VOICE OF REASON
The VOICE OF REASON 2013 is a place I invite everyone to, especially if you’ve just been wasting your time to the TRASH BIN page.
This is a place for individual journalists and not just their papers. The whole paper may be lying like crazy, however even amidst all its madness you will occasionally hear the voice of reason, honesty and truth.
This page will probably have fewer entries but the value of each entry is incomparable even with a hundred of them on the Tabloid page because no amount of lies can outweigh a single morsel of truth. Truth and honesty require courage and this is a merit of the highest possible value.
All articles will have a bearing on the third wave of dirty allegations against Michael Jackson and will be supported by some old articles from 2005 and even 1994 to provide good and sound factual material on the subject. The articles come in the reverse chronological order with the latest on top of the list.
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The lie is so blatant that the only conclusion possible here is that either the Mirror staff are completely incompetent or the newspaper is smearing Michael Jackson on purpose. This is the only alternative Charles Thomson sees and I am very happy that he does, and says it so openly too.
I fully agree – with the only difference that the second option looks to me a much more probable one. In my own place I’ve seen far too many intentional smear campaigns not to be able to recognize one in a different territory.
But there is still one thing that makes me wonder – why is it only Charles Thomson who responds? Is he the only one honest journalist in the UK?
SUNDAY, 7 JULY 2013
Mirror publishes another fraudulent Jackson ‘FBI’ storyA pattern is emerging here.Today the Mirror has published a story claiming that FBI papers released in 2009 ‘admit’ that an investigation into Michael Jackson was halted in the mid-80s to avoid political embarrassment, as Jackson was due to have a public meeting with President Reagan.The story is a lie and I have to conclude that it is an intentional lie. This is the second time in eight days that the same organisation has run a completely inaccurate story based on ‘FBI files’ accusing Jackson of paedophilia. There are two possibilities. 1) The staff at the Mirror are completely incompetent. 2) They are smearing Michael Jackson with lies on purpose.The story alleges that files ‘admit’ that Jackson was investigated for molesting two Mexican boys, but the investigation was called off because of the presidential meeting. The story is absolutely bogus.Here is what the files really say:
After the Jordan Chandler allegations became public, a writer – not named in the files – contacted the FBI to say they had heard a rumourthat Jackson was investigated for molesting two Mexican boys in the mid-80s, but the investigation had been called off for the reasons outlined in the Mirror’s story.
These claims are made in the files solely by the anonymous writer, who had been unable to obtain any evidence at all that they were true. The only reason the claim appears in the files is that the writer had contacted the bureau to ask whether it was true. The bureau searched its records and found that the rumoured mid-80s investigation had never taken place – then wrote a document detailing the interaction with the writer, which is what the Mirror has quoted.
The FBI report was written, specifically, to document the fact that a writer had called to enquire about a rumoured investigation, but the FBI had concluded the rumour was untrue. However, the Mirror has chosen to totally misrepresent the contents of the document and state inaccurately that the story was in fact true.
This story – like last week’s – is not only bogus, but old. It was widely misreported in 2009 when the files were released. I addressed it on this very blog, in an article which wound up being quoted in J Randy Taraborrelli’s ‘The Magic, The Madness, The Whole Story’ as the only accurate assessment of the FBI files he was able to find.
This is the Mirror’s emerging pattern; it takes a fabricated story which was discredited several years ago, pretends it is brand new, intentionally omits the fact that it is fabricated and uses it to smear Michael Jackson.
At this stage, I feel that serious questions need to be asked about what is really going on here.
Even the Mirror is occasionally capable of writing the truth. The article below is about the real reason why Paris Jackson attempted suicide – “the horrific stuff she was reading about her dad pushed the teenager over the edge”. Exactly. And the people who are responsible for inventing all those horrible lies and spreading them:
Paris Jackson to be “kept in rehab” until AFTER late father’s wrongful death lawsuit is over
5 Jul 2013 12:22
- By Georgina Littlejohn
Doctors reportedly want to the youngster to continue to receive treatment until the trial has finished to avoid any upset
Paris Jackson will reportedly remain in psychiatric treatment until her late father’s wrongful death trial has finished.
The 15-year-old daughter of Michael was hospitalised after a failed suicide attempt last month and she has been treated at the UCLA Medical Centre in California.
She is doing better but according to reports in the US, her doctors want her to remain in treatment and a facility until the end of the trial, in order for her to avoid any sensational headlines or social media which could cause upset and possibly a relapse.
A source told Radar Online: “Paris is doing better and her doctors at UCLA are still researching where she should go after being discharged. It’s being recommended by her docs that she remain in treatment and in a safe, controlled environment until the end of the wrongful death lawsuit ends.Splash
“It’s a no brainer that Paris not have access to the internet, cell phones, and social media during the trial, since the horrific stuff she was reading about her dad pushed the teenager over the edge.”
The wrongful death lawsuit, filed by Michael’s family, accuses the concert promoter of being responsible for her son’s death in 2009 by pushing the star to a premature death by negligently hiring and overseeing Dr Conrad Murray.
He was the doctor convicted of involuntary manslaughter for giving the singer propofol – the drug that killed him – and is currently serving a four-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter at a Los Angeles County Jail.
The family are claiming £31billion but AEG claim Jackson himself was responsible because he hired Murray.CNN
Paris’s older brother Prince testified last week, and told the trial, which is expected to run until August, that his father complained to him that AEG were “killing him”.Paris gave a filmed deposition to the court, but after Prince said that was painful for her, she now, unsurprisingly, wants nothing more to do with it.
The source added: “Paris wants absolutely nothing to do with the case or the trial. She was becoming extremely upset in the first few days at UCLA when the trial was brought up, and causing her severe anxiety.
“Paris will have to remain in a bubble until the trial is over so she won’t harm herself.”
Tabloid report on Michael Jackson ‘FBI files’ questionedBy Alan Duke, CNNupdated 7:26 AM EDT, Thu July 4, 2013
The death in 2009 of superstar Michael Jackson, who died of cardiac arrest at the age of 50, sent shockwaves around the world.STORY HIGHLIGHTS
- CNN’s Drew Griffin: “None of this is new — zero — and there was no FBI involvement”
- “This stuff was not in the FBI files,” former Jackson lawyer Tom Mesereau says
- “The paper took this old story and (made) it seem new,” journalist Diane Dimond says
- A former porn actor whose investigator’s license was revoked is linked to the material
Los Angeles (CNN) — A London tabloid declared Sunday that “secret FBI files” reveal Michael Jackson paid millions to silence dozens of boys he abused.
The story quickly echoed throughout global media, perhaps in part because of the trial of the Jackson family’s wrongful death lawsuitagainst a concert promoter and the recent suicide attempt by Jackson’s teenage daughter.
A website can enjoy a sharp spike in traffic — which can translate into advertising revenue — with a sensational headline.
But journalists and others who have closely followed the controversies and legal fights surrounding the pop star found the description by the Sunday People newspaper of the documents as being from FBI files to be questionable.
‘Recycled tabloid reports’
“None of this is new — zero — and there was no FBI involvement,” said CNN Special Investigations reporter Drew Griffin. “It just sounds like recycled tabloid reports from 20 years ago.”
Griffin saw and reported on the same material more than a decade ago as a local Los Angeles reporter.
“The bottom line is this stuff was not in the FBI files,” said Tom Mesereau, the lawyer who successfully defended Jackson against child molestation charges in a lengthy trial in 2005. “The FBI closed the investigation. It sounds like a bunch of utter nonsense.”
Journalist Diane Dimond, who is no defender of the pop icon, also attacked the Sunday People article.
“It is obvious the paper took this old story and proceeded to make it seem new by adding numbers to it — 24 boys paid off $35 million by Michael Jackson,” Dimond said. “The problem is there’s no evidence to back up the claim that Jackson made that many payoffs.”
Dimond’s book “Be Careful Who You Love: Inside the Michael Jackson Case” details her coverage of allegations of improper relationships between Jackson and boys.
The tabloid report was published at a critical time for the Jackson family, as its wrongful death lawsuit against a concert promoter entered its 10th week and while Jackson’s daughter, Paris, is being treated after a reported suicide attempt.
“The files will also dismay Jacko’s kids, Prince, 16, Paris, 15, and 11-year-old Blanket, who have not yet come to terms with losing their father,” the Sunday People story said.
Michael Jackson considered the British tabloids’ use of “Jacko” to be a derogatory term.
Griffin, Dimond and Mesereau each point to Paul Barresi, a former porn actor who lost his private investigator’s license for fabricating evidence, as the person who possessed the material published Sunday.
It included an audio recording of an interview done by Jim Mitteager, a reporter with the U.S.-based Globe tabloid, with a couple who worked as chefs at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. Mitteager left the tape to Baressi when he died of cancer in 1997.
“Paul Barresi made it no secret over the years that he had come into possession of the Mitteager tapes and that they included a long interview with Philip and Stella LeMarque, the former live-in couple at Neverland,” Dimond said. “He discussed the tapes and their contents with me on several occasions.”
Griffin said Barresi also gave him access to the material years ago. It included reports Barresi wrote when he worked for now-disgraced celebrity investigator Anthony Pellicano. Pellicano is serving a 15-year federal prison sentence for a wiretapping and racketeering convictions.
Porn star turned P.I.
“Since Barresi has fairly recently been stripped of his P.I.’s license, I can imagine that money has been tight for him,” Dimond said. “My best guess is that the UK paper offered Mr. Barresi several thousand dollars for his copies of the old Pellicano files.”
When CNN called Barresi on Tuesday to ask if he sold the materials to the newspaper, he responded: “I have no comment and that’s all I have to say.”
But before the question could be posed, he asked if the reporter wanted to know how many times he’s had sex in a hammock. He explained it was a common question people ask because of his porn film career.
Barresi’s films, with titles such as “Married Men with Men on the Side” and “Leather Bears and Smooth Chested Huskies,” won him the X-Rated Critics’ award for best “group grope scene” in 1985 and he was inducted into the GayVN’s Hall of Fame in 2008.
Barresi, now 60, retired from the porn business to focus more on his investigative work, but court records suggest he was not as successful in that work.
He obtained a California private investigator’s license in 2009, but lost it three years later. He signed a “stipulated settlement” with the state admitting that he faked a report about an ex-girlfriend’s drug use to get her fired from her hospital job as a nurse in 2011.
Federal court records also show Barresi and his wife filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2010.
Tabloid stands by story
A Sunday People spokesman would not confirm that Barresi was the paper’s source or if it paid for access, but he did stand by the story.
“Our article clearly states that we have seen copies of reports, phone transcripts and interviews carried out by an agent working for private investigator Anthony Pellicano who had been hired by Michael Jackson,” Rupert Smith said in an e-mail to CNN. “The files were seized by the FBI when Pellicano was himself investigated in 2002. The documents then became part of the FBI’s files on Jackson case numbers CADCE MJ-02463 and CR 01046.”
In fact, the FBI released files it collected on Michael Jackson in December 2009, six months after his death. Most of them related to the federal agency’s support of the California investigations of child molestation allegations against the entertainer.
Los Angeles Police, who were investigating child molestation allegations against Jackson, called the FBI’s Los Angeles office in September 1993 to suggest the agency look into a “possible federal violation against Jackson concerning transportation of a minor across state lines for immoral purposes (Mann Act)”, one document said.
The Los Angeles County district attorney did not pursue criminal charges against Jackson, but the singer did reach a confidential financial settlement with the 1993 accuser, Jordan Chandler, and his father after they filed a lawsuit. Reports at the time said the Chandlers got between $16 million and $20 million from Jackson’s insurance company.
The Chandler accusation became a key part of the prosecution’s case when Jackson was tried and acquitted of molestation a decade later in Santa Barbara County, California.
Mesereau, who reviewed the 330 redacted pages released by the FBI, said the documents purported by the newspaper to have been included in the files were not there.
CNN also reviewed the files, which are still posted on the FBI website, and found none referring to other payoffs by Jackson. None of the file numbers matched those quoted by the newspaper.
“You can imagine what the prosecutor in Santa Barbara would have done with this information if they really had it,” Mesereau said.
Phillip LeMarque did testify, telling the court that he once caught Jackson improperly touching then-child actor Macaulay Culkin while he worked as Jackson’s self-described cook and “majordomo” for about 10 months in 1991.
Culkin, the second witness called in Jackson’s defense, denied any improper touching by Jackson.
Jackson’s guilt is ‘inconsequential’
Barresi represented the LaMarques in an attempt to sell their story to tabloid media outlets, Mesereau said.
LeMarque admitted at the trial that he tried to make money from his story, even meeting with Barresi, who promised him $100,000 from the tabloid press, maybe more if the story were dirtier.
“He began to make the story more and more graphic as the price went up,” Mesereau said, referring to Phillip LaMarque.
“Was it true that the broker told him the payoff might be higher if Mr. Jackson’s hand was inside Culkin’s pants?” Mesereau asked during cross examination.
“That’s what he said,” LeMarque said.
Barresi discussed his deal with the LaMarques in an interview for a PBS “Frontline” documentary in 1994.
“My interest in helping them was that they promised me a percentage of what they made,” Baressi said. “I was not on any kind of crusade to bring anyone to justice. Whether Michael was guilty or innocent at that point was inconsequential. My interest was strictly for the money, as was theirs, I might add.”
Michael Jackson’s Ex Lawyer: He NEVER Paid $35M To Silence Abused Kids
Famed Los Angeles-based attorney Tom Mesereau rejected the tabloid report, which alleged his former client, Jackson, who died in 2009 at age 50, spent nearly $35 million in a desperate bid to cover up his crimes after he supposedly molested at least 24 boys.
“The FBI never had any files alleging that Michael Jackson had sexually abused 24 young boys, because it never happened,” Mesereau told RadarOnline.com exclusively.
“Remember, in 2009, the FBI released their files relating to Michael Jackson and even though some of it was redacted, there were absolutely no findings of any wrongdoing on behalf of my client. Leading up to the 2005 molestation trial, the Santa Barbara District Attorney was working with the FBI and Interpol and they came up with no evidence of any sexual abuse.
“Believe me, if they had such information, it would have been presented at the trial.”
Mesereau, who recently scoffed at Wade Robson‘s claims that Jackson had abused him, said the County of Santa Barbara District Attorney regularly flew to the FBI’s headquarters in Quantico, Va., during the 2005 case in attempt to find “any evidence against Michael.”
“They never got it,” he said.
Mesereau added, “It’s sickening that people are still trying to profit and exploit Michael Jackson in death.”
The PEOPLE report comes amid the Jackson family’s wrongful death trial against concert promoter AEG Live and Mesereau predicted the damaging article was “likely linked to the AEG civil trial,” although he noted that “I can’t prove it.”
A source close to the Jackson family also cast doubt on the report, noting the Thriller singer had emerged from multiple Los Angeles Department of Children & Family Services investigations without a case to answer.
“Michael was fully cooperative during all of his interactions with DCFS,” a source previously told Radar.
“Michael was interviewed for hours without his lawyer. He held nothing back. He couldn’t understand why these allegations were being made against him. DCFS cleared him on any wrongdoing in all its investigations.”
I met with a young man named Bobby Newt, a kid from the files whom National Enquirer reporter Jim Mitteager targeted as a Michael Jackson “victim.” By 2005 he was an adult, and I met with him. He told me nothing happened to him. He also added that nothing happened to Wade Robson, who was then going to be a witness in the trial.
Bobby Newt and his two brothers, who wanted to be the next Jackson 5, spent two weeks with Michael at his Hayvenhurst house in Encino (this was before Neverland). This is what I wrote:
“…nothing about what Bobby Newt hears now about himself or others makes sense.
“I don’t know what to believe. He had prime time with me and my brother in the guest room for two weeks,” he said. “And he didn’t try anything.”
As a footnote to all of this: In the small world of the Los Angeles music business, Bobby Newt recently worked with choreographer and alleged Jackson “victim” Wade Robson on tracks for his first album, a potential hit compendium of original R&B ballads.
“Wade is straight as they come. He’s getting married. And nothing ever happened to him, either,” Newt said.
Published April 7, 2005
Former Protege Vouches for JacksonNo matter who testifies next in Michael Jackson‘s alleged “prior acts” of sexual abuse mini-trial, the prosecution will have to deal with the fact that only one boy will show up to say he was molested many years ago by the pop star.
Now comes Robert Newt, 30, long a “Holy Grail” for The National Enquirer from its investigation into Jackson circa 1993.
Newt and his twin brother Ronald Newt Jr. (now deceased) were aspiring performers and spent two weeks as guests in the Jackson family home in Encino, Calif., around 1985. They were about 11 years old. This all occurred before Neverland was completed. Michael, Janet Jackson and LaToya Jackson were all there, as well as the Jackson parents.
Fast-forward to December 1993. The National Enquirer, desperate to get a scoop that Jackson has abused children, heard that the Newt kids once spent time with Jackson.
The tabloid offered the Newts’ father, Ronald Newt Sr., $200,000 to say that something happened between his kids and Jackson.
Newt, a San Francisco “character” and filmmaker whose past includes pimping and jail time, considered the offer.
A contract was drawn up, signed by Enquirer editor David Perel. Enquirer reporter Jim Mitteager, who is also now deceased, met with Newt and his son at the Marriott hotel in downtown San Francisco.
It seemed that all systems were go. But the Newts declined the offer at the last minute.
Ron Newt Sr., to whom $200,000 would have seemed like the world on a silver platter, wrote “No good sucker” where his signature was supposed to go. The reason: Nothing ever happened between Jackson and the Newt boys.
Indeed, no kids, no matter how much money was dangled by the tabloids, ever showed up to trade stories of Jackson malfeasance for big lumps of cash after the first scandal broke in 1993.
“Maybe there aren’t any other kids,” a current Enquirer editor conceded.
I met Bobby Newt yesterday near the office where he works as a mortgage broker in suburban Los Angeles.
Just as his dad promised me a few days earlier, he’s a good-looking kid. He’s half black and half Chinese.
Robert and his twin brother were likely very cute kids. They have the same features as other boys advertised as alleged Neverland “victims.” But all Bobby Newt remembers of his encounter with Jackson is good times.
And all he remembers about the man from The National Enquirer is that he wanted Bobby, then 18, to lie.
“He said, ‘Say he grabbed you on the butt. Say he grabbed you and touched you in any kind of way,’” Newt said. “He told us he took all these people down. Now he was going to take Michael down. That he would really destroy him. He told us he took all these other famous people down. All the major people that had scandals against them. He said, ‘We take these people down. That’s what we do.’”
Prior to Bobby’s meeting with Mitteager, Bobby’s father met with him and brought along an intermediary, San Francisco politician, businessman and fellow jailbird Charlie Walker.
Walker is infamous in San Francisco circles for being “hooked up” to anything interesting cooking on the West Coast.
“My dad said these dudes are offering this money to take Michael Jackson down. And the guy [Mitteager] said, ‘Say he touched you. All you have to do is say it. But you might have to take the stand. You might have to go on ‘Oprah’ in front of all these people. You have to be prepared for this thing. Just say it. And we’ll give you money,’” Newt said.
Two pieces of evidence confirm the Newts’ story. One is the actual contract proffered by the Enquirer and signed by Perel, who declined to comment for this story.
The contract, written as a letter, says it’s an agreement between the tabloid and the Newts for their exclusive story regarding “your relationship with and knowledge of Michael Jackson, and his sexuality, your knowledge of Michael Jackson’s sexual contact and attempts at sexual contact with Robert Newt and others.”
Mitteager expected them to sign, even though it was completely untrue and there was, in fact, no story.
He knew you were lying, I reminded Bobby Newt.
“Exactly! And he didn’t care! He was like, ‘Just say it and we’ll give you the money.’ And I was like, ‘He [Jackson] never touched me!” Newt said. “He [Mitteager] was really fishing and really digging. Think about it — most people you say it to, ‘We’ll give you this money,’ even [if it’s not true]. And they’d take it.”
Bobby Newt recalled more details of the 30-minute meeting with The National Enquirer’s reporter:
“He was trying to coach me — if I decided to take the money, what would happen. He said ‘You know, it’s going to be a huge scandal. You’ll probably have a lot of people not liking you. You’re going to be famous!’ But to me, you’d be ruined. And the truth is Michael didn’t do anything even close to trying to molest us.”
Ironically, the second piece of evidence also backs up the Newts’ story. Unbeknownst to them, they were taped by Mitteager.
I told you last week that Mitteager did more surreptitious taping than Richard Nixon. When he died, the tapes were left to Hollywood investigator Paul Barresi. His dozens of hours of tapes include a conversation between Mitteager, Ron Newt Sr. and Charlie Walker.
When I read some of the transcript back to Newt the other day, he was shocked.
“I said all that,” he observed, surprised to have his memory prodded some 12 years later.
Back in the mid-’80s, Ron Newt Sr. put his three sons together as a singing group much as Joseph Jackson did. He called them The Newtrons.
After much pushing, he got the attention of Joe Jackson, who agreed to manage the group. Joe Jackson got the Newtrons a showcase at the Roxy in West Hollywood.
Michael showed up and loved them. The result was a two-week stay for the boys at the Encino house on Hayvenhurst Ave., where they were supposed to work on their music.
“We would see Michael in passing. We didn’t see him, maybe, because he was working on an album. We saw him downstairs in the kitchen and we talked to him,” he said.
The Newtrons eventually got a record contract and recorded the Jackson 5 hit “I Want You Back” at Hayvenhurst. They also spent the night at Tito Jackson‘s house. But nothing about what Bobby Newt hears now about himself or others makes sense.
“I don’t know what to believe. He had prime time with me and my brother in the guest room for two weeks,” he said. “And he didn’t try anything.”
As a footnote to all of this: In the small world of the Los Angeles music business, Bobby Newt recently worked with choreographer and alleged Jackson “victim” Wade Robson on tracks for his first album, a potential hit compendium of original R&B ballads.
Jackson’s former maid Blanca Francia implicated Robson in the case during Monday’s testimony. Robson is not testifying for the prosecution.
“Wade is straight as they come. He’s getting married. And nothing ever happened to him, either,” Newt said.
He shakes his head, thinking about those who have made claims against Jackson.
“You have to look at these people, go back and see when their relationship with Michael fractured. The calls stopped coming,” he said.
And Newt should know. After the adventure in 1985, the Newts never saw Jackson again. It didn’t bother them, Bobby says, as much as it might have others.
“They probably didn’t like it. And this is their way of getting back at him,” he said.
Michael Jackson: “FBI Files” Are From People Discredited Long Time Ago
Those “FBI” files in the UK Daily Mirror are from people who were discredited a long time ago. The so-called files that belong to an assistant to Anthony Pellicano come from Paul Barresi. I like Paul, he’s a nice guy. He was left a cache of files and tapes by Jim Mitteager, a “reporter” for the old National Enquirer which was under different ownership (not the same people who actually do ferret out some news now like the John Edwards story).
Mitteager, RIP, had no ethics or integrity. He often offered people money to make up stories about celebrities. I know this because I went back and interviewed a lot of the people he made files on concerning Michael Jackson. This was all in 2005, when Barresi shared many of the files with me during Michael Jackson’s child molestation trial. Some of the files were useful but most were not. And they weren’t because they weren’t true.
The Mitteager files were only interesting if you were going to check out their veracity. But apparently the Mirror — which come on, doesn’t care– just accepted the whole thing at face value. But all those people, like the La Marques and all the other ex Neverland employees, were totally discredited several times over. http://www.foxnews.com/story/2005/04/11/jacko-major-domo-lied-about-cashing-in/
Read that link above: even Barresi told me that the LeMarques made stuff up as they went along.
And then there’s this story: http://www.foxnews.com/story/2005/03/25/was-there-unknown-jacko-accuser/
I’ve been alerted to a story in the British press about Michael Jackson paying off 24 families of children he supposedly molested. Readers of this column must know that I have almost a PhD in Michael Jackson. The story is not true. It’s based on files left behind by a National Enquirer reporter, now dead, called Jim Mitteager. In 2005 I went through tons of Mitteager’s files, re-reporting them. A lot of it was just poppycock. Read this whole column I published back then. I did a lot of work on it. As devil’s advocate, I tried to find someone who would say they were molested by Michael Jackson. No one would because, I think, no one had been.
From March 2005, c2013 Showbiz411.com
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.
On Monday, Judge Rodney Melville will hold a hearing to determine whether or not Jackson’s “prior” acts can be brought into this trial.
If they are allowed, what could they be and where did they come from? And are they real?
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 1991.
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 1991.
“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 lawyerBert Fields, Jackson’s attorney at the time.
No reason is given why Jackson and Brandon Richmond should be separated. The implication, however, is clear.
The Globe published the story without using names. Over time, it was assumed that Brandon P. Richmond was in fact Brandon Adams, a boy who had appeared in Jackson’s “Moonwalker” video.
Discussions on the tapes indicate that the tabloids also believed the two Brandons were one and the same. But there’s a problem with Shea’s story: Nothing adds up.
For one thing, a source close to Fields says the document uses language uncommon to their usual agreements.
Then there’s the actual family.
According to the Adamses, whom I met in January, they don’t know an Eva Richmond.
Brandon Adams’ mother is named Marquita Woods. And Brandon’s grandmother assures me she knows nothing of a $600,000 payment. The family has lived in a modest home in Baldwin Hills, Calif., for 30 years.
Brandon Adams, who is now 25, is a struggling actor. He appeared in “D2: The Mighty Ducks” and the indie film “MacArthur Park,” and is currently working on building a music career.
“I wish I had $600,000,” he said. “I’m broke.”
The Adamses pointed out that Brandon never visited Neverland, just the Jackson family home in Encino.
For a short time they were friendly not only with the Jacksons, but with Sean Lennon and his motherYoko 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 andKeanu 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.
This article tells us the real reason for Paris Jackson’s suicide attempt – it is Wade Robson’s betrayal of her father:
Paris Jackson Complained She Felt ‘Betrayed’ By MJ Molestation Accuser Wade Robson In Days Before Suicide Attempt
“Paris felt betrayed,” one Jackson family insider said.
Robson, a dancer-choreographer who was befriended by Michael Jackson when he was a child, filed a claim against the Thrillersinger’s estate for alleged child sex abuse and called late pop icon ‘a pedophile and a child sexual abuser’ in a television interview last month.
Robson spent time around Paris and her siblings before Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009, after suffering a cardiac arrest.
“Paris just couldn’t understand why Wade would make such outrageous allegations against her dad. She remembered him fondly and thought of Wade as an older brother when she was growing up,” the source said.
“Michael had always warned Paris about opportunists that would try and make a quick payday of the Jackson name, but she was stunned that Wade was now looking for money from the estates — It really shook her up.”
Paris and her brother, Prince Michael Jackson, had also been “bombarded on social media and cyber bullied by trolls who had made awful comments about their father. It also brought another round of bullying for Paris at her school, where she already felt like an outsider.”
What’s more, as we revealed, Paris was also emotionally distraught over having to testify in her late father’s $40b wrongful death lawsuit.
As RadarOnline.com previously reported, the troubled teen was rushed to a Los Angeles area hospital — that we are not disclosing — in the early hours of Wednesday after slashing her wrists.
She was reportedly placed under a 5150 psychiatric hold for 72 hours — the same evaluation that Britney Spears went under in 2008 that allows for a qualified peace officer or clinician to involuntarily confine someone because it’s deemed they have a mental disorder that makes them a danger to themselves and/or others.
Paris is expected to remain hospitalized until Saturday, when the 5150 will expire. It’s unclear at this point “where or how she will receive treatment, but Paris absolutely will get the proper medical care,” the source added.
Calls to Robson’s attorney weren’t immediately returned.
COMMENTS ARE ON
SUNDAY, 19 MAY 2013
When you’ve been covering Michael Jackson for any significant period of time, you come to believe that nothing can shock you anymore. Since I began reporting on Michael Jackson for various media organisations, he has announced the biggest concert residency of all time and then died before he could complete it. A doctor has been jailed for his homicide and a posthumous album has caused international scandal by containing tracks allegedly sung by an imposter.
For many years, Michael Jackson’s life (and after-life) has been a quagmire of scandal, controversy and legal wrangling. Presently, entertainment company AEG – which promoted Jackson’s ‘This Is It’ concerts – is on trial over what the singer’s family feels is a modicum of responsibility for his death. Already, witnesses have testified that Jackson was banned from the stage during some rehearsals for fear he would injure himself. A producer has testified to weeping as she saw Jackson rambling at rehearsals that God was speaking to him. She told jurors she had warned senior production members she believed he was dying and needed to be transported to hospital, only for her pleas to go ignored. Less than a week later, he was dead.
To a seasoned Jackson correspondent, none of this was surprising. It seems that not a week goes by without some drama or another engulfing the deceased music legend or those closely associated with him, from copyright disputes to kidnap allegations. But last week there was a development in the Michael Jackson sphere which truly did surprise me. Wade Robson, who has staunchly defended Michael Jackson for 20 years and even testified for him in his 2005 trial, filed papers against various organisations connected to the pop legend, seeking multiple pay-outs for alleged childhood abuse.
The choreographer claims he was sexually abused for seven years, from age seven to age 14. The news has rocked the Michael Jackson community. Those who loved him have sprung to his defence while those who built careers on attacking him have reacted with undisguised glee. Jackson’s ex-wife Debbie Rowe has labeled the financial demands ‘opportunistic’ and Jermaine Jackson has branded the choreographer ‘full of shit’.
Civil rights lawyer Tom Mesereau, who defended Jackson in his 2005 trial, has suggested the claims are ‘suspicious’ as their public filing coincided so neatly with the AEG trial. Indeed, the allegations broke as make-up artist Karen Faye testified that she and others had raised repeated concerns about Jackson’s health but had received callous responses from those in charge. Robson’s televised interview days later ensured little media attention was paid to testimony from an AEG employee that financial papers proved Murray was the company’s employee, not Michael Jackson’s. Wade Robson has repeatedly worked for AEG and apparently already has future work lined up with the corporation, but his lawyer has denied any connection between the court cases.
In light of Robson’s sudden change of tune, I have dusted off my complete trial transcripts from the 2005 government prosecution of Michael Jackson. While many news reports have mentioned that Robson testified for Jackson in the case, few have made any particular effort to underscore the gravity of his testimony.
Wade Robson was such a compelling and assured witness that Michael Jackson chose him to open his defence case at trial. Under sustained and sometimes aggressive questioning by government prosecutor Ron Zonen, Robson not only denied any impropriety on Jackson’s part, but did so repeatedly, vigorously and convincingly – even mocking prosecutors and describing the mere suggestion of sexual abuse at Jackson’s hands as ‘ridiculous’.
As a side-note, the idea that in a trial about alleged child sex abuse, a genuine abuser would choose somebody they had molested for seven years as their first witness to undergo unrelenting government cross-examination may seem somewhat far-fetched to the casual onlooker.
When viewed alongside some of the comments he made on the Today Show this week, Robson’s testimony is likely to cast more than a reasonable doubt over his new claims. He answered clearly and competently to detailed questions about various examples of alleged misconduct. The testimony is so immensely damaging to his new legal demands for money that he and his lawyer have already floated two potential, but arguably equally unconvincing, explanations for the bizarre u-turn.
When the story about his demands for money went live last week, Robson’s lawyer was quoted as saying the choreographer had recovered ‘repressed memories’, a story many suggested could have been designed to explain away Robson’s strenuous denials in the 2005 trial without admitting to perjury. However, Robson’s claim was met with such incredulity – many eminent psychologists do not even believe in repressed memories and even those who do took rather a dim view of Robson’s somewhat extreme story – that he has since changed tact.
Robson claimed in his TV interview this week that the real reason he told jurors he was not molested was that he had not realised that what Jackson allegedly did to him was abusive – another claim guaranteed to raise many an eyebrow. He was a successful, professional 22-year-old man at the time of his testimony.
Under oath in 2005, Robson was asked repeatedly about particular acts and whether he knew Michael Jackson to have performed them upon any child. He responded vehemently that not only had he never witnessed any such behaviour, but he was steadfast in his opinion that Michael Jackson would never have engaged in it.
Looking back over the 2005 court documents, the latest explanation for his testimony simply does not stand up to scrutiny. For instance, he was asked specifically whether Jackson had touched his body. Regardless of whether he believed Jackson’s conduct to constitute sexual abuse, if Jackson had indeed touched his body, the clear answer would have been ‘yes’. But it wasn’t ‘yes’. It was ‘no’. Over, and over, and over again.
He even testified that after what he now claims were several years of sexual abuse at Jackson’s hands, he returned to the scene of the alleged crimes more than 20 times in later life, with friends and relatives in tow, for relaxing getaways. He also testified to remaining in touch with Jackson and still considering him a close friend. Indeed, several years after the trial, Robson continued to socialise with Jackson.
Shortly after Jackson’s death was announced in 2009, Robson wrote that Jackson was ‘one of the main reasons I believe in the pure goodness of humankind’. According to Jackson’s brother Jermaine, Robson and his mother helped him pen portions of his autobiography about the media’s unfair portrayal of his brother as a child molester. Indeed, since Jackson’s death Robson has paid public tribute to the star repeatedly, as recently as 2012. He even applied last year for a job choreographing a tribute show to his alleged molester, but did not get the gig.
Wade Robson has filed a creditor’s claim against Jackson’s Estate, seeking a cash pay-out for alleged childhood abuse. He has also filed 50 civil lawsuits against various individuals and companies affiliated with Jackson, seeking further fpay-outs for his alleged abuse.
He insisted this week that his new claims were ‘not about money’.
The full transcript of Robson’s testimony on May 5, 2005, totals almost 14,000 words and runs across 60 pages of A4. It includes lots of repetition and discussion about where he lived, when his parents separated and various other tangential asides. Below, I have extracted what I believe to be the key testimony. It is difficult to see how, given the existence of this sworn testimony, Robson could ever convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Jackson had ever acted inappropriately in his presence.
A cynical person might therefore interpret Robson’s high profile TV interview this week as an attempt to avoid ever getting into a courtroom and having a jury test his new claims. How many more high profile public attacks can Jackson’s Estate suffer before it is forced to begin considering a settlement? At this stage, the ability to damage the Estate’s earning potential is about all Robson has got on his side – because the evidence is firmly on Michael Jackson’s.
Here is the testimony nobody else in the media is showing you. See for yourself.
Under direct examination by Michael Jackson’s lawyer, Tom Mesereau:
Q. Do you consider Michael Jackson your friend?
Q. Do you consider him a close friend?
Q. You’re aware of the allegations in this case, are you not?
Q. And are you aware, as you sit here today, that there’s been allegations that Mr. Jackson molested you?
Q. Mr. Robson, did Michael Jackson ever molest you at any time?
A. Absolutely not.
Q. Mr. Robson, did Michael Jackson ever touch you in a sexual way?
A. Never, no.
Q. Mr. Robson, has Mr. Jackson ever inappropriately touched any part of your body at any time?
* * * * *
Q. How many times do you think you’ve stayed in Mr. Jackson’s room at Neverland?
A. Same amount of times as I’ve been there. Well, no, that’s not true, I’m sorry. I’ve been there a bunch of times without Michael, just with other friends and family traveling there. But, I don’t know, maybe 15 to 20.
Q. And at no time has any sexual contact ever occurred between you and Mr. Jackson, right?
Q. Have you ever taken a shower with Mr. Jackson?
Q. Have you ever gone swimming with Mr. Jackson?
Q. And please explain what you mean.
A. One time with my sister and I, my sister and I and Michael, we went in the Jacuzzi at Neverland Ranch.
Q. And do you know approximately when that was?
A. I don’t. I can’t say for sure. I have a feeling that it was within that first trip in ‘89 when I went there.
Q. Do you recall what Mr. Jackson was wearing in the Jacuzzi?
A. From my recollection, he was wearing shorts. You know, like swimming shorts. And that was it.
Q. Did anything inappropriate ever happen in that Jacuzzi?
Q. Has anything inappropriate ever happened in any shower with you and Mr. Jackson?
A. No. Never been in a shower with him.
* * * * *
Q. Mr. Robson, has anyone told you what to say in this courtroom today?
Q. Is everything you’ve said the complete and honest truth?
Q. Did Mr. Jackson ever do anything wrong with you?
Under cross-examination by government prosecutor Ron Zonen:
Q. All right. Now, the first time that you slept with Mr. Jackson you were seven years old; is that correct?
A. I slept in the same bed with him. But, yes, I was seven.
Q. Did you understand my question to mean something other than that?
A. Sounded like it.
* * * * *
Q. Were there periods of time when you were at Neverland and working with Mr. Jackson on dance routines?
A. No. I mean, we would mess around and dance a little bit in the studio every now and then, yes.
Q. Was there ever an occasion where you were on the dance floor with Mr. Jackson and he was showing you a routine and he grabbed your crotch in a manner similar to how he would grab his own crotch while doing those performances?
A. No, that’s not true.
Q. You have no recollection of that?
Q. That didn’t happen?
* * * * *
Q. Now, at any time did you start to develop conversations with your mother about the propriety of sleeping with this man who’s now well into his 30s?
Q. Did you consider it unusual at all?
Q. Did your mother consider it unusual?
Q. Did you ever talk to your father about it?
Q. You talked to your father about your sleeping with Michael Jackson?
A. No, I mean, you know, everybody knew, and nobody ever said that it was — we never talked about it being unusual or anything like that.
Q. Did your mother ever ask you if anything inappropriate happened in bed with him?
Q. Did she simply assume nothing happened?
Q. You’re telling us nothing happened; is that right?
Q. All right. What you’re really telling us is nothing happened while you were awake; isn’t that true?
A. I’m telling you that nothing ever happened.
Q. Mr. Robson, when you were asleep, you wouldn’t have known what had happened, particularly at age seven, would you have?
A. I would think something like that would wake me up.
* * * * *
Q. Was there, in fact, a shower at Neverland in the suite, the bedroom suite?
Q. But you didn’t use it?
A. I used it by myself.
Q. Was he in the room while you were using it?
A. In the bedroom, not in the shower room, which had its own door.
* * * * *
Q. You haven’t gone back to Neverland since you were 13?
A. I have. Not with him.
Q. Have you gone back to Neverland since you were 13 and actually stayed overnight?
Q. On how many occasions since you were 13?
A. A lot. Same thing. 20, 25. Something like that.
* * * * *
Q. Mr. Jackson would periodically kiss you, would he not?
Q. Periodically hug you?
Q. Touch you?
A. Hug me. That would be —
Q. Put his hands through your hair?
Q. Touch you about the head and the face?
Q. Did he ever kiss you on the cheek?
Q. Did he ever kiss you on the lips?
* * * * *
Q. Were there occasions that Mr. Jackson would summon you to Neverland Ranch?
A. Summon me?
Q. Yes. Call you up and ask you to come and be there; invite you to Neverland Ranch?
A. Invite us, yeah.
* * * * *
Q. On the occasions that you stayed in bed with Mr. Jackson, would you ever cuddle in bed?
Q. Would you lie next to one another?
Q. Would you touch?
Q. Would you consider it to have been inappropriate to have cuddled in bed?
Q. Would you have considered it to be inappropriate to have cuddled in bed?
Under re-direct by Tom Mesereau:
Q. Okay. The prosecutor asked you questions about whether or not you were considered family. Did you consider yourself to be part of Mr. Jackson’s family?
A. Yeah, I mean, in a friendship sort of way. Because we were that close. It was like family.
Q. And did you use the word “family” once in a while —
Q. — when you spoke to him?
Q. Did you hear your mother or sister using the word “family”?
Q. Did you think anything was strange about that?
Q. The prosecutor for the government asked about Mr. Jackson giving you a kiss on the cheek.
Q. And you said that happened sometimes?
Q. Did you think there was anything inappropriate about that?
Q. Did you do it in front of your mom?
Q. Did you do it in front of your sister?
Q. Did your mother kiss him on the cheek?
Q. Did your sister kiss him on the cheek?
Q. Did you kiss Mr. Jackson on the cheek?
Q. Did your mother used to hug Mr. Jackson?
Q. Did Mr. Jackson used to hug your mother?
MR. ZONEN: I’ll object as irrelevant what happened with his mother.
THE COURT: Overruled. Go ahead.
Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Did Mr. Jackson used to hug your mother?
Q. Did your sister used to hug Mr. Jackson?
MR. ZONEN: I’ll object as leading as well.
THE COURT: Overruled.
Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Did your sister used to hug Mr. Jackson?
Q. And would you see Mr. Jackson hug your sister?
Q. Did you ever think there was anything inappropriate about Mr. Jackson hugging any member of your family?
Q. Did you ever think it was inappropriate to see any member of your family hug Mr. Jackson?
Q. Now, you said your sister would sometimes stay in Mr. Jackson’s room, correct?
Q. And how often do you recall that happening?
A. I remember it just within that first trip we were there. So it was — it was, you know, three or four nights or something like that.
Q. And you mentioned Brandy. Is that who you mentioned?
Q. Who was Brandy again?
A. She was Michael Jackson’s niece.
Q. You saw Brandy staying in his room?
Q. What’s the largest number of kids you ever saw stay in Mr. Jackson’s room, if you remember?
A. Yeah, probably four to five.
Q. And what do you recall the children doing in his room?
A. Well, before we went to sleep, same sort of things. We’d play video games, watch movies. Have pillow fights. You know, yeah.
Q. Did you ever see anything of a sexual nature between Mr. Jackson and any of those children?
* * * * *
Q. Have you seen Mr. Jackson hug other children at Neverland?
Q. Have you seen other children hug Mr. Jackson at Neverland?
Q. Have you ever thought any of this was inappropriate?
Q. Have you seen Mr. Jackson kiss children at Neverland?
A. On the cheek, yes. Or on the head, or on the top of the head, something like that.
Q. Ever seen kids kiss Mr. Jackson?
Q. Any of that ever look inappropriate to you?
Q. Have you seen lots of children visit Neverland on occasion?
Q. And what do you mean?
A. I think we were there once when he had one of his gatherings, like a Heal the World Foundation thing where he had a bunch of kids come up there and — you know, and have the day there.
Q. And how many kids are you talking about, do you think?
A. Probably about 100 or 50. 75 to 100, something like that.
Q. Were there adults with those children?
Q. And you said, “Heal the World.” What did that mean to you?
MR. ZONEN: I’m going to object as exceeding the scope of the direct examination, and irrelevant, and beyond the scope of his knowledge.
THE COURT: Overruled. You may answer.
THE WITNESS: Could you repeat the question?
Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Yeah. What was “Heal the World,” as far as you remember?
A. As far as I knew, it was a foundation or a charity that Michael had created that, you know, raised money for kids with illnesses. I don’t know exactly what kind, but —
Q. Did you interact with any of these kids that visited that day?
A. I may have, yeah, I mean, waved at them or met a couple of them or something like that.
Q. Did you see Mr. Jackson hugging other children?
Q. Did you see them hugging him?
Q. Did you see Mr. Jackson kiss children?
Q. Have you seen them kiss him?
Q. Ever seen anything inappropriate?
Q. Did you see Mr. Jackson hug adults who were with those children?
Q. Did you see adults hug Mr. Jackson who were with those children?
Q. Ever think any of that was inappropriate?
Q. Now, the prosecutor for the government asked you questions about whether he touched your hair.
Q. Do you recall Mr. Jackson ever touching your hair?
A. I can’t recall an exact thing, but it seems like something he might have done at some point.
Q. Do you ever recall Mr. Jackson doing anything inappropriate with your hair?
Q. Ever seen Mr. Jackson touch another child on the head?
Q. Have you seen that many times?
A. Many times.
Q. Did it ever seem like anything inappropriate was going on when you saw that?
* * * * *
Q. Ever see Michael throw water balloons at kids?
Q. Did you ever see Michael in golf carts with kids?
Q. When you used to play at Neverland during the day, would Michael often be with you?
Q. And what would Michael do with you?
A. We’d go on rides together, you know, where we’d drive around in the golf cart together, look at animals together, watch movies together.
Q. Did you see Mr. Jackson act in a similar way with other children?
Q. Ever see anything inappropriate go on when he was doing any of these things?
Q. Now, how often do you recall your mother going to Neverland with you?
A. It’s been every time except for that one time that I spoke of when I was there with Jordie Chandler and Macaulay and I.
Q. What do you recall seeing your mother do at Neverland?
A. A lot of the same things with us.
Q. Would she sometimes be with Mr. Jackson when all the kids were playing?
A. Oh, yes. She was playing along with us.
Q. Now, you mentioned visiting an apartment in Century City with Mr. Jackson, right?
Q. And what do you recall doing in the apartment with Mr. Jackson?
A. Same sort of things. He had arcade games there. You know, candy. We’d eat, we’d watch, you know, T.V. shows, Stooges. Hang around, play games, you know.
Q. Did you ever see Mr. Jackson do anything inappropriate with any child at that apartment?
Q. Where else have you been with Mr. Jackson?
A. Like I said, we covered Las Vegas. Westwood apartment, Century City apartment. Sheraton Hotel. He came and stayed at my place once.
Q. Where was that?
A. That was in Hollywood. It was — my mother and I had a condo, and my sister.
Q. Did you see Mr. Jackson do anything inappropriate at any of these locations?
Q. Ever seen Mr. Jackson touch any child in a sexual way at any of these locations?
Q. Did Mr. Jackson ever touch you inappropriately in any of these locations?
Q. Now, have you been following media reporting in this case?
A. Yeah. On and off.
Q. You’re aware of allegations that were made that Mr. Jackson —
MR. ZONEN: I’m going to object as leading and exceeding the scope of the direct — cross.
THE COURT: I don’t know what the question is yet.
Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Okay. You’ve been following these reports that somehow Mr. Jackson was seen inappropriately touching you?
Q. What do you think of them?
A. I think it’s —
MR. ZONEN: I’ll object. I’ll withdraw the objection.
THE WITNESS: I think it’s ridiculous.
MR. MESEREAU: No further questions.
Under re-cross by Ron Zonen:
[NB: Prosecutors showed Wade Robson a handful of legal art books found among tens of thousands of books at Jackson’s home, which included a large library. Some of the art books, featuring work by respected photographers, depicted children, occasionally nude. Others featured adult men in ‘homo-erotic’ poses. Some were found bubble-wrapped and unread. Others featured inscriptions, showing they had been mailed to him by fans. All of the books remain legally available to purchase. Also found at Jackson’s home were thousands of adult, heterosexual pornographic magazines, some of which were also shown to Robson.]
Q. Okay. You can go ahead and close that one right now. Mr. Robson, are you concerned about a man possessing these seven books being in bed with a 12-year-old boy?
A. If it was a man I didn’t know, maybe. But not Michael.
Q. Is that because you view Mr. Jackson as being, for the most part, asexual?
Q. Because you believe that he doesn’t really have a sexual interest?
A. I believe that he has a sexual interest in women.
Q. Did you know that he possessed these magazines?
MR. MESEREAU: Objection, Your Honor, he didn’t let the witness complete his answer.
THE COURT: Sustained.
MR. MESEREAU: Could the witness complete his answer, Your Honor?
THE COURT: Yes.
THE WITNESS: I believe that he has a sexual interest in women.
Q. BY MR. ZONEN: In women?
Q. These books don’t suggest otherwise?
A. Not necessarily.
* * * * *
Q. The collective material that you have just been shown does not cause you a moment of pause when you think about the prospect of this person who possesses all of this crawling into bed with a ten-year-old boy?
Q. And you would allow a child to crawl into bed with such a person?
A. If I knew the person, yes.
Q. If you knew them?
Q. Your own child, you’d have no problem sleeping with a 35-, 40-year-old man?
A. If I knew the person well, no.
MR. ZONEN: No further questions.
Under re-direct by Tom Mesereau:
Q. Mr. Robson?
Q. That’s your fiancee right there, correct?
Q. You are heterosexual, correct?
Q. You are a close friend of Michael, correct?
Q. By the way, did Michael Jackson ever — oh, I’ll ask from there. When you were a young child, did Michael Jackson ever show you any sexually explicit material?
Q. Did you ever see Michael Jackson show sexually explicit material to any child?
* * * * *
Q. Okay. And let me show you again Exhibit No. 842, “A boy; A Photographic Essay,” okay? And that’s the one with the inscription, “To Michael, from your loving fan, Rhonda,” okay?
Q. And have you had a chance to flip through that book?
Q. In fact, you see young children with rather innocent photographs of young boys, correct?
MR. ZONEN: I’m going to object as leading, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Overruled.
Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Innocent photographs of young boys in various situations, right?
Q. Okay. You see a young boy hanging from a tree, right?
Q. You see a young boy sitting outside a door, right?
Q. See young boys on a beach, right?
Q. Okay. Now, let’s go to — quickly, to the material the prosecutor for the government showed you, okay? He showed you some magazines with heterosexual activity, correct?
Q. Okay. Have you seen one book that depicts child pornography in that group?
MR. ZONEN: I believe there was a Court restriction on the use of that word, Your Honor, one initiated by the defense. Unless that reservation is finished.
MR. MESEREAU: He’s correct. And I made a mistake using the word. I’ll withdraw it, and I apologize.
THE COURT: All right. The problem is that sometimes it’s an appropriate word to use and sometimes it’s not. But the jury’s been instructed on it. And so if you want to rephrase it, that’s fine.
MR. MESEREAU: Okay.
Q. In those books that the prosecutor for the government showed you, you see books about men, right?
15 A. Yes.
Q. You see one book that says, “A Study of Male Sexuality” and shows some sexual acts between men, correct?
Q. And he showed you a number of magazines involving sexual activity between men and women, correct?
Q. Okay. Has he shown you one book involving children having sex?
Q. Has he shown you one book where a man is having sex with a child?
Q. The prosecutor tried to suggest that Mr. Jackson is asexual. Do you remember that question?
Q. Do you believe he’s asexual?
Q. Have you seen Mr. Jackson with women in your lifetime?
A. With what kind of woman? A woman that he’s in a relationship with?
Q. That he’s been married to.
A. Yeah, with Lisa Marie.
Q. When you were at Neverland, did you ever see anything that suggested pedophilia?
Q. Ever see any magazine or poster that suggested pedophilia?
* * * * *
Q. Has anything this prosecutor for the government has said to you changed your opinion of Michael Jackson?
A. Not at all.
Q. Does it change your opinion as to whether or not he ever did anything inappropriate with a child?
A. Not at all.
MR. MESEREAU: No further questions.
MR. ZONEN: I have no questions.
THE COURT: Thank you. You may step down.
COMMENTS ARE ON
Michael Jackson, Delayed Allegations and Witch Hunts
by JOE VOGEL on MAY 17, 2013
When Michael Jackson died unexpectedly in June of 2009, then-26-year-old choreographer Wade Robson – who has recently made headlines for accusing the pop star of molestation – wrote about his longtime friend and mentor:
Michael Jackson changed the world and, more personally, my life forever. He is the reason I dance, the reason I make music, and one of the main reasons I believe in the pure goodness of humankind. He has been a close friend of mine for 20 years. His music, his movement, his personal words of inspiration and encouragement and his unconditional love will live inside of me forever. I will miss him immeasurably, but I know that he is now at peace and enchanting the heavens with a melody and a moonwalk.
Such a gushing statement came as no surprise to those who knew Robson’s backstory. During Jackson’s Bad World Tour in 1987, five-year-old Robson won a local dance competition in Australia. The reward was attending a backstage meet-and-greet with the King of Pop and the opportunity to join his idol on stage at the end of the concert.
Two years passed before Robson saw Jackson again. This time he was performing at Disneyland when his mother, Joy, decided to reach out to Jackson’s secretary to see if they could meet again. Jackson allowed the Robson family to visit him at the recording studio at Record One where he was working on his Dangerous album. He also invited them to stay at his Neverland Ranch. This hospitality was not unusual for Jackson. Around this same time, Jackson also spent countless hours at his Ranch with AIDS victim, Ryan White, who had been shunned, taunted and bullied at his school in Kokomo, Indiana. “Those trips to California kept me going,” Ryan White said. Similar positive experiences have been shared by hundreds of others.
Not long after their visit to Neverland, the Robson family decided to move to California to allow Wade and his sister, Chantal, more opportunities in the entertainment industry. Over the subsequent years, a friendship blossomed between the Robsons and Jackson. Wade Robson was ambitious and talented, and Jackson took on the role of mentor, teaching him the nuances of his craft and signing him to his MJJ Productions label. Jackson also gave him small parts in his music videos, including “Black or White.”
Robson went on to have a successful career in the industry, choreographing for the likes of Britney Spears and ‘N Sync, and later having his work showcased on shows like So You Think You Can Dance. In 2005, he married Hawaii native Amanda Rodriguez.
That same year, Robson, who had every reason to avoid the circus that was the 2005 Michael Jackson child molestation trial, decided to testify under oath about his experiences with the singer. First questioned by Jackson’s attorney Thomas Mesereau and then under rigorous cross-examination, Robson matter-of-factly gave his account of his time with the artist. Robson repeatedly and adamantly denied being molested or of any other inappropriate sexual activity.
After Jackson was acquitted of all charges a few months later, Wade Robson’s mother Joy spoke of their family’s relief about the verdict. “We were crying and screaming and crying and screaming…We all believed ultimately the truth would come out…I’ve always said to Michael, ‘I wished the world could know the Michael we do.’”
Wade Robson invited Jackson to his wedding later that year, but Jackson decided not to attend because he did not want to turn the joyous occasion into a media circus.
Jackson and Robson, however, remained good friends. Whenever asked, Robson continued to praise Jackson as his biggest inspiration.
They last met in Las Vegas in 2008. Jackson was living there with his three children and Robson was working on a show in the city. “Me, my wife and him and his three kids had a barbecue,” recalled Robson. “It was the most normal thing in the world.”
It had been over twenty years since they first met, and Robson was still, by his own admission, completely unaffected by any past abuse or trauma. His life and career were thriving. He also seemed to have no concerns about Jackson’s own young children.
According to initial reports, Robson’s attorney, Henry Gradstein, claimed the reason his client lied under oath and continued to praise the pop star following his death was because the alleged abuse was a “repressed memory.” Repressed memories — instances in which an individual believes they have blocked or forgotten a traumatic event before “recovering” it years or decades later — has become a highly controversial subject in the field of psychology. According to the American Psychological Association, “experienced clinical psychologists state that the phenomenon of a recovered memory is rare (e.g., one experienced practitioner reported having a recovered memory arise only once in 20 years of practice).” The overwhelming consensus by experts is that such “memories” are not reliable without corroborating evidence. Dr. Richard McNally, Professor and Director of Clinical Training in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, describes the phenomenon of belatedly recovered memories as “the most pernicious bit of folklore ever to infect psychology and psychiatry.”
In his interview with Matt Lauer on the Today Show, however, Robson claimed that that his memories of abuse were not repressed; he was simply unable to process them emotionally or psychologically. Robson claims that he was fully aware Jackson was a child abuser at the time of his 2005 trial, but decided to lie under oath because he didn’t yet realize what happened to him was wrong. Robson was 22 at the time. But perhaps, one might assume, in the months or years to come he regretted his decision and went to authorities — at least to prevent further “victims.” Nope. Instead, he was barbecuing with MJ and family in 2008, and praising him without any pressure or prompt in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.
It goes without saying that accusations of abuse must always be taken seriously. When an individual has told one story very credibly and convincingly as an adult, however, and then suddenly changes it with no corroborating evidence (letters, photos, phone conversations, witnesses, etc.) to file a creditor’s claim, it deserves a healthy dose of skepticism. Believing such claims on faith can be dangerous, destroying lives and reputations with absolutely no proof beyond the accusation.
According to Wade Robson’s attorney, Henry Gradstein, it was sometime in 2012 when the choreographer had a mental breakdown, and “collapsed under the stress” of his recovered memory. Robson’s career had also taken a downturn with the choreographer mysteriously dropping out of many projects. Soon after, Robson decided to file a creditor’s claim against Jackson’s estate. Robson also filed a civil lawsuit in L.A. County Superior Court, in which he is reportedly targeting companies associated with Jackson. Whatever one makes of his allegations, then, they are not simply to heal. Robson clearly wants a payout.
In a statement, Howard Weitzman, an attorney representing Jackson’s estate, called Robson’s accusations “outrageous and pathetic…This is a young man who has testified at least twice under oath over the past 20 years and said in numerous interviews that Michael Jackson never did anything inappropriate to him or with him. Now, nearly 4 years after Michael has passed this sad and less than credible claim has been made. We are confident that the court will see this for what it is.“
Jackson’s attorney, Thomas Mesereau, feels Robson’s claims are shamelessly motivated by money, given the timing (a high-stakes trial between Jackson’s mother and concert promoter AEG Live, is currently being litigated) and the enormous amount of wealth the Jackson estate has generated since the singer’s death.
Regardless of one’s views of Jackson, Robson’s case raises serious questions about the nature and validity of decade-delayed allegations, especially when attached to money.
Dr. Elizabeth F. Loftus, a renowned cognitive psychologist and human memory expert from the University of Washington, notes that these memories can often be triggered by therapist suggestion. “Some contemporary therapists have been known to tell patients, merely on the basis of a suggestive history or symptom profile, that they definitely had a traumatic experience…Once the ‘diagnosis’ is made, the therapist urges the patient to pursue the recalcitrant memories.”
Wade Robson, then, could very well believe he was abused even if it never happened.
In any case, objectivity and fairness should compel at least some burden of proof. Robson’s own family members have repeatedly defended Jackson over a period of twenty years. Were all of them completely oblivious to what happened until just months ago?
Numerous other individuals who were close to Jackson as children continue to defend him with no apparent incentive for doing so. Since the latest allegations, several people who visited Jackson’s Neverland Ranch as children, have once again spoken out in support of the artist, including Alfonso Ribeiro, Frank Cascio, Brett Barnes, and Jackson’s nephews, Taryll, T.J. and Taj Jackson.
In defense of his uncle, Taj Jackson wrote movingly on Twitter:
I will not sit back and let someone flat out lie about my uncle. PERIOD. I am writing these words knowing that the minute I press send, my life will never be the same afterwards…I was sexually abuse[d]. By an uncle on my mom’s side of the family when I was a kid. My uncle [Michael Jackson] was a support system for me and my mom. He wrote a letter to her that many have seen already, u just didn’t know what it was about. That is how I KNOW Wade is lying. Because I AM a survivor. My hands are still trembling. Don’t forget I was living at Neverland when Wade testified during my uncle’s case. I sat there and ate dinner with him and his family. I will not let them smear my Uncle’s legacy. I don’t want to go on TV. I don’t want publicity, I just want the truth. I hate that Wade made me do this, this way. But since my uncle Michael is no longer here to defend himself. I will.
The letter Taj Jackson referred to was written by Jackson some time in the 1980s. It reads:
Dee Dee Please read this article about child molestation and please read it to Taj, T.J., and Taryll, it brings out how even your own relatives can be molesters of children, or even uncles or aunts molesting nephews or nieces, please read. Love MJ.
Later faced with the public perception that he himself was a child molester, Jackson wrote these lyrics to an unreleased song, called “An Innocent Man”:
If I sail to Acapulco
Or Cancun, Mexico
There the law is waiting
And God knows that I’m innocent
If they won’t take me in Cairo
Then Lord where will I go?
I’ll die a man without a country
And only God knew I was innocent now.
As an eccentric, wealthy man who opened his home to thousands of people, including disadvantaged and ill children, Jackson was an undeniably easy target. But is it conceivable that of the hundreds of children who spent time with him, only a handful were abused? Is it possible that after two unannounced, scouring searches of his homes, in 1993 and again in 2003, resulting in no child pornography or other corroborating evidence, that the artist was nonetheless masterfully hiding criminal behavior?
Or have we, as a society, conflated Jackson’s difference and eccentricity with criminality? In 2005, infotainment pundit Nancy Grace infamously deduced Jackson’s guilt from his strange appearance and childlike sensibility. It was inconceivable to her that a grown man would want to spend so much time with children without wanting to have sex with them.
No doubt, after hearing these latest accusations, some will likewise conclude that “where there is smoke there is fire.”
Jackson, of course, is no longer here to defend himself. But the unacknowledged tragedy the fair-minded person must at least consider is this: the life and career of one of the most talented and creative artists of the past century was derailed and ultimately destroyed by allegations, innuendo, sensationalism and speculation, but no concrete evidence and no witnesses or accusers who didn’t want money.
The term “witch hunt” is often used to describe the moral panic and hysteria caused by individuals who threaten our sense of normalcy, order and social assumptions. They must be disciplined or punished to allow people to feel safe, regardless of actual guilt or innocence. So, for example, in the Salem witch trials, women were profiled, accused and sentenced to death for a range of perceived “suspicious” behaviors or traits. Or, historically, African American men have been unfairly targeted and lynched because of myths and culturally-ingrained hysteria about their “predatory” intentions with white women (see D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation).
Over his lifetime (and now in death), Michael Jackson faced more frivolous lawsuits than any individual in American history. During the Thriller era, dozens of women claimed he was the father of their children. As recently as 2010, a woman named Billie Jean filed a $600 million paternity lawsuit against Jackson’s estate.
In 2010, part of Jackson’s FBI file was released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) at the request of media, including British journalist Charles Thomson. “A lengthy report,” writes Thomson, “shows that when Jackson’s Neverland Ranch was raided in 2003, the FBI went over every computer seized from the property with a fine tooth comb looking for any incriminating files or internet activity. Jackson’s file contained individual summaries of the FBI’s findings for each of the 16 computers. Scrawled in capital letters across each of those 16 reports – ‘NOTHING’.”
Rolling Stone‘s Matt Taibbi, an incisive cultural critic with no investment whatsoever in Jackson’s legacy, described the 2005 court case against Jackson like this:
Ostensibly a story about bringing a child molester to justice, the Michael Jackson trial would instead be a kind of homecoming parade of insipid American types: grifters, suckers and no-talent schemers, mired in either outright unemployment…or the bogus non-careers of the information age, looking to cash in any way they can. The MC of the proceedings was District Attorney Tom Sneddon, whose metaphorical role in this American reality show was to represent the mean gray heart of the Nixonian Silent Majority – the bitter mediocrity itching to stick it to anyone who’d ever taken a vacation to Paris. The first month or so of the trial featured perhaps the most compromised collection of prosecution witnesses ever assembled in an American criminal case – almost to a man a group of convicted liars, paid gossip hawkers or worse…
In the next six weeks, virtually every piece of his case imploded in open court, and the chief drama of the trial quickly turned into a race to see if the DA could manage to put all of his witnesses on the stand without getting any of them removed from the courthouse in manacles. Sneddon’s hard-on for Jackson was a faith-based vengeance grab every bit as blind and desperate as George Bush’s “case” against Saddam Hussein…
Jackson, of course, was acquitted of all charges in 2005 after two grueling years of investigations, testimony and proceedings. Four years later, in 2009, after years of living as a cultural pariah, a vagabond drifting from country to country, he died at the age of fifty in Los Angeles. The silver lining, one assumed, was that at least his many troubles would end and the focus could return to his rich artistic legacy. But as long as big money is involved, it seems, the relentless stream of grifters will continue.
And in the court of public opinion, the Michael Jackson witch trial goes on.
COMMENTS ARE ON
Over here it is only the title that shames Roger Friedman:
Jacko ‘Major-Domo’ Lied About Cashing In
Published April 11, 2005FoxNews.com
Former self-described Neverland Ranch “major domo” Philip LeMarque told a lot of tall tales on the witness stand last week.
On Friday, LeMarque pretended he was above selling stories about his former employer’s alleged acts of child molestation to the tabloids.
LeMarque, who worked for Michael Jackson, along with his wife Stella LeMarque, for 10 months in 1990 and 1991, testified that he had only once tried to peddle a story about his ex-boss and Macaulay Culkin. That would have been in 1993, and to the National Enquirer.
In truth, LeMarque’s relationship with the scurrilous rag dated back two years earlier to 1991, when the couple first tried to sell a Jackson story to the Enquirer. LeMarque didn’t tell the jury that little tidbit on Friday.
LeMarque also failed to mention that in October 1991, he had taken money from the Enquirer to sneak its reporters on to the Neverland property for Elizabeth Taylor‘s wedding to her last husband, Larry Fortensky.
He also left out an important element of his failed bid to sell the Enquirer his Jackson-Culkin story in 1993.
On the stand, LeMarque testified that he dropped the idea altogether when it didn’t look as if he would get his asking price of $500,000.
In fact, LeMarque and his lawyer, Arnold Kessler — whom LeMarque described on the stand as his “friend” and not his actual rep — were demanding the Enquirer indemnify them against future lawsuits from Jackson, because the LeMarques were breaking the confidentiality agreement they had signed upon taking employment at Neverland.
The paper refused, and thus the deal ended.
The whole story of the 1991 and 1993 negotiations is included on eye-opening tape recordings made in secret by late Enquirer reporter Jim Mitteager.
He bequeathed the tapes to investigator Paul Barresi, who spent a year and a half transcribing and editing them. The hundreds of hours of recordings describe the Enquirer’s unsavory tactics dealing with sources, subjects and the police.
What Barresi found, among other things, is that the Enquirer routinely turned over its notes to police after it was done with them.
The tabloid was thus able to avoid lawsuits by claiming it got its information from police sources. This was a clever tactic, but the complete opposite of what actually happened.
Barresi’s findings clearly show that Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon may be basing much of his “mini-trial” of prior allegations of child molestation by Jackson on National Enquirer reporting from the early 1990s.
But listening to Barresi and Mitteager’s tapes reveals the dark side of the tabloid’s inner workings.
While Mitteager may have performed a historically important service by making the tapes, he comes across on them as desperate to get anyone to say anything incriminating about Jackson.
Alas, after years of dangling huge sums in front of potential sources, Mitteager and the Enquirer were never able to come up with anything substantial.
The tapes paint quite a different account of the story LeMarque told to jurors and the court on Friday. They show that Enquirer editors thought of the LeMarques as hustlers who would go to the highest bidder with any story.
When LeMarque was asked, during cross-examination by defense attorney Tom Mesereau, why he didn’t take his tale of Jackson molesting Culkin to the police instead of going straight to the tabloids, LeMarque replied that nobody would have believed him.
Barresi, an expert on the “underbelly” of this world, laughed at this statement.
“Every single witness testifying against Michael Jackson claims they did not call the cops because nobody, with the exception of tabloid reporters flashing big bucks, would ever believe them,” he said.
Barresi says LeMarque didn’t go to the police because he had already been to the Enquirer with the same story in 1991, when he and his wife were dismissed from Neverland.
On Aug. 26, 1993, Mitteager is heard telling The Globe’s John Bell: “[Tony] Brennor [also of The Globe] did an interview two years ago. He can’t find the tape. The sources are gone. They were two former housekeepers, saying that he [Jackson] was fondling kids all the time … saying that he abused kids … He was trying to cut a deal and it blew up somehow.”
Mitteager says to Bell at another point in the conversation: “[Globe reporter] Mike Carrigan had this story years before, but it went belly-up because it was so legally dicey.”
Barresi plays an integral role in the story of the tabloids, the LeMarques and Mitteager’s tapes. He tells me that he met and dated Stella LeMarque, then surnamed “Marcroft,” before she married Philip LeMarque.
Stella LeMarque knew Barresi worked with the tabloids and came to him a few years later to ask if he could help broker their sale of the Jackson story. Barresi says he did not discover that the LeMarques had already tried this in 1991 until years later, when he heard Mitteager discussing it on the tapes.
More light is shed on the LeMarques’ 1991 attempt to cash in on Jackson from the conversation Mitteager taped of himself and Enquirer editor Robert Taylor on Aug. 31, 1993.
Mitteager says to Taylor: “They are also aware that you sit down and write contracts and sometimes don’t publish the article. They know that too, you know what I mean? Because that’s what happened to them last time.”
Enquirer contracts at the time were worded in such a way that sources like the LeMarques were not guaranteed payment unless their stories checked out. And even then, the paper was not required to pay until the issue with the relevant story was off the shelves.
According to a source, snitches were often shocked to find the great amounts of money they were promised were not guaranteed.
What Barresi is sure of is that in October 1991, the LeMarques, freshly dismissed from Neverland, offered to sneak the Enquirer on to the property for the Taylor-Fortensky wedding.
“They were wined and dined by the Enquirer and loved it,” Barresi says. “They really carried on and said they knew a way the paper could sneak people on to the ranch. They were paid by the paper in advance, but at the last minute they backed out.”
The LeMarques, Barresi says, didn’t mention anything in 1991 about Culkin. That part of the story only surfaced in 1993, after Jackson’s unrelated child-molestation civil suit surfaced.
But then, the story had Jackson’s hands remaining on the outside of Culkin’s shorts. As the potential for higher payment increased, the hand went inside the shorts, Barresi said
‘Tabloid Truth’ broadcast on February 15, 1994 by PBS
Author and Narrator: Richard Ben Cramer
Narrator – The roar of the Jackson scandal began as an anonymous whisper, on a quiet morning last August, in the San Fernando valley.
DON RAY, a free-lance television reporter – I was laying in bed on a Sunday morning, dead asleep and the phone rang very early in the morning. This voice said, “A search warrant has gone down. In fact, two of them have gone down. ‘”And I, |Okay, like what, where? |and he said: “Neverland.” I said, What, MTV, Michael Jackson? He says, “Yeah, that one. Something having to do with child molestation.” That woke me up.
He said: “Well, I understand they had to use a locksmith to get into some of the places there. ” At this point, now I’ve got to find the locksmith. So I started going down this list. The first one was disconnected. it was the one that was seemingly closest. The second one, I actually scored on. And he says, “Yeah, this is Duane.” And I said: “i understand you were in Neverland this morning.” He says: “No. No, I wasn’t.” I said, “Oh, well I’ve dialed . . .” and he interrupted and said: “It was yesterday.” “Oh yeah, yeah, yesterday, right. Yeah, yesterday.”
NARRATOR – Don Ray took his story to [Los Angeles] Channel 4, KNBC. The L.A. police would only confirm they were investigating Jackson. Nothing about the charges. No matter: just the promos were enough.
DIANE DIMOND, Hard Copy senior correspondent – I was sitting in my cubicle at work and I was working on a Heidi Fleiss story. I’d been doing the Hollywood Madam story and my boss came to me and tapped me on my shoulder and said, In about seven minutes Channel 4 is going to run a story about Michael Jackson. I… I don’t really knew what it is, but come to my office. Let’s watch it. You’re on the Michael Jackson story. I watched the original story and I didn’t get it. I knew that they had issued two search warrants. I knew that the police were looking for something. I knew there was a locksmith named Duane they had taken along with them to open up every closet door, shed, that they could find. But I didn’t know why.
DON RAY – Nowhere did we say anything about child molestation. And I did get that message from the very beginning that that was what it was all about. Nowhere. That was courtesy of Michael Jackson’s camp at 6 o’clock. Mr. Pellicano was nice enough to come in and deny the allegations of child molestation… I think at that point there must have been 747’s in London, Heathrow, lining up with money bags being poured on and fleets of Fleet Street people flying to Los Angeles to to buy whatever they needed to buy on this story.
CAROLINE GRAHAM, London Sun correspondent – Phone rings. 8:20. A tipster of mine, a friend of mine and very reliable source says, Michael Jackson’s been arrested on child sex abuse scandals… charges. So first thing is ring the office, say, look, enormous story breaking. Basically hold the front page. And the decision was taken by the news editor at the time that we had to splash on it. in other words we had to put it all over the front page which we did, thank god.
NARRATOR – Of course it had to be The Sun, the beast of British tabloids. If you want to know about scandal, you have to start in London with the Fleet Street hacks, who are hungrier, faster, more relentless than anything home-grown in America.
GRAHAM -And we ran the story about 10 to 2 on the Monday night, which got into the last edition, which got about 650,000 copies on the street. We were the first paper anywhere to carry the story on our front page.
NARRATOR – It’s the British who invented the modern tabloid, papers where a sick child is “brave little Timmy,” politicians are news only if they’re bonking some man, woman, or beast; every policeman is a foottall headline: “HERO COP.” In fact, a story is just a headline, a headline that has to sell. Private lives sell – the more private the better.
KEVIN SMITH of Splash News [a gossip news service] – The British newspapers are very clever at knowing what the public wants and giving it to them. The Jackson story [was] the biggest story at the time. It was front-page news on every English paper, but if you picked up The L.A. Times you’d have to search around to find it in there.
LESLEY-ANN JONES, British tabloid reporter – We will fly stories. We will take a shred of fact and go with it like a great footballer with a ball. We will spin down the field with that and try and score a goal with it and maybe we will and maybe we won’t. But we’ll take a shred of evidence and try and turn it into a story.
NARRATOR – British rules – after the police search, anything on Jackson would be fair game-whatever you could get people to say . . . or pay |em to say.
ALAN HALL, Daily Mirror correspondent – Five o’clock in the morning I was called by my office. I was on a plane. I knew that this was going to be one of the biggest stories I’d ever covered, you know. I saw a guy I’d seen on the L.A. riots from Paris-Match bursting and pushing these old people in wheelchairs out of the way to run off the plane. You had a sense that people were flying in from all over the world, as indeed they were.
GRAHAM – This is a story, if not of the decade, well certainly of the decade, but probably one of the great stories of the century.
NARRATOR – The big guns [of a Current Affair] are all imported: Brits, or Australians. They all brought the craft from Fleet Street. America turned it into TV. Six tabloids in a daily jungle war in London created the killer-journo style. Now, with a score of news shows every day, American TV needs those same skills – it’s eat-or be-eaten. When the Jackson story broke it was a feast…but meat for a morning is gone by noon. A hundred outlets – and each has to have a new headline, a screamer. Twenty-four hours after the Jackson story broke, the L.A. police raids were stale news.
SMITH – The big question then is, who is this kid who’s accused Jackson of molestation? You had to have a name behind it, although you couldn’t print it in America, you wanted to know who this kid was. And that was what everyone was going flat out for.
MIKE WALKER, National Enquirer columnist-none of us in the news media knew who this boy was.
NARRATOR – The National Enquirer, the most notorious paper in America, is also the largest, and one of the richest. It threw 20 reporters and editors at the Jackson story, plus detectives, and a web of paid sources.
WALKER – From sources inside the police (I mean we do have sources inside police department in L.A.) we got a street name. And so we sent out a team of reporters. But in the meantime Steve Coz remembered a story about a new family that Michael had adopted. So he got property records relating to the boy’s father and did a search and found a property on the same street where we were out knocking 500 doors. That gave it to us and within moments, literally, Jerry George, our L.A..Bureau Chief, was going knock-knock-knock, hello sir, I’m from The National Enquirer – can I talk to you?
RICHARD BEN CRAMER, PBS correspondent – So nobody had a picture of the father at this point.
ANDY O’BRIEN, Splash News photographer – that’s right. The difficulty was this is a man that nobody’s seen. Nobody really knows other than a baseball cap with glasses and a car phone. We didn’t really know what he looked like. I basically needed a reaction. I had to go confront him with the camera. He had two briefcases and it was a bit like a helicopter. He came, he came swinging in. I was running backwards at this stage with the camera, ducking and diving. I got the one frame that I needed and then he ran into the building.
DIMOND – I got a call from someone who said meet me at a bar in Santa Monica at 8:30. So I went to the bar at 8 and was presented with the damndest documents I’ve ever, ever real. I saw the extremely graphic detailed narrative of this child. Right down to the sexual acts. It was either going to be superstar being falsely accused, or it was going to be superstar perhaps guilty of one of the most heinous crimes we know. So either way, I couldn’t lose.
NARRATOR – The city social worker’s interview with the child – as confidential a document as the American court system can produce. Legally, it was stolen property. But it would become common chit-chat – from Bangkok, where Jackson was performing, to the playground of the boy’s school. The principal finally had to plead with all the students to stop asking the eighth-grader about his sex with Michael Jackson. As it turned out, when Dimond broke the story, she was just hours ahead of the pack. Splash News, for example, had its own copy of the report, and was faxing it to all comers – $750 a pop.
ANTHONY PELLICANO, Jackson’s private investigator/spokesperson – It’s very interesting that we in the Jackson team were given copies of this by members of the press who had purchased them. Narrator – Pellicano bills himself as Detective to The Stars. His job for Michael Jackson was to shut this scandal down.
PELLICANO – I’m a serious guy. I have a very aggressive approach to whatever I do. And I’m unrelenting.
SMITH – He hinted that we were working here illegally, which we’re not. And at one point he said, “Hey, I don’t want to hurt anybody in all this.”
CRAMER – There’s this theme in the coverage of you, which is that this is a tough guy. That this is a guy that knows, and knows how to use the information.
PELLICANO – That’s right. I always try to start out as a gentleman. It’s only when people won’t listen to reason that I have to go to unique investigative techniques.
NARRATOR – But the detective had a problem: his client was getting slaughtered. And network news had the same problem – they were getting slaughtered by the tabloids, too. CBS, for one, was desperate for a piece of the Jackson story. So CBS and Pellicano, suddenly, found use for each other.
SANDRA HUGHES on CBS – CBS News has obtained a taped phone conversation. The voices are purportedly the father of the 13-year-old boy who is accusing Michael Jackson of abusing him and the boy’s stepfather. The conversation was taped in July before the police began their investigation.
FATHER’S VOICE ON CBS – This man is going to be humiliated beyond belief .. he is not going to believe what is going to happen to him, beyond his worst nightmares. He will not sell one more record.
NARRATOR – CBS had rushed to air its exclusive with Tony Pellicano to explain the tape’s significance.
PELLICANO on CBS – It spells out everything to me, this was an extortion attempt from the beginning. It was all planned. Narrator – Apparently, there wasn’t time on the air to say where the tape came from – which was from Tony Pellicano. CBS was embarassed by the next day’s L.A. Times. it, too, got the Pellicano tapes, but pointed out that they didn’t prove extortion at all. The network rushed onto the air again.
HUGHES ON CAMERA – CBS has obtained a taped phone conversation purportedly between the boy’s father and stepfather. it [was] recorded in July. Although Michael Jackson’s private investigator says the tape illustrates the claim of extortion, nowhere on the tape is money ever mentioned.
FATHER’S VOICE ON CBS – I love him so much that I am willing to destroy my own life to protect him. As bad as my life is, I’m willing to let it get a lot worse…
NARRATOR – Confused? The confusion would keep building. With the need for a fresh lead every few hours, every straw in the wind became a new Jackson story. By the time the Jackson family gathered – one week after the story broke – there were hundreds of reporters packing the hall, and 40 TV cameras up front: crews from Mexico, China, Japan, Germany, England, France, all the U.S. networks, of course, even us from PBS. Almost every news outlet in America was there….following the lead of the tabs.
SMITH – It was slowing down. After the frenzy at the beginning the police and Jackson’s people had successfully plugged all the leaks.
SMITH – But the public was still curious. So what we were looking for then was a buy-up. up. You want graphic inside details of what it was like inside Jackson’s ranch – how he behaves with the children.
NARRATOR – The second great wave in the Jackson scandal – former employees who tell their stories. A servant always sees, and sometimes tells. But there’s always a story behind these stories…once they’ve run through the tabloid mill. Just three days after the Jackson story broke, ABC’s Prime Time sent a freelance producer to Manila to talk to the Quindoys [former Jackson servants]. She was greeted warmly, and given a guest room in their home. But the network was offering only star-power – a chat with Diane Sawyer. That left the door open for the British weekly, News of the World. For this kind of story, money talks.
STUART WHITE, News of the World feature writer – Anybody who doesn’t pay money, it’s like cavalry riding into machine gun fire. It’s anachronistic; journalism cannot be done today at our level without, at some point, somebody getting a check out and going to one of the principals who will be demanding this money, and hopefully presenting them with the best offer.
DIMOND – The Quindoys at first wanted $900,000. Where they got that figure, I have no idea. it came down to half a million.
WHITE – But when they negotiated with us, I think they were asking something in the reason of a quarter of a million dollars.
NARRATOR – A tabloid auction is a delicate sort of strip-tease: the sellers have to give away some details of their story to demonstrate its worth, and hold back other details until they get their money. For the tabloid reporter, it’s also a delicate business.
WHITE – It’s almost like, in Hollywood terms, you’re bidding for a hot property. It’s like bidding for a screenplay, for a novel. You have to go in there and convince the people that you’ll pay the top dollar, and also you’ll treat their property the best possible way, and treat them the best possible way. But I think it’s not a secret that first of all the Quindoys, unfortunately, were not acting totally in good faith.
NARRATOR – In the middle of negotiations, White’s London office suddenly ordered him home. News of the world splashed the Quindoys big-time – three pages – without any payment. The lawyers said there was no need to pay – the Quindoys and the company already had a history.
GRAHAM – We had our first dealings with the Quindoys two and a half years, three years ago.
NARRATOR – The London Sun and the News of the World are owned by one company-rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
GRAHAM – We did the original buy-up with them, or rather the original story with them. Alan Hall my predecessor interviewed them.
HALL – I was working then for The Sun. The Sun drew up a contract of $25,000, and I spent some time with them in Los Angeles doing the Life and Times of Michael Jackson, which was all, hey, isn’t he whacky! He’s got, you know, speakers in the hibiscus plants that play Beethoven’s Fifth in the morning, and he doesn’t get up before midday. He’s got dollar bills that he tears up and throws in the air like confetti. What a great, what a gasp – but nothing anti. It was very, very high, upbeat. Didn’t have a bad word to say about the guy, not one bad thing. That he was just a kind man with children, basically. They had signed a contract to say they would tell the full and frank account of their lives and clearly from what later transpired and they didn’t, if what they’re telling now is the truth. They’re two people whom I wouldn’t trust at all. And I think they really have gone to town to do Michael Jackson down for the mighty dollar. Now, they see money again being offered around and they want some more. I think they’re greedy people.
QUINDOYS – I swear I saw MJ fondling the little kid, like his hands travelling from the kid’s face, his thighs, legs.
JONES – It all boils down to cash. And you’ll now have housekeepers go to work for celebrities who keep diaries and who take pictures and who make a living out of this.
WALKER – We have maids and we have housekeepers, and we have chauffeurs, and we have personal managers and. if you look [at] trade papers in Hollywood, you’ll see ads – “do you know a lot about the stars? Is there something in your job or the people you know that makes you an expert on show business? If so, we’d like to talk to you. ” We practice a form of checkbook journalism – but so does everybody else in this business, almost without exception.
NARRATOR – Another couple, Stella and Philippe LeMarque, would emerge as key witnesses in the Jackson investigation. Their stories of child abuse reached the cops by happenestance – as a spinoff to a tabloid story. This French couple worked for Jackson for two years, until 1991. When the scandal broke, they turned to their friend, Paul Barresi,a former porn star who claimed he’d once made a hundred-grand selling a story to The Enquirer.
PAUL BARRESI – My interest in helping them was that they promised me a percentage of what they got. I was not on any kind of crusade to bring anyone to justice; and whether Michael was guilty or innocent at that point was inconsequential. My interest was strictly for the money. As was their interest too, I might add.
SMITH – Our job was to go to our various markets around the world and say, look, we have this couple. They are willing to say this. How much are you prepared to pay? Australia’ll say we’ve got $20,000. For them it’s quite a cheap story. They’ve got a cracking story for $20,000, but that’s not enough alone to tempt someone like the LeMarques to sell their story. So then you go to Germany and you get another 20,000. You go to Italy, another 20,000. And before you know it you’re up at $100 thousand or $200 thousand. And that is enough for a family to come forward and talk.
WENDY HENRY of A Current Affair – When are they going to talk? How long are they going to hang on to this? I mean obviously more and more is going to come out and it’s just going to steal their thunder and devalue the worth of what they have to say. You know, I mean already the Quindoys have somewhat stolen their thunder. The quality of the tape is awful, and because the couple have French accents, it’s even more difficult.
SMITH – Originally, from what I understand, it was 100,000, and very quickly we managed to find a hundred thousand and said, okay, let’s go. I think they must have thought well if that’s so easy let’s try it a bit more. And then it kept going like this until it got to a half a million dollars.
BARRESI – We met: Stella, Philippe, myself and this correspondent from inside Edition. By then I had heard the story probably half a dozen times, and the only difference is this time I had a tape recorder in my belt. I wanted to seize an opportunity to sell their story myself. Monday morning I got up and I realized what I wanted to do with the tape. I wanted to take it to the District Attorney’s office and turn it over to them as evidence. I knew that the D.A. would be happy to receive the information with open arms and two, I knew how to play the tabloids like a harp.
NARRATOR – If Barresi brought the tape to the D.A., he’d have nothing to fear for his illegal tape recording. Besides, it would juice up the story. If the D.A.’s working on it, that’s action. That’s inside information.
BARRESI – That was the edge that worked well. if my story appeared in the slightest innocuous, they would throw it out the window, so this was one way to do it with grand style, certainly. So I called the editor at The Globe and I said I have a tape. I’m on the way downtown to hand it to the district attorney. And his words were, “Let us come with you.” And then I knew I had him. The next thought in my mind was I’m going to ask for $30,000. You should always ask twice as much as what you hope to get. He put me on hold and within less than a minute he came back and he said well we can’t give you 30, I’ll give you 10. I said make it 15. He said you have a deal.
CRAMER – Could you see the headline coming?
BARRESI – Oh, yeah. Sure. I could see that money coming too.
NARRATOR – Barresi didn’t stop with The Globe. When Splash News retailed his story to London’s Sunday Mirror, Barresi showed up at their office with a gun. Splash quickly arranged for him a $1,000 check.
SMITH – A lot of people who claim to have witnessed Jackson doing this, that or the other, they weren’t going to the police first. Their main interest was money and they would come to Journalists who could give them money. So, in that circumstance Journalists know more about what happened than the police do.
WHITE – Here you’re talking about a city police force which is a big one, but against what? The resources of The National Enquirer, five British newspapers. So maybe after a while, the initiative passed to the tabloid newspapers and they then took over and started to make the pace and the police, I don’t think any shame upon them, probably responded to that and followed up on those stories. So, I think it was just an organic process that just happened that way.
NARRATOR – After White’s visit with the Quindoys, News of the World gave its tapes to the L.A. police, who only then put two cops on a plane to Manila. Maybe these servant stories were true – but which version? And what would a courtroom lawyer do with a story which, for two years or more, was withheld from the law while it was teased and touted, edited, rewritten and finally turned to cash. In the end, the D.A. concluded the Quindoys and LeMarques were both useless as witnesses.
BARRESI – The first time I heard the [Quindoys] story about Jackson his hand was outside the kid’s pants. They were asking a hundred grand. As soon as their price went up to 500 grand, their hand went inside the pants. So c’mon.
GRAHAM – When you buy a story, there’s always the shadow of doubt: are they telling you the truth or are they telling you what you want to hear?
MAUREEN O’BOYLE, anchor of A Current Affair – well, if they’re lying, they should be worried. Because they’re going to be in big trouble, if they’re not telling the truth.
NARRATOR – In the tabloids, it doesn’t matter if it’s true – if you’ve got someone to say it’s true everybody’s happy – right?
NARRATOR – America has a funny habit of demanding the truth about its fairy tales. With Michael Jackson, the line between fiction and fact has always been obscure. He was ever a confection, an entertainment for the nation. Reams of Wacko Jacko. But was he ever the tabloid victim he claimed to be?
OPRAH WINFREY [on her show] – I have been in this house looking for the oxygen chamber. I cannot find the oxygen chamber anywhere in the house.
MICHAEL JACKSON – That story is so crazy, I mean. It’s one of those tabloid things that’s completely made up.
WALKER – I mean, we didn’t lie. Michael gave us the pictures and when he gave us pictures he told our present news editor, Charlie Montgomery, that one condition was we had to use the word bizarre in the headline. I mean that was Michael’s own condition. in fact he gave us Polaroids and the quality was so lousy we said we can’t use this. We don’t print Polaroids in The National Enquirer. So they went back and the reshot the pictures.
NARRATOR – Michael Jackson understood the carnival – When news and entertainment is all one business, there is no wall between fiction and fact as long as it’s good commerce. A little fiction is required for celebrity junk food – and America rewards each season’s snack with the nation’s highest accolade: a movie of the week deal or, at least, a rock video, a ghost-written memoir, your shining teeth on a glossy cover or Geraldo live from your driveway. The newcomers in this trade are TV magazines – 12 shows, at last count – all in business to make a profit. They’re in a fight just as desperate as the tabs. in this league, too, it’s win, or die.
HEIDI FLEISS, charged with being Hollywood madam, on Eye to Eye -You want names, you want juice, you want real Hollywood stories, is that it?
CONNIE CHUNG on CBS – Tonight, on Eye to Eye.
BARBARA WALTERS [on her show] – Well, next, perhaps the most provocative story that we have ever presented, the story of Lorena Bobbitt, the woman who sexually mutilated her husband with a knife and threw his sex organ out the window.
NARRATOR – In this competition a weepy interview will not suffice. The heavy artillery is dramatization, re-enactment, all the hallmarks of tabloid TV.
STEVE DUNLEAVY, Senior correspondent, A Current Affair – Seven years ago, the so-called upper echelon of television journalism kind of laughed and sneered at our style. They don’t laugh and sneer at our style now. A. Because it’s reasonably cheap to produce. Perhaps I should say, it’s a reasonable cost factor to produce, rather than cheap. It has shown in the past high profit-ability.
LORENA BOBBITT on air – I saw that I have it in my hand.
TOM JARREL – You were still holding his severed penis in your hand?
LORENA BOBBITT, sobbing – Yes, Yes.
O BOYLE – I think what they did is they saw a good thing and they saw the ratings and they saw its popularity. You know it’s very funny to sit around and look that we’re now competing with the people who at one time were looking at us and going “Naughty, naughty.”
DIMOND – I mean, I show up at people’s front door, knock on the door, Hello. You know, I’d like to do this story with you. And they say, well gee, I’m sorry. it was between Diane Dimond and Diane Sawyer and I’m going with Diane Sawyer.
NARRATOR – Tabloid stories need tabloid talent: The Executive Producer of [an] ABC Diane Sawyer Special learned her trade at The National Enquirer. On the Jackson scandal, same story: ABC’s Day One hired away a Hard Copy producer, and paid top dollar for him. Before moving on to ABC, producer Cabell Bruce was known for his ambush of the LeMarques. He assured them he wasn’t taping – that was untrue and illegal. Even Hard Copy wouldn’t air his interview. They didn’t have a deal with the LeMarques, see…and the deal is always the bottom line now – lawyers, brokers, middlemen of every sort, haggling for their pound of flesh – even from the networks. Good airtime – that’s as good as cash. And no one understood news as commerce better than Jack Gordon, the man who married La Toya Jackson. Jack Gordon came to the new news business by a path with its own curious logic. He once did time for bribery, and pled to a charge of running a brothel.
HALL – Well he’s a Hollywood huckster essentially. He always wants to put himself at the center of the Jackson family when he quite clearly is one of major outsiders. He’s about as outside the Jackson family as I am. You know, he just cashes in on that by being with La Toya who every time you see her has got a snake wrapped around her or is naked in Playboy. You know, sorry but you’re not very talented.
NARRATOR – After the scandal broke, Gordon tried to flog interviews with his wife for a quarter-million dollars a pop. That deal fell through-but the tour wasn’t a washout.
JACK GORDON on The Howard Stem Show – what did your mother say about Michael Jackson, tell me?
LA TOYA JACKSON – Oh, don’t start that.
NARRATOR – The Jackson family reacted with fury to La Toya’s publicity blitz – she and Jack Gordon were just trying to cash in. Michael’s mother and father were standing by their son they’d defend him to the hilt – and their broker told us we could have an interview with them – for just a $ 100,000.
DIMOND – You try the family and every family member you talk to wants money. We had been very pristinely clean on this. We paid no money for this story at all. I’m not saying tabloids don’t pay money once in a while, but on the Michael Jackson story, we did not. And I wanted to keep it that way.
NARRATOR – After her interview with us, Dimond’s show went on a spree. For a hundred grand, they bought an interview with the guards who claimed they’d smuggled boys to Jackson. The show also did a buy-up on a story everybody’d been chasing: a Jackson maid who said her son had been abused. That was a bargain, about 25,000. And Hard Copy was killing A Current Affair in the ratings. Now, it was the cops who were furious: more prime witnesses were showing up on tabloid payrolls. In the world of entertainment, every story has its price -it’s just a matter of terms, etc.
DUNLEAVY – While people often look to the press and the media to criticize, I think this town has a lot to answer for. This town, whether it be Hollywood or Los Angeles, because this is the monster that’s demanding to be fed by the Michael Jackson bizarreness, by the movie deals. You know, it all comes down to one thing in this town, it doesn’t matter if it’s money, mayhem, murder or Michael Jackson, it’s all to do with film. It’s all to do with the deal.
NARRATOR – Jackson was good for The Enquirer – eight cover stories in just six months! But The Enquirer said no to the biggest buy-up: an entrepreneur who claimed he had the police photos of Michael Jackson’s penis. The price: three million, cash. Brilliant was the success of the dad, the screenwriting dentist, who lightened Jackson’s pockets by a reported 20 million. Of course, he and his lawyer dropped the stated goal – to prove the truth about Michael Jackson. And what about Jackson himself? Well, 20 million’s a lot to pay -sure. But that’s the business: When every story is up for auction. the guy with the deepest pockets bids last. immense profit – everybody wins, except, perhaps, for one kid, who’ll bear the mark of this commerce, for life.
RAY – It’s a weird feeling to think that, while I didn’t cause it, I didn’t make it happen, I triggered it. This is the biggest story of my career to date and I’m really ashamed of it.
NARRATOR – And what about us? We snapped up every story, every word. Hey, it’s great entertainment, except when we want, or need to know, truly. Jackson got his buy-up, the kid stays out of court. When every story is bought and sold, then tabloid truth is all we have and we’ll never know anything for sure.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Harvard University, Nieman Foundation
The transcript has been partially redacted by the authors of the transcript.
Full VIDEO of Roger B.Cramer’s documenary is provided here: http://mjtruthnow.com/2010/01/frontline-report-exposes-media-scandal/