5. Thomas Mesereau
By David Edwards
Transcript of “Frozen in Time: A Riveting Behind-the-Scenes View of the Michael Jackson Cases”, Part 5
Tom Mesereau: First of all, I want to thank the Los Angeles County Bar Association for inviting me, and this is a great panel. Needless to say, I have a very different perspective of what you’ve just heard. I don’t believe for one second that Michael Jackson molested any of these people, and neither did 12 jurors in Santa Maria, California. They acquitted him of 10 indicted felonies, and 4 lesser included misdemeanors. They couldn’t get him on a misdemeanor. He was innocent! Now, as far as the media is concerned, and I know that I don’t have a lot of time, but I will tell you a few things about my approach to the media in this case. I was brought in eventually by Randy Jackson, who I had known for years. Randy called and wanted me to meet him and his brother. He’s a very smart guy, and he said to me that “We don’t like what our lawyers are doing with the media. We don’t trust what’s going on.” In fact he told me that during the first court appearance he was at, some lawyers ran out of the building and shoved him out of the way to get in front of the camera. Which he didn’t appreciate or like, nor did he think it was in his brother’s interest, to have this sort of behavior. One of the things he said he liked about me and my partner Susan Yu was that he didn’t think we were “camera mad”. He didn’t think we were the kind of people who were basically going to put our own interest for fame and fortune over his brother’s. And the first thing I learned when I met he and his brother is this: be very careful of the media. Be very careful of their desire to seduce, be very careful of their desire to profit off of the demise of the defendant. Be real careful. It became clear to me that we were never going to win a battle with the media.
Now I understand that there has been some discussion that Mark Geragos has been on TV, but let me tell you something: the media worldwide were out to get Michael Jackson. The money was in a conviction. Berry Gordy, who founded MoTown, told me after the acquittals that “You cost the worldwide media billions by those Not Guilty verdicts. Because the kind of copy that his being convicted, remanded to jail, the buildup to a sentencing, which would have been the biggest sentencing in world history, is something they wanted. This was big, big business. They were doing everything could to spin a conviction. And it became very clear to me that you were never going to manipulate the media, or win a case in the media. Nor should you try to. Because I think this idea that the media wins cases is grossly overrated. Because the media said that Robert Blake would be convicted, OJ Simpson would be convicted, Michael Jackson would be convicted. If you get carried away with spinning the media, you could lose focus of where it really, really is most important, and that is inside the courtroom. 13 people; the judge and the jury. I supported the gag order in the case. I dismissed Mr. Geragos’ appeal of the gag order. I did that for a lot of reasons. First of all, in a big case, if you’re dealing with the media, they can really zap your energy. I mean, in a particularly if you have an entertainer client who is used to dealing with the media. Who thinks trials are what you see on TV, as most people in the entertainment industry do. They can want you to respond to all of these media attacks, and you can spend 24 hours a day doing that, and detract from your ability to prepare for what’s happening in the courtroom, which is where the cases are won or lost. So I supported the gag order. I didn’t want to have to respond to media requests. I didn’t think we had time to. Honestly, I didn’t want Judge Melville to think I was a pain in the neck. Obviously, he wanted that gag order. And my feeling was “Why make the judge think that you’re out to dramatize everything and make things a lot more difficult.” So I supported the gag order. I thought the process that Judge Melville had in effect where if you wanted to make a statement because something prejudicial was out there, you submitted a statement to the other side and to him, and you had a quick discussion, which we would have. Judge Melville gave us his home phone, so we would have a discussion about whether or not a statement should be made very quickly. He was always available to address that issue. And as he said, he never denied us. There was some haggling over some language sometimes, but nothing major. I think it went very well. I think the unique procedure he had about filing motions and pleadings that you could not find salacious pleadings. You would file your original pleading under seal. You would file your second pleading, which was a redacted version of the first one, which had to be prepared according to certain guidelines that Judge Melville had which were designed to keep the salacious stuff out. And you had to find a third pleading, which was a motion to seal. It was a very unique procedure. I thought it worked very well, and I do commend Judge Melville for a very, very amazingly effective way of handling this media onslaught. As I said before, I had never tried a case in that county, and we did a few phone surveys at the beginning through a jury consultant to try to determine just what people were thinking and feeling. And again, we all do our job when we have to do it, but with all due respect, that settlement was an albatross around my neck, I discovered because the typical profile of a pro-prosecution juror would indicate that the thing that bothered that profiled juror the most was that settlement. The feeling being “Who pays that kind of money if they’re innocent?” When we profiled the typical pro-defense juror, the thing that bothered them the most was the same thing! “Why was all this money paid if you’re innocent?” I did issue a press release, and made a public statement, with Judge Melville’s permission of course. I had to do that. It was bothering too many people. And I basically said that Mr. Jackson had entered into that settlement because business advisors had told him to. They weren’t writing the check. They wanted him to get going in to his business life and stop getting derailed by this very salacious legal proceeding, and that he regretted doing it. It’s something that I just had to do because, in my opinion, it was killing us. Now he had reasons for doing that. The $20 million, many people thought, was a drop in the bucket given what he owned, and what he had, and what he could earn in the future. But nevertheless, it did bother a lot of people. So I did have to address that issue.
Media were constantly trying to get involved. Constantly trying to get to me through various people, various means. I’ll never forget one call from this idiot, who got my cell phone number, and I don’t know who, and he was very, very straight forward. He said “If you give me some hot documents, I’ll tell you who in the prosecuting office is sleeping with the media!” I said “I don’t care who they’re sleeping with! There’s a gag order!”, and I hung up. But there were constant efforts to try to find a way to profit off of this case. Linda Duetch, who I have a great respect for, who is really the Dean of trial reporters with the Associated Press, who began with the Manson case, and she’s followed virtually every major case since then. She told me it was a dreadful experience. She said she hated the Jackson trial. She lived in a nearby hotel. She said that she never saw so many gloating over the fact that they were going to profit off of this case, and it just really disturbed her. The extraordinary tabloid-ization of everything that happened in the case. But anyway, by supporting the gag order, I could tell Michael and his family “I can’t address that issue. We have to win this case in the courtroom. We’re not allowed to.” It was a great relief to me to be able to follow that course because as I said before “You win these cases with juries. You don’t win them with the media, in my opinion.” You want to be concerned with the media. You want to get some good information out if you can. You want to level the table if you can. But don’t get too carried away with it. You lose focus. You’ll start to think it’s all about you. It’s not about you; it’s about your client. And I think we handled that very well.
Now, Susan Yu, my co-counsel and law partner, had her own condo not far from the courthouse. Good distance from the hotels. I had my condo. Our staff had their condos. We had one duplex that we called the war room, and basically we were like an armed camp. Not near the media, and not near the hotels. My schedule was getting to bed at 7:30pm, 8pm, and getting up at 3am in the morning. I never was seen in a restaurant, never seen in a bar, nobody was able to get a photograph and try to put me in a compromising position. I wouldn’t do that. Susan goes to bed real early, gets up at 3am, her staff were sometimes up all night updating witness books. And that’s how we lived. We lived a very, very disciplined, very sheltered, very focused kind of existence during this trial that was almost 5 months. As far as the case goes, I have to tell you, that I’ve never seen so witnesses provide so much salacious, disturbing testimony, and I’ve never seen so many witnesses crumble so quickly under cross examination! I’ll probably never see it again. I mean it almost became a circus. People would get on that stand and say that they’ve seen the most horrific things on the planet. There would be just a heavy atmosphere in the courtroom. You could almost cut the silence with a knife. And under cross examination, they would just splatter. Now let me give you just a general example of what I’m talking about. The prosecution introduced evidence that five young men had been molested separate and apart from the accuser in the case. And all of the pundits were saying “This law in California is so harsh, so draconian, you can’t survive it. Once that evidence of other similar acts comes in, you’re dead, no matter what happened.” Well, we started our case with three of those five young men who they claimed were molested, and they all said “he never touched me”. The fourth one never showed up, and if he had, I think we were armed pretty well to deal with him. And that’s Larry Feldman’s client. There are lot of other issues that go into that case that I don’t have time to talk about. But let’s just say that I had a lot of information to go after him on, not to mention the profit motive: “Why do you take money and not go to the police and prosecute? Particularly, if you’re a family member, do you prefer to take money instead of having police and prosecutors go after you criminally?” What does that tell you about the situation? The fifth young man was a so-called “youth pastor” who claimed he had been tickled by Michael Jackson outside of his jeans, and needed 5 years’ worth of therapy to deal with his trauma. And by the way, he wanted millions of dollars, his mother wanted it, and his mother sold stories to the tabloids. So they are the five people that the prosecution claimed had been molested, separate and apart from this accuser.
Now by the way, again, Ron feels very strongly about this, and I do to. The man was innocent! Now, the accuser in this case who Ron feels so highly about, and that’s absolutely his privilege, in my opinion, and I think we proved it, had assisted his mother in a false sexual harassment claim against JC Penney stores. He was a child who took a sworn deposition to support her claim that she had been sexually attacked in a parking lot by security guards, and we proved that it was completely, utterly bogus! We got the intake information at the police department. She didn’t have a bruise on her body, or a hair out of place, and she said that she didn’t need medical attention. She popped up a few weeks later with photographs showing all of this bruising. And we had a paralegal from the law firm that represented her in the case, and kept calling me in tears. She was just devastated about what to do. She said “This woman told me it never happened. And I’m afraid to lose my job.” We had one of the lawyers from the firm testify, the privilege ended up waived, and he said that he had talked to this woman about these events. She said she was assaulted, but never said sexually assaulted until her deposition. He said it was the first time she had ever come up with that story. He was shocked! I mean I’ve got to tell you there’s another side to this, or a very conservative jury in Santa Maria, California wouldn’t have exonerated Michael Jackson so thoroughly and so completely. Look, this young man, you know, is entitled to say what he wants, and he may be doing very well, but I think he got caught in so many lies, so many misstatements. We had a video where he and his family all said “it never happened”. We had in investigator’s statement audio recorded where it all said “it never happened”. And suddenly the alleged dates of the molestation changed beyond the video.
Initially, the prosecutors were claiming the molestation started a particular date, and when this evidence was discovered they moved the dates beyond that evidence. I mean it was like “let’s just adjust to what we have, and make sure we go forward with the case”, in my particular opinion. I know that we’re going to talk about jury selection, but I just have to tell you that this was a quick jury selection. Most people think that in high profile cases you’re going to be there months investigating everyone’s backgrounds, but this was a day and a half, after hardships. I gave up half of my peremptories and just took the panel, which seemed to shock some people. I mean, the goal is not to use your peremptories; the goal is to get the best panel that you think you can get! That’s what you’re there to do. And we had a feeling that we had a panel that would be particularly fair. Now there were some controversial decisions that were made in that process. The trial was agonizing. There may have been about 140 or so witnesses testifying at the trial. Judge Melville was a workhorse. We were in there five days a week. There were hardly any dark days during the trial. I did like that schedule, with small breaks rather than a major lunch break. I thought it did fit well with our ability to go back and prepare for the next day. But it was back breaking; it was agonizing. The media, the way they reported the case, was just remarkable! They would hear salacious testimony, and the reporters would run out and report it! They would not wait for the cross, most of the time, or they’d want to ignore the cross. Their goal was ratings and revenue, which you would expect, because they’re nothing but businesses. Their goal was to see him go down. As far as client control, client efforts, this was the nicest client Susan and I ever dealt with. He was extremely down to earth, very cooperative, very nice, never tried to get in our way. The problem was the people around him. Poor Michael Jackson has always attracted just a large number of very disingenuous types who would try to ingratiate themselves with him. Try to make him think they were his friend, and then turn on him. They were always nipping at our heels, lawyers always trying to get to him, always trying to criticize what we were doing. Sometimes I felt like I was at war with my own camp then with anyone else because you never knew who was going to get to Neverland through who, to try to convince him that things were going wrong, and they are needed. But what happens with celebrities so often is this: people want to be around them, and they try to create a need for themselves. What they try to do is keep the celebrity off balance, insecure, terrified, and scared. They create their need, and they don’t want that need to be fulfilled or they won’t be needed anymore. So basically they’re constantly trying to get their .02 cents in to keep the celebrity off balance, scared, and create a reason why they should be there, and Michael was probably the biggest target of that I’ve ever seen.
The first prosecution witness was Mr. Bashir. I thought he was a disaster for the prosecution. He was asserting the Journalist Privilege. He wouldn’t answer just basic questions that couldn’t possibly hurt him in any shape or form if he was willing to answer them, and he just wouldn’t. And basically what I did was I decided, as I think most good cross-examiners do, to tell my story through my questions. And I kept asking him long-winded questions, like “Isn’t it true that Michael Jackson told you he’d never touch a child sexually, never would do that, blah, blah, blah,” and he would assert the privilege, and then I would ask my next question, and I would tell my story, and I would recite my facts, like “Isn’t it true when you confronted Michael Jackson with A, B,C,D , and E, he told you he would never, ever do anything like that?” And “Isn’t it true that you told him he was a wonderful parent, etc.”, and on, and on, and on. A lot of people around the country that I talked to were surprised that the prosecution was able to play his documentary, but I have to say that fortunately Michel Jackson was smart enough to have his own videographer at those interviews, and there were outtakes that Bashir kept out of his documentary which we were allowed to play by Judge Melville because basically, the prosecutors got their shot with a very selectively edited bunch of hearsay, and we got our edited out outtakes in as well, and he denied every single allegation, and said that he’d slit his wrists before I would ever hurt a child. I think that a lot of the things that the prosecution tried to do, we were able to neutralize by basically putting it into a different perspective. The prosecutors that I’ve heard tonight said that he “sleeps with boys, he sleeps with boys, he sleeps with boys”. Well, we showed that he sleeps with mothers, he sleeps with sisters, he sleeps with all kinds of people because they wanted to sack out in his room, which is about as big as this building. The prosecution was out to get him in the best way that they could, and I understand that, but I think the person they chose as the victim, as the accuser, and particularly that person’s family, were really a disaster for them. They brought a conspiracy charge that Michael Jackson had masterminded a criminal conspiracy to abduct children, commit extortion, and falsely imprison a family. Michael Jackson couldn’t even imagine such behavior, let alone orchestrate it. And what that charge did for them, and I can’t get in the minds of the prosecutors, but here’s what I think they were doing, is that allowed the mother, who was really the lynchpin of that a lot of the case, to bring in co-conspirator hearsay under the exception. It allowed them to intimidate witnesses who were at Neverland because they would too fearful they would be indicted as conspirators. Great conspiracy here! The only person they charged was Michael Jackson. Everyone else was unindicted. She brings hearsay testimony in, the witnesses that can refute it are terrified to come to court for fear that they’ll be indicted, so they lawyer up. And plus, it makes Michael Jackson look like this “Mafioso-type” guru, which he’s not even capable of being. But at any rate, the trial went forward, and there were just tons of surprises. Much of the time I made my cross-examinations lengthy. Some of them were days, and I made one of them four days total. I just decided that there were so many facts in our favor, to neutralize these witnesses, particular these accusers, that I just felt that there’s no way that these people were going to last, no way they were going to withstand the facts. And I don’t think they did. I don’t think they did at all. We had a very responsible jury that was out for about seven or eight days. It was the right verdict. I look forward to the questions. Thank you.
Analysis of Mesereau’s Commentary:
1. He’s a very smart guy, and he said to me that “We don’t like what our lawyers are doing with the media. We don’t trust what’s going on.” In fact he told me that during the first court appearance he was at, some lawyers ran out of the building and shoved him out of the way to get in front of the camera. Which he didn’t appreciate or like, nor did he think it was in his brother’s interest, to have this sort of behavior. One of the things he said he liked about me and my partner Susan Yu was that he didn’t think we were “camera mad”. He didn’t think we were the kind of people who were basically going to put our own interest for fame and fortune over his brother’s. Unfortunately, this behavior was typical among MJ’s legal and financial advisors. MJ couldn’t trust them because they were always putting their own interests above his. A perfect example would be Carl Douglas, of course. Just skimming through his commentary at this seminar shows who he was looking out for in 1993! You can’t be very objective when you’re friends with the opposing lawyer, Carl! One could also say the same for attorney Brian Oxman, who has never met a camera he didn’t like!
2. The money was in a conviction. Berry Gordy, who founded MoTown, told me after the acquittals that “You cost the worldwide media billions by those Not Guilty verdicts. Because the kind of copy that his being convicted, remanded to jail, the buildup to a sentencing, which would have been the biggest sentencing in world history, is something they wanted. This was big, big business. They were doing everything could to spin a conviction. Yes indeed, Tom Mesereau certainly cost the media billions of dollars in revenues that would have been directly related to MJ prison coverage. If Mesereau worked in Corporate America and did something that cost his employer billions of dollars in revenues, he would be fired in a heartbeat!
This is the same sentiment that is shared by many in the journalistic community, including Aphrodite Jones. Here is a quote from a promo for her television series “True Crime With Aphrodite Jones”:
Had Michael Jackson gone to prison, it would had been a cottage industry in cover suicide watches, family visits, fan visits, prison guards……….you can just start to think about all of the hoopla that could have been made on a daily basis about whether Michael Jackson was wearing pajamas, or he wasn’t, or somebody slipped him something, or he was in the hospital, or he was on drugs, or Janet went to see him…………….I mean, it could have went on forever!
Here is an excerpt from an article written on the 2-year anniversary of MJ’s acquittal. The title speaks for itself!
The Day the Media and Other Vultures Lost Millions of Dollars – MB #323
JUNE 13 2007 – Where were you two years ago today? If you don’t really remember, you were not paying any attention to the news at the time.
Two years ago, a conservative, non-black jury in Santa Maria California effectively snatched hundreds of millions – if not a billion – dollars from the collective media by following the evidence, instead of public opinion. Everything, including the kitchen sink, was thrown into the trial of 2005 in an attempt to convict Jackson of a crime which never took place.
Prosecutors wanted the jury to convict based on drawing conclusions from speculation, whereas the defense wanted the jury to acquit based on irrefutable evidence. When the jurors couldn’t bring themselves to throw Jackson under the bus by ignoring the evidence in favor of public opinion and their own financial gain, many members of the media were dumbfounded.
That day I was at my computer ready to post the jury decision verdict by verdict to the thousands of members of MJEOL who were themselves keeping one eye on the computer screen and another eye on the television.
As I sat there waiting, I looked up at the ceiling for a few seconds saying under my breath, “I know you ain’t gon’ let him go out like this. He’s some of the best work you got down here right now.”
It was my little prayer that Jackson wouldn’t have to continue this hell unjustly. During the reading of the verdicts, I think many of us who had covered this case were quiet and intensely concentrating on each word. We saw justice being served.
The media, however, saw something different. With that acquittal, the collective media saw millions and millions of dollars worth of advertising, book sales and other revenue go down the drain.
There would be no follow-up reports of Jackson going to jail. No Paris Hilton-like specials showing the police car arriving at the jail to lock up Jackson. No documentaries on ‘the rise and tragic fall’ of the King of Pop. No bombshell interviews or shows about Jackson which would have drawn millions of eyeballs. No books detailing how he “did it”. Instead, we got silence.
Silence. They didn’t get what they wanted and so they chose NOT to continue the story.
Nobody wanted to talk about the trial afterwards because it meant they would have to report things which were directly contradictory to what they had already reported. And certainly, those who were waiting in the wings like vultures to scoop up over a billion dollars worth of Jackson’s assets weren’t going out of their way to disabuse the media of any false notions being spread about Jackson.
3. And again, we all do our job when we have to do it, but with all due respect, that settlement was an albatross around my neck, I discovered because the typical profile of a pro-prosecution juror would indicate that the thing that bothered that profiled juror the most was that settlement. The feeling being “Who pays that kind of money if they’re innocent?” When we profiled the typical pro-defense juror, the thing that bothered them the most was the same thing! “Why was all this money paid if you’re innocent?” I did issue a press release, and made a public statement, with Judge Melville’s permission of course. I had to do that. It was bothering too many people. And I basically said that Mr. Jackson had entered into that settlement because business advisors had told him to. It’s amazing that Mesereau has the character and the class to preface his criticism of Carl Douglas by saying “with all due respect” !! But that criticism was well deserved, so if Douglas was offended, then so be it! Yes, that 1994 settlement with the Chandlers was definitely an albatross across MJ’s neck, as it made him look guilty in the court of public opinion. The question of “Why pay that kind of money if you’re innocent?” is one that is typically asked by those who don’t know the facts of the case, and are misinformed about the basic fundamentals of criminal and civil law. Fortunately, I wrote a post that thoroughly and effectively describes MJ’s settlements, and why he was innocent despite paying millions to his accusers. Here is Part 1, and here is Part 2. In Part 1, I include the press release that Mesereau referred to in this seminar. It was released on September 14th, 2004, after a slanderous episode of Dateline NBC revealed that MJ had a second, secret settlement with an accuser from 1990 (who we now know as Jason Francia). Here is an excerpt from that statement that was intended to set the record straight with the public:
Mr. Jackson has been repeatedly advised by those who stood to make fortunes in his business affairs to pay money, rather than face certain false allegations. As a result, many years ago, he did pay money, rather than litigate, two false allegations that he had harmed children. People who intended to earn millions of dollars from his record and music promotions did not want negative publicity from these lawsuits interfering with their profits.
4. He said “If you give me some hot documents, I’ll tell you who in the prosecuting office is sleeping with the media!” I said “I don’t care who they’re sleeping with! There’s a gag order!”, and I hung up. But there were constant efforts to try to find a way to profit off of this case. Well, obviously I can’t verify who was sleeping with whom within the media and the prosecution, but what I do know for a fact is that there was and is some definite fraternization going on! For example, at Sneddon’s retirement party in 2006, guess who gave him a “heartfelt speech”? None other than Diane Dimond!! Why the hell would a reporter be at the retirement party of a district attorney who lives on the other side of the country? Because they are friends, that’s why!! I’m sure that “heartfelt speech” was her way of showing gratitude for allowing her to be the only reporter to cover the November 2003 raid at Neverland, or for getting her dropped from MJ’s slander lawsuit against Hard Copy!!
Here is an excerpt from that March 2005 article where Court TV actually tries to justify having Dimond report on MJ, despite the obvious conflict of interest!
Sneddon, in an unusual instance of a prosecutor involving himself in a civil suit, signed a declaration supporting Dimond’s version of events. The trial judge dismissed the suit, saying Jackson couldn’t prove malice or false reporting.
Jackson appealed the judge’s ruling, and Sneddon’s declaration was cited extensively in the November 1998 California Court of Appeal’s decision affirming the summary judgment.
Neither Jackson’s lawsuit nor Sneddon’s role in snuffing it is disclosed in Dimond’s official bio on the CourtTV.com Web site or in the detailed history of her Jackson coverage, which includes her exclusive November 2003 interview with Sneddon.
“The lawsuit was a public event, and it need not be disclosed every time Diane reports on Jackson, nor will it be,” Court TV officials said in a statement yesterday.
Doesn’t Dimond have a conflict of interest?
“Court TV does have a conflict-of-interest policy, and neither Diane’s reports on Jackson nor the fact that Mr. Sneddon submitted an affidavit supporting the defense of a lawsuit 10 years ago is even close to any kind of conflict of interest – at Court TV or any other news organization,” the statement insisted.
“For Diane Dimond to cease reporting on Jackson because he sued her would mean that he had intimidated her from reporting on his activities.”
I guess I’ll leave it to the court of public opinion.
No conflict of interest? Are you kidding me, Court TV? And Dimond isn’t just all warm and cozy with Sneddon! Here are some photos with her and her buddies Ron Zonen, his “girlfriend” Louise Palanker (a friend of the Arvizos and a prosecution witness), and Jackson family traitor Stacy Brown! These are posted on Palanker’s blog.
And here is a breakdown of a radio interview conducted in July 2007 with Dimond, Palanker, and Zonen!
@ 1:40 when Dimond asked Zonen about the difference between a mediator and a prosecutor, and he makes an ironic comment that crime victims (SUCH AS MOLESTATION!!) don’t want to “mediate” anything with their perpetrators; instead they want that person literally executed! When I heard this, I immediately thought of Evan Chandler, of course! Instead of seeking justice against MJ, he wanted to negotiate film deal?!!!
Fast-forward to @ 32:00 They joke about “banishing MJ” (in reference to rehabbing MJ for his crimes), and then Dimond goes on to spread more rumors about him having liver failure due to drugs and alcohol, and wanting to be a “greeter” and have fans pay to meet him and chit chat. Zonen went on to say that he doesn’t believe that MJ can still sing. They then go on to whine about getting his kids taken away from him, and insinuating that MJ is a bad father because he has the audacity to homeschool his kids. According to Zonen, MJ fans are “idiots” and “morons”. The highlight of this segment, and probably the entire show, was @ 42:00 where Zonen says that MJ is STILL GUILTY, and why is Jesse Jackson and MesereauSUPPORTING MJ?!! Palanker said that Mesereau LIED in his opening statements about her and the Arvizos! This segment is a prelude of what we can expect from Zonen next week at the Los Angeles Law Seminar! (Which will be sold on DVD, in case you guys didn’t know!)
@ 57:00 They bring up one of MJ’s lawyers Howard Weitzman, who initially represented him in 1993, and sued Dimond and V. Guitterez over that videotape, and Dimond mocked him for it by saying that he was trying to “silence her”.
@ 73:00 Zonen is asked about if he has ever tried a case that he didn’t believe in (i.e. did he think the person was truly guilty). Zonen told a story about how he wrongfully convicted someone, and then filed a motion to have him declared factually innocent. I wonder if he’ll ever do the same thing with MJ? Probably not!
@ 83:00 Zonen has the audacity to criticize Mike Nifong, the prosecutor of the Duke Lacrosse players, for his malicious prosecution. Ironically, he says that Nifong was heavily influenced by the weight of people descending on him to control the direction of the investigation. (i.e. people like Rev.’s Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton who wanted to prosecute because they initially believed the accuser.) Of course, this same thing happened with Sneddon, with people like Dimond and Gloria Allred pressuring him to investigate MJ after the Bashir doc. aired. He also said that Nifong should have used better judgement when evaluating the credibility of the accuser, which he admitted was NONE! Coming from Zonen and Dimond, this is pretty disgusting because they obviously practice a “do as I say, not as I do” mentality! This is literally stand up comedy! Zonen describes how the Duke players had legitimate alibis, but yet MJ had one too, so he and Sneddon rearranged the dates of the molestation!
5. I never was seen in a restaurant, never seen in a bar, nobody was able to get a photograph and try to put me in a compromising position. I wouldn’t do that. Unlike other lawyers who have woked for MJ over the years, Mesereau didn’t want or enjoy the limelight. He wasn’t worried about seeking publicity, securing book deals, or using high profile cases as a stepping stone to political office. He just wanted to defend his clients and make sure that prosecutors did their jobs with integrity! So it’s no surprise that Mesereau took those measures to make sure that he didn’t end up on the cover of a tabloid with the following headline “Jacko Lawyer Involved In Bar Room Brawl!” He did not want to do anything that would compromise his image as an upstanding lawyer. I’m sure that Carl Douglas was in bars and clubs bragging to anyone who would listen that he was defending MJ in 1993! And I’m sure after the settlement, when he bought that new car that he referred to, he flaunted it to everyone for his own self-gratification!
6. I’ve never seen so witnesses provide so much salacious, disturbing testimony, and I’ve never seen so many witnesses crumble so quickly under cross examination! I’ll probably never see it again. I mean it almost became a circus. People would get on that stand and say that they’ve seen the most horrific things on the planet. There would be just a heavy atmosphere in the courtroom. You could almost cut the silence with a knife. And under cross examination, they would just splatter. This is one quote that certainly doesn’t need an explanation, but I will give one anyway! Every single prosecution witness that claimed to have seen inappropriate behavior on MJ’s part collapsed like a house of cards under cross-examination! Whether it was the Arvizos, the Francias, the former Neverland employees, EVERYONE’S STORY CRUMBLED LIKE COOKIES! For the sake of brevity, I’ll give one excerpt from each of the Arvizos; Star, Gavin, Davellin, and of course Janet!
Here is one of the funniest moments of the trial! This is where Mesereau caught Star in a colossal lie on Day 7 regarding the pornographic magazine that he claimed MJ showed him while he was at Neverland, when that particular issue wasn’t even published until 5 months after they left Neverland for good!
Excerpt from the Accuser’s Brother’s Testimony Regarding the ‘Adult’ Magazine Presented as Evidence by the Prosecution (March 8, 2005):
MESEREAU: Before you testified yesterday you looked at that photograph with Prosecutor Sneddon, correct?
ACCUSER’S BROTHER: Yes.
MESEREAU: You told Prosecutor Sneddon that those are the magazines you had seen at Neverland, right?
ACCUSER’S BROTHER: Yes.
MESEREAU: You told Prosecutor Sneddon that Michael Jackson had showed you those magazines, right?
ACCUSER’S BROTHER: Yes.
MESEREAU: Michael Jackson never showed you that magazine, “Barely Legal,” did he?
ACCUSER’S BROTHER: What?
MESEREAU: Michael Jackson never showed you that magazine, “Barely Legal,” did he?
ACCUSER’S BROTHER: He did show us.
MESEREAU: He did?
ACCUSER’S BROTHER: Yes.
MESEREAU: Well, Star, did you look at the date of the magazine? It’s August of 2003, is it not?
ACCUSER’S BROTHER: Well, I never said that was exactly that one.
MESEREAU: Well, your family had left Neverland many months before, never to return, correct?
ACCUSER’S BROTHER: That — I’m telling you that that wasn’t exactly the one he showed us.
MESEREAU: That’s not what you said yesterday, and it’s not what you said today, right?
(End of Excerpt)
Mr. Mesereau also asked the boy about the many discrepancies in his descriptions of how Mr. Jackson allegedly molested his brother. Following an extensive line of questioning and vague non-conclusive answers, the boy responded, “I don’t know exactly what I said.” The boy also admitted, earlier in his testimony today, that he lied during a deposition for his mother’s civil lawsuit against JC Penney. In that case, he had sworn, under oath, that his mother and father never fought and that his father never hit him. His story now affirms both accusations.
Here’s another hilarious exchange between Star and Mesereau on Day 8 regarding a “third” alleged incident of molestation!
“Earlier Wednesday, the accuser’s younger brother, under cross-examination by defense lawyer Thomas Mr. Mesereau Jr., admitted major contradictions between his testimony and his other accounts of allegedly seeing Mr. Jackson molest his brother.
During questioning by the prosecution the boy told of twice looking through the doorway of Mr. Jackson’s bedroom as the pop star molested his sleeping brother.
Mr. Mesereau confronted, pointing out another glaring discrepancy, the witness with a previous statement to sheriff’s investigators in which he said that during the second incident he was in the room curled up on a small couch pretending to sleep.
When Mr. Mesereau asked if his account of the second molestation had changed, the boy suddenly interjected that there were actually three incidents, although that has never, ever been alleged.
(Excerpts from Transcripts – March 8, 2005)
ACCUSER’S BROTHER: I was nervous while I was doing the interview.
MR. MESEREAU: Because you were nervous you didn’t get the facts right?
ACCUSER’S BROTHER: Yes.
MR. MESEREAU: Now, you’ve indicated the first time you ever discussed any alleged inappropriate touching by Michael Jackson was with Psychologist Stanley Katz, right?
ACCUSER’S BROTHER: Yes.
MR. MESEREAU: And you have admitted that you gave Stanley Katz a different description than you’ve given in this courtroom, right?
ACCUSER’S BROTHER: Yes.
MR. MESEREAU: In fact, you never mentioned the third event that you’ve described today to Stanley Katz?
Accuser’s Brother: Because I might have forgot about it.
MR. MESEREAU: No further questions.
(End of Excerpts)
Here is Davellin Arvizo’s exchange with Mesereau regarding her fading memory about seeing MJ giving alcohol to her brothers, but forgetting to tell the Santa Barbara Police Department during her interview with them in July 2003! Her excuse for not telling them was that they didn’t specifically ask her!
MESEREAU: Okay. Do you remember you were interviewed by the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department July 6th, 14 2003, and asked questions about that?
DAVELLIN A.: I know I was asked questions about it, yes.
MESEREAU: You were asked by a Santa Barbara sheriff how you knew it was wine, right?
DAVELLIN A.: Yes.
MESEREAU: And your answer was, you knew it was wine because it’s a wine cellar and there’s nothing else to be drinking in a wine cellar, right?
DAVELLIN A.: Yes, there is wine bottles along the left wall.
MESEREAU: Never told them you had seen Michael Jackson pouring wine from any bottle, correct?
DAVELLIN A.: They never asked me that question, but I did see him.
MESEREAU: Well, they asked you how you knew it was wine, and your answer was, “They were in a wine cellar and there’s nothing else to be drinking in a wine cellar,” correct?
DAVELLIN A.: I’m not going to grab a cup off the counter. It was handed to me.
MESEREAU: Well, why didn’t you tell that to the Santa Barbara sheriffs then?
DAVELLIN A.: They didn’t ask me about it.
MESEREAU: Well, they actually did. Would it refresh your recollection to show you the police report?
DAVELLIN A.: I just told them about the building. And they said how did I know it was wine? Because it was a wine cellar.
MESEREAU: But yesterday, you said you saw Michael Jackson pouring a bottle of wine into a cup, true?
DAVELLIN A.: Yes.
MESEREAU: That’s not what you told the sheriffs on that day, right?
DAVELLIN A.: Well, I was in a wine cellar also. I didn’t know I had to say every little detail. I was young back then. I didn’t know I had to say every little detail for it to be right. Different things come up. (p 927 lines 12-28; p 928 lines 1-23)
As for Gavin, the following excerpt adequately describes not only his testimony, but the entire trial as well!
On Day 11 of the Michael Jackson trial Attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. had to work very hard to get a straight answer out of the prosecution’s star witness, the 15 year old accuser, himself. In a testimony which seemed to consist of numerous memory losses, restatements of events and many other incomplete sentences that seemed to be an avoidance of giving direct answers, the accuser presented his ‘side’ of the story under cross-examination.
Mr. Mesereau was compelled, on numerous occasions, to show the accuser transcripts of his previous statements to law enforcement and various cards and letters that were referenced in order to ‘refresh’ his often, what seemed to be, a very ‘sketchy’ memory. The accuser used the non-committal phrases “I think…” and “I don’t know” over 90 times each, over the course of the day. Additionally, there were 15 “I don’t think so’s” and 40 ‘Not Really’s”.
So he said “I don’t know” and “I think” over 90 times! And this is the guy that Zonen said the he and his department “believed”? I wonder why Zonen and Sneddon didn’t let the U.S. Justice Department conduct an official forensic interrogation on Gavin and his family, the same way they performed such an interrogation on phantom victim Daniel Kapon, who they instantly declared a liar? (This is described in more detail in this post.) Here is a brief excerpt:
In cop shops across America those two words, “repressed memory,” cause eyes to roll. For the Santa Barbara team listening to the doctor, it was no different. Nonetheless, it was decided that Donny would travel back to Santa Barbara to undergo official forensic interrogation the next day. The U.S. Justice Department offers special training to only a handful of child abuse investigators. It’s an intense course on how best to deal with children who have suffered at the hands of deviant adults. Santa Barbara called in one of those specially equipped people to speak to young Donny, and after several hours it was determined that “there is nothing correct about this….it is bogus.”
Last but not least, here’s the person who single handedly sunk Sneddon’s case (not that he had a chance at a conviction anyway), Janet Arvizo! Her testimony is so wacky that I won’t even waste my time really going into too much detail here, as I’m sure that anyone who reads this blog knows all about her anyway. But for those who want a concise summary of her testimony, please read this article here!
7. And all of the pundits were saying “This law in California is so harsh, so draconian, you can’t survive it. Once that evidence of other similar acts comes in, you’re dead, no matter what happened. I discussed the motivation that Sneddon and Garcetti had for enacting this law in my settlements article, but I’ll use this excerpt to summarize how unjust and prejudicial California Evidence Code 1108 really is, and how it actually helped MJ!
“Sneddon had the same intentions when he tried get the details of the 1994 settlement admissible in court as evidence, and when he enacted California Evidence Code §1108 in the 1990’s, hoping to prejudice the jury with the testimony of June Chandler, the Francias, and the “Neverland 5” (the former employees who owed MJ millions in legal fees). Mesereau tried to have their testimony excluded because he thought they would jeopardize MJ’s presumption of innocence in the current trial (and not because he thought MJ was guilty in 1993! In fact, Mesereau subpoenaed Raymond Chandler, so that shows how much faith he had in MJ’s innocence. The link is found later in this article.) Legal analyst Jonna Spilbor thoroughly criticizes this unfair and prejudicial evidence in this article. It is also discussed in this article as well.“
Here is an excerpt from attorney Jonna Spilbor that succinctly sums up the effect that this ruling had on the trial:
Why The Admission of this Evidence May Actually Hurt, Not Help, the Prosecution
Given the possible prejudicial effect of the “prior bad acts” testimony, why do I still believe this testimony could end up hurting the prosecution?
The answer is: Because the defense will argue – and jurors will see – that the reason prosecutors are offering this other evidence, is that their case is weak. Perhaps the defense will call the accusers themselves to the stand – including Culkin, who reportedly denies abuse.
Or perhaps the defense will simply ask why the prosecution did not call to the stand the victims themselves witnesses – and ask jurors, Why wouldn’t the prosecution want to present evidence of prior bad acts from the best sources possible? Protecting the sensibilities of men in their mid-twenties is unlikely to strike the jury as a good reason for sacrificing Jackson’s cross-examination rights.
Propensity evidence, in my experience, is most powerful when the prosecution doesn’t actually need it; it can be the icing, but only when there is a cake. In the case at hand, however, it seems the prosecution is desperate for all the help it can get. They are trying to ice a cake that so far, has fallen flat.
And this point will hardly be lost on Jackson’s skilled attorney, Tom Mesereau. After the devastating cross-examinations he’s performed so far, he can invite the juror to imagine how the accusers – if they had taken the stand – might also have collapsed on cross-examination.
Mesereau can also make this stinging point: If D.A. Tom Sneddon truly thinks the other five accusers were harmed, why didn’t he ever filed charges on their behalf?
Sneddon might cite the statute of limitations. But Sneddon’s office was certainly aware of Jordan Chandler’s claims in time to bring charges on his behalf. And in the cases of the other victims, he could at least have argued that Jackson’s power and might kept them silent. Yet no charges were brought.
In short, Sneddon is doing nothing to seek justice for those who may have been harmed, should the allegations prove true. Why? Perhaps because he can’t prove those allegations – but is nonetheless willing to use them as a shaky foundation for continuing his vendetta against Jackson.
Here’s an idea for Tom Sneddon: If you have proof that Michael Jackson committed sex crimes against other boys, then act as a prosecutor should, and charge him with those crimes.
Here is an excerpt from journalist Nicolas Stix, who also blasted Sneddon for using the 1108 evidence.
A Judicial Vicious Circle
1. According to the law California Evidence Code §1108, enacted in 1995, testimony can be given charging a defendant with “prior bad acts” for which he has been neither convicted nor prosecuted, if such testimony helps establish a “pattern” or “propensity” to commit the crime with which he is presently being charged.
This law guts the presumption of innocence, which is perhaps THE foundation of American criminal law.
In practice, this means that if you hate somebody, and find out that he has been charged with a crime, you can announce that he has previously committed a similar crime against your person, and testify against him in his current trial for the previous “crime.” It’s legal double freebie. You get to testify to the jury, as if the defendant had already been convicted of an earlier crime, AND get to prejudice the jury regarding the crime he is currently charged with. (This is exactly what some women sought to do during the 1991 trial of Kennedy scion William Kennedy Smith, whom Patricia Bowman had charged with rape. Smith was acquitted.)
And that is what has happened in the Michael Jackson trial, though Jackson’s million-dollar defense team was able to come up with witnesses who contradicted the charges of prior bad acts, regarding the attempted commission of lewd acts. Imagine the fate of defendants who can’t afford superstar defense counsel.
Such testimony, when permitted, is usually subject to serious limitations, because it is so prejudicial. As CNN legal analyst Jonna M. Spilbor has noted, California law once had such limitations, but they were thrown out the window when California Evidence Code §1108 was enacted.
Judge Rodney Melville, presiding in the Jackson case, is Exhibit B as to why such testimony should not be permitted, and why California Evidence Code §1108 must be repealed. The judge has not only permitted such testimony, he has permitted it predominantly from people who do not even claim to be victims of Jackson, but rather to have witnessed Jackson committing such crimes against others.
Prosecutor Tom Sneddon is Exhibit A: If he had a strong case, why would he feel the need to exploit a bad procedural law?
The justification for permitting such testimony is circular. It goes to showing a “pattern,” but you can only show a pattern after you have convicted the defendant INDEPENDENT of the (supposedly) older allegations.
In other words, only if witnesses accusing Jackson of similar crimes in the past had NOT been permitted to testify, and Jackson were convicted based solely on the merits of the present case, could one THEN go back and see that prior allegations against Jackson taken together with his crime, formed a pattern. And yet, you still wouldn’t know if the allegations of prior crimes were true. But to seek to show a pattern prior to a conviction, is putting the cart before the horse.
8. The fourth one never showed up, and if he had, I think we were armed pretty well to deal with him. And that’s Larry Feldman’s client. There are lot of other issues that go into that case that I don’t have time to talk about. But let’s just say that I had a lot of information to go after him on, not to mention the profit motive: “Why do you take money and not go to the police and prosecute? Particularly, if you’re a family member, do you prefer to take money instead of having police and prosecutors go after you criminally?” What does that tell you about the situation? Well, we know by now that the reason that Jordie Chandler didn’t “show up” is because he threatened to take legal action against Sneddon to avoid testifying against the man who he claimed abused him! (It’s listed here on page 4!) This was confirmed by the FBI in their unclassified files on MJ that were released last December under the Freedom of Information Act. Sure, most victims and their families would immediately notify authorities if they even suspected that they had been abused, but not the Chandlers! They threatened legal action to avoid going to court, yet had no problem writing a book and suing Sony to get a record deal!
9. And we had a paralegal from the law firm that represented her in the case, and kept calling me in tears. She was just devastated about what to do. She said “This woman told me it never happened. And I’m afraid to lose my job.” The paralegal who Mesereau is referring to is Mary Holzer, who accidentally befriended Janet Arvizo while her firm was defending her in her shakedown of JC Penny. Janet admitted to her that she was lying, and then to gain her silence, she threatened Holzer by telling her that her brother was in the Mexican Mafia, and would kill Hozler and her daughter if she snitched! I know, I know, I wouldn’t believe it myself if I didn’t see it in the testimony! But what do you expect? This is coming from a certified schizophrenic!
MESEREAU: Did she threaten you?
HOLZER: Yes, she did.
HOLZER: She told me that David’s brother Ray is in the Mexican mafia and runs drugs between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and that she knows where I live, because she had been to my house on several occasions, and they would come and kill me and my nine-year-old daughter.
MESEREAU: Did this terrify you?
MESEREAU: Did you ever tell anyone at the law firm about what Janet had told you?
HOLZER: No, I did not.
MESEREAU: Or, let me rephrase it. Did you ever have any further discussions with her about the fake claims against J.C. Penney?
HOLZER: I did. I tried to get her to speak to Mr. Rothstein about it. I asked her if I could speak to Mr. Rothstein about it, because we run a clean law firm, and I really didn’t feel that we should be involved in something like that. And she proceeded to call me daily and tell me she had told David, and David was raging mad, and that he was going to come after me, and that I better watch my back.
MESEREAU: How many times do you think Janet Arvizo threatened you and your daughter?
HOLZER: I’d say about eight, nine times.
For more info on Janet’s frivolous lawsuit against JC Penney, read this post!
10. We had a video where he and his family all said “it never happened”. We had in investigator’s statement audio recorded where it all said “it never happened”. The video Mesereau is referring to is the infamous rebuttal video, which the Arvizos claim that they were threatened into doing! They said that a German man who speaks poor English gave them a script to memorize before shooting the video! Watch the excerpt from the video and tell me if you think they look frightened, especially after Janet admits that MJ “let’s them win” at playing games! Or the tears that rolled down the eye of Davellin!
The audio recording he is referring to are the interviews conducted by the DCFS in February 2003 which cleared MJ. After his arrest, their confidential memo was leaked, and Larry Feldman threatened to sue to find out who leaked it! It’s ironic that he seemed pretty cool, calm, and collected when his own firm leaked Jordie’s “graphic” so-called declaration in February 2003!
11. Initially, the prosecutors were claiming the molestation started a particular date, and when this evidence was discovered they moved the dates beyond that evidence. I mean it was like “let’s just adjust to what we have, and make sure we go forward with the case”, in my particular opinion. When MJ was originally charged, Sneddon’s timeline stated that MJ started abusing Gavin while he was being investigated by the DCFS from February 7th through February 20th, 2003, but after he was indicted, the timeline changed to state that MJ started the abuse after he was cleared by the DCFS, from February 20th through March 12, 2003! How Sneddon was able to get away with this in a court of law in the United States of America is beyond comprehension!
12. I gave up half of my peremptories and just took the panel, which seemed to shock some people. I mean, the goal is not to use your peremptories; the goal is to get the best panel that you think you can get! In legal terms, a peremptory challenge is defined below:
A peremptory challenge is the right of the plaintiff and the defendant in a jury trial to have a juror dismissed before trial without stating a reason. This challenge is distinguished from a “challenge for cause” in which a reason must be stated as to why the juror might not be impartial. The number of state law, which varies, determines the number of peremptory challenges for each side, which differs based on the number of parties to a case, and whether it is a civil or criminal trial.
A state’s privilege to strike individual jurors through peremptory challenges, is subject to the commands of the Equal Protection Clause. Although a prosecutor ordinarily is entitled to exercise permitted peremptory challenges “for any reason at all, as long as that reason is related to his view concerning the outcome” of the case to be tried, the Equal Protection Clause forbids the prosecutor to challenge potential jurors solely on account of their race or on the assumption that black jurors as a group will be unable impartially to consider the State’s case against a black defendant.
So essentially, a juror can be dismissed without cause for any reason except race, but we all know that is a technicality that is oftentimes circumvented, and this case was no exception! Sneddon absolutely did not want any blacks on the juror because, being the racist that he is, he thought that blacks would just blindly acquit MJ because they worship him like a bunch of mindless zombies. For example, a black juror who was dismissed blasted Sneddon and his prosecution for being biased against MJ, and not making much of an effort to hide it:
During today’s questioning by defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr., the woman said: “How can he [Jackson] get a fair trial anywhere when even the ex-sheriff of Santa Barbara County gets on the news and tells the world he [Jackson] is a child molester and was a child molester back when I was sheriff.”
As Mesereau probed, the woman went further: “The only thing I question is a jury of your peers. How is this man [Jackson] going to get it here in this area?” Jackson, who sat quietly through most of the questioning, nodded vigorously in agreement. Jackson supporters have raised the issue of race before, arguing that as a popular African American pop star, Jackson was singled out for prosecution.
It was a very surprising and controversial move for Mesereau to not use any of his peremptories to remove jurors who, figuratively, could have been pro-prosecution, such as juror who had an extensive history of sexual abuse in her family. Mesereau wanted to question her further, but Judge Melville denied his request, and she was seated on the jury panel. As someone who obviously would take the charges of sexual abuse seriously, she could have been very prejudiced against MJ, but she ALSO could have been prejudiced against the Arvizos for not immediately notifying authorities once they claimed MJ abused them.
Mesereu discussed the issue of peremptory challenges in more detail in a recent interview:
“I bushwhacked the prosecutors on race. I believe they gauged their jury selection strategy around a belief that the defense would do anything to place an African American on the jury. They were so confident in their victory that they assumed I wanted any black juror for a possible hang. Their jaws dropped when I accepted a panel with no African Americans and left five peremptory challenges on the table. Statistically, I could have had one black male on the panel if I exercised all of my challenges. The prosecutors had already removed two black women jurors over my strong objections.
My trial approach was that Michael Jackson brought all races together. He was the scion of a prominent black family with two white and one Latino child. Evidence showed that he hired many Latino employees and was loved throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East, South America, Africa (the entire continent), etc. The prosecutors’ narrow perspective on race, as well as the world of Michael Jackson, hurt them considerably.”
Now, MJ haters will surely pounce on what Mesereau said about MJ having “two white children and one Latino child”, and use that as an excuse to say that Prince, Paris, and Blanket are not MJ’s biological kids (as if it even matters. They love MJ!). Well, here’s the photographic proof that they are his kids!
From BlueBird6943, a commenter who originally posted this photo on Lipstick Alley, here is a photo of Blanket and a young MJ. Can you guys see the resemblance?
Here is a photo of Prince, who is starting to show signs of Vitiligo. Either that is foolproof evidence that he is MJ’s biological child, or by some strange coincidence the sperm donor that MJ used also had this rare skin disease!
This video summarizes the similarities between Paris and her father. Personally, for anyone who questions the true race of these kids, it says more about them than it does about MJ!!
Getting back to the peremptory challenges, the fact that the evidience was so weak allowed Mesereau to defend MJ without having to utilize a racial component (which he discusses in much further detail in the 2005 Harvard Law seminar). Mesereau didn’t have to use his peremptory challenges to remove jurors who could have been pro-prosecution based on their demographics, and as a result nobody can ever say that the jury acquitted MJ because of race, unless they try to say that the mostly white jury acquitted MJ because he looked white!
13. He was asserting the Journalist Privilege. He wouldn’t answer just basic questions that couldn’t possibly hurt him in any shape or form if he was willing to answer them, and he just wouldn’t. And basically what I did was I decided, as I think most good cross-examiners do, to tell my story through my questions. Martin Bashir was the first witness that the prosecution called, and when cross-examined by Mesereau, he hid behind the California Journalist Shield Law, which is designed to “provides legal protections to journalists seeking to maintain the confidentiality of an unnamed source or unpublished information obtained during newsgathering”. So every time Mesereau asked Bashir a question relating to how he proposed the documentary to MJ, how he recorded or edited the documentary, the subject matter of the documentary, or anything else regarding it, he asserted this privilege. So to get around this hurdle, Mesereau asked Bashir questions where the answer was obviously “Yes”, knowing that Bashir would assert the privilege, which would give the jurors the impression that Bashir had something to hide. Here are a few examples of questions that were asked to Bashir, and of course the answer to all of the is “Yes”!! (Except for the last one!!)
Mr. Bashir, you interviewed Mr. Jackson and repeatedly asked him questions about his desire for an international children’s holiday, correct?
Mr. Bashir, you had Michael Jackson sign an agreement without a lawyer present, true?
Mr. Bashir, you have been accused in England11 of forging signatures, correct?
Mr. Bashir, if you look at the two documents you referred to that you say Mr. Jackson signed, his signature appears to be different from document to document, correct?
Mr. Bashir, did you request that Michael Jackson bring Macauley Culkin so you could film him at Neverland?
Mr. Bashir, in the show about Michael Jackson, Mr. Jackson says that nothing sexual went on in his bedroom. To obtain that statement, you told Mr. Jackson that your romantic development was partially shaped by his records, true?
Mr. Bashir, did you allow Mr. Jackson any editorial control over this film? (No, he did not!!!)
For more information on Bashir’s treachery over MJ, please read this post.
14. The prosecutors that I’ve heard tonight said that he “sleeps with boys, he sleeps with boys, he sleeps with boys”. Well, we showed that he sleeps with mothers, he sleeps with sisters, he sleeps with all kinds of people because they wanted to sack out in his room, which is about as big as this building. The media, led by Martin Bashir, has used MJ’s habit of letting other children sleep in his bed as a way to paint him as being a sexual deviant. But it’s funny how Mesereau was quick to point out that it wasn’t only young boys who slept in MJ’s bed, but girls, mothers, teens, fathers, practically anyone could sleep there! Some might say “Well, what kind of a defense is that?” What Mesereau was trying to point out is the fact that the notion that only little boys were allowed in his bedroom, while everyone else was banned, was a myth that was perpetuated by the media! As you can imagine, people always wanted to be around MJ every minute that they were at Neverland, and with his personal living quarters being the size of a small condo, complete with two stories and three bathroom, having multiple people sleeping in his room was no problem whatsoever.
Here are a few of MJ’s close friends defending the sleepovers:
Debbie Rowe (beginning @ 2:55):
Dr. Firpo Carr (beginning @ 3:15):
Here is a video of Mesereau on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, debunking the myths of MJ’s sleepovers.
Here is an interview with one of MJ’s longtime hairdressers, who also allowed her daughter to sleep in his bed.
Here is a transcript of R&B Funk singer Rick James, a close friend of the Jackson family who tragically died in 2004. In November 2003, shortly after MJ’s arrest, he gave this interview with CNN defending MJ against the allegations. Here is an excerpt where he describes allowing other kids to sleep in his bed:
PHILLIPS: Well, let me ask you, let me ask you, you know the documentary that came out, OK, on BBC with Michael Jackson. He talked openly about, hey, I love children, we sleep in the same bed, it’s nothing sexual, I just love them and like to take care of them. Is there anything wrong with that? Do you see anything wrong with that?
JAMES: There ain’t nothing wrong with that. Look, I have a house, 8,000 square feet. I have children come by. I have grandchildren. They come by and they bring their friends. They sleep in my room. I got a great big giant bedroom. They watch TV. They lay on the floor. Sometimes I wake up, kids are laying in my bed because they’re scared or something, whatever. I have candles going. What, what does that make me, a pedophile, because kids follow my bed, fall to sleep, whatever? I love kids.
Gee, I wonder why there wasn’t a media firestorm calling for an investigation of Rick James? Oh, that’s right! He’s “normal”!! For more info on MJ’s “bedroom issues”, read this post.
15. that allowed the mother, who was really the lynchpin of that a lot of the case, to bring in co-conspirator hearsay under the exception. It allowed them to intimidate witnesses who were at Neverland because they would too fearful they would be indicted as conspirators. Great conspiracy here! The only person they charged was Michael Jackson. Everyone else was unindicted. Yes, this is the infamous conspiracy charge that was truly the foundation of Sneddon’s case. Many MJ haters think that the case was about molestation, and they oftentimes dismiss the conspiracy charge. But according to Sneddon, first MJ held the Arvizos hostage at Neverland and forced them to shoot the rebuttal video, then he served Gavin alcohol and forced him to view porn, and THEN he molested him! So once the conspiracy to hold them hostage at Neverland was totally debunked by the shopping sprees that they went on, that in and of itself sunk their case. And for those of you who may say “Just because he didn’t hold them hostage, it doesn’t mean that he didn’t molest them!” Well, crime victims don’t embellish their stories by claiming that something happened to them that really did not happen! It was easy for the Arvizos to lie about being held hostage because they lied about everything else! It was either all or nothing; you can’t cherry pick what you think MJ was innocent or guilty of!
There were five alleged co-conspirators who allegedly planned to fly the Arvizos to Brazil in order to avoid the negative media attention in the aftermath of the Bashir documentary. Those five men (Frank Tyson, Vince Amen, Marc Schaffel, Dieter Wiesner, and Ronald Konitzer) were offered immunity in exchange for testifying aginst MJ, but of course they all declined, because they were innocent! What guilty person would refuse immunity for a crime that they committed? Here is an excerpt from The Veritas Project:
Another problem with the conspiracy allegation is that although five of Jackson’s associates were allegedly involved in the kidnapping of the family, Jackson is the only one who has been charged with a crime. The five alleged co-conspirators remain un-indicted and have all been offered immunity if they agree to testify against Jackson.
Joe Tacopina, an attorney for one of the accused co-conspirators, insists that his client has rejected Sneddon’s offer of immunity and maintains that the Arvizo family’s claims are ludicrous.
“If [Mrs. Arvizo] were being held hostage, then I guess during one of her shopping sprees on Rodeo Drive she could have told a store manager while she was buying a thousand-dollar dress,” Tacopina told the Santa Barbara News Press.67 In another interview, Tacopina claimed that the kidnapping allegations “are going to fall by the wayside when tested, when challenged, when examined under cross examination… there are documents out there that will absolutely shred these allegations.”68
An attorney for another alleged co-conspirator had a similar story to tell. “From what [my client] saw, [the Arvizos] were certainly in no way under any type of duress,” Michael Bachner told a reporter. “They freely went around to speak to whomever they wanted. They went shopping. They made phone calls. They did everything free people do.”69
Ron Konitzer, a former employee of Jackson’s who is now accused of conspiring against the Arvizos, insists that innocent facts have been twisted to fit the prosecution’s version of events. “It was a very natural development of events and a normal professional move that has been taken out of context,” Konitzer said of the measures that were taken to restore Jackson’s image after Living with Michael Jackson aired, measures that are now being used by the prosecution as evidence of a conspiracy.
“There was no cover-up,” Konitzer continued. “We were working around the clock at the ranch for 10 days in a row – with my family even there – and I can tell you the one thing I remember is a bunch of kids running around and having fun. There was nothing I saw that even resembled anything near imprisonment.”70
Even testimony from Janet Arvizo’s husband seems to contradict the family’s claims of kidnapping. Jay Jackson testified that Janet Arvizo and her children had returned to Neverland several times in April 2003 – one month after the conspiracy timeline ended. “She somehow or another got back there,” Jackson told the court.71
If Michael Jackson had kidnapped the family in February 2003, why was Janet Arvizo still praising the pop star in May 2003? Why did she return to Neverland after allegedly being held hostage there? Why did it take her three months to contact the police? Why did she contact a civil lawyer first?
So, in a nutshell, those five unindicted co-conspirators did not testify in order to avoid being indicted, and despite their refusal of immunity to testify against MJ, they were never charged anyway.
Thanks to Tom Mesereau’s excellent and flawless defense of MJ, the closest that MJ got to a prison cell was his 1996 video for “They Don’t Really Care About Us”!!!
Finally, here is a video of Mesereau discussing why he is truly happy as a lawyer: because of the work that he does for underprivileged people who are oftentimes taken advantage of by the legal system!! This was taken at the opening of one of his free legal clinics!
Next, I will close out this series with Part 6, which consists of a Q & A session with all of the panelists………….
* For the full version of part 5 complete with the comments see here: https://vindicatemj.wordpress.com/2010/11/15/transcript-of-%E2%80%9Cfrozen-in-time-a-riveting-behind-the-scenes-view-of-the-michael-jackson-cases%E2%80%9D-part-5/