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Did Jordan Chandler’s description of Michael Jackson’s penis match the photographs taken of the star’s genitalia by the police?

On December 20, 1993 Michael Jackson was subjected to a humiliating strip search in which his genitalia and buttocks were photographed and videofilmed. Authorities wanted to compare the photos with the descriptions his accuser, Jordan Chandler gave to the police in order to prove his allegations regarding alleged acts of molestation by Michael Jackson.

Later District Attorney Thomas Sneddon claimed that Jordan’s description was a match. On May 25 2005, about a week before the end of Michael Jackson’s four month long trial, Sneddon attempted to introduce Jordan Chandler’s description and drawing as well as the photographs of Jackson’s genitalia. In the Motion Sneddon claimed:

“The photographs reveal a mark on the right side of Defendant’s penis at about the same relative location as the dark blemish located by Jordan Chandler on his drawing of Defendant’s erect penis. I believe the discoloration Chandler identified in his drawing was not something he could have or would have guessed about, or could have seen accidentally. I believe Chandler’s graphic representation of the discolored area on Defendant’s penis is substantially corroborated by the photographs taken by Santa Barbara Sheriff’s detectives at a later time.”

[…]

“Jordan Chandler’s knowledge on December 1, 1993 is relevant because it could only have been acquired in the course of a close and intimate relationship with Defendant.” [1]

This one mark is all Sneddon’s motion mentions – nothing about any other features in either Jordan’s description or on the photos. It is because out of the whole description he could find only one mark as “matching” (according to his own assessment at least) and even that only as “about” and “relatively”?

What the use of the expression “I believe” means in legal terms is shown in the same document where Sneddon makes his legal declaration:

“I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct except for those statements made on information and belief, and to those statements, I believe them to be true.” [1]

(Emphasis added.)

The timing of Sneddon’s move – it seemed to have been a last minute, desperate attempt to try to prejudice the jury after both the Arvizo case and the “prior bad acts” case against Jackson fell apart – and the fact that Jordan Chandler refused to testify in 2005, so he could not be cross-examined, made it very unlikely that Judge Rodney Melville would allow the introduction of this material, and indeed he did not.

Initial media reports after the 1993 strip search (for example, Reuters, USA Today in January 1994), citing law enforcement sources, stated that the boy’s description did not match the photographs taken of Jackson’s genitalia. The claim that the photos matched the description spread through the media only later – particularly after an interview Sneddon gave to Vanity Fair’s Maureen Orth in September 1995 where he claimed the photographs matched Jordan’s description [2].

Interestingly, Dr. Richard Strick, the doctor who was present at the strip search from the authorities’ side, indicated in an interview with Fox News in October 2009 that he did not come to a conclusion on his own, but rather someone else told him later that it was a match.

“The genitalia were very oddly colored with dark skin and light skin and I was told later that the deposition and the photos that were taken absolutely matched what the child had described” [3].

(Emphasis added.)

Based on his statement it seems Dr. Strick did not actually see Jordan’s description and drawing; he was only told that there was a match. This is odd; as a medical professional, hired by the authorities to be present at the strip search, one would expect that he would have been asked to make the determination. It is unknown who told Dr. Strick that there was a match but all claims of this nature seem to point to Sneddon as a source. Sneddon, however, cannot be considered an unbiased source given his decade long malice against Jackson. At Jackson’s 2005 trial, for example, he made many claims in his motions which then were proven to be false on the stand – often by his own witnesses. Sneddon’s motions were often clearly deceptive.

Putting aside why Dr. Strick was not involved in making a determination and who exactly later told him that the description was a match, the fact that Jackson was not arrested after the strip search and indicted by any of the two Grand Juries which were convened against him, indicates that, despite Sneddon’s claims, there was no match.

There are further indications that there was no match. In early January 1994, Larry Feldman, the civil attorney representing Jordan Chandler, filed a motion with the Civil Court that contained a “multiple choice request”. On January 5, 1994 the Los Angeles Times reported:

“Feldman said he filed a motion in court that is a “multiple choice” request: Jackson may provide copies of the police photographs, submit to a second search, or the court may bar the photographs from the civil trial as evidence.” [4]

So Jordan Chandler’s attorney sought to get the photographs barred from the civil trial as evidence. Feldman said he filed the motion because both Jackson’s attorneys and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office refused to give him copies of the photographs. However, it is a logical expectation that if Feldman was certain that his client was telling the truth then he would have been certain that the photographs would support and not harm his case. Instead of giving the option of barring the photographs from the court, if Feldman was confident in his client’s story, he should have fought to have them introduced.

This action refutes the notion that Jackson settled the civil case out of court with the Chandlers because the photographs matched Jordan’s description. In actuality, Jordan Chandler’s attorney requested that the photographs be barred from the civil court in case his other two requests are not met.

Another indication that the Jordan Chandler description and photographs were a mismatch rather than a match is the fact that when Michael Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson was called to testify in front of the Los Angeles County Grand Jury in the spring of 1994, investigators sought information from her as to whether her son had altered the appearance of his genitalia. On March 16, 1994 the Los Angeles Times wrote:

“Jackson’s mother has frequently given interviews and made public appearances to defend her son, but a source close to the investigation said she may be questioned about Jackson’s physical appearance. Investigators have been attempting to determine whether Jackson has done anything to alter his appearance so that it does not match a description provided to them by the alleged victim, who turned 14 in January.” [5]

(Emphasis added.)

On January 6, 2005 The Smoking Gun website published an article in which they claimed to have reviewed an affidavit by former Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department Deputy Deborah Linden, which “was filed in 1993 to secure court permission to photograph Jackson’s private parts” [6].

According to the article, based on Linden’s affidavit:

“With Los Angeles Police Department detectives weighing his claims, Chandler gave them a roadmap to Jackson’s below-the-waist geography, which, he said, includes distinctive “splotches” on his buttocks and one on his penis, “which is a light color similar to the color of his face.” The boy’s information was so precise, he even pinpointed where the splotch fell while Jackson’s penis was erect, the length of the performer’s pubic hair, and that he was circumcised.” [6]

If this is indeed what Jordan said, then his description may have been “precise” (as in detailed), but it certainly was not accurate.

We know that Jackson was not circumcised as per his autopsy, released in early 2010 [7]. However, it makes sense that if someone were trying to guess whether a particular American male was circumcised or uncircumcised, the more likely option would be “circumcised”, since the majority of American men are, regardless of religion, especially in older generations, like Jackson who was born in the 1950s [8]. It is also worth noting that Jordan’s father Evan Chandler was Jewish and Jordan himself is most likely circumcised. Michael Jackson, however, was not.

Some pro-prosecution journalists tried to excuse Jordan’s failure to accurately describe Jackson’s penis by suggesting that perhaps Jordan did not notice the difference between a fully erect uncircumcised penis and a circumcised one. However, the allegations of Jordan Chandler describe not only one occasion of alleged molestation, but a very intense series of sexual contacts, including seeing each other naked many times (including in the bath) and many masturbation sessions in front of each other. Jordan’s uncle, Ray Chandler claims in his book, All That Glitters, that his nephew saw Jackson’s genitalia many times, “from every possible angle”:

“The problem was not Jordie’s memory: he had seen Michael’s genitalia so many times and from every possible angle that he had a precise mental picture. The problem was trying to explain the details.” [9; page 210]

If this was true, then Jordan certainly would have been able to tell that Jackson was uncircumcised, but he got the description wrong.

It has to be noted that Jordan apparently gave two descriptions. Sneddon’s Motion is confusing on this issue because although it refers to two dates for the description (September 1 and December 1), it does not explicitly state that there were two descriptions. However, Ray Chandler’s book, All That Glitters, states that there was one description given in September to the DA (more precisely, based on Sneddon’s Motion, to Los Angeles District Attorney Deputy, Lauren Weis) and one in December in the office of Larry Feldman, Jordan Chandler’s civil attorney. In this regard, Ray Chandler claims in his book in the chapter entitled “December 14″:

“It took several hours for Jordie to provide a description that Feldman could understand. There were numerous distinctive markings and discolorations on Michael’s privates, and it was difficult for the boy to explain exactly where they were located, what size they were, and what shape they took.

The problem was not Jordie’s memory: he had seen Michael’s genitalia so many times and from every possible angle that he had a precise mental picture. The problem was trying to explain the details. But they pressed on and eventually arrived at a description that turned out to be an accurate match to the photographs taken by the Santa Barbara authorities a few days later.” [9; page 210]

( Emphasis added.)

Notice how Ray Chandler talks about “numerous distinctive markings and discolorations” that Jordan described, but in Sneddon’s 2005 motion Sneddon pointed out only one as, according to his own assessment, being “at about the same relative location” as where Jordan put a marking on his drawing.  Whatever happened to the rest of the description?

Like many others, Ray Chandler too references Maureen Orth’s above mentioned 1995 interview with Sneddon, and as such Sneddon himself as the source of the claim that the description they “eventually arrived at” was accurate. Neither Sneddon’s Motion or Ray Chandler’s book explains why a second description was needed and if there are differences between the two.  It has to be noted that between September and December, on November 26, the offices of Jackson’s dermatologist, Dr. Arnold Klein and plastic surgeon, Dr. Steve Hoefflin were raided by the police and they confiscated medical records of the star.

Jordan Chandler’s description and drawing was no more than an educated guess. Educated because he and his family knew that Jackson suffered from the skin disease, vitiligo. The entertainer announced that to the world in February, 1993 in an interview conducted by Oprah Winfrey. One of the areas vitiligo affects the most is the genital area [10]. All of the Chandlers could also see discoloration on Jackson’s arms, hands and face. Additionally, Jordan’s uncle, Ray Chandler, in All That Glitters, describes an event on the weekend starting with May 28, 1993, when Jackson stayed in the house of Jordan’s father, Evan Chandler. Evan apparently drugged the singer [for details see our article Evan Chandler’s “Suspicions”]. In the story it is stated that Evan gave Jackson an injection into his gluteus [9; page 47], so Evan would have seen what Jackson’s buttocks looked like.

Among the documents which Victor Gutierrez presents in his book, entitled Michael Jackson Was My Lover, and which documents apparently were given to him by either the Chandlers or by the Chandlers’ maid, Norma Salinas, there is a drawing which Gutierrez claims Jordan gave to his father [more about Gutierrez, his role in the allegations against Jackson and his possible connection with the Chandlers in this article]:

One of Jordan Chandler's alleged descriptions of Jackson's private parts from Victor Gutierrez's book Michael Jackson Was My Lover

One of Jordan Chandler’s alleged descriptions of Jackson’s private parts from Victor Gutierrez’s book Michael Jackson Was My Lover

[11]

The drawing is dated October 24, 1993, and is probably not the actual drawing and description Jordan gave in December, but it appears to be some kind of draft or instructional rehearsal for that.

On the drawing you can see random notes of an alleged “cow-blotchy-pink/brown/not white but pink” skin. On the top you see “Mike circumcised / short pubic”, in the middle you can read “body oil stink” and below that “brown patch on ass / left glut” and further below “bleaching cream / Orietta”. In the little box on the right you can read “my theory: / ass blotched / shades of / brown – so / how is MJ(?) p. V / be selective / Orietta bleach”.

The rest of the text on the drawing is a graphic fantasy of alleged sexual acts involving Brett Barnes. Brett Barnes has always stated emphatically that Jackson never molested him and never touched him in any inappropriate way whatsoever. In 2005 he testified in support of the entertainer and said he was “very mad” at the insinuation that Jackson molested or inappropriately touched him [12].

As we discussed above, in reality Jackson was uncircumcised, but this diagram evidences that the Chandlers’ guess in 1993 was indeed, like The Smoking Gun article/Linden affidavit stated, that the singer was circumcised.

During the 2005 trial, the same drawing circulated in the media and on the Internet, only in a heavily edited fashion. It is not clear who edited it, but the fantasies involving Brett Barnes and the claim about Jackson’s penis being circumcised had been removed. Ray Chandler too fully avoids mentioning the inaccurate circumcision issue in his book that was published in 2004.

The redacted version of the description

The redacted version of the description

It was claimed the diagram was given to Evan Chandler by Jordan, so we are to believe that these notes were the words and writings of a 13-year-old.

However, based on the instructions (eg. “be selective”) and notes like “my theory” it rather seems to be an instructional brainstorming session speculating what Jackson’s private parts looked like. Why would they need to theorize on paper about it if Jordan definitively knew?

Remember that in his book Ray Chandler wrote that in May 1993 Evan injected Jackson in his gluteus. This puts notes like this: “my theory: / ass blotched / shades of / brown – so / how is MJ(?) p. V / be selective / Orietta bleach”, into perspective.

Additionally, consider the references to an “Orietta”. Jackson had a personal assistant named Orietta Murdock whom he fired in 1992. In an article in the September 2006 issue of the British GQ magazine it was claimed that Victor Gutierrez befriended many of Jackson’s employees, including Orietta Murdock [13]. Why would Jordan Chandler make references to her while describing Jackson’s private parts? Orietta Murdock no longer worked for Jackson when Jackson spent time with the Chandler family. The link between Murdock and the Chandlers is Gutierrez [for details about who Victor Guiterrez is and what his role is in the allegations against Jackson see this article].

The Chandlers only had to know that Jackson had vitiligo to assume that some kind of blemishes were probably on Jackson’s penis and also conclude, from Evan’s knowledge of how Jackson’s buttocks looked like, that there were discolorations on the lower parts of his body. In All That Glitters the following conversation is quoted from November 25, 1993 between Larry Feldman, the attorney who represented Jordan in his civil lawsuit against Jackson, and Evan Chandler:

“Oh, yeah, Lauren Weis* told me today that this disease Michael says he’s got, vitiligo, that it’s capable of changing anywhere you look, so that anything Jordie says is irrelevant. It can change very quickly with this disease.

“Shit, these guys seem to have an answer for everything.”

“No, that’s good for us!”

‘Why?”

“Because if he’s right, he’s right. And if he’s wrong, we’ve got an explanation!”

 “Ha!”

“Yeah, it’s a no-loser for us.”

“That’s very good.”

“Good? It’s terrific! You stick with the teeth, kid. I’m sticking’ with the law.” [9; page 202-203]

(Emphasis added.)

(* The Lauren Weis, who is claimed to have told Larry Feldman that anything Jordan says about the blemishes is irrelevant because they are subject to changes, is the same Lauren Weis to whom Jordan gave his original description in September. She was the Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney at the time. In All That Glitters she is also described as a good friend of Richard Hirsch, the attorney who represented Evan Chandler against the extortion charges filed by Jackson [9; page 165].)

In the chapter entitled “December 14” Ray Chandler writes:

“Back in September, Jordie had given a detailed description of Michael’s penis and testicles to the DA. Feldman was aware of this, but had yet to discuss it with his young client. If the description matched the police photos it was one more giant straw on the camels back that was Michael’s defense. And the poor beast was already swayback.

On the other hand, it had been medically established that the markings of vitiligo were subject to change. So if Jordie’s description was wrong, Larry would be able to say the markings had shifted over the months. Either way, Larry’s case was solid as a rock and he didn’t need it. But since the DA was making a big deal over it, Larry had to be sure what, exactly, Jordie had seen.”[9; page 206]

 (Emphasis added.)

As you can see, the Chandlers cynically played on the fact that vitiligo markings are subject to change and they were preparing excuses for themselves to explain why their description did not match the photographs. However, both the Chandlers and Sneddon failed to acknowledge that if vitiligo markings were subject to change then they are inadequate to prove Jackson’s guilt, especially considering the fact the Chandlers got the circumcision issue completely wrong.

It seems that Sneddon, like the Chandlers, tried to have it both ways: if there was something in that drawing that remotely guessed a location of a marking right (at least according to Sneddon’s own assessment) it would have been used against Jackson, while everything else would have been ignored and/or explained away by the fact that vitiligo markings were subject to change. As Larry Feldman put it: “It’s a no-loser for us”.

 Sources:

[1] Plaintiff’s motion to admit evidence that Jordan Chandler had knowledge of, and accurately described Defendant’s distinctively-blemished lower torso and penis in 1994; Declaration of Thomas W. Sneddon, Jr; Memorandum of points and authorities (May 25, 2005)
http://www.sbscpublicaccess.org/docs/ctdocs/052505pltmotchandler.pdf

[2] Maureen Orth – The Jackson Jive (Vanity Fair, September 1995)

[3] Craig Rivera’s interview with Dr. Richard Strick (Fox News, October 2009)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHrJTrgKR1o

[4] LOS ANGELES : Boy’s Lawyer Seeks Photos of Michael Jackson’s Body (Los Angeles Times, January 5, 1994)
http://articles.latimes.com/1994-01-05/local/me-8514_1_michael-jackson

[5] Jim Newton – Grand Jury Calls Michael Jackson’s Mother to Testify (Los Angeles Times, March 16, 1994)
http://articles.latimes.com/1994-03-16/local/me-34715_1_grand-jury

[6] The case against Michael Jackson – The Telltale “Splotch” (January 6, 2005)
After Jackson’s autopsy had been released to the public (which among others stated that the singer was not circumcised) The Smoking Gun deleted the article from their website.  For a secondary source see, for example: http://vindicatemj.wordpress.com/2010/08/21/the-story-of-one-telltale-splotch-missing-from-the-smokin-gunpublic-eye/

[7] Michael Jackson’s autopsy report as released in 2010
http://www.autopsyfiles.org/reports/Celebs/jackson,%20michael_report.pdf (page 18)

[8] Cat Saunders – Circumcision in America (originally published in The New Times in October 2001)
http://www.drcat.org/articles_interviews/html/firstcut.html

[9] Raymond Chandler – All That Glitters: The Crime and the Cover-Up (Windsong Press Ltd, September, 2004)

[10] Vitiligo Skin Disorder
http://www.curevitiligooil.com/Vitiligo-Skin-Disorder.html

[11] Victor Gutierrez – Michael Jackson Was My Lover (Alamo Square Dist Inc, 1996)

[12] Brett Barnes’ testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (May 5, 2005)

[13] Robert Sandall – Michael Jackson Was My Lover (Brtish GQ Magazine, September 2006)

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