Part 1: Dunlap discusses his lawsuit against Sneddon's office for a
"sting operation" against him, including illegal phone call
recordings, bugging, witness tampering, and several violations of his civil
Airdate: Jan 2, 2004
MJJF Talk Radio Interview with Gary Dunlap, Part 1
RON: With us today is Gary Dunlap. Gary is an attorney in Santa Barbara, California, who recently filed a 10 million dollar lawsuit against the Santa Barbara DAís office for various causes of action. Welcome to our program, Gary.
GARY: Thank you very much, Ron.
RON: Gary, we havenít had a chance or an opportunity to read your complaint. We havenít got a copy of it yet, but apparently itís filed against Santa Barbara District Attorney, Thomas Sneddon, and itís a 102 page filing alleging 22 counts. Can you briefly describe for us the filing of the complaint and who youíre filing it against and against what causes of action?
GARY: Yes. Yes, I can, Ron. We filed an action against the County of Santa Barbara and the District Attorney, Thomas Sneddon, and a number of his assistants and deputies, including a couple of his investigators, a 22 count civil complaint alleging various violations of 42 USC 1983, which are civil rights violations, and then a number of state tort actions in addition to that, and then three counts of civil RICO violations pursuant to 18 USC 1961 through 1968.
RON: For the people who are listening to our program who arenít attorneys, can you give us a little bit more detail about, you know, in laymanís terms, what exactly did they do? I know that you had to go through about a year long trial where they were accusing you of various actions against you and you think those actions were taken against you maliciously and thatís why youíre filing your complaint. Can you just give us a little bit more detail on specifically what they did for a cause of action here?
GARY: Well, they engaged in a sting operation, which they manufactured and allowed to get out of hand, and it essentially became just a real witch hunt. There were a number of violations of my rights in the investigatory stage as well as during the prosecution stage. And weíve additionally alleged, because of other cases in which Iíve been involved that in other cases that we have information that he has done the same thing in. We have alleged the civil RICO violations, which are essentially engaging in racketeering conspiracy by public officers.
RON: You mentioned other cases. Can you, you know, without naming names if you donít want to, can you tell us a little bit more about what happened in those cases? Were they similar? In what ways were they different?
GARY: Well, I donít feel comfortable talking in too much detail about them, but in one instance there is a gentleman in Santa Maria who had announced his candidacy for a public office and shortly thereafter he was illegally detained by sheriffís deputies on what were pretty clearly bogus charges, and instead of the district attorney acknowledging that, the district attorney attempted to cover up the police officers excessive force by filing charges against him and attempted to prosecute him on those charges and essentially ruined his opportunity to run for public office. He ultimately sued the district attorney as well as the law enforcement officers and won a judgment in the federal court for several thousand dollars and several hundred thousand dollars in attorneyís fees. And in other instances, my practice has been, for the last few years, been specializing in excessive authority cases, or exercise of excessive authority by the district attorneyís office because of what I have seen as a practice of engaging in office that Iíve seen over the last few years, and ultimately I think I became such a thorn in his side that they just decided that the easiest way to handle this would be to take me out of the picture.
RON: So you think it was intentional. You have no doubt in your mind that there was something intentional about what they did.
GARY: What I think is that they got a legitimate complaint. They got a complaint, which they had to investigate. However, rather than looking at that complaint and doing a straightforward and honest investigation, they saw it as an opportunity to prosecute me. And what they did, is they tried to add legitimacy to an illegitimate charge.
RON: You filed the case in federal court in L.A., the southern L.A. county federal court, because youíre claiming your civil rights were violated. Can you tell us in a little bit more detail about the illegal searching of the property then and the other civil rights violations that youíre alleging?
GARY: Well, they engaged in unreasonable search and seizure during the course of the investigation by - essentially what they did was they illegally recorded my phone calls.
RON: They did?
GARY: They sent in people wearing wires under the pretext of being supposed clients who made up false scenarios, and they recorded some of the conversations and did not record others of the conversations in order to basically cover up their misconduct and created this false scenario in order to get me to give what they alleged was illegal advice and assistance.
RON: What evidence do you have of the illegal recording of the phone calls, you know, were you able to obtain that somehow?
GARY: Well, yes. Because the calls were all recorded and so, during the course of the prosecution, during discovery, we obtained the phone calls which they had recorded.
RON: Without your knowledge or permission?
RON: So, obviously they werenít able to use that as evidence, correct?
GARY: Well, that is correct. Although, some of the phone calls we allowed them to bring in because we wanted to demonstrate what they had done.
RON: Right. I understand.
GARY: But that didnít make them legal.
RON: I understand. Okay. Trish, go ahead.
TRISH: Hi, Gary. You represented Agustin Salas, Jr., hopefully I pronounced that right. And he was arrested in June of 2002. Now, can you clear this up for me? Is it that the FBI recruited his mother and she wore a recording device during the discussion of her sonís case, apparently trying to engage you in an extended conversation that would record your alleged willingness to commit perjury? Can you fill us in on that? Can you give us some clarification?
GARY: Sure. Agustin Salas was a young man who was probably 16 when I first met him and his mother, and he was a young man who was at significant risk of - he didnít have a criminal record but he was associating with gang affiliated people and was just generally on the peripheral of getting into trouble and had a number of close calls with the authorities. In any event, he was arrested for second offense drunk driving just after he had turned 18, and he had led the police on a several mile high speed chase through two incorporated cities, and when he was finally apprehended he resisted arrest, and those were the basic charges against him. And so the FBI had previously engaged Barbara Buontello, his mother. Her name is Barbara, and the district attorney was working with her to try to get proof that I had suborned perjury in a previous case. Does that make sense so far?
TRISH: Yes, it makes sense.
RON: My question, Gary, is who solicited her to the FBI? Was that the DAís office or the FBI?
GARY: She went to the FBI for their assistance in an unrelated matter which we understand had to do with her efforts to secure the FBI assistance in basically doing something to her ex-husband, who was a federal employee. And in the course of that, as we understand it, the FBI was not of much assistance to her in that regard. But out of that she became, she wanted to get in to the Federal Witness Protection Program and become a paid federal informant. She then made some allegations against me to the FBI in order to enhance her credibility to them. They didnít know what to do with that information by themselves, so they referred it to the district attorneyís office for the district attorneyís investigation or comments or whatever. Thatís how it all began was with the allegations of Barbara Buontello. Subsequent to that, her son got in trouble. So the district attorney decided that what he would do is send her in to my office to have me represent her son on this drunk driving case in order to get evidence against me of my criminal activities. And thatís sort of how the scenario all, thatís how it began. Does that answer your question? Do you follow me?
TRISH: Oh, I follow you. Iím wondering since the FBI was involved, does that mean that you are also under federal investigation?
GARY: Well, I donít think that, you know, I was ever under federal investigation. The FBI has always contended that all they did was refer the matter to the district attorneyís office. And then, during the course of the investigation, they cooperated with the district attorneyís office and lent assistance to the district attorneyís office under the district attorneyís supervision. And that is why the FBI has not been named in the lawsuit. Because it has been and is their position that they really didnít have anything to do with it other than to lend cooperative assistance to the district attorney. Barbara was always talking, herself, about this previous case that I had done a couple of years before. Okay?
GARY: And she would always make remarks in the phone calls about things that she had done or things that she had done or seen or that I had done. And during the course of those conversations, I never said anything. I just let her talk. And even in the phone conversations it was clear that frequently I would have interrupting phone calls or I would be talking to somebody else and I just basically had her on an open line, and I just sort of let her talk, and I never said one thing or the other. And so there were never any incriminating remarks or anything incriminating by me. But there were a lot of suggestive remarks by her. Well, anyhow, the bottom line is, when court came along for young Mr. Salas - you have to remember Barbara, the mother, was working with the district attorney, okay? So she wanted to extend out his case as long as possible because thatís what the district attorney wanted her to do. My obligation was to Agustin and my interest was to arrange a disposition of his case that would allow him to enter the Marine Corps. Now, at this point in time, young Salas had no idea that his mother was on the district attorneyís payroll.
RON: Sounds like a conflict of interest to me, Gary.
GARY: A horrible conflict of interest, okay? Yeah, I mean, right from the beginning, okay? So, I moved forward and at the first court hearing, unbeknownst to me, the deputy district attorney had been instructed to make it as hard as, as tough on Salas as possible in order to force me to continue his case and not to give him a reasonable disposition on his case but to make it as hard as possible so that I couldnít accept any offers. Well, I have been a lawyer a long time, and the bottom line is I was able to prevail on the court to give him a disposition on his case that would require him to do some jail time but to be out of custody with no probation about three days before he was due to go into the Marine Corps. So that he would be able to enter the Marine Corps legally on his scheduled report date. Okay?
GARY: And, even though his mother his mother was telling him not to do it, I managed to separate him from his mother for a few moments and get him to enter the plea that was necessary in order to accomplish that. I did that. And as soon as that was over, the district attorney had them illegally and secretly recording the court proceedings.
RON: This is Tom Sneddon youíre talking about?
GARY: Well, his deputies.
RON: Okay, his deputy in this case?
GARY: I mean, he is the district attorney but the district attorney isnít sitting there with a recording device or isnít doing it personally.
RON: Itís obviously under his authorization, you would assume.
GARY: Of course itís under his authorization, and he was familiar with the people who were investigating me, and the things that they were doing, and all of that. And so the first crime they committed, you know, was illegally recording the court proceedings. And the reason they were doing this was because the district attorney, the deputy district attorney who was investigating me wanted to have instant access to everything that I was doing in court so that they could figure out their next move against me. Okay? So as soon as those proceedings were over and the deal was done and Salas was going to go to jail for about 60 days or thereabouts or whatever period of time it was that would allow him to get out in order to still meet his Marine reporting date without any legal restraint, they told his mother to create a ruckus with me to get that plea set aside. And so she did that, and she got him to say that he wasnít happy with the plea and that I had forced him to do it and all this kind of thing. And so, I donít know if youíre a lawyer and so Iím not sure how much of this you fully understand.
RON: Well, Iím not a lawyer, but I do understand that it sounds a little bit shady and conflict of interest, and Iím wondering if youíre special or if this happens on more occasions than weíre aware of.
GARY: I think this happens routinely.
RON: This is probably one of the reasons youíre filing the suit and want to see it through to trial as opposed to a settlement because you want to, you know, kind of bring it out in the forefront and make them answer to it and hopefully make them stop it?
RON: Okay, that makes sense.
GARY: The bottom line is they went and they talked to the judge privately, which is against the law and in violation of the rules of professional conduct. They have an ex parte conversation with the court, told the court about the fact that they were investigating me for criminal activities, and they tried to get the judge to release Salas from custody. Which would have been an illegal activity on her part because once a judgment is entered itís final, and the judge loses jurisdiction, but they wanted her to do it anyway. Fortunately, she did not do it. She thought about it and at first agreed to do it but then she realized that she was being put in a very compromised position and so she refused to cooperate with that.
RON: Is this the, and Iím not going to name her name, but is this the same judge that you told me about that was originally cooperating and then basically became a whistle blower and now theyíve basically stripped her away from a lot of the cases she was handling?
GARY: Right. They have put her in an impossible position.
RON: And as I understand it, again, not naming any names, but the way that itís working now they have some kind of, you know, for lack of a better word, trumped up charge that if she comes forward with any kind of flack to them, theyíre going to try to slap this on. Didnít she have to go through some kind of trial herself and was acquitted?
GARY: Yes. They had bogus charges on her. Again, she was involved in, apparently, a domestic case with her significant other, but it was the way they processed it, the way they handled it and stacked the charges on her and just took an unreasonable position towards her and added charges for which they had no significant evidence. They just about ruined her career because she had to go through a very public trial for several months. She ultimately was also acquitted and then after that, immediately after being acquitted, they announced a further investigation, which doesnít have any more merit than the first charges, and theyíre holding that over her head. They havenít prosecuted her for it but they periodically announce that theyíre still investigating it and theyíre still considering it.
RON: Sounds familiar, Gary.
GARY: Yeah. Very familiar.
RON: Weíre going to get to the issue of the stacking of the charges in a little bit. I have one more question before we turn it back to Trish. A couple of days ago, you and I were talking about how the DA had tried to get you disbarred while the trial against you was still pending, which, I mean, you had not even been convicted yet at that point, and they obviously instigated some kind of complaint to the State Bar of California, presumably, to try to get you disbarred. Do you want to comment on that? Tell us anything about that?
GARY: Well, thatís what they did. They tried to get the state bar to take action against me just based on their charges.
RON: Their unsubstantiated charges.
GARY: Their unsubstantiated charges, and the state bar essentially took a hands off position pending the outcome of the case. Thatís pretty much it. I understand the charges have been filed now with the state bar for their conduct for some of their conduct in my case - those against some deputies and the assistant district attorney who supervised my prosecution, but I havenít had anything personally to do with that.
RON: Sounds like the tables have been turned a little bit, though.
GARY: I think the tables have been turned. And, well, itís not even the tables being turned, itís just a case of the light being shone where it needs to be illuminated.
GARY: Itís a very bad situation here in the north county, and the general public is very unaware of it because Tom Sneddon and his assistant up here have pretty much dominated the justice system in Santa Barbara County for several years. And he has run several terms without even any opposition and heís very powerful. His office is very powerful and public officials are intimidated by them, court personnel are intimidated by them, I mean, they just have had it their own way, and they pretty much do whatever they want. And the problem with it is, they do not take any kind of a leadership role with regard to law enforcement in the sense of protecting the public interests against excessive force. Rather, they promote excessive force by the various law enforcement agencies, by their attitude of protection and prosecution of cases that are clearly inappropriate.
RON: Weíre going to cover that in detail. Iíve got some questions for you on that, you know, based on a couple of things that you mentioned to me right before the holiday. But, Trish, why donít you go ahead and take off your plate what you were thinking of?
Part 2: Confidential settlements, stacking charges, vindictive prosecutions,
and discusses the Michael Jackson case inc. that he once sued Michael Jackson on
a wrongful termination case.
Part 3: Jackson case (cont.), S.B. County booking process, A.G.
investigations, Grand Jury discussion re: Jackson case.
MJJF Talk Radio Interview with Gary Dunlap Parts 2 & 3
Airdate - January 2, 2004
TRISH: Okay, an excerpt from your complaint was included in a recent newspaper article, and Iím going to quote you here, "In fact, it is difficult, if not impossible to discern any ethical standards on the part of the defendants. They appear to have been intellectually destitute and morally bereft during the entire sequence of events giving rise to these complaints." Do you have any comment on this?
GARY: Well, Trish, what I would probably do with that quote is refer you to my lawyers in Los Angeles who are prosecuting the case on my behalf against the district attorney and they have experience with the Santa Barbara County district attorneyís office on previous cases and so they are very familiar with this issue, with the problem in the district attorneyís office in Santa Barbara County. And Joe Freeman is just an excellent attorney in Los Angeles which is handling the case and, you know, at some point I can give you his phone number and you can call him and ask for more of an explanation of that quote because thatís really Ė he drew the complaint and thatís his conclusion based on the clear facts. See, whatís unusual in my case is that almost everything theyíve done has been revealed during the course of my trial, and so itís not one of these cases where you have suspicions that they have done something but you canít prove it. My criminal case, the attorney who represented me in my criminal case was excellent and he just discovered and brought out and got into the record, you know, all of the things the district attorney had done. In fact, before my trial even began, one of the big advantages that we had is that the California Supreme Court appointed a visiting judge, a former, a retired court of appeals justice to hear my trial and Judge Kenneth Andreen retired from the Court of Appeals and before my trial began, my lawyer made a motion to dismiss the case based on outrageous governmental misconduct and there was a three day hearing on a dismissal motion. At the conclusion of it, it was very interesting because Judge Andreen indicated that there was, in fact, governmental, substantial governmental misconduct. And, in fact, he said that their conduct, the district attorneyís conduct was so bad that it read more like a John Grisham novel than it did a criminal prosecution.
RON: Who was playing your part in the movie?
GARY: I donít know whoís going to play my part in the movie. But that was Judge Andreenís take on it. But then he went on to say that because the charges are so serious, both against me as a member of the bar as well as the conduct of the district attorney, that it was all so serious that he didnít feel that he could dismiss the case because he felt that a jury needed to resolve it on itís merits.
RON: Youíre talking about the one that was brought against you, correct?
GARY: Well, in the prosecution against me before my trial began there was this motion to dismiss the charges against me, and the judge agreed that there had been, you know, a lot of misconduct. And, in fact, so much misconduct that he said that it read more like a John Grisham novel to him. However, because the charges were so severe and he felt that it needed - that the case needed to be tried. And thatís why I ended up in trial and ultimately the jury did acquit me. And so, thatís where, you know, thatís where that was. And in the civil case, I think that my lawyer in the civil case, you know, he basically has picked up the same things that the criminal court judge picked up on, is that their conduct was just very inappropriate, I mean, and blatant.
RON: Did it seem like they did their due diligence enough to justify the severity of the charges?
GARY: Well, enough to justify, I donít know if you realize how difficult it is when they throw the kitchen sink at you, I mean, when they throw seven felonies against you, how difficult it is to get an acquittal on all charges. You know, I mean itís one thing to be charged with one crime and have a trial and be acquitted on it, but the district attorney in Santa Barbara has a policy that if they throw enough charges against you, the jury is bound to convict you on something.
RON: Well, weíre going to get to that in a second. I do have one quick question before Trish picks up, and you mentioned Joe Freeman had some experience against filing various cases against the Santa Barbara DA.
RON: Are you aware of the success rate in terms of what they have been able to successfully try?
GARY: Well, the cases all settled. What they do is they settle these cases. They donít take them to trial. They settle them, and they settle them with confidential settlement agreements, which I think is highly inappropriate. So that the public never is aware of these cases, of these various excessive force cases, excessive prosecution cases because they settle them under confidential agreement.
RON: Because they donít go to trial.
GARY: I think that itís a misuse of public funds, frankly.
RON: Because they donít go to trial the public doesnít find out about it because they never get into the court.
GARY: Well, yes. The people are paid so much money but one of the conditions is that they cannot reveal the amount or any of the circumstances about the case.
RON: That is interesting.
GARY: Yeah, very interesting.
RON: Maybe thatís why they donít have a, well, should we say this, Trish? Remember at the press conference against the Michael Jackson case, Mr. Sneddon made various jokes, and one of them was the fact that they didnít have much of a budget to pay for the lunch.
GARY: Yeah, right.
RON: And Iím wondering if they donít have much of a budget because theyíre spending a lot of their money, you know, doing all of these confidential settlements because of their abuse of authority.
GARY: That plus the fact that heís hired a publicist, and I think thatís a misuse of public funds.
RON: How so?
GARY: I mean, why should tax payers pay for his media consultants?
RON: Well, as I understand it, theyíre doing it pro bono, but between you and me only, a public relations firm doesnít typically, theyíre basically doing it to promote themselves and their clients. So theyíre not getting any direct payment from the Santa Barbara DA, but theyíre getting tons of free publicity just by attaching themselves to this case.
GARY: Theyíre getting consideration.
RON: Theyíre certainly getting consideration, whether they admit that or not.
RON: Okay, Trish, go ahead.
TRISH: In a recent newspaper interview you stated, "Economically I suffered and I continue to suffer, but the major loss is the pressure I felt and the emotional aspect of what this did to my family. It went on for a year, and that was pretty disconcerting." Can you tell us a little bit more about what it was like to spend more than a year of your life fighting for not just your reputation but to avoid what could have been a 12+ year prison sentence?
GARY: Yes, well, Trish, Iím 62 years old. Iíve been a lawyer for 37 years all in the same community. Iíve raised my family in Lompoc and Santa Maria and, you know, this area. And Iíve had a very successful law career and Iíve had a very successful business career. Iíve owned a number of businesses outside of the law practice and my whole social life as well as my professional life has all been and is in Santa Barbara County and particularly in the north part of the county. My wife is an employee in the county of Santa Barbara. As a matter of fact, she is the executive assistant of the Superior Court. She has a very delicate position in the court system and this was humiliating to her. It was humiliating to my children. I canít tell you how stressful it is at my age to all of a sudden be charged with all of these crimes and to be looking at 14 years in the penitentiary. And essentially what they wanted, was they wanted me disbarred. They wanted me out of practice because Iím one of the few lawyers who is not financially dependent on my law practice. So that I donít have to, I donít calculate the amount of defense that I can give based on the size of the fee that I receive. I mean, I pretty much charge clients whatever they can afford, and Iíd rather look for the merits of the case. And I have been particularly interested in excessive authority cases where I think that either the prosecution is trumping up the charges or even if the charges, if there is some basis of a charge, that the penalty that they are seeking is just grossly out of line with whatever it is that the person has done. Here is the thing. What you have to remember is northern Santa Barbara County is pretty much a government dependent economic base in that we have Vandenberg Air Force Base as the primary employer and then all of the aerospace industry that is related, you know, to that. And so, what they have done over a period of time is, they have given felonies for practically nothing to a generation of young people who are at the lower end of the economic spectrum and have locked these kids out of any kind of meaningful employment forever. Because once you get a felony conviction you canít get a job with the police department. You canít get a job with the fire department. You canít join the military service. You canít work at Vandenberg Air Force Base. You canít have a security clearance.
RON: You canít be a DA.
GARY: Well, yeah. You couldnít be a DA if you wanted to. And essentially, when you have people, and we also have the prisons in Lompoc, the federal institutions in Lompoc, and so you have a large population of young people who are sort of at risk anyhow, socially and economically. And then, itís almost like they take some of these kids right out of high school and they start throwing felony convictions on them for relatively minor offenses, and it ruins their lives and their opportunity to turn their lives around. And Iíve always opposed that and I do oppose it. And so the district attorney and I are always at odds with one another about the excessiveness of the way that they prosecute their cases and the way they punish what, in most jurisdictions, are relatively insignificant types of cases or, not insignificant, perhaps, but certainly not at the level at which they prosecute them and punish them.
RON: Gary, when we talked a couple of days ago, Iím not going to try to put words in your mouth, Iím just going to try to articulate what it was that you were saying to me for you to comment on. You mentioned some kind of, you know, give and take relationship between the Santa Barbara Sheriffís Department and the DA. The fact that there is a lot of excessive force claims issued against the Santa Barbara Sheriffís Department and in order to get those claims reduced or dismissed, in some cases the Santa Barbara DA has, you used the word overstack or stack charges above and beyond what would be a normal "level of prosecution for them to go after", giving them more jail time or what have you, and getting them to plea bargain down to dismiss the charges of the excessive force. Can you comment on that? Do you have any specific cases? How common is this?
GARY: Yeah. I have a lot of cases. I can cite the case of People vs. B.J. Taylor as an example. Thatís a case maybe not five years old, People vs. Bartucci. Yes, I mean, those are the cases that I specialize in, that I am particularly interested in, and I have a number of those cases.
RON: Typically, how does that happen? Can you describe the process? The basicÖ.
GARY: Well, for instance, you have an uncorroborated informant, for instance who, to get out of trouble himself, tells the police that somebodyís doing something wrong, that theyíre selling drugs, or whatever, okay? They send a SWAT team in on an uncorroborated charge. They engage in all sorts of excessive force. They arrest the person and they donít find any drugs or any evidence of this criminal activity, but they arrest the person anyway. Then, rather than the district attorney reviewing the report from any kind of responsible position, instead they automatically file the charges. They file numerous charges, I mean, you know, in a case like that, resisting arrest. I mean, a guy gets beaten up by the police so they charge him with resisting arrest and obstructing justice, and because his 3 year old child is in the line of fire, between the SWAT team that has broken into the apartment illegally and the individual whoís still in bed, they charge the individual with child endangerment.
RON: Was that a real case that youíre talking about?
GARY: Everything Iím telling you is a real case. If you follow my trial, if you follow my case, youíll see, youíll have the names and the dates and the places and the times and the whole thing. Then what they do, is they prosecute this guy, they prosecute these people, and in the particular case Iím drawing these facts from, but itís not just his case. Itís not just B.J.ís case. This happens on a regular basis. And they prosecute them and they threaten him that if he doesnít plead guilty to one of the charges and if they convict him on all of the charges, heís going to go to jail for 20 years or go to prison for 20 years. So in most cases, he gets intimidated and he takes a plea. When my clients do it and I realize or I have the facts to back up the defense, we go to trial and we get acquitted.
RON: It sounds like youíve got experience in this area.
GARY: Yes. Yeah, Iíve had a significant amount of success. If I lost every case they wouldnít be nearly as upset with me. But Iíve had a significant amount of success in these cases. But you get to the position where most of the guys here are so intimidated they end up taking these deals that are terrible. It sends them off to prison but only for a few years instead of a whole bunch of years type of thing, when, in fact, they shouldnít be charged at all.
RON: So let me understand it. Is it sort of like a cover their own butt in terms of they knew that because of the excessive, the physical force that the sheriffís department or the police department has when going after somebody, the DA, to kind of compensate for that, will stack these charges up so that theyíre never really liable for the excessive force because theyÖ.
GARY: Because they had ultimately pleaded guilty to something and so that basically lets the excessive force case go away because what lawyer is going to take an excessive force case for a guy whoís already in prison because he was convicted or pled guilty to a charge. So in that manner they protect the law enforcement agency.
RON: I see.
GARY: If they build up a lot of indebtedness in law enforcement to the district attorneyís office for having protected them and at the same time they save the county, you know, a lot of money on what would otherwise perhaps be excessive force cases, they do it at the expense of the people who are least able to defend themselves. The people who, for the most part who have to go with an overworked, understaffed public defenderís office that doesnít have the horsepower to fight these cases.
RON: Trish, why donít you go ahead and ask him any, Gary, with your permission, have you heard about the Michael Jackson case?
GARY: Yes, Iím familiar with the Michael Jackson case.
RON: It happens to be going on in your county right now. Trish, why donít you ask the questions that youíd like to and then, when youíre ready, just turn it back to me.
TRISH: Okay. Well, as you said, youíre familiar with the Michael Jackson case filed by the same district attorney, Tom Sneddon. What are your thoughts about the case so far and whatís going on, what weíve learned from Court TV and newspapers? What do you think about the case?
GARY: I canít hear you too well, but I got the impression that you want me to comment on the Michael Jackson case?
TRISH: Yes. I would like you to comment on the Michael Jackson case.
RON: And especially in the ways that it is similar to your own.
GARY: All right, well, first of all, let me say I have no opinion one way or the other whether or not he is guilty because I donít know, I donít really know very much about the facts. I donít think any of us do. But what I will tell you, the very fact that heís being prosecuted by Sneddonís office does not cause me to have any reason to believe that heís guilty in that, because of what I know about the district attorneyís office, I know that they do vindictive prosecutions on a routine basis. And I know that Sneddon has been, you know, chafing at the bit because he wasnít able to prosecute him ten years ago. And so I donít think that thereís any question that heís being over targeted. Now, you know, whether he did whatever it is that theyíve charged him with, I donít know. Iím highly suspicious of it. I mean, it does not fit in my experience, and I have defended some cases of similar, you know, of similar nature. And he does not fit the pedophile profile regardless of what Greta Van Susteren and Diane Dimond can talk about on their Court TV program, he does not fit the profile of a pedophile. I know that he has had hundreds and probably thousands, but certainly hundreds of young people at his ranch, and I know personally that scores and scores of those kids have stayed overnight and have had personal relationships with him. And when you take that into account and then you only have two allegations in ten years of this kind of activity, itís highly suspicious to me. Does that answer anything?
TRISH: Yes, absolutely it answers.
GARY: I mean, and I have no personal investment in Michael Jacksonís case. As a matter of fact, I sued Michael Jackson a couple of years ago.
TRISH: Oh, you did?
GARY: You know, on a case, in a civil matter.
RON: Was it about those freaking animals, Gary?
GARY: No, no it had to do with a wrongful termination of one of his employees. What I discerned out of that case, even though my client had charged that she had been wrongly terminated, okay? She never doubted his innocence on that case ten years ago or on this case.
RON: Was she working for him then? Iím just curious.
GARY: Yes, she was working for him during that time.
RON: Was she a maid or something like that?
GARY: No, she was an executive employee at the ranch.
RON: I see.
GARY: And even though she did not, I mean, she had her own problems with him, arising out of her termination and we were suing him, even throughout all of that, she never once doubted his innocence with regard to these charges ten years ago or, in fact, Iíve spoken with her since these new charges have come up, and she continues to be supportive of him. She says itís absolutely not true.
RON: Well, that says a lot.
GARY: She said the problem with Michael is he marches to his own drum and he does act impulsively, and thatís what happened in her case that resulted in her wrongful termination. And so itís not that she, you know, itís not like sheís trying to cover for him or anything. If anybody would have a reason to say something bad about him with regard to these charges, it would be her, and she says itís absolutely not true. And so, because of that, because she knows him and has even had some adversary relationship with him and has been intimately involved with the ranch and with out the ranch in an executive capacity during the thing ten years ago, the fact that she is so confident in his innocence leads me to believe that this is just, just another district attorney effort to get publicity for his own purposes.
RON: Well, heís certainly getting that, if nothing else.
GARY: Well, I donít think heís getting the publicity he expected to get or the reaction that he expected.
GARY: Sneddon is used to having it his own way and for the media to fall right into line with him. And itís always been that way, and I think that, all of a sudden, with my case and with Michael Jacksonís case, people are beginning to question the integrity of his office.
RON: So it could end up backfiring on him.
GARY: All of it could end up backfiring on him.
RON: Okay, well I have a couple of questions regarding the case against Jackson that theyíre filing.
GARY: Pardon, what was that?
RON: I have a couple of questions regarding the case against Jackson, you know, not specific, but in general. Are you aware that the attorney general is now investigating the investigation and the procedures that have gone on both in terms of the investigation from day one, the legitimacy that the case should ever have been filed in the first place, the charges. And secondly, with respect to the way that Michael Jackson was treated, or allegedly treated, when he was arrested. And that includes the marks that we were talking about in the photograph that we saw that was allegedly taken after he was arrested, you know, and being locked in the bathroom for, they say 15 minutes and he says 45 minutes, and you and I talked about that as well. Can you tell us a little bit about, you know, first of all with respect to the injuries, the handcuffs and so on? Can you tell us a little bit about your thoughts on that?
GARY: Well, my experience is well, first of all, Jackson would not have had a watch on when he went through the booking process. They would have taken his personal items off. So even if he wore a watch in, he would not have had a watch with him, so when he says that he was detained in the bathroom for 45 minutes, I think that thatís the way it feels because itís absolutely true that he would have been locked into that bathroom and it does feel probably longer than it really is. I know that in my own case it is not uncommon that when you go into that jail, particularly, I know in my own caseÖ..
RON: Are you talking about the Santa BarbaraÖ
GARY: If you go in to visit one of your inmates, unless you go through an extraordinary procedure weeks in advance, you cannot have what they call a contact visit with your client. That is when you can sit in the same room with him and talk with him face to face. You have to talk through the glass just like any other thing, which makes it very difficult for a lawyer to develop a relationship with his client and to go over documents together and this type of thing. And when they put you into that room sometimes you have to wait an extraordinary period of time for them to bring the inmate in. And then after youíre finished with your interview to get out of the visitation room, your side of the visiting room, can take as long as they want it to take.
RON: Do they do that on purpose, do you think?
GARY: Well, I donít want to say itís on purpose, Ron, I mean, you know, they say weíll get there as soon as we can. But sometimes that seems like a very, very long time. And Iíve noticed in my case it does seem to be extraordinarily long and I frequently have to call several times and ask for a supervisor before Iím released from the visitation room. Now, is it intentional or are they just busy, I mean, they are busy, you know. So itís not something that you can prove. I donít think that the AG is going to find any misconduct because itís not the kind of misconduct that you can prove.
RON: Are you talking about being locked in the bathroom or are you talking about in general?
GARY: Iím talking about the extended period of time type of thing. I do know that they have officers there, some of whom are very nice and very helpful and very professional. They have others who have reputations for being impolite, aggressive, and forceful Ė overly forceful. It sort of depends on what officer is assigned but what Michael Jackson alleges I know has happened in other cases.
RON: Are you talking about the injury now?
GARY: The injury as well as the delay as well as the inappropriate remarks to him while he was in the bathroom. And I know that those things have happened to others. So when he makes the allegation, I have the tendency to believe him because how else, I mean, how would he even think to say those things? Because Iíve had several of my clients make those identical kinds of complaints to me. And so, when he said that, I have a tendency to believe him based on my own experience. But, on the other hand, in any given instance, you canít prove it. One of the things that Greta was talking with Diane Dimond and they were pooh-poohing Jacksonís remarks, they were talking about, well Geragos was right there with him throughout that whole procedure. Thatís not true.
RON: Well, I think they were there too, though, werenít they, Gary?
GARY: Well, the media was all there, I mean, it was a circus. But the point is, once you go into the booking process nobody is with you. They donít let your lawyer go in and stand next to you while youíre being booked. And I would be extraordinarily surprised, in fact, I know it did not, I canít believe that it happened. Geragos was not allowed past the closed doors of the booking room.
RON: Well, did they videotape that as a normal course? I know that they had some audio tape and video tape of, you know, of the booking process, how he was arrested and handcuffed in the car, and so on. Do they videotape the entire process? Do they videotape only parts of it? Do they videotape the whole process and then edit it out to the parts that they want you to see? Or how does that all work? You would think, especially in this case Ė
GARY: Well, the jail system has a video surveillance system in the booking room. Now, what they release, you know, I donít know. To regular people they donít release any of it. As long as weíre talking about videotaping it and the press and some of this kind of thing, one of Michael Jacksonís biggest complaints was the fact of the amount of coverage and the number of officers and the amount of coverage.
RON: Are you talking about the search of the property?
GARY: Yes, it was at the search of his property. And I will tell you that it is against the law for information to be disseminated regarding a search warrant until after the search warrant has been executed and returned to the issuing magistrate.
RON: We did talk about that and I was going to mention that. You mentioned your case.
GARY: In my case, I know that the district attorney, I know that the district attorneyís office does leak that kind of information out, which is illegal.
RON: To the press?
GARY: To the press, to certain members of the press.
RON: To certain members of the press.
RON: I see.
GARY: And, in my case, they got the magistrate to issue a search warrant both of my home as well as my office. They then executed both of those warrants simultaneously. My home is in Solvang, California, which is about 30 miles away from my office in Lompoc. Iíve lived in Solvang for the last five years or so because when I began to realize that I did not feel safe in Lompoc anymore because of what I felt was going to be authority problems. I really felt that something like this was going to happen for a long time. And I moved out of Lompoc and I moved to Solvang, although my practice was still in Lompoc. In any event, they executed the warrant on my house and my office simultaneously. And while I was at my home with the officers, at least I came to my home from court and found them rummaging through my home and I was at my house from then on. While that search was going on they were breaking into my office in Lompoc under the position that my office was locked. And they went around to all of my tenants in the building, because I owned the building at the time, and they went around to all of my tenants trying to get a key to my office. Thereby telling all my tenants that they were getting ready to execute a search warrant on my office.
RON: Iím sure that made you feel greatÖ
GARY: And they had a number of police cars surrounding my building and they had a member of the press and a photographer from the local paper taking pictures of breaking into my office. So that the next day there was a headline, "Dunlapís Office Raided by FBI and Local Police".
RON: Was that another Diane Dimond exclusive?
GARY: I donít know if it was a Diane Dimond exclusive Ė it was the local paper exclusive.
RON: Was she there waiting for you at home?
GARY: They were already in my home when I came in from a court appearance in Santa Maria. But when I was waiting for them to finish up in my home, they were in my office doing the same thing, breaking into my office with the press present. So that, thatís improper. I mean, they arenít supposed to do that. But they do it anyway. They do it because they can get away with it, and theyíve always gotten away with it, and nobody can stand up to them.
RON: The attorney general, as we mentioned, is investigating this. A couple of questions, first of allÖ.
GARY: They wonít come up with anything. Thereís going to be a whitewash.
RON: Okay, assuming that there is video tape that we have not seen yet, would they be able to access that video tape before the police could actually, you know, have a little bit of fun with it? Iím not accusing anybody of anything there. Iím sure theyíre fine officers, but my point is, if that is internal and itís not turned over to the attorney general, there could be some tampering with that evidence by them or by somebody else.
GARY: Well, there could be. But you would expect that if they have video surveillance in the booking room or in the bathroom, I donít know if they have it in the bathroom, but they certainly have it in the booking room, then they should have it when he was in the bathroom behind the door, behind the actually booking facility doors. And it should even be, there should be a video camera even in that bathroom. And if they have that, you have to also assume that they have a time clock on that. And if they have a time clock on it, then they will be hard pressed to tamper with it. But whether there is, you know, what there is, I donít know. But I just donít believe that there will be a very extensive investigation.
RON: When you say whitewash are you inferring that theyíre not going to really do their due diligence because theyíre going to, you know, take care of their own, or am I Ė Iím not trying to put words in your mouth, Iím just wanting clarification on what you mean by that.
GARY: These are law enforcement agencies that work hand in hand with one another on a regular basis and unless, if itís an internal affairs investigation, if itís in the nature of an internal affairs investigation then I think it may be on the up and up and it may be thorough. However, if it is just one of these review these procedures and tell us if you think anything was done wrong, then it wonít be. It will just basically be something to give, you know, to give to Diane Dimond and let herÖ.
RON: Well, Iím sure she wonít find out about that from the DA.
GARY: Well, it depends on what the result is.
RON: Right. Right, exactly.
GARY: So itís very difficult to take on law enforcement. They have all of the, they have the power. We, as citizens, give them the authority and we assume that they will exercise it responsibly for all of our benefit and protection.
RON: And obviously when they abuse itÖ
GARY: When they decide that, when the prosecutors decide that they want to be the judges, then law enforcement gets the break down. And what you have is you have law enforcement that have taken on the role that they are the judges as well as the prosecutors. And they are no longer doing an investigation. They are attempting to build an airtight case.
RON: That they canít lose.
GARY: That they canít lose and to protect the law enforcement agencies. And when you have a chief law enforcement agency protecting the subsidiary agencies, the policing agencies, with that kind of an attitude, itís very difficult to do anything about and to catch them.
RON: Trish, are you still there?
GARY: You have the judges Ė the judges are intimidated. The judges canít watch what they did to Judge Hall and not be intimidated. They have an extraordinary input as far as the selection of judges. Itís not, you know, itís not a good situation.
RON: We talked about that, how Melville was assigned to this, the Jackson case, was atypical because, you know, first of all heís not a criminal judge heís a civil judge and he, you know, the typical methodology you had mentioned was a random selection. And thatís a random selection of criminal judges of which he is not one. So that would lend you to question how and why he was assigned to the case.
GARY: That is correct. But the only other thing I can say he is probably the most capable of all of the judges on the bench in the north county. So in many respects, Michael is probably well served having him.
RON: Thatís good.
GARY: I donít think thatís the issue. I think, rather, the issue is the selection process was not followed. You know, and if it wasnít followed it should have been explained both to the public as well as to Jackson and his lawyers why it was not being followed and allow them to have input. But the way it came out it was just like as if itís a normal kind of a thing. It was not a normal kind of a thing. Does that make sense to you?
RON: It does. It does make sense to me.
GARY: I mean, thereís nothing wrong with Melville handling the case. In fact, Jackson, I mean, the public and Jackson and everybody are probably best served by having him do it because he is an excellent judge.
TRISH: Itís just the process of how theyÖ.
GARY: Itís the process. Itís the process the way that it was handled.
RON: It kind of makes you wonder if they are going to, you know, kind of do as they will on that and not inform people, you know, there might be other things going on that people are not informed about that are much moreÖÖ
GARY: Right. That do cut against the defendantís rights.
RON: Trish, did you have any other questions?
TRISH: Yes. I do have a question. It was just reported on MSNBC that Thomas Sneddon would like to have a grand jury for the Michael Jackson case. Now, is it typical for the district attorney to go for a grand jury after a defendant has been charged with a crime?
GARY: Well, hereís what I can say about that is that they indicted me. They did not take me through the regular process. They did a grand jury investigation on me. The downside ofÖ..ordinarily, with a grand jury proceeding, they do not have Ė the defendant does not know there is going to be a grand jury. I didnít know there was a grand jury being convened in my case until after the indictment was handed down. When you have a grand jury proceeding, itís essentially a rubber stamp for the district attorneyís charges and allows him to avoid a preliminary hearing, a probable cause hearing. There is no defense lawyer in the grand jury. There is no cross examination in the grand jury. There is no judge in the grand jury room. Itís just the grand jurors and the DA. And in my case, if you read the grand jury transcript and then you compared it with the jury trial transcript, there is virtually no similarity. In my own case, the grand jury indictment transcript is farcical. I mean, the grand jurors asked questions because my case, it sounded a little fishy to a few of the grand jurors and they asked for an explanation. And the district attorney basically said, thatís not important. There were some things that sort of stood out as exculpatory or, you know, exonerating towards me. And a few of the grand jurors asked about, well, what about this? Or, what about that? And the district attorney said, well, youíre just supposed to ignore that. Donít worry about that. You know, weíll try to get around to explaining that later, which they never did. And they basically just control it. And thatís why someone famous, and I canít remember who it was, someone said, you know, in a grand jury proceeding a district attorney can indict a ham sandwich.
RON: A kosher ham sandwich? (laughter)
GARY: A kosher ham sandwich. (laughter) And I think in this case, the DA wants to avoid the glare of a probable cause hearing. Because it will be extraordinarily embarrassing to him if he canít even get past a preliminary hearing. And so he doesnít want to have a regular preliminary hearing where his officers will be subject to examination. And so thatís why he wants the grand jury to indict if he can. Now, I have reason to believe that he may have already tried to get a grand jury.
RON: Does he get a grand jury just by requesting it, or does it have to be approved by the judge and if so, based on what criteria?
GARY: He has the right to notify the judge that he wants a grand jury convened.
RON: So he will get it by just asking for it.
RON: I see.
GARY: He will get his grand jury convened. Now, what we know is that a few weeks ago, right at the beginning of all of this Michael Jackson stuff, there was a rumor circulating in the north county that a grand jury was being convened.
RON: Against Michael Jackson?
GARY: No, just that a grand jury was being convened.
RON: Oh, in general. Okay.
GARY: And nobody could find out whether that was true, or if it was true, to whom did it pertain? Was it another charge against Dunlap? Or was it a charge about Judge Hall? Or was it the Michael Jackson case? Or was it something unrelated Ė to some new person? But all of a sudden, the rumor then went away. There was no more talk about a grand jury convening.
RON: Well, like you said, isnít it basically in secret, so that if it did, in fact, happen, you know, it could have already happened and we would not even know about it, at this point?
GARY: We would not even know about it. There was no indictment. Only if there was an indictment would you know about it. Because the jurors are instructed under their oath, they can be prosecuted if they even discuss that they were on a grand jury. So, grand jury proceedings are all conducted in secret.
RON: Isnít he taking a risk, though, because if the grand jury does not find enough evidence to proceed to trial, couldnít that be the end of his case there, or does he have other recourse after that?
GARY: Well, thatís a good question. I believe that if they did not grant an indictment, he could still file charges and go through the preliminary hearing process. However, if he canít get an indictment from a grand jury then heís got no case. Heís got no chance of getting through a probable cause hearing because in a probable cause hearing you have the right to cross examine the witnesses.
RON: So it could be viewed as some desperation tactic if he didnít get that already. You would think that by now we would have heard something if the arrest was November 20th.
GARY: I think that because there have been so many of the news media people around that you would think that it would have leaked out somehow. But, on the other handÖ..
RON: I havenít heard it from Diane yet, soÖif I donít hear it from her I donít believe it.
GARY: You would only hear it from her if there had been an indictment issued. You wouldnít have heard it from her if there was such a proceeding and there was no indictment.
GARY: So thereís really no way of knowing other than through the rumor avenue. But when he says that he would rather have an indictment process, now that doesnít surprise me because Sneddon and his office prefer to do things in secret. Thatís why they hate this media focus thatís been put on this case. Because they operate best, you know, under the covers. That was one of the things that I accused them of.
RON: Iím not going to even touch that one, Gary.
GARY: Well, that was probably a poor choice of words. Probably a poor choice of analogy.
RON: If they donít like the media, why does it seem that they try to use it to their advantage so much? Without naming names, itís obvious, you know, that Mr. Sneddon does have some favorites in the media that seem to get information before anybody else does. Obviously, thatís suspicious.
GARY: Up until my case ended in an acquittal, he was able to pretty much control the local north county press, I donít know about the south county press. But the north county press he was pretty much able to control because the courtroom reporters for the two local north county newspapers would rely on law enforcement and the district attorneyís office to give them, you know, information about cases. And so they had a very cozy relationship. Now, after my acquittal, I think the local newspaper in my community, in Lompoc, began to question whether or not they were getting totally accurate information from the district attorneyís office, and it seems to have changes significantly recently. But up until then, he had a real control over the press. Iím telling you, this guy has had control over a lot. Heís about the most powerful politician. Him, through his office, has been extraordinarily powerful, in the north county particularly.
RON: Trish, did you have any other closing questions?
TRISH: One closing question. Iím reading right now and Associated Press release stating that Mr. Geragos, Michael Jacksonís attorney, is expected to file a motion soon asking the judge to remove both Sheriff Anderson and Tom Sneddon from the case because he believes his client cannot receive fair treatment, and that the criminal investigation was legally flawed. Do you have any comment on that?
GARY: Well, Jim Anderson, Iíve known him for many years, and personally, Jim Anderson has always been a fair law enforcement officer. But you have to remember that heís a new sheriff, newly elected sheriff, and the structure of his office is left over from his predecessor, who is Jim Thomas, who is a crony of Tom Sneddon. And he also is the one who is going out and doing the interviews with Diane Dimond.
RON: I saw him, actually.
GARY: Yes, well, the sheriffís office, well, he was sheriff for a long time, and he and Sneddon were very tight. And so, while I think Jim Anderson, individually, and I think he is rebuilding his department and I think youíre going to see a significant improvement in the sheriffís department in Santa Barbara County over the next few years, but he inherits an infrastructure that was built by his predecessor and that is a big problem for any new coming elected official such as a sheriff.
RON: Gary, you told me a couple of days ago when we talked that Sneddon doesnít even prosecute his own cases, for the most part. Why would he even have a problem if he was "removed" unless he had some kind of personal interest, i.e., vendetta? I hate to use that word, itís so strong, but, you know, if he wasnít so personally attached, why would he even care? Since he doesnít, you know, personally prosecute?
GARY: I think this is his personal baby. Heís been waiting for this for ten years or more, and Tom Sneddon is a good prosecutor, I mean, donít kid yourself. Heís an administrator and an elected official and as such he prosecutes very few cases, if hardly any. However, a few years ago, I mean, he went to Israel and prosecuted a couple of murderers in Israel who had committed a murder in Santa Barbara County and he did an, as I understand from reports, a terrific job. And when he was coming up through the ranks, before he was a district attorney he was a very effective prosecutor. Tom Sneddon is no fool and heís no pushover. I think he wants this case bad. He knows itís a big publicity case. He knows his reputation is on the line, and he wants to be at the controls of this case. And whether or not he should be allowed to do that, I donít know, but I donít think the judge is going to remove him. I think that, in some respects, this is his case and, you know, he probably should prosecute it. But I also know that the truth has a way of coming out in these cases and when you have the financial ability to defend, you know, I think that weíll, I think that things will work out the way that, I think weíre going to learn a lot through this Michael Jackson case.
RON: I hope youíre right.
GARY: And the very fact that he is so personally involved in it will cut, certainly, both ways. Heís going to get his personal attention and his, you know, imprint. But also, you know, whenever youíre emotionally involved in something youíre lessÖÖ
GARY: Objective. And so it will be interesting. On the one hand, I worry about Michael Jacksonís case only because, Mark Geragos is an excellent lawyer, no doubt about that, heís, you know, as good as they come. At the same time, heís from Los Angeles and he doesnít know Santa Maria. Santa Maria is a unique community, and I hope that he is alert to the personality of the community where the case is going to be tried.
RON: Gary, in closing, I have one quick follow-up question to the one that Trish asked regarding the removal of Sneddon and/or Anderson. What criteria would be justifiable, if any, and what criteria do you think that Geragos is using for, you know, justification to remove them from the case?
GARY: Well, you know, I donít want to second guess a lawyer as good as Geragos.
RON: Well, generally speaking, what criteria could be used for the removal of a prosecutor from a particular case, you know, as far as conflict of interest, personal attachment, what have you?
GARY: Well, at the least reason for which we attempted, we attempted to have the district attorneyís office removed from my case and our theory was that the prosecuting attorney, the guy who was trying the case against me, and actually there were two of them, but the one who had conducted the investigation was leading the prosecution, was leading the trial against me, was the one who had committed a number of the inappropriate acts. And as such, we intended to call him as a witness, or we wanted to call him as a witness. He couldnít prosecute the case and be a witness. However, we lost on our motion to have them removed. We always felt that that was an error that they had committed, and had we been convicted that would have been an appellate issue because the personal involvement of McBeth in my case, he should have been a witness. We should have been able to put him on the stand. So we wanted him off of the case. And the same with a number of the other attorneys in that office had also engaged in a lot of misconduct in my case, and because they were potential witnesses, we wanted their office removed. However, when we made the motion, the attorney general, rather than sitting on the sidelines to see whether he was going to be appointed, appeared with the district attorney and argued against being appointed. And because they argued against being appointed and basically rend the motion, the defense of that motion, it was denied. I mean, the case still worked out for us fine. However, thatís why Iím very leery of the supposed investigation because I know in my own case we tried to get the judge, we wanted the judge, who had been improperly contacted, we wanted her to appear as a witness in my case and also to reveal the e-mails that she had communicated with the judicial council about the ethical issues involved in the district attorney coming to her ex parte. And the attorney general, who should have been a disinterested observer, and even more than a disinterested observer, they should have been watching it because with a founded to be illegal act, they theoretically, well, not theoretically, when they found that the district attorney had illegally taped the court proceedings and had made an illegal ex parte conversation with the court, they should have prosecuted those DAs. But instead of sitting back and waiting for the judge to make a decision and then acting on that decision, they went to the district attorneyís defense and argued against our being able to put the judge on the stand to question her about the ex parte communication and they went and they argued on the behalf of the district attorney and with the district attorney against the release of those e-mails, and they argued on behalf of the district attorney against the district attorney being removed from the case and them being substituted on behalf of the district attorney. And so, I donít want to pick a fight with the attorney generalís office but what, in my own case, the attorney general did not sit back as a fair observer of the conduct or as an examiner of the district attorney and his conduct, instead they came aboard as, law enforcement is under attack and we are on the side of the district attorney.
GARY: And so thatís why I am very leery about the objectivity of any AG investigation of the district attorney. I have another case thatís pending right now where the attorney general has taken over the prosecution of the case at the request of the district attorney and it has not been a clean operation, let me just say that. I donít want to say any more about it or give a case name until the trial is over. But itís coming up next month, and the AG is prosecuting it. When itís over, depending on how it comes out, I think itíll be a new chapter in this whole mess, this whole stinky mess.
RON: Well, Gary, we certainly hope so, I mean, obviously we donít like to see any kind of improper behavior, especially with the authorities. I mean, you put so much trust in them in protecting you and it just seems a little bit medieval to have to fear the people that youíre putting trust in. I mean, itís almost as bad as Washington from what weíre hearing here, in terms of the possibility of corruption.
GARY: We give law enforcement so much authority over us because we need it for our security, but in giving up that authority over ourselves, we have to trust in their integrity. And when their integrity is not there, I mean, itís a horrible situation. And I donít know if this is unique to Santa Barbara County, and particularly northern Santa Barbara County, or whether this is just the way things are going. But God help us all if this is the way itís going in other parts of the country or in other counties in the state.
RON: Agreed. Well, thank you very much for joining us, Gary. We really appreciate all of your time. Youíve been very generous in giving us all of this information, you know, pertaining to your case and to other cases in the Santa Barbara County area.
GARY: Itís my pleasure, and I hope youíre able to cull something productive out of our conversation.
RON: I think we will, Gary. Thanks so much for your time. Gary Dunlap, attorney in Santa Barbara, California. Thanks for joining us.
GARY: Anything that you publish, Ron, would you be kind enough to e-mail me so I sort of know what my words are that are going out and that kind of thing?
RON: I certainly will. Iíll probably send that to you tonight.
GARY: Okay, that would be great.
RON: Thanks so much, Gary.
GARY: My pleasure. Goodbye, Patricia, thank you.
TRISH: Okay, thanks, goodbye.
Geraldine Hughes, author of "Redemption: The Truth Behind The Michael Jackson Child Molestation Allegations"
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Airdate: Jan 1, 2004
MJJF Talk Radio Interview with Geraldine Hughes - Part 1
RON: Okay, Geraldine.
RON: What weíre going do is a little bit different this time. Trish and I are calling this a coffee cup or a coffee table type interview. In other words, we want it to be conversational. We donít want it to be like a standard Q & A, you know, we ask you a question and you respond, then we ask you another question, like a typical interview. We want it to be just like weíre sitting down at a table discussing all of this, asking you questions, making our comments, and so on, even though weíre in three totally different places across the country, you know, with a modern wonder of technology weíre able to do this. So Iím just going to go and then weíre going to do this. Are you guys ready?
GERALDINE: Iím ready.
TRISH: Yes, Iím ready.
RON: Okay, with us today is Geraldine Hughes. Geraldineís upcoming book, "Redemption: The Truth Behind the Michael Jackson Child Molestation Allegations" details her inside knowledge of the allegations that were made against Michael Jackson ten years ago. Welcome to our program, Geraldine.
GERALDINE: Thank you very much for having me.
RON: Happy New Year to you.
GERALDINE: Thank you, and Happy New Year to you two as well.
RON: Geraldine, both of us have had an opportunity to read your book, Redemption. Can you begin by telling us, first of all, who you are and how and why you came to write this book?
GERALDINE: I am the secretary, I was the sole secretary that worked for Barry Rothman, who was the attorney that represented Evan Chandler, the father of the little boy that accused Michael Jackson of child molestation in the 1993 case.
GERALDINE: And you want to know how I came to write the book?
RON: Yeah, how did it come about? I mean, one of the things that weíve been asked by people to ask you is that ten years ago this happened and the book is just coming out now. What inspired you to write the book? Why did you decide to write it? When did you decide to write it?
GERALDINE: My main reason for wanting to write the book was because I initially came forward on the very onset of the allegation that they were charging Michael Jackson with child molestation. I watched in tears like the world with the allegation, when it broke. And my first thought was, "Oh, my God, no, they didnít do this to him!" So Iíve known from the very beginning that Michael Jackson was innocent of these allegations all along. I initially, on the onset as well, went and talked to the defense investigation team and gave them information as to why I felt that, you know, that the crime was being committed against Michael. But because the case settled and the attorneys, the first set of attorneys wound up quitting or resigning from the case, all the information that I provided them and because it never went to court, it is a wealth of information that has yet to come to the publicís attention, and missing links is information that points towards Michael Jacksonís innocence.
RON: Can you also describe how you, you know, the process by which you wrote the book? I understand that during the time you were the secretary to Mr. Rothman you actually made notations in your diary and so on and used that as a basis to write the book. Can you just describe that in brief detail to us?
GERALDINE: I, you know, from being on the inside of the Chandlers camp, when I started believing that something was really not right that was going on around me, I , for some reason, you know, and Iíve come to know exactly clearly why I did it now, but I just started jotting information in my calendar book. They call it a diary but, you know, itís a calendar book and, you know, I just started jotting information down, but when I saw that it concluded to him being falsely accused of the child molestation allegations and the case settled, I was walking around for years not really knowing, you know, what avenue, what do you do at this point? How do I, you know, I know something that the world does not know, but how do you get this information out? I will say that the idea to write the book did not come to me until 1997. I actually started writing the book, or started the journey of writing the book, in 1997. And I completed writing the book in the year 2000. So, okay, now we have three years, right?
RON: Yes, it was three years. I guess you had stated in 1997 was when you went to the conference where you kind of got the initial idea to write the book. Trish, are you still there?
TRISH: Yes, Iím still here.
RON: Okay, and then when you got the idea to write the book, you started going back through the notations and, you know, went back into doing the research, you know, the public information. One of the things that I found interesting is when we were talking yesterday, Geraldine, you said 75% of the information thatís in your book is public knowledge.
GERALDINE: Itís public knowledge and, you know, the part thatís so interesting is that, you know, to me the most damaging information that Iíve, really, Iím just throwing it back out there, and that is the conversation that Evan Chandler had with David Schwartz, which was the stepfather of the little boy. He didnít know he was being recorded, but Schwartz was tape recording, so he was freely talking. He didnít know he was being recorded, where he just literally said blow by blow what his motive was, what his intention was, and if he didnít get what he wanted what he was going to do, why he hired Rothman, which was the attorney I worked for, and he did everything that he said he was going to do. But Pellicano, the investigator on the defense, Michael Jacksonís investigator, he got ahold of that tape. He gave that tape to the network. They played this tape all over the networks, and they let everybody hear Chandler with his own mouth say, you know, and to anybody else thatís like premeditated, because he didnít just say it. When you just say it and you donít act itís just an allegation or youíre just alleging something, but when you say it and then do it, it becomes a fact that is exactly what, you know, he did just what he said he was going to do. And if, like, that whole thing just got swept under the rug, and Iím like, you know, why werenít we listening? Weíre trying to make Michael Jackson out a pedophile. Weíre trying to make him a child molester. We had this man say out of his own mouth, "Iím going to destroy him if I donít get what I want."
RON: Itís interesting that you mention that, Geraldine, because I actually have a couple of quotes that I wrote down from the transcript. Now, as an aside, before I read them, this would not have been admissible in court because at the time Evan Chandler denied knowing he was being recorded, is that correct?
GERALDINE: Right. That is correct.
RON: Okay, these are a couple of the excerpts from Geraldineís book, the transcript that Mr. Schwartz and Mr. Chandler had a conversation, I assume this was in early August of 1993?
GERALDINE: I believe so. Let me check to get the exact date of that. I believe it was, yes, it was early August.
RON: In the conversation, Mr. Chandler alleges, "seduced by this guyís power and money thereís no way I can lose. Iíve checked that inside and out. There are other people involved. I paid them to do it. This guy is going to destroy everybody in sight in any devious, nasty, cruel way he can do it". At that point, allegedly referring to Mr. Rothman. Correct?
RON: "Iíve given him full authority to do that". And then one other thing that I found interesting is when Schwartz asked, what about, you know, what is in the best interest of the child? Do you remember what Mr. Chandlerís response to that was?
GERALDINE: He said it wasnít important to him, that that was irrelevant or not important to him.
RON: Right, and that is probably atypical for somebody who supposedly, their child has just been abused by somebody.
RON: Trish, why donít you go ahead and ask Geraldine some of the things that are on your mind?
TRISH: Well, I want to talk about the cast of characters involved in the 1993 case, but before that, Happy New Year, Geraldine.
GERALDINE: Thank you. Happy New Year to you as well.
TRISH: Okay, so letís talk about Barry Rothman, your former employer. Can you share with our listeners a little bit about the character and personality traits of the two main characters, Mr. Rothman and Dr. Chandler?
GERALDINE: Mr. Rothman, I do really, I spent a lot of time really explaining Rothmanís character because in order to understand how someone could have done this, you gotta know the person, you gotta know the person. So I spent a lot of time in the book really explaining Rothmanís character, and he was an attorney. I had been in the legal field for a number of years when I came to work with him, and I had never ran into any, I can say I never ran into an attorney like him. And I can honestly say Iíve never run into a human being like him. It was the most incredible experience that I have ever encountered. It was very, very - it was the type of character that could have done, you know, could have done - he was the attorney of choice that Chandler referred to when he said - Iíll use Chandlerís own words, "I found someone who is devious, who is" - can we do it like that?
RON: Why donít we use the direct quote from your book? An encounter with Mr. Rothman was "like meeting a real life demon straight out of the pits of hell".
GERALDINE: Yeah. And that was an understatement. But thatís about as clear as I can put it. That it was really, it was just an encounter that Iíll never forget. Iíve never had that type of encounter with anyone, and I hope I never encounter anyone like that again. But it was just totally incredible. I just could not believe that, you know, what I experienced as far as him as a person, and I was even more shocked that I was able to actually, you know, endure it up until that point. I didnít have that much tolerance for certain characters, but I just thought that that was just amazing to me. Iíd never met anyone like that.
RON: Can you tell us a little bit about the fact that Chandler may have hired Rothman because he had, the year prior to that, been engaged in another similar child abuse case where there were false allegations made? Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
GERALDINE: You know, I was - for lack of better words - I was trying to explain to the reader of the book why he hired Rothman and why Rothman, his choice in selecting Rothman was important. It had nothing to do with litigation because Rothman was not a litigation attorney. Rothman was an entertainment attorney. When youíre an entertainment attorney youíre not doing so much with the courts, youíre dealing with contracts, agreements, letters. And so an entertainment attorney could have very little litigation experience. So it didnít have anything to do with that. He was not a family law attorney at the time. When he hired Rothman they were engaged in a custody battle at the time. Rothman was not a family law attorney. The only thing that made sense as to why he hired him during a custody battle was because Rothman had just represented - well, it was a client that he had where the lady wanted custody of her child and so they accused the father with child molestation. This was a case just prior to him representing Chandler, where they accused the father of child molestation, which gave the woman who was Rothmanís client full custody of her child and barring, you know, and limiting, restricting the fatherís involvement with the child. So that was the only thing that really, you know, to me this is the only thing that makes sense because at the time there was a custody battle that was going on. But the part that just was so, you know, that was a little bit appalling was that the same thing that just had happened with a prior client was the same thing that happened in this case.
RON: Interesting. Trish? Go ahead, Trish.
TRISH: Thatís amazing. You know, in your book, you donít talk a lot about Larry Feldman, the attorney that was brought in to file the civil suit against Michael Jackson. Do you know if he was privy to the extortion attempts from Dr. Chandler and Mr. Rothman, which you have detailed in your book? What was his working relationship and the frequency of contact between himself, Rothman, and Chandler?
GERALDINE: During the time that I was working with Rothman, I did not personally see where Rothman had a lot of involvement with Feldman. Feldman, he was basically the attorney for the child in the civil case. So therefore most of his involvement had to do with, you know, basically representing the child in the civil suit. Once he did start representing the young boy, instantly he filed that civil suit, so there wasnít that much involvement. I donít know a lot about Feldman. The only information that I have about Feldman came from the document from the court. I mean, you can tell when you read an attorneyís work, how theyíre pleading cases, and what points. I mean, that tells you a lot about an attorney. Thatís my only knowledge of Feldman, but I can say my best answer to your question is that I believe with all my heart and soul that he was not privy to the extortion end of it. I believe that he was moving forward believing what was being given to him. I really donít think that heís a party or have anything to do with the extortion part of it. I think that he just was representing that young boy based on the information that was given to him from the father and the little boy. And I think that he was just in the best interest of his client representing him, you know, believing full well that he had been molested, or like he would have represented any other client. So thatís why I donít say too much about Feldman other than, you know, what Iíve learned from him through his pleadings that he was filing at the time. I believe he was not privy to any of what was going on as far as the extortion, but he was representing him based on what he thought was the truth.
TRISH: In your book, you talk about how Dr. Chandler was a nervous wreck, and the child was always at ease trying to calm his father down, and, you know, thatís quite odd to me. Do you think that was odd as well?
GERALDINE: I thought it was very odd because, I thought it was odd because usually itís the parent, you know, thatís usually the role that the parent takes with their child as, you know, weíre the ones that keep them. But I did witness behavior between the two that was just totally the opposite. I mean, Chandler was a nervous wreck, but I was kind of, you know, I was a little taken by the fact that it was the son that was constantly checking up on him, and when he would have outbursts, the son would go and calm him down. The little boy appeared to me to be perfectly normal, perfectly fine, and I even really, you know, saw something quite charming and kind of cute about him. Also, I can understand why someone would be drawn to him because he was a sweet kid, a nurturing kind of kid.
TRISH: So the roles were reversed. He was more of the father and Dr. Chandler was more of the child. This is really interesting.
GERALDINE: Yes, it was a complete role reversal going on with those two.
TRISH: Now you also talk about a meeting that you walked into between Mr. Rothman and Jordan Chandler. Can you describe that for us?
GERALDINE: I had, forgive me, this is New Yearís.
RON: You were out too late last night, werenít you, Geraldine?
GERALDINE: You know, itís just that I have some calls. People are trying to get ahold of me now to say "Happy New Year". I walked in to Rothmanís office without knocking. We were always under the threat of death about walking into his office without knocking. And I was on my way home one evening and, you know, just thinking Iím gonna let him know Iím gone and walk out the door, and so I forgot to knock. I just opened up the door, and I noticed that - that was my first time seeing the little boy, the Chandler boy. He was in the back of Rothmanís office, but we did not see that little boy come in the office. For some reason, he got him into the office without anyone noticing that he had came in, and then he had him behind closed doors. But what struck me really interesting was that the father was not there. It was just Rothman and the little boy. At first, I thought that was kind of strange, but the thing that made me feel that there was really something weird going on was the look on the little boyís face when I turned around and saw him in Rothmanís office. For some reason, he put like a puzzled look, he put the most funniest look on his face. And when I - Rothman snapped at me, of course, for coming and barging in, and I told him I was just letting him know Iím on my way out. And when I turned around and shut the door, that put a little question mark in me. I said, something just in me said something was really weird about that particular scene right there. You know, something wasnít right about that because he just had the look that was on his face just looked like I wasnít supposed to have seen that meeting right there. So thatís why I call it a secret meeting, and I elaborate, but the information that I do state in the book was that it is my opinion, itís not a fact, but I kind of tie that in because I thought it was important to this case.
RON: Geraldine, one thing that we know about the current criminal case is the importance of the timeline, you know, when certain events happened, you know, when things took place, when things were stated, and I took very good notes as I was reading your book when things started to happen. And on August 4th is the date that you give as when the negotiations between Michael Jackson, Anthony Pellicano, etc., and Rothman and Chandler took place. I found it interesting that between August 4th and August 17th, during that time of the negotiations, those three weeks where the back and forth demands were going, you know, between Rothman and Pellicano, essentially, the child never went to the psychologist. And can you talk a little bit about that? I found it odd, reading the book, that if youíre a father and your son has been abused one of the very first things that youíre going to do is report it to a third party. Youíre not going to try to extort money from an individual because of that. Youíre certainly not going to spend three weeks if the child is going through trauma. Can you just tell us a little bit about your thoughts on, you know, the timing there?
GERALDINE: The thing that I thought was really key that was like you said, during that time we all know that first he queried this doctor. Rothman first queried the doctor, gave him a hypothetical question about what would happen if, and so the doctor actually wrote him a two page letter telling him, well if this was a real case, you know, this is what, you know, he gave him his advice. It would have to be reported and so instead of doing what that doctor told him to do, youíre right, there was three weeks after that. Instead of taking that doctorís advice, he just merely took that letter that the doctor gave him and was using that letter as a bargaining tool to go to Michael and say, either you give me this money or, see this letter? Iím going to expose you. All he had was the doctor giving a response to a hypothetical question, but he used it as a bargaining tool, and it was his leverage that he first went to Michael with about giving him the money that he was requesting, which was 20 million dollars. But he didnít just say, give me 20 million dollars. He was very clever. He said, what I want is four movie deals and they need to be 5 million dollars each. Thatís the way he asked for it. So if he would have said give me 20 million, of course we would have said, oh thatís extortion. But still, when we really look at the definition of the word extortion, it is still extortion, even though he said give me four movie deals at 5 million because otherwise Iím going to expose you, because thatís the essence of what extortion is, using some undue influence to try to get someone to do something and if they donít do it then, you know, there is a consequence thatís going to happen. So, you know, I kind of thought that was really interesting as to, you know, why he didnít do what the doctor said to do. Instead, he used that. That was his leverage in going to Michael and asking for the 20 million in "terms of a movie deal".
RON: Kind of makes you go "hmmmmm".
GERALDINE: Oh, absolutely.
RON: Itís interesting that it was a hypothetical letter. Itís interesting to know that the letter was not based on any kind of meeting with anybody in the Chandler family. It was based, you know, Rothman obviously had his plan in mind, and if weíre going to believe everything as youíre laying it out, they had "the plan" that Chandler referenced several times. And the plan apparently was to use this letter as the tool, the bargaining chip, to say, look, all we need to do is to bring this kid to the psychiatrist because heís going to report it to the cops and your career is over. I mean, it was essentially that simple.
GERALDINE: Right. And they did it just the way, you know, he made a point that he was moving according to a plan. And he also said, "Iím being advised". You know, meaning that this was coming from someone else. "Iím being advised. Iím moving according to a plan". And he said, one of the other comments was, "and I cannot lose".
RON: It sounds like, in this case, he was right.
GERALDINE: Oh, he was right.
RON: One thing that I found interesting, Geraldine, when we talked a couple of days ago, you mentioned that you actually typed the letter that Mr. Rothman wrote to Dr. Chandler in terms of the procedure for a parent to report child abuse charges without any risk of liability. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
GERALDINE: I explain that in the chapter titled "Third Party Disclosure", and that does tell in detail that it was Rothman that actually advised Chandler about how to report child abuse by using a third party without liability to the parent and I did type that letter. I did not copy the letter, you know, that is a breach of whatever, but what I did was, I did note that in my calendar book because there were some codes that he had attached to the letter and just, you know, Iím not even thinking at that time that heís getting ready to get charged with child molestation or theyíre getting ready to accuse him. But there something that was so, my curiosity just really, you know, made me wonder, I mean, I was so curious that I decided to note it in my calendar book, and I also noted the codes and I put the codes in the book as well.
RON: Another interesting element of the timeline that I thought was really key in the book is the whole child custody battle between Evan Chandler and his ex-wife, June Schwartz otherwise known as June Chandler. In late July, and I donít have the exact date in front of me but it was like the third or fourth week in July, Rothman, on behalf of Chandler, negotiated with Bert Fields, who was Michael Jacksonís attorney at that point, to get the custody of the boy for one week. And that custody was held by Evan Chandler for five weeks. And, coincidentally, and Iím sure it was pure coincidence, Geraldine, on August 17th, the day Evan Chandler had to appear in court via an ex parte motion on behalf of June Chandlerís attorneys to get custody back of Jordan Chandler, was the same day, you know, that he was going to have to be doing this, it was the same day that he took Jordan to the psychiatrist where the infamous allegations of child abuse happened. And obviously, you know, us being a biased party, to us it looks a little bit suspicious, you know, that the day that you have to turn over your son after holding him four weeks longer than you were supposed to have him, youíre now basically accusing the mother in this case of being an unfit mother because the abuse that allegedly happened occurred while he was under her care. So can you just comment a little bit about, you know, how suspicious or awkward that seems to be?
GERALDINE: I guess that to me thatís one of those points that goes to the heart of this whole case because, you know, to the public it just looked to them like, you know, Chandler just took the boy to the psychiatrist and the psychiatrist questioned him and came up with a few details that he felt he needed to report, that was child abuse and he needed to report it. And behind the scenes it went nothing like that. The day that he took the young boy to the psychiatrist, like you said, that was the day that he had to go to court on a custody issue, where June had filed an ex parte. That meant that when you file an ex parte document that means that you have to go to court the next day. So you only have one dayís notice and explain, you know, why youíre doing this or, you know, and youíre asking the court for an order, and so they didnít have a lot of time to think that one through. That was the curve ball on Juneís part, and remember, theyíre moving according to a plan, right? And so Iím at the office just, Iím on pins and needles, Iím like, just dying to find out the outcome because I knew what that was all about. Iím like, oh, God, I need to find out, you know, I canít wait to find out what happened. Well, what happened was, the court ordered him to return the boy back to the mom. And so, you know, when I heard that thatís what happened, I said, oh, okay. You know, Iím thinking this thing is now over with because now the boy is back with the mom and all that Chandler was doing would come to an end. But that was also when I found out that he took the boy, instead of obeying the court order and returning his son back to the mom, he, instead of doing that, that was the day he took the boy to the psychiatrist that was already queried that if I do this and if this happens then, you know, weíre going to do this. Thatís when he did it on that same day. So he never did return the boy. He went on and sent the boy to the psychiatrist, you know, which was the doctor that made the report to the Department of Childrenís Services for child molestation, you know, the allegation of child molestation. And, you know, from the inside Iím like, wait a minute, you know, something is really wrong with that because he knew three weeks prior to that. He had already gotten that query that, you know, if this is this and if A is A then B will happen. But for him to have waited three weeks and not to have - oh, and Iíll tell you another thing, Ron, this is another little added point. And the added point that we talked about was thatÖÖÖ.
MJJF Talk Radio Interview with Geraldine Hughes 2
GERALDINE: oh, and Iíll tell you another thing, Ron, this is another little added point. And the added point that we talked about was thatÖÖoh, Lord, help me, we just talked about that yesterday. What was that other point? About theÖ..oh, I just lost it. Bad, bad, badÖ
RON: Give me a hint and Iím sure Iíll remember what it was.
GERALDINE: It had to do with what is just not ordinary or, okay, maybe itíll come back. If it comes back Iíll bring it back up, but Iíll just continue with point A. But, you know, just that he took the boy instead of returning the boy, that was when he took the boy to the psychiatrist on the same exact day, and that is just suspicious. I mean, to me that just goes to the heart of this whole case, you know, that he executed the plan. Itís just like now Ė oh! I know what it was! It just came to me. The other point was that, because he Ė oh! The part that was so key to this Ė now Iím excited because I donít want to lose it again. But the part that was so key to this was, he went to court on a child custody issue about returning the custody of the boy back to the mom. Now, come on Ė youíve been negotiating for three weeks prior your suspicion of child molestation and then you go to court, your attorney allows you to go to court. There was no mention in the court document, in the court papers, even to the judge. He made no mention that there was any, any Ė that he had any knowledge of this boy being molested or of some sexual improprieties as a result because you know if you say that to a judge, the judge is going to do anything in his power, even if heís wrong in doing it, until he finds out that itís unfounded. Thatís the best place to put that information because a judge will do everything in his power to protect the welfare of a child. Thatís his job to do. And he went to court on a child custody issue, made no mention to that judge that he had any suspicion, you know, just had any idea that there was any type of allegation of child molestation or sexual impropriety. He made no mention. And I contend the reason why he didnít say anything was because June had just thrown a curve ball, she threw them a curve ball. It was too quick. They only had one day to figure out what to do. Well, they just went on and went to court. And because he didnít say anything, the judge ordered that child to be returned. So now he had to go to Plan B because now the child was being required to be taken back to the mom, and that would have ruined, you know, messed up all of his plans. And that would have really messed up his plans Ė he needed the custody of the boy in order to execute the charge of child molestation. Otherwise, whatever would have come out of it would have been over in Juneís side of the field. And plus, all of this happened while the boy was in the custody of the other father.
RON: Yeah. We had talked about that yesterday, and I was going to bring that up. That, you know, the reason we had discussed it being relevant was that it wasnít according to their plan. It was something that was unexpected, and I guess it just slipped his mind, you know, during that time would have been a perfect time to do it during that three week period, you know, when he was in court, to mention it then rather than wait until the 17th. Because he did have ample opportunity to mention that earlier.
GERALDINE: And itís not a slip of the mind when youíre talking about child molestation. Itís probably the most serious crime that anyone can commit against a child other than murder, so itís not a slip of the mind when you go before a judge and you do not advise that court about circumstances that you believe could be true, thatís harming to that child if that child stays in that parentísÖ..that is just not a slip of the mind, you know, thatís the place that you put it because the court will, they would have done the full investigation. They would have assigned an investigation. They would have gotten a social worker. I mean, the court is the one that does the most extensive investigation when it comes to charges like that, so that would have been the best place to have put it.
RON: I think I know why, just off the record, just between me and you, why he might have waited, is because during this time he was still negotiating to try to get his 20 million dollar deal and he didnít want to blow it because that was his ace in the hole, so to speak.
GERALDINE: But it was on the 17th when he took that child Ė it was about a week past after the last meeting after they knew that Michaelís camp was not going to buy into it. So it was actually past that time. Itís just that it was not according to their plan, and they were moving according to a certain plan, and they were not going to deviate from that plan and so thatís the little loophole that did not make sense. You donít go to court on a custody issue regarding a child that you suspect that someone is being abusive, and you donít say anything to the court? Thatís why the judge ordered the child to be returned. There was nothing said to let him know that that child was in any danger or had encountered any type of danger being in the care of the mom.
RON: Right. Well, the next question that I have for you, Geraldine, first of all I would like to mention for the record, because I didnít hear you mention this earlier, you were a legal secretary for 20 years, correct?
RON: And, reading your book, thereís several chapters and several mentions on there, one of which is called, "Legally Speaking", where you reference a lot of legal precedents. I just want, for the record, for people to know who are listening to this who might not know you that you kind of know what youíre doing when it come to the legal profession. Itís not like youíre shooting from the hip when youíre talking about some of the things that weíre discussing, you know, the court procedures and so on. One of the things that I wanted to mention before Trish asks a whole bunch of questions for you, is the level of professionalism that the investigation was conducted with, and specifically Iím referring to a couple things that you mentioned in your book. Bert Fields sent a letter to the then L.A. police chief, Willie Williams, criticizing him for the way that the interviews were being conducted. I want to mention that you include in your book that Michael Jacksonís, during the search warrant that was issued, the police found and confiscated his address book, his telephone book, his personal book of, you know, friends and people and so on. And they interviewed everybody. As you mentioned in the book, they even went out to different countries, like the Philippines, and interviewed, as I understand it, 400 witnesses. Now, I think thatís relevant for people to know about because a lot of the children and a lot of the people who were in that phone book were referenced specifically by Jordy Chandler as being allegedly abuse. All of them were interviewed and not one of them confirmed on record that any abuse happened. So itís sort of like, Iím thinking about the boy who cried "wolf", you know, if he says that five people were abused, including himself, and the other four people deny it, then doesnít that make your claim a little bit less valid? But the thing that I really wanted to point to is the way that the L.A. police department interrogated, I guess is the word we could use with a little bit of leeway, "we have nude photos of you. Itís okay if you come forward and tell us about the abuse". Obviously not a very professional tactic. Do you want to comment a little bit about that?
GERALDINE: And they were reprimanded for that tactic as well.
RON: Can you describe a little bit about the information that you have, and so on, on that?
GERALDINE: Basically, they did do some things that were really questionable like a lot of the precedents that, you know, should have applied didnít, but a lot of things that have never been done like Ė you know, they really call that witness tampering and thatís not a good thing. Thatís a pretty serious thing to start. And plus they were doing this with the children, like trying to trick them. Like, well, weíve got someone and theyíve already confessed. The thing I think is so important about using that tactic that they use in trying to get the kids is, they werenít just questioning the kids. They were really trying to trip the kids up. You know, trying to get them to admit certain things and the fact that these kids never, you know, it didnít work because there was nothing there for them to admit and I think that worked in Michaelís favor because, like you said, they questioned at least 400 witnesses and they did not have anyone to corroborate with the little boy. And the reason I think itís so key is because everyone keeps saying just because they settled the civil claim that thatís why he walked away but see if they just had what Sneddon and Garcetti, at the time, what they were looking for was corroboration. If you just have someone saying without physical evidence you really, in order to get past the jury, you need something more than Iím just accusing. You need a witness, you need something. Otherwise, you may be getting ready to waste a lot of taxpayer dollars to go on and pursue that thing, so if there was just one other witness, if there was someone else who could have corroborated, and I have to say this Ė that we do have the finest police agencies in our nation and out of all our police agencies there were four police agencies that were investigating and they were looking for any type of corroboration. And out of our fine staff of men and women investigatingÖ.
RON: Hardworking, underpaidÖ..
GERALDINE: I mean, probably working on their own time. They could not corroborate that little boyís allegation of child molestation and, what Iím saying right now, thatís not an allegation is a fact.
RON: And two grand juries, for the record.
GERALDINE: Two grand juries.
RON: Twelve people on each. Twelve people in L.A. county and twelve people in Santa Barbara County. Not enough evidence to bring a trial.
GERALDINE: And a lot of people, theyíre saying that he paid off. You need to know that civil and criminal are two separate issues. Just because they paid off the civil Ė if they could have found anything to corroborate that little boyís statement it would not have stopped that criminal charge because they literally kept it open for the statute of limitations, which was six years. Six years waiting for anything else to come and in six years there was nothing that came to corroborate with it. So the public really needs to understand that just because he paid off that civil case, that had nothing to do with the criminal case.
TRISH: Now, is the criminal case closed? The original Jordan Chandler case closed? Because Iíve heard so many things, that the case is in suspension but not closedÖ.
GERALDINE: Letís see, now who was the one who said it? It was either Garcetti Ė Iím not sure which one said it, whether it was Garcetti or Sneddon, but the statute of limitations was six years, so after the six years ran out and they really could not find anything else and they did keep it open for the duration of the statute of limitations Ė for the whole six years of the statute it was open Ė but legally, after six years it is closed. If you havenít brought him up on charges from the 1993 in the six years, then it is technically closed. In order to bring him up on charges now, it has to be a new charge. Which is what theyíre doing right now.
RON: Well, weíre going to get to that a little bit later on.
TRISH: In your book, you referenced an outburst you overheard from Evan Chandler, which was directed at Rothman. Hereís the quote, "Itís my ass thatís on the line and in danger of going to prison". And you recorded that in your diary. Can you tell us what was going through your mind and why you think Dr. Chandler may have been upset?
GERALDINE: When I heard it, I could only hear an outburst. I could not hear if it was something that was being said in a normal level of speaking, but if it was an outburst, someone got heated and they just shouted out. I could hear that. That was one of the comments that I did hear and I just kind of thought it was strange for someone to say that if theyíre the victim. That didnít sound like a victimís statement to me. It sounded more like a perpetratorís statement.
TRISH: Right. Right, because if I would have heard, "itís my ass thatís on the line and in danger of going to prison", the first thing that I would have thought is somebodyís in trouble. And itís very interesting. Even in the recorded call between David Schwartz, Jordan Chandlerís stepfather, and Evan Chandler, he never mentions abuse. He always states his son had been "seduced by this guyís power and money" and "thereís no way I can lose. Iíve checked that inside and out. There are other people involved. Iíve paid them to do it. This guy is going to destroy everybody in sight and in any devious, nasty, cruel way he can do it. And Iíve given him full authority to do that". And when Schwartz asked, what about the best for Jordan? And Dr. Chandler said, "Thatís irrelevant".
TRISH: It doesnít sound like he was concerned about his allegedly abused son. You detail how both Chandler and Rothman sought criminal representation and were very nervous about the investigators who were interviewing them for extortion and at one point you overheard Rothman tell Chandler that they needed to meet over the weekend to make sure our stories are the same. Can you tell us about that?
GERALDINE: That was when the charge of extortion Ė when they started calling to investigate the charge of extortion against Rothman and Chandler. Iíll say that up until that point, they were very poised and they pretty much had a handle on things, but when someone from the investigators office starting calling about wanting to meet with them, and they were not going to want to meet with them together. You know, these were going to be separate meetings. Rothman just, you know, he was on pins and needles one day because normally Chandler would call our office three to four to five times a day and his calls were always priority. This particular day when he knew he needed to meet with the investigator, I believe it was going to be that upcoming Monday, and this was like maybe a Thursday or Friday, well, he hadnít heard from Chandler to give him that information so he was like, when Chandler calls Ė find me. It was like, find him wherever he was at, interrupt him no matter whatís going on, so when the call finally came from Chandler, he was Ė normally he would take calls and march all the way back to the office, shut the door Ė take it behind closed doors. This particular time, he took it in an attorneyís office kind of close to where I was located. He took it in that office and he didnít shut the door this time. So I was like, heís just like on a different plane today. He wasnít thinking. He didnít have it all together that day. And I heard him, and it was an outburst Ė it needed to be an outburst as well. I heard him tell Chandler, you know, he was telling him something and then he said this part loud. He wanted to meet him on a Saturday. No other employee would be in the office. It would have been just him and Chandler. So that made sense to me, they wanted that kind of privacy. But he was trying to tell him that the reason was so that we can make sure weíre saying the same thing Ė so that weíre both saying the same thing. He reiterated it really loud Ė maybe Chandler was probably trying to say, come up with another day or something Ė so he said this really adamant. You know, we both have to make sure that weíre saying the same thing. To me thatís a little different than letís get together and letís go over certain facts. But for him to have said that the way he said it, I said, wait a minute Ė that was another point Ė thereís something really wrong here.
TRISH: Now, you mentioned that you were never subpoenaed with regards to the extortion trial or members of the press, they didnít even try to interview you about this. How are you able to justify in your own mind that you were cooperating with the investigators researching the extortion plot while you were working with Rothman and when and why did you leave Rothmanís employment?
GERALDINE: You mean the investigator that I was working Ė okay, the investigator I was working with was the defense investigator, Michael Jacksonís investigator. And my reason, I wasnít the initial one, it wasnít my bright idea Ė you know, during this whole case I would just go home not putting what was going on or what I was experiencing in anybody elseís ear but moms, you know, are usually privy to what their children are going through and I was sharing with her, I was, you know, just kind of saying, "I canít believe this" and just sharing certain things with her. So when the charge hit, the charge of child molestation, she was just as bothered by the charge, knowing full well, because of the information I had been kind of sharing with her, that he was innocent all along, that these charges were not true. And so my mom was glued to the news, all the different news. And through that she found out who the investigator was on Michaelís side, which was Pellicano. My mother called him and said, you gotta talk to my daughter. She works for Rothman but sheís got some information. Well, she came back to me and said, youíve gotta talk to the investigator. She said, they wanna talk to you. You see, at first, honestly, I thought it was the investigation team wanting to talk to me to know, you know, what I knew concerning this case. It wasnít until we actually went to talk with Pellicano that I found out that he was not the DAís investigator, that he was a private investigator on Michaelís side. I didnít find that out, and I probably didnít even find it out until pretty much the meeting had concluded, and he let me know who he was and kind of broke it down and let me know exactly what side he was standing on. So I actually thought I was talking to the DAís investigator, you know, I thought they were talking to me even though I knew my mom had kind of like spearheaded it. But my reason for doing it, I really thought I had no choice but to go talk to him and the other part was that I really believed in my heart that I was really being a witness to a crime that was being committed against Michael Jackson.
RON: Geraldine, a lot of people ten years later are still questioning, you know, one of the questions in their minds, especially those in the public who arenít necessarily Michael Jackson fans, why would an innocent man settle a law suit when it would make him look guilty? And in the chapter titled, "Legally Speaking", you cover this in great detail. Can you give us a little bit more detail about this for our listeners?
GERALDINE: I kind of thought that was really important because in my best estimation, I believe that 95% of the reason why he settled the case had to do with what was going on in the court system. There was a lot, I mean, I didnít even really realize what was going on, I mean, a lot of this writing I went to the courts and I pulled the records and, you know, being a legal secretary and knowing motions and knowing a lot of legal terms, it was real easy to know what was going on down there just by going through the paperwork. But I wanted to put it in a way that the public, you know, someone that has no legal knowledge, could just read it and see, ah, so this is what was going on. But the court system was not working for Michael Jackson. He lost four motions that they had put before the court, and I believe that two of them he should have won. And they were key motions that had to do with the case as far as Ė one, in particular, was that they were asking to stay the civil case. Thereís a difference between civil and criminal. Civil is the one that Feldman had filed while the DAís office was pursuing the criminal case. Well, the two are under two different standards. The criminal case requires Ė well, the standards are a lot stricter. You canít, you know, just acquire any kind of information in any kind of way. Youíve got to do it according to standards and codes, but on the civil end the standards are a little bit more lenient. You know, you can bring into evidence things in the civil case that you cannot bring into on the criminal case, but it was important for them to try to stay the civil case because if you allow the civil case to precede the criminal case, then all the DA had to do was just to lay in wait and obtain the information Ė itís like a form of self-incrimination breaching your Fifth Amendment right. You know, you have a right not to incriminate yourself, but they filed the motions asking to stay it until the criminal case had a chance to conclude, and he lost on that motion. And that put Michael in a position where he was not going to receive a fair trial because by them allowing the civil case to go forward and to precede the criminal case, and weíve seen this happen before in the O.J. case, you know, that criminal case had to go first and then once it concluded then it came back, the families came back, and went after the civil case. And thatís the proper order. Thatís the way itís supposed to happen, especially when the allegations are the same. That was the same case in Michaelís situation, but they allowed that civil case. They allowed Feldman to go on and move forward. Then Cochran came in and he tried to put a protective order. He said, well, if youíre going to let it go forward, we want to protect discovery. He was trying to stay the trial again through a protective order, and he did not win that case either, and when he did the protective order, there were three oppositions that came in from three different sources that kind of came in and said, no, this is why itís got to be. So it was just a lot of what was going on in the courts, and it wasnít working in Michaelís favor, and these attorneys knew that the system was not working in Michaelís favor. Now, they could have gone on and went to trial, but they really did what they had to do based on what they knew was kind of going on, and it is an attorneyís place to kind of gauge how things are going so that they can represent the client to their best ability. Hence, settling that case had nothing to do with him being guilty. He really almost had no choice but to settle based on what was going on, based on the advice that was being given by his attorneys, I mean it would have been foolish at that point to have went on and let it go to trial, knowing youíre going to spend even more money with court costs, high attorneyís fees, and taxpayer dollars, and then there was no indication that Ė it hadnít been working so far Ė why think itís going to work on the other end? You know, after going through all of that. It was just easier. It was the best advice that his attorneys, Iím sure, gave him, and thatís what they did. And it had nothing to do with him being guilty.
RON: Geraldine, I want to mention a couple of things that you reference in your book as to why he lost those motions. Feldman, obviously, is a very experienced and aggressive attorney. I guess we can say that nicely. One of the things that he uses in there, he wants to expedite the entire court process, the entire trial. And I think it was a 120 day window, and he was using some kind of precedent because of the fragile "memory" that a young child has. Even though this child, at the time, was, I think he had just turned 14. That, the court ruled, was more important than Michael Jacksonís constitutional right not to "self-incriminate", based on using the same testimony that the DA was going to use, that he was giving in the civil case. So I know that had a lot to do with it, as far as why he lost those motions. The thing that, as far as the financial standpoint that we talked about earlier and is referenced in your book, that if the trial, estimated to go on at eight months, it would cost him four times as much money, because he wasnít hiring, you know, "Joe Attorney" just graduated law school, he had Johnny Cochran and some other high powered guns that werenít, you know, red dot specials. They were charging, Iím sure, several hundred dollars an hour. And to pay four times more, have your life totally spread out for the entire world to see, and Michael Jackson very obviously a very private person with no guarantee of victory, thatís really, I think, as you were saying, just to kind of reiterate some of the things that you were saying the reason why he decided to settle the case.
MJJF Talk Radio Interview Transcript (Part 3)
GERALDINE: And one of the other motions was they immediately wanted to take the deposition of Michael Jackson and along with a deposition you can ask for a document, you know, for them to produce documents. Well, let me tell you, with documents they were very, very interested in producing, this is before you even established somebodyís guilt, they were asking for financial information.
GERALDINE: That was almost the first thing they were asking for Ė assets, finance, you know, they wanted to know what his assets were. And itís like, they were trying to block that one as well. They lost on that one too.
RON: Well, obviously they were very concerned about the childís well being at that point. I mean, that the universal truth in this matter.
GERALDINE: Or Michael's financial well being.
RON: One thing that we wanted to ask you, I think, was a question posted on our message board. We know that he lost the four motions. And we know the trial was scheduled for some time in March, I think March 24th, you know, off the top of my head. We know the case was settled in January. Given what we know about the facts in the case from what your experience told you when you were working there as the secretary, do you think that he would have won? Do you think that he would have prevailed in court, you know, in terms of the civil case and/or the criminal case, the criminal case that was never filed, by the way?
GERALDINE: Right. I think he should have won because, like I said, the first set of attorneys, they really had compiled, they had a lot of the factual information. They knew, you know, who had perpetrated this against him. He should have won, but because they were really - the way Feldman was portraying this as a little boy who, you know, heís a victim, and they seemed to be buying into this portrayal. He wasnít a little boy. He was a teenager, 13, youíre a teenager, but he was pleading it as a little boy who, weíve got to go to trial quick, otherwise heís going to lose his memory. Thatís what this law is for. No, the law is for little kids who do have short-term memories.
RON: I think Feldman was just saying that if the kid Ė the younger the kid was the more money they were going to get out of it. He probably searched out some precedents on that. So the younger more pathetic and weaker memory that he had, the more money they were going to get out of it. But, go ahead, Iím sorry, continue.
GERALDINE: Heís a litigator.
RON: Heís the guy who gives attorneys a bad name.
GERALDINE: No, but Feldman is a good attorney. I canít say nothing about a good attorney, you know, heís a good attorney. He was doing what he knew to do.
RON: What about the separate case involving the alleged extortion that was going on that the press hardly reported on? Do you Michael Jackson would have prevailed on that? I guess the two are, you know, you canít really lose one and win the other. I mean, if you won the extortion case, you wouldnít have won that case if the allegations were true. Do you have any comment on that?
GERALDINE: Well, the comment is that had they really investigated the extortion charge with the same vigor that they did the child molestation, they would have gotten a lot more answers, and it would have cost a lot less money. The answer was right in their backyard. They didnít have to go overseas. They didnít have to panel two juries.
RON: They didnít have to call Diane Dimond?
GERALDINE: Only if they wanted to confuse the case, yes. But they didnít have to. The facts were just too plain, too simple. Iíd say about a good 75% of my book is based on information that was already either exposed, that was already in the publicís eye and was already brought to their attention. You donít have to dig deep to find this. You know, they donít even have to believe me. Go down to the courts and pull the files and see for yourself.
TRISH: Geraldine, are you worried about Rothman and Chandler possibly coming after you, you know, via legal recourse? Do you feel that youíre divulging attorney/client privilege?
GERALDINE: Before I started writing the book, I had an interest in knowing if I had a legal right to do this, so I would honestly say that before writing the book I actually started investigating my stand as far as do I have a right to do this and do I have a legal right to do it? And I stumbled across an evidence code that said, you know, I did a lot of research on attorney/client privilege and basically what it says is that if the attorney/client relationship is, if the client hires an attorney to commit a crime, then that relationship is not Ė there is no attorney/client privilege. And I kind of looked at that and I kind of read it over and over and over again and then I reflected back on the statement that Chandler made in that conversation when he was talking where he said, "Iíve hired someone who is devious, who is nasty, and heís waiting to destroy Michael Jackson and ruin his reputation and his career". And Iím like, those are not the reasons why you engage an attorney. You donít engage an attorney to commit a crime or to extort from a person. And when you do and because he said that out of his own mouth, I said, well as far as Iím concerned there is no attorney/client privilege because he stated it out of his own mouth that that was why he hired Rothman.
RON: Geraldine, I just want to reference in your book. It was something I read yesterday. Itís California evidentiary code, section 956. There is no privilege under the article if the services of the lawyer were sought or obtained to enable or to aid anyone to commit or plan to commit a crime or a fraud. And thatís right from the codes, so thatís the direct quote that youíre about, the direct phrase that youíre talking about.
GERALDINE: Absolutely. Iím not saying that he will not try to, but Iím just saying that if he decides to, then I need them to know that that is the code that Iím standing on and that that is my defense. Now, if they want that to be the case that weíre going to prove in the court whether that relationship between Rothman and Chandler, whether it was ethical, whether Chandler engaged Rothman to commit a crime, Iím prepared to defend that. That is the one that Iím prepared to defend, and I think the world would be interested in knowing that as well.
RON: Well, I, at least, would be. And I think Trish would be too.
TRISH: Yes, definitely.
RON: I just want to say a couple of things to you, Geraldine, before I give it back to Trish. Youíre very brave. Obviously, youíre very brave. You have convictions that youíre willing to stick by. I remember last night you told me that you will give a copy of the book to Mr. Chandler and Mr. Rothman and you will get an attorney because if they want to come after you, the burden of proof is going to be on them. Theyíre going to have to prove that their intentions were true. And I donít think that theyíre going to want to invest the time and the money to come after you. But thatís just my own contention. But if they do, theyíre idiots.
GERALDINE: Right. And I donít mind because I really feel relieved that what Iím doing is the right thing to do because before there can be justice in any case, it requires the truth. It requires the truth. And as far as Iím concerned, the truth is not out there. A lot of people donít know or maybe we werenít listening. Maybe we heard but we werenít listening. Maybe we saw but we didnít see. Maybe thatís what happened. But still, it requires the truth and whatís out there is not the truth. So I toiled, you know, Iím not going to say that I didnít toil and that itís not taking courage that maybe I didnít have but now I do. I donít know. But I will say that it really boiled down to, if I donít do it, who will do it? If I could have found any other hand raised, I would have opted out and I would say, okay, let you do it. You know, but it boiled down to if I didnít do it, I was the only one who was willing or even could have done it. And it just required that, to me it required that it was something that I really had to do. I think in the book I said, one of those assignments thatís given as a part of your destiny and I had to come to terms with it like that before I said itís something I must do. It had nothing to do with, you know, some people want to say it had to do with, you know, Iím not a public person. I couldnít care less about being out there in the limelight. In fact, I donít like it at all. But I just said that if I have to get this information out, if I have to do it, then Iíll do it. Now, my mother is the one with the courage like that, the courage of a lioness. She was about whatís right and thatís it. And I will say that if it required me losing my precious mom and for me to say that this was something she would not let up off of me. I had to do it just to say, mom, I did it. You know, I did do it. This is what you wanted me to do and I did it.
RON: It sounds like it was a redemption and a cleansing for yourself as well as for Michael Jackson.
GERALDINE: Yeah, I had to do it to get it out of me and put is somewhere, so I decided to put it in a book and so thatís why I chose to write the book.
RON: Trish, go ahead.
TRISH: What was your first reaction when you learned of the more recent allegations made against Michael Jackson?
GERALDINE: My first reaction was, I guess it was, I donít believe they did it again, if I may put it like that. I guess I can explain it best by saying, when someone does something once you tend to think that if they can do it once, theyíll do it again. Well, I know with every fiber in my being that Michael Jackson was innocent the first time so with that same fiber in my being I know he was innocent the first time so I can only assume that heís innocent this time.
TRISH: Now, weíre all aware of what Michael Jackson is going through this time around and the many parallels involved. Can you compare and contrast the similarities and differences between the case of today and what we know and the one ten years ago, even including the cast of characters?
GERALDINE: Including the what?
TRISH: Including the cast of characters. The people that were involved then and the people who are involved now.
GERALDINE: Well, Sneddon was involved then and heís involved now. I was told and I canít say this, donít quote me on this part, but I was told that they involved Feldman, not that Feldman is representing the little boy but that he had a part in, you know, moving it in the direction where itís at now, as far as going to the psychiatrist. So thatís another similarity. Itís very similar in that itís going in the same direction. Theyíre using the same channels that they used before. That part is all similar. The only difference this time is that the attorney is not involved, Rothman is not involved. Itís similar in terms of how theyíre going about it this time as well. It relates to the same way they did it the first time in terms of going to the psychiatrist, but I think Sneddon is a little key in this second time around because he was there the first time and, you know, I kind of believe that, I mean, Iím going to throw this out there because I believe in giving a person the benefit of the doubt. Iím not going to buy into a lot of theories right now, but I will say this, I will say that I believe with all my heart that Sneddon, heís doing, I mean, what heís doing, heís doing based on what he thinks is reality. I donít think that Sneddon, I donít know enough about him to say anything about his motive or whatever have you. But I do believe that heís vigorously moving against Michael because he believes the allegations from the first time was accurate. So like I said, if you think somebody did it one time youíre not going to think twice about it the second time, but the information that heís moving against was not accurate the first time. So I really have no fault as far as what Sneddon is doing because I believe he thinks that he was really, you know, based on the information that was given to him the first time that he thinks that heís moving in the right direction. I donít believe that heís doing it maliciously but he is vigorously. And I donít know what depths heís willing to go to pursue it. Now that part I donít know. But I do believe that heís really moving vigorously in that direction based on what he believes to be true.
RON: One thing that I wanted to ask you about, Geraldine, you mentioned a couple of days ago was the quote "mastermind" that was behind the first time around thatís not present this time around. In other words, the Rothman/Chandler strategic plan, and they seemed to have everything, you know, figured out in advance. Where this time around itís a criminal matter. Itís seems to be totally different from that standpoint. Can you comment on that?
GERALDINE: But itís the same plan. Itís a different set of characters, but theyíre using the same plan.
RON: Can you comment on how the characters are different this time around and how, I think you were mentioning to us earlier that ten years ago they really seemed to know, they really seemed to have everything thought out in advance, and they were really good. They were really a mastermind type, whereas today itís a little bit of a different scenario?
GERALDINE: Well, because the parties that were involved the first time, it was termed as Pellicano said, that it was an elaborate extortion scheme. And any one of those words are pretty strong and harsh by themselves. Elaborate, that means that it was multifaceted extortion. And the scheme, well, this time around itís minus that mastermind, you know, thatís not here right now. Itís just not that right now. Itís kind of, I think a lot of people were really surprised because of what came out in terms of the character of the little boy and the family and how they said no one time and all the inconsistencies. Itís hard to fly that by a jury. You know, you really have to be pretty credible and theyíve got to be willing to believe that, that thereís credibility going on here in order to believe something minus any type of physical evidence. And already a lot of inconsistencies have come out even before they filed the charges. A lot of people were really shocked that Sneddon went on and filed these charges in light of the fact of all these inconsistencies that have come out.
RON: Shocking. Totally shocking.
GERALDINE: Oh, yeah Ė oh, yeah. And he just did it anyway. I think this one is a lot less credible and will be a lot easier to prove to be false, whereas the other, the first one, it was elaborate. It really took a witness to be able to say just what happened. Minus a witness, everyone still would have never known what happened in that first case because it was put together so elaborately.
RON: I just got the picture in my mind of you walking in and seeing the 13-year-old or 14-year-old Jordan Chandler talking to Mr. Rothman without the parent there. It seems a little bit atypical for a 14-year-old to be consulting with an attorney. Iím sure there was no coaching involved but you would think that for the concern of the child, that kid would spend a lot more time in front of a psychiatrist, describing what "did happen" rather than meet with an attorney before to decide to get their story straight to make sure of covering what they want to cover prior to making the announcement. It just, you know, whatever, I mean, obviously weíre a little bit biased. Speaking of biased, weíre very aware of the tabloid media feeding frenzy that surrounded the allegations from ten years ago. How would you contrast that with how weíre seeing the story covered this time around?
GERALDINE: The frenzy is there, but the media is, Iím really kind of surprised that, you know, I think that the media is not really, I donít know. I donít really know if I know how to say this. Iím kind of a little bit more pleased with how the media is handling it this time around. I think that they are being fair in reporting information as it comes and I donít really believe theyíre on witch hunts this time. Theyíre really accurately reporting, not being so quick to jump the gun. Before, they were paying people. The first time, they were paying people for false information without even verifying it. Now, I think I really like how theyíre doing it now. The frenzy is there because Michael Jackson, I mean, the story of him took precedence over everything else thatís going on Ė Saddam Hussein Ė all of that. Heís taken precedence over everything right now. But I think theyíre being a little bit more cautious, a little bit more responsible in reporting information. And itís still kind of weighing towards, the boat is still tipped too much in the wrong direction, but they are beingÖÖ
RON: I think itís more like a raft, actually. I think itís a raft being paddled by Ms. Dimond, but thatís just my opinion.
GERALDINE: Well, I didnít say ALL of the media now, I just said, you know, for the most part. I really want to give the media, as a whole, credit in that. For the most part, the media is being pretty fair and theyíre not really going on witch hunts and bringing up, you know, just allowing any old kind of thing to come up. But I still think there is too much over reporting and too much under reporting. Thereís some stuff thatís out there like the incident where theyíre asking, you know, you keep hearing about a 45-year-old man sleeping with children. You know, but theyíre asking experts. And experts, if they have children, somebody else may be raising their children because theyíre professionals. They need to be asking moms, you know, housewives. They need to be asking just normal families. Iíve worked with kids. I have children that for the last three years that come to my house, that used to come to my house on a weekly basis. And Iím telling you, Iíve done so much with these kids, underprivileged kids, taking them places theyíve never been, doing things that would make any kid just really marvel, and out of all the things that Iíve done with these children, their number one request, theyíre on my phone every week, Ms. Geraldine, when are we going to come over and have a sleepover? That is a childís number one thing, they love it. Then when they come, I donít think itís Michael thatís doing anything. Kids will come and take over your house, your bed, your remote control, your TV. Youíre lucky if you can just get a pillow.
TRISH: Thatís so very true.
GERALDINE: And every parent I talk to is telling me the same thing. But when it gets to the media, everyone is so, "well, itís just so unnatural". No, itís not. It is perfectly natural if you are a normal person.
RON: Especially if youíre somebody like Michael Jackson, who seems to have Ė you know, wanting to get his childhood back.
GERALDINE: Yes, they adore him. They want to be around him. Itís them wanting to be around him and want to just cling to him and just, you know, take over his life.
RON: You mentioned on Scarborough County, Geraldine, a couple of days ago, you were with Jermaine Jackson, you were talking about how the family had, it was a two room, two bedroom house, and I think there was six brothers, three sisters, and two adults, and it wasnít atypical to have kids sleeping in various capacities coming over, the kids sleeping at other peoplesí places. It was just the way that they were raised in a big family environment.
GERALDINE: Right. And that is normal. You have to look at how he was raised. And a person that would have a problem with that, the only thing Iím cautious of when dealing with children is dealing with the opposite sex. When my boys come over, I keep them separate, but when my boys would come over to my house, I make sure that the boys are downstairs on the floor. You know, just throw out pillows and sleeping bags. But I will tell you, there would be like eight or nine kids down there. And when I get up in the morning time and I go downstairs to wake them, you couldnít tell where one kid began and another would end. Theyíre just, oneís leg is on the other oneís foot. Only someone, like Jermaine has said, itís the people with the sick minds that think that thereís something really, really wrong with that. But you got to look at the person. You got to know who youíre dealing with. If this was a priest and he had children over and kids climbed up in his bed, you wouldnít think twice.
RON: Except if he was Catholic Ė just kidding!! Iím going to have to edit that out because now all the Catholics are gonna be sending me hate mail.
TRISH: Thank you!!!
RON: Geraldine, one other thing that I wanted to reference. On Sunday night, when he gave the interview with Ed Bradley, he talks about, you know, when people look at that type of situation they do think sexual, and you and I were talking a couple of days ago. A lot of that is because of what society has presented to them and just, not only the media coverage, but all of the different, you know, crazy people that you hear about again, and again, and again where something improper has happened. They donít think about it like Michael Jackson describes as the child being the face of God, a child being, you know, just an innocent person that you can socialize with because theyíre not looking for anything from you.
RON: And, unfortunately, it seems that Michael Jackson got involved in a couple of scenarios where maybe the parents wanted something from him. And thatís another parallel because, I donít know if we mentioned that, but ten years ago and today, child custody, estranged parents, a broken home, you know, thatís the same old story. Different time, same old story.
MJJF Talk Radio Exclusive with Jen Winings
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MJJF Talk Radio Interview with Brian Oxman.12-29-03
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MJJF Talk Radio Interview with Brian Oxman.
Ron: With us today is attorney Brian Oxman. Brian represents the Jackson family in various capacities and has served as a legal analyst for various news programs. Brian, we know youíre very busy. We really appreciate your time. Thanks for joining us.
Brian: My pleasure.
Ron: Brian, so much has been said recently about you being a "self-appointed spokesman" for the Jackson family. Can you please clarify for us how long you have been representing the family and in what capacity you represent them, i.e., you know, what areas of law specifically you cover?
Brian: I have represented members of the Jackson family for the past fourteen years. I started with doing Randy Jacksonís divorce, and then he introduced me to his brother Jermaine. I did his divorce. They introduced me to Tito, and I did his divorce. Then they introduced me to Jackie, and I did his divorce, and then they introduced me to LaToya, and I did her divorce. I have represented the mom and the dad and Rebbie, who is the oldest. The children of children, Siggy, who is Jackieís child, Autumn, who is Jermaineís child, and Brandi, who is Jackieís child, and Taj, Taryll, and T.J., who are Titoís children. So Iíve kind of been around the entire family and been a part of their lives, the birth of their children and the deaths of their spouses. Itís been quite an experience.
Ron: Lots of divorces there, Brian.
Brian: They certainly seem to have kept me very busy.
Ron: Okay. Itís a big family too. Weíll keep that in mind. Can you tell us to what extent you specifically represent the criminal investigation, you know, the family in regards to the criminal investigation against Michael Jackson right now?
Brian: Mark Geragos is Michaelís attorney, and he is the only one who is authorized to make statements on behalf of Michael. And what we see, really, is that Michael is the one who makes statements on behalf of Michael. It is only when Michael speaks that we should really pay close attention because Michael has always chosen to speak for himself.
Ron: Excellent. Okay, Trish, go ahead.
Trish: Hi. Speaking of the family, how is the Jackson family as a whole handling this, especially Michaelís mother, Katherine?
Brian: They are extraordinary people and they have an extraordinary constitution. Theyíre just tough minded. They see things for what they are, and they tend not to get real upset at the various things which cross their path, including this investigation. But it has been absolutely nerve wracking for them, and it has gotten to them to the point where they really would like to do everything in their power to make sure that their brother, Michael, is vindicated.
Trish: Brian, you saw last night the interview that Michael conducted with Ed Bradley on 60 Minutes. Overall, do you think it helped him or hurt him in any way, and why?
Brian: I think the public demanded that Michael come before them and tell them what it is that went on here. It was more of a greeting of his fans to make sure that we see Michael, because only Michael speaks for Michael. And from that point of view, it was absolutely imperative that he do it, and his discussion was serious, it was reasonable, it was intelligent, and I think a lot of people were impressed with Michael Jackson.
Trish: Now, the interview took place on Thursday night and itís obvious to everyone that Michael was in a considerable amount of physical pain. How is he doing?
Brian: Michael has not discussed with the family members his physical condition. It is something which has been a matter of rumblings between the family members because of the treatment which he received at the Santa Barbara Police Department, but he has never really described his physical condition.
Ron: Brian, in the interview, Michael Jackson alleges that the police "manhandled him", they dislocated his shoulder, and locked him in a bathroom for 45 minutes, even showing us a gruesome photo allegedly taken after the incident. Do you know what legal recourse Michael Jackson and his attorney, Mark Geragos, would have against the Santa Barbara Police Department, and are they looking to do something, and to what degree?
Brian: There are a number of things which can be done to complain about the type of treatment that Michael had, and only Michael is going to tell us what that is. Mark Geragos has said that he will take the appropriate action at the appropriate time, and I think we need to trust that. I want to say something about the experience of being arrested. It is not pleasant. It is not fun. All the years that I have practiced, I have seen that the defendants complain bitterly that the police have not treated them appropriately. This is another such incident. I donít think that itís something which rises to the level of absolute outrage, but it certainly rises to the level of saying that this is the standard operating procedure. This is how procedures are conducted by the police, and they are rough.
Ron: In the interview, Michael also alleges that police "totally trashed" his property, wrecking valuables, cutting open mattresses, etc. He states in the interview that he was not provided a list of items which were seized from his ranch. Now, of course, Brian, we havenít seen the original search warrants that have been issued in this case as of yet, but what is a typical procedure with respect to searching the premises, and seizing items, and subsequent notification of what was taken? Has that somehow been breached or have they done everything that they needed to do?
Brian: Standard procedure is for the seizing officer to inventory everything which has been seized, and then to leave with the person in charge of the premises that has been searched a copy of that inventory. Now what weíve heard is that this has not been done. That would be a violation of police procedure, but I think youíre going to have to wait to hear how all of this has taken place, and perhaps this inventory was delayed or has been sent later. We donít know what the situation is with respect to the inventory yet.
Ron: Okay. He also states that the officers went into places on his property, including his private office, which they did not have search warrants for. If thatís true, to what extent could this potentially be an invasion of his privacy, and could the officers enter these other areas if they suspected something of significance might be in there, even if they didnít have a warrant specifically allowing them to do so?
Brian: The Fourth Amendment says that the search warrant must specify the particular places to be searched and the particular things to be seized. And what youíre hearing is that this search warrant went far and wide of the particularity which is required of all search warrants. When that happens in the ordinary circumstance, it is a violation of the Fourth Amendment rights of the individual and a civil rights violation which can be redressed in a civil rights lawsuit. Now, what the police have by way of justification for having done that in this case, weíre going to have to wait to find out.
Ron: If they actually found anything, could they use it as evidence if they found in an area where they didnít specifically have a search warrant to search?
Brian: The Fourth Amendment precludes evidence illegally seized from being introduced into the court during a trial. So there would be a motion to exclude such evidence if evidence was seized beyond the scope of the search warrant. That will result in all kinds of arguments as to whether or not the police then had grounds or reasonable belief that caused them to go beyond the search warrant. It will take a hearing by the judge to sort it out.
Ron: Okay. Trish?
Trish: Michael has gone on record stating that he does not have a problem or see a problem with sharing his bed with children. After the Bashir interview, Sneddon issued a statement that acknowledged that assuming no improper activity took place there is no criminal conduct involved. Brian, specifically what can Michael do to protect himself from a third incident of these types of accusations?
Brian: I think Michael has taken some pretty strong measures to assure that he is being supervised and accompanied by people who are responsible all the time, and that will come out I am certain as this case progresses. So these are the reasonable measures that he has taken. Itís smart. Itís the thing to do. And in Michaelís position I think weíre going to see that evidence being introduced in this case.
Trish: Now so much has been said recently about Michaelís possible involvement with the Nation of Islam. Michael has gone on record saying that he is not a member of the organization. However, to what extent is Leonard Muhammad, the Nation of Islamís Chief of Staff, exercising control or influence over Michaelís business and staffing decisions? For example, does he have the authority to represent Michael in business decisions such as hiring or firing of staff?
Brian: Michael is the only one who tells us who are his administrative people who are the people who can negotiate on his behalf. And weíve not heard one word from Michael authorizing anyone except Michael Jackson to do these things. And you have to take Michael at his word. If he would like to change it to have anyone, including people who have particular religious beliefs or faiths, so be it. And that will be Michaelís business and it should not be something which is really an issue in this case.
Trish: There are a lot of rumors that members of Michaelís management have been isolated from Michael, taking the Roger Friedman article today. It goes on to say that his publicist, Stuart Backerman is isolated and Dieter Wiesner, Michaelís manager, has been isolated because of this so called Nation of Islam incident. Is there any light you can shed on this? Is Mr. Backerman still representing Michael and, if not, why?
Brian: I think we need to keep our eye on the ball as to what this case is all about, and thatís the accusation from a young boy who claims he was molested by Michael but who signed under penalty of perjury a statement saying that Michael never touched him. Thatís the issue in this case, and not who is working for Michael, whether or not Michael is being controlled by somebody. Those things are business decisions that Michael needs to make on his own and really have nothing to do with this case.
Trish: Right, absolutely. But you know, as a president of a Michael Jackson fan club, Iíve talked to many presidents of fan clubs around the world and theyíve expressed concern, some going as far as to possibly taking down their sites due to reported involvement and control of the Nation of Islam. Given that Michaelís fans represent an eclectic mix of whites, blacks, Christians, and Jews, some of which would be highly offended by such involvement, is there anything you can tell these fans and fan clubs worldwide that could comfort them?
Brian: Michael is one of the most inclusive individuals that Iíve ever had the pleasure of meeting, and that is that he loves people of every race, every creed, every religion. I have never seen anything to the contrary in Michaelís entire experience. There are people who come and go from his employment all the time, and at this point, I donít think you can read anything into the presence or absence of any particular group among his employees, and the Nation of Islam has been around, has gone to Michaelís concerts, appeared with Michael years and years and years ago, and he has never been co-opted or directed by them. If something has changed, I think we need to wait until Michael tells us. Until then, I donít think thereís been any change.
Ron: Brian, this is Ron. Based on what you know about the defenseís strategy at this point, what do you think the chances are that the case would be dismissed prior to a trial?
Brian: I think this is a case which shows us the district attorney has battened down the hatches and is ready for battle, because the district attorney just doesnít want to look at the nature of this case or even see that he has a problem. So I expect this case to go to battle, and the reason I think that is when the district attorney of Santa Barbara says, "Oh, thatís L.A.", itís almost comical. It is a government entity insulting another government entity and that tells me that this case is going to go all the way to battle.
Ron: Brian, youíre probably aware that Tellem Worldwide, an L.A. based PR agency has volunteered to assist the Santa Barbaraís DA office pro bono in this case. Tellem lists Rent-A-Wreck as a client, and I donít know if youíre aware of this, but on their website they list Rent-A-Wreck, who is founded by David Schwartz, the stepfather of the boy who accused Michael Jackson of child abuse in 1993. In 1994, the following year, Schwartz filed a lawsuit against Michael Jackson for "breaking up his family". Given these connections, do you think thereís a possible conflict of interest of Tellem representing the DAís office in this case?
Brian: I not only think that thereís a possible conflict of interest, I think that there is an absolute conflict of interest. The question is, whose interest is the Santa Barbara district attorney seeking to promote? Are they trying to try a case in court or are they trying to try a case in the press? And when they bring in private individuals, whether they are paid for or not, they become the agents of the district attorney and their personal agendas then get infused into the publicís business. That is a conflict of interest.
Ron: Okay. Brian, I know youíve gone head to head with journalists such as Court TVís Diane Dimond on more than one occasion. Ms. Dimond has also claimed on various interviews to have "very high, high sources" in the Santa Barbara DAís office where she seems to get a lot of her inside information before itís made publicly available to everybody else. If this high source was Sneddon or someone else on his staff, can you tell us to what extent there could be a breach of fiduciary duty or at least some kind of violation of fundamental legal ethics?
Brian: The prosecutorís legal obligation is to try the case in a court of law and not try to influence jury pools, have public relations people, or to leak to reporters who are their favorites the details of a criminal case. All of those things are being violated here. It is not appropriate for the district attorney to choose a member of the media who is their favorite and gives them all kinds of information that no one else has available. I view that as unethical.
Ron: Okay. Well weíd be inclined to agree, but to what extent is it punishable? I mean, could he lose his license to practice, is it that severe, or somewhere in the middle?
Brian: This is an ethical obligation which is regulated by the State Bar of California and most certainly a claim and complaint can be made to the State Bar. But it also goes as to whether or not the district attorney is violating the constitutional rights of a defendant by engaging in this kind of activity, so itís certainly an issue that Michael can raise at a point.
Ron: Okay. Brian, I recently spent eight months of my own life going through an ordeal of a lawsuit. How possible is it for Michael to begin to focus on his career, his family, you know, with everything thatís going on around him right now?
Brian: Michael is one of the most strong, single minded, and directed people that anyone would ever want to meet or encounter. He runs a mega-business which has been involved in all kinds of deals and transactions, buying and selling property, so he is no stranger to the legal business of entertainment. This is something which is a little bit more stressful and a whole lot more serious because it involves a criminal charge. He is an amazing man, and I expect him to weather this storm as he has weathered every storm heís ever faced.
Ron: Excellent. Trish?
Trish: Brian, this is a two part question. Sources close to this case have alleged to us that outside interests, including journalists, supposedly approached the accuserís family to come forward some time in early February after the U.K. airing of the Martin Bashir interview. Here are my questions. Is it common or legal for journalists to approach or seek out potential victims and ask them to come forward in a case?
Brian: It is extraordinary for a journalist to seek out and create a story by insisting somebody was harmed when that individual has three times said under penalty of perjury they werenít harmed. So this kind of activity of journalists is really not only a violation of journalistic ethics but also it raises questions as to the criminal law, was this child lying when he lied to a government agency that was investigating him? And indeed, who was it that made him change his mind? I look at the fact that instead of going back to Social Services who was investigating this matter when the child decided to change his mind, instead he went to an attorney, Larry Feldman. And did Mr. Feldman then go to Social Services? No, he didnít. Did he go to the police? No, he didnít. Did he go anywhere else? Yes, he went to a psychiatrist. And did the psychiatrist go back to Social Services? No, he filed a criminal claim saying that something had gone on with this child. This smacks of influence peddling, of influence making, of changing claims. It doesnít pass the smell test. It doesnít pass the lab test.
Trish: Now if the outside interest is true, what effect would it have on this case? To be more specific, if it came to pass that there was an outside interest, like a specific journalist, that was influential in bringing this case to a civil attorney and the Santa Barbara district attorney, how could the defense use this to their advantage?
Brian: This would be part of the facts which are presented at trial, and Iím going to leave that to Mr. Geragos to determine how, in fact, he wants to use this information. I think itís plain to all of us that it makes us wonder what in the world is going on and what kind of skullduggery is present here. And I am certain that Mark Geragos will use this information appropriately.
Ron: Brian, during Mark Geragoís press conference in response to the charges, he mentioned that the charges were motivated by "revenge and money", further stating that the prosecutors involved, seemingly referring to Sneddon, had an "ax to grind" against Michael Jackson. Sneddon has gone on the record denying he has any personal vendetta against Michael Jackson. What comments do you have with regards to how Sneddon has been handling this case thus far?
Brian: The initial press conference here was a grandstanding of monumental proportions where it was more important to tell jokes than it was to get the information out. It was a lot of backslapping and congratulating one another as though this were an opening to a Broadway play. That is not the way prosecutors conduct themselves in the state of California under the rules of ethics. A prosecutor is supposed to supply information to the public not tell jokes and grandstand at a press conference. A prosecutor is not supposed to suggest that another governmental agency is incompetent because they came to a different conclusion than he came to when he held a second press conference and criticized Los Angelesí Childrenís Services Investigation. These are improper by way of prosecutorial conduct and they are questionable by way of whether or not this prosecutor is exercising good judgment.
Ron: Thanks, Brian. Based on the media coverage in this case, do you think itís even possible that Michael Jackson can receive a fair trial.
Brian: I think that Michael can receive a fair trial and really, I donít really care where this case is tried. Iím going to leave that up to Mr. Geragos to make the decision. But no matter who the jury is, no matter what the persuasion or constitution of that jury might be, it seems to me that when a jury sees that this accusing witness three times said that Michael did not touch him, Michael did not sleep with him, that this accusing witness signed under penalty of perjury such a statement, the jury is just gonna shake their head and say, "We donít understand why this case is being prosecuted."
Ron: If thatís the case, wouldnít Geragos be able to use that as evidence to get the whole thing thrown out before it even gets to trial? Why would he have to go to trial to prove that, I mean, if heís already said under penalty of perjury that it didnít happen?
Brian: In the American justice system, everyone is entitled to their day in court, including witnesses who recant their testimony and change it after signing a statement under penalty of perjury. Theyíre all entitled to their day in court, and if thatís the case in this particular proceeding, so be it. I think weíll be watching this thing unravel in front of the district attorneyís eyes for some time to come.
Ron: Great. That concludes our interview with Jackson family attorney, Brian Oxman. Thank you very much for joining us, Brian.
Brian: My great pleasure. Thank you.
Interview with Laurie Levenson
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MJJF TALK RADIO SPEAKS WITH LAW PROFESSOR LAURIE LEVENSON
RS: Welcome to MJJForum Talk radio
With us is today is Professor Laurie Levenson. Laurie is a law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, California. Welcome to our program Laurie.
LL: Thank you for having me.
RS: In regards to the Michael Jackson case, the Santa Barbara DA's office announced yesterday that charges against Mr. Jackson were due by Friday morning of this week. Laurie we were wondering since Michael Jackson was originally arrested on November 20th, is it uncommon for a defendant to be arrested, processed through the system, being required to post bail without formal charges being issued for nearly a month later ??
LL: It's not the standard way to go but it's not all that unusual. In fact we've had murder cases like the Phil Spector case or the Robert Blake case where defendants have been arrested on very serious charges and it's until later on that the formal charges are filed. So this is one way the prosecutors can go.
RS: Why would they do this, why would they wait a month ?? Is there sort of reason behind it, do they need more time to prepare their case, do they have a basically a indefinite amount of time or is there any kind of standard to go by ??
LL: They don't necessarily have an indefinite period of time but the reason they did this is because they were still collecting information regarding this case. Don't forget that they arrested him right after they did the search of his ranch. My guess is that they wanted to go through all the evidence from that but it is a little curious. This is the type of case that if they'd been investigating it all along they could have had a complaint ready to go or even gone to the grand jury and then gone out and done the arrest. It's unclesr and we are still waiting for an explanation why they chose to go this way.
RS: I guess we'll know soon ??
LL: That's right.
RS: OK, briefly can you tell us a little bit about how this criminal case that we're dealing with now is different from the civil case ten years ago and why it's more difficult to prove it this time around ?? I'm talking about in criminal you have the beyond a reasonable doubt assessment and then in the civil you have the preponderance of the evidence. Can you describe to us the differences basically ??
LL: Right. You know ten years ago there was a civil case by an alleged victim against Michael Jackson, making some allegations and never actually went to the criminal process but on a civil case all the person on the civil case the person bringing the charges has to prove is that it's more likely than not that Michael Jackson was responsible for the conduct. When the prosecutors however bring a criminal case we have the highest standard of the law that is known as beyond a reasonable doubt. Now we can't put an exact percentage on it. It doesn't mean that you have to be 100% sure but you have to be very very sure because there's the potential of taking away someone's liberty. So usually youíre thinking up in the 90% range. Are you that sure that Michael Jackson was responsible for this illegal conduct?
RS: Speaking of the conduct, the Santa Barbara DA has referenced the California penal code 288 subset A. Can you tell us a little bit about this and the contents of it ??
LL: This is a criminal charge that alleges lewd and lascivious conduct with a child under 14 and what you need to know about this statute is that it doesn't necessarily mean that Jackson is alleged to have touched the private parts of the young man or even touched him directly. It can be caressing through material not directly on the skin. The key part of this statute that would make him criminal liable is whether he did it with the intent to either cause his own sexual gratification or that of the child. So what the prosecutors need to prove here is probably that there was some type of touching that was inappropriate but more importantly that it was done with that intent.
RS: I see. In general Laurie, how difficult is it to prove a child molestation case ?? Based on the . . .assuming we have the evidence of the child is there any other evidence that's typical to this kind of case that the prosecution might solicit ??
LL: Well it's usually very difficult to prove if all you have is a one on one. In other words the child's word against the adult's word. So what prosecutors typically want to have are other witness who maybe saw what was going on, physical evidence that shows inappropriate types of contact, videotapes sometimes appear, admissions or confessions by those who are charged with the offense, multiple victims usually make it an easier case. We don't know if we have any of this evidence in the Jackson case but that is the type of evidence that would make it an easier case to break.
RS: I see, Trish go ahead.
PB: HI Good Morning professor Levenson, I'm Patricia. With a few questions for you. The department of child family services of LA County and the LA Police department concluded their own investigation in February of this year and the summary was recently leaked. The department determined that any possible molestation concerning the alleged victim was unfounded. How big of an affect will this report have on the prosecution's case at the time of the trial ??
LL: Trish we really don't know the answer yet. I mean it's certainly something the prosecutors have to look into. But there are all sorts of explanations as to why that report was not necessarily the final word. First of all we don't know why the victims might have said what they did. There have been cases were victims have been intimidated or paid off. We don't know that that's the case here but that's one possibility. There's also the possibility that the department of Child family services did not do the same type of investigation, as in depth as the DAs did. Or frankly it may be that the victims turned around and said 'you know, we're not going tell lies anymore, here's what really happened.' So right now it's a hurdle for the prosecutors. I used to be a prosecutor and if I were in this situation I know I'd want to talk to these witness very closely and look at the report but it's not necessarily the end of their case.
PB: OK well, since the LA social services already investigated this case why is the Santa Barbara DA allowed to investigate again ??
LL: They're allowed to investigate again because they are a separate government agency. The department of child family services, their responsibility is to determine whether children who are living with or in contact with Michael Jackson, continue to be in danger and what should be done with those children. But the District Attorney's job is to determine if a crime has been committed and they're not limited by any other agency. So they have an opportunity to start it all up again. It may seem uncomfortable or unfair to Michael Jackson but they have a responsibility, frankly, under the law to make sure they are satisfied no crime was committed.
PB: What avenues are open to Mr. Jackson to have this case dismissed due to lack of evidence ??
LL: At this point since we have no charges, there's really nothing that Jackson's camp can do to dismiss charges. But it terms of lack of evidence, that opportunity will come down the road. When final charges are filed, if they are, if there's a complaint, if that is the way they go, there will be something called a preliminary hearing. Not unlike we've seen in the Kobe Bryant case, when there's almost a summary of what the evidence is. And if that is not enough, then the defense can bring a motion to the judge at that point tot dismiss the case. If it is enough then there next chance to really argue there is not enough evidence will come at trial.
PB: Given what we know, prior to formal charges being issued. How likely is it this case will proceed to trial and how long will that take, etc. etc. ??
LL: It's almost impossible to know how likely this case will go to trial since we don't even know yet what the evidence is and how strong. You know it could range from, the prosecution has practically no case, at which point you know, the question is whether they want to strike a deal and whether Jackson's camp does. To they have a really dynamite case and even then Jackson's camp might say well let's make this go away in another way. So the options range from a full-blown trial, to plea-bargaining to having the case dismissed. And we won't know the answer to what will happen for several months.
PB: OK and again, when is the earliest date Mark Geragos, Jackson's attorney, can file a motion for dismissal ??
LL: Well, if it turns out that the prosecutor files charges that don't even exist under the law, Mr. Geragos could come in very quickly and file something we call a demur. That says hey even if everything the prosecutor says is true, there is no crime here but if what you are talking about is having Geragos making an allegation that there is not enough evidence, then that cannot be done until the time of the preliminary hearing.
RS: Laurie, what criteria is typically considered for the dismissal of a child abuse case such as this ?? You were also talking about the plea-bargaining, what would be involved ?? Is there some type of monetary offer, is there community service, jail time ?? I mean are all these things on the table for that ??
LL: Well to go to your first question in terms of the dismissal of the case. I guess if you had no case at, if this was just speculation, that would be one situation. If they got the charges wrong that will be another but the fact that people will dispute what the victim has to say, that is not necessarily enough to dismiss the case. Thatís the juryís job to decide whom they believe. On the plea-bargaining, I think I should give anyone the impression that the DAs are saying look if you come in and pay off the victims you can walk away. In fact this DA has said very much the opposite. That he thinks it was wrong what happened ten years ago and that this is a case that should go through the process. In an ordinary plea-bargaining situation there could be something ranging from a certain type of lower sentence in exchange for a guilty plea, to some type of treatment program. All of those can be in the mix. Given how high profile this case is and how adamant the DA is I donít think anyone should be confused into thinking, if you go clean up the freeway or do community service we will drop the charges.
RS: Why do you think they didnít file any charges ten years ago ?? Do you think it was due to lack of evidence or was it the fact that there was a civil settlement that you know basically the child did not want to testify at that point ?? Do you have any comment on that ??
LL: Well, I think itís because they didnít have the child victim to come forward. That may very well have been because of the civil settlement. So, if you donít have a child victim to testify, you donít really have evidence to present thereís nothing much to go forward with. This time around, in the press conference the DA made a big deal out of saying he did have a co-operative victim and therefore he was prepared to go forward.
RS: If the case were to be dismissed and letís say the charges were filed on Friday as they were talking about being filed. And Jacksonís camp comes back and says well this is ridiculous, thereís really no hard evidence here, is there any kind of case Michael Jackson would have to file some kind of malicious prosecution against Sneddonís office ??
LL: No, not really and the reason is, prosecutors are immune from being charge with what would be basically a civil rights type of case. You know, we give prosecutors a lot of leeway in bringing charges and if they do bring them you canít later sue. Moreover, even in an ordinary malicious prosecution act, against the police or others Mr. Jackson would have to prove that he was actually innocent. And donít forget, that is different from saying they couldnít prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. In this case, were weíve already had the judge sign off on the warrant, it would be very difficult for Michael Jackson to come in and say Iím actually innocent. The burden would be on him.
RS: How do you prove innocence in this kind of case ?? You know, this is kind of off the cuff so to speak but I mean since this is a criminal trial, how can you prove that something did not happen ?? Itís more difficult to prove that it did happen, right ??
LL: And that is why; in the criminal case Mr. Jackson doesnít have to prove anything. The prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did commit the crime. If Jackson were to turn around and sue the police officers, he cannot sue the prosecutors or the state because in fact they are immune. If he were to try and sue the police officers then he is trying to get something out of this case. In that case the burden would be on him and itís a very difficult burden to say, you know there was never any evidence against me. Especially if prosecutors relied on statements by victims, the victims may say all sorts of things but prosecutors have the right to rely on some of those in bringing charges.
RS: I see. Trish
PB: Laurie, can you please explain the Grand Jury process as opposed to the preliminary hearing process and discuss the possibilities of this case being turned over to a Grand Jury.
LL: Sure, thereís two different ways the prosecution can go forward in bringing formal criminal charges. The ordinary way in California is what we call, the complaint process. Thatís actually a piece of paper filed by the DAís office making certain allegations. If that is done then we want a judge to actually hear some evidence to make sure there is enough to bring those charges. So we have something called the preliminary hearing. That would happen down the road. The prosecution would call witnessí, in California we can use what we call hearsay witnessí. Officers who would relay what the victim had to say; they wouldnít necessarily have to call the victim at that point. If the judge thought that yes there was enough evidence for those charges then they would go forward to trial. An alternative way of going, which is not done very often but sometimes is done in the most high visibility cases, is the Grand Jury. The county grand jury would hear the evidence that the prosecution gives it. It wouldnít necessarily have the Jackson people in there to present evidence and if they thought, the grand jurors thought there was enough evidence, they would issue something called an indictment. If there is an indictment in this case by the end of the week, then we wonít have a preliminary hearing. This case will just move on track towards trial.
PB: Can Mr. Jackson request that Tom Sneddon, the Santa Barbara DA be removed from prosecuting this case, if so, how is this done ??
LL: I guess the defense camp could bring a motion to disqualify the DA. It would be done before the judge, when this case gets to a judge. Itís going to be difficult, he is going to have to show that Mr. Sneddon has an actual conflict of interest and donít forget, even if he is disqualified there are actually plenty of prosecutors ready to come up through the ranks. So, hypothetically it is possible, I think Mr. Sneddon put himself in a difficult situation by the nature of the press conference he had but most of the time these motions are not granted.
PB: Please explain the significance of having these proceedings moved to Santa Maria ??
LL: I donít think we should read too much into the fact that the proceedings were moved to Santa Maria. When you have counties like Santa Barbara and Ventura that are big counties, then it is often for administrative reasons that they use court houses in different parts for proceedings, just to keep things organized. And because in case the arrest and the search were done in the northern part of the jurisdiction theyíre going to use the courthouse up there in Santa Maria. Now logistically it might make it a bit more difficult for the press. It is not a big courthouse that we are used to for these big cases but it really is frankly a matter of bureaucracy, administrative matter that they moved it up there.
PB: Do you believe that the openness that he has showed with regard to being seen with this particular child will help or hurt the out come of the trial ??
LL: I think it could cut both ways. I think the prosecutors might want to use, if it is the child weíve seen on the videotape, sort of his conduct with that child to bolster their argument that there is something extra going on in their relationship. On the other hand, I can see the defense arguing that we never thought we had anything to hide because Mr. Jackson wasnít doing anything wrong and that is why we have all this open conduct with the child. So, not unlike other pieces of evidence, it is going to be in the eye of the beholder.
PB: Given that the family was recently so outspoken about how much of a father figure Jackson was to their children, how important is their credibility to the prosecution in proving their case ??
LL: Well the victim and the victims familyís creditability is always key to proving the case. So you know, if the victims have said conflicting things then the prosecution is going to have to have some kind of explanation why at one point they say Mr. Jackson was acting appropriately, if indeed that is what they said, then why did they change their story. If the prosecutors have the satisfactory explanation that may get them buy but otherwise I can understand the defense camp using that to Jacksonís advantage and saying look, we really cannot believe them because theyíve previously said that he has acted appropriately, as a father figure.
PB: If Mr. Jackson were found guilty, what are his avenues of appeal and how long would the process take ??
LL: Mr. Jackson, like any other criminal defendant in California would have the right to an appeal. He would go up to the court of appeal and in terms of how long the process would take; it would probably take about at least a year. Pleading would be filed called appellate briefs and they would raise any argument regarding errors that were made in the proceedings, errors during the trial, failure to give over evidence and they might even argue there was insufficient evidence to support the conviction. So the trial is just the first stage and there are appellate courts after that.
PB: And if Mr. Jackson is acquitted what are Mr. Sneddonís avenues of prosecuting again ??
LL: Well, if Mr. Jackson if acquitted, Mr. Sneddon cannot prosecute again on these same acts because of the double jeopardy clause in the constitution. People have the right not to be prosecuted more than once for the same offense. On the other hand, if there are allegations of other acts with other victims, those still could be brought.
RS: Laurie, even though it has been said by both, the family, as well as Sneddon in his press conference, this issue that itís not about money. There are still quite a few ways the family could profit from this, you know, either during or following the trial and if Mr. Jackson is acquitted will he be able to prevent any of this from happening and if so, how ??
LL: Not necessarily, I mean frankly the victimís family has separate rights apart from the criminal justice system. They do have the right to bring a civil lawsuit even if Mr. Jackson is acquitted in this case. And we have seen this in other high profile cases. Donít forget the OJ Simpson case, OJ was acquitted in the criminal case but nonetheless the Goldman family turned around and sued and they were able to get a civil judgment. Likewise as you noted, they may be able to publish books and I donít think you could have a court say to them that you are not allowed to do that, under their first amendment rights. Now if they start saying things that are untruthful and defamatory there might be ways for Mr. Jackson to respond but if all they do is put out their own story, well that may just be the way the first amendment works.
RS: Laurie we were wondering why you didnít write a book on OJ, everyone else did back then ??
LL: No, I donít think that would be appropriate for me. My role I think was just to explain the case as it was happening.
RS: Right. Where do the first amendment rights of the media end, with respect to the individual rights of Mr. Jackson, where do they begin in terms of the defamation that could be going on against him from various journalists and so on ??
LL: I actually think there are two things to keep in mind here. One is in terms of the fairness of the proceedings right now against Mr. Jackson. We do need to be very sensitive and cognizant of the fact that what is said out in the court of public opinion could affect the trial inside the courtroom. So, Mr. Jackson does have the right, come trial time to have the jurors very closely examined. We call it the verdure process, to see if they have been tainted by any of this pre-trial publicity. He cannot put what we call a prior restraint on the media. The judge canít to the media donít print anything more about Jackson. There are some counties that operate that way, for example, Great Britain. The United States has this very strong media first amendment tradition, so the best that can happen is that the judge try to make sure whatever is happening outside the courtroom doesnít affect inside the courtroom. Now, if it turns out that people are just making it up, wildly speculating and saying things with the intent to harm Mr. Jackson, knowing that they are not true, then we do have defamation laws in this country. Because Michael Jackson is such a public figure however, the standard for him to prove a defamation action would be much harder than for example you. He has to show malice. He has to show that the media had gross disregard for the truth. Or knew they were using false statements before he could collect on any defamation action.
RS: So, basically what you are saying Laurie is that celebrities do have a different standard than us you know, normal folk I guess, as it were, who arenít in the public and you know constantly public attention, is that true ??
LL: Thatís right. When a celebrity puts himself out there as a public figure, he knows all sorts of things are going to be written and said about him. Thereís going to be all those tabloids out there and thereís going to be TV shows and by and large they are allowed to say it. Itís only in the most extreme cases that they have a chance of stopping them.
RS: OK, considering all the, just in wrapping up, considering all the media attention that weíve just been talking about is there any trial, is there any juror that could truly be fair ??
LL: My response is, I think so believe it or not because this is not the first high visibility case and we have them all the time. In fact weíve had very high profile cases, Iíll remind people of OJ Simpson again, where there was a lot of media coverage. I was there, so I can tell you. Yet he was acquitted, he was not found guilty. So it doesnít always work against the defendantís interest that there is so much media coverage. It is probably is not going to be possible to find twelve people whoíve never heard of the case or heard of Michael Jackson but thatís not the legal standard. The legal standard is simply whether people can put aside preconceived notions and just decide the case on the evidence.
RS: OK well thank you very much Laurie. Thatís concluding our interview. Ms. Laurie Levenson, law professor of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles California, thank you very much for joining us Laurie.
LL: My pleasure, thank you
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MJJF Talk Radio interview with Laurie Levenson Ė Interview 2
Ron: With us again today is Professor Laurie Levenson. Laurie is a law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, California. Welcome back to our program, Laurie.
Laurie: Thank you so much.
Ron: Laurie, you had mentioned to us earlier today that you saw the 60 Minutes interview that Michael Jackson did with Ed Bradley last night.
Laurie: Thatís right.
Ron: Okay. In the interview, Michael Jackson alleges that the police "manhandled" him, dislocated his shoulder, and locked him in a bathroom for 45 minutes, even in the process showing us a gruesome photo allegedly taken after the incident. If this is true, what kind of recourse would Mr. Jackson have against the authorities for this kind of mistreatment, for example, criminal charges and/or civil/monetary damages?
Laurie: Well, first I think thereís the big question of whether itís true, because itís somewhat conflicting with what he and his lawyer said after the actual incident. But, assuming itís true, he could bring a civil rights action in federal court against the officers or bring an administrative complaint against them, or bring criminal charges in either the state courts or the federal courts because itís a very serious thing when police officers abuse suspects or anybody in custody.
Ron: What criteria would they use to prove something like that, and what would the punishments be?
Laurie: Well, they first have to find out who did what. I mean, in fact, was this some type of bruising that because of the regular placement of handcuffs or did they treat him more harshly? Police officers are entitled to put him in handcuffs, but they are not supposed to use extreme force. So there first has to be a determination of how much force they used and why. Then thereíd be the question of who are the witnesses, how credible are the witnesses. Usually, they do not end up bringing criminal charges against police officers, because these are the most difficult cases to prove, and in terms of a civil action, that would be something Mr. Jackson and his lawyers would have to decide to file, and it wouldnít necessarily affect whatís going on in this proceeding right now.
Ron: I see. In the interview, Laurie, Michael Jackson alleges that the police "totally trashed" his property, wrecking valuables, and cutting open mattresses. He also states in the interview that he has not been provided as of yet a list of the items that were seized from his ranch. Weíve seen that the original search warrants, at this point, have not been officially made public. Given that, what is a typical procedure with respect to searching the premises, i.e., seizing of items, the subsequent notification of what was taken?
Laurie: A search can be pretty intrusive. I mean, the police officers have permission from the courts to go in there and search around and look in every drawer, look in every ________ for what theyíre searching for. Theyíre not supposed to engage in trashing, and usually they have some type of video recorder with them when they do a high profile search so that they can protect themselves against exactly this type of allegation. I donít know whether they did that in this situation. If the police went further than what was necessary for the search, that is something that Mr. Jackson could raise with the judge. He should have at least received some type of inventory, or his lawyers, an inventory of what was taken. And if he hasnít received it yet, I am sure thatís something Mr. Geragos will ask for in discovery.
Ron: I see. He also states that the officers went into places on his property, Laurie, that included his private office, which were not on the search warrant, as far as what the original search warrant was. If thatís true, to what extent could this potentially be an invasion of his privacy, and could the officers enter these areas if they suspected something of significance might be there, even if the warrant specifically did not allow for them to do that.
Laurie: Well, ordinarily the search warrant sets the terms for what the police officers can do, but it would surprise me if you had a really narrow warrant in this situation that said you could only go into the living room, the bedroom, but not the rooms next to them. Thatís not usually the way search warrants are written. If they went beyond the scope of the warrant, anything they found could be thrown out. Moreover, Mr. Jackson could sue saying it was a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure. But, once again, thatís something that he would have to have evidence that first the warrant didnít cover these places and that the officers, as you mentioned, didnít have another justified reason to go. In other words, if officers see something in plain view, sometimes they can take it. Sometimes on the site of a search a police officer will realize that there is another room or building that they had not asked for permission for, so theyíll get a supplemental, even telephonic warrant, so the one warrant they got may not be the end of the story.
Ron: When do we see that warrant? When is that going to be made public? Is it a presumption that the defense has already seen this warrant at this point?
Laurie: I would have expected that the defense has seen the warrant and frankly should have seen the inventory as well. As for the public, this is the type of case where, especially involving child molestation, the court likes to keep tight reins on it, so it is not at all clear to me that we will see this any time soon. However, I would expect to see it probably by the time of the preliminary hearing.
Ron: Okay. I had heard that there might have been some kind of set time, that it was sealed for a certain amount of time, such as 45 days. We donít know that to be true in this case or not?
Laurie: Well, thatís possible. Weíve seen that in other high profile cases, for example, like the Peterson case, in which Geragos is also involved, had a set amount of time by which the court agreed to release the warrant, and that gives the officers time to complete their investigation and time for other protective mechanisms to be put in place, you know, to protect the names of the victims.
Ron: Okay. Lastly, pertaining to what weíve just been discussing in regards to the way in which the police "totally trashed" his property. If they, in fact, damaged items on his property could Michael Jackson hold them liable for that and collect some kind of monetary value for those items that were damaged?
Laurie: I think he has to distinguish between necessary intrusion and unnecessary damage. In other words, if the police officers did something that necessarily disturbed the property, theyíre not going to have to pay for that. But if they just went on a rampage and started destroying property, thatís something he might be able to recover in a separate civil suit.
Ron: What about opening up mattresses with knives? I mean, Iím not saying that it happened, but we are saying that Mr. Jackson last night stated that it did happen. Would that be beyond a reasonable scope?
Laurie: Not necessarily. I mean, if you think about, for example, drug searches. That is something that has been done before. Now, if they were unnecessarily opening up mattresses, cushions in the house, you know, scattering the cushions all over. Thatís another story. Once again, that would very much surprise me, because from other high profile cases, officers know that there is going to be a great deal of scrutiny, and so far we havenít seen any photographs from the defense or videotapes from the defense that substantiates what Mr. Jackson is saying.
Ron: Okay. Trish?
Trish: Hi. Good morning, Laurie.
Laurie: Good morning.
Trish: Laurie, charges were filed recently by the Santa Barbara DAís office against singer Michael Jackson. In the complaint, nine counts were filed referencing violations under penal code 288a. To begin, the prosecution does not offer evidence in their formal complaint, only referencing the penal code violation that allegedly took place. Is this normal and, if so, when would evidence by the prosecution and declarations offered by the witnesses first be made public?
Laurie: Well, this is a very normal way of filing a complaint. Ordinarily a complaint does not detail the evidence. It only gives a general idea of the time and the nature of the charges. In terms of who the witnesses would be, we wonít even know that until closer to trial time because for the preliminary hearing, the prosecution is not required to use the same witnesses that they might use at trial. It could be quite a long time until we know the actual evidence in this case.
Trish: And how does a count define the events that took place, for example, could a change of room location constitute a second count of child abuse?
Laurie: Ordinarily, a change in the room would not do it unless there was a great deal of time, one day it was one room and another day itís another room. But, for example, changing who the victim is, and we still arenít sure if there is just one victim in this case. That would account for a second count of child abuse.
Trish: In his press conference after the charges were filed, Santa Barbara DA, Tom Sneddon, stated the findings could make Mr. Jackson ineligible for probation and could substantially affect the amount of time he could spend incarcerated if the findings are found true. He seems to be referencing California penal code 1203.066a8, which is referenced in the complaint as substantial sexual conduct. Further detail is not provided in the formal charges. What exactly could this mean and how is it different from 288a?
Laurie: Well, by charging that enhancement what the DA was really saying is that this is more than just a fondling or caressing type of child molestation case, that involved what they called substantial sexual conduct. That phrase is defined in the penal code under the section you read, and it ranges from actual penetration of the child to oral copulation to masturbation, and we donít know which one of these is being alleged.
Trish: Referencing counts 8 and 9, which involve administration of intoxicants for the purpose of committing a felony. Are they solely predicated on proof of counts 1 through 7? In other words, if Jackson is found innocent of counts 1 through 7 that counts 8 and 9 are automatically thrown out, or are they somehow independent of each other?
Laurie: They appear to be connected because they have the language "for the purpose of committing a felony", namely the felonies alleged in this case. Now Iím not saying itís impossible for there to be separate such counts, but as presently structured the complaint seems to tie them together.
Trish: In his press conference, Sneddon confirmed that the investigation against Jackson is, in fact, ongoing. Does the prosecution have the option of filing additional charges as part of this case or amending the existing ones?
Laurie: Absolutely. The prosecutors could still change the charges, add charges, delete charges. These are only the initial charges, and they may or may not be the charges that they go to trial with. As you suggested before, if the prosecution begins to feel that their actual case of child molestation is not that strong, they may fall back on charges we havenít seen yet. Things like, you know, providing alcohol to minors.
Trish: Overall, how would you characterize the strength of the prosecutionís case, now that the formal charges have been officially filed?
Laurie: Iím not sure we know that much more about the strength of the prosecutionís case. You know, it appears to be just involving one particular boy. Weíve heard rumors that it might also involve his brother, but we still donít know what the important evidence is in the case. Are they going to rely just on the boyís testimony or do they have physical evidence? Do they have videotapes? Do they have statements by Mr. Jackson? Do they have testimony by those who work for him? Those are the big questions yet to be answered in this case.
Ron: Laurie, recently on Larry King Live, attorney Mark Geragos, whoís representing Michael Jackson, stated he was hired by Michael Jackson shortly after February 6, 2003. And this was immediately following the U.K. airing of the Martin Bashir T.V. special, when Jackson became concerned that "something was wrong with the family" now alleging this abuse took place. The prosecutionís complaint alleges that the abuse took place between February 7th and March 10th of 2003. And when Geragos gave this interview on Larry King Live, he stated that "after March 10th, weíve got statements, videotape, audio tape, and everything else of the people locked into statements. We gave them every opportunity in the world to make a complaint and they didnít." Laurie, you recently stated that "youíd have to believe that he was so bold that after being put on notice of an investigation, he continued the activity." How important are the timelines, especially given the fact that there appears to be some kind of contradictory statements going on here.
Laurie: Yeah, I think one of the biggest problems for the prosecution is a bit of this timeline because if you follow the timeline, it appears that Jackson would have to have been engaging in this activity at the same time he knew he was under investigation by Family Services and by others. Now, the prosecution may argue, look, he was being so bold because he thought he had bought off or silenced the victim, but Iím sure the defense is going to say Mr. Jackson and his people are no fools, and therefore if you want to believe anything to show he is innocent, just look at the timing.
Ron: Okay, great. In the same interview that Geragos gave to Larry King a couple of weeks ago, Geragos recently stated in there that "in California there is a statement thatís read to the jury and it basically says that if somebody lied to you prior or if somebody made a material misstatement prior you can disregard all of their testimony". Can you elaborate a little bit more on this?
Laurie: Thatís a standard jury instruction, frankly, used in every case to help the jurors decide whose credibility they will believe. And what itís saying is what we all know to be true. If someone lies to you about one thing then you sort of pause and say, can I believe anything else theyíre saying? Which means that defense lawyers and prosecutors really like to go after witnesses even for small lies, arguing that if they can catch them in a small lie it means that their entire story is a lie, and that might be something that the defense will do when they cross examine the victim and, as we talked about before with regard to Michael Jackson and his statements about treatment by the officers, if he were to testify in this criminal case and he has lied about one thing, for example, how he was booked in this case, the prosecutors would argue, hey, if he lied about that, heíll lie about anything.
Ron: Laurie, you mentioned the case of lying under oath, presumably, and one thing that we caught from last night is Ed Bradley, when he asked Michael Jackson a question there was a lot of analysis this morning by legal analysts and commentators stating that, you know, if he rolled his eyes a certain way or if he looked down or looked up, how much credence do you put on any of that when somebodyís, you know, facial expressions or eye movements could, you know, basically tell if theyíre lying or telling the truth?
Laurie: Well, thatís the type of thing that jurors look for. I mean, thatís why we have juries. Not to decide the law, but to decide whoís telling the truth, and when you look at a person, their body language, their eyes, the tone of their voice, the speed of their voice, who they look to for answers, those are all things that affect whether we believe them or not, so that could turn out to be important. Now, on a TV interview, there are so many explanations for why Jackson looked away. Maybe he was distracted by some of the cameramen, or his lawyer was trying to get his attention. So, in the long run, it may not make that much difference, but in the courtroom how you away is as important as what you say.
Ron: And thatís, of course, why they have, you know, specifically people who consult and tell you, you know, act this way, donít act this way, is that right?
Laurie: Thatís right. Thatís really the lawyerís job, to give the client an idea of how their testimony is being perceived, but now itís gone on to expert jury consultants who will do practice testimony and show the witness right on videotape how he or she looks.
Ron: Okay. What reasoning could account for why the prosecution gives such a wide range of dates for the alleged conduct, in this case between February 7th and March 10th, as opposed to some more specific dates for each count? Could it have anything to do with not knowing Jacksonís whereabouts on a given day, or the specific recollection of the witness, or perhaps something else?
Laurie: Well, I think prosecutors are trying to be careful. If they donít have to by law lock themselves in to particular dates, and youíre so right, how embarrassing would it be if they chose a date when Michael Jackson wasnít even in the country, so theyíre allowed to pick a time range that will narrow as the process goes on, as the defense asks for discovery, maybe even something we call a bill of particulars asking for more specific dates. But to start out itís better to be broader if youíre the prosecutor.
Ron: Okay. Geragos also characterizes this case as "a shakedown, motivated by money", referencing that of all the attorneys in California, and thereís a lot of them, he references 175,000, that the family that weíre talking about here actually went to Larry Feldman, who represented the accuser, of course, in the civil case against Jackson in 1993. Geragos stated that the criminal charges were "shopped around by the family when there was a financial incentive to be made". What is the typical procedure involved in bringing criminal charges in a child abuse case?
Laurie: Well, in a typical case you would expect the family members to pick up the phone and call the police or the sheriffs or, as was done in this case, evidently, call some other government agency like the Department of Family Services. But we have to remember, this isnít necessarily the typical case, and if you believe your child had been molested by a famous person, you might actually go to a private lawyer first and ask for guidance about what we do because you would know that youíre in for a different type of fight than perhaps some other type of child abuse case.
Ron: Okay. Trish?
Trish: Laurie, the last time we talked, you discussed that, in a criminal trial such as this one, the legal standard is beyond a reasonable doubt even though there have been numerous California cases where the prosecution has relied exclusively on witness testimony to successfully prove the defendantís guilt. How effective do you think it will be in this case?
Laurie: Well, I think it will be hard for the prosecutors if all they have is the testimony of the victim witness. That doesnít mean that that young manís not telling the truth, but itís a lot of pressure on any given witness, so in almost any case of this magnitude you would expect thereíd be some type of corroboration. And, once again, either thatís going to be another victim, maybe another witness who was at the house, physical evidence, did they find alcohol at the house? They were searching for something on that search warrant, and it may have been specific things described by the boy, whether it had been alcohol, photographs, or other devices.
Trish: So there is a danger in relying so heavily on witness testimony, or one witnessís testimony. To what extent can unsubstantiated allegations be used as reliable evidence in a criminal matter such as this one?
Laurie: Well, you know, a witness can come forward and make any allegations they want. That doesnít necessarily prove the case. There is a danger in relying on that because if the jury decides they donít believe that person or they might believe them but theyíre not sure, thatís not enough to find guilt in a criminal case. The jury really has to come out and say, you know, I believe that young man, and I believe him and therefore Iím willing to say beyond a reasonable doubt that Jackson is guilty.
Trish: Now, switching sides for a moment, what strategies may the defense use to discredit the testimony given by the witness?
Laurie: Well, we can already see what Mark Geragos plans in terms of the defense. I think that theyíre going to the victims and the jury that the victims had the opportunity before to make these allegations, didnít make these allegations, denied any type of abuse, and that theyíre only doing it for a particular reason, that is, to get the money. So, by using conflicting statements and allegations of a motive to get money, that will be the defense attack.
Trish: Now, knowing we still have a long way to go here, how likely is it that this case will proceed to trial now that we know the charges?
Laurie: Right now it appears to be proceeding to trial. Mr. Jackson, I believe, in his interview on 60 Minutes had said that, you know, he was going to take this case to trial to have his innocence proved, didnít talk about plea bargain as an option. So right now it looks like its going on the regular course to trial.
Trish: Now there has been some talk that the prosecution wants to call a grand jury to bypass the preliminary hearing which could give the defense the opportunity to question the witnesses. Can you describe the different processes between the two scenarios?
Laurie: First of all, I think it is a little late to go to the grand jury. If they were going to go to the grand jury, they ordinarily would have already gone, and gone by way of indictment instead of a preliminary hearing. Once they filed that complaint, it seemed to put them on the ordinary course of a preliminary hearing. If they had gone to a grand jury, then that process would be for the prosecution, not the defense, to be presenting their side of the story to the grand jury. Under California law, however, they would have to present what we call exculpatory evidence, evidence that they know shows that Michael Jackson may not have committed the crime, and they also would have had to have enough evidence thatís not by hearsay to bring the charges. A preliminary hearing is not done to the secret group of private citizens. It will be done in open court to a judge. The defense will have an opportunity to be there. The defense will have an opportunity to question the witnesses and perhaps, they donít have to, but perhaps call some of their own. So it is a very different scenario. Although, in the preliminary hearing now, in California, they can use police officers to present the story of the victim by hearsay. They donít necessarily have to call the victim. I think one of the reasons they did not go by grand jury so far is that there have been problems in Santa Barbara with its grand jury. The method of selecting the grand jury has been suspect in terms of diminishing the numbers of minorities, and I donít think they wanted to get into the fight over the composition, the racial composition of the grand jury.
Trish: Can you give us an overview of what typically takes place in an arraignment hearing such as the one scheduled January 16th, i.e., formal reading of the charges, offering of evidence by prosecution, the defendant entering a plea, etc.?
Laurie: The arraignment is a very straightforward hearing. The judge will be there to make sure that Michael Jacksonís lawyers have been given copies of the charges, ask him if, at that time, he is prepared to enter an initial plea, which I would expect to be not guilty. Then theyíll set a time schedule for future hearings. It is not a time where we, the public, will hear anything about the evidence in the case.
Ron: Speaking of that hearing, Laurie, when asked if the hearing and potential trial would be televised, Tom Sneddon stated that it was up to the judge. What do you think the possibilities of this being televised are, especially considering that a minor is involved?
Laurie: Well, the fact that a minor is involved makes it much less likely that this will be televised. It is completely up to the judge under California law. Either side can weigh in on that, but, you know, the judge gets the final say. Iím wondering whether this judge, because of all the media clamor, will want to tone it down by not having a camera in during the proceedings. On the other hand, an arraignment is so nonsubstantive a proceeding, he can almost throw the media a bone by saying weíll televise it and not very much risk any undue publicity in the case.
Ron: Okay. Some reports have mentioned the possibility of a gag order being requested. Can you explain what a gag order is, specifically, and the typical criteria used by the judge in approving one?
Laurie: A gag order is an order by the judge limiting what the parties and the witnesses can say to the media about the case. So it may, for example, say you canít talk about the witnesses, you canít talk about the evidence, you canít talk about the facts. And itís used so that weíre not trying the case outside of the courtroom instead of inside the courtroom. Now, because of the First Amendment rights of even the participants in a trial, the judge really has to have an indication that there is a substantial probability that the discussion is going to have a negative impact on the fairness of the trial, and he has to make sure that the gag order is narrowly drawn so it doesnít limit everybody under the sun nor everything they have to say. Oftentimes, judges do not want to get involved in gag orders because they take up a lot of time of the courts both in deciding what to issue and then supervising them. But in a case of this magnitude, the judge might evaluate it and at least say to the lawyers and to the direct participants, donít talk about the case unless youíre inside the courtroom.
Ron: Could the testimonies or other evidence from the 1993 investigations be used by the prosecutors or the defense, for that matter, in this criminal case, and if so, on the defense side, couldnít Michael Jackson be in danger of breaching the supposed confidentiality agreement that he signed accompanying the 1994 settlement?
Laurie: The prosecutors may very well try to get the victim in the 1993 investigation to come forward and cooperate, but itís not at all clear to me that that person will want to do that. In terms of the breach of confidentiality agreement, thatís a civil case and that has less importance than the criminal matter. So, yes, there may be separate consequences on the civil side of breaching that agreement, but that doesnít necessarily mean that you canít call those witnesses if they want to be called to testify in the criminal case.
Ron: I see. Laurie, recently you made the following statement about Tom Sneddon, "Everyone thought the oddest person in this case would be Michael Jackson, but the DA is rivaling him with his own antics. It may be naivetť on their part, but it makes it look like their interests are something other than seeing that justice is done." Can you please elaborate on this for us?
Laurie: I didnít mean to be unkind to Mr. Sneddon, but so far his press conferences, I think, have left a lot of people wondering, why is he holding them? Why is he holding himself out there as an important person in this case? And all it has done is draw more attention to him personally than will help his case. You know, prosecutors, frankly, are nothing more than government processors. Itís the job of a prosecutor, I know because I was one for many years, to take the evidence in the case, assemble it, present it to the jury, hope for a fair verdict. Itís not supposed to be a personality contest. And yet Mr. Sneddon, perhaps by the nature of his own personality, has made it more so. And I donít think that necessarily works for the prosecutionís advantage.
Ron: You bring up a good point, Laurie, because Mark Geragos in his press conference in response to the charges has mentioned that the charges were motivated by revenge and money, further stating that the prosecutors involved, seeming to refer to Tom Sneddon himself, had a "ax to grind" against Michael Jackson. And Sneddon has gone on the record, of course, denying that he has any personal vendetta against Michael. But, Laurie, I know that youíre a former prosecutor, so weíll be delicate in the way we ask this, is it even possible that a prosecutor would let their personal feelings impact the cases they file, how he or she handles these cases, and the accused being accused in this case?
Laurie: Well, of course itís possible because prosecutors are human beings and so they can get very personally invested in a case, and itís a constant struggle just to take yourself outside the case and handle it objectively, especially if you really believe the defendant is guilty and if, as in this case, you might believe that he got away with it before. But it does not work to a prosecutorís advantage to get personally involved. It backfires because the jury does not want to see a grudge match. They donít like the government using its power in that way. What they want to see is the most objective, fair presentation of evidence, almost sort of begrudgingly saying, I donít want to have to go after Michael Jackson, but nobody is above the law. That is usually the better tactic.
Ron: I see. It does appear to be a personal matter in this case, even though its not supposed to be, as youíre saying, it should be an objective presentation of the facts.
Laurie: Yeah, Mr. Sneddon, itís hard to tell. It does look sometimes that heís so personally involved in the case. Now, he has said its not, that he just has sort of a loose personality and thatís what comes across. But, I donít think it helps. A lot of people have perceived, and not just me, that, you know, Sneddon has a personal stake in this action. If thatís the case, it might help him to have some distance and let some of his deputies take the front line on it.
Ron: Laurie, in closing, Gil Garcetti, of course the former DA for L.A. County, will forever be remembered as the man who couldnít "nail O.J. Simpson". Doesnít Tom Sneddon also have a lot riding on the line here, especially given the fact that heís so close to his own retirement?
Laurie: Well, Mr. Sneddon seems to have chosen this case as one of his big last cases. I donít want to say a swan song, but it could end up being that. So, yes, he has chosen to associate his name, his career with this case. That might be a bit unfortunate because obviously the man has made a lot of contributions, tried a lot of cases. But he, by going out there for at least two press conferences, has identified himself very personally with this case. If he wins, maybe heíll go out a hero. If he loses, it will be a very different story.
Ron: Great. Well, thank you very much, Laurie, we know youíre very busy. We really appreciate your time. That concludes our interview with Ms. Laurie Levenson, a law professor of Loyola Law School. Thank you very much for joining us, Laurie.
Laurie: My pleasure, Ron.
Gary Dunlap RE: latino boys comment on Jimmy Kimmel
Flo Anthony, editor of Black Elegance and Carole Lieberman, MD, media psychiatrist.
Part 1 http://PlayAudioMessage.com/play.asp?m=43144&f=VDJVMP&ps=13&c=0000CC&pm=2&h=25
Part 2 http://PlayAudioMessage.com/play.asp?m=43151&f=FJSYBN&ps=13&c=0000FF&pm=2&h=25
RON: Okay, with us today is Dr. Carole Lieberman, well known media psychiatrist, and Flo Anthony, editor of Black Elegance magazine. Welcome to our program both of you.
FA and CL: Thank you.
RON: Dr. Lieberman, weíre going to start with you. Can you please begin briefly by telling us a little bit about your professional background and your specialties?
CL: Well, I wear a number of different hats. Iím a media psychiatrist, meaning that I not only appear in the media and use that to educate people about psychological issues but also I analyze the media and media stars. Iím also a psychiatric expert witness on all kinds of cases, criminal and defense. Iíve done a number of high profile like the Jenny Jones murder trial. Also, Iím an author and a radio talk show host and sort of on and on.
CL: And in this particular instance, I am the person who made two charges against Michael Jackson to Child Protective Services.
RON: And weíre going to get to all of that very shortly. Ms. Anthony, can you begin by telling us a little bit about yourself and how long youíve been a celebrity journalist and so on.
FA: Well, currently I have a daily syndicated radio show on the Jones Radio Networks, and I am also the editor and chief of Black Elegance magazine which, of course, is a national magazine and I write columns in ten newspapers that are black newspapers and also author a column in Japan. Iíve been covering the celebrity scene since the early 90ís and prior to that I worked in the entertainment department of the New York Post, but in 1990 I went to Page Six of the New York Post, and thatís when I became totally covering the celebrity scene. Iíve known the Jacksons since the early 70ís. I met Michael, Janet, LaToya, and Randy at Disney World, and LaToya is my best friend. Weíve all just kind of been friends ever since.
RON: Okay. Dr. Lieberman, we read the recent letters that you sent to the Department of Child Services regarding your concern for Michael Jacksonís children. Briefly, can you tell us why you feel itís necessary that Michael Jacksonís children be taken away from him? You allege "deep psychological problems that he has. Can you share with us your criteria for how you arrived at these conclusions?
CL: Sure. First of all, Iím not asking or did not ask for his children to be taken away from him indefinitely. It was only until he receives sufficient psychiatric treatment to be a proper and fit father to them. I just want to make that distinction.
CL: And the reason whyÖ..the way that I came to this is that I actually have been following Michael Jackson for over a decade now, because over a decade ago I was asked to be the psychiatric consultant to a biography, an unauthorized biography that was written about him. And so I read all about his childhood and it was a veryÖÖ.the author of the biography had really spent a lot of time and did careful research.
RON: Was that Dr. Tamborelli? Iím sorry, Mr. Tamborelli?
CL: J. Randy Tamborelli.
RON: Whoís not a doctor.
CL: Heís not a doctor. No.
FA: No, heís a freelance journalist.
RON: Right, and I understand it, he used to know, at least to some extent, the Jackson family 20 years ago.
FA: Not really. No, he worked at Soul magazine. Most of the, I believe in life heís interviewed Michael perhaps once. And that picture of him interviewing Michael is in one of his books. He worked for Soul magazine, and most of the research for the books that he wrote on came from literature and everything that was on file at Soul magazine. And heís built an entire career on an interview with Michael when Michael was maybe 16 or 17.
CL: Well, you know, he has written many books on celebrities. Itís not just on Michael Jackson. But Iíve met with him for hours and he was quite a responsibleÖÖÖ
FA: Iíve done shows with him, met with him, everything.
CL: Heís a very responsible journalist. In any case, that was howÖÖthe book is called "The Magic and the Madness".
RON: Right, right. Weíre familiar with that one.
CL: And thatís how I first came in contact with this whole issue. And since then, I get asked to comment about all kinds of issues in the news, from terrorism to celebrities. And so over the years, Iíve been asked from time to time to comment about Michael Jackson. So Iíve been following him. And ever since he hadÖÖ..he got his children I have been saying that I, you know, sometimes after I would do an interview I would kind of tell the people or sometimes I would say it during an interview that I canít believe that anyone isnít doing anything to take his children away. Because even by that time, which was after the first accusations and after a number of things that led one to believe that he was a child molester, I couldnít believe that nothing was happening. And so, when the baby dangling incident happened a year ago, over a year ago, and I was asked to do another bunch of interviews and I was muttering the same thing. I canít believe nobody is doing anything to take away his children. I thought to my self, now who am I expecting to do something about it and why am I not doing something about it? Because in California, psychiatrists are mandated to report suspected cases of child abuse. So thatís when, last November, I made my first complaint to Child Protective Services.
FA: Well, why do you feel thereís any suspicion of Michael molesting his own children?
CL: Well, first of all, and it wasnít just about his molesting his own children, it was about his being a danger to them psychologically because of all of his problems.
FA: What problems are these?
CL: What problems?
FA: Yeah, what problems does he have that would be a danger to the children? I just want to know. Maybe you know of some that we donít.
CL: Well, you can check out my website, drcarole.comÖÖ.
FA: Iíve looked at it.
FA: I mean, what is the last time that you sat down with Mike and you sat down with the kids and that you could see that there was some psychological problems he had going on that could affect the kids?
RON: Flo, let me interject. Actually, that was a question we were going to ask you. First of all, Dr. Carole Lieberman, have you ever met Michael or his children?
CL: No, I have not personally met Michael or his children. However, I have met a number of people who have met them.
RON: And what do those people tell you?
CL: Well, Iíve heard everything fromÖÖ.some of the things that Iíve heard Iíve kind of compiled all of these things. I mean, I think whatÖ.
FA: Well, what did you compile it from if you didnít hear it? You pulled out the sky? It was down in the ground? I mean, where was it, Dr. Lieberman?
CL: From observing Michael myself.
FA: Okay, but youíve never met him so where were you observing him?
CL: I was observing him in various interviews. I was observing him in the documentary. I was reading things about him. I saw videotapes of him at Neverland that were sort of private. IÖ.itís beenÖ.you know, over a decade of information that I put together. Michael talks about a lot of things himself. About how he was abused by his father severely, and a lot of these things are not secret. In the book it talks about how when he was a little boy he slept in the same room, if not the same bed, asÖÖ..well, he admitted actually, he slept in the same bed asÖÖÖ..
FA: He slept in the same bed with his brothersÖ.
CL: With family membersÖ.
FA: Yes, he had to. There were two bedrooms in a two bedroom house and they had two sets of bunk beds and so they all did sleep together. But there was nothing sexual going on. There are many, many children who have to sleep in the same bed with each other because they are poor. And that doesnít mean that anything dirty is going on. I find great offense with youÖÖ
CL: Thatís because youíre not letting me finishÖ
FA: Because what youíre saying is a pile of doodoo.
CL: No, that isÖ.
FA: As Michael would say.
CL: Thatís very, ummm, intellectual. No, if you would let me finish what I was trying to sayÖÖ
RON: That is a direct quoteÖthat is a direct quote fromÖ..
CL: What I was trying to sayÖ..what I was trying to say was that when he was sharing the bedÖ.some of the times that he shared his bed was when they were on tour. And when they were on tour, they would bring women into the room and have sex with them.
FA: Okay, now Michael didnít say that. That comes from out of the Jackson family movie. No one had any sex in the bed at all. What happened wasÖ..Iíll give you the exact thing because Enid Jackson, who was married to Jackie Jackson, told me this because she said that, you know, everybodyís always talking about Mike is gay and Jermaine, Jackie, and Tito would have all these girls and all this making out in the bed. All of a sudden they feel an extra hand on the girl and it would be Michael. Now, of course, they kicked Michael out of there immediately. Iím not saying people should run around having group sex, but hey, weíre all adults here and musicians are crazy. So they would kick Michael out of theÖÖ
CL: So Michael was only a 5 or 6 year old boyÖ..
FA: No he wasnít 5 or 6 years old. First of all, he was 11 years old when the Jackson 5 were formed. He just claimed he was 8. With all of your research and observations if you knew anything, you would know that.
CL: Okay, letís sayÖ..
RON: Perrin, feel free to interject at any time.
PERRIN: Yes, letís cool this down just a little bit, okay?
RON: Nobodyís hurt, itís only a phone call.
FA: I want to say one more thing about Michael and the girls and JermaineÖÖ
CL: Well, waitÖÖ.
FA: And another thing Ė just hush and let me finish.
RON: Let her finish and then you can take over after.
FA: Let me finish, then you can say whatever. Thereís another scene in the Jackson American Dream where Jermaine is sitting on the bed with a girl. The girl feels these hands on her legs and then Jermaine looks under the bed. Itís Michael and Marlon and then they chase Michael and Marlon out of there. I mean, you know, Iím not saying it was right Michael and Marlon was feeling some girlís leg under the bed and they were like, you know, 12 or 13, but boys will be boys.
CL: Well, first of all, there are various accounts of the age but even with saying heís 11 or 12 or 13, the point is that a child and when he was younger, well, whatever. Even if weíre saying he was around that age, for a child to see people having sex, including his father, and is told not to tell his mother about this, that is very traumatic. And especiallyÖ.
RON: Are you saying that makes him an unfit father in some way? I just want you to clarify.
CL: No, just one second.
CL: What Iím saying is that that is what contributed to his stunted sexuality and for why he said himself in the documentary that when a woman first approached him to have sex he was so scared he thought he was going to die because he was traumatized. There were lots of things in Michaelís childhood that traumatized him. You canít, I mean, Iíd need like a half an hour to give you the timeline. My point is that he fits, from his childhood to the current day, all of these things that we do know about him fit the profile of a child molester. And the most, the most sort of mind blowing kind of telltale sign of this was when XXXXX, the boy in the documentary, who is now making the allegation, as everybody knows, when he said in the documentary that Michael said, "If you love me, you will sleep in my bed". Now XXXXXÖÖ..
FA: but Michael slept on the floor.
CL: So he then said, but ifÖ..
FA: oh, so he then said.
CL: Wait a second, thatís not my point.
RON: Let her finish, let her finishÖ.
CL: These are the manipulative words of a child molester and the very words that, if you look at the documents on Smoking Gun website, that Chandler said in 1993. Those are the same words that this little boy said that Michael Jackson said to him in regard to various sexual activities Ė if you love me, you will do this.
RON: You know, I want to comment on that if I could.
RON: First of all, you saw that on the Smoking Gun website because it was a public, at that point, obviously making it a publicly known fact and publicly known information. Donít you think XXXXX and/or his mother would also have access to that information, if they wanted to? I mean, letís just assume for a moment that Michael Jackson is not a child molester. Donít you think that if there was someone that was victimized, that he was the victim, that these other people that are trying to, you know, get him in whatever way they might be, might do a little bit of research and look on the internet and see what he was accused of ten years ago?
CL: Not at the time that that documentary was shot, no. No, I do not believe that. And not in the way that XXXXX said that in that documentary. Absolutely not.
RON: Okay, okay. Perrin, do you have a question?
PERRIN: Actually, yes, to follow up. Of course not during the documentary, Dr. Lieberman, but considering theÖ
CL: but thatís when he said itÖ.
PERRIN: Excuse me, but we were talking about the leaked documents. The uproar around February where most of this alleged abuse occurred, donít you think it would be logical for someone, the mother or whoever, to read these documents that were leaked on the Smoking Gun?
CL: I think that by now Michael Jacksonís lawyers orÖÖ. I see what youíre saying. By now itís possible but thatísÖÖ..this child said this in September or October, before February.
PERRIN: Weíre talking about two separate things. Weíre talking about the leaking of the information by the Smoking Gun in February and what XXXXX, or the accuserÖÖ.
RON: Iíll just bleep that out after, itís okay.
FA: Well, first of all, the Smoking Gun document by Jordan Chandler, everybody knows by now that it was said that he was coerced under drugs when he said all of that.
CL: Well, I donít believe that one.
FA: Iím sure you donít.
CL: But what Iím trying to say isÖÖ..
FA: I want to ask you something. Did anything traumatic ever happen for you as a child? Were you ever traumatized as a child? Did something ever seem odd to you?
CL: Now what relevance does thatÖ??
FA: A lot. Because youíre thinking that just because this boyÖÖ.that at times he was traumatized that heís a child molester. So Iím just wondering if you were ever traumatized that you are a child molester too.
CL: No, thatís not what Iím saying. That is not what Iím saying.
RON: Dr. Lieberman, why donít you describe what you are saying?
RON: Why donít you go ahead and describe what you are saying if thatís not it?
CL: Well, first of all, letís clarify what we were just talking about, when they knew what. XXXXX said this, you know, that Michael said if you love me you will do this in September or October of 2002, right?
RON: Yeah, that sounds about right.
CL: And the documentary aired in February 2003, okay? And so, no, I donít think by SeptemberÖÖ..and the Smoking Gun had that on the website, at least when I was aware of it, was in February 2003.
FA: You guys, Iím going to jump off just one second. Iíll be right back.
CL: So, in other words, what Iím trying to say is that by September or October of 2002, no, I donít think XXXXX had access. They arenít that sophisticated and I donít think they had access to that document.
RON: Well, I want to make another comment because I did read the letter in detail, and you mentioned something else about the documentary. You said that the documentary, when Michael Jackson was holding hands with the boy, that the boy was like submissive towards Michael at that point and that was like some kind of evidence, to you at least, that proved that there was some kind of sexual impropriety going on. Now we know that the documentary aired on February 6 or 7th, aired originally in the U.K. and then in the U.S. We know that the prosecution is alleging that the contact happened between February 7th and March 20th. According to what youíre saying, the conduct happened prior to the documentary and, in fact, prior to the filming, you know, three or four months prior. How do you explain that?
CL: Okay, thatís a good question. I explain it because I thinkÖ..I do still stand by what I said. I believe that that boy in the documentary had already been undergoing some kind of molestation by Michael JacksonÖ..
RON: Sexual molestation?
CL: Sexual molestation, right. And I think that it continued after, including the dates that the DA is saying. Why they are not saying it occurred before that as well, you know that may well be coming out in the trial. It could well also beÖÖ
FA: Iím back.
CL: that the child, so far, has not admitted to the molestation having begun earlier.
RON: Well, right now we donít really know because none of thatís been released, so itís all conjecture. Perrin, do you want to follow up on that?
PERRIN: Well, I was just thinking about something regarding what you said about thinking that the child was molested even prior to that.
PERRIN: You see, the basic issue Iím having with all the suppositions. To speculate, we would have to have some form of evidence. We donít have any evidence regarding the whereabouts, physical placement of Mr. Jackson and this child, how much time they spent together. I donít know if itís really reasonable to actually comment on something that the child hasnít even said himself. This is the basic comment.
FA: Are you speaking of Mikeís kids? Iím sorry, I had to answer the door.
PERRIN: No, well weíre talking about Dr. Liebermanís suggestion that this young man, the accuser, was molested before February.
FA: No, well, what it is, is the molestation dates, I donít know if you guys are aware of it are fromÖ..
RON: February 7thÖ.
FA: February 7th until March the 11th.
RON: to March 10th.
FA: of 2002.
RON: of 2003, Iím sorryÖ..
FA: 2003, Iím sorry. Now thereís proof that will come out in court that Michael really didnít have any contact with the child within that period of time. Now, theyíre saying that the child may have met him at Disney World, but that wonít have any relevance to the case because all of this supposedly happened in Santa Barbara County. But they will be bringing out the proof that Michael had no contact with him at all during that period of time.
PERRIN: Which would actually go into Dr. Liebermanís assertion that the boy could have been molested before February.
RON: Well, the question is why would the prosecution have been alleging that it happened during that time?
FA: Because the boy toldÖÖI donít know if the boy or the mother or somebody told the prosecution it was in those dates. You know what happened is that MichaelÖ.I donít know, something went down. First of all, everyone I know, everyone Iíve talked toÖÖ.you know, most of the kids that have been to Neverland and know the accuser and his sister and brother all very well and know the three of them always hung out together. They never even knew of the accuser being alone with Michael. It was always the accuser, his brother, and his sister. There was, you know, Michael did provide a car for the family and do different things for the family, as he has done for many cancer patients in the past. However, there came some type of period when the motherÖÖwhen saw the kid on TV, she demanded money for the kid being on television. Michael wouldnít pay money for the kid being on television, and thatís when they went to the authorities and said, well, the kid was molested. Now, they went to four different attorneys and none of them would take the case originally. You know, thatís why the L.A. County of Child Services had been investigating them because they went to the attorneys in Los Angeles and, of course, they cleared Michael. Now Diane Dimond is claiming, well in June they said maybe he might not be clear, but they had already cleared Michael. This is stuff that is after the fact here. I donít know if you guys know this case is extremely, extremely flimsy. Most people, even within the Santa Barbara Police Department donít even understand why they went ahead with an indictment, trash Neverland, went in with 70 people like it was Waco, and tore the place up. I know you are well aware that they totally destroyed Neverland. They tore a 300,000 dollar painting off the wall in half, valuable gold coins are missing, itís just a huge mess.
RON: Any comments on that, Dr. Lieberman?
CL: Well, I donít know what the police did in Neverland, but obviously they found enoughÖÖyou know, I donít think that they would want to risk being made fools of in front of the world if they didnít find hard enough evidence to back their case. They know that the whole world is going to be watching, and I donít think theyíd want to risk that.
FA: Well, weíll know tomorrow, weíll know tomorrow who fools are and who fools arenít when we can see a little bit more into the indictment at the arraignment. You know, so we will know a little bit more. You know, Iím just telling you that four attorneys, people that feel about Michael as Dr. Lieberman did, those four attorneys like that turned down this case because it was that flimsy. These people are con artists, theyíre low life junkies, theyíre horrible human beings. And all Michael was doing was trying to help these people because that child was suffering from cancer.
RON: Perrin, do you have any follow-up to that? Perrin, are you still there?
PERRIN: Well, Iím still here.
RON: Iím sorry, go on.
PERRIN: Iím just listening.
FA: Youíre so soft spoken and sweet.
PERRIN: Well, thank you.
RON: Itís cold up here, Flo, we know that.
PERRIN: Well, thank you Ms. Anthony. I was simply about to interject that itís true, a lot of media talking heads and pundits are talking about the flimsiness of the case. And once you factor in the original leaked memo in February that cleared Mr. Jackson supposedly, I was just wondering about theÖÖ..
CL: That memo doesnít mean anything. It means nothing more than the paper itís written on. Because, I mean, the whole key here isÖÖ.Iím looking at thisÖÖyou know, I donít have anything against Michael Jackson. I feel sorry for him. I think heís a veryÖÖ
FA: You could have fooled me.
CL: Really? I think heís a very sick man, and what he needs is intensive psychiatric treatment. Thatís what he needs. And then, when he gets enough of that, hopefully he could have his children back. See, Iím not doing thisÖ..
FA: Theyíre not going to take his children from him. You know, you can forget that. And as I said to you on Fox News Channel, if those children were regular brown skinned nappy headed kids like me, you couldnít care less about those children. Itís because their mother is white, they look white, that youíre so concerned. And you said, oh, but Iíve got black peopleÖÖÖÖno, no, you couldnít care lessÖÖ
CL: It doesnít matter which colorÖ..
FA: Oh, yes it does!
CL: And you know what? You know what, Flo? I thought about it afterwards. What do you mean that the children are white? I thought Michael Jackson was supposed to be their real father.
FA: No, I said the mother is white and they look more white than black. Thereís a lot of mulattos out there. I have mulattos in my family that look much more white thanÖ..
CL: I thought about that afterÖ..
FA: No, I said they look white. I have mulattos in my family who look more white than they do black.
CL: There was a very interesting comment you made on Fox NewsÖ..
FA: I didnít say they were white. I said that because their mother is whiteÖÖ.their mother, by the way, is a very good friend of mine, Debbie.
CL: I realized it after we got off, I thought did she sayÖ.
FA: I said they look white.
CL: And, and, you know, it seems like it might have been a little slip of the tongue there.
FA: No, it wasnít any slip of the tongue
CL: In any case, it doesnít matter. The thing is it doesnít matter to me what color they are. The point is that they are in danger. We know enough. Weíve seen Michael with a little baby on his knee shaking him like he wasÖÖ..you know, there certainly have been comments from family members and
FA: a lot of people, a lot of people bounce a kid on the kneeÖ.
CL: Not like that, not like that. He looked like he was either on drugs or had some kind of anxiety disorder.
FA: I gotta jump out again, guys, and then Iím going to get off. Iíve got to go back on my own radio show in a few minutes.
RON: Okay. Dr. Lieberman, I have a question for you. What do you think should happen to his children if you donít think heís capable of taking care of the children himself?
CL: Well, I thinkÖÖ.I think that thatísÖ..I certainly donít think that they should go with his father. You know thereís talk about them going with his mother and father, and I really donít think that Michael Jacksonís father should have access to any children since he already destroyed Michael. But I think thatís a very hard question. I think if there was somebody in the Jackson family, you know, if it was maybe just the mother or if there was somebody else that could be found to be healthy and where the children could be safe, that could be one possibility. I understand that Debbie Rowe might be trying to get them back now that sheís heard about this Nation of Islam connection. Of course, Debbie Rowe, unless itís possible that she could have an about face. You know, of course, Debbie Rowe, you know, unless sheís, itís possible she could have an about faceÖ.I donít know that one could just hand the childrenÖÖ
FA: I have to address that. Just give me a minute here to let someone in my house.
RON: Go ahead, continue.
CL: Because obviously she gave the children up in the first place and hatched them for Michael, so we would have to see if she was really a fit mother, but if there were somebody else who would come forward who can prove that they can be more fit. But I just want toÖÖ.I started to say that I donít have anything personally against Michael Jackson, okay. The reasonÖ..but I am looking atÖ..I mean, I have dealt with hundreds and hundreds of patients, both adults and children who have been sexually abused, people who have been child molesters. I mean, this to meÖ..when I look at him and when I look at the childrenÖÖI mean, Iíve had to evaluate for custody and for things like that. I mean, these things are just kind of very easy for me to see when I look at the whole picture.
PERRIN: But Dr. Lieberman, this is Perrin Brown, donít you think it would be more advantageous for you to have Mr. Jackson on your couchÖ..
CL: Well, I would be happy to. I would be happy to. He has a standing invitation. I would love to be able to.
RON: Does he get a free consultation?
PERRIN: Dr. Lieberman, but your assertions are all subjective unless you have the man on your couch. Donít you think thatís absolutely true? I can make certain subjective opinions about anyone I can see
CL: You donít have an M.D. and training in psychiatry. Anybody could look at anybody and have opinions. But, I mean, Iíve spent years and years studying this and have treated thousands of patients.
FA: Okay, Iím back and then Iíve got to go, guys.
RON: Okay, go ahead.
FA: I want to comment on Debbie Rowe. First of all, Debbie is Jewish. Michael has taken the children to synagogue in the past. At the moment, Michaelís security detail is being handled by the Nation of Islam. Itís nothing more than his security detail thatís being handled by the Nation of Islam. Debbie, because I donít know if sheís spoken with Mike about all this going on, sheís concerned, not about taking the kids or anything like that. She doesnít want the kids raised as Muslim. She wants the kids to be raised in the Jewish faith, as they are. And he has been taking them to synagogue. So thatís what the whole problem is with that.
CL: Well, Flo, I happen to have just seen yesterday some documents that indicate that its not just security detail, but the Nation of Islam, in fact, own the house that Michael Jackson, bought for Michael Jackson, or rented for Michael JacksonÖÖ
PERRIN: Dr. Lieberman, a Chinese painter, a famous Chinese painter owns the house.
CL: Yes, thatís right. Thatís right, and then if you go further, itís connected to the Nation of Islam. I know what Iím talking about. I saw the papers yesterday.
RON: Can you be more specific about what you saw?
FA: Well, Michael paid cash for that house. Theyíre saying heís leasing that. Thatís not true. And everybodyís saying, well the Nation of Islam paid for it. I donítÖÖ..that I canít see. I mean, I donít know Mr. Farrakhan and all of them and I canít see them coming up with no 20 million bucks for Michael.
RON: Even if that were true, what would it prove?
FA: Yeah, what would it matter if they bought a house?
CL: What it proves is that they have more controlÖ.
FA: They donít have any control. These are friends of his. Wally Farrakhan has been Jermaineís best friend for two decades, Louis Farrakhanís son. Just because all of a sudden publicly youíre seeing the Nation of Islam aroundÖÖtheyíve always around. Weíre talking about people who are friends to the Jackson family.
CL: Well, I think thatís pretty scary.
FA: And Michael Jackson, nobody has control over him. If you all canít see that by now, I donít know about your great observations.
CL: Well, in a sense, yes. Nobody has control over what he says and what he does in a sense because heís so impulsive and has such psychological problems, butÖÖ
FA: I donít think he has any psychological problems. I think you need to sit down and perhaps examine him yourself and stop going on videos and Randy Tamborelliís and all this stuff.
CL: Flo, you can tell him that he has an open invitation at any time to sit on my couch and I would love to help him.
PERRIN: But donít you believe you would be somewhat biased, Dr. Lieberman?
CL: No, not at all.
FA: So biased it would be frightening.
PERRIN: Dr. Lieberman, youíve already made assertions regarding his character and regarding his profile.
RON: Well, let me just comment on that. It seems likeÖ..Dr. Lieberman, in all fairness to what Perrin said, it seems like youíve already formed a substantial amount of opinions based on not meeting him.
FA: Thatís an understatement, Ron! That is an understatement.
CL: I have treated people, public figures, about whom Iíve had various opinions, and when I see them in my office, I am happy to keep an open mind. However, you knowÖ.
FA: You know what, Dr. Lieberman, Michael Jackson or anybody else would be a fool to walk into your office because you are so biasedÖ..
CL: Well, thank you very muchÖ
FA: I mean, Iíve just never seen such hatred and bias pouring out of one person for another human being in my life.
CL: Flo, you may notÖ..
FA: And I donít think youíre a bad person. I read the stuff you write and everything. Iím not saying youíre a bad person. Iím just saying thatÖ..you knowÖ.
CL: Well, why would I have somethingÖ..
FA: Even when I looked at the case of O.J., Iíve just seen that whenever thereís a black man you just think the worst in the world of them.
RON: Any comment on that, Dr. Lieberman?
CL: Really, thatís why I interviewed Rodney King and am trying to sell hisÖÖ
FA: Rodney King was not a rich, powerful black man as O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson. You canít evenÖÖ I will tell you something. I think Rodney King is a very handsome manÖ..
CL: I mean, I likeÖ..I likeÖ.
FA: Listen to meÖ.I think Rodney King is a very handsome man. Iíve been in his company quite a bit. Iíve tried to help him with his record label. So youíre talking to the wrong girl. I know all the players.
CL: Okay, Iím the personÖ..
FA: All the players! Iíve been around the people Iím talking about.
CL: Wait a second, Flo, wait a secondÖ
RON: Ms. Anthony, let her make a point. Okay, go ahead.
CL: I, in fact, was the first one to play on my radio show Rodney Kingís firstÖÖ.
FA: Wait a minute. You know, I donít even want to talk about Rodney King. The heck with him for right now. Weíre back to Michael Jackson.
CL: The point is you canít sayÖ..
FA: Weíre back to Michael Jackson and O.J. Simpson, extremely powerful and wealthy black men. You canít put Rodney King, a victim on PCP these cops have beaten up in the same categoryÖ..
CL: Flo, Iím just sayingÖ.
PERRIN: Ladies, ladies Ė letís try to get this back on topic.
FA: Thatís why I said forget Rodney King, Iím going back until this womanÖ.
CL: Well, wait a minuteÖ.
RON: Well, wait, let Dr. Lieberman make her point. Okay, go ahead.
CL: Flo, you were the one, both in regard to Michael Jacksonís children and in regard to black men in general, you are the one who are casting aspersions saying that I have something against black people.
FA: You are casting aspersions on yourself, hun. Youíve cast them upon yourself. Youíre the one going on television blaspheming this peopleÖ..
CL: Thatís not trueÖ..
FA: And in returnÖ..
CL: It has nothing to do with them being black and it makesÖÖ
FA: Oh, letís see if they were white menÖ.
CL: And it makes absolutely noÖ..
FA: Woody Allen got accused of child molestation by his own mistress. They didnít even look in his daggone pocket. Woody Allen by Mia Farrow. The police didnít even look in his pocket, and heís now married to his stepdaughter that Mia Farrow rescued off the streets of Korea.
CL: Yes, Flo. And I was very outspoken about that too, against Woody Allen. So it has nothing to doÖ..I meanÖ.
FA: Iíve never heard you outspoken about him. That must have been on a show that nobody saw.
CL: It was in print. In fact, I think it was inÖ..one of the things was in the New York Post.
FA: It must have been an article that nobody read on a Saturday when people were out of town.
CL: Really. Well, in any case, the point isÖ..
FA: I gotta runÖI really do.
RON: Okay. Dr. Lieberman, why donít you go ahead and make the point you were going discussing about theÖ..
CL: It makes no sense that IÖÖ
RON: Thanks, Flo.
CL: It makes no sense that I would be speaking out against rich black men and somehow for poor black men, I mean, I donít see the thinking that would go behind that. But it has nothing to do with whether somebody is black or white, itís whether I think that what they are doing is wrong or right and what I baseÖÖ.itís not even that, itís what I am basing it on. Itís the profile that I draw up about a particular person based upon, you know, their history.
PERRIN: Dr. Lieberman, this is Perrin Brown again. You were talking about that, and Iíd just like to ask you a question. You know, recently Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, put his infant sonís life in danger.
PERRIN: Were you just as emphatic?
CL: Was I what?
PERRIN: Were you just as emphatic asÖ..
CL: Yes, I was. In fact, you can look up an article in the Miami Post, I believe it wasÖ..Miami Herald. I was interviewed about that, and yes, they compared Michael Jackson and the crocodile man, and I was just as outspoken about him.
PERRIN: Well, you know, the mother is American. Would you consider filing some form of complaint, since the mother is American and they have aÖÖ
RON: Isnít she from Los Angeles?
PERRIN: Yes, she is. They constantly come back to the States.
PERRIN: Would you consider filingÖ..
CL: Well, I thought they were living in Australia.
PERRIN: They split their time between Australia and the United States. The children hold dual citizenship.
CL: Well, I mean, I didnít think about it because I thought they lived in Australia, so it didnít even occur to me. But the point is, with Michael Jackson, I didnít file my first complaint just because he was dangling the baby. That was the thing that triggered my again saying I canít believe nobody is doing something. It wasnít just because he dangled the baby. It was his whole history.
RON: What do you mean by the history?
PERRIN: But the dangling was the jump off point, wouldnít you consider? You said yourself earlier in this interview that someone has to do something, why shouldnít I because Iím a psychiatrist?
CL: Yes, yes, yes, but that was sort of the time whenÖÖÖI had said that many times before that and then, yes, when I said it after that time it was like, you know, one too many times. Then I started thinking, who am I thinking is going to do something about it and I felt like I should. But it wasnít just because he dangled the baby. That just happened to be the reason they were interviewing me.
PERRIN: So, if Mr. Jackson didnít have all of these perceived problems or supposed bizarreness and he had dangled the baby, you would not have filed a complaint? You just based it on cumulative things, is that what youíre saying?
CL: I donít know the answer to whether I would have filed the complaint if there was absolutely nothing else, but there was. There was a ton of stuff. I mean, I had said this way before he dangled the baby Ė why isnít someone doing something to take his children away.
PERRIN: What are some of the other sort of things that, besides his alleged tortuous background?
CL: Well, it started in 1993 when he settled this case when he was accused of molesting a child. It may have actually started before then, but I remember that. And what I remember happened after that was that he went on television. After he settled the case, he went on television with Diane Sawyer and Lisa Marie Presley Ė remember that interview?
PERRIN: Yes, I do.
RON: Yes, it was 1995.
CL: He even talked then about how it was okayÖÖ..he talked about going to the bathroom with little boys. Do you remember that?
PERRIN: Lisa Marie Presley said these kids would follow him into the bathroom.
CL: That these kids what?
PERRIN: Lisa Marie Presley said that Ė that these kids would practically follow him to the bathroom.
CL: Well, and Michael didnít say anythingÖÖnot practically, it was that theyÖ
PERRIN: It could have been a euphemism.
CL: No, the wayÖ
PERRIN: But Iím not going to argue with you beyond that.
CL: Okay, you know, it stood out in my mind because then when he got his first child, you know, thatís when I was really concerned aboutÖ..hey, this man didnítÖÖwhat I thought about during the interview was this man didnít learn anything. He still doesnít realizeÖ.
RON: Well, waitÖ..
CL: that this is inappropriate.
RON: Are you assuming, you know, no offense, but arenít you assuming that the allegations are true when, at this point, they really are just allegations?
CL: Which allegations are true, both of them?
RON: Well, the allegations from ten years ago or the allegations from a month ago.
CL: Yes. Iím assuming that theyíre true.
PERRIN: Well, then, you earlier said, Dr. Lieberman, that if Michael Jackson sat on your couch, you would have an open mind.
PERRIN: But you just statedÖÖ..isnít that an inconsistency?
CL: No, because if someone, you know, Michael Jackson wouldnítÖÖ.weíre talking about years of therapy, not Michael Jackson coming into my office for an hour and having a little chat. But over the period of time, I mean, what I would expect to happenÖ..well, forget about whether itís me or anybody, any good therapistÖÖwhat needs to happen is for him to feel comfortable enough to sort of unburden his soul and to talk about all the things and to cry. Just like he didÖ..we saw some of that on the documentary when he cried about his fatherís physical abuse and about his father telling him that he was ugly and criticizing his nose and all of that, and his pimples. You know, he needs to cry about a lot of thoughts and remember a lot of stuff.
PERRIN: Are we making a biased assessment or assumptions? We donít know what heís doing in his private life. We donít know if heís in therapy or not. We are making an assumption based on an image that we see on television.
CL: I donít think he is in therapy, but Iím saying that ifÖÖwhether or not he is at the momentÖÖ.I mean, I donít think he is because if he were in therapy he wouldnít be acting the way heís acting right now, even up to the 60 Minutes interview.
RON: What do you mean by that?
PERRIN: Well, youíre talking about a person who may give poor interviews and youíre basing that on hisÖÖ.
CL: Itís not a matter ofÖÖyou know, itís not a matter of poor interviews. There are things between the words that he says and the body language that he uses. Iím looking at this as a psychiatrist the whole time and putting it all together and it all fits to fit a certain kind of profile. I mean, actuallyÖÖactually, the most interesting thing about that 60 Minutes interview, it was the first time it was so clear to me was that I think Michael Jacksonís problems, psychiatric problems, are even more severe than was apparent in the previous interviews.
PERRIN: Based on a 30 to 45 minute interview?
CL: Based upon howÖ..there was evidence of his sort of being dissociated. In other words, it seemed as though he was out of touch with reality at times. And, in factÖ.
RON: In all fairness, he was in a considerable amount of pain during that interview.
RON: He made that clear. Maybe very possibly, and Iím not saying that this is fact, but itís very possible that if he was in pain, he might have been on a pain medication just toÖ.
RON: Again, Iím not saying that heís a drug user or anything like that, Iím just saying that itís quite possibleÖ.
CL: Yes. I think he was clearly on pain medicationÖ.
RON: He looked very tired andÖ
CL: Well, remember when the woman came in, you know, he was saying, what time is it? That was clearly, in my mind, someone who was looking forÖÖyou know, is it time for my next pain medication? And there have been family members who have come forward and have said that he is on drugs, and I personallyÖ..
RON: Iím sorry, Michael Jacksonís family members?
RON: Who? Can you state for us who?
CL: UmmmmÖ.I donítÖÖIím not sure if itísÖ.
RON: Is this firsthand information or secondhand information? Because youíve said that youÖÖ
CL: I read it.
PERRIN: Read it where?
RON: I guess we missed that issue, Perrin.
CL: I also do have firsthand information from a former employee of his who did tell me personally that when this employee was there, she observed Michael Jackson being addicted to pain medicine.
PERRIN: What year, Dr. Lieberman?
CL: Quite a whileÖ..this goes backÖ..back quite a ways, but she was stillÖ..back as far as the time of ten years agoÖ.
PERRIN: Well, Dr. LiebermanÖ..
CL: Wait a minute, but she is still in contact with people who still work for him.
PERRIN: Isnít that somewhat second and third hand information?
RON: Well, waitÖ.now, let me comment on that. Because Michael Jackson ten years ago admitted that he was addicted to pain killers for his scalp.
CL: For what?
RON: Well, 20 years ago, when he was filming the Pepsi commercial, in 1983, he burned his scalpÖÖ
CL: Yes, I heard thatÖ.
RON: and he had pain medication for that and there was a flare up, and this happened right after the 1993 allegations. He was being deposed in Mexico for a copyright infringement case. In which case, he admitted, you know, during that time, that he had been taking pain medication and become addicted to it because of the scalp injury. So itís very possible that you could be talking about the same thing.
CL: Yes, I heard that.
RON: You know, that heís already admitted to that and that was a long time ago. Thatís why he was in treatment overseas, and so on.
CL: But, this person still has contacts with people who are currently working for him who confirm that itís only gotten worse.
PERRIN: But, Dr. Lieberman, thatísÖ..you must understand that unless you have firsthand information, it could be any reasonable consideration that this person could be receiving inaccurate information or could be lying or have an ax to grind or be biased?
CL: Well, she couldÖ.
RON: Well, just consider the source. Obviously, we havenít seen it firsthand so we donít really know. Weíll just give her the benefit that sheísÖÖwith the caveat sheís stating weíll give her that benefit.
RON: Perrin, do you have another question?
PERRIN: Oh, myÖ.wellÖ.
RON: Well, we only haveÖ..letís try to wrap this up within 10 minutes, just out of respect for Dr. Liebermanís time.
PERRIN: Yes, because weíve covered so many of the questions as it is, Ron. Weíve covered everything, all our questions.
RON: Well, I donít think so. Thereís quite a few here. I can ask one if youíre stumped.
PERRIN: Iím not stumped. I asked most of my questions, actually.
RON: Oh, you did? Okay, Dr. Lieberman, Iím going to ask you the next question, then. May I ask a personal question? Do you have your own children?
CL: UhÖ.what doesÖ.. ummmmÖ.
RON: Well, I have a follow up after I ask that if the answer is yes.
CL: Yes, I do.
RON: Earlier you had called for an investigation after the famous baby dangling incident that happened in Berlin.
RON: My question, and again, donít take this personally, but have you ever done anything, that for lack of a better word, would be considered a bone headed or slight of mind, you know, something to that effect, that you immediately regretted, and if so, do you think that would be adequate justification for your children to be taken away from you? And I do understand, by the way, that youíre basing this on other things, but can you just answer that, specifically?
CL: I have never done anything that endangered my child, period, that was anywhere near in the same ballpark.
PERRIN: Now, is Ms. Anthony still on?
RON: No, she actually left about 5 minutes ago.
PERRIN: Yes, I thought so.
RON: Perrin, did you have another question, or do you want me toÖ..
PERRIN: No, I donít have another question.
RON: Okay, letís wrap this up with this question. Dr. Lieberman, based on the information that you know for sure, not the secondhand and the former employees that worked for him ten years ago and so on, do you honestly think that Michael Jackson would in any way, even unintentionally, abuse or neglect his own children?
CL: What I think is that Michael Jackson does love children, okay. I think, just as he says, he does love children. But, and the reason why he has beenÖÖone of the reasons heís been so compassionate or so generous to children, especially children with cancer or children with problems, is because he identifies with their pain. They have physical pain and he identifies with the emotional pain that he had as a child. But, the problem is that because of how traumatic his childhood was in many different ways, he is not able to treat them in a way that is notÖ..no, let me put it a different wayÖ..because of what a traumatic childhood he had, it has caused him to have severe psychological problems. And these severe psychological problems interfere, at times, with his being able to treat them in a totally loving way. In other words, at one level, yes, he does love them and, yes, heís generous towards them, but, at the same time, he is not capable of treating them, of being, in regard to his children, of being a fit father. And some examples are his making them wear these veils, dangling them, putting them in his bed. Actually, I was on Good Morning America, and they happened to have interviewed some teenager who used to be with Michael Jackson and, of course, this was a separate interview Ė mine was previous, you know, on the same show. And that child said, inadvertently, because he was trying to do good PR for Michael Jackson, that Michael Jackson sleeps with his own children. This person said that, who knows Michael Jackson, soÖ.
RON: Is that a problem? Why would that be a problem?
CL: Yes. Michael Jackson sleeping with his own children? Yes, I do have a problem.
CL: Because even peopleÖ..parents whoÖ..
RON: Have you ever slept with your children? I mean, isnít that a fair thing for a parent to do with their own children, in general? Or are you talking specific to Michael Jackson?
CL: NoÖ.if peopleÖ.if my patients tell me that they are sleeping with their children, I try to find out why. I look into that. Often there are some very, you know, different kinds of reasons for that. But I always tell them that is not healthy for their children. Always. BeforeÖ.nothing to do with Michael Jackson.
RON: Not even if theyíre having scary nightmares or something like that?
CL: Yes. Every once in a while, absolutely.
CL: If theyíre having a scary nightmare, if theyíre going camping and they have one tent, you know, yes. But on a regular basis, no.
RON: How about staying up late and watching TV and falling asleep, or something like that?
CL: Yes, there can be occasional situations where it doesnít mean anything sexual is going on but to do this on a regular basis, even if there isnít something sexual, it is not healthy for the children.
RON: Perrin, are you still there?
PERRIN: Yes, Iím still here.
RON: I have one final question Ė really one final question this time, unless you have anything you want to interject here. Perrin, do you? No?
RON: Okay, Dr. Lieberman, what, if anything, would convince you that Michael Jackson is, in fact, capable of handling his own children and taking care of them, you know, at the present time? Not including any potential therapy that you think he might need, is there anything that would convince you, to basically change your mind, that he is, in fact, sane and capable of handling his own children?
CL: Not until he gets sufficient psychiatric treatment with a good psychiatrist.
RON: Okay, fair enough.
RON: Dr. Lieberman, thank you very much for your time. If people would want to contact you, can you tell usÖ.tell our listeners how they would contact you for more information about who you are and what you do? Do you have a website?
CL: Sure. Yes, you can go to my website, which is www.drcarole.com .
RON: Okay, great. Well, thank you very, very much for your time. We know youíre very busy and we really appreciate it.
PERRIN: Thank you, Dr. Lieberman.
CL: Thank you. Bye.
Interview with Attorney Greg Brenner
With us today is attorney Gregory Brenner. Mr Brenner is a defense attorney in LA CA. Welcome to our program Mr Brenner.
Thank you for having me.
Greg you have recently been quoted in various media outlets in regards to a new Michael Jackson alleged victim in the Michael Jackson case. Can you begin by clarifying for us: what is your involvement in all of this, have you been retained in any official capacity and if so, by whom??
Absolutely not. Absolutely not. I have just been following the story and talking to different outlets on TV, Newspapers, Radio etc.
OK, you recently mentioned on a TV program, I think it was on Court TV's Catherine Crier Live, that you had seen photos of the accuser with Michael Jackson and that this was supposedly the basis for the accusations, how and when did this person first ...
Not exact ... that's not, first of all that's not exactly what I said.
I didn't say that I had seen photos and I didnít say that they were the basis for the accusation.
That they were in fact proving that Michael Jackson did meet this accuser.
Exactly and that's all and this is simply heresy to me, that I have it on authority, that indeed, I mean obviously there is a pending investigation and with that I have heard there are certain pictures that at least put this now man, adult, with Jackson at some point in the eighties. I'm not certain if it was the period of time when he was 11 to 14 or 3 to 5, right now ...
In other words it is proof that he has had some contact with Mr. Jackson??
Yes, absolutely but who hasnít?? Who hasn't had some contact?? I'm not talking about miscontact just contact.
How and when did this person first meet Michael Jackson??
I don't have that information.
I don't have that information but I believe that it was somewhere early on in his life. Somewhere in the age of three. It is my belief that he had a parent working for Michael Jackson or the Jackson's in some capacity at the Encino house.
Like a security guard, I see. I understand. Would you possibly know if this victim went to the police or a therapist??
I certainly can speculate on what I think probably happened but ...
Oh I'd like to hear that !!
... I certainly don't have knowledge.
Oh I understand, but could you speculate then??
Well the speculation is that it happened much like it happened in this most recent ... in many of the instances. A child goes to a therapist and perhaps has certain memories, in this situation there's talk that perhaps we are dealing with someone who's had some sort of repressed memory. and I want to note the difference between repressed and suppressed. Suppressed being volitional and repressed being more of a defense mechanism, you do it because you have to do it. And you know quite, quite the speculation would be that perhaps something was uncovered or something came ajar in this person's memory bank, ahh maybe in a therapist's office.
That's fascinating !! Since the Ramona case some years ago in CA hasn't repressed memory cases in CA been somewhat difficult to judicate ??
Well, I mean anytime you are dealing with a repressed memory case thereís gonna be problems with it because you know, who has gotten their hands on this person ahhh what and dah what has he been told ?? uhh you know, has there been any brainwashing going on ?? Is, is, is it actually ... can you count on this type of information and many say that, no you can't. No, this will be problematic. No, it wouldn't be good enough, they are not gonna come after him in LA with a new case but at the very same time it is possible if this alleged fourth victim really does exist that he could be used in the pending case in a grand jury in a prelim ...
Are you aware that there has been some distancing from this current accuser by possible ... well, for example, Diane Dimond has come right out and said this is somewhat of a complete and total hoax. And the DA in Santa Barbara have investigated it and deem it a hoax. They find it fascinating that LA County is wasting money. A lot of people find this curious, have you heard any of this ??
No, No but that wouldn't surprise me and yeah I heard that same comment by Diane and there seems to be two schools of thought on this. Obviously time will tell.
Have you spoken with the accuser and how did you get this information??
Absolutely not. I have information that I was able to access through people I know ... UHHH ... let me restate that. Authorities at LAPD is how I got the very basic information that ...
that uh that I went with on the ahh Crier Show, on the Catherine Crier Show. I do not know this person. I have never met this person.
I don't uh I don't have much more information than that.
But you did say your sources came from the, specifically, well, LAPD
Well, LAPD but you have to understand that was Sunday, Since Sunday LAPD has already confirmed that there's and ongoing investigation as has the DA in LA through Sandy Gibbons and I believe Jason Lee. If I am getting the names correct.
I believe so. You see the fascinating thing about it is the leak itself. Or why they would leak it ?? People have had ahh, of course people have had their own theories, considering that repressed memory cases are so iffy, some people are wondering what was the motive for the leak.
Well. Mark Geragos is quoted in the LA times as saying it is just a money grubbing attorney that is behind all this so ...
A money grubbing attorney ??
Haha we'll see I don't know.
Do we know who that is ??
I think Geragos knows.
So we don't know the attorney that is behind this ??
I don't know that he does. Yesterday Ben Brafman was quoted as saying he hadn't heard of this at all
Do you have any details of the allegations themselves and what may have triggered these memories??
I don't I cannot speak to that I'm sorry
Have you been in contact with Tom Sneddon himself or Feldman the attorney ??
Absolutely not. I am simply commentating on what I am seeing and what I have seen that is all I am. I am not that close to the situation. Thank God.
This is a fine kettle of fish that's going on, especially from court TV. They find it absolutely, completely ... people find it fascinating that they were automatically calling it a hoax, a complete and total fabrication from this new accuser ... you would THINK they would love to have a cooperating story just to deal with the possibility of propensity issues.
When you say They I assume you are talking about the prosecution
Because I think the defense team has their hands full with what they already have on their plate. They certainly don't need another witness who could testify at a later hearing in this case.
The fascinating thing is from the other side of the county, Santa Barbara County they seem to be trying to completely not ONLY say it is a hoax but in my opinion create such a poison around the near accuser that could make him useless to Santa Barbara in their own GJ proceedings.
It is all speculation. Time will tell
That is true
I look forward to seeing how this unfolds like everybody else
Do you think the new allegation will help or hurt the current case ??
Help who or hurt who ??
That is a good point, either one.
It could go both ways for both sides right now with the little I know it seems like they certainly donít need another righteous victim. Like I said moments ago, they got heir hands full. I couldn't see it helping the defense.
Why do you think the DA has gone out of his way to distance himself from the new set of allegations ?? Wouldn't you think if there was any credibility to them the DA would either reserve comment or
They got alot of stuff going on up there. They are possibly waiting to see how it plays out down here. If it plays out the right way they will decide at that time whether they will use it or not.
You're in LA county right ??
Many occurrences have happened where the Santa Barbara DA's office has tried to criticize the LA county the authorities the child protective services the DA's office, do you have any comment on that ?? Is that your experience or is that inaccurate ??
I don't know, I don't have a comment on that I mean isn't everybody pointing the finger at everybody else ?? I ahh I have no comment on that.
OK, well thank you very much for your time Mr Brenner you have been very helpful
No problem, if you ever need anything call me. You can always get a hold of me at the website
Laurie Levenson: 12/16/03
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MJJF Holiday Greetings: 12/22/03
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MJJF Holiday Hits: 12/24/03
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