The Chronicle of Tom Sneddon’s Vendetta Against Michael Jackson. THE SAGA OF ARROGANCE AND DESPERATION
I am talking of William Wagener’s decision to hand to the County Santa Barbara Supervisors on August 14, 2012 an Affidavit Of Criminal Conduct By Tom Sneddon demanding an official investigation of the three felonies committed by the former Santa Barbara District Attorney. These three felonies include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Manufacturing false finger prints
2. Manufacturing false phone conspiracy evidence
3. Conspiracy amongst the prosecutors to do the first two felonies listed above.
Here is William Wagener’s address to Michael’s supporters:
On August 14th, at 9:00 am on the Betteravia Government center, in Santa Maria, Ca. Addressing the monthly meeting of the County S.B. Supervisors, I shall give the supervisors official notice by affidavit that Sneddon committed 3 felonies in the trial, of MJ in 2005.
William Wagener will present to the County Supervisors of Santa Barbara, for the 1st time, ever, An Affidavit of Criminal conduct by Tom Sneddon, former Dictrict Atty. and demand a independent investigation and INDICTMENT of Tom SNEDDON for committing THREE felonies during the Michael Jackson TRIAL in 2005. Specifically to get Michael Jackson convicted false evidence was presented at court and caught by the Defense Atty.s Thomas Mesereau and Susan YU.
William Wagener invites all those who love justice or Michael Jackson to come and add 1 minute speeches after William Wagener’s presentment. And demand, like Mr. Wagener, that a special Prosecution of Thomas Sneddon be started by hiring a Special Prosecutor from outside Santa Barbara or even outside California, to investigate and Prosecute Thomas Sneddon.
Once this is done, the FRAUD is exposed and the statue of Limitations starts to run out. FRAUD by the Santa Barbara Dist. Atty. OFFICE “on the court”un-identified, and Uncorrected for the past 7 Years has prevented the Statute of Limitations from running out.
If you are coming to California anyway in August and can be there. Please be there. Show up for Michael’s sake. 9 am 1st Floor in the BetteraviaGovernmentCenter in Santa Maria, August 14th.
– William J. Wagener –
Each of the above three felonies is about fraud upon the court which is so severe a crime that fortunately it is not subject to any statute of limitation. Mary Brookins, one of the coordinators of the project, explains:
In the United States, when an officer of the court is found to have fraudulently presented facts to court so that the court is impaired in the impartial performance of its legal task, the act, known as “fraud upon the court”, is a crime deemed so severe and fundamentally opposed to the operation of justice that it is not subject to any statute of limitation.
Officers of the court include: lawyers, judges, referees, and those appointed; guardian ad litem, parenting time expeditors, mediators, rule 114 neutrals, evaluators, administrators, special appointees, and any others whose influence are part of the judicial mechanism.
“Fraud upon the court” has been defined by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to “embrace that species of fraud which does, or attempts to, defile the court itself, or is a fraud perpetrated by officers of the court so that the judicial machinery can not perform in the usual manner its impartial task of adjudging cases that are presented for adjudication”.
In Bullock v. United States, (10th Cir. 1985), the court stated “Fraud upon the court is fraud which is directed to the judicial machinery itself and is not fraud between the parties or fraudulent documents, false statements or perjury. … It is where the court or a member is corrupted or influenced or influence is attempted or where the judge has not performed his judicial function — thus where the impartial functions of the court have been directly corrupted.” Source: Wiki
But even though there is no statute of limitation on these crimes, from William Wagener’s information I gather that beginning from the date of his Affidavit the statute of limitations will start to run out.
- No man is above the law, and I realize the Statute of Limitations will begin to click away as soon as the Affidavit is submitted to the Board of Supervisors, hence, it is of utmost importance that you act, not only responsibly, but also expeditiously, to bring justice to a situation that is long overdue.
So it means that if the Affidavit on Tom Sneddon and demand to investigate his crimes does not reach its goal now there might never be another chance??? Such an outcome is impossible even to imagine, so the only way out left for us is make this investigation happen NOW.
What I mean is that we should provide all support for this project we are only capable of, and make the investigation of Sneddon’s crimes take place even despite all odds. We cannot miss this chance simply because there might not be another one. We cannot afford to sit, wait and be indifferent.
We cannot afford not to win.
William Wagener asks us to be in California in the Betteravia Government Center in Santa Maria, August 14th at 9am, so those of us who can be there, please be there. And all the rest of us please shower the authorities with demands that Sneddon should be held accountable for the crimes he committed against Michael Jackson and the legal system as a whole.
If every person seeks the post of a prosecutor to square with those whom he personally dislikes the prosecution system will quickly turn into a place for taking revenge on one’s personal enemies and persecuting the innocent. And enjoying oneself greatly in the process as it will require not a single penny of his own money and will be done at the expense of other people (the taxpayers).
If each prosecutor is allowed to falsify evidence against those who they are after, the system of justice will soon turn into a body of repression, which will be no better than the one in totalitarian states.
If Sneddon’s example of vicious prosecution remains without proper legal assessment it will open the door to others who see that people can easily get away with a personal vendetta if it is done by someone who is in a position as powerful as the one Thomas Sneddon had.
At the moment it is not yet clear to what address we should send our support for William Wagener’s historical initiative, so while we are waiting for proper instructions I suggest reviewing some of Tom Sneddon’s misdeeds against Michael Jackson and other innocent people. (UPDATE: To see the email addresses and the suggested forms of letters please scroll to the bottom of this post)
These misdeeds were chronicled by the MJ Fan Club whose remarkable members conscientiously and thoroughly reported the progress of the 2005 trial. While reading their impassionate and highly informative bulletins one cannot help realizing how flimsy the prosecution case against Michael Jackson was, how arrogant Sneddon was in thinking that this could be enough for putting an innocent man into jail and for two decades too, and how desperate he was in finding really incriminating evidence against Jackson – desperate enough even to falsify it.
The 2005 trial records of the MJ Fan Club come in a chronological order enabling us to refresh in our memories the timeline of the events as well as relive what Michael Jackson and the public went through due to an unscrupulous man like Tom Sneddon. This sort of a dossier on Sneddon and the 2005 trial will be certainly far from complete – Sneddon was reason for so much injustice that it is simply impossible to list all his offences against the truth in one place.
The MJ Fan Club collection will be supplemented by some articles on the issues not covered by the Club. These were written by the mainstream media sober minds who saw through Tom Sneddon’s actions even at the time their colleagues went totally hysterical over the absurd case he concotted against Michael Jackson.
All of it will have a minimum of comment on my part to enable readers to come to conclusions on their own. For the sake of brevity some articles have been shortened. The post will still be long, and only the most inquisitive minds will make it to the end – however no one pushes you to read it in full as the idea of Sneddon’s personal vendetta against Jackson will be clear enough from the very start of it.
The facts compiled here are addressed not only to Michael Jackson’s fans but to all those who are not indifferent to the future of their country’s legal system. Please read it and do what your sense of duty tells you to do.
1. A JOLLY MAD DOG OF A PROSECUTOR
November 18, 2005
Police Raid Jackson Ranch
By Gil Kaufman
Dozens of Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies armed with warrants swarmed Michael Jackson’s Neverland Valley ranch Tuesday morning to search the compound. The officers arrived at the gated ranch at 8:30 a.m. to conduct the searches, which are part of an ongoing investigation, Sgt. Chris Pappas said in a statement.
Court TV reported that the raid was tied to allegations made by an unnamed twelve-year-old boy, though authorities would not comment on those reports. Jackson’s spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
The raid came on the same day that Jackson’s Number Ones greatest hits album was released. The collection features the new song “One More Chance,” written by R. Kelly. A Jackson TV special is scheduled to air on CBS on November 26th.
Jackson and his three children were not at Neverland during the raid because he has been in Las Vegas for three weeks filming footage for the TV special.
Isn’t it an interesting coincidence that the Neverland raid by 70 police officers was made on the same day when Michael Jackson’s long-awaited Number Ones hits album was released? Exactly on the same date? Of course the suspicion that it was an intentional move was brushed off by Sneddon as nonsense and was explained by another nonsense that the date of the raid had to do with too much traffic on Halloween…
November 20, 2003
Why Is The DA In The Michael Jackson Case Smiling?
For Tom Sneddon, this case is personal
By Corey Moss
Santa Barbara, California, District Attorney Tom Sneddon’s cheerful smile at Wednesday’s press conference announcing the latest child-molestation accusations against Michael Jackson said it all.
This case is personal.
The apparent vendetta most likely stems from two events. Sneddon was the prosecutor on the child-molestation case against Jackson 10 years ago, only to find himself without a victim willing to testify when Jackson reached a multimillion-dollar settlement with the alleged victim’s family (that case led California to change its laws regarding witness testimony in child molestation cases).
Secondly, Jackson later attacked the district attorney in his music. Jackson’s 1995 double album, HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book 1, includes a song called “D.S.” featuring the chorus, “Dom Sheldon is a cold man,” according to official lyrics. His pronunciation of the title character, however, sounds much closer to “Tom Sneddon is a cold man.”
Sneddon addressed the song earlier this year in an interview with the National District Attorney’s Association (NDAA). “I have not — shall we say — done him the honor of listening to it,” he said.
Prior to releasing “D.S.,” Jackson indirectly expressed his frustrations with Sneddon in a television announcement, noting the excruciating experience of being stripped naked and photographed during the 1993 investigation. Before the accuser halted the investigation by declining to testify in court, Sneddon said the photographs were necessary to verify the boy’s description of intimate parts of Jackson’s anatomy.
The district attorney, a father of nine, is known for his take-no-prisoners courtroom demeanor, which earned him the nickname “Mad Dog” early in his career, according to the NDAA.
Sneddon served in the Vietnam War and worked at the Los Angeles district attorney’s office but has been with Santa Barbara County since 1969. He was elected district attorney in 1982 and has been re-elected ever since, prompting the local newspaper to call him “arguably the single most powerful person in all of Santa Barbara County.”
On Wednesday, Sneddon maintained a grin for most of the press conference and even made some jokes, such as when asked if the timing of the charges was connected to Tuesday’s release of Jackson’s Number Ones hits album. “Like the sheriff and I are really into that kind of music,” Sneddon said.
As a short comment on the above let me note that Sneddon did not need to have a ‘willing witness’ to testify in the 1993 case. If the photos of MJ obtained during the humiliating strip-search had really matched the boy’s fantasy description, it would be quite enough for arresting MJ then and there, and eventually convicting him. After all prosecutors do manage to convict murderers even though their victims are not able to testify, don’t they? So what difference does it make here?
Let us accept the finality of it at last – the photos did not match the description, Sneddon had nothing against Jackson, the story was bogus, and that is all there is to it.
November 20, 2003
LOS ANGELES (AP) —
Some observers said Sneddon, a former boxer at Notre Dame who earned the nickname “Mad Dog” for his tenacious courtroom demeanor, had waited a long time for another shot at Jackson. … Sneddon, a prosecutor for 34 years and D.A. for nearly 21 of those, appeared to be grandstanding at the news conference and seemed to take delight in announcing a warrant for Jackson’s arrest had been issued.
Sneddon joked with a roomful of reporters, at one point saying drawing chuckles when he welcomed them to Santa Barbara with the line, “I hope that you all stay long and spend lots of money because we need your sales tax to support our offices.”
“It was baffling, perplexing and it didn’t have a particularly serious tone,” said Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola University LawSchool. “A good defense lawyer is going to say he was too personally invested and you can’t trust the investigation.”
During the earlier investigation, Sneddon ordered photographs taken of Jackson’s genitalia. At the time, Sneddon told Vanity Fair the photos matched descriptions of Jackson’s genitalia given by boys to investigators.
The ordeal was the inspiration of a 1995 song titled D.S.that Jackson included on his HIStory album. The song is widely believed to refer to the district attorney, and contains these lines: “They wanna get my ass / Dead or alive / You know he really tried to take me / Down by surprise / I bet he missioned with the CIA / He don’t do half what he say.”
In a February 2003 profile, the National District Attorneys Association called Sneddon “the only D.A. in the nation to have an angry song written about him by pop megastar Michael Jackson.”
Sneddon, who is in his early 60s, graduated from UCLA Law School in 1966 and then served in the Army for two years. He has been a prosecutor for his entire law career since then.
Those who have worked with Sneddon say he is tenacious and tough, particularly when he has made up his mind about a case — sometimes to a fault.
“There were times, and there still are, that his tenaciousness gets in the way of his better judgment and he has to step back. That’s maybe more difficult for Tom than other people,” Slater said. “He can be a pretty tough article.”http://www.usatoday.com/life/2003-11-20-jackson-sneddon_x.htm
The point about Sneddon providing Vanity Fair with information makes me note that Tom Sneddon should be held accountable not only for the three felonies enumerated in William Wagener’s message, but he should also answer for spreading lies about the so-called “match” of the 1993 accuser’s description and real photos of MJ’s private parts.
This lie was refuted by the simple fact of no arrest made after MJ’s strip search, as well as by statements in USA Today and Reuters the next day after the Chandlers settlement saying that there was no match. However despite this clearly stated fact Sneddon was still spreading lies in the press and Maureen Orth of Vanity Fair faithfully repeated them like the Bible truth thus slandering a completely innocent man!
December 18, 2003
Who Is Tom Sneddon? A Look At The Man Pursuing Michael Jackson
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 18, 2003
By Tatiana Morales
(CBS) Child molestation charges could be filed Thursday, Dec. 18, against Michael Jackson. Santa Barbara district attorney Tom Sneddon, who’s been in office more than 20 years, plans to personally try the case.
Sneddon has pursued Michael Jackson twice over 10 years on allegations of child molestation. Jerry Roberts, editor of the Santa Barbara News-Press tells The Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman, “I think people do feel that he is a man on a mission. You know, this is going to be the signature case of his career.”
At a news conference on Nov. 19, 2003, Sneddon said, “Within a very short period of time, there will be charges filed against Mr. Jackson.” He sounded confident and cocky. With laughter, he also said, “Like the sheriff and I really are into that kind of music.” He was forced later to apologize for the light tone.
Jim Thomas, former Santa Barbara County sheriff, noted, “I suspect that if he had the opportunity to do it again, he may do it a little differently.”
In over two decades as D.A., Sneddon has clashed with plenty of defense attorneys, including Gary Dunlap. Dunlap says, “Last year, I was wrongfully prosecuted for a number of crimes, crimes I did not commit.” The D.A. had charged Dunlap, a frequent critic of the department, with perjury and witness intimidation. Dunlap notes “We went to a jury trial and I was acquitted on all counts.”
Now Dunlap is suing Sneddon for malicious prosecution, and wonders how strong the D.A.’s case against Jackson really is. Dunlap says, “He said he had a very strong case against me. The problem was that his whole strong case was manufactured.”
“It’s not a vendetta,” Jim Thomas says. “He’s a professional, and he’s no one that is going to look back and say, ‘You know, we didn’t get you last time; we got you this time.'” Dunlap says, “He lost his opportunity against Michael Jackson in 1993, and he doesn’t want to leave office without paying that score back.”
But Sneddon’s motivation may be simpler than that. Roberts says, “He’s a law-and-order guy who sees the world in black and white. There’s bad guys and good guys, and he sees himself as the good guy.”
A short note on attorney Gary Dunlap’s case:
- In November 2003, Santa Barbara defense attorney Gary Dunlap filed a $10 million lawsuit against Tom Sneddon, accusing him of racketeering, witness tampering, conspiracy and malicious prosecution. Earlier that year, Sneddon had charged Dunlap with perjury, witness intimidation, filing false documents and preparing false documents in a case that Dunlap had handled.
- Dunlap was acquitted on all charges but claims his reputation has been irreparably harmed as a result of the proceedings. In an interview with Online Legal Review’s Ron Sweet, Dunlap claimed that Sneddon stacked the charges against him in order to get a conviction on at least one count; apparently, this is a common occurrence in Sneddon’s office. Dunlap also discussed Sneddon’s frequent abuse of power and claimed that there are other lawyers who have seen this.
- In related news, Dunlap’s lawyer Joe Freeman recently sent a complaint asking that federal, state and county officials investigate Tom Sneddon and members of the Santa Barbara Police Department for misconduct. In response to the allegations, the SBPD’s attorney Jake Stoddard said that Sneddon and his employees are immune from legal action because they are prosecutors.
Mr. Dunlap said regarding the Santa Barbara Police Department:
- “It’s a very bad situation here in the north county, and the general public is very unaware of it because Tom Sneddon and his assistant up here have pretty much dominated the justice system in Santa Barbara County for several years.”“His office is very powerful and public officials are intimidated by them, court personnel are intimidated by them, I mean, they just have had it their own way, and they pretty much do whatever they want. And the problem with it is, they do not take any kind of a leadership role with regard to law enforcement in the sense of protecting the public interests against excessive force. Rather, they promote excessive force by the various law enforcement agencies, by their attitude of protection and prosecution of cases that are clearly inappropriate.”
2. A YEAR BEFORE THE TRIAL
April 29, 2004
Does Memo Suggest DA Vendetta Against Jackson?
ABCNEWS has exclusively viewed documents that raise potentially troubling questions about the investigation into the child molestation allegations against Michael Jackson as the “King of Pop” prepares to face his arraignment on the charges brought by a grand jury.
Jackson has professed his innocence and claimed the allegations against him are false. He and his defense have said that Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon has a vendetta against him and is determined to convict the pop star legend at any cost — a charge Sneddon has denied.
ABCNEWS has seen documents — including a memo apparently written by Sneddon himself — that will likely add to the controversy about the district attorney’s role in the case.
A memo that bears Sneddon’s name and is dated last November says Sneddon personally investigated aspects of the case against Jackson. Jackson defense sources told ABCNEWS that Sneddon took on parts of the investigation that are almost always handled by police investigators or junior prosecutors.
According to the memo, Sneddon drove to Los Angeles and met alone with the mother of Jackson’s alleged victim in a parking lot behind a federal building. The memo says that Sneddon took pictures of the office of a private investigator who worked for Jackson. Sneddon, the memo claims, handled all these matters by himself, without the presence of a law enforcement officer or an investigator. Sources close to Jackson told ABCNEWS that Sneddon also executed his own stakeouts.
In addition, a Santa Barbara County police report says that Sneddon met alone with Jackson’s alleged victim’s mother on another occasion.
Linda Fairstein, a leading sex crimes prosecutor, said this alleged personal sleuthing by Sneddon was unusual.
“It’s way too personal. It’s way out of line,” Fairstein told Good Morning America. “If he does any substantive parts of an investigation, he may become a witness in the case.”
Fairstein added that Sneddon’s close involvement in aspects of the investigation could be grounds for a mistrial and gives Jackson’s defense team ammunition to attack the prosecution.
Legal experts also believe jurors are more likely to question the case against Jackson they sense it is motivated by a personal grudge from the district attorney.
Citing a gag order in the case, Tom Sneddon declined to comment on the memo and charges of a personal grudge against Jackson. He has said the evidence will speak for itself in court.
The summary of the ABC News information is provided in the MJ Fan Club bulletin on the same day with very much accuracy, only adding to it a little bit of sacrasm:
- The headline from ABC News could be laughable were it not Michael Jackson’s life on the line. Actually, it should read “The Media Finally Notices That D.A. Sneddon Has A Personal Vendetta Against Michael Jackson.”
The zeal with which the Prosecution was handling the case against Michael Jackson was indescribable:
June 6, 2004
Phone Records Being Seized
The prosecution is now seizing telephone records from around the country in further attempts to build a case against Michael Jackson for child molestation. The records are sought from 17 companies including Verizon, Nextel, Bell South, PacBell Pacific and Southwestern Bell. The warrant was issued on May 20. The gag order that has been placed on the case attorneys and others prevents commenting and the documentation available does not provide details as to why the records have been requested.
In April, a warrant was issued for records of RCN Internet. In May, more warrants were approved to gain access to records from Bank Of America, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian.
The issuing of the latest batch of warrants indicates an on going attempt to gather evidence that would add support to the prosecution’s case against Michael. The information regarding the warrants surfaced when the prosecution requested that the information contained in the documents remain sealed. The prosecution stated that disclosure of the materials would compromise the investigation.
However a year later, during the trial, all of the effort turned into an embarrassing flop:
May 3, 2005
Jackson prosecutors present phone records
SANTA MARIA, Calif. (AP) — The jury in Michael Jackson’s child molestation trial was presented more phone records Tuesday as prosecutors sought to bolster the conspiracy portion of the case against the pop star.
Prosecutors have been presenting records showing dozens of calls on phones belonging to Jackson associates around the time a damaging documentary about the singer aired in February 2003.
During an initial round of records presented Monday a detective conceded that no calls were tied to Jackson.
On cross-examination, defense attorney Robert Sanger noted that phone calls only showed the phones were used, not who was speaking on the phones.
In a key question during cross-examination, Sanger asked the witness, sheriff’s Detective Craig Bonner, if Jackson could be linked to the calls.
“In all these phone records you had were you ever able to determine if Michael Jackson was on a single call?” the attorney asked.
“No,” said Bonner.
Bonner also acknowledged that the records only reflected whose phones were used to make the calls, not who actually spoke, and that some brief calls to offices probably involved only a receptionist.
3. LEAKAGE OF DOCUMENTS BY THE PROSECUTION
Of all journalists covering the case Roger Friedman turned out to be the most observant one. He noticed that despite a gag order from the judge and Sneddon not allowing a single paper to be leaked from the prosecution side, the documents from the previous 1993 molestation allegations, biasing the public against Michael Jackson, mysteriously surfaced just at the most crucial moments of Michael Jackson’s life.
For example, the so-called Declaration by Jordan Chandler was leaked the very next day Bashir’s documentary was shown in the US. This was clearly done to turn the public against Jackson (and possibly give ideas to a new potential accuser and prompt him the text?). Larry Feldman, the lawyer of Jordan Chandler vehemently denied the leakage from his office but hinted that ‘a little connecting of the dots’ would point to the name of the guilty party which released this highly confidential document. Out of the two suspects – Feldman and Sneddon – this leaves us only with Sneddon, doesn’t it?
Another instance of a leakage against Jackson occurred a year and a half later, in June 2004 when the confidential Settlement Agreement of 1994 with the Chandlers was also released direct into Diane Dimond’s hands.
The article below speaks about both these instances and comes from the MJ Fan Club records.
June 16, 2004
Friedman On Leaked Documents
… The Jackson camp is scrambling this morning in the light of the unauthorized release, to Court TV’s intrepid Diane Dimond, of the settlement agreement between Jackson and his pre-teen accuser from a decade ago.
The “release” of the settlement agreement is a scoop for Dimond, but it does raise the question of where the papers came from. They were sealed by the court, and, I am told, destroyed by some of the lawyers in the case so they could never be fingered as sources.
Certainly the family of the accuser from 10 years ago didn’t want the papers to come out. You don’t have to be Columbo to figure out that leaves Feldman and prosecutor Tom Sneddon as prime suspects.
Interestingly, in February 2003, literally right after the special “Living with Michael Jackson” aired on ABC, the highly salacious complaint against Jackson from the 1993 case, which had also been sealed, surfaced.
The papers had a court stamp and were drawn up on Feldman’s letterhead, something I asked him about at the time. He insisted they did not come from him, but said the guilty party was close at hand and that “just a little connecting of the dots” was needed to get a name.
Now that sealed documents have twice surfaced and wound up in the same place — Court TV/The Smoking Gun Web site — maybe it’s time to think about who had access to them and how they could possibly have gotten out.
Source: FoxNews; Fox411 Roger Friedman by special permission / MJFC
June 18, 2004
Statement Of Michael Jackson
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Raymone K. Bain
Michael Jackson issues the following statement regarding the recent release of confidential information:
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 neighbors 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.
Source: Raymone K. Bain / MJFC http://www.mjfanclub.net/home/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=167%3A2004&id=185%3A2004-june&Itemid=75
4. BREACHES OF LAW DURING INVESTIGATION PROCESS
July 8, 2004
Michael Jackson’s Defense Lawyers Seek To Dismiss Indictment
On Tuesday, Michael Jackson’s lawyers filed papers requesting Judge Melville dismiss the case of child molestation against Michael. Today, some limited information regarding what is contained in that request has been made public through a heavily edited copy that removed the names of witnesses and references to specifics of the indictment.
Michael’s lawyers claim that prosecutors bullied and argued with witnesses and “ran the proceedings as if they employed the grand jurors.” The motion, signed by attorney Robert Sanger, stated that “There is no case in the history of the state of California that has condoned anything like the abuse of power demonstrated in this grand jury proceeding.”
The defense accused the prosecutors of using “innuendo and sarcasm, impugning Mr. Jackson by ridiculing those associated with him and even those who sought to legally represent him.”
Russel Halpern, attorney for the father of Michael’s accuser, [David Arvizo] was one witness whose testimony was offered as a lengthy example.
In a section quoted in the transcript, Mr. Halpern and D.A. Tom Sneddon argued over Mr. Halperns’ efforts to gather information from Sneddon’s office. Mr. Halpern says “I found the D.A.’s office to be hostile when I called. I found the head D.A, that being yourself, to be very uncooperative.”
Mr. Halpern asked Sneddon if it was his client’s son making the molestation claims. “You initially refused to tell me,” he testified to the grand jury. “I asked you if my client’s son was dying. You initially refused to tell me. It was only after I told you that I might have to tell the press of your reaction that you called back and then told me.” Sneddon snaps back “That is not the way that conversation went and you know it.” “You know it, too” replies Mr. Halpern. This was given as an example of the prosecutor testifying rather than asking questions.
Mr. Halpern could not comment Wednesday due to the gag order. He did, however, say that “Mr. Sneddon has misused his powers as district attorney to try to keep me from talking at all. I am not a potential witness, and his description of me as a potential witness is disingenuous.” Source: AOL / AP / MJFC
July 8, 2004
Roger Friedman On Private Audio Tape
There’s a smoking gun in the Michael Jackson child-abuse case, but it’s not going to help the prosecution.
An audiotape made by private investigator Brad Miller on or around Feb. 20, 2003, may solve the whole case.
On the tape, Miller working for Jackson defense attorney Mark Geragos interviews the 13-year-old boy now accusing Jackson of impropriety. Also interviewed are the boy’s brother, sister and mother.
This tape, I’m told, is the reason behind all those closed-door arguments among the lawyers in the case and the subject of Judge Rodney Melville’s sealing of evidence. The tape, and a lot of documents that have nothing to do with Jackson, were found in a police raid on Miller’s office the same day cops charged into Neverland last November.
That’s the problem. Miller’s lawyer, as well as Jackson’s, claim that Miller worked for Geragos and not for Jackson, making Miller part of the defense team and everything in his office thus off-limits to prosecutors. I’m told that the search warrant against Miller, however, incorrectly stated that he was Jackson’s employee.
Miller, under instructions from Geragos, interviewed the family members about their relationships with Jackson. He asked them a lot of questions, including whether or not there had been any sexual misconduct. The answers, I’m told, were emphatically “no.”
Prosecutors may suggest the three were coerced or forced to read from a script. But it appears they were not alone during the taping session. Major Jay Jackson, the boy’s mother’s boyfriend, was with them the whole time, my sources say. “If Jay Jackson didn’t like what they were being asked, he could have said something,” one source says. “He didn’t.”
It’s a big issue that the prosecutors are in possession of this tape.
Under the law, they are not allowed to listen to it until the judge rules whether or not it’s part of the defense. But District Attorney Tom Sneddon may have listened to it. (No one from the prosecutor’s office will comment on this or any other part of the Jackson case, invoking the court’s gag order.)
The tape may also play into the ever-shifting timeline in the Jackson case. When Sneddon filed charges against Jackson [in December 2003], he alleged that the child molestation took place between Feb. 7 and March 10 of 2003. Later, when he re-filed, the dates were changed: Feb. 20 to March 12, 2003.
“That’s because the tape was made later, around February 16 or 18,” says my source. “Also, that’s when the family was interviewed by the Los Angeles child-welfare people. Sneddon is trying to re-set the time line so it all matches.”
An interviewer from the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services spoke to the family during the same week they made the tape. I’m told the same answers came back nothing untoward had happened.
Sneddon, it’s suggested, had to change the dates of the charges so that they began after the tape was made and the interview was conducted.
“And we’re to believe that Michael, knowing about the tape and the interview, then decided to molest the kid,” my source says incredulously.
Source: FoxNews; Fox411 Roger Friedman by special permission / MJFC
July 9, 2004
Michael Jackson Defense Says Sneddon Did Surveillance
Days before Michael Jackson’s arrest on charges of molestation, Santa Barbara District Attorney, Tom Sneddon, personally took charge of surveillance of the office of private investigator working for Michael. This is a highly unusual action for a DA.
The defense has made public a filing wherein they charge that police “invaded the defense camp” in a search conducted in November at private investigator Bradley Miller’s office. At that time, Miller was working for Michael Jackson’s then attorney, Mark Geragos. The defense claims that the police had no right seizing materials from the office, citing attorney – client privilege. (Attorney – client privilege bars the prosecution from knowledge gained from communication between a defendant and their lawyers.)
Those materials included computer hard drives and videotapes. The defense has requested that the evidence removed from Miller’s office be disallowed at trial and returned to Michael’s attorneys.
Unbelievably, the police who executed this “search” used a sledgehammer, no less, to break into Miller’s office and conference rooms. The ransacking of the investigator’s office personally led by DA Sneddon further demonstrates the overzealousness of his continuing campaign to convict Michael Jackson.
In the document unsealed Wednesday requesting that the grand jury indictment be dismissed, the defense accused Sneddon of being unusually aggressive in his treatment of one witness in particular.
In yet another example of just how far DA Sneddon will go, the defense cited a memo by Sneddon that said that in an effort to locate Miller’s office, he, himself, had gone to the building where the office was located. He then photographed a list of offices in the building and climbed several flights of stairs in an attempt to find Miller’s. He was unsuccessful that time.
The prosecutors responded to these charges by saying that they did not know that Miller was working for Mark Geragos. The prosecution also claimed that they had the right to search the office if they believed that it held materials in evidence that were not covered by attorney – client privilege.
Source: AOL / AP / MJFC
July 9, 2004
Friedman: DA Sneddon’s Grand Jury Circus
Court filings by Michael Jackson’s lawyers, released on Wednesday, depict a different kind of grand jury proceeding than the usual, respectful environment.
Transcripts from the Jackson grand jury, included in the defense papers and redacted so that much of it is missing, still depict Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon on a rampage to control the proceedings.
According to papers filed by Jackson’s attorney Robert Sanger, Sneddon continually browbeat witnesses, fought with them and was often belligerent. Sneddon also gave little respect to the grand jury foreperson, often ignoring her wishes.
According to Sanger, “the grand jury was utterly dependent on the prosecution in every way,” including asking for permission to go to the bathroom or even have lunch. “The prosecutors decided when the grand jury would take breaks and when it would adjourn without asking the foreperson.”
Sanger’s papers indicate a few of the people who were called as grand jury witnesses, including Jackson’s accuser, mother, father and the father’s attorney. The latter two were treated by Sneddon almost as hostile witnesses, with several sharp exchanges occurring between the DA and each man during questioning. At one point, Sneddon tells the accuser’s father that when he speaks to his attorney “maybe you can tell him how I was so mean.”
It’s also been revealed in the last day or so that Sneddon allowed the boy’s mother to tell the grand jury of Jackson “I would never take the devil’s money.” Insiders are said to be amused by her choice of words there. It was Jackson himself from whom she probably got the “devil” idea. The pop star publicly accused former Sony Music executive Tommy Mottola (search) of being “very devilish” two summers ago.
As for “the devil’s money,” I’m told there are endless receipts to show just how much of it the boy’s mother happily took and spent during the time she says she was held by Jackson’s employees “against her will.”
Source: FoxNews; Fox411 Roger Friedman by special permission / MJFC
July 23, 2004
Report: Jackson prosecutor sent letters out to keep some quiet about case
The district attorney prosecuting Michael Jackson for molestation said his office kept people from speaking publicly about the case by notifying them they could be called as witnesses, according to a published report.
“We sent letters to some people saying we intended to call them as witnesses in order to keep them off TV,” Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon was quoted as telling fellow prosecutors Tuesday at a conference in Vancouver, Canada.
The Vancouver Globe and Mail reported that Sneddon made the remarks at a conference of the National District Attorneys Association.
Sneddon’s spokeswoman, Susan Tellem, said she understood the remarks were made in a closed-door meeting and didn’t know how a reporter got in. She also said she doesn’t know if Sneddon was quoted accurately.
Attorneys contacted by The Associated Press late Thursday said that if Sneddon was purposely limiting speech by those he knew wouldn’t be called as witnesses, he should be disciplined for abusing his power.
“He’s saying I misused my power as district attorney in order to shut people up. … That is a big, big violation,” criminal attorney Russell Halpern said. “I think the state bar should investigate.”
Halpern represents the father of Jackson’s accuser in cases separate from the Jackson molestation case. He said he received a letter from the Santa Barbara district attorney’s office in January saying he could be called as a witness, though he had no firsthand knowledge of the Jackson case. He has not been called.
Halpern said he was considering a lawsuit against Sneddon for violating his First Amendment rights.
“I have a lot of things I could say and I haven’t voiced them because I’ve actually been intimidated to some degree,” he said. “I felt all along that he was (disingenuous) when he sent me a letter saying I was a potential witness. His real interest was to stymie any comments made about his case.”
Defense attorney Steve Cron, who has handled high profile cases, called Sneddon’s remarks “shocking” and “totally unethical.”
“I am just astounded. He is saying that he’s using the judicial process untruthfully and improperly,” he said. “I’m not surprised someone would do it. I’m surprised he would think there is nothing wrong with it.”
Source: SignOnSanDiego.com by special permission / MJFC
It is extremely interesting to note that to some people, who were not even possible witnesses, Tom Sneddon did send letters keeping them from appearing on TV (and speak in support of Michael Jackson), but at least in one case when a person could really be a prosecution witness at the trial Sneddon did not bother to do it.
I am talking of Ray Chandler who self-published a defamatory book about Michael Jackson prior to the 2005 trial and claimed he had important documents to prove MJ’s “guilt” in his nephew Jordan Chandler’s case. Despite all these declarations Tom Sneddon did not spread a gag order onto him as a possible witness, and Ray Chandler went on and on making endless rounds of TV shows and freely telling his lies about Jackson.
Finally it was the Defense of Michael Jackson which subpoenaed Ray Chandler as a “custodian of important documents” of the 1993 case, but the good old uncle didn’t accept the invitation and fought the subpoena tooth and nail in order not to present his case in court. Eventually he hid behind the Sheild law which protects both journalists and publishers, the latter of which unfortunately covered Ray Chandler too.
July 25, 2004
D.A. Sneddon Attempts To Clarify Remarks
It seems that even with the assistance of a free publicist, Tom Sneddon seems unable to keep his foot out of his mouth.
Facing criticism that he misused his power by sending out letters to an extensive list of individuals, warning of possible call to testify in the Michael Jackson molestation case, Sneddon is now attempting to “fix it.” Many of the individuals who received letters from the D.A.’s office, like the lawyer of the accuser’s father, only have minimal involvement in the case. Receiving the letter effectively stopped the recipient from speaking about the case.
But now Sneddon says that he never really meant to prevent people from speaking publicly about court cases. And he was not really referring specifically to the Michael Jackson case.
The remarks were made during a “training session” at a conference of the National District Attorneys Association that he thought was not going to be covered by the press.
Sneddon called an Associated Press reporter in an attempt to lessen the impact after his remarks at the conference became publically known. Sneddon has been heavily criticised for his handling of the Michael Jackson case.
Source: AP / MJFC
August 1, 2004
DA’s Search Of Michael Jackson’s Private Investigator Unlawful
Tom Sneddon continues to stumble through the Michael Jackson case. Now, in what has been called “an unusual move,” Judge Melville has ordered Sneddon to testify at an upcoming hearing next month.
You will remember that Sneddon personally led the heavy – handed raid on the offices of Private Investigator Bradley Miller. Mr. Miller was working with Michael’s then-attorney Mark Geragos. You might also recall that there was some question about the zealousness that Sneddon conducted the search. It just might be that the only correct procedure that Sneddon followed was that he authorized the search warrant. Reportedly, Sneddon conducted his own personal surveillance on Miller’s office building weeks prior to the raid and knew that Miller had been hired to assist in the defense.
According to Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville, the court is “very concerned about the factual issue, whether or not the district attorney…knew that Mr. Miller had been retained by Geragos.”
If Tom Sneddon knew that Miller was, indeed, working for Geragos, then why did he so obviously ignore the attorney – client privilege?
Jonna M. Spilbor, FindLaw Columnist special to CNN.com, today wrote why this is so illegal and what the courts should do about it.
The attorney – client privilege insures the confidentiality of communication between the lawyer and client. An honest exchange of knowledge and information is necessary to ensure the client receives the very best representation possible.
In California, this is interpreted very broadly to include virtually all information exchanged by client to attorney during the course of their relationship. This includes conversations, written information, photographic and other communications.
In addition, this privilege extends to those third parties “who are present to further the interest of the client in the consultation or to accomplish the purpose for which the lawyer is consulted. These third parties are needed in order that the lawyer do his job efficiently. This extends to experts, paralegal, secretaries and in this case, private investigators who are retained by the client’s counsel. Therefore, it follows that the private investigator retained by the lawyer to represent a suspect cannot be forced to reveal the results of his investigation.
So what was Sneddon thinking? Are we to believe that Sneddon wanted this prosecution so badly that he “forgot” this very basic guideline?
The prosecutor, himself, is claiming ignorance. As in he didn’t realize Miller’s relationship to Michael’s defense. That seems very improbable.
Following the obvious trail of what the prosecution knew: Mark Geragos represented Michael Jackson. They knew Michael or Geragos had hired Miller. Otherwise, why go through all the trouble of staking him out, getting a search warrant and breaking down the investigator’s door? The grand back – firing of this logic shows that Sneddon could provide probable cause enough to persuade a judge to give him the warrant.
Sneddon apparently knew the Jackson – Geragos – Miller connection well enough to pull off three separate, simultaneous searches in Santa Barbara and Beverly Hills all at the same time. Considering all the man power involved, how is it possible that no one realized Geragos and Miller were working in tandem?
Ironically, the prosecution could have conducted a legal search of Miller’s office. The law governing client – lawyer privilege does allow such a search, but there is a specific procedure that has to be followed. Basically, when a search warrant is issued, the court appoints an independent person who is not associated with either the police or the presecutors to oversee the procedure. If the person who’s premises is being search states that particular materials, such as documents, are privileged, they must be sealed by the independent “special master” and then taken to court for a hearing.
It’s doubtful that Sneddon simply did not know these laws. The question then becomes why were they not followed? Jonna Spilbor speculates that the reason might be that this would spoil Sneddon’s “sneak attack” strategy.
After all, there would be obvious advantage to a surprise search in three separate areas held simultaneously. The defense can’t be everywhere at once in order to observe the proceedings.
So what might happen now that this situation has been brought to light? If the search at Private Investigator Miller’s office resulted in materials that the prosecution could use, the judge has the right to declare that they were illegally seized. Any materials coming from the office could be judged inadmissible as “fruit of the poisonous tree.” But Spilbor feels that more should be done.
Simply suppressing evidence is not enough, according to Spilbor. There’s a difference between zealous prosecution and prosecutorial misconduct and many argue that Sneddon has crossed over the line. His vendetta against Michael has, once again, caused him to act improperly. Spilbor feels that “only additional sanctions will properly punish and deter.”
Spilbor notes, however, that the system is not exactly set up to mete out justice to those who are supposed to be trusted officers of the court. She notes that imposing fines is an option. And another possibility, although rarely used, would be to recuse the offender or even the entire District Attorney’s office.
This is a viable response if the court is convinced that the D.A. employed it’s powers in order to deprive the defendant of a fair trial. And Spilbor feels that, in this case, there is a strong argument that it did.
Finally, there is the remedy that ensures resolution for the accused and a punishment for the prosecution that fails to play by the rules and that is a dismissal of the charges.
Spilbor writes “Here… the evidence of the defendant’s guilt is tenuous at best — and what evidence exists, may be less than credible.”
“In this case, then, dismissal might not be too extreme a sanction. The critical import, however, is that suppression of evidence is not enough when misconduct is as grave as occurred here. “
Source: CNN / MJFC
August 4, 2004
Did Sneddon Violate Gag Order?
As we reported on July 23, 2004, district attorney Tom Sneddon said at a conference in Vancouver, Canada on July 20 that his office kept people from speaking publicly about the case by notifying them they could be called as witnesses. These remarks immediately raised eyebrows among legal experts. They suggested that Sneddon’s remarks were inappropriate as they seemed to indicate that he was using the power of the grand jury to silence people who he did not intend to call as witnesses.
Now on Monday, lawyers for Michael Jackson suggested in court papers that Sneddon had also violated a “gag” order by talking at the conference. Lead attorney Tom Mesereau wrote in the court papers:
“Mr. Jackson respectfully requests the court for clarification as to whether the … statements by Mr. Sneddon violate the protective order.”
Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville has largely barred case participants from discussing it in public without his permission.
Susan Tellem, Tom Sneddon’s spokeswoman, simply said in response to the court filing:
“Mr. Sneddon has said publicly that he has not violated the gag order.”
Source: AP / MJFC
The article that comes next tells us, among other things, that all cases of Sneddon’s (alleged) improprieties in investigation of cases against the accused were either settled out of court by the taxpayers’ money or covered by the insurance:
August 7, 2004
Jackson Case May Be Unraveling: Who’s Bad?
Analysis of the Current Case by K. C. Arceneaux, Ph.D. Ms. K. C. Arceneaux:
There is growing evidence that the child molestation case against Michael Jackson may be unraveling. Jackson‘s song “Bad” may be an accurate description, not of Jackson, but of the DA prosecuting the case.
In the latest in a series of alleged abuses of power in the conduct of the case, Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon has revealed that he notified people that they were potential witnesses in the Jackson case, for the purpose of preventing them from talking to the press.
It was reported by thirty year veteran news-man Robert Matas that Sneddon said, “We sent letters to some people saying we intended to call them as witnesses in order to keep them off TV.” Sneddon’s statements, made at a conference of the National District Attorneys’ Association, in Vancouver, Canada, have drawn heavy criticism. Jackson’s attorneys have called for an investigation as to whether the gag order was violated by Sneddon’s public discussions of the Jackson case.
In at attempt at damage control, Sneddon has said first, that he did not make the statement, and then, that the statement he did not make was taken out of context.
He said, “I would have to be criminally dumb to get up and say that.” Criminal dumbness is an unfortunate description of the DA’s conduct, but it may be accurate. Matas stands by his story, and says that he took notes during the proceedings. Matas said, “It’s definitely accurate. My notes were accurate.” Sneddon also said that he thought the session at which he spoke would not be covered by the press. Matas was the sole reporter present.
After the session at which Sneddon spoke, reporter Matas asked him a follow-up question about the Jackson case, saying, “I went up and asked him what he was most surprised about. He said that he’s been accused of doing this in revenge.” Sneddon continues to deny that this is a revenge case. From its inception, Jackson’s attorneys have alleged that the case against Michael Jackson is the result of a vendetta.
Evidence has been growing steadily that Jackson’ s attorneys are right in their assertions. There are many alleged improprieties and abuses of power in the case. Jackson’s attorneys have filed a motion to dismiss the indictment against Jackson, saying that Sneddon engaged in outrageous conduct and bullied the Grand Jury. Jackson’s attorneys have also said that Sneddon violated attorney/client privilege when he confiscated materials from the office of Bradley Miller, a private investigator employed by then Jackson attorney, Mark Geragos. It has been discovered that Sneddon investigated aspects of the case himself, and conducted surveillance.
Sneddon also met with the mother of the accuser alone in a parking lot; and that, according to Fox News columnist Roger Friedman, Sneddon’s business card was found under the accuser’s mother’s door on Feb. 16th, long before the allegations were made.
Concerning alleged improprieties unrelated to the Jackson case, Burbank civil rights attorney Joe Freeman has called for an investigation of Sneddon, sending letters on May 24, 2004, to the California Attorney General, the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury and the California State Bar Association. Freeman’s letters read, in part, “In my opinion, the matters to be investigated are the possible criminal violations of several felony and misdemeanor statutes, including conspiracy, illegal taping, deceiving a court and a prosecutor illegally assisting the defense of a case.” Freeman is calling for an investigation, and for the appropriate sanctions if wrong-doing is verified.
Russell Halpern, the attorney for the father of Jackson’s accuser, has also called for an investigation of Sneddon, for allegedly violating his right to free speech by sending him a letter stating that he may be called as a witness. Halpern has said that he has no direct knowledge of the Jackson case, and it is unlikely that he will testify.Halpern’s allegations tend to validate Sneddon’s statements made at the District Attorneys’ Convention, that letters were sent for the purpose of shutting people up.
Adding to the evidence that points to abuses of the power of his office, DA Sneddon has been sued many times for alleged civil rights violations and prosecutorial misconduct, including false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, unreasonable search and seizure, and other alleged violations.
These cases were either settled out of court, or resulted in losses in Federal Court for Sneddon and the Santa Barbara DA’s office. The settlements and judgments were paid by county funds and insurance. Currently there are at least two similar cases pending against Sneddon, one by Solvang attorney Gary Dunlap who is suing Sneddon for ten million dollars for malicious prosecution, false arrest, and other alleged civil rights violations, and another by Santa Maria City Attorney Art Montandon, who is suing Sneddon for “discriminatory, abusive, and defamatory” behavior, among other charges.
That the District Attorney may have abused the power of his office does not automatically point to Jackson’s innocence, but the many alleged improprieties in this and other cases are beginning to gain public attention as a pattern emerges. Among the many irregularities in the Jackson case, the fact that Sneddon made contact with the accuser’s mother before allegations were ever made, and the fact that he has pursued the case with a relentless and uncommon zeal, cast doubts on the motivations behind the charges against the pop-star. If vendettas have been business-as-usual with the Santa Barbara DA, then public scrutiny of the case against Jackson may prove to be Sneddon’s undoing. Sneddon’s public relations firm, Tellem Worldwide, has declined to respond to these issues, citing the gag order in the case.
Source: Ms. K. C. Arceneaux, Ph.D., email@example.com / MJFC
Short information on attorney Art Montandon’s case (so Sneddon was not above harassing even attorneys?):
- Santa Maria City Attorney Art Montandon filed a claim against the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office, alleging that they falsely accused him of bribing a defense attorney in a case that Sneddon was prosecuting. Montandon had evidence favourable to the defense and prosecutors tried to stop him from interfering by threatening to bring bribery charges against him. A judge later ruled that Sneddon’s office had no right to stop Montandon’s involvement in the case.
- In a letter, Montandon denied any wrongdoing and lashed out at Sneddon and his employees, saying: “Unlike (Assistant District Attorney Christie) Stanley and current and former members of her office, I have never had my license to practice law suspended by the State Bar, have never been convicted of a crime, and have never been terminated from any attorney job.”
- At the end of his letter, Montandon said he would reveal in court: “the full and complete story of not only the District Attorney’s unprofessional conduct, but the inappropriate conduct and motives of others working behind the scenes to cause community conflict.”
- Recently, Montandon requested that the State Bar investigate Sneddon and his office for obstruction of justice. http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/archive.cgi?noframes%3Bread=64536
Deputies Exceeded Bounds Of Warrant
According to Michael Jackson’s employees, one the property manager and the other the chief of security at Neverland Ranch, sheriff deputies searching the ranch entered areas that they did not have court approval to access. According to their testimony, the deputies told them that they would have those areas included into the warrant, but never did. One of the deputies said in later testimony that he never made that promise.
Property manager Joseph Marcus said that he was initially cooperative when the 40 plus sheriff deputies arrived on the scene on November 18, 2003. The search would last 15 hours. “I worked with them all day,” he stated. Marcus said that he studied the warrant to make certain that he restricted the search to those areas specified.
One of the areas not specified on the warrant was Michael’s office. The deputies said that they only wanted to establish that the locations not listed were secure and that no one was on the premises.
“I cooperated and opened the door, but then they decided they wanted to do a search. I objected because it was not in the scope of the search warrant,” Marcus testified.
A deputy told Marcus that he would make a phone call and have the warrant amended to include the areas, but as far as he knew, that call was never made.
The deputy in question, Jeff Klipakis, denied this in later testimony. He also denied that authorities were ever pressured.
Violet Silva, chief of security at Neverland, testified in a similar way. She questioned authorities regarding the reach of the search warrant, pointing out that Michael’s office and video library were not included, although a security office in the same building was listed. She agreed with earlier testimony that there was a discussion regarding having the warrant amended by a judge, but that it was never followed through.
“I shouted out ‘Did you get that addendum?”
She said that a deputy shrugged and indicated that it had not been obtained.
Source: AP / MJFC
August 25, 2004
Sheriff Makes Statement
In a December 2003 interview with “60 Minutes,” Michael Jackson had stated that he was handled roughly during the arrest proceedings on November 20, 2003. The sheriff’s department denied these accusations, but an investigation was launched.
On August 24, 2004, Santa BarbaraCounty sheriff Anderson held a news conference in this matter. He said:
“After interviewing 163 witnesses and expending in excess of 2,500 investigative hours, the California Bureau of Investigation determined that Mr. Jackson was not injured at the hands of Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department personnel.”
Last week, Thomas Mesereau Jr., Michael’s defense lawyer, had stated in court that his client never made a formal complaint about his treatment or requested an investigation, although he had bruises and received medical treatment.
Source: AP / MJFC
October 6, 2004
Lawyers File Motion To Remove Sneddon From Case
On Monday, Michael Jackson’s lawyers filed a motion to remove the Santa BarbaraCounty district attorney’s office from the child molestation case.
The motion was one of several filed under seal by attorney Robert Sanger. He said sealing the motion was necessary because “the content of the motion includes reference to details in under-seal material including discovery materials, grand jury transcripts, investigative reports, exhibits and identities of witnesses.”
The reasons for the motion were kept secret. However, Michael’s lawyers have said in the past that DA Tom Sneddon had a personal vendetta against the entertainer after failing to get charges filed against him in a 1993 allegation.
Motions to remove a DA from a case often are based on claims of personal involvement and conflict of interest. According to criminal defense attorney Steve Cron lawyers often claim in such motions that the chief prosecutor is so personally embroiled in the case that he can’t make fair and dispassionate decisions:
“The odds of being successful are very slim. It would be highly unusual for a judge to take the whole district attorney’s office off a case.”
Loyola University Law Professor Laurie Levenson said that if the motion was granted and upheld on appeal, the state attorney general’s office would have to take over the prosecution:
“This was a natural motion to file. Even if the chances of success are not great, it’s worth taking a stab at it.”
5. THE 1993 CASE AS A BLUEPRINT FOR THE ARVIZO CASE
January 7, 2005
Roger Friedman: A Blueprint For The Case Against [Jackson]?
My sources tell me that Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon used his 1993 case against Michael Jackson as a blueprint for the current one.
In fact, in legal papers summarized on The SmokingGun.com, it appears that some of the actual wording from the ’93 case worked its way into the latest one.
Sneddon, my sources say, based most of his complaint against Jackson last winter on the ’93 case, using it as a comparison and a foundation until he could dig up more current evidence.
Interestingly, testimony ascribed to the mother of the boy — we’ll call her Janet X — in the new case sounds exactly like similar complaints from the parents in the ’93 case.
According to The Smoking Gun: “The boy’s mother said that, during 2001, she complained to Jackson about the length of his telephone chats with her son — and that Jackson was upset with her criticism. Asked by investigators about her recollections of those calls, she said that her son mentioned things that struck her as ‘peculiar.’ For instance, Jackson’s favorite color was the same as her son’s favorite color. And ‘whatever [her son] liked, Michael liked as well.'”
Jackson‘s defense attorneys may be able to dredge up almost the exact wording from articles and books about the boy in the 1993 case. They could point out that Janet X and her military boyfriend, now her husband, Jay Jackson (no relation to Michael’s family), could have studied those stories and statements by the parents of the first boy.
Similar anecdotes, for example, can be found in “All That Glitters,” the self-published book by the first boy’s uncle Ray Chandler. Stories that are themselves re-lived from previous incarnations.
The Smoking Gun people have done an incredible job of piecing together affidavits, warrants and testimony previously unavailable or redacted in the latest case. But even their writers seem incredulous about some things offered by Jackson’s teen accuser and his brother, who is a year younger.
For example, the brothers claimed to officials the reason why they couldn’t pinpoint any dates or times was because “there are no clocks or calendars at Neverland. It’s a like a sealed Las Vegas casino.”
In fact, The Smoking Gun writers point out that there’s a huge outdoor clock right in the middle of the estate. My own sources laughed when I read them this part of the boys’ accusations.
“There are clocks everywhere, everyone has watches and there are calendars in the offices. There’s a big clock in the kitchen” where the accusing boy and his brother gave their famous TV interviews to Martin Bashir, a source said.
There’s more, but much more, and that’s what’s going to prove interesting as the case moves ahead now to trial: whether this is all the material the prosecution has, and if it can hold up to scrutiny in court.
Source: FoxNews; Fox411 Roger Friedman by special permission / MJFC
January 12, 2005
FYI: Prosecutors Seek To Admit “Prior Bad Acts”
Prosecutors in the Michael Jackson case are expected to argue that evidence of “prior bad acts” by Michael Jackson should be admitted as evidence.
On Wednesday, January 12, 2005, an “1108 hearing” will be held for this purpose. An “1108 Hearing” refers to section 1108 of the California penal code, amended in 1995, that allows evidence of prior bad acts to be admissible in sexual molestation trials. This is to demonstrate possible patterns of behavior and/or the defendant’s propensity to commit the same acts again.
An example of evidence that would fall into this category would be the psychiatrist report from Jackson’s first accuser in 1993.
Courtroom observers believe it is likely that such evidence will be permitted.
Source: Court TV / MJFC
6. MORE LEAKAGES FROM THE PROSECUTION. THE SHERIFF DEPARTEMENT SAYS THEY ARE NOT TO BLAME
January 13, 2005
FYI: Graphic Details Surface In Michael Jackson Case
According to an ABC News report, whose program “Primetime Live” reviewed more than 1,900 pages of grand jury testimony in the Michael Jackson Case, the testimony of Jackson’s accuser contained graphic details of sexual abuse.
The judge has kept these transcripts sealed, along with other documents in the case, to ensure that Michael Jackson receives a fair trial. However, a full report is planned for Thursday’s edition of “Primetime Live”.
Source: AP / MJFC
January 13, 2005
STATEMENT OF ATTORNEY THOMAS A. MESEREAU, JR. LEAD COUNSEL TO MR. MICHAEL JACKSON
Mr. Jackson’s lead Defense Counsel Thomas A. Mesereau, Jr., releases the following statement in response to the leaking of the Grand Jury testimony:
We strongly object to the “leak” of the Grand Jury testimony in this case. This Grand Jury material had been ordered sealed by Judge Melville in open court.
The witnesses who testified before the Grand Jury were never subjected to cross-examination or impeachment by the defense. By law, no judge or defense lawyer was allowed to be present in the Grand Jury room. Furthermore, the defense had no opportunity to call its own witnesses to refute or criticize this one-sided proceeding.
“This case will be won in the courtroom and not through “leaks” in the media. When he has his day in court, Michael Jackson will be acquitted and vindicated.
Source: MJJSource / MJFC
January 14, 2005
Friedman: […] District Attorney Upsets Jersey Family
There was yet another leak from Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon’s office in the Michael Jackson case yesterday. This time, it was grand jury testimony from the now-almost 15-year-old boy who’s accusing the pop singer of molestation.
Isn’t there a gag order in this case? Can’t Sneddon be sanctioned by Judge Rodney Melville? And why hasn’t he been already?
The testimony given by the boy is about Jackson serving wine to minors in his wine cellar.
I can tell you now, through my exclusive sources, this account will be refuted if it makes it to the stand. That’s because Sneddon takes on Jackson’s most ardent supporters and surrogate family, the Cascios of Franklin Lakes, N.J.
Curiously, even though Sneddon leaked this information yesterday, he has not subpoenaed any of the Cascios, including Frank Tyson. And the Cascios, I am told, are furious that he involved their minor children in a publicity scheme to promote the prosecution’s case.
Source: FoxNews; Fox411 Roger Friedman by special permission / MJFC
January 16, 2005
FYI: Diane Diamond To Release Book?
According to the New York Post, Court TV reporter Diane Dimond is planning to release a book based on the Michael Jackson child molestation case. William Morris is shopping the book and the proposal just landed on publishers’ desks.
No additional details on the book have been provided.
MJFC has also learned that Diane Diamond signed another deal with ‘TODAY’ to be an analyst on the show during the trial.
Source: NY Post / MJFC
January 20, 2005
Judge Lets Jackson Respond To Transcripts
Judge Melville has given Michael Jackson permission to make a televised statement responding to leaks of potentially damaging grand jury testimony given by his teen-age boy accuser, which had been leaked to ABC News last week.
A Fox News spokesperson confirmed that an interview with Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera has been taped and that Jackson read a statement approved by Judge Melville in response to the leaked transcripts.
Judge Melville has occasionally allowed Michael Jackson to issue brief statements that were approved in advance. But the court-sanctioned statement Michael Jackson gave Rivera would mark the first time the judge has permitted the entertainer to go on national television to comment on the case.
Grand jury transcripts normally are made public in California 10 days after they’re received by a defendant. The judge, however, has kept the Jackson transcripts sealed, along with most other documents in the case.
The leaked grand jury transcripts were called a “one sided proceeding” by Michael’s attorney, Thomas Mesereau Jr. “The witnesses who testified before the grand jury were never subjected to cross examination or impeachment by the defense” he said.
Source: FoxNews/ MJFC
January 25, 2005
Sheriff’s Investigators Deny Leaks
An investigation has been started to discover who is the source of the recent leaks to the media in the case against Michael Jackson.
Through a posting on the sheriff’s web site on Monday, it has been said that the information that was leaked was covered by the gag order issued in the case.
“We consider the release of these materials to be a violation of the law” the statement reads. It goes on to say that they realize that some media have alleged that the sheriff’s department are responsible, to which they strongly deny.
The leaks come, in part, as a graphic description of the alleged molestation given under testimony. Those quotes come from ABC News, who have not revealed how it received more than 1,900 pages of grand jury testimony.
Source: NBC / AP / MJFC
January 26, 2005
Sheriff’s Department Press Release
Sheriff Anderson / D.A. Sneddon Response to Alleged Leaks – Jackson Case
Recently there has been a noticeable increase in the release to the public of highly confidential transcripts, investigative reports, and documents about the Michael Jackson case. These materials are squarely covered by Judge Melville’s Protective Order. We consider the release of these materials to be a violation of the law. Some media commentators have alleged that we are responsible for these leaks. We are not. These accusations are irresponsible, unfounded and untrue.
We are actively investigating this matter. In the meantime, if anybody has any information about who or under what circumstances these materials were released, please contact the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, Detective Bureau at (805) 681-4150. Any individual wishing to provide written information should do so by registered receipt so full accountability for any information provided can be achieved.
Source: Santa BarbaraCounty Sheriff’s Department / MJFC
January 30, 2005
Michael Jackson Releases Statement
Earlier today, Michael Jackson released a video statement, the contents of which were approved by Judge Melville. The statement was in response to the leaked grand jury transcript. The statement is as follows:
“In the last few weeks, a large amount of ugly, malicious information has been released into the media about me. Apparently, this information was leaked through transcripts in a grand jury proceeding where neither my lawyers or I ever appeared. This information is disgusting and false. Years ago, I allowed a family to visit and spend some time at Neverland. Neverland is my home. I allowed this family into my home because they told that their son was ill with cancer and needed my help. Through the years I have helped thousands of children who are ill or in distress. These events have caused a nightmare for my children, my family and me. I never intend to place myself in so vulnerable a position ever again. I love my community and have great faith in our justice system. Please keep an open mind and let me have my day in court. I deserve a fair trial like every other American citizen. I will be acquitted and vindicated when the truth is told. Thank you.”
Source: ABC news / MJJSource / MJFC
7. THE PROSECUTION CONTAMINATES EVIDENCE
February 3, 2005
Has Key Evidence Been Compromised?
In a ‘Celebrity Justice’ piece, they report that some crucial evidence may have become compromised. As you may remember, during the 2003 raid on Neverland Ranch, it was reported that authorities seized “adult material” that included one magazine that reportedly had the fingerprints of both Michael Jackson and his accuser on the same page. Judge Melville ruled this evidence could be submitted. However, there might be a big problem with this evidence. According to “Celebrity Justice” producer and attorney Harvey Levin, the evidence might be contaminated.
“Based on what we’ve seen, this evidence may have been compromised.” Levin reports. “We know when this accuser testified before the grand jury he handled these magazines. At one point, one of the grand jurors asked, ‘Have these magazines been fingerprinted?’ And the sheriff said, ‘No.’ That leaves the door wide open for the defense to argue, ‘How do you know when the boy touched the magazine? At Neverland? Or before the grand jury?'”
Source: MJFC / Celebrity Justice / Special thanks to Amy.
February 6, 2005
Prosecutors Aim To Protect Accuser’s Mother
Prosecutors are hoping to protect the mother of his accuser in the upcoming trial.
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Thomas Sneddon has asked Judge Rodney Melville to “limit introduction of evidence of prior litigation” by the family. In other words, they have asked that the court suppress evidence of prior lawsuits filed by the mother. They have also requested that the defense refrain from bringing details of the mother’s personal life into the courtroom, including her use of “psychiatric medication” and “any alleged extramarital conduct.”
Court documents state that the mother of the child obtained a substantial settlement from a department store, totaling more than $100,000, after claiming that the security guards assaulted her and her two sons. In May, the family filed suit against Los Angeles child welfare officials over a leak of a confidential memo that stated the investigation against Michael Jackson did not produce any evidence that he sexually assaulted the accuser.
Michael Jackson’s defense team has repeatedly referred to the mother as a greedy opportunist and liar who has a history of filing lawsuits strictly for financial gain. They have made it known from the beginning that they intend to attack the credibility of both the mother and her children.
A hearing for this matter has been set for February 10, 2005.
Source: MJFC / AP
February 11, 2005
Is There A ‘Witch Hunt’ For Michael Jackson?
In 1993, during the initial child molestation investigation against Michael Jackson, Santa Barbara authorities called in several potential witnesses to question them about their relationship with Jackson. Among them, was former child actor, Corey Feldman.
Feldman was questioned by Santa Barbara Sheriff Sgt. Deborah Linden, the same investigator who wrote the affidavit in 1993 to get court approval for photographs of Michael Jackson’s private parts. During questioning, Feldman repeatedly told her that nothing inappropriate had ever occured between him and Jackson, but the questioning continued for over an hour. Some excerpts are as follows:
Sgt. Linden: “Is it your belief in him and your love for him getting in the way of you telling us things?”
Feldman: “Everything I’ve told you is true and there’s….I mean, nothing happened.”
Sgt. Linden: “I’m so concerned that if something happened you’re not going to tell us because it would be so hard to tell us”
Feldman: “You don’t know how many times I have racked my brain and gone, ‘Is there someting 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.”
Celebrity Justice spoke with Beverly Hills defense attorney Jay Jaffe. After hearing the tape, Jaffe stated that although Feldman repeated his statements and sounds believable on the tape, the investigators ‘want to hear what they want to hear and not what the witness wants to say’.
He added that the investigators did not break the law, but their aggressive questioning could support the claim that Tom Sneddon has been on a ‘witch hunt’ for Michael Jackson.
Jaffe also added,
“I think the defense would try to show that the investigators on this case are, in fact, not objective in their fact-finding process. What they have is an agenda and they’re looking for something against Michael Jackson, even in the face of a claim that nothing really existed.”
Source: MJFC / Celebrity Justice
February 15, 2005
Michael Jackson In Hospital
Michael Jackson fell ill on the way to his court appearance today. He has been rushed to the MarianCenter in Santa Maria. Judge Rodney Melville told prospective jurors that Jackson had the flu and that jury selection would resume February 22, 2005.
DR. CHUCK MERRILL’S STATEMENT REGARDING MR. MICHAEL JACKSON’S MEDICAL CONDITION:
Mr. Jackson has been evaluated in our Emergency Department for a flu-like illness with vomiting. He is undergoing testing and is being treated with intravenous fluids. He is in stable condition and we expect a full recovery. He will be released when we feel he’s well enough.
Source: MJFC / AP
February 17, 2005
FYI: Indictment Transcripts Revealed
The controversial website, The Smoking Gun, has released the complete Grand Jury Indictment against Michael Jackson on charges of molestation and conspiracy. The 1,903 page document includes more than a dozen testimonies including those from his accuser, the accuser’s family, a former Neverland employee, and others involved in the case.
In a separate story, “Search and Destroy?”, the Smoking Gun reveals evidence seized from former Jackson associate P.I. Bradley Miller. Prosecutors are planning to use this evidence, which includes surveillance videos of the accusing family and recorded phone calls, to corroborate the claim that the family was harassed by Jackson after they left Neverland.
Source: MJFC / Smoking Gun
February 17, 2005
Press Release: Michael Jackson Leaves Hospital
Mr. Michael Jackson has been discharged from the MarianMedicalCenter in Santa Maria, California to continue his recovery at home. Mr. Jackson would like to thank the doctors and staff at the MarianMedicalCenter for the care they extended to him.
Source: MJFC / Raymone K. Bain
February 23, 2005
Michael Was Cleared By Sheriff’s Department
Celebrity Justice today announced a “stunning development” in the Michael Jackson case. They learned that the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s department actually closed its case against Michael, clearing him, only months before then arresting him on molestation charges.
On Feb. 20, 2003 at 10:00 a.m., three social workers with the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services went to the apartment of Michael’s accuser and interviewed him, his brother, sister and mother. Celebrity Justice sources said that all members of the family said that Michael did not molest the boy and stated that in no uncertain terms.
The three workers returned to their office. At 3:00 p.m. on the same day, they received an unusual phone call. A lieutenant from the Santa Barbara County Sheriffs Department was calling to say “do not interview the boy or his family.” The source said this puzzled the social workers. They had “never gotten a request like that before.”
The social workers forwarded their information to the Sheriffs Department. A detective investigated and in April of 2003 closed the case against Michael, effectively clearing him. Celebrity Justice has found that detective is no longer employed at the sheriff’s department.
Prosecution sources told Celebrity Justice that they have evidence that shows that the mother was coerced and threatened by Michael’s employees, even though they admit no one from Children’s Services saw this. But according to Celebrity Justice sources, the social workers said that there was absolutely no sign of duress. The workers said that they have “done this for a long time” and it was clear to them that this family was speaking freely and without threat.
Source: MJFC / Celebrity Justice
February 26, 2005
New Possible Witness To Be Deposed
ABC News is reporting that a witness has emerged in the Michael Jackson case who will be deposed by both the prosecution and defense on Saturday February 26, 2005 inLos Angeles. This witness is a paralegal who worked for the attorney representing the accuser’s mother when their family sued J.C. Penney and won a $137,500 settlement in October 2001.
It is reported that the paralegal has claimed to the Jackson defense team that Jane Doe, as the accuser’s mother is known in court papers to protect her son’s anonymity, lied under oath and fabricated the charges against J.C. Penney security guards.The paralegal has alleged to the defense team that the bruises Jane Doe said were inflicted by the guards were actually perpetrated by someone else and that she coached her son to lie during his deposition against J.C. Penney.
Source: MJFC / ABC News
8. THE TRIAL FINALLY STARTS
Yes, it is coming as a big surprise to all of us that all of the above was only a preliminary stage to the trial and the court proceedings are starting only just now. All of us were under the impression that the trial has been going on for a long time!
This isn’t a mere illusion on our part – it is a reflection of the reality Michael Jackson was living in. The public trial of Michael Jackson started very long ago, at the time the first allegations against him were made, in the year 1993. Ever since then the media and public campaign against him never ceased and actually turned into a never-ending court of public opinion in which Michael Jackson was forced to lose loooooong before the actual February-June 2005 trial even started.
February 26, 2005
Mesereau Previews Michael’s Defense Team’s Strategy
Thomas Mesereau Jr., Michael’s lead attorney, presented Michael’s defense team’s strategy by alleging that Michael’s accuser’s mother (1) gave contradictory testimony in court, (2) hid money in order to collect welfare, and (3) underwent cosmetic surgery with money her cancer patient son had been given by other celebrities.
Mesereau’s presentation occurred as he sought to admit evidence relating to the credibility of the family of Michael’s accuser. Mesereau sought to admit as evidence the lawsuit which the mother of Michael’s accuser filed against J.C. Penney—in which she claimed that security guards beat her family, held them against their will, and even groped her.
Mesereau told the court that the day after that alleged beating, the accuser’s mother returned to J.C. Penney and hugged employees. Then, she filed that lawsuit and even later amended it to include the groping claim. Mesereau also stated that the accuser’s mother testified in that case that her husband had never hit her. However, during their divorce she later alleged that he had beaten the family for years. Mesereau also noted that she had accused her ex-husband of inappropriately touching her daughter.
Her lawsuit against J.C. Penney resulted in a $150,000 settlement. Mesereau claims that the accuser’s mother then hid assets from that settlement in order to receive welfare from Los Angeles County. Mesereau also claims that the accuser’s mother had the accuser ask other celebrities, such as Jay Leno, for money.
Mesereau claims that the accuser’s mother even spent some of that money on cosmetic surgery for herself. Mesereau said, “She got a breast enhancement and a tummy tuck and then told Mr. Jackson and all these people that she was destitute.” Mesereau argued that the accuser’s mother’s pattern of behavior is ultimately indicative of fraud.
Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville agreed to allow the jurors to hear about the lawsuit against J.C. Penney. In response to Mesereau’s presentation, Judge Melville said, “You almost laid out your whole case, not for me, but for other people.”
The prosecution alleges that Michael molested his accuser after the airing of the documentary entitled “Living with Michael Jackson.” Prosecutor Ron Zonen said, “The question is whether a man who admits to sleeping with children was sleeping with this child, and what he did with this child. That’s what this case is about.”
Judge Melville ruled that the prosecution may not show the jury the entire “Living with Michael Jackson” documentary, but may only use a clip. So, the prosecution plans to use a two-minute long clip. The prosecution’s first witness is expected to be that documentary’s maker, Martin Bashir.
Source: MJFC / AP
CNN called the opening statement of Prosecutor Sneddon “disorganized” and “hard to follow”. No wonder why – Sneddon faced a huge difficulty of explaining why the alleged molestation allegedly took place after the police and whole world started watching Neverland. And since this fact is impossible to explain, Sneddon decided not to explain it at all, which is why he “didn’t address the key issues in the case” and even “tried to sort of get around them”:
March 3, 2005
CNN Reviews Opening Statements
CNN’s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin gave an interesting review of the Monday opening statements of both the prosecution and the defense:
CNN anchor Wolf BLITZER: What did we learn today? How did it go, Jeff?
TOOBIN: To get to the bottom line, Wolf, this was, in a high-profile case, one of the worst opening statements I’ve ever heard by a prosecutor and one of the best opening statements I’ve ever heard by a defense lawyer. It was really a striking contrast.
BLITZER: What was so bad about what the prosecutor had to say?
TOOBIN: Well, it was disorganized. It was hard to follow. It was boring. And it didn’t really address many of the key issues in the case that were raised immediately and very effectively by Tom Mesereau, the defense attorney.
BLITZER: So he was very good in his defense, in his opening statement. Based on what you learned today — and you’re a close observer of this kind of legal proceeding — how strong of a case does the prosecution seem to have?
TOOBIN: Wolf, a lot less strong than I thought this morning. I mean, this case very much hangs and rises and falls with the testimony of the accuser and the accuser’s family.
Toobin also commented on the fact that, according to the prosecution, the abuse took place after the actual investigation started – following the airing of Martin Bashi’s documentary:
TOOBIN: What the defense pointed out, which the prosecution tried to sort of get around, was that the abuse in this case was alleged to have taken place after all these investigations started, that the two allegations of abuse only took place after all these people were investigating — which is peculiar, to say the least.
Source: MJFC / CNN
March 03, 2005
Mesereau Continues With Opening Statements
Day two in the Michael Jackson child molestation case is underway.
The day began with the conclusion of Defense Attorney Thomas Mesereau’s opening statements. Mesereau began his opening statements yesterday following District Attorney Thomas Sneddon’s three hour long opening statements for the prosecution.
In his opening statements, Mesereau stated that it was an honor to represent Michael Jackson. He laid out the foundation of his case by informing the jurors that he intends to prove that the mother of Jackson’s accuser is an opportunist who has used her son’s illness to extort money from Michael Jackson and a list of other celebrities and has manipulated her son into fabricating stories. Mesereau claims she is using the criminal charges to build a civil case against Michael Jackson in order to get a financial payoff. He stated that the woman’s attorney, Larry Feldman, who also represented the boy accusing Jackson in 1993, had lunch with CNN Host Larry King and informed him that the mother “wants money”. Mesereau also mentioned a number of the family’s previous incidents, including the now infamous “JCPenny” case, in which the mother made false allegations of sex abuse to receive large sums of money. He then informed jurors that he will prove that the family was not being held against their will, as they have claimed.
Another important issue brought up my Mesereau, that was not brought up in the prosecution’s opening statements, is the timeline of the alleged incidents. Mesereau informed the jury that the alleged incidents are said to have occured during the time Jackson was under investigation because of the “Living With Michael Jackson” documentary, which would be “absurd”.
Mesereau also made several statements in regards to the behavior of the accuser and his brother. He said the children, at times, seemed “out of control” and would read Jackson’s adult magazines and break into his alchohol without the singer’s permission. He added that Jackson had caught the accuser with an adult magazine and took it away and locked it in a briefcase, explaining why both fingerprints were found on the item [VMJ: later on it was found that the evidence was simply falsified]
“Mr. Jackson will freely admit that he does read girlie magazines from time to time. He absolutely does not show them to children.”
He stated that the boys, while spending time at Neverland, memorized security codes and codes used to start the amusement rides. The security codes allowed the boys access to Jackson’s room when the singer was not present.
At one point, according to Mesereau, the boys were found throwing things at people and animals, from the top of Jackson’s Ferris Wheel, which they had started. They were also found intoxicated with bottles of alcohol in their possession when Jackson was not around.
Mesereau is expected to conclude his opening statements by mid-day, or sooner. At that time, the prosecution will call it’s first witness.
Source: MJFC / AP / Court TV
March 03, 2005
Accuser’s DNA Not Found
Michael Jackson Defense Attorney Thomas Mesereau informed jurors that authorities investigating allegations of child molestation against Jackson did not find his accusers DNA during their search of his bedroom at the Neverland Valley Ranch.
Mesereau added that the lack of such evidence supports that the current claims are false.
Source: MJFC / AP
March 03, 2005
Friedman: Mystery Witness: Accuser’s Family Planned It
A close friend of the family involved in the Michael Jackson child-molestation case has a startling statement ready for when she’s called by the defense.
“She will say that the daughter told her they would own Michael Jackson’s home.”
So says H. Russell Halpern, attorney for the father of the children involved in the case.
Halpern says that at some point before all of this started, the couple in question’s oldest child, their daughter, went to stay with a family friend after she fought with her mother.
“She told the friend that they were going to wind up with Michael Jackson’s house,” Halpern told me. “The daughter also claimed that her mother beat her. Later, she recanted and said it was her father.”
The daughter, now 18, moved away from her mother and brothers and in with her maternal grandparents in 2003, just as the Jackson scandal broke. My sources have long argued that she did so because she disagreed with the mother’s actions in the case.
Yesterday, in his opening remarks, Jackson’s defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. depicted the mother as a grifter on the make who bilked lots of people, especially celebrities, out of money, using her kids’ illnesses and apparent poverty as bait.
So Mesereau has a mound of evidence that will show the mother did more than, as lead prosecutor Tom Sneddon said yesterday in his own opening remarks, “make a lot of mistakes.”
Mesereau will set out to prove, if he can get all his ducks in a row, that the only “mistakes” made by the mother was leaving a bread-crumb trail of lies right to her own front door.
Source: MJFC / FoxNews; Roger Friedman by special permission
March 03, 2005
Jurors View Michael Jackson’s Bedroom
Early this morning, jurors in the Michael Jackson trial were given a tour of the star’s master bedroom suite courtesy of a DVD filmed by a Santa Barbara County Sherriff’s Department photographer, Albert Lafferty. Lafferty showed jurors images of the suite because it is the location where the alleged molestation is said to have occured.
While the tape showed a clutter of videos, photos, dolls, figurines, and more, no explicit magazines were seen, although the prosecution claims they were found in the suite.
The footage was taken by Lafferty during the November 2003 raid of the Jackson’s ranch.
Source: MJFC / Contact Music
March 03, 2005
Friedman: Accuser’s Family Set Jackson Up
What I’ve tried to tell you all along about this Michael Jackson prosecution came to light yesterday in court: the D.A. has a bad case. Not just a weak case, but a bad one. No matter what you think Michael Jackson did or didn’t do in the past, this family has set him up.
Granted, I have no idea if he did or didn’t molest the now 15-year-old boy at the center of the case. But I do know that the boy’s mother and her now-husband invented the story of the family’s kidnapping.
Yesterday the 18-year-old sister of the boy broke down on the stand and admitted to defense attorney Thomas Mesereau that she’d lied already in her testimony.
“So you’d lie about certain things and tell the truth about certain things, depending on what you are asked, right?” Mesereau asked the woman. “Yeah,” she replied.
That’s the beginning of the end for the prosecution.
Add that to what I already told you this week about how the mother sold her story to a British tabloid for $4,000, before she and her kids went to Miami and then on to Neverland with Jackson. All of this, of course, was after the airing of the Martin Bashir special on Feb. 6, 2003.
And in that same interview, comedy club owner Jamie Masada claimed that the boy — then 13 — was smart enough to report if anything inappropriate happened between him and Jackson.
A big part of the sister’s testimony this week concerned a video that was shot overnight on Feb.
19-20. The family claimed that they were forced to make the video by Jackson’s associates, who they said wrote a script for them extolling Jackson’s virtues.
…The sister has already said that Jackson’s German manager “wrote a script” for the family to perform.
Again, my insider laughed: “Dieter Wiesner barely speaks English, forget about writing it. Christian Robinson, the cameraman, wrote out some questions to ask the family. Their answers were their own.”
According to my sources, the mother’s boyfriend, an Army major, was present when the filming began. “But he got so bored, he left,” the source said. “He didn’t even stay to take the family home.”
The major didn’t mind that the family would be chauffeured by a Jackson staffer. Apparently he hadn’t gotten the memo that they were being held against their will.
Source: MJFC / Fox News; Fox 411; Roger Friedman used With special permission
March 03, 2005
Accuser’s Family Lived Stylishly
The Associated Press reports that the family of Michael Jackson’s accuser lived pretty stylishly, although they did not have much money themselves. They rode in chauffeured limousines, were whisked across the country in private jets and were treated to spas at luxury resorts. What emerged from the trial’s early stages was a portrait of a family from the wrong side of the tracks who managed to infiltrate the circles of celebrities, including actor Chris Tucker, George Lopez, LA Lakers star Kobe Bryant.
But the most generous celebrity seems to have been Michael Jackson. The mother herself said on a video shown in court:
“We were broken and Michael fixed us.” “God worked through Michael to help us. When we saw no hope, Michael said there was hope.’
We weren’t the right Zip code, the right race. All the doors closed on us and Michael said ‘My doors are open.”
Source: MJFC / AP
9. MORE CONTAMINATION OF EVIDENCE BY THE PROSECUTION?
The article below says that some vital video materials were missing in Michael Jackson’s own video, but in contrast to what one might think we learn that the cuts made were positive to Michael and were found missing after the video had been seized by the prosecution (or at least I understood it this way).
March 03, 2005
Roger Friedman: Vital Video Tapes May Be Missing
Something’s wrong in the world of Michael Jackson evidence.
It has to do with the 40-minute video, shown to the jury last week, in which the accuser and his family defend Jackson.
My sources say the version the jury saw was incomplete, with 30 to 50 minutes of material missing. They also insist that the original footage was shot on Betamax tape; the jury was shown a DVD.
The entire video was shot overnight on Feb. 19 to 20, 2003 by Jackson’s videographers, Hamid Moslehi and Christian Robinson. They used two cameras and three or four 30-minute tapes. One camera was always kept running as other camera’s tape was being changed, creating a “B-roll” that the jury did not see.
The supposition is either that Moslehi had already removed some tapes before his office was raided by Santa BarbaraCounty investigators, or that the prosecution showed the jury an edited version without explanation.
No mention was made in court of a motion to show an edited video, however.
The missing tapes would have shown more footage of the family, my source says, “fooling around and having a good time.”
This would be in stark contrast to the family’s claim that it was coerced into making statements it didn’t believe.
What’s missing from the original footage, my sources believe, is everything shot between the questions that were asked and lots of “backstage” material, all of which would be positive for the defense. Some of the footage could show the mother’s then-boyfriend, now husband, U.S. Army Major Jay Jackson.
“If they play the rest of the tapes, wherever they are, you’ll see the mother coaching the kids telling them what to say, not the filmmakers telling them. But [defense attorney] Tom Mesereau may not know this,” a source said.
Source: MJFC / Fox News; Roger Friedman used With Special Permission
March 03, 2005
Motion To Dismiss Jackson Trial
On Tuesday, South Bay attorney Carl A. “Tony” Capozzola filed briefs with the state Supreme Court on behalf of Michael Jackson that allege Jackson is the target of an overzealous prosecution. The papers ask for an immediate halt to the trial in Santa Maria.
The briefs claim prosecutor Sneddon and his office did not give the defense adequate time to review tens of thousands of pages of documents in evidence, did not turn over complete witness lists and has wrongly continued a prosecution based on unverifiable information. The involvement of Sneddon in the case is also attacked. Specifically, the papers note that no other district attorneys in the state personally take cases to trial, and add that a prosecutor’s personal interest in the case is grounds to disqualify him or her from the proceedings.
“The public ridicule of Mr. Jackson by calling him ‘Wacko Jacko’ is just one of the instances where his personal involvement has crossed the line,”Capozzola said about an interview Sneddon gave to Court TV in November 2003.
“I would like to see the public opinion be acknowledged in the hope — in the hope — that the district attorney in Santa Barbara will do the right thing and stop this unjustifiable prosecution.”
Capazzola shares photographs of himself with the entertainer taken during a visit on February 13 to the Neverland Ranch. During that visit the star signed a retainer hiring Capozzola to pursue appeals in his malicious prosecution lawsuit against Santa Barbara District Attorney Thomas Sneddon.
What he discovered at Michael Jackson’s home was that Jackson “is a giant kid who wouldn’t hurt a kid.” The father of five added:
“I truly believe that he is a person who loves children, but not in a sexual way. But the world of Michael Jackson is different from our world.
I would not have taken this case if I did not firmly believe in the innocence of Michael Jackson and I have never been more confident that he will be exonerated.”
Legal expert Laurie Levenson said the timing of the filing is no accident and, while the high court is unlikely to act on the request, the maneuver highlights the problems with the prosecution’s case.
“It’s almost impossible to win these motions. But I don’t blame him for trying and it has good PR value.”
Source: MJFC / Daily Breeze
10. THE FINGERPRINTS WERE “MISHANLED”
Finally we get a confirmation from the Prosecution side that the accuser was allowed by the police to first look through the adult magazines belonging to Jackson and only after that his fingerprints were tested!
A detective in the case confessed that they had mishandled the key evidence!
March 17, 2005
Police Mishandled Evidence
A detective in Michael Jackson’s case has confessed that police investigating the claims mishandled vital evidence.
The detective, Paul Zelis, played a major role in the raid on Neverland Ranch in 2003. He told the court yesterday that Gavin Arvizo, Michael’s accuser, was allowed to look through the pornographic magazines that were seized by the police before the items had undergone forensic testing. That is, before they were dusted for fingerprints.
Gavin and his brother, Star, have already been on the stand, testifying that Michael showed them the pornography. The defense counters that the two discovered the magazines when Michael was not present.
Source: MJFC / Contact Music
The information about the evidence contaminated by the Prosecution was so shocking that the media tried to sweep it under the rug. However even the simple fact that the adult magazines were so much focused on made the legal experts wonder:
March 21, 2005
Legal Experts Question Showing Of Magazines
The showing of adult magazines and books in the Michael Jackson trial, including commercially available magazines such as ‘Barely Legal’ and ‘Penthouse’, has been questioned by several legal experts. The prosecution intended from the outset to haul the reading materials before jurors, implying that Michael Jackson used the magazines to arouse young boys.
But Jackson is on trial for allegedly molesting a teenage boy, not for his taste in magazines. Laurie Levenson, a former prosecutor and professor at LoyolaUniversityLawSchool, says:
“They want the jury to get the sense of Michael Jackson as a pervert who doesn’t live by the rules and is obsessed with sex. But this could backfire.”
“It sounds like a distraction, but as a trial strategy you can’t keep the jury distracted forever. It may be that stronger points of (District Attorney Tom) Sneddon’s case are yet to come, but it’s always hard to overcome a weak accuser.”
Also jurors might question why a battalion of deputies had to scour Michael Jackson’s enormous library for books that his accuser might never have seen. The accuser and his brother said they saw this type of magazine when they were in Jackson’s bedroom. In one case, they said, they found the publications on their own while poking through Jackson’s belongings. Now, the prosecution is having a hard time showing that Jackson and the boy handled the magazine together – an important premise of the case.
On Friday, the defense noted that only one magazine submitted in court has a single fingerprint each from Jackson and his accuser. And that magazine was shown to the boy on the witness stand during grand jury hearings and was not tested for prints until after the grand jury returned an indictment.
Prosecutors insist the boy did not put his fingerprint on it at the grand jury. But fans of the television show “CSI” – and there are some on the jury – might wonder why the tests were not done earlier.
Additionally the defense has asserted that many of the books were gifts from famous photographers who wanted to set up sessions with Jackson.
Source: MJFC / AP
March 24, 2005
Thursday’s Testimonies On Forensic Methods
On Thursday, the main subject was fingerprints in the Michael Jackson trial. A Secret Service forensic scientist testified about fingerprinting techniques. This was to lay the groundwork for the prosecution’s testimony about prints found on adult magazines seized at Neverland.
The expert, Antonio Canto, did not test any of the magazines himself, but was only there to explain the fingerprinting methods commonly used.
The prosecution says that one magazine has both Michael’s and the accuser’s fingerprints on it. The defense contends that the magazine was not fingerprinted until after a grand jury hearing in March – April of 2004 when the accuser had the opportunity to handle the magazine. Defense attorney Thomas Mesereau also contends that Michael once discovered the boy looking at the magazines and took them away. This would explain why the two sets of prints were left on the magazine.
Robert Sanger used cross – examination of the prosecution’s forensic evidence to undermine the reliability of fingerprint evidence, first suggesting that it could degrade over time. One magazine supposedly has a single fingerprint from the accuser and one of Michael’s. The defense notes that the accuser was given the magazine to examine during a grand jury procedure prior to it being subjected to fingerprinting. Sanger asked Cantu if he thought that the analysis would be done after the materials had already been given to the grand jury. Cantu responded:
“You would expect to do that analysis first.”
“Were you aware that the fingerprint analysis in this case was not done until after the evidence was seized?” Sanger asked.
“I was not aware of that” Cantu replied.
He then acknowledged that the test should have been done immediatly. While Santa Barbara County Deputy District Attorney Gordon Auchincloss tried to say that it really would not make much of a difference just when the materials were analyzed as long as it was properly bagged and preserved, Cantu said that chemically, the residue from fingerprints can change over time, raising the issue of degredation.
The back and forth questioning continued when sheriff’s technician, Lisa Memman, was called by the prosecution to discuss methods of examining evidence from Neverland. She attempted to offer an explanation of why fingerprint analysis was not immediately done.
“We wanted to preserve DNA evidence. Processing for fingerprints could destroy DNA. So you do the testing for DNA before you do the fingerpring testing.”
The jury has already heard to no DNA from either the boy or his family was found.
Source: MJFC / AP
12. THE ARVIZO CASE IS TOO WEAK. ‘PRIAR BAD ACTS’ WILL BE INTRODUCED
March 21, 2005
Prosecution To Wrap Up Soon?
Prosecutors could finish presenting evidence about accusations of sexual molestation as early as this week. However, they are still waiting to see if evidence of alleged prior offenses also can be included.
Still expected to testify are investigators who searched the Neverland Valley Ranch on November 18, 2003, and Stan Katz, a psychologist who interviewed the accuser and his brother about the alleged molestation.
What comes after these testimonies will depend on whether Judge Rodney S. Melville will allow prosecutors to present evidence of alleged past molestations by Jackson. The judge announced a decision in this matter for March 28, 2005. If the judge agrees to admit the evidence, the prosecution may begin presenting additional witnesses immediately after the ruling.
After presenting evidence on the molestation, prosecutors will focus on the next stage of their case: the allegation that Jackson held the accuser’s family captive.
Source: MJFC / Fox News
March 22, 2005
Michael Jackson Press Release
March 21, 2005
Washington, D.C. .. In response to numerous media inquiries, Mr. Michael Jackson continues to suffer from excruciating back pain. He has not felt much relief in his back since visiting the Emergency unit at the Santa Ynez Cottage Hospital on Thursday, March 10, 2005.
Again this morning, Mr. Jackson’s back spasms were becoming intolerable. He was taken again to the Santa Ynez Cottage Hospital on his way to court by his Chief of Security, Kerry Anderson. The on-site attending Emergency physician, Dr. Bert Weiner, who treated Mr. Jackson during his March 10, 2005 visit, also attended to him this morning. Dr. Weiner indicates that tests were taken of Mr. Jackson’s back, and also indicated that he accompanied Mr. Jackson to court because he could best explain the nature of the problem that Mr. Jackson is experiencing.
Due to patient confidentiality, Dr. Weiner will not be releasing any information regarding Mr. Jackson’s test results. When asked how he felt upon leaving court, Mr. Jackson responded,
“I am hurting very much. I’m in pain…in pain.”
Mr. Jackson also acknowledged that his doctor had prescribed medication for his back pain. There is no “quick fix” for back pain, but it is Mr. Jackson’s hope that he will begin experiencing some relief soon.
Source: MJFC / Raymone K. Bain, Michael Jackson’s official spokesperson
March 24, 2005
Key Prosecution Witness Jailed
One of the prosecution’s most important witnesses has been jailed in Las Vegas on charges of burglary, robbery and first-degree kidnapping, all with a deadly weapon. Chris Carter (25) was arrested on February 19, 2005 and is being held at the Clark County Detentio nCenter in Las Vegas.
His arrest would not prevent him from testifying at the trial, and authorities in Santa Barbara County, California, still want him to testify. He has been approved for transport to Santa Barbara for an April appearance. However, a source close to the case says the defense could use the arrest to try to put his integrity in question.
Carter had been Michael Jackson’s personal bodyguard during the time the alleged molestation took place and has been cooperating with the prosecution. His testimony is expected to provide more corroboration of the accuser’s story than that of any witness aside from a family member. He is the only witness independent of the accuser’s family who has put Michael Jackson and the boy drinking together.
According to grand jury transcripts, Carter said he saw Michael Jackson and his accuser drinking alcohol on a flight from Miami to Santa Barbara after the Bashir documentary. He said they drank alcohol out of soda cans.
“Mr. Jackson was drinking, and then [the accuser] had the Coke can or the Pepsi can, it was a can, with drink — with alcohol in it. I seen [the accuser], he had it in his hand. And then Michael had it and was drinking.”
Carter said he knew there was alcohol in the soda cans because he saw the flight attendant add alcohol to them.
“It was just clear liquor, like a vodka looking. It’s small ones they have on the plane.”
In his grand jury testimony, Carter also said he saw children drinking at Jackson’s Neverland ranch, that he saw the accuser drunk and that the accuser said Jackson was “OK” with it, and that the accuser and his younger brother frequently slept in the Michael Jackson’s room. Carter also said that Jackson called alcohol “‘Jesus juice” in front of children.
“He said, ‘Jesus drank wine, so we shall be more like Jesus.”
In his grand jury testimony, Carter gave an account of discovering the accuser drunk on the grounds of the Neverland estate.
“On one occasion, I seen [the accuser] stumbling around. And I had walked up to him, ‘Hey, man, what’s going on?’
“We had a little talk, and I told him, you know, ‘You shouldn’t be drinking,’ and everything. And he said, ‘Well, I can handle it. Michael said if I can handle it, it’s OK. It’s part of being a man.'”
In separate questioning before the grand jury, Carter said the accuser admitted to him that he had been drunk.
“He was pretty bad.”
Carter also told of other children drinking at Neverland. “Some of the kids would go off and grab the key to the wine cellar, run down and pull whatever they wanted out, and then come and run around with Mr. Jackson drinking.”
Asked where the accuser and his brother slept when they were visiting Neverland, Carter replied:
“Mainly they would sleep with Mr. Jackson in Mr. Jackson’s room.”
Carter’s testimony is considered important because he spent a lot of time in the presence of Michael Jackson, including occasions when the entertainer was with the accuser and his family.
Source: MJFC / ABC News
13. A STUNNING WAY TO TURN INTO A ‘VICTIM’ OF MOLESTATION
Though the story of LeMarques (whose asking price for their fantasy about Macaulay Culkin depended on how salacious they would make their story) is well known to many of us, I somewhat belatedly noticed that the person who had LeMarques’ tapes passed them over to Gil Garcetti, the LA District Attorney, in 1993.
Since Gil Garcetti was joined by Tom Sneddon in his investigation of the 1993 case I doubt it very much that Tom Sneddon would not have known about it, and this makes me wonder how he could subpoena both LeMarques and Macaulay Culking as prosecution witnesses at the 2005 trial? From the earlier tapes he must have known full well that the story told by LeMarques was a complete lie!
In this connection please make sure that the following statement does not escape your attention “Barresi wound up turning over his taped interviews with the couple to then-Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti. They are now in the hands of Jackson’s prosecutor”.
We also get acquainted with a new character in the long saga of Michael Jackson’s harassment – a woman called Taylea Shea whose bunch of lies about Jackson and others was readily published by tabloids at the time.
March 25, 2005
Roger Friedman – Was There an Unknown (Jackson) Accuser?
Was there a kid who made a deal with Michael Jackson before his first accuser settled with the pop star for $20 million in 1993?
Tape recordings left behind by a deceased National Enquirer reporter would suggest there was, but on closer inspection, it turns out there probably wasn’t.
In fact, the tapes show that there was a zealous push on the part of the supermarket tabloids 12 years ago to find any boy who might have been abused by Jackson.
This will be a disappointment for Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon, who has not been able to produce any other Jackson “victims” so far.
Sneddon is prepared to subpoena every ex-Jackson employee and cop who was involved in the first case, even those who’ve since sold their stories to the tabloids. The result could be a veritable list of the supermarket tabs’ sources and leakers from a dozen years ago.
Like a tabloid Richard Nixon, National Enquirer and Globe writer Jim Mitteager taped most of his conversations about Jackson when he covered the story in 1993-94.
Mitteager, who was later dismissed from the papers for sexual harassment, talks to his sources and his editors very candidly.
The result is a revealing look at how the tabs salivated to get the most salacious story about Jackson, often disregarding the exact truth for kernels of plausible items that could be inflated into screaming front-page headlines.
Mitteager bequeathed the tapes to Paul Barresi, a self-styled investigator, trusting him to “do the right thing with them.” Barresi thought the tapes had value, but could not have guessed what historical importance they would acquire.
Mitteager inadvertently kept a record of much of what is in the news today concerning Hollywood’s underbelly. The tapes include anecdotes about many celebrities and lawyers, as well as incarcerated private eye Anthony Pellicano, who once worked for Jackson.
Barresi has a long history of involvement with the Jackson story.
In 1993, the pop star’s former cook and housekeeper, Philip and Stella LeMarque, asked him to sell their story about sexual abuse at Neverland.
The LeMarques, who were slight acquaintances of Barresi, had only worked at Neverland for about 10 months and left after the first molestation case broke in 1993.
Like many disgruntled former Jackson employees, the LeMarques are now on Sneddon’s witness list. The Quindoys, another couple who also sold their story, are ready to testify as well.
But Barresi realized early on that the LeMarques were probably not telling the truth.
“I concluded that it was all about the money and not about protecting a child from a predator,” he told me.
The couple, he said, began embellishing their story when they came to believe they could get $500,000 for it. In the end, they received nothing.
Barresi wound up turning over his taped interviews with the couple to then-Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti. They are now in the hands of Jackson’s prosecutor.
The coup de grace, Barresi says, happened later, when he listened to Mitteager’s tapes. On one of them, it’s noted that the LeMarques had tried to sell their story of child molestation at Neverland long before the first case broke in 1993.
“They couldn’t get any takers,” recalls Barresi. “But why didn’t they just go to the police?”
Often the Globe printed stories, written by Mitteager, that were based on the flimsiest of evidence. 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 “MacArthurPark,” 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.
On the tapes, Mitteager tells an editor that Shea also has “shocking” material about David Geffen and Keanu Reeves, among others. None of it would turn out to be true, but all of it was tabloid fodder that spread to more mainstream publications for a short time.
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.
Suddenly, the value of the Mitteager tapes takes on a new meaning.
Barresi, a sometime investigator and tabloid source in the past, is aware that he’s in possession of materials that demonstrate how the supermarket tabloids operated in their heyday — the era of O.J. Simpson, Jackson and other scandals.
But one tabloid editor still in the business cautioned, “Don’t paint all of us with the same brush. We did a lot of excellent work on Simpson.”
Indeed, though it’s hard to separate them in our minds, the Globe — then under a different owner — had a much lower standard of proof than did the Enquirer in the early 1990s. And Mitteager came from the Globe’s mentality, according to sources with whom I have spoken.
At one point, in running down lists of kids who’d spent time with Jackson, Mitteager rattles off the name of a boy with the conviction that Jackson, who had befriended him, must have also acted inappropriately with him.
But it was only wishful thinking on the part of a tabloid reporter.
It turns out that the boy was 9 years old in 1993 and died shortly thereafter from leukemia. He’d met Jackson through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Even Jackson’s staunchest critics would agree that it is hard to fathom how this boy could have been the object of the singer’s romantic interests.
Source: MJFC / Fox News; Roger Friedman used with special permission.
March 25, 2005
Judge Reminds Jury
On Friday (March 25, 2005), twenty minutes before court normally breaks for the day, Judge Rodney Melville cut the witness off, saying:
“I can’t take it anymore” thus ending the days proceedings.
The jurors laughed heartily and, in a special listening room for the media, there was a round of applause.
Before dismissing the jury for the weekend break, the Judge lectured the jury about avoiding the media. The judge warned the jury especially to avoid talking to relatives about the case. Source: MJFC / AP
March 28, 2005
Roger Friedman – Past (Jackson) Allegations OK’d As Evidence
In a huge blow to Michael Jackson’s defense, the judge in the pop star’s child molestation trial ruled Monday that jurors can hear evidence about five past allegations that the singer molested or groomed children for molestation, including actor Macaulay Culkin.
Also among the five is choreographer Wade Robeson, who has worked with Britney Spears.
District Attorney Tom Sneddon said one past accuser, Jason Francia, will come forward to testify along with his mother. Francia was allegedly involved in a 1990 incident and received a $2.4 million settlement from Jackson in 1994.
Sneddon also promised testimony from the mother of a boy who reached a multimillion-dollar settlement with Jackson in 1993, the most well-known prior case.
Judge Rodney Melville was very specific in his ruling, listing the names of the five boys allegedly involved in previous sexual offenses or “grooming” incidents: Francia, Robeson, Culkin, the boy at the center of the 1993 case and Brett Barnes.
He excluded two boys named by the prosecution but did not say why.
In the cases of the two boys who reached financial settlements with Jackson, the judge said jurors would be told that settlements were reached but would not be told the amounts unless the defense brings it up.
In arguing for admission of the evidence, Sneddon described inappropriate activities by Jackson including kissing, hugging and inserting his hands into children’s pants.
“All of these children are basically within the ages of 10 and 13” at the time of the alleged offenses, Sneddon said.
Most of the hearing was consumed with discussions of state Penal Code section 1108, which was passed by the California Legislature in 1995 specifically to address cases of child molestation. In most criminal cases evidence of past behavior is not admissible against a defendant, but that was altered. It also applies to domestic violence cases.
Melville also said he would limit testimony by some witnesses including former Jackson aide Bob Jones, who has recently recanted accounts he gave of witnessing inappropriate behavior by Jackson.
“Only one part of Bob Jones’ testimony will be admissible regarding one physical act,” the judge said.
In his argument, Jackson’s lawyer Thomas Mesereau Jr. promised a spirited defense, making each past allegation into a virtual mini trial.
Mesereau claimed that the so far the prosecution case “looks real bad and it’s going to get worse.”
He attacked the concept of having third-party witnesses testify about alleged incidents.
“There’s Macaulay Culkin who has repeatedly said he was never molested,” Mesereau said.
He referred to some of Sneddon’s third-party witnesses as “the gang.” The reference was to former Jackson employees who sued the singer in the past and lost, and were then ordered to pay the singer $1 million in damages.
FOX News legal analyst Jim Hammer said Monday’s ruling was very bad for Jackson.
“What’s going to happen is one of those boys will step into the courtroom, testify that Jackson molested him and third-party witnesses saying that they witnessed kissing, fondling. The stakes have gone way up for Jackson. This is a huge blow to the defense. And a great day for the D.A.,” Hammer said from the courthouse in Santa Maria.
Source: MJFC / Fox News; Roger Friedman used with special permission.
Later Thomas Mesereau would comment as follows on this decision:
- “The prosecution was permitted to introduce evidence that Jackson had settled other claims of child molestation in civil court. The actual dollar amounts were not admitted (as if anyone hadn’t heard them!). It was also permitted to introduce evidence of alleged prior similar acts of child molestation. Prosecutors were permitted to introduce such evidence extending back 10 years. As icing on the cake, the court permitted them to call third-party witnesses actual alleged victims testify who watched the alleged acts without any requirement that the actual alleged victims testify”. http://www.mesereauyu.com/index2.html
Let me also make a short note on the above. Considering that “the Penal Code section 1108 was passed by the California Legislature in 1995 and this was done specifically to address cases of child molestation” and that the changes concerned the possibility of admitting “the evidence of past behavior” into the follow-up cases, it seems that Tom Sneddon was getting ready for a future, new case against Jackson already in the year 1995.
13. SNEDDON’S ‘PRIOR ACTS’ WERE BASED ON BANNED (AND FICTIONAL) PORN
Now I cannot forgive myself for not storing a link to the information where Thomas Sneddon admitted that he and his people made good use of Victor Gutierrez’s book, inappropriately called “Michael Jackson was my lover”. If I remember it right Tom Sneddon even said that the whole of his department had read the book. This I can easily believe as we do know that Victor Gutierrez was the first person who was questioned back in 1993 about the allegations against Michael Jackson. Surprisingly Tom Sneddon never called him to be a witness in either of the cases…
So Roger Friedman is absolutely right when he says that Sneddon’s “evidence” is based on porn, and even child porn as Gutierrez’s book is nothing else by a pedophilia-oriented book. This was the real reason why it was banned in the US.
Roger Friedman is also correct in saying that Tom Sneddon was determined to turn the 2005 trial into the case he was unable to tackle in the year 1993. The 2005 trial did not concern only the Arvizos. The non-guilty verdict passed by the jury in 2005 applied to all earlier allegations taken together as Tom Sneddon brought in the full assortment of witnesses who spanned the period of 1993 – 2003 and collapsed one after another under Thomas Mesereau’s scrutiny.
March 29, 2005
Roger Friedman – Sneddon’s Evidence Is Based on Banned Porn
What’s really interesting is that every boy District Attorney Tom Sneddon would like to paint as a victim of Michael Jackson comes from a book by Victor Gutierrez. The book, “Michael Jackson Was My Lover,” was not published in the U.S. because Jackson won a libel suit against the author.
Gutierrez writing is several times more pornographic than anything the police say they found at Neverland. The boys involved are Macaulay Culkin, Wade Robson, Jimmy Safechuck, Jonathan Spence and Brett Barnes. Gutierrez, it is rumored, made up a lot of his material after stitching together bits and pieces of speculation from the Chandlers’ maid.
Sneddon doesn’t have a boy who is not named by Gutierrez, or one who has spent any time with Jackson. The judge himself ruled out testimony about Safechuck and Barnes. Culkin, Robson and Spence categorically deny anything inappropriate ever happened to them at the hands of Michael Jackson.
The most interesting witness allowed by Judge Rodney Melville could be June Chandler. She hasn’t seen her son in 11 years and he hasn’t spoken to her or his younger sister in that time. June Chandler’s desperation to appear as a her son’s defender and champion on the stand is understood. But she received $1.5 million from Jackson in 1994, and defense attorney Thomas Mesereau could make her feel worse than she already does in his cross-examination.
No Surprises With Jacko’s ‘Prior Acts’
District Attorney Tom Sneddon made an impressive announcement yesterday of about 30 witnesses he plans on bringing into court to explore Michael Jackson’s alleged “prior acts” of sexual abuse. In his plea to the judge, he didn’t use names. Instead, he read off what they would say.
But in the end, there were no surprises when Judge Rodney Melville read the names of the nine witnesses he would allow the prosecution to grill. In fact, Sneddon appears to be trying the 1993 case he never got to tackle. He will not offer a single witness with anything to say about Jackson covering the last decade.
The witnesses Melville read off are the aforementioned Bob Jones, plus June Chandler, mother of the boy who received $20 million in 1994; former Jackson maid Blanca Francia and her son, Jason, who received $2 million from Jackson in 1994; and a group of disgruntled former Neverland employees including Philip and Stella LeMarque. Four former employees who sued Jackson for wrongful dismissal and lost will also testify: Ralph Chacon, Charli Michaels, Adrian McManus and Charmagne Sternberg.
In other words, Sneddon will offer no bombshells or surprises. Only Jason Francia promises first person recital of some kind of sexual abuse. For that, his mother took $2 million from Jackson and $20,000 from the TV show “Hard Copy.” All the others will bring third party reporting.
Source: MJFC / Fox News; Roger Friedman used with special permission.
14. THE PROSECUTION WITNESSES BACKFIRE
March 29, 2005
Roger Friedman – (Jackson’s) Former Flack Will Not Lie
Michael Jackson’s former PR guy is not going to lie for his ex-boss. And that’s a good thing.
Bob Jones, who was with Jacko for over 20 years and knows all his secrets, got caught in the whirlpool of the pop star’s scandal yesterday.
In court, District Attorney Tom Sneddon fingered Jones as a key witness who would come in and testify that he saw inappropriate activity between Jackson and an underage boy.
But it turns out that Sneddon may have gotten his signals crossed. Apparently, he got his hands on a book proposal submitted by agent Laurie Liss of the Sterling Lord Literistic Agency in New York. The proposal was co-written by sometimes Jackson associate and sometimes cable news network contributor Stacy Brown and Dennis Love. The authors’ previous work was a dismissed biography of Stevie Wonder’s mother, currently hovering around No. 450,000 on Amazon.com’s bestseller list.
In the proposal, Brown and Love claimed that Jones had seen Jackson do something “inappropriate” to the boy who received a $20 million settlement from Jackson in 1994. But later in court, defense attorney Tom Mesereau announced that Jones had recanted his statement.
Indeed, my sources say that Jones never claimed to have seen anything unsavory. He’s very upset about the book proposal getting out and having something wrong in it, my insider says. In fact, if Jones takes the stand he will only say that he saw Jackson curled up in airplane seat with the boy on a trip home from Europe. No kissing, touching, licking or anything else.
This entire episode is proving to be something of a nightmare for Jones. I told you back in September that he was shopping the book proposal as the result of Michael’s brother Randy firing him without notice on June 10, 2004.
Jones was so affronted by Randy’s lack of care in handling his dismissal that he immediately consulted an attorney and became, at least for a time, Jackson’s potential enemy, my source said.
March 29, 2005
Further Prosecution Evidence Expected In 2 Weeks
In a hearing on Monday after jurors left the courtroom, district attorney Sneddon announced that he plans to begin presenting evidence of the past allegations in about two weeks. The judge said he would give jurors special legal instructions on the issue of past acts before that testimony is offered.
Source: MJFC / AP
March 30, 2005
Flight Attendant Thinks Accuser Is A Weird Kid – Updated
Tuesday’s court day ended with the testimony of Cynthia Ann Bell, a charter jet flight attendant who served Michael Jackson and members of the accuser’s family on a trip from Miami to Santa Barbara.
Cynthia Ann Bell contradicted a prosecution claim that Michael Jackson ordered wine to be served in Coke cans and then shared the wine with the accuser. She said she did not see Jackson share his drink with anyone and that she saw the accuser sitting next to Jackson – but that Jackson’s children Prince and Paris were always either beside him or on his lap during the flight. She also described the accuser on that flight as “loud, obnoxious, like ‘Serve me my food, this isn’t warm.’ It was embarrassing to have him on board.”
Bell also said the idea of serving Jackson alcoholic beverages in soda cans was her idea, and that it became a routine on all of his flights:
“Mr. Jackson is a very private drinker I initiated serving him wine in a Diet Coke can. . . . I serve other clients that way.”
“Whose idea was this?” the prosecution asked.
“It was mine,” she responded.
“Did Mr. Jackson ever tell you to serve him wine in a Diet Coke can?”
“No, he did not.”
“Did you ever see him share his can of wine with anyone else?” the prosecutor asked.
“No,” she replied.
She also described Jackson as a nervous flier who could not stand turbulence and sometimes had a flight land because of it. She suggested the drinking was to relieve his anxiety.
When Bell identified a photograph of the accuser, defense lawyer Mesereau asked her:
“You told the grand jury he’s a weird kid?”
“Yes, I did,” she replied.
In contrast, she described Mr. Jackson as “soft-spoken.”
“Typically, I’d have to kneel to gain eye contact with Mr. Jackson. He would touch my arm when we were communicating.”
Cynthia Ann Bell’s testimony appeared to frustrate prosecutors. And it made jurors raise their eyebrows, especially when she revealed that the accuser’s older sister ordered wine on the flight from Miami. The sister had testified that the only time she drank alcohol was when Mr. Jackson gave it to her and her brothers at Neverland Valley Ranch and that she didn’t like it. She had also testified that she saw Mr. Jackson sharing his Diet Coke can with her brother, who appeared intoxicated. The boy himself testified that he drank a little on the flight, but was not drunk.
However, under cross-examination by defense lawyer Mesereau, Ms. Bell said she did not see Mr. Jackson give wine to the boy and denied that the youth was intoxicated.
On her way out of court, Bell shook hands with Michael Jackson.
Source: MJFC / AP / Santa Barbara News Press
March 30, 2005
Friedman – (Jackson’s) Accuser’s Dad Set Up As Fall Guy
After comedy club owner Jamie Masada and comedian George Lopez testified in the Michael Jackson trial this week, one thing is pretty clear: District Attorney Tom Sneddon is trying to separate the accuser’s parents in the minds of the jury. The goal is to paint the father as a bad guy and grifter, while the mother is simply religious and pure.
But guess what? The father is not going to take this lying down. His attorney told me yesterday that the father is not the selfish moneygrubber depicted by Lopez and Masada. For example, when the accuser’s mother was awarded $163,000 in her settlement from JC Penney, the father’s “take” was a mere $5,000. What happened to the remaining dough?
“You’ll have to ask her,” the attorney said.
Listening to Lopez and Masada, as well as to Lopez’s articulate wife Ann, the jury got an earful about the accuser’s mother. What’s really come to light is that she had an usual knack for eliciting money and gifts without actually asking for it.
Masada said in his often contentious and humorous testimony that the mother never asked him for things. Rather, she would present a dire situation — no money, no furniture, need for karate lessons — and let him finish the sentence. Masada, overly generous by his own description, would rush to fill the void.
It was a clever method of passive aggressive greed on the part of the mother. And while the district attorney would like the jury to think her ex-husband was the only one who was conning celebrities, Masada told a few stories that undermined this strategy.
When the accuser’s mother left her husband, her boyfriend, Jay Jackson, then became her tool for doing the fundraising dirty work. It was Jay Jackson, Masada recalled, who filled in for the father. And it was Jay Jackson who let it drop to Masada that the kids needed karate lessons, but they were “expensive.”
“I said, how much will take it make this happen?” Masada recalled.
He wrote a check immediately, not realizing he’d been suckered. Perhaps he still doesn’t realize it because on the stand he said he never asked Jay Jackson how much his income was. The answer: $80,000 a year. In trading a husband for a boyfriend, the accuser’s mother had moved up financially without informing her steadfast benefactor.
The picture of the accuser’s mother that’s come in clear over the last few days shows that she was simultaneously accepting welfare, alimony, the JC Penney settlement and charity from a variety of sources — all the time keeping everyone involved in the dark.
There’s more that will come out about the dark side of the accuser’s family. I told you in February 2004 that the mother spent time in a Los Angeles mental hospital in 1988. This was revealed in court papers from her ongoing bitter custody battle with her ex-husband, who filed an affidavit with Los Angeles Superior Court on Jan. 28, 2004.
The father claims that his wife spent time at the Kaiser Permanente Mental Health facility in downtown L.A. in 1998. He does not specify how much time she spent there.
H. Russell Halpern, the father’s lawyer in his custody case, reiterated yesterday that the statement is true and that insurance records will back it up. Halpern said he didn’t know how much time the accuser’s mother spent in the facility.
George Lopez, his wife and Jamie Masada all testified this week that the mother was not a presence when the accuser was being treated for cancer. The father was constantly on hand, even if according to testimony he was also looking for a handout.
“David slept in a chair at his son’s bedside,” Halpern observed. “When [the mother] came to the hospital, she engaged her husband in shouting matches.”
In his affidavit, the father — who was accused by his ex-wife of domestic abuse during their divorce — paints a picture of an unstable woman who’s convinced her children to make up stories in other situations that might benefit them.
The father also claims in his affidavit that his ex-wife coached their kids to lie in her case against JC Penney.
“She would write questions and answers for the kids,” he writes, “to study and practice with her.”
According to court papers, the mother went back into Family Court on March 11, 2003 to have her child support payments increased to $1,499 a month — almost double what she’d been receiving. At the time, the mother was also the beneficiary of $769 a month in public assistance.
The date of the mother’s demand for more money from her ex-husband is interesting in that she filed for emergency help on March 3, 2003.
Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon’s charges against Jackson are seven counts of child molestation between Feb. 6 and March 10. The sudden need for more money seems to coincide with the family’s ouster from Neverland after a year and a half of living off Michael’s largesse.
Source: MJFC / Fox News; Roger Friedman used with special permission.
March 30, 2005
Former Employee Fully Supports Michael Jackson
Rob Henry, a man from New Zealand who worked as Michael Jackson’s assistant on the 1987 Bad World Tour, is fully supporting his former boss. Being responsible for Michael Jackson, his security, management, solicitors and camera crew during the Bad Tour Henry had daily contact with the entertainer. He describes him as “down to earth and nice”. Now he has spoken out from his home in Whangarei to the New Zealand Herald as he is sick of the media twisting Michael Jackson’s image.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the man. I would leave my 3 1/2-year-old with him tomorrow.”
Henry describes the accusations as “ludicrous”. He saw Michael Jackson with children, and saw nothing untoward in his behaviour.
Henry also claims to have first-hand knowledge of how the press painted a picture of “wacko” Jackson. He rubbished stories about Jackson’s penchant for bathing in Evian water – a tale made up by the press after seeing bottles of Evian for a crew of 290 people delivered to the hotel. Disguises Jackson wore to avoid being recognised were made out to be a fascination with dress-ups. In his opinion, Michael Jackson’s one fault was that he was too naive.
Rob Henry believes Jackson will walk free, and will fight back with “an album bigger than Thriller”. He had contacted Jackson’s current assistant, and he said the message to fans in New Zealand was to keep supporting him through his music.
“He’s found a lot of strength, and I think he will stand up to them this time. I think he’s learned a very big lesson.”
Source: MJFC / The New Zealand Herald
March 31, 2005
Friedman – (Jackson) Prosecution Witness May Have Flipped
From Roger Friedman’s column on March 31, 2005:
The conspiracy part of the Michael Jackson case may be over before it starts. It’s become apparent to trial watchers that prosecutors are backing off from a big piece of their original indictment — the one that included five unnamed co-conspirators who they said held Jackson’s accuser’s family hostage and planned to take them to Brazil.
Tyson and Amen were said to have held the family for a week in a hotel in Calabasas, Calif. But this column reported exclusively that the family went on wild shopping sprees, to the movies and to many local restaurants. The mother even had a full body wax and a manicure. None of this is considered standard fare during a kidnapping. The family also made dozens of phone calls, to friends and family, never mentioning once that they were in any peril.
The family’s attorney, William Dickerman, dealt the conspiracy part of the trial a fatal blow when he was cross-examined by defense attorney Thomas Mesereau yesterday. He admitted to writing several letters to Michael Jackson’s then attorney Mark Geragos after the family left Neverland for good on March 11, 2003.
The letters, which concerned the return of the family’s meager possessions from a storage vault, were called a ‘series’ by Dickerman. But the lawyer never mentioned in any of them that the family had been “held hostage” or made to do anything they didn’t want to do. At the same time, Dickerman indicated that during his many meetings with the family, none of them mentioned their “kidnapping” either.
In fact, Dickerman revealed that his first two meetings with the family were on Feb. 21 and 25, 2003. Amen drove the mother to the meeting on the latter date. On the same day, he and Tyson took the family on their seven-day shopping trip in Calabasas.
At no time during the meetings with Dickerman did the mother or her three kids indicate there was any trouble at all. They were simply there, Dickerman recalled, to see if they had any rights for appearing in the Martin Bashir documentary “Living with Michael Jackson.” They did not.
Source: MJFC / Fox News; Roger Friedman used with special permission.
15. TIME FOR A MID-TRIAL ASSESSMENT
The above 15 chapters are covering the 2005 trial prior to introducing the 1993 allegations into it.
It was at this stage of the chronicle that I realized that the information was really too much for only one post. The basket of the prosecution absurdities is already full, while Tom Sneddon is still to torture Michael Jackson for another month and a half and there will be many more prosecution stunts to come.
However we need an assessment of what we have just read. To this end I suggest a brilliant summary by Matt Taibbi published by Rolling Stone on April 7th, 2005 (or in a week from the moment we are currently in).
Here are some excerpts from Matt Taibbi’s article. The full of it is found in the author’s collection of articles called “Smells Like Dead Elephants: Dispatches from a Rotting Empire . You can also read it in the following David Edwards’ post: https://vindicatemj.wordpress.com/reference-materials/you-dont-have-to-be-a-crazy-rabid-fan-to-know-that-michael-jackson-was-innocent/
He laughs best who laughs last:
April 7, 2005
Jacko on Trial
Inside the strangest show on Earth
… For all of Jackson’s fabled eccentricity, he is, astonishingly, not the dominant personality at the trial. That honor belongs to District Attorney Sneddon, whose convoluted indictment is a Frankenstein’s monster of incongruous parts every bit as luridly fascinating as the defendant’s surgically altered face.
The prosecution’s case, seldom satisfactorily explained in the mainstream media, goes as follows. On February 6, 2003, the Bashir documentary, in which Jackson is seen admitting that he sleeps in his bedroom with young boys, is shown on British TV. Among the children who appear in the video is his accuser in this case, a thirteen-year-old cancer survivor who had been introduced to Jackson during his chemotherapy treatments several years before.
According to the prosecution, Jackson had not molested the boy at the time the Bashir documentary aired, but he was sufficiently concerned that the boy might make such allegations that he and a band of Neverland courtiers entered into an elaborate conspiracy to “falsely imprison” the boy and his family for nearly five weeks (in luxury hotels, at Neverland ranch, and other places), during which time they coerced the family into denying, on camera, that anything untoward had ever happened between Jackson and the boy.
…At any rate, it was only after the filming of this so-called rebuttal video—which, incidentally, Jackson then sold to the Fox Network for $3 million—and after authorities had begun an investigation into Jackson’s relationship with the boy, that Jackson allegedly molested the child, in early March.
The prosecution’s case therefore boils down to this: in a panic over negative publicity, Jackson conspires to kidnap a boy and force him to deny acts of molestation that in fact never happened, and then he gets over his panic just long enough to actually molest the child at the very moment when the whole world is watching.
It is a fantastic argument, a bilious exercise in circular prosecutorial logic: conspiracy to commit conspiracy, false imprisonment for the sake of it, followed by a sudden act of utter self-destructive madness. And none of it makes sense, until you actually watch Sneddon operate in court.
Day six of the trial Sneddon, a splotchy-faced doughy man whose body could only look good on an autopsy table, is conducting his direct examination of the alleged victim’s younger brother. It is a crucial moment in the trial, with Sneddon drawing out the only eyewitness to the alleged molestation. The pudgy-cheeked boy claims to have twice entered Jackson’s bedroom late at night and seen the aging star fondling his brother and masturbating.
In a trial full of roundly unsympathetic characters, it is hard not to feel for this kid. A raspy-voiced fourteen-year-old with the sad eyes of a habitually ignored younger brother, this witness looks like every fat kid who’s ever had his milk money stolen or his underwear pulled over his head. Whatever he’s doing here, it’s sad.
It is hard not to escape the impression that Sneddon hates Jackson. He clearly has not forgotten the debacle of 1993, when Jackson and the family of thirteen-year-old Jordan Chandler reached a $15.3 million settlement before Sneddon could bring Jackson to trial on molestation charges.
His key witnesses, meanwhile—the accuser and his family, whom we’ll call the Riveras—are an astounding bunch. Any sane prosecutor would drown himself before building a case around witnesses like these, but they were all Sneddon had. A single mom and her three kids, an older daughter and two boys.
The mother—well call her Agnes Rivera—seems to be the key figure in the accuser’s camp. At this writing, she has only appeared in the trial via the rebuttal video, which Mesereau introduced as evidence during cross-examination.
During the period of “false imprisonment” in which this film was shot, Agnes was put up in the Calabasas Country Inn, where at Jackson’s expense she managed to fit in a full body wax and a shopping spree at, among other places, the Topanga Canyon Mall; she spent $454 on Jockey underwear at one stop, $415 at Banana Republic and another $450 at the leans Outlet. The family also got in a showing of Old School at a Calabasas movie theater and a $175 dinner at the Black Angus restaurant in Woodland Hills. Agnes also managed to avoid calling the police for the five hours she spent waiting in an orthodontist’s office in Solvang while Freddy’s braces were removed on Jackson’s tab.
If Agnes seemed to handle her false imprisonment with aplomb, it might be because she had plenty of experience with it. Twice in the past she filed lawsuits claiming false imprisonment: once against her ex-husband (whom she also accused of murdering the family’s pet ferret) and once against a pair of security guards at a JC Penney, who stopped her after finding Freddy in the store parking tot with unpaid merchandise. In the latter case, Agnes claimed that the guards not only falsely imprisoned her but brazenly fondled her breasts in front of the children; she won $150,000 in damages.
In any event, it is Sneddon’s contention that after her latest false imprisonment at the hands of Jackson in Calabasas, Agnes and the children voluntarily returned to Neverland for a two-week stay that would turn into yet another false imprisonment in which Agnes believed she and her children were being held against their will. Even though she supposedly spent this time trying to escape, for some reason she did not even ask where her children were sleeping at night.
Thus she was unaware that Freddy was spending his nights in Michael’s bedroom, engaging in mutual masturbation with the pop star not once but on two different occasions, both times in front of Freddy’s pudgy little brother—who happened to creep to the bedroom and open the locked door just long enough to witness the hideous act through the darkness without being detected by either Michael or his brother.
No longer a frail cancer victim, Jackson’s accuser is now a strapping fifteen-year-old with a thick neck and a military-style buzz cut. But in his direct examination, he mumbles and hangs his head quite a lot and seems to grow smaller and more childlike on the stand as he is led through the tale of his terrible ordeal at Neverland.
It is a horrifying story, a tale of long nights of Jesus juice— Jackson’s name for the red wine he fed the boy—porn, and late-night groping in the dark room full of mannequins.
… Through all this, Sneddon can’t resist a little of his trademark crotch-sniffing. The prosecutor seems disappointed both legally and libidinously when Freddy fails, after being prompted, to remember seeing Jackson walk into the bedroom with an erection while he and his brother were watching television. A visibly frustrated Sneddon ends up pulling out a transcript of the boy’s own grand-jury testimony and showing him the reference to Jackson’s erection, effectively shoving Jackson’s erection in the boy’s face.
When the kid refuses to comply Sneddon frowns, clearly pissed, and moves on.
Still, by the time Sneddon is finished with this witness, Jackson looks fucked. Reporters scramble outside to do “Prosecution Roars Back” stand-ups, and even the most skeptical members of the press corps concede that Sneddon might not have to lift a finger for the rest of the trial.
During this testimony, Jackson scarcely moves, Mesereau, for his part, simply bides his time and waits in a seething posture for his cross examination. His demolition of Sneddon’s star witness would prove to be one of the more merciless legal fraggings you’ll ever see in an American courtroom. He gets Freddy to admit that something he had testified Michael Jackson told him—that “if a man doesn’t masturbate, he can get to the point where he might rape a girl”—had actually been told to him by his grandmother.
He gets the boy to admit that he told the dean of his middle school, a Mr. Alpert, that “nothing had ever happened sexually with Mr. Jackson.”
Mesereau asks about the alleged period of false imprisonment at Calabasas and Neverland. Sneddon sinks in his chair when Freddy answers, “I never wanted to leave. I was having too much fun.”
Then there is the timeline of the actual abuse: Mesereau gets the boy to admit that he initially told investigators that the abuse had happened before the alleged false imprisonment and the rebuttal video, then later changed his story. “To this day,” Freddy says, “I don’t remember exactly when everything happened.”
Mesereau then does a cunning thing. He leads the boy through a history of all his disciplinary problems in middle school. Freddy, it appears, was a pain in the ass to almost every teacher in his junior high: talking back and being disruptive and generally disrespecting authority.
Every disagreement he had ever had with a teacher, Freddy contends, was the teacher’s fault. Mr. Geralt ran his class like a drill sergeant, which was why the boy had stood up in class and said that Mr. Geralt “had his balls in his mouth,” He brags about arguing in Mrs. Slaughter’s class (“A lot of the times, I would stand up to the teachers, and the kids would, like, congratulate me”).
“Did you have problems in Mr. Finklestein’s class?” Mesereau asks.
“Everyone had problems in Mr. Finklestetn’s class,” Freddy snaps.
“Did you have problems in Mr. Finklestein’s class?” Mesereau coldly repeats,
“If everyone had a problem,” the boy sneers, “then I’d be one of them, right?”
Later, Mesereau plays the entire rebuttal video for Freddy, stopping every few moments. Since it is the prosecution’s case that the family was told to lie in the video, Mesereau decides to get the boy to explain to the jury exactly where everyone was lying and where everyone was telling the truths—the obvious point being that it was very difficult to tell.
It’s a savage courtroom scene, and the boy withers visibly as it wears on. When the jury sees Freddy claiming on the video that “he used to pray that he would meet Michael Jackson, Mesereau stops the DVD and asks. “Were you lying here?”
“I didn’t actually pray to meet Michael Jackson,” the boy mutters.
It goes on like this for another forty minutes. Freddy’s performance is so atrocious that even Judge Melville wakes up. Until this point, Melville seldom looked anything but pained, apparently mourning the lost dignity of the legal profession. But during Freddy’s cross examination, Melville’s impatience with the prosecution is suddenly palpable. Usually, he takes ten quiet seconds before ruling on any objection, but after a few hours of this witness, his trigger finger gets very itchy, instantly blasting even the more reasonable of Sneddon’s occasional objections. At one point, Mesereau asks the boy about his history teacher; “She complained that you were defiant on a regular basis and disrespectful, is that correct?”
Even I expect an objection to this; Mesereau is asking and answering.
“Your Honor, objection,” Sneddon says, “Asked and answ—” “Overruled,” Melville snaps, glaring at the boy, “You may answer.”
By the end of the day, Sneddon is slumped so far in his seat that his shoulders are almost below the armrests.
His humiliation is total when Mesereau asks the boy if it is true that he once wanted to be an actor, “Yes,” he says, “But now that I’ve seen other careers, I want to be in law enforcement.”
(to be continued)
Here are the email addresses of 5 Supervisors to shower them with our messages in support of William Wagener’s Affidavit. Choose one of the messages please.
Subject: Re: Support of Affidavit Concerning Criminal Conduct of Ton Sneddon – 2005 Michael Jackson trial
Date: …… 2012
This letter serves to express our concern and belief that former District Attorney Thomas Sneddon committed at least three felonies against Mr. Michael Jackson during the 2005 trial of Mr. Jackson for child molestation.
On August 14, 2012, Mr. William Wagener will present to the County Supervisors of Santa Barbara an affidavit of criminal conduct committed by Mr. Thomas Sneddon during the 2005 trial of Mr. Michael Jackson. We support the effort to have a full investigation into the matter carried out by an independent special prosecutor; someone outside of Santa Barbara County.
We are outraged at the egregious misuse of power during the 2005 trial of Mr. Jackson. It is frightening to think that, in someones zeal to get a conviction, felonies can be committed by those sworn to uphold the law and seek truth. Due to the on-going Fraud by the District Attorneys office to cover up the Crimes seen on the Record of the 2005 Jackson trial, the statute of Limitations has NOT expired, and it IS your reponsibility to see that Fraud on the Court, does NOT win.
We are concerned about the message this sends to future prosecutors who may be tempted to go beyond the boundaries of the law in order to fulfill their personal agendas. Our court system is not a weapon to be used to satisfy a personal vendetta or to gain personal notoriety, social status, or political power.
We ask that there be a full independent investigation into the claims made in Mr. Wageners affidavit of criminal conduct. Please hold those in power responsible for their crimes, and let full justice be extended to Michael Jackson, as well as others who have been or may in the future be victims of over zealous prosecutors.
Sign your name
Your City/State or Country
Date …… 2012
Board of Supervisors of Santa Barbara County:
I give my whole hearted support and endorsement to the Affidavit of Criminal Conduct by Tom Sneddon, the former District Attorney of Santa Barbara County, which will be presented by William Wagener at your August 14, 2012 meeting in Santa Maria. I strongly urge you to appoint an independent special prosecutor outside of Santa BarbaraCounty to investigate three felony crimes that were committed by Tom Sneddon and the other three prosecutors during the 2004 investigation and the 2005 trial of Michael Jackson. These three indictable felonies include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Manufacturing false finger prints
2. Manufacturing false phone conspiracy evidence
3. Conspiracy amongst the prosecutors to do the first two felonies listed above
No man is above the law, and I realize the Statute of Limitations will begin to click away as soon as the Affidavit is submitted to the Board of Supervisors, hence, it is of utmost importance that you act, not only responsibly, but also expeditiously, to bring justice to a situation that is long overdue.