his concert and the hit his image would take if he went there with Sharpton!

    One last thing: not to beat a dead horse, but going back to the subject of the 60 Minutes interview, here is what the Rabbi said about MJ’s public admission of bed sharing:

    Yet, this time, it seems that the majority of people seem to believe that Michael is indeed guilty and even my confidence in Michael’s innocence has been seriously shaken. Here’s why: Michael stupidly said on television that he brings children into his bed. He was dumb for saying it, and even dumber for doing it. I don’t want to be a broken record here, but the fact that Michael doesn’t “get” the immorality of these actions – even if they are not criminal – is what has led most people to believe he must be guilty.

    That is why I practically begged him publicly not to excuse this bizarre behavior and instead come forward and foreswear the practice forever. Let him also say that he is going to get his life together. That there is no truth to the molestation allegations. That he may be stuck in a juvenile state, but that doesn’t make him a pedophile. That he is going to devote his life toward demonstrable change.

    I think the Rabbi made an excellent point: it doesn’t matter what MJ said, it’s how it is interpreted by the public (and the jurors!). When I said he shouldn’t have testified, it was because I was worried of how it would be perceived if he tried to defend his actions. The jurors would seriously wonder about his state of mind if he continued to defend it after all of the allegations, and they could engage in jury nullification, regardless of the lack of evidence in the Arvizo case. But if he testified and said he would never put himself in that position again, he would make a good impression on the jury.

    What do you guy’s think about Rabbi Boteach’s article?

    http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=36056

    Like

  8. February 28, 2011 7:56 pm

    First off, I find this site extremely useful. Thank you for all the hard work you do. As far as the racial topic, I think Mesereau was smart to stay out of dodge as well. You would have people like Dimond saying insulting remarks all the time, why give her a platform for it.Even Q has made scathing comments about his skin etc..

    David, this blog is amazing. It is an unbelievable amount of work and I respect you for that.

    Thanks and have a good day,

    John

    Like

  9. okunuga permalink
    February 26, 2011 1:48 pm

    The sad part is that the press never let michael enjoy his court victory by continuing diparaging and hounding him to his death.

    Like

  10. February 24, 2011 4:47 pm

    My Father is conservative and my mother is democrat,their views on certain issues made them grew apart with time until they got divorced.
    However,things were much different for me and my brothers as we all now democrats and open minded than our father.
    The race card is difficult to raise and to prove because people especially white people tend to disagree with that, Gloria Allred is a jewish from the left wing as I recall she is from pennsylvania as me “Goodness” she Never provides or may I say tried her cases without the presence of camers.
    I highly respect Mesreau’s opinion on race in Michael’s trial,it was hate,malice and race for the three ignorant prosecutor was driven them towards the man who became so successful,predominant and bigger than the media tried to tell us that he was history.
    Sneddon and his boyfriends didn’t want Jackson to be bigger,no they want him to be beggar.
    As for Dan point on how the media being fair to Michael Jackson,is he blind or just playing stupid!!! It’s a lot easier to lie and cover up an issue than it is to go against the grain and take a chance to report the truth right??

    What was the media’s motive to lie or distort the truth? Does the media have a stake in how cases play out and do verdicts truly impact their shows or coverage? Or are the anchors just reporting a slanted view to promote a book they hope to write if the situation plays out the same way as they had hoped? What do they stand to gain from reporting a child abuse trial in the first place? Apparently to many, the Jackson trial was a diversion from what was really going on and when news went slow, it then became a filler to kill time and passing personal opinion among so called journalist at the appearance of Jackson,how did he looked or what was his reaction to such graphic testimony of his accuser?
    I believe people don’t want to know the truth. It must be horrible to imagine that someone that was so villified in the media could actually be innocent. Ignorance is bliss and those who aren’t informed can make ignorant statements and not feel bad about it. That’s what irks me about the news. They know the truth and it’s just straight up lying.
    Michael Jackson was NOT weird nor the wacko they tried to portrayed,they highlighted and exaggerated most of his public appearance whether it was court case or award ceremony, sometims they were the ones who really sounded bizarre and mean.
    Sneddon made it clear that he is indeed the racist bastard , after all he did put poor Chris Tucker in his place by referring to him as BOY in court of law and no one ever in the media picked up!!

    Like

  11. February 24, 2011 1:48 pm

    Thank you David for your hard work.

    Like

  12. AnnieDomino permalink
    February 22, 2011 7:30 am

    Thetis7, I like your summary. Absolutely race had a lot to do with the media’s Michael-bashing. Michael changed the racial dynamics of the world. Michael reclaimed R&R for black people. How the hell can anyone say Elvis is the King? Michael consistently celebrated black performers – Jackie Wilson, James Brown, etc..He paid no heed to McCartney’s moaning about the Beatles catalogue, but gave Little Richard his songs back. He called Chuck Berry the “true” founder of Rock. And he absolutely married LMP to stick it to Elvis. Or IMO start a Presley-Jackson dynasty. I think another important factor is that Michael became globally famous without direct contact with the media. The Madonna’s of this world give interviews everytime they change their hairstyle – they play the game. Michael rarely spoke – and when he did it was often to black entities (Oprah and Ebony). I think that the racists took Michael’s so-called eccentricities and used it as a reason to display their hate.
    I consider myself to be a Conservative. I am what you would call “mixed-race”. I agree with the most of the tenits of American conservatism. And I love Michael Jackson. Being a Conservative means believing in individual freedom and minimal government interference in one’s personal life. Conservatism also implies that one should be wary of the Liberal media agenda and celebrate the right of “innocent until proven guilty.” I liked Bill Reilly until I saw his anti-MJ rants. I have never listened to him again. I loved what I heard of Drudge’s reporting of the trial. I became a fan. I think we should try and cultivate Rush Limbaugh. He is halfway on our side. We can push him all the way with the right information.

    Like

  13. Julie permalink
    February 22, 2011 12:41 am

    Thank you so much for that link regarding O’Reilly and his drones. You mention in one of your articles Sonni Hostin and when I sat and listened to her and Tucker Carlson on Hannity go toe to toe with the other gentleman (sorry I don’t know his name, but he was excellent) and she kept yelling over him repeatedly saying, “I’ve read the affidavits.” She said it so many times it was sickening. On the one hand she agreed that the 2005 family were not credible but out of the other side of her mouth, she said that boys don’t lie about molestation. WHAT??? I’m sorry, did she not just say that it was possible that Gavin Arvizo lied? That is just how hypocritical these people are. I have been watching the youtube videos “What Happened to Michael Jackson,” and all of it is sickening from the media standpoint. You are right, the haters all say the same thing that just because he “sleeps with boys,” he’s guilty. Why is it that sleeping in the same area as a child equates child molestation? Why is it the other thing that people such as Bill O’Reilly say that Michael’s behavior is inappropriate with children other than his own (I was sick when I watched Geraldo trying to defend MJ on O’Reilly only to be hammered by O’Reilly until Geraldo agreed that Michael’s behavior with children other than his own was inappropriate)? Since when does molestation have to occur on a bed? How many children are sexually molested by family members? So, it’s not the sleeping that’s wrong — it’s the inappropriate sexual behavior when it occurs that is wrong. They hang him on that one thing. I also heard William Wagener say that he interviewed Eleanor Cook after the trial and she told him that she wanted to get on that jury to convict Michael because she didn’t like the fact that he grabbed his crotch in his act. Can you believe that is how crazy people are? If that’s the case then we should all go after 3/4 of the entertainers for doing things that don’t look right on stage. Gene Simmons comes to mind on that one and ever since he made up his stories about MJ, I refuse to listen to him period. I am a child of the 70’s and have Sirius in my car and when I see Kiss come on the station — it immediately gets changed. I have to agree with Howard Bloom’s assessment when he stated that when Michael’s popularity grew so fast after Thriller, the dark forces were already surrounding him to take him down. It’s pure jealousy in my opinion.

    The other thing that bothers me is that if you now listen to Janet, who is precious and reminds me of Michael, get on these talk shows and talk about her childhood and insecurities, etc., she mirrors exactly what Michael said and yet the media just look at her with such sadness, but let Michael say the exact same thing and he’s a liar and a weirdo, etc.

    Like

  14. lcpledwards permalink
    February 21, 2011 8:46 pm

    @ Julie
    Thanks for your comment, and thanks for proving Bill O’Reilly, Rep. Peter King, and their ilk wrong! It’s not about one’s political views, it’s about common sense! All it takes is literally a 10 minute Google search to find all of the facts about the allegations, and it amazes me to no end how people who don’t take the time to research the facts can write negative articles, upload negative YouTube videos, or get on TV and spew negative hate on MJ!

    Another reason why that person who called in to Rush’s show was wrong is that he/she implied that not only should conservatives not like MJ, but that only liberals should like and mourn him! Are you kidding me? The vast majority of the tabloid and mainstream media are liberals! Many of MJ’s staunchest haters have left wing (or moderate) views, such as Gloria Allred (left wing), Sunny Hoston (left wing), Diane Dimond (moderate), Maureen Orth (I assume moderate), Andrea Peyser (left wing), and Joy Behar (definitely left wing!). In fact, when you look at the flowchart on the Veritas Project, which network hired the most MJ haters as analysts? MSNBC, the most liberal out of all of the cable networks! In fact, Martin Bashir’s new show on MSNBC starts next week, so nothing has changed!

    It’s ironic because the liberals claim to be “tolerant” of all people, yet the liberals that run the media were very intolerant to MJ’s innocence! They gleefully mocked his appearance instead of reporting on the facts. For example, MSNBC’s left wing host Keith Olbermann (who isn’t an MJ hater, but took the following pot shots at him during the trial for ratings) had a segment on his show called “Jackson Puppet Theater” where he used puppets to “reenact” the events in the courtroom.

    Here is a summary of his “theater”. Notice how they mention the August 2003 issue of Barely Legal, probably one of the only times they reported the facts!

    By the way Julie, I totally trashed Bill O’Reilly, Rep. Peter King, Juliet Huddy, and Gretchen Carlson on this article, in case you haven’t read it yet. I also include Steve Harvey’s rebuttal to O’Reilly:

    https://vindicatemj.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/analyzing-the-media’s-hypocrisy-in-reporting-on-michael-jackson’s-settlements-vs-the-settlements-of-other-celebrities-part-2/

    Like

  15. February 21, 2011 6:28 pm

    “I think first of all we are all human and not conservatives, liberals, socialists or whatever….We should be human with empathy first and foremost.”

    Suzy, I fully agree and that is why has just posted Sara William’s story about people who should be humans in the first place and why the general public felt it so easy to hound and persecute Michael Jackson.

    Like

  16. Suzy permalink
    February 21, 2011 4:51 pm

    I think first of all we are all human and not conservatives, liberals, socialists or whatever. I just can’t see how someone can say “a conservative shouldn’t defend Michael Jackson”. Why? If I think someone was unfairly treated I will defend him, no matter what is his or my political stance, religion or philosophy. It’s just so stupid. We should be human with empathy first and foremost.

    Like

  17. nan permalink
    February 21, 2011 2:27 pm

    Well Mr Sneddon saying he believed Gavin Aviso the moment he met him and always will, would lead any rational person to the conclusion he had his own agenda for sure. As Randy Jackson said when Mr Mesereau said he wanted Ms Yu..
    “good , there is too much testosterone in the room anyway.”.
    I have seen footage of the d,a, group walking out of the courthouse and all the back slapping etc. Very disturbing…
    The thing that strikes me about Mr Abrams comment about MJ being teased in the press kind of bothers me.What they did to Michael was way past teasing someone. They implied he was a freak and a criminal imo.
    I think they did start riding him when he bought the Beatles music and Elvis also. Some people were indignant about it but nobody ever minded Paul McCartney buying other artists music. Double Standard for sure

    Like

  18. Julie permalink
    February 21, 2011 2:25 pm

    I just have to comment about Rush Limbaugh’s statements regarding Michael Jackson after he died. I applaud that he even gave an effort in stating that the media lies and he obviously has witnessed that first hand. However, he still spewed out, as you pointed out, the media garbage that Michael “paid off” an accuser in the 90’s. I was shocked and horrified when I was flipping through news channels after Michael died and came across Bill O’Reilly and two blondes bashing Michael and calling him a slew of names. Bill asked, “Do conservatives really care about this guy (Michael)?” That is the one and only time I have ever emailed anyone in his position in my life to let him know that yes, conservatives care about Michael Jackson. Does his idea of being a conservative mean that people have to be so closed minded that they can’t have an independent thought? I guess it does based on his program where his opinion seems to be the only one that he feels it right (so much for fair and balanced). My husband watches that show every night and I just have to get up and leave the room. It’s just as bad as the lawyers that become so-called “legal analysts on news shows as they were during the 2005 trial and they act as though they have no idea why lawsuits are settled. One in particular that stands out is Geoffrey Fieger who kept saying that he paid for silence. It’s absurd and ridiculous. I am a conservative Christian and I absolutely love Michael Jackson. Not just the talent, which is unquestionable, but as a person. He was a human being and the fact that he was able to get up and go on after everything that he was put through says more about his character than anything. It saddens me so much that the character assassinations have contined even after his death with the same old buzzards circling such as Diane Dimond. I watched the Biography channel this weekend on The Jackson 5 and at the very end when they were talking about Michael’s death — they said he died of an overdose of prescription medication. So see, they can’t even say that he died at the hands of a doctor who wasn’t doing his job.

    TMZ seems to be on Murray’s PR payroll. I just pray that some how, some way — Michael will be vindicated!

    Like

  19. lcpledwards permalink
    February 21, 2011 6:44 am

    Well, since I asked for your opinions on race, here’s mine: I don’t think in his later years that race was the top reason why he was attacked by the media and loathed by much of the general public. I think the media just wanted to see him go down, and as the audience member mentioned, they over-exaggerated his eccentricities and made people question his loyalty to his race, his sexuality, his financial acumen, etc.

    However, in the 80’s he was considered “too young, too black, and too powerful” by many because he bought the Beatles catalogue as well as had the #1 selling album of all time. This is what MJ alluded to in 2001 at his speech with Rev. Al Sharpton in Harlem.

    Here’s an interesting quote that corroborates that: last year, conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh, the #1 conservative shock jock in America, who released a book last year, and he described the reaction he got from white baseball fans when he played MJ’s music at baseball games (when he worked as Director of Promotions for the Kansas City Royals in the early 80’s):

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/24/rush-limbaugh-biography-a_n_587280.html
    “Surprisingly, Limbaugh was a “racial pioneer” while producing the scoreboard at Kansas City Royals ballgames in the late ’70s and early ’80s. He used to play Michael Jackson songs between innings which annoyed some conservatives in the crowd. “They used to say, ‘Where do you think we are, Oakland?’”

    Oakland is a very poor, crime ridden, drug infested, predominantly black city in California, so it’s not accident that those fans sarcastically asked if Rush thought he was in Oakland when he played MJ songs. They implied that they didn’t want to listen to “black music”, and to me if you didn’t like MJ in the early 80’s than you probably were a racist!

    What bothered me about that quote is that those fans implied that conservatives shouldn’t like MJ or black music. Rush encountered that same attitude from a caller to his radio show shortly after MJ died:
    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_063009/content/01125110.guest.html

    CALLER: Yesterday at the end of your show a man called up and he as much as said that he thought Michael Jackson was a child molester, and you tried to defend Michael Jackson. It’s my belief, sir — and with all due respect you are due a lot of respect, but with all due respect — it’s not a conservative position to take, to try to defend Michael Jackson.

    RUSH: Well, I wasn’t taking a political position or an ideological position. Nor was I defending Michael Jackson. I’m glad you called on this, Cameron, I appreciate your nice comments, because I got a lot of e-mail about this last night from Web subscribers calling me a “pervert” and a number of other things for “defending this child molester.” Let me take a little time here because it was at the end of the program. I didn’t have a lot of time. We had a caller yesterday who… What was his original point? What was it he wanted to talk about? What was the original purpose? I forget what, but he said to me in… (interruption) Oh, that’s right. He was upset that the media was doing nothing but covering Michael Jackson and ignoring other serious issues. And then he said — and nobody will convince me that Michael Jackson is not a child molester.

    And I said, “Wait a second. You’re no different than the media,” and I commented on the media yesterday, the media has been in total, almost total speculation mode since Michael Jackson died. We don’t know what the autopsy results are. We don’t know what the drug situation was. We don’t know any of this. This is a media disgrace. They don’t know anything. This is not defending Michael Jackson, but I’m going to tell you something, folks. This happens to me every day, being lied about, misrepresented, miscast by the media. It has happened every day for 19-1/2 years, ever since they first heard about me. I have a different sensitivity to this. Now, Michael Jackson — and I can relate to this. Michael Jackson was charged with child abuse.

    He was tried, and he was found not guilty. I don’t know whether he abused kids or not. I know he paid off a kid once, a family. But I don’t know. All I’m telling you is the State of California did not make its case in that trial! It was a lousy case. The woman, the mother was a lousy witness, and so was her son. Now, somebody sent me an e-mail, “Oh, they found OJ not guilty, too, and I guess you believe him.” They’re two entirely different things. You had jury nullification in the OJ case. This was a different circumstance altogether. My only point here is that we have a media out of control, and if they’re willing to totally speculate and lie and report things they do not know about anybody, you need to be suspicious about what they say about everybody they report on and every event they report on.

    As you can see, Rush is sympathetic to MJ because, as the #1 shock jock in America, he has been attacked and lied on by the media for most of his career, so he is someone who has definitely walked a mile in MJ’s shoes! And I respect him for being honest and admitting that he doesn’t know all of the facts (especially regarding the 1993 case, since he referred to it as a “pay off”), yet still defending MJ against media speculation about his health. At that time, there were all sorts of crazy reports, including some saying that he had 100 pills in his stomach and no food!

    That caller is wrong because he or she implies that conservatives (who are disproportionately white) should not defend or have any compassion for MJ. He or she certainly needs to Matt Drudge, another conservative commentator who not only defended MJ during the trial, he EXCORIATED Sneddon, Dimond, Grace, the Arvizos, the Neverland employees, and the media! MJ appealed to all demographics, including political views, so how someone votes shouldn’t be a factor. There are lots of conservatives who love MJ, and lots of liberals who hate him. Limbaugh and Drudge simply told the truth about the allegations and the media, and whether they realize it or not THEY WERE DEFENDING MJ! Telling the truth is in and of itself a defense of MJ!

    You can listen to his commentary at the bottom of this post: https://vindicatemj.wordpress.com/2010/08/17/refuting-the-legal-analysts/

    Like

  20. Suzy permalink
    February 21, 2011 4:56 am

    I also think race did play a part, however it was wise from Mesereau to leave that aspect out. Otherwise we would have to listen to the media claiming he was acquitted because of the race card. Instead they went with he was acquitted because he’s a celebrity, so apparently no matter what they would always find an excuse for why he was acquitted, instead of just admitting that there was simply no evidence that he was guilty of anything.

    As for Michael’s music. As an album I think Dangerous was his best and I agree with Hannah, it’s such a critically underrated album. (The media already started this campaign against him, slagging off anything he did.) I also agree that he had amazing – and brutally underrated – songs after that as well. Earth Song is certainly one of them, They don’t care about us, Stranger in Moscow, Blood on the dancefloor too. I love Speechless, Whatever happens and Unbreakable too.

    I remember some of those songs were critically slagged off by ridiculous reasoning. For example I remember a British critic on TV making fun of Earth Song saying it’s lyrics didn’t make sense. He was making fun of the “what about the elephants/have we lost their trust” lines saying: “how can we lose the trust of the elephants? this is stupid” – as if he had never heard of metaphors and poetry…. If he didn’t then he shouldn’t be a critic in the first place, but my opinion is that he just tried to find a reason, whatever reason to slag off that song. Musically it’s a perfect composition so he went for mocking the lyrics.

    Same with They don’t care about us when the media started to claim it was anti-semitic. When anyone with a half brain and with a sense of comprehension can tell it isn’t. But as soon as the media labeled it anti-semitic, that single was doomed as well. Such a great song!

    And personally I think Blood of the dancefloor is one of his best singles ever. Every time I hear it I just want to get up and dance. How come it never became a hit? Frankly Michael’s post Thriller work – and even more so his post Dangerous work – is simply brutally underrated and deliberately ignored by the media.

    Like

  21. TatumMarie permalink
    February 21, 2011 3:49 am

    I believe that race played a huge role in Michael’s persecution. Mesereau talked about how Sneddon called Chris Tucker “boy” on the stand which indicated the racial issue. Mesereau feels that race was involved; he just didn’t feel it was the primary motive. In my opinion, it was the second reason. What made Michael a target, initially, was that he was and still is the biggest name in the world.

    Truthfully, the media started to make Michael appear weird before the 90’s. Michael’s race and larger than life status was the reason the media went after him. There were questionable tabloid stories not too long after Thriller. If Abram did his research he would see that the 90’s there was a merger between tabloid and mainstream media. It was not Michael, himself, being eccentric.

    Like

  22. nan permalink
    February 21, 2011 1:50 am

    First off, I get so much out of this site. Thank you for all you do. As far as the race factor, I think Mesereau was smart to leave it alone. You would have people like Dimond making snide remarks all the time, why give her a platform for it.Even Q has made unflattering comments about his skin.. I think Meaereau saying MJ transcends race is true anyway, imo, and was the way to go.

    As far as the prosecutors wanting to make a name for themselves putting a super famous guy in jail , I can believe that . Certainly they seemed to be in awe of him in some way, thinking that because of his celebrity and fabulous wealth, he could change from black to white, change the way his genitals looked etc, just get away with anything he wanted….. but the fact they wanted to humiliate him and the personal attacks on him in court just made them sound more jealous then bigoted…,Certainly seemed like they had a great deal of resentment , even Sneddon was talking about he how SWANKY the Turnberry Inn in Fla. is, etc..in his opening statement..So i do think him being rich and black on top of it didnt help MJ much with these people.

    These were political people, so I almost wish he had given a contribution to a few local campaigns when he moved in and allowed them to have a political party up there so they wouldnt be speculating about what was going on behind the gates. Maybe they would have understood the man a little better and wouldnt have rushed to think the worst of him……instead of them just being big fish in a little pond and him being a mega star..But i am sure that never occured to MJ , because he did things on a global scale or very quietly on a local level.
    As far a Quincey Jones goes, he is so talented but I think Michael surpassed him and being a young man who had been under Joes thumb, wanted to go out on his own after he and Q huge success,
    Entertainment people have big egos and i notice that just about everytime Q is interviewed MJ name comes up , but that is not necessarily the case when MJ is being interviewed.I think he is like a lot of people in MJ life where she seemed hurt when MJ moved on.

    Like

  23. Hannah permalink
    February 21, 2011 12:27 am

    Suzy

    You’re completely right, I hate it when people say Michael didn’t make a good album after Thriller – its one of those albums that come in a lifetime, and apart from it having great songs, the timing was perfect and it had alot to do with Mike – people hadn’t seen videos like that before, they never saw anyone dance like that and his whole style just worked.

    And so if your going to compare everything to Thriller and Off the Wall – then it not going to be a ‘brilliant’ is it. They don’t compare other artists’ albums to Thriller. Earth Song was Michael’s best-selling single in the UK and it wasn’t part of the Thriller album! Albums have to stand out on their own.

    I think Dangerous is so underrated and Stranger in Moscow was one of his best songs.

    Like

  24. Anna permalink
    February 20, 2011 10:35 pm

    Excellent work David putting this series together for us! I think I need to go back and read all the sections a few more times before I could make any indepth comments on it.

    Like

  25. Teva permalink
    February 20, 2011 9:43 pm

    “I don’t think music critics are so stupid that they don’t realize how laughable this argument about not repeating Thriller is. I think there really is a deliberate attempt in the media to slag off anything Michael Jackson.” – Suzy

    I so agree. Personally I think Earth Song is one of the best songs written by any artist in any era along with We’ve Had Enough.

    Like

  26. Suzy permalink
    February 20, 2011 7:43 pm

    @ Ares

    I know! To say that Madonna and Prince are above Michael on a global mass pop fame level is simply laughable. While I respect Prince immensly for the artist he is, he hasn’t had a hit single since the beginning of the 90s. And he has never reached Michael’s level of popularity anyway. And Madonna, no disrespect, but she is more about the image than about talent.

    It’s incredibly stupid from music critics to hold it against Michael that he never reached Thriller’s success after. It’s stupid, because noone did! It’s stupid because even if they didn’t reach Thriller’s success his upcoming albums were still among the best selling albums of all times! Both Bad and Dangerous sold more than any Madonna album ever! So what is this guy talking about?

    I don’t think music critics are so stupid that they don’t realize how laughable this argument about not repeating Thriller is. I think there really is a deliberate attempt in the media to slag off anything Michael Jackson – and it’s there for a long time. Actually it started right after Thriller. And it reminds me of the articles I recently posted about Rupert Murdoch….

    Like

  27. ares permalink
    February 20, 2011 7:30 pm

    – Somehow, she’s got to change and stay the same. Very few people have pulled it off on a global mass pop fame level before. Certainly The Beatles and The Stones in their hey day. Prince and Madonna in the Eighties (not Michael Jackson, really, who never quite matched his Thriller breakthrough). – This was written by a very well know british music critic in an article of his about the artist lad gaga.

    MJ, from what i have noticed is in a non win situation with the critics and people in general. They have decided to dismiss whatever MJ has created past QJ or even better past Thriller. I have read reviews for his albums beginning from Bad and it’s amazing the negativity in most of them. I don’t want to mention the reviews about History, which is my second favourite album of his,or the last two albums. They are vicious. I think i know the source of that negativity but i also know that you can not dismiss someones work when it’s good because of allegations or plastic surgeries or skin diseases etc. I hope future reviews are more open minded in MJ’s past Thriller work. Personally, i think it’s his best.

    Like

  28. February 20, 2011 12:10 pm

    David, first, I want to thank you for the GREAT JOB you’ve done on that Harvard seminar. It is truly remarkable!

    Second, let me share the immediate impressions of the whole thing.

    – The quality level of this Harvard seminar in 2005 is strikingly higher than that of the “Frozen in Time” event in 2010. It immediately makes it clear that the Harvard seminar was a truly professional and educational seminar while Frozen in Time was a “commemorative” media event masked as a professional seminar and its real goal was to refresh in public memory the worst allegations against Michael. Is it why it was called “Frozen in Time” – to have all those lies carved in stone for centuries to come? It seemed so to me!

    – One of the things the Harvard seminar taught me is that prosecutors are not allowed to comment on their case, especially during trial. Martha Coakley said: “ … as a prosecutor, we’re prohibited from commenting, especially during a trial.” She also said, “Most of the time in court we cannot use “victim”. We can say “alleged victim.”

    Did Tom Sneddon adhere to all these rules in 2003-2005? Absolutely not.

    – Another interesting point is the two reasons why the crazy conspiracy charge was made against Michael by Tom Sneddon. The first was because it allowed to introduce hearsay evidence which is otherwise not allowed, and the second was to scare some of the key witnesses away from testifying in court – for ex. Frank Cascio, who could have proved if he had testified that there was always a third person present in Michael’s room during those slumber parties.

    – What Thomas Mesereau said about the people who were “waiting in the winds, hoping he would be convicted so they would simply walk in and grab assets” is also top important. It could be Sony of course, but it also suddenly reminded me of Victor Gutierrez who was heard to brag that “one day he would own Neverland”. If VG allowed himself such a theory it means that he was promised by someone such a thing, wasn’t he? For his services in bringing Michael down?

    – The question asked from the audience about white people being allowed to be eccentric while black people behaving similarly would be considered buffoons is very insightful! This is true – however this rule generally applies to people of different social status, with a racial element coming only second after the social one.

    The problem is that the society requires the majority of us to behave within certain “approved” limits and the rule applies to everyone – white, colored, poor and middle-class people – except the super rich. The super rich and super successful – Bill Gates, for ex. – are very much allowed to be eccentric, because the very fact of their success is a kind of a justification for them being “different”. All their eccentricities turn into their genius features which contributed to their success in life. So what is not allowed to ordinary folks is very much allowed and even expected of the financial and business geniuses (whatever color or nationality they may be)…

    Michael Jackson’s case is a very big exception to this rule. Why he was treated differently is a very big question and if we manage to answer it we will solve the whole riddle of it. One of the possible answers is the color of his skin, of course, and the other one is that he broke the code of behavior of the super rich – not to give away half of their money to charity. But I really don’t know yet, so we should always keep this question in mind in the hope that one day an adequate answer will present itself.

    – Another interesting point in Thomas Mesereau’s speech is the difference between the National Bar Association and the American Bar Association he spoke of. I’ve looked up the history of the American Bar Association and it turns out that up till now it is a highly selective organization as regards minorities (I wonder if Larry Feldman could be part of it? He feels like one though I haven’t been able to find any proof of it).

    Answering David’s question I would say that there WAS AND IS definitely a racial element in harassing Michael Jackson, only Thomas Mesereau does not want to stress it (in my opinion) not to introduce unnecessary tension into the inter-racial relations in your country.

    I think he is right. These things should be slowly sorted out by persistent work he and other people are doing within the legal framework of the system and not through flaming up emotions – which can bring about only more social tension with a result similar to the one we had in my country during the revolution between the former serfs and their former masters (God forbid it ever happens to you). Yesterday was a 150 year anniversary since serfdom was abolished in my country but the date is fully silenced here. Instead of the need to work on the far-reaching consequences of the problem they prefer to forget about the shameful period of our history altogether – which is a totally wrong thing to do!

    Thomas Mesereau should be an American national hero as he is a perfect example of a person who is doing just the right thing – he IS working on the consequences of the problem and is setting the record straight without too much fuss over it. Those colored people who haven’t committed crimes should receive the best professional help in defending themselves and those who have really committed crimes should be punished for it (no matter which color they are). Ideally the color – any color – should be fully separated from the problems of crime and punishment, and if you as a nation manage to do that a wonderful and happy future is awaiting you (I truly hope it is).

    Please excuse me for sharing some really intimate thoughts about these affairs.

    Here is the information I found about the American Bar Association which looks to me 1) a high authority in the country since time immemorial and 2) a fully racist organization (at least until the late 90s):

    “The American Bar Association is a voluntary professional association that includes practicing attorneys, judges, law professors, court administrators, and nonpracticing attorneys involved in journalism or other occupations.

    Although it has no formal authority to discipline lawyers who break the ABA’s ethical code, it influences state bars that do have that power. Likewise, the ABA plays a significant role in proposing state and federal laws, reforming the court system, accrediting law schools, and evaluating individuals nominated by the president to be federal judges.

    It also is a major publisher, with about 90 periodicals such as the American Bar Association Journal and many others on various legal specialties. Although the ABA is the major legal association, only about half of the nation’s attorneys are members. It competes with numerous other associations based on ethnicity or legal specialty.

    Although the so-called elite lawyers still remained the minority of the nation’s attorneys, they received most of the press and continued to dominate state bar associations and the ABA. In fact, when more women and ethnic minorities became attorneys, relatively few joined the ABA that historically had rejected them. In addition, separate associations for women, racial groups, and those practicing in legal specialties competed with membership in the all-purpose ABA.

    The ABA to its credit recognized the challenge and has tried to promote better access through various pro bono programs, with some success. Similarly, the ABA has had limited diversity in its ranks, and in spite of progress, has remained mainly a largely Caucasian organization.

    “The data are compelling,” wrote ABA President William G. Paul in the October 1999 ABA Journal, explaining “Our profession is more than 90 percent white, and enrollment in our law schools is about 80 percent white. But 30 percent of our society is people of color, and in the next few decades it will be 50 percent. These trends put at risk the profession’s historic role as the connecting link between our society and the rule of law.”

    Thus a major challenge in 2000 for the ABA and the legal profession as a whole was to promote a system of equal justice under the law. The bar and its membership remained optimistic about reaching that goal, while critics alleged that lawyers were more focused on their own pocketbooks.

    However another article about ABA says:

    “At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the ABA is a far more diverse organization, reflecting the growing number of women and minorities entering the profession. This diversity has reached the highest offices of the organization, with women and minorities chairing the House of Delegates and two women having served as ABA president. Most recently the ABA elected the first African American to its presidency.”

    http://www.answers.com/topic/american-bar-association

    P.S. What I am trying to say to American white racists is that the job Thomas Mesereau is doing is actually saving the country from really serious inter-racial conflict. They should say a very big THANK YOU to him for his work.
    What I am trying to say to the rest of the people is that color – any color – is not an advantage or a matter of pride over the others. In my humble opinion only individual characteristics and not his ancestry or origin make a person worthy of appreciation and praise.

    Provided all the people are given equal opportunities in education and everything else of course….

    Like

  29. Suzy permalink
    February 20, 2011 4:23 pm

    @ okunuga & thetis7

    Exactly. Quincy Jones only ever wrote (actually co-wrote with James Ingram) one song for Michael (P.Y.T. – though the original version of the song which is a fine, groovy track was written by Michael and Greg Phillinganes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOf1N3edi54 . Quincy took the title from it, because he liked it, but the rest of the song ended up to be completely different.), yet people still think Quincy is single-handedly responsible for Michael’s success. If Michael had listened to Quincy we would not have Billie Jean today!

    The pop singer faced numerous disagreements with the song’s producer. Quincy Jones did not want “Billie Jean” to appear on Thriller; he felt that the song was too weak to be part of the collection.[5][8] The producer disliked the demo and did not care for the song’s bass line.[9] Jones wanted to cut Jackson’s 29 second introduction, which was quite long for the era.[7][10] The entertainer, however, insisted that it be kept. “I said, ‘Michael we’ve got to cut that intro'”, Jones later recalled. “He said, ‘But that’s the jelly!'[…] ‘That’s what makes me want to dance’. And when Michael Jackson tells you, ‘That’s what makes me want to dance’, well, the rest of us just have to shut up.”[7][11] Jones also wanted to change the track’s title to “Not My Lover”, as he believed that people would think the song referred to the tennis player Billie Jean King.[12][13] Jackson refused to change the title and asked Jones to give him co-producing credits for the track; he felt that the demo tape sounded exactly like the finished product. In addition, Jackson wanted extra royalties. Jones granted neither and the two fell out for several days.[5][9]

    Source: Wikipedia’s “Billie Jean” article.

    Fact is, most of Michael’s biggest and best songs were written by him! Yet, many people still hold the false belief that he didn’t write his own material and that Quincy (and others) did. When “We are the World” was re-made last year I have read an article referring to it as a Lionel Richie-Quincy Jones song, with no mention of Michael at all. When in fact, he wrote about 80% of the song (and Quincy didn’t co-write it at all).

    Like

  30. February 20, 2011 3:23 pm

    @okunuga You mean people who know nothing about Michael Jackson. People know who Jones is because Michael Jackson just mentioned his name. By the way QJ wanted another song list for Thriller than the one we have today. Michael, as usual, chose whatever he wanted to chose ignoring Jones and we all know the result. QJ was wrong about his “Thriller” predictions and MJ was right. It’s as simple as that. All the legendary hits are written by MJ and there is nothing they can do to change history. They can only continue to humiliate themselves with their ignorance.

    Like

  31. okunuga permalink
    February 20, 2011 3:04 pm

    @Thetis7,Thanks for the link to that article,I thoroughly enjoy and found it enlightning but on reading the comments I found out some people still hold the believe that MJ hold all his success to quincy jones and that he was just a song and dance man and not a songwriter despite the fact that he was inducted into the songwriter hall of fame,maybe DAVID could do a post on all the songs written by both MJ&QJ because during my research I found out that QJ only co-wrote one song with james ingram called PYT thanks.

    Like

  32. February 20, 2011 10:19 am

    David since you are asking about commenting regarding race issue, my opinion is that racism played a huge role and US to this day is still regarded as a place with racism against African Americans.

    Here is an article that reflects perfectly my position:

    IS IT BECAUSE HE’S BLACK?: What They Don’t Want You to Know AboutMichael Jackson

    By Christopher Hamilton
    November 8, 2007

    What do you think of when you hear the name, Michael Jackson? Wacko? Criminal? Great Entertainer? Businessman? Whatever you think of MJ, throw all your thoughts out of the window and let’s examine some facts.

    For years the media has labeled him “Wacko Jacko.” What happened to MJ? Wasn’t he the biggest thing in music at one point? When did he go crazy?

    All anyone has to do is look when Michael started being portrayed as “Crazy.” It wasn’t during the “Thriller” years. It’s cool being a song and dance man. That’s what they want. DON’T DARE BECOME A THINKING BUSINESSMAN. DON’T DARE BUY THE BEATLES CATALOG. DON’T DARE MARRY ELVIS’ DAUGHTER. DON’T DARE BEAT THE RECORD INDUSTRY AT THEIR OWN GAME. Michael started being labeled crazy when he began making business moves that no one had been successful at doing.

    Michael took two cultural icons and shattered them to pieces. All our lives, we’ve been bombarded with 2 facts. The Beatles were the greatest group of all time and Elvis was the King of Rock and Roll. Michael bought the Beatles and married the King’s daughter. (if that ain’t literally sticking it to the man) If I wasn’t a cynic, I’d say Michael did the Lisa Marie thing just to stick it to the people who consider Elvis the King.

    The Beatles were great, but they weren’t great enough to maintain publishing rights over their own songs.

    Elvis was great, but he didn’t write his songs. His manager, Col Tom Parker, was the mastermind behind Elvis … keeping him drugged with fresh subscription pills and doing all the paperwork.

    Michael could do no wrong as an entertainer. “Off the Wall,” first solo artist with 4 top ten singles. “Thriller,” the biggest selling album of all time, with a then record 7 top ten singles. “Bad,” the first album to spawn 5 number one songs (even Thriller only had 2 number one songs). All this is cool. But that is all you better do. SING AND DANCE. Michael wanted to be greater. He bought the legendary Sly and the Family Stone catalog and no one really cared. When he bought the Beatles, people noticed. The Sony merger took the cake. Sony, in their eagerness to have a part of the Beatles catalog, agreed to a 50/50 merger with Jackson, thus forming Sony/ATV music publishing. Now, Michael co-owns half of the entire publishing of all of Sony artists. Check out the complete lists of songs at sonyatv.com. A sampling of the songs he owns the publishing rights to are over 900 country songs by artists such as Tammy Wynette, Kenny Rogers, Alabama. All Babyface written songs. Latin songs by Selena and Enrique Iglesias. Roberta Flack songs, Mariah Carey songs, Destiny’s Child’s songs. 2pac, Biggie and Fleetwood Mac songs. In essence over 100,000 songs. “What is this man doing?” None of the greats did this. Not Bono, Springsteen, Sinatra. “Who does he think he is? Get whatever you can on him.”

    To “get” someone, you have to attack what they love the most. I’ll say no more on that.

    The only man who even approaches MJ in taking on the industry is Prince and to a lesser extent, George Michael. They went after poor George Michael, publicly outing the man as a homosexual. Prince fought hard and made his point, but nevertheless still had to resort to using a major company to distribute his materials. There is nothing wrong with that. Prince would get the lion’s share, but the result were years of being labeled crazy and difficult.

    The greatest moment for them was the Sneddon press conference. “We got him.” Never was such glee so evident. Who cares if we have evidence?

    Michael was acquitted, did not celebrate, went home and left the USA. Best move ever. Now what is there left for the haters to do? He’s gone. “Gone, what do you mean he moved to Bahrain? Well, how the hell can we get him if he’s not here? Quick, get that columnist to write a series of articles on how MJ’s teetering on the brink of destruction. Oh we did that? Well, what can we do?”

    On the outer surface, it appears Michael is not doing anything to make money. Don’t even count the weekly sales of his CDs. 15,000 CDs a week is nothing for Michael. The Sony/ATV catalog is money for Michael Jackson every time he breathes. Serious money. The fact that no one reports on the actual amount is proof of that. They would rather you believe he is broke than tell you the truth. Neverland is still owned by MJ. The family home in Encino is still owned by MJ. Michael still owns the Beatles songs through the merger with Sony as well as full ownership of his own songs. But, hey, that’s our little secret.

    Michael Jackson is literally walking in the shoes that no Black person has ever walked in before. If he ever writes an autobiography, it will be one of the most interesting ever. A Black man with no real formal education becomes the most powerful man in the industry, DESPITE hatred, racism, enemies in his own camps and a media willing to be bought to the highest bidder.

    If Sony had any sense, right now they should offer to continue the partnership. That’s the only way they will make future money off of Michael’s catalogue. Tommy Mattola did not lose his job with Sony because he was a bad label head. It was a casualty of war. MJ exposed him and Sony had to cut their losses. Companies do it all the time. Notice no one at Sony nor did Matolla himself ever sue MJ for slander. Michael always was loyal to his bosses at Epic/Sony. Back at the 1984 Grammys, he even brought then label head Walter Yetnikoff on stage with him at one point. He’s always thanked Dave Glew, Mattola and others at Sony in his acceptance speeches.

    Sony can still do right by Michael, but it may be too late. However, they still should make a goodwill gesture, but how many times do businesses do that? If I were them, I’d still want MJ as an ally, not as an enemy. It is/was a mutally profitable merger.

    I’d be scared as hell if I was an enemy of MJ while he is with the multi-billionaires overseas. Believe me, they aren’t just over there discussing designer clothing. A conglomerate is in the making.

    One last note, these facts that I write here should not be the only times you hear this, but the sad fact is it probably is. I was worried that Michael would go down because of the uncertainty of the jury. That’s playing unfair. If I’m presenting these facts here at EURweb, YOU CAN BELIEVE THE MEDIA KNOWS IT ALREADY AS WELL. They aren’t salivating over everything MJ related just because he made “Thriller.” They know what’s up. Think about it. That’s why I laugh when I see shows like BET’s “The Ultimate Hustler.” We all know who that is. (How can Damon Dash know who the ultimate hustler is anyway? He lost Roc-a-fella to Jay-Z)

    In the end, Michael won’t be known for being an alleged child molester. He won’t be known for “Thriller.” He will be known as the man that fought the record industry and won and lived to tell the tale. That is a book worth buying…

    http://slumz.boxden.com/f87/michael-jackson-what-they-dont-want-you-know-1001182/

    Like

  33. Suzy permalink
    February 20, 2011 6:12 am

    I just read this part. Great job, David! Thank you!

    Like

  34. ares permalink
    February 20, 2011 1:23 am

    David, thank you for this and all the effort that you put in writing your blogs. You’re doing an amazing work.All of you.

    Like

Trackbacks

  1. Fact Checking Michael Jackson’s Christian Faith, Part 6 of 7: Christians Who Have DEFENDED Michael! « Vindicating Michael

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