HIStory vs EVANstory: The 1993 allegations Part 2
On August 17, 1993, Dr. Abrams reported the allegations to the Los Angeles Child’s Services Department, who in turn informed the police. Police issued search warrants for Jackson’s Neverland and Century City condo on August 21 and 22, 1993. Dr. Abrams was not an expert in child abuse, and in the Child Services report it is mentioned that he “thought” there was misconduct. Michael Jackson was in Thailand for the kickoff of the second leg of Dangerous World Tour and he was out of US since August 20.
A freelance reporter, Don Ray, first broke the news on Monday, August 23, 1993 to KNBC channel 4, and Conan Nolan reported this information at 5pm. He said that police conducted a search in Jackson’s premises as a result of allegations made by a woman who claims her child was abused at one of the singer’s houses. A report was also carried later that day on KNBC-TV’s New York sister station, WNBC. The other networks reported the news on August 24, 1993.
They rushed to report poorly researched information because ratings could not wait. In fact, it was Evan Chandler that accused MJ, not June Chandler, and the allegations were reported by Dr. Abrams. Don Ray would later reveal that he got a call from a source inside the police on August 22, 1993 that informed him about the raiding. He tracked down the locksmith who accompanied the police officers and that’s how he broke the story. The locksmith said he hoped they didn’t find what they were looking for. Don Ray would later say that he was embarrassed to be a journalist because the way his colleagues covered the case and lynched Michael Jackson, and he felt bad for breaking the news. He said that he chose not to report the nature of the alleged abuse. Was it a coincidence that this source from the police chose to reveal the story to Don Ray on the eve of the opening of the singer’s tour?
Tabloid reporter Diane Dimond said that her boss called her in his office to watch KNBC’s coverage and he put her on the story. Burt Kearns would later write in his book Tabloid Baby that he got a fax of the Child Services report and he gave it to Ms. Dimond to report it. He had served as the managing editor of the tabloid shows Hard Copy and A Current Affair, and the majority of the shameful coverage came from those two programs, which have been characterized as tabloid trash programs. Hard Copy has also been labeled as one of the sleaziest tabloids, and its anchors Diane Dimond, Terry Murphy, and Barry Nolan were labeled as “the most repulsive things you could see in your living room with less than six legs”. NBC’s “Dateline” has been accused for copying these tabloid shows. Diane Dimond has been negatively criticized for her biased reporting on Michael Jackson, her conduct with the prosecution, and her inaccurate stories. She has described herself as “a shark always moving in the water”, and Ishmael Reed and Broadcasting & Cable referred to her as the “Michael Jackson stalker”. She has been behind every discredited “tell all” story, and she bought an autographed hat of the singer in a Hollywood auction for $1,200 dollars. “I just had to buy it. I wanted to touch it and put it on”. Her involvement is considered suspicious by many people since “tell all witnesses” were telling all only in her show and she was around individuals of dubious character and activity who were after Michael Jackson.
That same night Los Angeles Police Cmdr. David Gascon confirmed that an investigation had begun a week ago, but he didn’t disclose details. He said that the investigation was at an early stage, and that Chief Williams “is very concerned that the investigation is done objectively and with absolute fairness to everyone involved” He added that the Jackson camp is fully cooperating with the detectives. It turned out that Chief Williams was not that concerned.
The LAPD proved to be the greatest source of leaks of confidential information, and the events that followed actually demonstrated that Chief Williams and his department did not conduct a fair investigation on both sides. They were extremely unfair to Michael Jackson. In the days to follow, Michael Freeman (June Chandler’s lawyer) would meet with the Child Services Department and tell them that he was very upset about the leaks, and employees from the police and DCFS would later say that they were afraid of being fired, and everyone was destroying copies kept on their desks. Judge Tucker issued an order reminding the LAPD and LA Child & Family Services that leaking confidential information without the court’s approval is against the law.
Pellicano appeared also on the news the same day and said that this is the result of an extortion attempt that went awry. He didn’t disclose the nature of the allegations.
The media outlets were erroneously repeating the false rumor that the mother accused Jackson and filed the report. They never checked anything; they were reporting this story as they always used to do when it comes to Michael Jackson. The mother never accused him of anything; Evan Chandler did, and Dr. Abrams reported the allegations. The media were too unprofessional to wait for an official confirmation, and they were feeding their audience with inaccuracies.
On August 24, 1993, the official confirmation of the nature of the allegations came from the Jackson camp through Anthony Pellicano, who also said it was the result of a $20 million failed extortion. Pellicano would later say that he received a call after the raid informing him about the incident, and he realized that Evan Chandler had materialized his threats. The Jackson family issued a statement in support of Michael (they would repeat their statements of support and TV appearances through the whole ordeal-La Toya Jackson and her husband Jack Gordon also supported Michael, but this would later change when Gordon realized that he could make money from the story) and Howard Weitzman (the criminal lawyer hired for the case) read Michael Jackson’s statement:
- “I am confident the (Police) Department will conduct a fair and thorough investigation and that its result will demonstrate that there was no wrongdoing on my part. I intend to continue with my world tour, and look forward to seeing all of you in each of the scheduled cities. I am grateful for the overwhelming support of my fans throughout the world. I love you all. Thank you. Michael.”
Michael Jackson would vehemently deny the allegations for the rest of his life.
June Chandler’s lawyer, Michael Freeman, told CNN’s Larry King that she was not part of any extortion attempt and she knew nothing about the allegations, until police informed her. He added that she was shocked to hear the news. He would later say that the police officers told her with serious facial expression that the singer fits the “classic profile of a pedophile”. That scene could easily be a part of a spoof movie. The police officers, who lied to Mrs. Chandler, were ignorant enough not to acknowledge the fact that there is no such thing as “classical” profile in science. They also didn’t know that Jackson was nowhere near in what is described as “similar characteristics among perpetrators”. They were totally unqualified to make such statement and this would be only the beginning of a questionable behavior displayed by police. Police officers are not allowed to call names or put labels on the subjects of an investigation, let alone diagnose that subject. This particular naive incident was picked up and laughed at, in the news coverage outside US.
KNBC-TV reported that detectives seized property, including videotapes and photographs. This was falsely presented as “evidence” by the lazy, sensationalist tabloid media. What evidence? There was no evidence of anything at all, and as a result Jackson was never arrested.
The fact that police issued warrants based on an unsubstantiated claim of Jordan Chandler raised a lot of questions at the time. They had nothing to corroborate his story and the search did not result in anything incriminating for the singer. In order to request a search warrant, police need to prove they have a probable cause that a crime has been committed, and they didn’t have such a thing.
An explanation was offered to the Los Angeles Times:
“Deanne Tilton-Durfee, executive director of Los Angeles County’s Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect, cautioned that many may be jumping the gun. “These kinds of investigations go on thousands of times a year. It is premature to attach much credibility to this yet. Celebrities are vulnerable to extortion,” said Tilton–Durfee, who said she has seen many allegations made against high-profile entertainers that were not substantiated.
Of the 2.9 million reports of child abuse made nationwide in 1992, only about 40% are substantiated, she said. Last year the Police Department investigated 4,213 child abuse reports, resulting in 1,219 arrests.
Authorities are obligated to investigate all credible reports they receive of physical or sexual child abuse, although such inquiries are supposed to be confidential until criminal charges are filed.
In Los Angeles, child abuse reports normally are called in to police or the Department of Children’s Services, which cross-references their cases. While Children’s Services investigates to determine if a child is in danger and should be removed from a home, police typically undertake a parallel investigation only if there is reason to suspect criminal activity.
Search warrants–such as those that were served Saturday on Jackson’s homes in Century City and Los Olivos–are not uncommon in child abuse investigations. “Legally, a search warrant can be used very liberally with an allegation of abuse,” Tilton-Durfee said.
Barry Tanlow, a criminal defense attorney and expert in search warrants, said to Adam Sandler of Daily Variety:
- “It’s wrong to draw some kind of conclusion that Jackson is guilty based on the fact that a search warrant was issued. There are rubber-stamp magistrates who routinely approve search warrants. They will sign anything stuck in front of them”
Police sources told The Times:
- “There is no medical evidence, no taped evidence; the search warrant did not result in anything that would support a criminal filing”
Some lazy media reporters unsuccessfully tried to create innuendo by falsely presenting the chauffeur’s story but their effort died out soon after Gary Hearne’s recorded deposition. Mr. Hearne said he was instructed to remove a briefcase from the Century City condo after the police had completed their search. He also said he never opened it. Police sources put an end to the tabloids’ imagination.
In the meantime, the singer received overwhelming support from his fans all over the world who were calling TV and radio stations to support him even if he was not the topic of discussion in the show. Parents were calling because their kids wanted to express their support. The author of this article was one of the MTV callers. Two 10 year olds, Jeremy & James Alsop, wrote a letter of support to the singer and they made it a song called “ Michael”. The video clip was played at MTV News and it was characterized by Lisa l’Anson as “brilliant”. J. Randy Taraborelli strongly supported Michael Jackson numerous times calling the allegations “bogus” and so did MTV, Sony and Pepsi (Pepsi would later announce that because the Dangerous tour had ended, that the contract had expired but the fans who felt that the company tried to distance itself from the singer openly boycotted their products, and as a result Pepsi sales dropped). Tommy Mottola was the new appointed manager of Sony Music Entertainment, replacing Walter Yetnikoff, and he was criticized for not supporting the singer like Yetnikoff would have done.
Non-tabloid magazines and music magazines had supportive covers and tributes, and program directors of radio stations stated that people were constantly asking for his music. In their various interviews they also said that Jackson had such a huge contribution to music that they could not turn their backs on him just because of an unsubstantiated claim without any evidence to support it, no trial and no conviction. They also asked the media to replace their ridiculous coverage with objective coverage, and they reminded them that it’s not their job to decide if Jackson was guilty or innocent. They pointed that callers were strongly complaining about the tabloid coverage and Jackson’s treatment in the media. People were also writing to newspapers to complain about the salacious coverage, and were calling MTV to leave messages of support. Orlando Sentinel wrote about readers’ reaction “Even people who don’t like the man’s music or his lifestyle couldn’t believe the allegations that the pop star molested a 13-year-old boy”. There was an increase in MJ’s album sales. Anyone who actually followed the 1993 case, and was following the singer years prior to that, knows that the allegations broke into a period where the entire planet was in Jacksonmania.
Numerous celebrities publicly defended him, including Elizabeth Taylor, who also flew with her husband to meet him on the tour. Frank Dileo (his ex-manager who was fired in 1990) and John Branca defended MJ by giving interviews to Rolling Stone. Dileo said “I would trust my own children with him and have. He lived in my house in Encino for seven months. There is no way he did that; it’s not in his nature”. Dileo defended Jackson in 2005 as well. Michael Jackson’s habit of staying in other people’s houses was well known. And thousands of children have interacted with Michael Jackson through the years, and they all had only good things to say about him. Macaulay Culkin’s father would later say that when he asked his children what they wanted to do for the day, they answered that they wanted to go to Neverland. He also said that Jackson treated all of his children equally (both boys and girls), and that his daughters were never left out of the games. He added that the singer felt very comfortable around his family like “one of them”. Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, who has represented numerous celebrities, said that he has seen Michael with children and he would trust his child with him. In a 2009 interview Allan Scanlan, who operated the amusement park at Neverland Ranch for over 15 years, had only good things to say the ranch’s owner and his relationship with children. Bob Good is one of the many people who have met the singer when they were youngsters and, like all the rest, he has defended Jackson, and even offered himself as a character witness in the 2005 trial.
Michael’s fans were protesting worldwide in support of his innocence. Award-winning actor Maximilian Schell paid to take out an ad in the Hollywood Reporter in order to publish his supportive letter to Michael Jackson. He also appeared in a news conference where he talked about it and presented the handwritten letter to the media.
William G. Steiner, former director of the Orangewood Children’s Foundation, a non-profit organization serving abused and neglected children, said that “charges like those against Michael Jackson present significant problems, especially in custody battles. The singer deserves our presumption of innocence. And real victims of abuse deserve our support”. He went on to say:
- “Michael Jackson is particularly vulnerable. Any public figure or individual who works around children or associates with them is not immune from such an accusation, which from time to time is unfounded. Personally, and at the risk of alienating my own children, I think Michael Jackson is an oddball, albeit a most talented oddball. There’s a childlike quality to him. It is not surprising to me, therefore, that Michael Jackson would feel comfortable surrounded by children. Perhaps he has good altruistic reasons for paying so much attention to children and he most certainly might not be a pedophile, but frankly I think that he is probably pretty lonely and, to some extent, lives in his own fantasy world”.
He added that while the media are too busy scrutinizing Jackson, real perpetrators get away. A careful look at the news during that period reveals that there were numerous molestation stories in US, especially in California, involving priests, parents and teachers. At the same time, Woody Allen was accused of molesting his adopted daughter, but he wasn’t scrutinized like Jackson.
LAPD would continue not to elaborate on the case because as they said they didn’t want to feed any wild speculation. With no confirmed and accurate information, and with no evidence, the tabloids would continue to create stories. The press kept repeating the unsubstantiated claims from the illegally obtained report, and failed to mention the extortion description which was in the very same document. Not only did they have no right to display such twisted behaviour, but their biggest problem was that they were internationally criticized for their tactics, and the world witnessed the mishandling of the case by police and media, as well as their undeniable effort to tarnish Jackson’s public image.
The sad consequence of this subculture was that many of these tabloid reporters would later brag about their unprofessional and shameful behaviour. Those very tabloid reporters whose “coverage” has been discredited countless times would continue to lie before an audience forever. And the audience never bothered to look at the facts. People were cognitively disabled from the filthy coverage, and to this day they continue to run with false rumours, displaying their ignorance here and there. Several newspapers attacked CBS’s This Morning anchor Paula Zahn for the decision to call tabloid reporter Diane Dimond of Hard Copy.
“During all the coverage of Michael Jackson’s supposed molestation of this teenage boy, I turned on ‘CBS This Morning’ and saw Diane Dimond being interviewed by Paula Zahn. And I remember thinking, ‘This is a seminal moment in the regression of TV journalism.” – Los Angeles times TV critic Howard Rosenberg.
They were very worried that the tabloid reporters were given air time on mainstream news. The Salt Lake Tribune characterized the CBS incident “a seminal moment in 1993’s incestuous media process”. The international reporting about tabloids being used as “sources” in America was much more condemning. This sad truth was also revealed in the FBI files, where we can see the tabloid covers in their reports, and they had to spend money and time to check every crazy person’s claim. They found nothing credible in these claims, and this is a very disturbing situation for police when a case makes it to the news, and it involves mentally unbalanced people who are trying to get involved in an investigation in order to feel important for 5 minutes.
Burt Kearns, who played a fundamental role in tabloid TV, would later reveal:
“Here’s how it worked: Say someone in the office heard-or decided to start-a rumour that Michael Jackson was caught en flagrante with his llama. The assignment editor in New York would call the L.A. office to check it out. If the story turned out to be unconfirmable-or untrue-it wasn’t necessarily shot down or declared dead. If the story was good enough, some tabloid vet in New York would then feed the deflated tem to one of the many British tabloid newspaper journalists encamped in Los Angeles. The Brit, would seize upon the rumour, pay someone as a supposed “unnamed source” to confirm it, then write the story as a gospel for one of the outrageous London tabloids. The story would next be faxed from L.A. to London, published in England, then faxed back to A Current Affair office in New York, where the staff would do a quick day-of-air story on what they knew never happened in L.A. The story would include a shot of the British newspaper headline to show they were only reporting “what the world is talking about”. So a story that was generated in New York City, shot down in Los Angeles, concocted for England, published in London, and sent on its way back to New York City, would now air across America. The Fox lawyers would okay the story because it was attributed to the London papers”.
Kearns added that it was no wonder why Jackson would need more of his prescribed pills and that tabloid TV treated its viewers like “fucking morons”.
Greta Van Susteren reminded everyone during her appearance on CNN that a reporter’s job is to present only proven facts, not rumours and opinions. The media critic of L.A. Times said that the Jackson story has obliterated the line between the tabloid press and the so-called respectable media. The New York Times refused to continue writing about the story until factual evidence on the case would come out from official sources. Actually, New York Times only covered the facts that were verified from official sources, and they didn’t report anything that came from tabloids. The well respected French newspaper Le Monde wrote that the singer had been convicted by the press based on rumours, and not on facts coming from the police investigation. Le Monde only covered the facts and not the rumours, while at the same time criticizing the tabloid press, along with so many other international newspapers of that status. Barbara Reynolds of USA Today, appeared on CNN’s Mary Tillotson to say that the press was not fair on Michael Jackson and they spent too much time presenting the un-cross examined allegations of Evan Chandler as the truth, even though Michael Jackson was not charged with a crime, and even though it was already known that this person wanted something from Jackson. She went on to say that suddenly the press forgot who Michael Jackson was, and they spent little time presenting the other side of the story in which numerous children and their families were defending the singer.
The hysteria at that period of time in America, where everyone thought their neighbour was a child molester, and anyone could be easily accused, was also mentioned. In fact, during the ‘90s this issue had turned into an epidemic, leading to many false accusations.
At the time it became known that the social workers never interviewed Jordan’s mother, father and sibling because the LAPD sergeant Thomas Felix, asked them to stop their investigation.
Having found no incriminating evidence at all, police began interviewing everyone that was close to the singer, using phone numbers found in an address book they seized from the Century City condo. A police source told the Times that “they are even interviewing friends of friends to see if they were told anything”.
Again, this was falsely presented by tabloid reporters as more people that came forward. In reality, nobody came forward; the police tracked them down, asked them to be interviewed and they all defended Jackson. Many of those kids appeared on TV to publicly defend the singer (Bret Barnes and Wade Robson among them), and did the same thing in the 2005 trial. Families that befriended Jackson continue to defend him to this day.
Another tabloid myth was that Jackson was planning to surrender. Actually the only thing he was planning was his concert that night. Howard Weitzman immediately discredited them: “There is no plan for him to surrender because there is no reason for him to surrender“. Such wishful fantasies of the media never materialized.
In the meantime, the investigation for the extortion claims had begun. Given the fact that Jordan Chandler described the incident in the Child Services report for Ms. Rosato, one can only wonder what kind of investigation was conducted. Evan Chandler and Barry Rothman refused to be interviewed by the police for the extortion claim. How suspicious is that? At the same time Jackson was fully cooperating for the molestation investigation. Rothman filed a lawsuit for defamation of character against Jackson, Fields, Pellicano, and Weitzman because he had to leave Chandler’s representation, since there was an extortion investigation on him. The sad truth is that police did a lousy job investigating the extortion. They didn’t spent the same time, the same amount of tax payers money, they didn’t have the same rage, they didn’t issue search warrants for Rothman and Chandler, they left them alone when they refused to cooperate, they didn’t call a Grand Jury hearing as they did for Jackson, they didn’t fly all over the world to find “potential victims”, and they didn’t question every human being that knew them engaging in questionable and inappropriate techniques like they did for the singer. The extortion was the most plausible explanation and they did nothing to investigate it. Chief Williams failed in his promise to be fair to Michael Jackson. The extortion was not equally investigated and the authorities were obsessed and biased against Jackson. This was also noticed and criticized internationally. The national coverage was (and is) another story by itself.
A reader wrote to Los Angeles Times:
“It is appalling to see the way in which the local television news reporters are covering the allegations against Jackson. After leading every newscast with stories and side stories about the investigation, several stations have taken the high-and-mighty position of criticising the British press for revealing the names of the accusers. Since the local stations are so eager to reveal the name of someone accused of child molestation, why they won’t reveal the names of those accused for extortion? At least the British press is consistent”.
DeWayne Wickham of USA Today, criticized his colleagues for biased and inaccurate coverage, for not including the extortion mentioned by Jordan Chandler in the DCFS report, and for presenting only the graphic unsubstantiated and uncross-examined allegations. He added that accusing Jackson, whose affection of children is known worldwide, for a sex offence is something similar to claiming the Pope has broken his vow of celibacy. It was obvious that an internationally condemned offense was used to bring down an international superstar. Charles Madigan of The Chicago Tribune attacked the media and wrote that Jackson is “drawing hungry sharks”. Reverends Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan asked from the media to exercise some judgement and not destroy somebody through innuendo.
Police officers told The Times that they had a hard time controlling the information presented by the media because tabloids were paying people to come up with stories. They also told Daily Variety: “With denials and conflicting statements all around, and no physical evidence to link anyone, we may have a hard time developing a case that the D.A. can file on. Everybody’s stories have holes in them”. Who told them they had to develop a case? Did they forget what their job was? It never crossed their biased mind that maybe Jackson was innocent. They were not psychologically ready to deal with it. Their job was to find the truth and seek evidence, not to nail Michael Jackson. It was obvious that their objectives were somehow lost during the procedure.
The singer was already experiencing symptoms of stress and was hospitalized twice for exhaustion, dehydration, and migraines, and had to cancel some concerts. He kept releasing taped statements for his fans declaring his innocence and informing them about his health problems.
Police issued a third search warrant for The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. They said they did it to corroborate information. That was a desperate move because it was no secret that June, Jordan and Lily had accompanied Jackson there, and in fact they could all describe the colour of the carpet. According to the waiter, Chad Jahn, who served them in Mirage’s Chinese restaurant, Jackson and Jordan swam with dolphins in the hotel’s marine centre. He also said ”They talked in whispers and laughed like a father and son”.
On August 28, 1993 the Los Angeles Times referred to a man who called them to brag that he went to the police to tell them that he had interviewed some of the youngsters that were also interviewed by the police. He said he had interviewed them for a book that he had been working on for years. The well-known liar who has been discredited by anyone involved in the case, and who has been characterized by Ray Chandler as sleazebag is Victor Guttierez. He was sued by Michael Jackson for his lies, and had to pay him $2.7million dollars. He had to flee the country to avoid payment and declared bankruptcy.
Out of nowhere, a man suddenly appeared and begun making rounds to the tabloids. Ernie Rizzo made “statements” all over the place but it soon turned out that he was a complete scam. He contacted the press saying that he was an investigator working for Evan Chandler. At the same time he contacted the Chandlers saying that he was an investigator for tabloid show Hard Copy. When he was discredited by Evan Chandler he told the press that he was working for June Chandler. When this was discredited too he again said that he was working for the father but it was a “secret”, and that’s why nobody would confirm it! The man was a complete joke. Evan Chandler’s attorney, RichardHirsch, made several public statements about Rizzo and his lies on several occasions, while Rizzo kept changing his story:
- “Mr. Rizzo is not working for or authorized to speak for the family”- “I have notified Ernie Rizzo that he is not authorized to speak on behalf of the father or the family. At this point, he is not retained by anyone connected to the case”-“He is vacationing in California and is free to say anything he likes, just like any other tourist. But that’s all he is, a tourist”.
Ernie Rizzo was so desperate to remain in the news and connect his name to a famous case that he again contacted the press (not the police) and said that someone sent him on an alleged agreement between the mother of a teenager and the “Michael Jackson Organization”, allegedly signed on July 7, 1992 for $600,000. Rizzo said he believed there was a 50-50 chance that it could be real. In reality it was 0% real. The Jackson lawyers called it a phony. Not only had none of Jackson’s lawyers participated in such procedure, but it was written in plain paper with the title General Agreement, it was not written in legal terminology, it contained no real signatures, and there was no such thing as a “Michael Jackson Organization”. The police checked it and did not find any merit in it. Bert Fields sued the Globe tabloid for $10 million dollars. This would only be the beginning of how far troubled people would go to attach themselves to an international story and gain publicity and a few bucks. Many people would come out of the woodwork to claim all sorts of things for tabloids after the 1993 story was made public. Poverty and greed can create all sorts of “memories”. Actually, tabloid reporters would refer to it again in 2005, hoping that the public would not remember the false story from September 1993. The fake September 1993 General Agreement story actually came from a stringer with a shady past who tried to fool Jim Mitteager into buying it. Here is an excerpt of Roger Friedman’s further research on the story, which was already proven false back in 1993. Excerpts of Friedman’s article that was published on March 25, 2005:
Mitteager, at least in the case of Jackson, relied heavily on a sketchy stringer named Taylea Shea. Her veracity consequently became integral to a lot of tabloid reporting at the time.
Shea, who seems to have gone by a number of aliases and had a long list of addresses and phone numbers, could not be contacted for this story, despite many tries.
Neighbors at the Los Angeles address at which she lived the longest do not remember her fondly. They recall a hustler and con woman who was always on the take.
“She should be in jail, if she hasn’t been already,” one former friend and neighbor said.
On one tape, Shea reads what sounds convincingly like a legal document drawn up between Jackson and a 12-year-old boy named Brandon P. Richmond, who is represented by his mother, Eva Richmond.
Brandon, according to the document, received $600,000 from Jackson. He and Jackson would no longer have any contact with each other.
Shea read the document, which is dated July 1992, to Mitteager the following year.
This would have been a blockbuster, if true, because it would make Brandon, not the differently-named boy who settled with Jackson in 1993, the first of Jackson’s accusers.
Shea also says on the tape that the legal document came from the offices of famed Hollywood lawyer Bert Fields, Jackson’s attorney at the time.
No reason is given why Jackson and Brandon Richmond should be separated. The implication, however, is clear.
The Globe published the story without using names. Over time, it was assumed that Brandon P. Richmond was in fact Brandon Adams, a boy who had appeared in Jackson’s “Moonwalker” video.
Discussions on the tapes indicate that the tabloids also believed the two Brandons were one and the same. But there’s a problem with Shea’s story: Nothing adds up.
For one thing, a source close to Fields says the document uses language uncommon to their usual agreements.
Then there’s the actual family.
According to the Adamses, whom I met in January, they don’t know an Eva Richmond.
Brandon Adams’ mother is named Marquita Woods. And Brandon’s grandmother assures me she knows nothing of a $600,000 payment. The family has lived in a modest home in Baldwin Hills, Calif., for 30 years.
Brandon Adams, who is now 25, is a struggling actor. He appeared in “D2: The Mighty Ducks” and the indie film “MacArthur Park,” and is currently working on building a music career.
“I wish I had $600,000,” he said. “I’m broke.”
The Adamses pointed out that Brandon never visited Neverland, just the Jackson family home in Encino.
For a short time they were friendly not only with the Jacksons, but with Sean Lennon and his mother Yoko Ono, who were also part of “Moonwalker.” But the relationship seems to have ended well before Taylea Shea’s big scoop.
Was Shea simply lying to Mitteager to collect a big fee? It would seem so.
Curiously, nobody I spoke with who worked at the tabloids could remember Shea. And her own alleged main source — an attorney then associated with the office of Larry Feldman, the first accuser’s lawyer — insists vehemently that she did not know Shea and had little knowledge of the case anyway.
The poor stringer thought that since Michael Jackson was rich, he would have an organization. Was Larry Feldman’s office involved in spreading false stories about Michael Jackson to press for a settlement and end the tabloid madness, or was Taylea Shea lying about it as well?
Ernie Rizzo had nothing to do with the 1993 allegations and was not anywhere near the parties involved. It was also soon revealed that he had an antagonistic relationship with Anthony Pellicano from a previous case, and he entered the scene out of revenge. For the years to come, “reporters”, would use him as a “source”, only proving their lack of credibility.
Meanwhile, Gloria Allred (who is known for trying cases in the media) was hired as an attorney by Evan Chandler, and she held a news conference on September 2, 1993 at the Regent Beverly Hills Wilshire Hotel. She said: “My client wants the truth to come out. He is ready, he is willing, he is able to testify”. But the truth was very far from that statement. Evan Chandler didn’t want his son to give a deposition under oath, under cross-examination, and under the threat of perjury. And he never did. Their legal actions from that point on would prove that they had no plans to enter a courtroom. A few days after that statement, Gloria Allred was fired and refused to comment. Gloria – my client wants the truth to come out – Allred, was immediately replaced by Larry Feldman, a civil lawyer who filed a lawsuit against the singer on September 14, 1993 (it was later reported that it was a $30 million dollar lawsuit). Jackson’s lawyers filed their answer to the civil complaint denying the allegations. Larry Feldman was the one that fired Gloria Allred through a letter.
The Chandlers were alleging that Jordan was molested by Michael Jackson and nobody else. But in the lawsuit they included as defendants Does 1 through 100 as well. For example, if you were in a train accident your lawyer can sue the rail company plus Does, which would be the company that owns the rail, the companies that maintain the rails, people that were working that day on the train, etc. But molestation is a very specific situation. Was Jordan molested by others that could not identify? The Chandlers never alleged such thing. By suing all of Michael Jackson’s business entities they only showed their greed and nothing else. Jordan Chandler was not molested by Jackson’s business interests, and by suing them they were putting pressure for a settlement involving the companies that held these interests. It was all about money.
June Chandler, in her 2005 testimony, said that Ms. Allred was their lawyer for 2 seconds and she laughed. Larry Feldman is still laughing at Ms. Allred, as it’s revealed from his September 2010 speech on the case for the Frozen in Time seminar. See, he has every reason to find it funny, because he wasn’t the one to scare Evan Chandler with justice statements.
Mr. Feldman immediately starting manipulating the media: “The child is getting crucified; everyone is batting this kid around in the newspaper”. This was a lie and the only one crucified in the press was Michael Jackson. This would be the beginning of a series of false statements and innuendoes by the lawyer, who has since admitted that the media frenzy on the singer helped him push the settlement of the civil case on Jackson’s lawyers.
The day he filed the lawsuit, he also said something interesting in his effort to justify the action. He said that the on-going criminal investigation on Michael Jackson will take a long time to be completed so the lawsuit was meant to speed up the process. He also said that he didn’t even know if all these would lead to an indictment. How did he know that the criminal investigation would take a long time to be completed? The investigation could end the same day, the next month or the next year. Did Mr. Feldman know the truth? It was already known that the authorities had nothing on the singer no matter how hard they tried.
Another interesting thing comes from Ray Chandler. He said that getting a conviction against Michael Jackson would be impossible without a second victim. Why would it be impossible? Wasn’t Jordan telling the truth? Wasn’t he considered a credible witness? How did they know that there was no second victim? The answer is simple. They knew Michael Jackson was innocent. That’s why Jordan Chandler had to name every other kid at Neverland because he “thought” they could have been molested. They desperately needed someone to corroborate his story. As it was previously mentioned, the raid didn’t result in anything incriminating for the singer, and all the other kids defended Jackson.
Mr. Hirsch, the father’s lawyer, said that both parents stand behind that lawsuit. But June Chandler in her 2005 testimony would distance herself from the legal action. She would deny suing Jackson saying that Jordan Chandler’s family did it.
Mr. Mesereau: Q. When you sued Michael Jackson, you sued through Larry Feldman, true?
June Chandler: A. I did not sue Michael Jackson. Jordan Chandler and his family were — that was his family. We did not sue Michael Jackson.
When she was reminded on the stand that her name was in the lawsuit she said that it was Evan Chandler’s idea. June Chandler’s lawyer at the time said that Ms. Chandler was afraid that Evan Chandler would accuse her of negligence if she didn’t comply with his strategy. After a while Michael Freeman resigned in disgust, saying later that “the whole thing was such a mess. I felt uncomfortable with Evan. He isn’t a genuine person, and I sensed he wasn’t playing things straight.”
Mr. Hirsch also said that the father and his son have been interviewed by the police on several occasions regarding the criminal investigation on Jackson. We know two of those dates from Tom Sneddon: September 1, 1993 and December 1, 1993. Detectives Deborah Linden and Rosibel Feruffino were present, and he was questioned by Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Lauren Weis.
At this point, it was time for a Filipino couple to claim some money and fame in the media frenzy. Mark and Faye Quindoy worked at Neverland as housekeeper and cook from 1989 until 1991. They left their employment claiming that they were owed $500,000 dollars (!), and they filed a lawsuit for that reason. After the publicity of the scandal, they said they left because they “couldn’t stand what they were observing”. But in 1992, they had only good things to say about Jackson in the Geraldo Rivera show. When they were asked why they didn’t go to the police but they decided to speak to tabloids after the allegations and after the tabloids were paying for stories, they provided this naive and ridiculous answer: “we were just witnesses not victims”! Mark Quindoy was a lawyer in his country… They held press conferences promoting their diary, talking about serious allegations with a stupid smile on their face while bragging about it. They were shopping for a good deal. After seeing them on tabloids, detectives Sicard and Linden flew to Manila (on taxpayers money) to interview the couple, and found them worthless as witnesses. Quindoy’s nephew, Glen Veneracion, came forward to discredit them. He said they were opportunists that would do anything for money. He also said that they only had good things to say about Michael Jackson, and now they were jumping into the bandwagon. He gave information about his uncle and aunt to Jackson’s lawyers and offered himself as a witness for Jackson. The Quindoy’s diary invention would give ideas to other crooks later on. It also emerged that the Quindoys had a contract with a tabloid 3 years ago to sell information on Michael Jackson.
The cultural decadence displayed by the tabloids made the police’s job difficult.
After the Filipino couple, Philippe and Stella Lemarque (ex-Neverland employees who were fired in 1991) crawled out and contacted former porn star Paul Baressi to help them sell their stories and make the negotiations for them. Stella was dating Baressi prior to her marriage, and knew his connections to tabloids. They sold their story (describing Culkin’s fondling by Jackson) to a British tabloid for $100,000, and when the price became $500,000 the story changed. At the time the Lemarques had a $455,000 debt. The child star would discredit them and would later defend Michael Jackson in his 2005 trial. He is the godfather of Prince and Paris Jackson, and he spoke in Michael’s defense on Larry King Live on May 24, 2004. Macaulay Culkin’s father, Kit Culkin called the Lemarques a “predator pair”. Mr. Culkin not only discredited them, like his son, but he also said something that was corroborated by all the other parents and Neverland staff: that there were always parents present having access everywhere in the house and also the staff was looking after the kids. Baressi was recording the couple as they were making up stories according to the price. He would later explain in detail how he manipulated the media by involving the authorities so he could sound more credible and ask for a better price. He admitted that he didn’t care if the story was true, as long as he had a good percentage from the deal, and he was giving different versions of the fictional story to tabloids to decide which fairy-tale they liked more. The Lemarques had a long history of cashing in on Michael Jackson, and they were negotiating with the National Enquirer in 1991 to sell stories for Jackson, such as Elizabeth Taylor’s wedding at Neverland. They even asked the tabloid to cover their expenses if Jackson sued them. Philippe Lemarque later ran a porn site called Virtual Sin.
The media frenzy continued, and Dr. Bonnie Maslin (clinical psychologist) appeared on Geraldo Rivera to remind everyone that you must know a person before making any allegations as to if they are capable of such act, adding “I’ll ring the neck of any professional who answers that question. Because what you are doing is applying armchair psychology to a person you simply don’t know. You’re taking gossip and turning into fact”. Dr. Maslin was more than right, but in the years to come people would continue to watch TV caricatures playing psychologists and psychiatrists making totally incorrect judgemental statements and hilarious correlations that scientifically do not exist.
In the meantime, the molestation allegations were investigated by Los Angeles D.A. Garcetti, Santa Barbara D.A. Sneddon, the LA Department of Child and Family Services, Lauren Weis-the head of LA County District Attorney’s Sex Crime Unit, and the FBI. As a result of this massive investigation, nothing incriminating was ever found, there were no credible witnesses, and no charges were filed. A 4th search warrant was issued, this time for Jackson’s family home in Encino, which again resulted in nothing incriminating.
There was not such a thorough investigation for the extortion allegations though. The authorities never took it seriously and it didn’t serve their purpose either. By that time (November 1993), it was obvious-at least outside the US- that they were fixated on Jackson and they could not continue the molestation investigation if they gave merit to the extortion allegations. Miraculously, nothing was leaked from the extortion investigation. The leaks only concerned Jackson.
On Friday, November 12, 1993, Michael Jackson cancelled the remaining concerts of his tour, informing his fans through a taped statement about his addiction to prescribed medication:
- ”My friends and doctors advised me to seek professional guidance immediately in order to eliminate what has become an addiction. It is time for me to acknowledge my need for treatment in order to regain my health. I realize that completing the tour is no longer possible and I must cancel the remaining dates. I know I can overcome the problem and will be stronger from the experience. As I left on this tour, I had been the target of an extortion attempt, and shortly thereafter was accused of horrifying and outrageous conduct. I was humiliated, embarrassed, hurt and suffering great pain in my heart. The pressure resulting from these false allegations coupled with the incredible energy necessary for me to perform caused so much distress that is left me physically and emotionally exhausted. I became increasingly more dependent on the painkillers to get me through the days of the tour. Elizabeth Taylor, my close friend, has been a source of strength and counsel as this crisis came about. I shall never forget her unconditional love and encouragement in helping me through this period”.
Elizabeth Taylor held a news conference to inform the public that she had sent MJ to a rehabilitation clinic after witnessing his condition but didn’t say where. It later came out that the clinic was in London.
Larry Feldman, in his well-known and self-admitted game with the media, tried to compensate by interpreting the singer’s hospitalization as an excuse to remain out of the country. Many people were not able to see the facts and read between the lines. As Howard Weitzman correctly put it, if Jackson needed an excuse to remain out of the country, he would have stayed on his tour. There was no arrest warrant, no charges and no legal reason for him to be in US. He had the right to be anywhere he liked and he didn’t need any excuse for it nor could he be labelled a fugitive. Jackson’s personal physician, David Forecast, had provided a sworn declaration backing up the statement that the singer was under treatment for drug addiction (filed on November 23, 1993 for case no SC 026225). Another declaration was filed the same day from lawyer Eve Wagner for the same case, who said that while he was deposed in Mexico for the copyright case, he was glassy eyed, could hardly stay awake, had slurred speech, and was unable to focus on the issues. Bert Fields said that the singer “was barely able to function adequately on an intellectual level”, a statement that Michael didn’t like because it made his fans sad. The video of Jackson’s deposition in Mexico for a copyright case (which he won) proved that he was incoherent and under medication.
It was reported in November 1993 that Jordan Chandler had given a description of the singer’s genitals, and Feldman at that point declined to comment. Howard Weitzman said he was not aware of any search warrant regarding the issue and added “You got to be kidding me. Mr. Fields is going to depose this young man at the appropriate time. And we are not concerned about those issues in this case. We don’t believe it. Period”. It would later emerge that the description was false, and as a result Michael Jackson was not arrested after the search, as he would have been if it matched.
On November 23, 1993, Mr. Feldman gave a news conference outside the courthouse, (after Judge Rothman had denied the defense’s motion to delay the civil trial), and among other things he said that he wanted a medical examination of Jackson’s body, and that he was in the process of requesting it. In the same news conference Howard Weitzman said that the Santa Barbara D.A. didn’t give him copies of the seized material, and that this was unusual. Thomas Sneddon Jr. would continue his unusual behaviour in 2003-2005 as well. Mr. Fields stated in the conference that based on the evidence they were confident that they would prevail in the civil trial and in a potential criminal one. Mr. Weitzman added (he was questioned about it from reporters) that he was only aware of investigation on Chandler’s claims and nobody else’s.
The Times had obtained a letter that Mr. Fields sent to Police Chief Willie Williams when parents of children told him what happened during the police interviews. He sent it on October 28, 1993:
- “I am advised that your officers have told frightened youngsters outrageous lies, such as “we have nude photos of you”in order to push them into making accusations against Mr. Jackson. There are of course no such photos of these youngsters and they have no truthful accusations to make. But your officers appear ready to employ any device to generate potential evidence against Mr. Jackson”.
Howard Weitzman added that police were trying to trick people into making untrue accusations because they had no evidence. Chief William answered that he was satisfied with his officers’ investigation, but this news caused negative reaction from international media.
Instead of following the legal actions that revealed many interesting things, the media were trying to figure out where Jackson was hospitalized.
This time they were offering air time to another scam, Reynoza. This guy fooled them by asking people to believe that he had met Jackson 10 years ago, never had communication with him these 10 years but all of a sudden, in the middle of this ordeal and while under treatment and investigation, Michael Jackson not only chose to call him out of all the people in his life, but he also informed him about his future plans, saying that he was never coming back. Of course we know that Jackson did come back. While he was repeating his fairy-tale, it was reported that Jackson’s plane had landed in the US. For the record, Michael Jackson didn’t know who he was. Raynoza had scheduled an interview for USA Today, but when he found out that the paper does not pay for interviews he cancelled it. After manipulating the media for his few minutes of fame, he would later do the same thing for O.J. Simpson’s case, alleging he could be a witness. The judge found him unreliable and he was characterized as a known liar from the Michael Jackson case.
Jackson’s lawyers had argued that the civil trial should be put on hold until the criminal proceedings would be concluded. The criminal proceedings/investigation could lead to an indictment and a criminal trial –or not – and they could end at any time from this point until the statute of limitation expired. Michael Jackson was asking for justice while the Chandlers were asking for money, while doing everything in their power to avoid justice! Jackson’s lawyers had been fighting for this since October 29. Michael Jackson was willing to be tried in a criminal court, the Chandlers were not. The judge ordered that no interviews be conducted in connection with the civil case until after his decision on November 23. The media either did not understand the legal actions and their significance, or they misinformed the public on purpose. They falsely reported that Jackson was trying to delay the civil trial. In reality, they asked for it to be held until the criminal investigation was completed. And the criminal investigation could be completed at any time, even the next day.
The media and many brainwashed members of the audience failed to notice the difference between a civil and a criminal trial, and failed to understand the meaning of the motions. That’s the standard procedure in every similar case because of double jeopardy (Fifth Amendment right). For the record, in a civil trial the defendant will never go to prison if he loses the case – he will only pay money. Civil trials are for money, not for justice, and the defendant cannot be sentenced to prison.
Larry Feldman argued that this delay of the civil trial (money not justice) could have an impact on Jordan’s memory. But that’s why we have depositions. Jordan Chandler could have given a deposition that could be used in the criminal proceeding and civil trial as well. He didn’t even have to be physically present, and there would be no problem with his memory at all. The problem is that a deposition involves cross-examination and the threat of perjury.
Jordan Chandler never gave a deposition.
Bert Fields stated loud and clear that Michael Jackson wanted to testify and clear his name in the criminal proceedings before the civil trial, a constitutional right that we all have. Nobody wondered why a “guilty” person would insist on a criminal trial that could put him behind bars, and his defense attorneys were fighting to have the motion granted! Unfortunately, on November 23, 1993 Judge Rothman denied the defense’s request as premature since no charges had been filed against the singer at that point, ordered Jackson to give a deposition for the civil trial by January 31, 1994, and set the civil trial for March 21, 1994. In such case, the only way for the defendant to have a fair criminal trial (if the investigation could lead to one) would be to make the civil trial go away.
Because of the filthy coverage, the doctor that was treating Jackson for the addiction issued a statement. Dr. Beauchamp Colclough stated that the singer was not hiding and that he was not undergoing treatment for any condition other than his drug addiction. Jackson’s lawyers invited Larry Feldman to visit MJ in the clinic and witness his condition, but he declined.
It was time for the infamous “Hayvenhurst 5” (five ex-Hayvenhurst employees) to crawl out for money and revenge. These guards (not personal bodyguards) were Leroy Thomas, Morris Williams, Donald Starcks, Fred Hammond and Aaron White. The Quindoys’ and Lemarques’ filed a copycat suit against Michael Jackson, claiming that they were fired on February 1, 1993 because they knew too much (case no BC093593 filed November 1993 in Los Angeles). Of course they never reported anything to the police, and they went to the tabloids to sell their stories, like all the rest. Not creative and very boring, but the tabloids bought it and sold it to their audience. In fact, this was their second lawsuit. They filed for the first time when they were terminated (their lawsuit was dismissed), but they didn’t mention any salacious recollections. Their second lawsuit took place after the 1993 allegations broke, and this had a different effect on their memory. Their lawyer was Charles Mathews. Bert Fields vehemently denied the allegations and said “That never happened. Nobody ever has been fired for anything they know or not know about Michael Jackson”. Actually it turned out that this was their second filing because their first one was rejected and didn’t include such knowledge. It also turned out that they were working for the Jacksons, and not for Michael Jackson, and that he wasn’t the one that fired them. It also came out that when they were fired, Morris Williams called journalist Florence Anthony (Michael Jackson’s friend) and asked her to help him contact MJ. He told her that he knew that Michael Jackson didn’t know he had lost his job, and knew that he could help him get it back. So much for the guards’ credibility. MJ did help him get his job back, but then he was fired again. Williams was dismissed from the suit early, on the grounds that his release was valid. In reality the guards were replaced by a security company that was less costly to the Jacksons, and this company provided guards, paying for their vacations and insurance costs. As usual, it also turned out that the guards were paid from tabloids for their stories (Hard Copy gave them $150,000) and they admitted they needed that money for their lawsuit. The Jackson family discredited their claims, and so did other guards that were working with them, and had also been fired too. They called in to shows in order to discredit the 5 ex guards, and said they were lying to gain money, and that Jackson never had inappropriate behaviour with anyone. The 5 guards were also selling secrets of the Jackson family’s relationship with Michael Jackson, but this was not a secret at all, and it had been reported by J. Randy Taraborelli a long time ago. Leroy Thomas said that MJ asked him to go to his private bathroom and destroy a picture of a nude youngster. He asked people to actually believe that Jackson, who hadn’t lived in Encino for years, who wasn’t their employer, suddenly decided to trust one of them, gave him his key, and then created himself a witness instead of destroying the photo himself! Leroy Thomas enjoyed seeing his face on TV so much that he made the mistake of taking a lie detector test for Maury Povich’s show. Leroy Thomas failed the lie detector in his naked picture fairy-tale. His motivation became more obvious when he announced that he was working on a book about Michael Jackson. Actually the guards, when questioned, said they never witnessed inappropriate behaviour, and they had a different story for police than the one they gave to the tabloids. From William’s 1994 deposition:
“So you don’t know anything about Mr. Jackson and [the boy], do you?” one of Jackson’s attorneys asked former security guard Morris Williams under oath.
“All I know is from the sworn documents that other people have sworn to.”
“But other than what someone else may have said, you have no firsthand knowledge about Mr. Jackson and [the boy], do you?”
“Have you spoken to a child who has ever told you that Mr. Jackson did anything improper with the child?”
When asked by Jackson’s attorney where he had gotten his impressions, Williams replied: “Just what I’ve been hearing in the media and what I’ve experienced with my own eyes.”
“Okay. That’s the point. You experienced nothing with your own eyes, did you?”
“That’s right, nothing.”
In September 1994, during his civil trial Jackson was allowed to plead the Fifth regarding questions of child abuse due to the on-going criminal investigation. During the trial several tabloid “witnesses” paraded, and they had no effect on the jury. It came out that they were all paid from tabloids for their contradictory stories. Ralph Chacon and Adrian McManus testified to help their friends. It came out that they had joined forces and they were selling stories to the media. Ralph Chacon, who could not pay his rent at the time, was bragging to his neighbours and landlady in 1994 that he was about to become rich by being a star witness in the civil trial against Jackson. Adrian McManus was deposed on December 7, 1993 regarding Jordan Chandler’s case. She said she never witnessed sexually inappropriate acts by Michael Jackson and that she would leave her own son with him. When McManus decided to make some money too and joined the guards’ lawsuit, she changed her story in a December 2, 1994 deposition. A co-worker of McManus, Francine Contreras, labelled her a liar and a thief in her 2005 testimony. Among other things, she said that Adrian McManus never told her anything negative about the singer and that she had witnessed the maid stealing on the job. Before the civil lawsuit the former employees didn’t have anything bad to say about Jackson.
The civil trial for the wrongful termination lawsuit was thrown out in July 1995.
The timing that all these former employees chose to recover their memory and sell their stories to the tabloids was highly questioned.
At the time it became known that Jackson was closing another multimillion dollar deal, this time with EMI, and that he owned the largest independent publishing company in the world. People again heard that Jackson was becoming richer which helped them recover their “memory” for money.
In another humiliating moment for tabloids, the London Daily Express printed an imaginary interview with Jermaine Jackson, and they were publicly discredited when it turned out that Jermaine never gave an interview to the tabloid, and he threatened them with a $200 million dollar lawsuit. The interview was the tabloid writer’s hallucination. Jermaine also talked about it when he gave an interview with his mother to Jim Moret of Showbiz Today, and added that his lawyers took care of it.
Meanwhile, the police (while exercising their fifth search warrant ) seized MJ’s medical files to see if Jordan’s description was accurate. The media frenzy kept going, and a reader wrote to the Los Angeles Times “What is it about this guy that makes reporters and anchor-persons lose their journalistic integrity and self-respect?”
Mr. Fields, continuing his effort to put the criminal proceedings first, told Judge Rothman that a Santa Barbara Grand Jury was about to indict Jackson. But the information was wrong and was denied by Santa Barbara officials. Mr. Fields had to admit that he misunderstood the information given to him by Mr. Weitzman, who had learned that subpoenas were issued for two people to attend a Grand Jury hearing in Santa Barbara County, but nothing further than that. Howard Weitzman was very upset by Mr. Fields’ action and so was Michael Jackson. There was a very big disappointment from the Jackson family, and from Elizabeth Taylor, about the way Michael’s lawyers were handling the case. Ms. Taylor had requested from her lawyer, Neil Papiano, to monitor the situation. They didn’t like the fact that the most important motion, to put the criminal proceedings first, has been lost and they thought that the singer’s public image was mishandled.
Michael agreed to be deposed for the civil case on January 18, 1994 The Los Angeles Times wrote on December 4, 1993:
Michael Jackson has agreed to be deposed January 18 about allegations that he sexually molested a 13-year-old boy, lawyers on both sides of the case said Friday.
Jackson’s attorneys have said he is eager to tell his side of the story under oath, but they also have warned that they may oppose efforts to take Jackson’s deposition [in a civil suit] if criminal charges are filed against the entertainer or are still under consideration when the date for his deposition arrives.
In a hearing last month, Superior Court Judge David Rothman ordered Jackson’s deposition [in a civil suit] scheduled before the end of January. But Rothman also noted that he might reconsider that order if Jackson is indicted on criminal charges.
Bertram Fields, one of Jackson’s lawyers, said Friday that the entertainer might request a change in the deposition date if there are significant changes in the status of the criminal investigation before the end of January [indictment]. “If things change in the criminal case, we would reconsider the whole question of the civil case. We want the criminal case to go first.”
Michael Jackson’s intention was more than clear: Justice. And he was willing to risk his freedom because if he was found guilty it would mean that he could go to prison long before the statute of limitations expired. Larry Feldman fought that and asked for money only. When Mr. Feldman filed the civil lawsuit against the singer in September, Anthony Pellicano said that since they couldn’t take the money through extortion they tried another way.
Actually, if a civil trial took place after a criminal one, Mr. Feldman wouldn’t need to lay a finger on the case nor spend money to gather evidence because the government would have done it for him. Written and recorded depositions from the criminal proceedings could be used so no one would forget, and their only witness did not have to be physically present. Why did he fight against it? The criminal proceedings mean justice and it was Jackson’s request. Why didn’t the Chandlers want that?
In September 2010, Mr. Feldman was a panelist at the Frozen In Time seminar, and he made fun of the press’ inability to understand what was legally going on. He also said that although no one understood what that 6 year story was all about, everyone “loved it and picked it up”. Actually, it turned out that tabloid reporters could not understand legal terminology, and everyone was manipulating words and terms, thus misinforming the public. Mr. Feldman also said in 2010 “And how I would watch on television with my mouth open where people, real prominent lawyers, would be on television, on the Today Show, on ABC, talking about this Michael Jackson case, and they had no idea what the facts were, what they were talking about, except that they were talking, and they were very happy to be talking.”
John Branca, one of Jackson’s long-time lawyers, informed him about the media’s naïve reaction and recalled the scene for J. Randy Taraborelli:
JB: “I don’t want to start more trouble but you know people here think you are trying to delay the trial for six years”.
MJ: “Six years? What are you talking about Branca? I don’t want to delay the trial not even a day”.
Then John Branca explained to him Bert Field’s motion and Michael answered:
“No way Branca, that’s not what I want. I am not guilty. I want this over with. What’s Bert doing? No wonder everyone thinks I am running scared”.
Michael Jackson, knowing he was innocent and being very upset with the allegations, wanted to fight, as he clearly stated in his two televised messages on the issue. At the time he believed, as we can see from his very first statement read from Howard Weitzman, that since he was innocent the police would eventually discover it. Probably he didn’t know about the police’s biased investigation and their efforts to nail him.
On December 8, 1993, Jack Gordon (La Toya’s husband and manager) thought it was time for him to cash in as well, so he changed his story. La Toya, who had been seeking opportunities for publicity as long as we’ve known her, told reporters at a Tel Aviv news conference that her brother could be guilty, but on the Today show she added that she was not able to provide any proof, and she said that she never witnessed anything inappropriate. Jack Gordon kept scheduling TV appearances for which they were highly paid. La Toya appeared to know too much considering the fact that she was estranged from her family years ago after her marriage, and MJ hadn’t spoken with her since her Playboy cover. The tabloids didn’t pay much attention to them because they could create their own stories, and they didn’t need the couple. LaToya and Gordon desperately looked for a good deal but the tabloids had already paid others to make up stories.
The Jackson family immediately gave a joint interview and strongly rejected the couple’s claims. Joe Jackson accused Gordon of brainwashing his daughter. They kept publicly bashing La Toya and Gordon on every single chance, and Howard Weitzman made a public statement to discredit her as well. Katherine Jackson kept calling them liars, blaming Jack Gordon for the fictional story. When La Toya left Gordon, she revealed that it was all her husband’s idea, and he forced her to make false allegations about her brother by giving her a script to memorize. She also said that he forced her to shoot the Playboy photos, the erotic videos, and write a tell-all book about her family. She talked about her abusive relationship in great detail in many interviews, and also said that he was threatening to kill her, Janet and Michael if she didn’t comply with his wishes. She described how she was able to escape with the help of her brother Randy Jackson. Gordon’s abusive behavior towards La Toya made headlines when he hit her in 1990, and the photos of her bruised face made rounds in the news. He also hit her in 1993, and his bodyguards didn’t let her contact her family. The FBI was interested in Gordon’s criminal behaviour, and he was investigated for Mafia connections. After the divorce he kept stalking and threatening La Toya, and he wrote a fictional book about the Jacksons. The entire family, including La Toya, discredited him. When he died, La Toya sent her bodyguards to check his funeral and verify that he was dead because he had faked his death before, and she was still afraid of him. It took Michael Jackson several years to forgive his sister.
In December 1993, while the singer was still under medical treatment, the president of the LA. Police Commission told CNN that the LAPD is investigating only Jordan Chandler’s claims. That statement refuted (again) the tabloid reporters who falsely speculated that “new accusers’ claims were under investigation”. Various reporters would keep proving that they could not be trusted because they publicly pondered if Jackson was going to be charged “for molesting young boys”. Among them were several passionate but totally ignorant ladies who appeared on CNN & Company and didn’t know what they were talking about. Their poor memory and poor understanding of the case confused them, and they forgot that the case was about Jordan Chandler and nobody else.
It also came out that in 1993 the National Enquirer tabloid offered $200,000 to Ronald Newt Sr. to lie and say that something happened between his kids and Jackson. Mr. Newt refused to lie and he wrote “no good sucker” where his signature was supposed to go. Mr. Newt’s son talked about what he was told at the meeting: “Say he touched you. All you have to do is say it. But you might have to take the stand. You might have to go on ‘Oprah’ in front of all these people. You have to be prepared for this thing. Just say it. And we’ll give you money”. Jim Mitteager brought them the contract, which was signed by the tabloid’s editor, David Perel. Jim Mitteager taped the conversation, as usual, and it’s included in the famous Mitteager tapes. These tapes prove how the tabloids created false stories about Jackson. Had Mr. Newt agreed to lie for money, we would have another tabloid story and another phantom victim for Michael Jackson. Johnnie Cochran referred to the incident in his April 1994 interview for Ebony. Many friends, doctors, relatives, and members of Jackson’ staff have publicly said that the media offered them money to lie about the singer throughout the years. They also said that publishers asked them to write salacious lies, otherwise there were not interested in publishing their books.
It was Blanca Francia’s turn to cash in and get $20,000 from Hard Copy for her story. She copied the Quindoys, Lermaques and the “Hayvenhurst 5 “. Ms. Francia worked for Michael Jackson from 1986 until 1991, and she too claimed that she quit her job in disgust. Her credibility was destroyed when it emerged that she was actually fired because she was stealing from the house. On the tabloid show Hard Copy she was presented as someone close to Jackson but it also turned out that Blanca Francia hardly knew Michael Jackson. She claimed that she was able to see the singer showering and a youngster was present. That youngster was Wade Robson, who had already publicly defended the singer, and he discredited Francia’s story when he was interviewed by the police. He was also a defense witness in the 2005 trial. In other words, she wanted people to believe that the world’s most private person was leaving his door open while showering so Blanca Francia could see him and sell her story to tabloids. She went as far as saying that she suspected molestation of her own son. The maid was dreaming of a $20 million lawsuit against the singer, after having seen what the Chandlers were capable of. After the airing of her Hard Copy interview, Francia complained that her interview had been edited in such way that she appeared to say things that she actually never said. After her tabloid interview, the maid was questioned by the police and was deposed for the civil trial. Under oath she said that she never saw Jackson naked with anyone and blamed Hard Copy for making her embellish her story.
Francia was discredited by a former security guard, Larry Glenn, who said that Jackson never had improper behaviour with anyone and never saw Jackson without his clothes on. Another maid, Shanda Lujan also refuted her: “I think it’s ridiculous. He was great with kids. I think he’d make a good father. He’s just wonderful with them”. Lujan’s duties involved entering Jackson’s bedroom as well. Francin Orosco, another maid, blasted Francia too for her lies and said “you could tell a lot that she had a little crush on him, very jealous of other housekeepers. She didn’t want no one close to Michael. There’s a lot of jealousy there”. They appeared on Larry King Live (December 23, 1993).
It also became known that Francia was very much involved with the tabloids. So involved that she used a National Enquirer reporter, Lyndia Encinas, as a translator so the reporter can be with her during her police interview. Francia sold her story to National Enquirer as well. The Mitteager tapes reveal an interesting conversation dated January 1994 between the tabloid’s editor David Perel and reporter Jim Mitteager about news on the Francia story from their reporter (the story by Lyndia Encinas was about to appear to the tabloid). Excerpts from Roger Friedman’s article on the issue who presented parts of the tapes:
“No. Just hope the cops don’t freak out when they see the story.”
“They sort of know what’s coming,” Perel replied.
Also the Globe tabloid’s editor is talking to Mitteager about the created stories:
“Jim, when you go in on these deals, talk big money and don’t back off. I mean, talk 50 grand. We need [Jackson’s former manager] Frank DiLeo telling all, at $100,000, if we can get him. We need all of Jacko’s celebrity pals. Anything they said.
“Every kid that has ever been with Jacko, we want to know who he is … where he’s coming from … any pictures available. We want to put big offers to any member of the family. We need to go with the big money. The big offers. It’s the biggest story since [Elvis] Presley‘s death.”
Blanca Francia had told the investigators in 1993 and 1994 that her son had repeatedly denied he was molested. She also complained because the sheriff’s deputies were calling her son Jason and having meetings with him while she was not present. She said it made her feel uncomfortable, and that she didn’t know what the deputies were talking about with her son. After her complaint the investigators arranged separate meetings for the maid and her son with a therapist, on taxpayers’ money of course. The D.A. was present during Jason’s sessions, something which is NOT allowed in therapy. The transcript from Jason Francia’s interview with police reveals that they lied to him, they asked leading questions, and that the other kids that complained about police’s behaviour were right:
Det. Neglia: I realize how hard this is. I realize how painful it is to think of these things you tried so hard not to think about but you are doing fine. And you are also helping the kid that he is bothering now.
Jason Francia: What do you mean he’s bothering?
Det. Birchim: He’s doing the same thing.
Jason Francia: Macaulay Culkin.
Det. Neglia: Only he’s getting a lot more into it. Like your mother pulled you out of there. Macaulay’s mother is not going to pull him out of there. They are feeding him.
Det. Birchim: He’s doing worse stuff.
Det. Neglia: It’s much worse with him.
Of course they were lying, and Macaulay Culkin had discredited them repeatedly. Moreover, one officer, Federico Sicard, told attorney Michael Freeman (June Chandler’s lawyer) that he had lied to the children he’d interviewed and told them that he himself had been molested as a child.
Once again, from the same police interview transcript during Jason’s 2005 cross examination:
Q. Do you remember in that interview one sheriff telling you, “Mr. Jackson is a molester,” and the other saying, “He makes great music, he’s a great guy, bullshit”? Do you remember that?
A. I don’t remember that specifically, but I think I remember hearing it on the tape, which was my voice, or his voice.
Jason Francia, in his 1994 deposition under oath, said that the investigators pressured him to come up with stories. When he was cross-examined about it in 2005 he had amnesia:
Q. Do you remember stating in that interview, “They made me come out with a lot more stuff I didn’t want to say. They kept pushing. I wanted to get up and hit them in the head”? Do you remember that?
Q. Would it refresh your recollection if I show you the transcript of that?
A. Probably not. But you can show it to me anyway.
Q. Do you remember anything you said in that interview at the moment?
A. Not really.
In another part of his interview with the police he tried to make up a story. When Tom Mesereau in 2005 pulled out the transcript, Jason Francia was hit with amnesia again:
Q. — that was recorded – all right? – when asked if Mr. Jackson said anything to you about whether you should discuss what happened, do you remember telling the interviewers, “No, but I’m working on that”?
A. I do not remember that.
Q. Would it refresh your recollection if I show you the transcript?
A. No. But — you could bring it over.
Q. Well, I can’t unless you’re willing to see if it refreshes your recollection.
A. Okay. Bring it over. I’ll give it a shot. I’ll read it just to see if it refreshes my memory.
Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Have you had a chance to
23 review those pages –
24 A. I have.
25 Q. — of your transcript?
26 Do they refresh your recollection about what
27 you said on that subject?
28 A. No, it does not. 4942
1 Q. It doesn’t.
2 A. Sorry.
“Research over the last several years dramatically demonstrates the importance of properly interviewing child witnesses. Interviewers with pre-existing biases who ask leading, suggestive, questions risk confirming their beliefs and getting false information. There is now a clear consensus in the scientific community about how children must be interviewed in order to get accurate, uncontaminated, forensically useful information. Unfortunately, field interviewers aren’t using these techniques. Instead, they readily slip into undesirable behaviours that risk compromising the integrity of the interview and the reliability of the information the child gives them”.
Hollida Wakefield, American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 2006
The issue of these unacceptable techniques was brought up in the 2005 trial, and one of the investigators had to admit under cross examination that this was not what they were taught in police academy. In addition, the tape of the Gavin Arvizo’s (2003 accuser) police interview explicitly proves that the investigators engaged is such ridiculous techniques and one of the jurors, Paul Rodriguez, said that the police tried to make Gavin come up with allegations. Anyone who has seen this tape has noticed the amateuristic behaviour of the police officers, and the leading questions.
Jason Francia’s 2005 testimony was so ridiculous that the jurors were overheard by media members laughing at him repeating parts of his testimony during their break, after they have heard his testimony. Their behaviour was reported to Judge Melville. Paul Rodriguez, the jury foreman of the 2005 trial had this to say to Nancy Grace about Jason Francia after the verdict on June 13, 2005:
GRACE: Mr. Rodriguez, did you believe the boy that came in that is now a youth minister (Jason Francia) that stated Jackson molested him in the past?
RODRIGUEZ: Well, we got a little problem with that because he had no idea where some of his money came from, and he didn’t want to talk to his mother. And so those kind of things that we kind of didn’t focus on, but it did keep — we kept that in the back of our minds.
GRACE: So would it be safe to say you did not believe him?
RODRIGUEZ: Yes, we had a hard time believing him.
GRACE: Yes. What about the one kid that became a youth minister, who stated plainly Jackson molested his — fondled his genitals?
RODRIGUEZ: Again, like you said earlier, you know, about his scenario or his testimony, it was hard to buy the whole story, when he acted like he knew nothing about it. I mean, he acted so much like the mother of the other accuser (June Chandler), you know, he just didn’t seem that credible.
He didn’t seem to convince us, like we wanted to be convinced. And he just — he was leaving too many little loopholes in his statements.
Blanca and Jason Francia had been interviewed by the police in 1993, and were deposed in 1994 for the Grand Jury hearings in the context of the criminal proceedings regarding the Chandler’s case. As a result, Michael Jackson was not charged with a crime. Blanca and Jason Francia, who had given different stories according to who was asking them and were paid by tabloids, were not credible witnesses. Jason Francia told a reporter in 2004 that Michael Jackson never had improper behaviour, he was always good to him, and bragged about being in Neverland. In fact, Jason Francia cannot even be considered an alleged victim because there was never an investigation for him, and charges were never filed.
It was also revealed in 2005 that Corey Feldman was interviewed in 1993 by Sgt. Deborah Linden and Detective Russ Birchim, and the tapes reveal the shameful behavior displayed by the police in Michael Jackson’s case. Although he completely denies any abuse, they keep pressuring him, and Feldman went as far as telling that he knows how abuse is because he has been a victim and he knows the difference. He even named his abuser but since it was NOT Michael Jackson the police investigators didn’t care! Parts from his 1993 police interview from the tapes:
- “I myself was molested so I know what it’s like to go through those feelings, and believe me, the person who molested me, if this was him that did that to me, this would be a different story because I would be out there, up front, doing something immediately to have this man given what was due to him.” –“You don’t know how many times I have racked my brain and gone, ‘is there something I’m forgetting? Is there something that, you know, I’m thinking didn’t happen but it really did?’ If I could find something I would love to be able to tell you, but nothing happened.”
Corey Feldman also appeared on Larry King Live on November 21, 2003, and repeated that Jackson never acted inappropriately with him and that he had never seen him acting inappropriately with any other kid at Neverland. It also turned out that Corey Haim was not a “victim” of Michael Jackson either, no matter how hard the police “investigators” tried to make all these people come up with stories so the prosecutors can justify the huge loss of the taxpayers’ money. They had interviewed everyone that knew the singer, and they came up with nothing.
In early December, Maureen Orth appeared on Larry King to promote her article on the allegations that would appear on the January 1994 issue. J. Randy Taraborelli was there to defend Michael Jackson against Orth’s article, and Katherine Jackson called, being furious, to blast Orth as well. Maureen Orth looked uncomfortable under Katherine’s attack.
On December 10, 1993, Michael Jackson returned home, proving the tabloids wrong once again. He was accompanied by the Cascios, who would remain his friends until his dying day, and they would support him in 2005. During a 2010 interview with Oprah Winfrey, the Cascio parents said that they had to explain to their kids in 1993 what was going on because they couldn’t understand it. Ms. Winfrey, who does not have a clue about Michael Jackson, would advertise the Cascios’ interview referring to them as a family whose relationship with Michael Jackson was a secret. This is the classic way that the media fools their audience. It was not a secret because we know it since 1993 and Frank Cascio gave an interview on June 2005 to defend Jackson when he no longer had the gag order.
When Michael Jackson came back home, Hard Copy falsely reported that the singer was selling Neverland, proving again that they didn’t research their stories. In reality it was a nearby property for sale that had nothing to do with Jackson.
On December 13, 1993, Jackson’s lawyers asked for a gag order so that the media could not get any additional information, and they also asked that Larry Feldman be barred from providing information about the civil case to the D.A. Johnnie Cochran Jr., the new lawyer on board (for Jackson), said “we have to protect Michael Jackson’s right to a fair trial. This case cannot be tried through press conferences”. He added that they had concerns that the D.A. would try to use the civil case to indict MJ: “the D.A.’s office has all the power and all investigators. They can talk to witnesses themselves. Why would they piggy-back on depositions on this case?” Mr. Feldman would acknowledge in his 2010 speech the importance of the singer’s Fifth Amendment right and the fact that the defense’s legal actions were moving around it.
Johnnie Cochran Jr. announced that the singer was back and ready to establish his innocence. The LAPD didn’t announce the status of the investigation at that point, but Reuters reported they would announce their decision to file or not charges in early 1994.
On December 20, 1993, leaders of the Western Regional N.A.A.C.P. blasted media for their coverage on Michael Jackson, and they reminded everyone that media have a long history of trashing black people. They also sent a letter to Los Angeles D.A. Gil Garcetti and to L.A. Police Chief Willie Williams questioning the handling of the criminal investigation. Parts of the letter included “What is the agenda of your investigation team? Why are some facts of the investigation being ‘leaked’ and others not? Is this investigation being carried out in an ethical manner?”. They also said that the tabloid coverage was biased and racist and if there are charges to be filed those charges will be filed in a courtroom not in a newsroom. And if there is someone to judge the case it will not be the news anchor but someone appointed at the bench.
On December 21, 1993, it was announced that Bert Fields and Anthony Pellicano were no longer members of Jackson’s team. While Mr. Fields was fired by Michael Jackson, Anthony Pellicano said it was a mess and he didn’t agree with the new team, so he decided to leave and continued to defend MJ’s innocence. Actually the only new member was Mr. Cochran, and when he came on board it was clear that he didn’t object to a settlement like Fields and Pellicano. For the record, Johnnie Cochran Jr. was a long time friend of Larry Feldman’s, and Mr. Feldman once represented him in a case. Mr. Fields would later say “They had a very weak case, we wanted to fight. Michael wanted to fight and go through a trial. We felt we could win.” A member of the Jackson team told The New York Times that the singer was surrounded by “advisers and leeches” that made him distant and unapproachable. Both of his ex-wives would refer to these leeches, and so did his friends. One of the people representing Jackson at the time was Carl Douglas, who worked for Mr. Cochran and was member of the defense team. Mr. Douglas, when he was called to talk about the case at the Frozen In Time Seminar, appeared to care more about the fame that came from the case than defending Jackson, and bragged about being able to visit Neverland, working with Johnnie Cochran, and buying a new car with his payment as member of Jackson’s team. Did the new team have Jackson’s best interest in mind?
In the meantime, there were rumours that the authorities were investigating possible molestation of Blanca Francia’s son. In reality, the authorities were trying to make Jason Francia come up with a story and there wasn’t an investigation for him nor were charges filed.
The authorities informed Jackson’s lawyers that they would continue the investigation at least through February and it was reported that Michael Jackson was spending $100,000 dollars per week for his defense. His lawyers lost key motions that would have delayed the civil case until after the disposition of the criminal case. They had also lost the motion to prevent Larry Feldman from turning over the civil case information to prosecutors. It was clear that Larry Feldman was pushing for a settlement like every other smart lawyer would do. If he cared for justice and not for money he would agree not to disclose information to the D.A. By violating the singer’s right to a fair trial, he was leaving the Jackson lawyers with no choice. Mr. Feldman would later refer to the significance of the 5th Amendment right, and its effect on the defense’s decisions about the civil case: “then we filed a motion right away to get a speedy trial.” And “there was a criminal case behind the civil case, and they had to defend him worrying about his Fifth Amendment rights.”
Mr. Feldman elaborated more on this when he discussed the settlement of the civil lawsuit in 2010:
- Yes, [it was] a total voluntary agreement. To put it into context, at the point this case settled, a lot of witnesses had been deposed, but Michael Jackson had not been deposed (for the civil case), and at some point in time Michael Jackson was going to have to decide whether he was going to take the Fifth Amendment, which he didn’t, or whether he was going to let us depose him. And there was a lot of procedural maneuvering by the defense to try to keep putting that decision off. And as that decision and their moves were not able to accomplish what they wanted, which was never to have Michael Jackson take the Fifth Amendment.
People like Mr. Feldman, who are not ignorant about the law and the facts of the case, know very well that in a civil trial if the defendant pleads the Fifth, it is legal suicide. Civil trials are very different from criminal trials. Mr. Feldman understood very well that Michael Jackson wanted to be deposed for the criminal proceedings first and used that weak spot to pressure for a settlement.
Larry Feldman also said
- “The defense, with all due respect to them, had to worry about not just defending Michael Jackson in civil court, but more importantly they knew there was a criminal case behind the civil case, and they had to defend him worrying about his Fifth Amendment rights”.
Larry Feldman had to fight hard for it because on January 11, 1994, Jordan Chandler would reach 14 years of age, and that meant that he would no longer be entitled to trial within 90 days. In that case the criminal case would come first and Mr. Feldman didn’t want that, so he used Jordan’s age to pressure the judge:
- “If we could get Michael Jackson to answer the complaint before the boy turned 14 years of age, then we would be entitled to a trial in 90 days. That was the selling point to the district attorney to give me a chance to see if we could get this under or 120-day speedy trial. We filed the complaint, they answered the complaint for whatever reasons, and then we filed a motion right away to get a speedy trial”.
On December 22, 1993, Michael Jackson released a live statement from Neverland Valley Ranch. Kamau Omowale, spokesman for Johnnie Cochran, informed the media and said “I don’t know whether he is going to read the statement or whether he has memorized it, but it will definitely address the boy’s allegations”. The Los Angeles Times wrote “the entertainer’s announcement was treated with the gravity of a presidential news conference” and it was also reported by Jim Moret of CNN as “demonstrating media power normally reserved for world leaders”. All seven Los Angeles broadcast stations interrupted their programming to carry the statement live which was also shown worldwide. At 3.00 PM EST, Michael Jackson, through this strong and emotional statement, informed the audience about his health, vehemently denied and blasted the allegations (which he called disgusting), asked the public not to treat him like a criminal, angrily blasted the media coverage, and described the body search he had to endure to prove his innocence. Michael Jackson was fighting back.
The body search was conducted on December 20, 1993, and was officially confirmed by Jackson himself in his Neverland statement. The dissatisfaction of the parties, which the singer referred to in his statement, came from the fact that the authorities had to leave his house empty handed after the search because the description didn’t match, and as a result they could not arrest him on probable cause.
Present in that search were: Jackson’s bodyguard Bill Bray, his lawyers Johnnie Cochran Jr. and Howard Weitzman, his personal physician from the Dangerous tour David Forecast, his dermatologist Dr. Arnold Klein, and his personal photographer Luis Swayne; for the authorities: Santa Barbara D.A. Tom Sneddon, Detective Russ Birchim (for SBPD), photographer Gary Spiegel, Detective Sicard (for LAPD) and Dr. Richard Strick. The doctors, the photographers, and Jackson’s bodyguard were the only ones present during the actual search. Tom Sneddon, along with two detectives, Dr. Forecast and Jackson’s lawyers were in another room. The singer was described as being angry and hostile.
In a desperate move after realizing that Jordan’s description didn’t match, and an arrest could not be made, Larry Feldman asked the court to obtain Jackson’s photographs so his client can have a look and make a second description. Here is what he asked in his multiple choice motion: a) to obtain the photos so that Jordan Chandler could make a second description and then Michael Jackson could undergo a second search b) in case that could not happen he asked for the photos to be excluded from evidence in the civil case.
Tom Sneddon, in his own desperate move after the negative results of the body search, went back to Jackson’s medical records to check if he could find what he was looking for there. Again he left empty handed.
Jackson’s lawyers said that the police didn’t give them the affidavit they used to get the search warrant, and when they asked for it they got one full of blanks. They also said that the search warrant of that kind was unusual. That was suspicious enough from the very beginning, and combined with Mr. Feldman’s motion after the body search result was known, it was clear that Michael Jackson was being set up. It was outrageous and few people noticed it because the majority of the audience never followed the case and they were too busy believing their favourite tabloid anchor. The affidavit had the probable cause, which means that they would search for something very specific, but the problem was that the description was so general that they tried to tailor it and could not present the affidavit.
Jordan Chandler made a funny drawing for the police and he wrote “my theory” on it. What theory? Was he making it up? It was supposed to be a description, not a theory. Jordan said Michael was circumcised, but he was wrong. Michael Jackson was not circumcised, and it was determined by the doctor. A naïve guess, given the fact that Evan and Jordan were Jewish and they probably assumed that all men are circumcised. Jordan also talked about a “white spot similar to the colour of his face”. Tom Sneddon talked about a “dark blemish”. Nice try! Michael Jackson talked about his vitiligo disease during his interview with Oprah Winfrey in February 1993, and everyone that knew him had already seen the marks. Jordan Chandler made a wrong guess, talking about a dark background with a light spot, and Tom Sneddon would later try to cover that mistake by talking about a light background with a dark spot. No wonder Michael Jackson was not arrested that day. And no wonder why Jordan’s original description made to police woman Deborah Linden suddenly “disappeared” after the search.
Dr. Richard Strick, who was the doctor hired by the police to determine if Jordan’s description was a match or mismatch, dropped a bombshell in 2009. During an interview with Geraldo Rivera he revealed that he was told there was a match. We know there was not a match and that’s why Jackson was not arrested. Dr. Strick was there to determine if there was a match, which means that someone didn’t let him do his job, or someone questioned his findings. That someone was no other than Tom Sneddon, who was not present during the search (he was in the house but in another room), and flatly admitted in 2005 that he was the one that arbitrarily made that decision, hoping that the public would not remember the inconsistencies, and that no one would notice that the district attorney is not a medical expert, and it was not his job to decide anything about it. He did that when he was losing the 2005 trial, and he tried to lynch Michael Jackson both inside and outside the courtroom.
After the devastation that they suffered after not being able to arrest Jackson, the authorities had the audacity to claim that somebody saw a dark spot but they didn’t photograph it. So we had to believe that though the reason for the search was this, the police somehow didn’t take a picture. Apart from exposing the biased investigation it doesn’t have any other significance because Jordan didn’t talk about a dark spot anyway. When Tom Sneddon was losing the 2005 trial and tried to save face, he got a response from Tom Mesereau in a filed motion that a description (not the original one with light splotch) without the photographs, and photographs without the description mean nothing. Tom Sneddon never presented the Linden Affidavit in his filed motion because there was not a correct description in it.
In late January 1994 USA Today and Reuters cited law enforcement sources confirming that “photos of Michael Jackson’s genitalia do not match description given by the boy who accused the singer of sexual misconduct”. Lisa l’Anson reported it for MTV News (MTV Europe). Though the news was reported internationally, little attention was paid in US.
Michael Jackson and his then wife Lisa Marie gave an interview to Diane Sawyer for ABC’s Prime Time Live on June 14, 1995. Michael, who knew more about his case than the pundits, gave the best answer himself:
Diane Sawyer: How about the police photographs, though? How was there enough information from this boy about those kinds of things?
Michael: The police photographs?
Diane Sawyer: The police photographs.
Michael: That they took of me?
Diane Sawyer: Yeah.
Michael: There was nothing that matched me to those charges, there was nothing.
Lisa Marie: There was nothing they could connect to him.
Michael: That’s why I’m sitting here talking to you today. There was not one iota of information that was found, that could connect me
Diane Sawyer: So when we’ve heard the charges
Michael: There was nothing
Diane Sawyer: …markings of some kind?
Michael: No markings.
Diane Sawyer: No markings?
While Tom Sneddon was trying to lynch Michael Jackson in the public, he failed to explain why the singer was able to sit and talk to Diane Sawyer.
Michael Jackson’s lawyers (Cochran & Weitzman) appeared on Larry King Live right after the live Neverland statement on December 22, 1993, and brought up the possibility that Jordan Chandler had been put up to make the allegations, and they also revealed that at one point he had recanted his allegations to an investigator. They said that the paid tabloid witnesses did not say anything incriminating in their depositions and they recanted their tabloid stories. They also appeared on the Today show the next morning and again disclosed that all witnesses that had been questioned said that the singer never did anything improper, and that Hard Copy had tricked them. They met on December 14, 1993 with Larry Feldman, Deputy D.A. Lauren Weis and Judge David Rothman to discuss the case and they were informed about the investigation. Larry Feldman would later reveal how disturbed he was when he found out that one of his potential key witnesses had been paid $15,000 from Hard Copy. That’s all Mr. Feldman had; people that contradicted their stories and were paid from tabloids. These people that were interviewed by the police, testified in front of two Grand Juries, in front of a jury in a civil trial, and in the 2005 criminal trial, and nobody believed them. And Mr. Feldman had to rely on these people while we all thought that Jordan Chandler was his key witness. That admission was interesting to say the least.
Johnnie Cochran Jr. told JET magazine “They (Hard Copy) want ratings. Any similarity between the truth and Hard Copy is purely coincidental”.
In late December it became known that Court TV intended to televise the civil trial, contributing to the media circus surrounding the case.
On December 28, 1993, after Michael Jackson’s televised message from Neverland, Larry Feldman tried to reduce the PR damage. He filed a declaration on Jordan’s behalf about the alleged molestation as an addition to his already filed civil lawsuit. This declaration was “somehow leaked” to the press. Few people noticed the details: It was written in an official and adult language, and it did not come directly from Jordan Chandler. There was nothing new in the declaration – it was the Child Services report repeated. The signature under the name “J. Chandler” does not match Jordan’s handwriting (we have already seen his letters from the drawing that was attached as Exhibit 1 to Detective Ferrufino’s report in LAPD Case No. 930822245). Jordan Chandler could not sign anything because he was a minor. Tabloid reporters with limited perception referred to this declaration as a “deposition”. They didn’t know the difference between a declaration and a deposition and they were totally ignorant about the case. Jordan Chandler never gave a deposition. Johnnie Cochran Jr. had to call in one of the shows to inform them about their mistake.
Larry Feldman also asked to see Jackson’s financial records (another indication that the case was all about money), and he also asked to see the defense’s evidence for the civil case: “He is a millionaire hundreds of times over whose assets are tied up in intangibles. Plaintiff will need the three months remaining before the trial to be able to track down these assets and come up with an approximation of their worth”. One of the singer’s associates told J. Randy Taraborelli “once Feldman started demanding information about his bank accounts, we knew the game was over. You can take pictures of Michael’s dick and he is not gonna like it. But once you start trying to figure out how much money he has, that’s when he stops playing around”. These were characterized as unusual requests. Larry Feldman knew or correctly assumed that Michael Jackson would not be amused. Somehow Jackson’s financial records would end up in tabloids like all the rest. Malcolm Boyes, producer of the tabloid show Inside Edition, had this to say about Feldman’s motion referring to Jordan’s declaration leak: “The media ran with it and it helped Feldman push the settlement”. Larry Feldman had to keep the unsubstantiated allegations in the public’s mind.
A Santa Barbara Grand Jury had begun hearing witnesses since December 1993, and when Harvey Levin of L.A.’s KCBS-TV made the report, Howard Weitzman said he didn’t know anything about it. Santa Barbara officials didn’t confirm or deny its existence at that point but it later became known that the report was correct.
On January 22, 1994, the NAACP awards aired and Michael Jackson, who was there as a presenter, took the chance to declare his innocence again.
Also on January 22, 1994, there were rumours that the civil dispute was near a settlement. At that point Larry Feldman had stopped spreading innuendo in the media because his goal had been achieved. Larry Feldman fought hard for that settlement, and that’s what civil lawyers do. He fought in every legal and PR way he could think of, and he certainly deserved his payment. It was his personal achievement. A New York attorney told Time magazine “Feldman publicized, publicized, publicized, and then got the big settlement”.
The tabloids, instead of researching the correct amount, began throwing ridiculous amounts coming from their imaginations. On the other hand, several newspapers reported that people close to the singer had called these amounts “preposterous”, and they said the amount would be closer to $5 million.
On January 24, 1994, the Los Angeles D.A. announced, through his spokesperson, Mike Botula, that no action was planned regarding the criminal investigation of the extortion allegations. Was the timing a coincidence or was Michael Jackson being punished for not allowing the prosecutors to build a case from the civil one? If they had a case they would have filed charges during their six month investigation. For the record, there were never “leaks” for the extortion investigation, no search warrants, no Grand Jury, and no interviews of the alleged suspects and their friends. In that announcement the D.A didn’t announce their detailed actions as they would do for Jackson months later. Why? The extortion investigation still remains a mystery. When Mr. Botula was questioned by reporters about the rumours of a settlement in the civil case, he answered that the negotiation of an out of court settlement is not against the law.
That same day Jordan’s parents resigned as guardians, and a retired appellate court judge (Jack Gersten) was appointed as a Guardian Ad Litem for him.
With the settlement rumours mounting, the tabloids went ballistic. They would make any kinds of laughable speculation in order to capture their audience’s attention. They were about to lose their everyday coverage and they were terrified. Many people actually made a living and built a “career” as Michael Jackson detractors.
A few voices of reason (not from the tabloids of course) pointed out the obvious: the case was over exposed and was hurting the singer’s career and future income. He was tried and convicted from the filthy tabloids, and he could not have a fair trial. He had also lost key motions, and as a result he could not be deposed for the criminal proceedings first because his Fifth Amendment right had to be secured. If Michael Jackson wanted to “pay off” the Chandlers, he would have done it in July or August 1993 when he had the chance, and nobody would have ever heard of the Chandler’s story.
Unfortunately many misinformed people failed to notice important facts before they humiliated themselves with their baseless “theories”: Jackson had no other legal option to secure his Fifth Amendment right. Given the fact that the case involved a minor, the police were investigating him anyway, and this had nothing to do with the civil case. And they had investigated him for 6 months with 6 search warrants (including the body search), conducted numerous interviews (even with the tabloid paid tell all witnesses), impanelled two Grand Juries,and Jordan Chandler had already been interviewed by the police. The story had been leaked to the press since August 23, 1993. As a result of this investigation Michael Jackson was not arrested and no charges were filed against him. All of this took place 6 months before the settlement. There was nothing for him to “buy out”. He was not being prosecuted; he was being sued and he never faced jail in 1993. Any statement to the contrary only shows complete ignorance on the case and lack of common sense.
Michael Jackson’s Fifth Amendment right was the only priority because of the on-going criminal investigation, but the tabloid pundits had a limited perception. No wonder Larry Feldman laughed at their ignorance. In reality, these ignoramuses helped him achieve a settlement. In fact, Michael Jackson could not participate in any civil trial regarding molestation allegations for that very reason, and that means that he could not even file a lawsuit for slander against anyone who would come up with stories.
The singer, through his legal actions, proved that he wanted to be deposed first for the criminal proceedings. Jordan Chandler, through his lawyer’s motions, fought against it and proved that he wanted to avoid justice, and only asked for money. Every legal move the Chandlers made was only about money, and the allegations which were followed by the civil suit occurred after Jackson refused to pay the $20 million in August 1993.
Jordan Chandler could never be a credible witness, and that’s why he avoided the deposition long before the settlement of the civil case. Jackson’s lawyers had publicly stated how eager they were to cross examine him. He had changed his story under the influence of a drug (sodium amytal), he said he was aware of his father’s plan, and there was no one corroborating his story. All of the other kids (including their parents) defended Jackson and the tabloid “witnesses” didn’t say anything incriminating to the authorities. The search warrants and the six month investigation did not result in anything incriminating either. The case was weak before the settlement. All of the discredited rumours were more than enough for the tabloids, but they would make little impression before a jury.
In 2004, during the secret Grand Jury proceedings for the Arvizo case (where no judge and no defense lawyers were present), in which “you can indict a ham sandwich”, there was wishful speculation in the tabloid press that maybe Jordan Chandler would be called to testify. Though people who had not spoken to Jordan, including his uncle Ray, speculated that he would flee the country, Jordan was photographed skiing in the US with his girlfriend. And the FBI files reveal that he was not interested in testifying against Jackson; in fact, he threatened to take legal action to fight a subpoena to testify against Jackson. On March 21, 2004, on Fox Live with Rita Cosby, prosecutor John Kelly was asked what value it would have to the Arvizo case:
RITA COSBY, HOST: John, I wanna start with you. How important is this first boy’s testimony to the case?
JOHN KELLY, PROSECUTOR: No value whatsoever. I mean
COSBY: No value? Why is that?
KELLY: Well, first of all, if they can’t get indictments, secure an indictment without bringing up some testimony from 11 years ago, the prosecution is in big trouble. Secondly, If they’re gonna bring him in to show some pattern or course of conduct, and they don’t have anything between 11 years ago and now, it’s gonna be inadmissible, and they’ll probably move to quash the subpoena in the first place. And thirdly, you gotta remember this boy literally took the money and ran 11 years ago and he’s not gonna give any helpful testimony to bring himself back into this right now.
In the same episode defense attorney Mel Sachs said “Also the general rule is that uncharged crimes cannot be brought in against a defendant in court and there’s a balancing test: does the prejudicial effect outweigh the probative value. And here, this is highly prejudicial and inflammatory”.
James Rogan, a law professor, judge of the Superior Court of California, and one of the authors of the Prior Bad Acts Law, talked about the fact that prosecutors still could have pursued the 1993 allegation had they had a strong case on Crier Live, December 16 2004:
JAMES ROGAN, May I add one thing to that, Catherine, if I may?
CATHERINE CRIER: Yeah. Go ahead.
ROGAN: One other thing that if I were the defense attorney, I’d try to delve into this: just because there was a settlement, it still didn’t preclude a criminal charge from being brought.
The prosecution still could have subpoenaed witnesses, could have ordered a judge to have them testify. What does that say about the prosecution back in 1993 looking at that case and making a determination whether there was enough to prove it?
And so, there’s gonna be – I think there’s gonna be enough ammunition on both sides and really ultimately it’ll be a question for the jury if it goes to who’s credible and who’s believable.
In that same episode, defense attorney Victor Sherman commented on the fact that Larry Feldman and Johnnie Cochran Jr. were friends:
VICTOR SHERMAN: Well what I find particularly interesting about this situation is that the lawyers for the boy and the lawyers for Michael Jackson were all friends. So the settlement, in a sense, was among lawyers that knew each other, worked with each other, worked later in years with each other. I think one of the attorneys represented the other attorney. So, you know it’s all very murky what exactly happened in those days. And I think, I don’t know, but unfortunately it may be that all of the attorneys are going to be involved in – why did they reach a settlement? What was the motivation?
What was the facts behind it? Did they think that Michael Jackson really had a problem? Or did they feel that from a business point of view it was just better to pay the money even thought they didn’t think the charges were founded?
So it’s a very complicated case. And I think it could get very interesting. Now, I don’t know how far they’re gonna go into that as to why they reached a settlement…On the other hand, if they attorneys get into the fact that it was a business decision, then we have a different situation.
Howard Weitzman, Jackson’s lawyer from 1993, appeared on Geraldo Rivera on January 18, 2004, to discuss the issue:
HOWARD WEITZMAN: As I saw, I felt 10 years ago it was a case that could be tried and won. I feel today if that person surfaces again the lawyers, if they’re well prepared and do their job, will be able to dissuade people that the offense took place. Wait and see what happens.
In the same interview to Rivera, Mr. Weitzman said that the Chandlers never filed a criminal complaint. They only filed a civil one. He also said that he didn’t agree with the settlement, and he knew they could win the civil trial. That leaves only Johnnie Cochran – who was Feldman’s friend – as the only person in the Jackson camp who wanted to settle.
In 1993, Bert Fields said he was eager to cross examine Jordan Chandler. Tom Mesereau said the same thing in 2005, and he made it clear that 1993 was not a problem for the defense. Jordan Chandler never appeared in court, nor did Evan Chandler, and Tom Sneddon didn’t even subpoena them. Sneddon had Ray Chandler in his witness list, but Ray Chandler never appeared in court. The defense (Michael Jackson) subpoenaed Ray Chandler to present his book documents in the trial and be cross examined, and he showed how strong his “revelations” were by fighting back the subpoena and failing to appear in court.
For years, TV pundits who knew nothing about the case and presented wishful thinking for their own personal reasons, would refer to the perfectly legal resolution of the civil case as “hush” money, failing, as always, to explain themselves and present the facts. They forgot that the criminal investigation was already weak, and Jordan Chandler didn’t give a deposition before the settlement, and he never intended to give one. Although he had been interviewed by the police long before the settlement, nothing happened to Michael Jackson.
The settlement of the civil case
On January 25, 1994, the lawyers of both sides went to court to submit the settlement, and the judge had to review it and approve it.
The terms of settlements are always confidential, and the court encourages people to settle because trials are both time -and money -consuming. In the eyes of the law, people who settle their civil disputes are not considered guilty, and civil trials have nothing to do with justice. They deal with liability and the defendant cannot be sentenced to jail. In fact, the majority of civil disputes result in settlements, and a civil lawyer’s job is to achieve a lucrative and quick settlement.
Both lawyers gave the following statements to the press after they left the court on January 25, 1994:
LARRY FELDMAN’S STATEMENT– Attorney for PLAINTIFF Jordan Chandler
“We wish to jointly announce a mutual resolution of this lawsuit. As you are aware the plaintiff has alleged certain acts of impropriety by Mr. Jackson and from the inception of those allegations Mr. Jackson has always maintained his innocence. However the emotional trauma and strain on the respective parties have caused both parties to reflect on the wisdom of continuing with the litigation. The plaintiff has agreed that the lawsuit should be resolved and it will be dismissed in the near future. Mr. Jackson continues to maintain his innocence and withdraws any previous allegations of extortion. This will allow the parties to get on with their lives in a more positive and productive manner. Much of the suffering these parties have been put through has been caused by the publicity surrounding this case. We jointly request that members of the press allow the parties to close this chapter in their lives with dignity so that the healing process may begin.”
JOHNNIE COCHRAN’S STATEMENT-Attorney for DEFENDANT Michael Jackson
“In the past ten days the rumours and speculation surrounding this case have reached a fever pitch and by-and-large have been false and outrageous. As Mr. Feldman has correctly indicated Michael Jackson has maintained his innocence from the beginning of this matter and now, as this matter will soon be concluded, he still maintains that innocence. The resolution of this case is in no way an admission of guilt by Michael Jackson. In short, he is an innocent man who does not intend to have his career and his life destroyed by rumour and innuendo. Throughout this ordeal he has been subjected to an unprecedented media feeding frenzy; especially by the tabloid press. The tabloid press has shown an insatiable thirst for anything negative and have paid huge sums of money to people who have little or no information and who barely knew Michael Jackson. So today the time has come for Michael Jackson to move on to new business, to get on with his life, to start the healing process and to move his career forward to even greater heights. This he intends to do. At the appropriate time Michael Jackson will speak out publicly as to the agony, torture, and pain he has had to suffer during the past six months. Thank you very much”.
When Mr. Feldman was asked additional questions after the statement, he said that his client was “very happy with the resolution of this matter” and that “nobody has bought anyone’s silence”. He also said that he is allowed to testify against Jackson in the criminal proceedings. Larry Feldman, referring to the settlement achievement, added that he is proud of what he did. Los Angeles D.A. Gil Garcetti said that the criminal investigation was on-going and irrelevant to the resolution of the civil case. Larry Feldman also stated that he had already given to prosecutors all the evidence they had. Again no charges were filed against Michael Jackson.
Anthony Pellicano said the following after the announcement of the settlement: “I have maintained Michael Jackson’s innocence from the very start, and I still maintain that he is innocent”. He added that the case was all about money from the beginning. Pellicano proved to be right because indeed after the settlement Evan Chandler quit his job.
Michael Freeman, June Chandler’s lawyer who quit in disgust, said to J. Randy Taraborelli that he believed in Michael’s innocence and added “I think he was wrongly accused. I think that Evan Chandler and Barry Rothman saw an opportunity and went for it. That’s my personal held opinion. I believe it was all about money and their strategy obviously worked”.
The Los Angeles Times commented on tabloids’ reaction:
“Just when the media has another great trial to look forward to, Michael Jackson goes and ruins it all by throwing cash at the 14-year-old boy whose lawsuit alleged that the entertainer had sexually molested him. Just when everyone was revving up. Just when the adrenaline was flowing. Now, this is no knock on Tonya Harding but, quite frankly, she’s no Michael. Who wants to fly over an ice rink? Michael, Michael, Michael. Do we deserve this kick in the pants?
On Wednesday night’s “Hard Copy,” you could see the sorrow and disappointment in the eyes of Diane Dimond’s, eyes that previously had danced with excitement at each mention of Michael Jackson, at each alleged deviant fusion of him with his accuser and other young boys. Her relentless reporting for “Hard Copy” had made her Michael’s tabloid Boswell, so renowned for insider poop that at one point she was interviewed about the case on “CBS This Morning.”
But this time, all she had for inquiring minds was a measly brief update, the usual money talk, an unsatisfying few words that hung in the air like a somber obituary for a story that she and her like-minded media lizards had slaved and slithered so hard to distort and hyperbolize. No wonder she seemed deflated”.
Legal analysts warned that Michael Jackson’s fame and wealth can make him a magnet for false claims and extortion attempts, especially now that they saw someone achieving it. They were right and it happened again. Several disturbed people later tried to copy the Chandlers, but with no success.
It was reported right after the settlement that Michael’s insurance carrier actually paid the settlement, and not Michael Jackson. The news at the time mentioned TIG Insurance, the Transamerica subsidiary that held Jackson’s personal liability policy. Insurance carriers are not parties of the lawsuit and they are not named in a settlement agreement. Tom Mesereau’s filed motion in 2005 verifies that the settlement was indeed paid by Jackson’s insurance carrier.
In 2004, tabloid reporter Diane Dimond obtained the settlement document and proudly put it out for all of us to see in an effort to taint the jury pool. Michael Jackson released a statement to address the effort of the press to use that in order to further lynch him, and he a called it “an act of desperation”. Diane Dimond inaccurately “explained” the settlement document to her audience, and a lawyer’s reaction was “she didn’t understand what she was reading”. Actually she was reading from the 1993 lawsuit and not from the 1994 settlement. The terms are confidential, a word she did not understand and certainly didn’t respect. Many legal observers questioned the timing of this leak.
Michael Jackson’s press release on June 17, 2004, concerning the leak:
“I respect the obligation of confidentiality imposed on all of the parties to the 1993 proceedings. Yet, someone has chosen to violate the confidentiality of those proceedings. Whoever is now leaking this material is showing as much disrespect for the Santa Maria Court’s “gag order” as they are a determination to attack me.
No action or investigation has been taken to determine who is leaking this information or why they are permitted to violate the law in such a manner. I respectfully request that people see these efforts for what they are.
These kinds of attacks and leaks seek to try the case in the press, rather than to a jury who will hear all of the evidence that will show that I did not, and would not, ever, harm a child.
I have always maintained my innocence, and vehemently denied that these events ever took place. I reluctantly chose to settle the false claims only to end the terrible publicity and to continue with my life and career.
I ask all of my neighbours in Santa Maria, the people whom I give my loyal trust and admiration, to keep an open mind, and give me a chance to show that I am completely innocent of these charges. I will not let you down”.
Former San Diego District Attorney Paul Pfingst commented on the language in the settlement agreement and how it looks as if the wording was such that an insurance company could foot the bill. He appeared on MSNBC June 15, 2005:
PFINGST: First, it appears as though the settlement was in part paid for by insurance and you can tell that by the wording of the settlement. It seems to show that there was insurance money as part of the settlement. The second is that if you’re Michael Jackson’s team and you’re selling a lot of albums, settling a case for $15M or $20M dollars might actually make money by allowing you to sell albums for $40M, $60M or $100 M dollars.
But will this [settlement agreement] at the end of the day get in front of a jury in a criminal trial? No.
Tom Mesereau, in his filed motion concerning the settlement during the 2005 trial, wrote: As the court knows better than I do, civil settlements of this nature are often done where the negligence claim is settled so that insurance companies can fund the settlement. There was never any admission by Mr. Jackson that he ever did anything negligent or anything wrong at all. There was a public comment in the media, again, about this 11 year old case to the effect that somehow he admitted negligence, which was completely false. It was a technical legal way of settling a case so insurance companies could fund a settlement and he could get on with his personal life and business life.
The settlement document itself
The real amount was $15,331,250 dollars and not the usual $20 or $25 million that people who are ignorant about it mention to this day. Considering the fact that the leak came from Jackson’s detractors, we understand that paragraph 3 is full of blanks because it probably supports that the actual amount was indeed $5 million, as it was reported before the settlement. According to the Retainer Agreement Larry Feldman was paid from this money (approximately $5 million). June and Evan Chandler were also paid from this amount (approximately $3million), plus the settlement was taxed. This would leave an amount close to $5 million for the plaintiff, which was paid in installments over a period of years, which is the way that insurance companies pay. The last installment was paid in 1999.
Michael Jackson (and his insurance carrier) could for NO reason fail to pay, otherwise it would be considered a breach of the settlement, and he could be sued for it:
“Any failure by Jackson to make any of the payments provided in paragraph 3 when due shall be deemed a Material Breach of this Confidential Settlement”. “Jackson’s obligation to make the Settlement Payment as provided in this paragraph when due is absolute; notwithstanding any claimed or actual breach of the Confidential Settlement and notwithstanding any other claims that Jackson may assert or have against any party to this Confidential Settlement … Jackson shall not withhold any portion of the Settlement Payment.”
Michael Jackson settled over claims of negligence and NOT for molestation allegations, and he declares his innocence in the document. The wording for negligence is the standard used in every settlement.
“The parties recognize that the Settlement Payment set forth in this paragraph 3 are in settlement of claims by Jordan Chandler, Evan Chandler and June Chandler for alleged compensatory damages for alleged personal injuries arising out of claims of negligence and not for claims of intentional or wrongful acts of molestation”.
“Forthwith upon the signing of this Confidential Settlement by the Parties hereto, the Minor, through his Guardians ad Litem in the Action and attorneys, shall dismiss, without prejudice, the first through sixth causes of action of the complaint on file in the Action, leaving only the seventh cause of action pending”.
The seventh action pending is negligence, and he rejected the molestation allegations.
“This Confidential Settlement shall not be construed as an admission by Jackson that he has acted wrongfully with respect to the Minor, Evan Chandler or June Chandler, or any other person. Jackson specifically disclaims any liability to, and denies any wrongful acts against, the Minor, Evan Chandler or June Chandler or any other persons”.
Both parties could not talk to the media but they could talk to the authorities:
-“The parties acknowledge that Jackson is a public figure and that his name, image and likeness have commercial value and are an important element of his earning capacity. The parties acknowledge that Jackson claims that he has elected to settle the claims in the action in view of the impact the action has had and could have in the future on his earnings and potential income”.
“The Minor, by and through his Guardian ad Litem, Evan Chandler and June Chandler, and each of them individually and on behalf of their respective agents, attorneys, media representatives, partners, heirs, administrators, executors, conservators, successors and assigns, agree that they will not at any time in the future make any engagement, enter into any contract, agreement, commitment, understanding or other obligation, with any media, including, without limitation, any publishing, print, news, television, motion picture, cable, video, multimedia, software, recording, broadcast, radio or any other media, for purposes of or relating to the commercial exploitation by Jordan Chandler, Evan Chandler, June Chandler or the Minor’s attorneys of record in the Action of any story, documentary, docudrama, publication, magazine, tabloid, book, article, motion picture, television program or picture, “movie-of-the-week,” serial, miniseries, recording, record, audiotape, compact disc, videotape, program, television or other public or private appearance, interview or broadcast, related to Jackson in any capacity”
“The Minor, by and through his Guardian ad Litem, and Evan Chandler and June Chandler, and each of them individually on behalf of their respective agents, attorneys, representatives, partners, heirs, administrators, executors, conservators, successors and assigns, agree not to cooperate with, represent, or provide any information, to any person or entity that initiates any civil claim or action which relates in any manner to the subject matter of the Action against Jackson or any of the Jackson Releasees, except as may be required by law”.
“In the event the Minor, the Minor’s Legal Guardians, the Minor’s Guardian ad Litem, the Minor’s attorneys, Evan Chandler or June Chandler, or any of them individually or on behalf at their respective agents, attorneys, media representatives, partners, heirs, administrators, executors, conservators, successors and assigns, receive any subpoena or request for information from any person or entity who has asserted, or is investigating, any claim against Jackson or the Jackson Releasees or the Action or the Claims, they agree to give notice in writing to Jackson’s attorneys regarding the nature and scope of any such subpoena request for information, to the extent permitted by law. This notice shall be given before responding to the request in any manner other than objections or a refusal to respond and shall be given no later than five days following the receipt of the request”.
June Chandler confirmed the validity of this clause during the 2005 trial, when she testified 11 years after the 1994 settlement. She had no restrictions whatsoever to talk to authorities and testify in court like all the other parties involved in the perfectly legal settlement. From her direct examination by Tom Sneddon:
Q. With regard to those conversations, the first conversation we had, do you recall the substance of that conversation?
A. That I would be subpoenaed and for — testifying.
Q. And did I indicate to you that I wanted to talk to you, to do an interview with you?
A. That we would be speaking later on, yes.
Q. Okay. And did you — did you have to check with somebody to make sure that was okay because of the confidentiality agreement?
Q. And who was that?
A. Larry Feldman.
Q. So is that one of the phone calls that you had with Mr. Feldman, was to make sure –
Q. — to make sure it was okay for you to talk to me?
Michael Jackson called them liars, and the Chandlers signed it. Michael Jackson declared again his innocence and the Chandlers could not speak to the media. They could only speak in court. No one prevented them from speaking in a criminal court, and they could do it and still keep the money. The resolution of the civil case had nothing to do with the criminal proceedings, otherwise it would be an obstruction of justice, and they all would go to jail (including the judge that reviewed it). Michael Jackson was asked by Larry Feldman to drop the allegations of extortion in order for a settlement to be reached.
They took the money that they were asking for since August 1993 and RAN.
Had Jackson not settled the civil case, he would have put his defense strategy in jeopardy by revealing his exculpatory evidence to the prosecution. When Tom Sneddon discovered the exculpatory evidence in the 2003 Arvizo case, instead of dropping it, he changed the dates, set it up, and misled the grand jury.
The 2005 defense’s motion to Compel Discovery on page 6 reveals that the prosecution withheld exonerating evidence not only for 2003 case but for 1993 as well:
“Mr. Jackson’s right to receive exculpatory information from the prosecution also requires production of materials from the prior investigation. Law enforcement unquestionably developed information rebutting allegations of misconduct from the many people who testified before the grand juries or submitted to informal interview”.
“The prosecution has relied on information from the prior investigation in this case. Moreover, in view of the scope and result of the prior investigation, materials in the possession of law enforcement likely contain or will lead to exculpatory evidence”.
“The affidavit that has been used in support of the dozens of searches in this case refers to information developed during the prior investigation. The affidavit quotes material used to search Mr. Jackson’s ranch in the prior investigation and summarizes the district attorney’s explanation about how that investigation became inactive without criminal charges”.
It was the defense (Michael Jackson) that was asking for the 1993 evidence to be brought in. During the Arvizo case it was reported that Anthony Pellicano had given all he had from the 1993 case to the FBI. The problem was that FBI gave them to Tom Sneddon.
Right after the settlement, the Chandlers were looking for more money. Ray Chandler approached publisher Judith Regan to shop a book deal. It was reported in early February 1994 and Judith Regan also talked about it on SIRIUS XM:
When this effort didn’t succeed the Chandlers gave Evan’s diary to Hard Copy in May 1994. They managed to fish a book deal with the proven liar Victor Gutierrez. When he tricked the Chandlers and published a pornographic book with his own fictions (it was banned in US) falsely turning Evan Chandler’s diary into Jordan’s, the Chandlers detached themselves and Ray Chandler called him a “sleazebag”. Ray Chandler published his own book, and legal experts noticed the trap he created for himself in 2004. In his effort to taint the jury pool and make some money he ended up being a witness for the defense. When Ray Chandler was asked from Jackson’s lawyers to present his stories in the 2005 trial he fought back the subpoena and never showed up. Ray Chandler gave an interview to Entertainment Weekly in June 1995 in which he said that the Chandlers love Michael and they bare him no ill will. Would a family of a real victim talk like that about a real abuser? He went on to say that there was no evidence against Jackson, and they only had Jordan’s words and nothing else. When he was asked why they settled, he answered “because they weren’t sure they would get any more money after a trial and they wanted the ordeal to end”.
Jordan Chandler went to live with his stepmother Natalie, who had divorced Evan Chandler. Several years later, reports would present Jordan as a shrewd businessman.
Retailers reported that Michael Jackson didn’t suffer any drop in his sales, and to this day he remains the most popular celebrity in the planet.
Evan Chandler had an interesting experience that was similar to that of Michael Jackson’s. He was sued by a model for malpractice regarding a dental procedure and the model’s claim was rejected. That happened prior to Evan Chandler’s settlement with Michael Jackson. When the model heard on the news that Mr. Chandler had money, she then remembered to sue him for sexual harassment. Though from the timing and the changed story it was obvious that the model made it up, Evan Chandler’s insurance carrier settled with her.