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Did the FBI have evidence that Michael Jackson paid off dozens of young boys to silence them after he sexually abused them?

No, they did not. The claim that they did comes from a British tabloid and it is not true.

On June 30, 2013 British tabloid Sunday People (the Sunday edition of The Mirror) published an “exclusive” article in which they claimed that they had insight into “secret FBI files” which “reveal Michael Jackson spent £23million (about $35 million) buying the silence of at least two dozen young boys he abused over 15 years” [1].

They claim the files were in the possession of a private investigator Anthony Pellicano who worked for Jackson in 1993. When Pellicano was arrested for illegal wiretapping in 2002, the FBI confiscated these documents, the article claims. That is their claim to these documents being “FBI files”.

In the article they talk to a private investigator who claims that he worked with Pellicano in 1993 on the Jackson case. The unnamed man is claimed to have kept copies of the documents that he now presented to the Sunday People – so the narrative of the story.

The article claims Pellicano was hired by Jackson to pay-off other “victims” when the singer was accused of child molestation by Jordan Chandler in 1993.  The sloppy tabloid article manages to contradicts itself on how many boys it claims were allegedly paid-off: in some parts of the article (including the title) they claim 24 boys, in another part they claim 17 boys and in yet another part of the article their source talks about three.

Despite the contradictions, the sloppiness of the article and the lack of supporting evidence, the “news” spread like wildfire. Apparently the term “FBI files” were enough to convince people, including other journalists who did not bother to check out the veracity of the story, that the tabloid’s claims were true.  In no time many other publications and websites ran the story, stating it as a fact that “the FBI revealed thousands of pages of their secret files which prove Jackson was a serial molester and paid-off dozens of young boys”. The claim even crossed-over to mainstream, non-tabloid media. No one in the media who published the story as a fact ever asked the logical question: if it was true how come that this evidence was never presented to Court at Jackson’s 2005 trial? And why should we take the words of an unreliable tabloid for it without any evidence?

When we review the documents those were attached to the Sunday People article as “evidence” we see they do not prove what is alleged in the article, nor do they represent an official stance by the FBI. Evidence of abuse and pay-offs, let alone the FBI verifying anything, is nowhere to be found in them. For those who are familiar with the details of the allegations against Jackson it is easy to spot what these documents really are – and they are not what the tabloid claims them to be. Let’s see them one by one.

Document 1

1

Apparently this is a fax sent to Pellicano on July 26, 1993. The name of the sender is blacked out. The sender claims that a source (which is unnamed) told him or her that Jackson “has paid off child victim’s parents dating back to the summer of 1992”. Then the sender elaborates on this supposed $600,000 pay-off by quoting what is alleged to be the settlement agreement. The actual agreement is not presented. Instead we are just supposed to take the words of this person for it, of whom we do not even know who he or she is as the sender’s name is blacked out.

Fortunately we have another source for this story, which source, unlike the Sunday People, also provided a context for these claims, as well as the names which are blacked out in the document.

During Michael Jackson’s trial in 2005 journalist Roger Friedman, who worked for Fox News at the time,  received audio tapes from a private investigator and tabloid broker, Paul Barresi. These were recordings of a tabloid journalist (National Enquirer, Globe) Jim Mitteager, who had a habit of secretly taping his conversations. When he died his wife gave the tapes to Barresi. These tapes, among others, included some conversations about Jackson. One of those conversations sheds light on the  above mentioned document as Friedman wrote about this story extensively in 2005:

“Mitteager, at least in the case of Jackson, relied heavily on a sketchy stringer named Taylea Shea. Her veracity consequently became integral to a lot of tabloid reporting at the time.
Shea, who seems to have gone by a number of aliases and had a long list of addresses and phone numbers, could not be contacted for this story, despite many tries.
Neighbors at the Los Angeles address at which she lived the longest do not remember her fondly. They recall a hustler and con woman who was always on the take.
“She should be in jail, if she hasn’t been already,” one former friend and neighbor said.
On one tape, Shea reads what sounds convincingly like a legal document drawn up between Jackson and a 12-year-old boy named Brandon P. Richmond, who is represented by his mother, Eva Richmond.
Brandon, according to the document, received $600,000 from Jackson. He and Jackson would no longer have any contact with each other.
Shea read the document, which is dated July 1992, to Mitteager the following year.
This would have been a blockbuster, if true, because it would make Brandon, not the differently-named boy who settled with Jackson in 1993, the first of Jackson’s accusers.
Shea also says on the tape that the legal document came from the offices of famed Hollywood lawyer Bert Fields, Jackson’s attorney at the time.
No reason is given why Jackson and Brandon Richmond should be separated. The implication, however, is clear.” [2]

So we learn from Friedman that the original source of this story was a “sketchy stringer”, a woman who is recalled by her neighbors as a hustler and a con woman. We also learn that no one actually saw this alleged agreement, Shea only “read it” to Mitteager. (It is possible that it was Mitteager who sent this fax to Pellicano about his conversation with Shea.) Shea is the only person who claimed to have seen the alleged agreement. Moreover, there was never a Brandon P. Richmond around Jackson. The boy and his mother seem to be completely fictional. As well as this “Michael Jackson Organization” on the other side of this supposed agreement, as Jackson never had a company or organization named Michael Jackson Organization.

Because neither tabloids, nor authorities found evidence that a Brandon P. Richmond ever existed in Jackson’s life, Friedman suggested that the boy in question might be Brandon Adams, a boy who played in Jackson’s 1988 movie, Moonwalker. Besides sharing the same first name, Adams, was an actor and a dancer just like the fictional Brandon P. Richmond. However Friedman contacted Adams and his family in 2005 and they denied they had ever been paid off by Jackson. Nor does the name of Brandon Adams’ mother have any similarity to the mother’s name in Shea’s story. Friedman wrote in 2005:

“The Globe published the story without using names. Over time, it was assumed that Brandon P. Richmond was in fact Brandon Adams, a boy who had appeared in Jackson’s “Moonwalker” video.
Discussions on the tapes indicate that the tabloids also believed the two Brandons were one and the same. But there’s a problem with Shea’s story: Nothing adds up.
For one thing, a source close to Fields says the document uses language uncommon to their usual agreements.
Then there’s the actual family.
According to the Adamses, whom I met in January, they don’t know an Eva Richmond.
Brandon Adams’ mother is named Marquita Woods. And Brandon’s grandmother assures me she knows nothing of a $600,000 payment. The family has lived in a modest home in Baldwin Hills, Calif., for 30 years.
Brandon Adams, who is now 25, is a struggling actor. He appeared in “D2: The Mighty Ducks” and the indie film “MacArthur Park,” and is currently working on building a music career.
“I wish I had $600,000,” he said. “I’m broke.”
The Adamses pointed out that Brandon never visited Neverland, just the Jackson family home in Encino.
For a short time they were friendly not only with the Jacksons, but with Sean Lennon and his mother Yoko Ono, who were also part of “Moonwalker.” But the relationship seems to have ended well before Taylea Shea’s big scoop.” [2]

Brandon Adams was again contacted and asked about it on his Twitter when the Sunday People article came out in 2013. Here is what he said:

Question: “Hey, there’s a British tabloid today claiming again that MJ paid you off in 1992, can you deny it once again?”

Brandon Q Adams: “smh… Lol.. Not me!”
“they luv 2 tell lies about people… I guess it just comes with the territory #MJ #Greatness” [3]

Additionally the text of this alleged agreement is far too sloppy to be an agreement drawn up by professional top lawyers.

Friedman concluded that Shea likely made up the story: “Was Shea simply lying to Mitteager to collect a big fee? It would seem so.”  [2] The prosecution in the Jackson case never brought up this story in Court or elsewhere either.

At the end of the the document the writer says: “In the end, Jackson allegedly paid off the following victims” [1] and then gives a list of names. No source is given as to who alleges that and based on what. If this is supposed to be the Sunday People’s “evidence” of Jackson paying off dozens of boys then it’s about as convincing as their fictional Brandon. All of this is according to only one questionable source – a “sketchy stringer” who was called a hustler and a con woman by her neighbors – allegedly informing Pellicano about rumors, not an established fact, and it is definitely not information verified by the FBI.

In actuality, anyone who wants to give credit to the claim that the FBI had evidence that Jackson paid-off dozens of boys, must ask the question: why then that evidence was never introduced to Court at Jackson’s 2005 trial? The FBI cooperated with the prosecution during the trial, but no such evidence ever emerged.

Document  2

2

This is apparently a note written by someone to Anthony Pellicano. The sender’s name is blacked out here as well. On this document there is no date given, but from the text we can derive it was probably in March, 1994.

“Detectives [blacked out] escorted [blacked out] yesterday, March 2nd, to [blacked out] house.”

This part of the text, as well as the full first half of the document, is about Blanca Francia. She was the maid who received $20,000 from Hard Copy for an interview in 1993 in which she claimed she witnessed Jackson be inappropriate with boys and that possibly her own son was molested by the singer. She and her son were prosecution witnesses at Jackson’s 2005 trial, so their allegations are no new revelations either. You can read about Jason Francia’s allegations in detail in this article. We will address Blanca Francia in detail later on this website.

On January 26, 1995 British tabloid Today reported that “it had been discovered that Blanca Francia had used a National Enquirer reporter, Lydia Encinas, as her translator when she was interviewed by police in 1993/4 as part of the criminal investigation of Jackson”.  [4] That story was based on Mitteager’s tapes:

“Paul Barresi, tabloid broker and investigator – after listening to a series of illicitly taped conversations recorded by reporter Jim Mitteager (now deceased) and left to Barresi when Mitteager died – discovered that an Enquirer reporter, Lydia Encinas, had helped to transcribe Francia’s interview statements with the police in 1993. Back then, the Enquirer, were actively offering substantial incentives to anyone with a ‘molestation’ story to sell on Jackson – all sanctioned by the Enquirer’s then editor, David Perel.”

and

“On April 4, 2005, journalist, Michelle Caruso, then working at the Daily News, reported in a piece about the upcoming ‘prior acts’ testimonies in Jackson’s 2005 trial, that the ‘Mitteager Tapes’ included sessions with then Enquirer editor – David Perel, telling Mitteager on March 23, 1994, that: ‘the reason why Lydia Encinas is involved is because she speaks Spanish and she’s got a good relationship with Blanca.’ [4]

Caruso talked to detective Russ Birchim, who interviewed Francia in 1993-94.

“Caruso reported that Birchim told her, “ Lydia Encinas was not the translator. But I did meet with her in Los Angeles.” Caruso also noted, that when asked to explain why, in the course of a criminal investigation, he had met up with a National Enquirer reporter in the first place – Birchim refused to elaborate.” [4]

All this seems to corroborate that the above document is some kind of note about what is on Mitteager’s tapes and can be traced back to Paul Barresi – just like the previous document.

Instead of revealing new allegations, the document just records Blanca Francia’s dealings with the media. At Jackson’s 2005 trial Blanca Francia admitted that besides Hard Copy she also contemplated to sell her story to the National Enquirer, but then she did not. From this document it appears this was because after her Hard Copy interview “the cops put her under wraps”.

“She got $20,000 from Hard Copy and supposedly regrets doing it because after her segment aired the cops put her under wraps.”

Of course, when the cops “put her under wraps” she was not able to sell her story to more tabloid media. We also learn from this document that Blanca Francia already planned a civil lawsuit against Jackson before the criminal proceedings were even over:

“[She] told her friend that when the Jackson criminal case is over, she will sue Jackson for molesting her son.”

The document further states that “the cops are looking for agreements between Jackson and parents of children who [blocked – presumably Blanca Francia] allegedly eye witnessed being molested including [blocked].”  No such agreements were ever presented despite a decade long investigation.

The second part of the document contains more rumours and speculations, nothing that was ever confirmed or proven. The document cites an unnamed “source” about certain allegations and rumours (none of which was ever confirmed or proven) and about detective’s beliefs and what actions they plan to take. It states:

“Detectives believe that so many people have been bought off, there is nobody to talk to.”

It is well documented that investigators in the Jackson case were biased and very hostile against the entertainer from the beginning. For example, in this article you can read about how they tried to convince boys to say that Jackson molested them by using improper interrogation techniques. In our article about Jason Francia you can read even more about those interrogation techniques.

So when their preconceived opinion about Jackson’s guilt was not supported by evidence and testimony they excused that by “believing” that the reason for that is that Jackson paid off people and not that maybe he was innocent, after all. However, there was never any evidence in support of the “belief” that Jackson paid-off people to keep silent about abuse. Instead of any proof that Jackson paid off dozens of boys, what we find in this document are speculations on the part of a desperate and biased prosecution and media to excuse their lack of evidence against the singer. Beliefs however need to be proven to become more than just uncorroborated opinions. Jackson was put to trial in 2005, after more than a decade of investigation, and no evidence of him paying off people to silence boys was ever presented.

Moreover, consider the fact that Jackson’s first accuser did everything feasible in order to receive a settlement in order not to go public or to trial in 1993. It is recommended to read our article about the Chandlers’ monetary demands which puts this uncorroborated myth of Jackson paying off people left and right into perspective. If it was routine for Jackson to pay off boys to not to go public and to authorities with their allegations then why did he refuse to pay off the Chandlers when they admittedly wanted nothing more than a pay-off from the very beginning?

Document 3

3

This is a document that appears to record a conversation between Jim Mitteager and Anthony Pellicano on December 10, 1993. It is a mystery about what it is supposed to prove, because it actually contradicts what the Sunday People claims, as here Pellicano tells Mitteager that there is no other accuser than Jordan Chandler.

“There is no other kid. Now that’s the thing that nobody is paying any attention to. They keep looking and looking and calling and calling. There is no other kid.”

Please also consider that the date of this alleged conversation is December 10, 1993 – which is around the time when Pellicano stopped working for Jackson. Previously Pellicano worked closely together with one of Jackson’s lawyers Bert Fields, they left the case because they did not agree with the direction that some of Jackson’s other lawyers were taking. Upon leaving Pellicano stated that he believed in Jackson’s innocence and his leaving was no indication of otherwise.

The Sunday People chose not to include it, but there is another conversation between Pellicano and Mitteager that is recorded on Mitteager’s tapes. It was recorded in September 1994. Paul Barresi gave this tape to reporter Aphrodite Jones a couple of years ago, who published the transcript on her website. On this tape Pellicano talks about his conversation with Jordan Chandler who told him that Jackson never molested him and that his father only wanted money.

“PELLICANO:  You have to understand something. I have nine kids.  Michael [Jackson] plays with my baby.  They crawl all over him.  They pull his hair.  They pull his nose.  Sometimes he wears a bandage across his face.  If I let my own kids (unintelligible) do you think there’s a chance?

MITTEAGER:  Well, all things being equal, I would say, no.

PELLICANO:  Not only that.  If you sat this kid [Jordie Chandler] down like I did, as a matter of fact, he couldn’t wait to get up and go play video games.  I said, “you don’t understand how serious this is.  Your dad [Evan Chandler] is going to accuse Michael of sexual molestation.  He going to say all kinds of stuff.”  He [Jordie] says, “Yeah, my dad’s trying to get money.”  As a matter of fact, I (unintelligible) for 45 minutes.  Then I tried tricking him.  I mean, I want you to know, I’m a vegetarian.  I picked this kid with a fine tooth comb.  So we’re there (unintelligible) with this kid… and If you sat down and talked to this kid, there wouldn’t be any doubt in your mind either.  And I said Michael is all upset.  We went over and over.  I tried to get him to sit down and he wants to play video games while I’m sitting there.  I’m sitting there with the kid’s mother [June Chandler] and David Schwartz walks in and (unintelligible) what’s this all about?  And [Barry] Rothman (unintelligible) asking questions.  There is no question that Rothman (unintelligible) what this is all about.” [5]

Document 4

4

This is a transcript of an audio taped interview with a couple, Philip and Stella LeMarque. The couple who worked for Jackson in 1991 for ten months (they claimed two years in the media, but at Jackson’s 2005 trial Philip LeMarque admitted it was only ten months), alleged on this tape that they witnessed Jackson behave inappropriately with certain boys. The Sunday People presented these allegations as if they were some kind of bombshell news, never before heard allegations, even suggesting that the couple’s claims were verified by the FBI.

In reality the LeMarques’ claims are nothing new and certainly not proven. Philip LeMarque testified at Jackson’s 2005 trial about his allegation that he witnessed Jackson put his hand in Macaulay Culkin’s pants, but was discredited by Culkin himself.

The document the Sunday People presented in 2013 was the transcript of an interview that tabloid broker Paul Barresi conducted with the LeMarques on August 28, 1993 – five days after the Chandler allegations hit the media. However, in a 1994 documentary entitled Tabloid Truth even Barresi himself expressed  doubt about the credibility of the couple. Barresi, a self-confessed opportunist, admitted he did not care if a story he sold to tabloids was true or not as long as he was paid. Watch Barresi talk about the LeMarques between 30:14-35:35 and between 36:55-37:10 in the video below:

Like neither one of these so called “third party witnesses” the LeMarques initially did not turn to authorities either, but tried to sell their story to tabloids for money. First their asking price was $100,000 then they promised to further embellish their story if they got $500,000. (Watch Barresi talk about it in the above documentary at 36:55-37:10.) It was admitted by Philip LeMarque in Court as well.

Q. You upped the price to 500 from $100,000 at one point?

A. Yeah, to see if we were going to do it. [6]

and

Q. Did you have a discussion with Paul Baressi where you said, “We don’t want 100,000. We want 500,000”? Yes or no.

A. Yes. [6]

It has to be noted that the LeMarques were in huge debt when they attempted to sell molestation stories about Jackson to tabloids. In their interviews with Barresi, the LeMarques alleged to have witnessed improprieties between Jackson and other boys as well, not only Macaulay Culkin, but interestingly those stories were never even brought up by the prosecution at Jackson’s 2005 trial.  Perhaps because not even this prosecution, which otherwise threw everything but the kitchen sink at Jackson, felt these stories were credible?

Document 5-6

56

These documents are property receipts about someone providing audio tapes to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office and the FBI respectively. They were probably attached to the Sunday People’s article in an attempt to give the documents some sense of “officialism” and somehow to link them to the FBI. However, the only thing they prove is that someone provided audio tapes to authorities. They do not reveal anything about the authorities’ opinion about the provided material.

Thanks to the 1994 Tabloid Truth documentary (see above) we know how and why Document 5 was produced. That document is the property receipt about someone giving the audio tape of the LeMarque interview to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office on August 30, 1993. From the Tabloid Truth documentary we know this was Paul Barresi himself and that it is his name that is blacked out on the document attached by Sunday People. Please stop the above shown documentary at 34:00. It is exactly the same document that the Sunday People tried to pass on as some newly discovered “FBI file” in 2013! However, in the documentary Barresi himself explains what it really is and the purpose why it was produced. The relevant part is at 33:00-35:01 in the documentary.

Barresi’s explanation in the documentary gives us an insight into the manipulative tactics of the tabloid world:

“I knew how to play the tabloids like a harp.”

If Barresi brought the tape to the DA he’d have nothing to fear for his illegal tape recording. Besides it would juice up the story. If the DA’s working on it that’s action, that’s inside information!

“That was the edge that worked well. If my story appeared in the slightest innocuous they would throw it out the window. So this is one way to do it with grand style, certainly.”

“So I called the editor of the Globe and I said: ‘I have a tape, I’m on the way downtown to hand it to the District Attorney.’ And his words were: ‘Let us come with you.’ And then I knew I had them. The next though on my mind was I’m gonna ask for 30 thousand dollars. You always ask twice as much as what you hope to get. He put me on hold and within less than a minute came back and said: ‘well, we can’t give you 30, we give you 10.’ I said: ‘Make it 15.’ He said ‘You have a deal’.”

“Could you see the headline coming?”

“Oh, yeah. Sure. And I could see that money coming too.”

The Sunday People used the same manipulative tactics when they presented these documents as “FBI files”, knowing that linking them to the FBI would give them a sense of credibility and officialness in many people’s eyes – even though just because a paper is submitted to the FBI it does not mean it is credible or that its contents are proven. Upon scrutiny the documents fail to provide evidence for the paper’s claims, and can be traced back to Paul Barresi rather than the FBI. Barresi was clearly the anonymous source behind the Sunday People’s story presenting himself as someone who worked together with Pellicano on the Jackson case in 1993. However, Barresi never worked for Jackson, he is simply an opportunistic tabloid broker.

Jackson was on trial in 2005 and during that trial the FBI closely co-operated with the Santa Barbara prosecution. If the FBI had evidence of Jackson paying off people left and right why didn’t they introduce that evidence to the Court? In actuality, the only evidence of pay-offs which came out at the trial was the money the prosecution’s many witnesses – including  Blanca Francia and Philip LeMarque – received from the tabloid media for their allegations! It is ironic that the same media who paid out fortunes to people for the slander of Michael Jackson over the course of two decades, accused the singer of  secret pay-offs with no evidence to back any of it up.

For more about the media’s role in the Michael Jackson allegations please read this article!

Sources:

[1] James Desborough, David Gardner – Michael Jackson paid £23MILLION buying silence of at least TWO DOZEN young boys he abused over 15 years (Mirror.co.uk, June 30, 2013)
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/michael-jackson-paid-23million-buying-2011662

[2] Roger Friedman – Was There an Unknown Jacko Accuser? (FoxNews.com, March 25, 2005)
http://www.foxnews.com/story/2005/03/25/was-there-unknown-jacko-accuser/print

[3] Brandon Q Adams Twitter
https://twitter.com/BrandonAdams22/status/351200257968840704

[4] Michael Jackson: The Making Of A Myth – Part 1
http://www.stereoboard.com/pdfs/Michael-Jackson-The-Making-Of-A-Myth-Part-I.pdf

[5] Taped phone conversation between Anthony Pellicano and Jim Mitteager (September, 1994)
It was originally posted on Aphrodite Jones’ website at http://www.aphroditejones.com/Michael_Jackson_Trial/Michael_Jackson_Trial.htm
The website has been since then reorganized and the Michael Jackson Trial section is not available anymore.

[6] Phillip LeMarque’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (April 8, 2005)

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Victor Gutierrez and his role in the allegations against Michael Jackson

Victor Gutierrez in front of a Michael Jackson This Is It poster

Victor Gutierrez in front of a Michael Jackson This Is It poster

There were numerous journalists reporting on the Michael Jackson cases and among them there were those who were molding it, often in ethically questionable ways [for details see this article]. There is one journalist, however, who stands out as someone who influenced the media’s reporting and possibly even the formation of allegations against Jackson more than anyone else. His name is Victor Gutierrez.

The name Gutierrez might not sound familiar but many of the more popular journalists reporting on the Jackson case used Gutierrez as their source, apparently without vetting the “information” he provided. Diane Dimond called him one of her best sources and said of him “I have never had a doubt about this person, ever” [1]. He was also used as a consultant in “documentaries” televised about the Jackson cases, programs that were full of untrue claims, claims very biased against the entertainer.

Gutierrez not only acted as a source for other journalists but was also in contact with many people who later appeared as prosecution witnesses on the stand at Jackson’s 2005 trial. Additionally, according to journalist Maureen Orth, the prosecution in Jackson’s case relied on Gutierrez’s book, Michael Jackson Was My Lover (discussed below) and believed it to be accurate information: “The sources close to the prosecution I interviewed for this article were all familiar with the book and believed it was an essentially accurate portrayal of Jackson’s relationship with Jordie Chandler” [2], Orth wrote in her article published in the April 2003 issue of Vanity Fair, in which she too seems to give much credit to Gutierrez and his salacious stories.

The first time the wider public heard Gutierrez’s name in connection with the Michael Jackson case was on January 9, 1995 when Diane Dimond announced on KABC-AM radio’s popular morning show that the police had reopened their investigation against Jackson because of an alleged 27 minute video tape, captured by one of the star’s security cameras, supposedly depicting acts of molestation. Dimond painted a very vivid picture of what was on the tape, despite the fact that she had not seen it herself, attributing the story to one of her “best sources”.

Though Gutierrez was not named on that particular show, he was revealed later that day as her source on Dimond’s television show, Hard Copy, where Gutierrez himself made an appearance. Dimond aired the story on Hard Copy despite receiving a letter immediately after her appearance on KABC-AM from Jackson’s lawyer, Howard Weitzman stating that what she had alleged was not true.

Indeed, the whole story turned out to be a total fabrication. The alleged tape did not exist and as such, was never produced. In fact, the only person who had ever claimed to have seen it was Gutierrez. The boy whom Gutierrez claimed was being molested on the tape was Jermaine Jackson’s son and Michael Jackson’s nephew, Jeremy Jackson. Jeremy’s mother, Margaret Maldonado recalled the story in her 1995 book entitled Jackson Family Values:

“I received a telephone call from a writer named Ruth Robinson. I had known Ruth for quite a while and respected her integrity. It made what she had to tell me all the more difficult to hear. ‘I wanted to warn you, Margaret,’ she said. ‘There’s a story going around that there is a videotape of Michael molesting one of your sons and that you have the tape.’ If anyone else had said those words, I would have hung up the phone. Given the long relationship I had with Ruth, however, I gave her the courtesy of a response. I told her that it wasn’t true, of course, and that I wanted the story stopped in its tracks. She had been in contact with someone who worked at the National Enquirer who had alerted her that a story was being written for that paper. Ruth cross-connected me with the woman and I vehemently denied the story. Moreover, I told her that if the story ran, I would own the National Enquirer before the lawsuits I brought were finished.

To its credit, the National Enquirer never ran the piece. Hard Copy, however, decided it would. Hard Copy correspondent Diane Dimond had reported that authorities were reopening the child molestation case against Michael. She had also made the allegations on L.A. radio station KABC-AM on a morning talk show hosted by Roger Barkley and Ken Minyard. Dimond’s claims were based on the word of a freelance writer named Victor Gutierrez. The story was an outrageous lie. Not one part of it was true. I’d never met the man. There was no tape. Michael never paid me for my silence. He had never molested Jeremy. Period.” [3]

Jackson sued both Dimond and Gutierrez and while Dimond (with a little help from Santa Barbara District Attorney, Thomas Sneddon) escaped unscathed, Gutierrez was ordered to pay Jackson $2.7 million in damages. He never paid and instead fled the country and later filed bankruptcy.

Gutierrez’s next move was to publish a book in 1996 entitled Michael Jackson Was My Lover. The book contains graphic descriptions of alleged sexual acts between Jackson and his 1993 accuser, Jordan Chandler. It also contains graphic sexual descriptions of alleged sexual acts between Jackson and other boys – boys, who have always stated, in no uncertain terms, that the singer never molested or touched them in any sexually inappropriate way. Because of its pedophiliac content, major publishers in the United States were unwilling to publish the book. The minor publisher/distributor which did has since become bankrupt.

Gutierrez claimed that he based his book on Jordan’s diary, however the Chandlers say that Jordan never kept a diary. A diary in which Jordan documented his abuse would have been very important evidence in any investigation against Jackson but no such evidence was ever produced. Again, the only person who ever claimed to have seen the diary was Gutierrez, yet his book was blindly believed, according to Maureen Orth, even by the prosecutors.

It is pretty clear that rather than Jordan’s diary, the graphic sexual content in Gutierrez’s book was based on Gutierrez’s own perverted fantasies. Quite disturbingly, Gutierrez does not disapprove of the alleged abuse but instead celebrates it as a consensual love story, a wonderful “relationship”; it is no wonder since in the foreword of the book, amongst the credits he thanks NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association), an infamous pedophile organization [4]. Guiterrez, citing unnamed “experts”, advocates pedophilia in his book as something that is not harmful to children but misunderstood by society, and he uses the Chandler allegations in support of his point. For example, he writes:

“The cliché of pedophiles as old men who kidnap children in sacks is as erroneous as thinking that all homosexual men attack other male pedestrians on the street. Psychiatrists report that there are pedophile rapists and murderers, just as there are homosexuals and heterosexuals who commit these crimes. These same experts indicate that sexual relations between adults and minors are sometimes loving and do not have a negative effect on the youngster’s life. What better example than Jordie? He was more harshly affected by the legal procedures associated with his case than by his relationship with Jackson.” [4]

When Michael Jackson was accused of molesting Gavin Arvizo in 2003, Gutierrez, perhaps sensing another opportunity to further his agenda, became very active in the media. He assisted in the making of slanderous “documentaries” about Jackson. Apparently the people who employed him as an expert on the allegations against Jackson did not find his history, the fact that he was Court ordered to pay Jackson $2.7 million for lying about him, the pedophiliac theme of his book or his apparent association with NAMBLA problematic.

Snapshot of the credit list of NBC Dateline’s Inside The Jackson Case program with Victor Gutierrez (though his name is misspelled) listed as a consulting producer

Snapshot of the credit list of NBC Dateline’s Inside The Jackson Case program with Victor Gutierrez listed as a consulting producer (though his name is misspelled)

In a September 2006 British GQ article about Gutierrez it is claimed he was even engaged to work on Martin Bashir’s Jackson documentary [5].

As revealing as his book was an interview with Gutierrez that appeared in a German newspaper, Tageszeitung, in April 2005 while Jackson was on trial. According to a 2010 article in the German Spiegel magazine, Tageszeitung actively advocated pedophilia in a series of articles in the late 70s and early 80s.

“During this time, no other newspaper offered pedophiles quite as much a forum as the alternative, left-leaning Tageszeitung, which shows how socially acceptable this violation of taboos had become in the leftist community. In several series, including one titled “I Love Boys,” and in lengthy interviews, men were given the opportunity to describe how beautiful and liberating sex with preadolescent boys supposedly was. “There was a great deal of uncertainty as to how far people could go,” says Gitti Hentschel, the co-founder and, from 1979 to 1985, editor of Tageszeitung. Those who, like Hentschel, were openly opposed to promoting pedophilia were described as “prudish” — as opposed to freedom of expression. “There is no such thing as censorship in the Tageszeitung,” was the response.” [6].

The newspaper’s journalist met with Gutierrez at a Hollywood hotel. The article is entitled “Es war Liebe!” (“It Was Love!”), referring to the alleged “relationship” between Michael Jackson and Jordan Chandler. It starts with the lie that Gutierrez’s book was based on Jordan’s diary and then details about Gutierrez’s life are presented. He grew up in Chile and became a journalist, later traveling to the USA in 1984, where he worked as a photographer at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Afterwards, he did not return to his country, instead he found a job with a Spanish newspaper. Then:

“In 1986 he reports from a conference of the North American Man Boy Love Association. The so called NAMBLA was founded at the end of the 70s. At the beginning, the “Support Group for Relationships Between Generations” was promoted prominently by Gore Vidal and Allen Ginsberg, then it was quickly isolated from the rest of the gay movement. At the conference Gutierrez hears for the first time: “Michael is one of us.” A pedophile. “Jackson was treated like an idol there, as a hope for social acceptance.” *

Gutierrez quits his job at the newspaper, talks to employees of Jackson, interviews the first boys. Soon he runs out of money for the research. He sells his car, saves money on food. He learns: there are different type of pedophiles, pedophilia is as old as the human race, not every game they play is a horrible crime. Victor Gutierrez says: “In the the five months of their relationship Michael Jackson and Jordie Chandler were happy. It was love.[7]

(Emphasis added.)

[* Note: To be clear, Jackson has never been a member of NAMBLA and never had any association with them. What members express here is wishful thinking.]

To the question why aren’t there more boys accusing Jackson, Gutierrez again gives revealing insight into his “philosophy”:

“They are all afraid”, says Gutierrez. Not of Michael and his power but of public opinion. “It is about homosexuality”, Gutierrez opines, “nobody wants to be the gay Jackson boy”. His theory: if Madonna had an affair or a love relationship with a minor boy it would be a much smaller scandal. At the schoolyard the boy would be a hero. As Jackson’s lover he is a faggot.

“In a hundred years maybe such relationships will be accepted by society”, says Gutierrez. The story reminds him of Oscar Wild and his young lover, Bosi. As Gutierrez, who is a heterosexual himself*, was looking for a publisher for his book in 1995, he hears people say that he glamourizes pedophiles. [7]

(Emphasis added.)

[* Note: In different interviews over the years Gutierrez has made conflicting statements about his own sexuality.]

While in this article Gutierrez does not protest against the claim that he “glamorizes pedophiles” and the journalist never challenges Gutierrez’s portrayal of pedophilia as some kind of consensual love relationship, in English language publications Gutierrez is more cautious.

In the September 2006 issue of the British GQ Magazine, in an article that is based on Gutierrez’s version of the events and thus clearly biased for him and against Jackson, the story of Gutierrez’s visit to the NAMBLA conference is rehashed but without naming the organization:

“Gutierrez began his investigation in 1986 when he went undercover with the LAPD. While attending a secret conference held by a suspect organization in LA, Gutierrez heard many references to Michael Jackson. So far as the world knew at the time, “Wacko Jacko” was just an eccentric. The fact he liked the company of young boys seemed no more suspicious back then than his hanging out with a chimp called Bubbles.” [5]

While in the Tageszeitung article it was suggested he was there as a reporter, in GQ it is claimed he went there “undercover with the LAPD”. It is very unlikely that the LAPD would engage untrained outsiders for undercover operations over their own trained officers. In actuality, it is very unlikely Gutierrez would have been present at a NAMBLA conference as an outsider (let alone as a reporter) because the organization is very cautious about who they let in and very secretive about the exact wherabouts of their annual conferences. [8] [9] Only members and people who NAMBLA trusts receive an invitation.

The GQ article’s main subject is a film that Gutierrez planned to make of his book with the help of Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, founders of the World of Wonder production company. Based on what is said by the two producers in the article, like the book, the film would have also served the agenda of portraying supposed child molestation as a consensual, love relationship.

“Despite the explosive nature of the events it describes, the script is actually a model of amorous propriety. “We wanted to capture the intoxicating feeling of the first love which was what it was for Jordie”, says Bailey.

[…]

Central to the film, and the most controversial element in it, is the presentation of Jordie as a willing, even eager, participant in a relationship with a man he had worshipped since the age of four. “The only way the general public can view somebody like Jordie is as a victim,” says Bailey. “The fact that he might have entered into the relationship with Michael Jackson of his own volition is, for many people, tremendously problematic.” [5]

Earlier in the article Barbato is quoted as saying:

“In America we are up against the ‘eek’ factor. The Europeans don’t have that kind of squeamishness. America can deal with the sanitized version of the story, but our story is based on the tabloid version.” [5]

Barbato also acknowledges that their movie “goes outside of any of the acceptable norms”:

“However, the producer remains understandably cautious about the ultimate success of his undertaking. “Indie movies have gone mainstream in the States,” says Barbato. “They’ve become a genre. But this project is independent in the true sense of the word. It goes outside any of the acceptable norms.” [5]

After Gutierrez visited the conference of the “suspect organization” in 1986, the 2006 GQ article states, he started to “strike up friendships” with some of Jackson’s employees:

“For the next five years Gutierrez tracked down as many of Jackson’s current and former associates as he could. Being Latino himself helped – it was relatively easy for him to strike up friendships with Jackson’s El Salvadorean maid, Blanca Francia, who left Jackson’s employment in 1991, and the star’s Costa Rican PA (personal assistant), Orietta Murdock, who sued him for unfair dismissal in 1992.” [5]

Again we read that after that NAMBLA conference, where pedophiles express the wish that Jackson become one of them, a celebrity poster boy as a “hope for social acceptance” [7] of pedophilia, Gutierrez goes on a mission and strikes up friendships with some of Jackson’s employees. The same employees who would later make allegations against the star.

There are also facts to consider about a possible connection between Gutierrez and Jackson’s first accusers, the Chandler family. According to the 2006 GQ article, Gutierrez became interested in the Chandlers when he saw Jordan, his mother and sister in Jackson’s company at several events during that time, including the 1993 World Music Awards in Monaco.

“A pariah in the celebrity-sucking world of freelance entertainment journalism, Gutierrez was forced to give up his writing and for a while supported himself by selling satellite dishes. Then, in 1993, his interest was reawakaned when he heard about a boy called Jordie Chandler with whom Jackson was appearing at huge media events, such as the World Music Awards in Monaco.” [5]

As we have shown in other articles the Chandler accusations did not originate from Jordan Chandler himself. It was his father, Evan Chandler who first had the preconceived idea that the friendship between his son and Jackson was sexual; it was Evan Chandler who pressured and threatened the boy into corroborating his idea. [For details see our articles Evan Chandler’s “Suspicions” and How Did The Allegations of the Chandlers Emerge?]

Remarkably, like Gutierrez, Evan Chandler spoke of supposed child molestation as if it was a consensual romance. In Ray Chandler’s book, All That Glitters, they even feel the need to explain in a footnote why the alleged “relationship” between Jordan and Jackson is described as a love story:

“Evan and Monique’s belief at the time, that Jordie and Michael were “in love,” is significant to the problem of understanding sexual molestation in older children. It did not occur to them that the thirteen-year-old was not a willing participant.” [10; page 45]

In a secretly taped phone conversation between Evan Chandler and David Schwartz that took place on July 8, 1993 (so before Jordan allegedly “confessed” to Evan about the alleged molestation – for the circumstances of that alleged confession see our article How Did The Allegations of the Chandlers Emerge?), Evan claims that it were other people who convinced him of the harmfulness of the friendship between Jackson and Jordan. He calls these people “experts”, although does not make it clear who these alleged experts were and in what field they had an expertise in. [11] Whether one of these alleged “experts” was Victor Gutierrez or not, we cannot tell, however there are additional facts to consider about a possible connection between Victor Gutierrez and Evan Chandler:

In his book, Gutierrez presents legal correspondence, letters belonging to the Chandlers and private photographs of Jordan, his room and the Chandler’s house. Gutierrez befriended the Chandlers’ maid, Norma Salinas, so those documents could have been provided by her. However, Gutierrez’s book also contains stories, with varying details, identical to entries that appear in Ray Chandler’s All That Glitters, a book which was published almost ten years after Gutierrez’s publication.

Another inference to a probable collaboration between the Chandlers and Gutierrez is the fact that a drawing allegedly made in October of 1993, by Jordan of Jackson’s private parts includes text that makes mention of the name “Orietta” twice. [More about that drawing in this article.] Jackson employed a personal assistant named Orietta Murdock whom he fired in 1992. Orietta Murdock, however, no longer worked for Jackson in 1993, when the star spent time with the Chandler family. Why would Jordan or any of the Chandlers make references to an “Orietta” while attempting to describe Jackson’s private parts? The link between Murdock and the Chandlers is Gutierrez. In the 2006 GQ article Orietta Murdock is mentioned as one of the Jackson employees that Victor Gutierrez befriended.

If there was indeed a collaboration regarding the allegations in 1993 between the Chandlers and Gutierrez, the relationship must have turned sour later because in 2004 Ray Chandler, while making his rounds in the media and promoting his book, called Gutierrez a “sleazebag” and stated that he did not endorse his book [12].

In the 2006 GQ Magazine article it is claimed that “after the first phase of his research” [5] Gutierrez sent a copy of his book to the LAPD, but they took no action “because I was a nobody, just a Latino reporter in LA” [5]. (Take note that just a couple of paragraphs earlier it is claimed that Gutierrez was at that NAMBLA conference in 1986 “undercover with the LAPD”.) In Michael Jackson’s FBI files, released in 2009, a couple of months after the singer’s death, there is no information about a book sent to the LAPD. However, there is a document concerning a writer who called the LAPD on December 27, 1993, claiming that “he has been writing a book about Michael Jackson concerning allegations of sexual molestation of children” [13]. The caller, whose name is concealed in the FBI document, claimed that “he had information that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1985 or 1986, investigated allegations against Jackson for reportedly molesting two Mexican boys” [13]. He also claimed the investigation was “covered up” [13] because “Jackson was to receive an honor at the White House from the President” [13]. Jackson actually received the honor at the White House in 1984.

The LAPD did not take action, not because the caller was “a nobody” but because the claim was absolutely untrue. The document states that they checked the FBI indexes both automatically and manually and found no reference to such an investigation. Keep in mind that at that time the Chandler investigation was ongoing and the LAPD was eager to find evidence against the singer. It is nonsensical that the FBI would ignore any damning information against Jackson. The FBI ignored the information because it had no basis in reality.

In a Los Angeles Times article dated August 28, 1993, it is claimed that Victor Gurierrez was among the first people whom the police interviewed in regards to the case against Jackson (the allegations were formally made on August 17, 1993): “One of those interviewed was Victor Gutierrez, a Southern California free-lance journalist who has been working on a book about Jackson for several years. Gutierrez spoke to LAPD officers for two hours Thursday and was interviewed again Friday. He would not disclose what transpired during those sessions, but he told The Times that he has interviewed for his book some of the same youngsters being sought for questioning by the LAPD.” [14]

Many of the witnesses who testified for the prosecution at Jackson’s 2005 trial, and on whom the prosecution’s “prior bad acts” case was mostly built, were people who had contact with Victor Gutierrez prior to selling their stories. Former security guard, Ralph Chacon testified he and other ex-employees of Jackson (whom the media often called the “Neverland 5”) spoke to Gutierrez before they went to sell their story to The Star magazine [15]. Former security guard, Kassim Abdool testified that he met Gutierrez once and they had a two, three hours conversation [16]. Former maid, Adrian McManus testified that Gutierrez “was going to try to help us in our lawsuit” [17]. Another prosecution witness was former maid, Blanca Francia, who is mentioned in the 2006 GQ article as one of the Jackson employees Gutierrez befriended shortly after his visit to NAMBLA in 1986 [5]. In Gutierrez’s book there is a photo of the two together [4].

Other people whom Gutierrez befriended, such as as Orietta Murdock or the Chandlers’ El Salvadorean maid, Norma Salinas, did not testify but they made their rounds in the media selling salacious lies about Jackson to tabloids.

Michael Jackson was the most internationally famous victim of Gutierrez’s lies and manipulation, but he was not the only one. In late 2003 in his home country Chile, Gutierrez published an article in which he linked a politician of a right-wing political party to a pedophile ring. Gutierrez’s article gave a detailed description of what allegedly went on in the house of a businessman, Claudio Spiniak, who was arrested just a few days earlier for operating a pedophile ring. Gutierrez claimed that a senator of the Alliance for Chile (a coalition of right-wing political parties) participated in those pedophile orgies. He did not name the politician in his article but alleged that the senator’s name was given to authorities. Later in an interview conducted by Gutierrez for a TV program, a minor boy, a street child, claimed to have seen a well-known right-wing politician at Spiniak’s orgies. [18] The boy later retracted his claim and it was revealed that Gutierrez paid him 10,000 to 20,000 Chilean pesos. In February, 2004 Gutierrez’s lawyer acknowledged the payment but claimed it was only a “humanitarian gesture”, not something given in exchange for the interview and false accusations. Authorities could not find any link between the pedophile ring and any politician of the party accused by Gutierrez but the rumors were enough to tarnish the public image of the right-wing coalition and certain politicians. [19] [20] [21]

In 2008 Gutierrez was sentenced to 61 days in jail and ordered to pay 30 million Chilean pesos (approximately $60,000) to former Miss Universe, the ex-wife of Argentina’s former president, Carlos Menem, Cecilia Bolocco for slanderous claims he made about her private life. This was considered a precedent, the highest amount of compensation ever awarded in this type of case in Chile [22].

Victor Gutierrez, the man accredited by media journalists and the prosecution as being a reliable source of information on Michael Jackson, whose stories inspired many media articles and “documentaries” about the star, and to whom the very origin of the allegations against Jackson may be traced is a man who has been convicted as a liar in a court of law, not once but at least twice and not in one but in two different countries.

Victor Gutierrez, a man who has expressed disturbing views about pedophilia, who has written a graphically sexual work of fiction, replete with pedophiliac fantasies about an alleged mutual “relationship” between a man and a child; a man who had the audacity to thank NAMBLA in the foreword of this book; who by his own account, visited a NAMBLA conference in 1986 was directly involved in helping to shape and form the false allegations made against Jackson.

Sources:

[1] Interview with Diane Dimond on The Ken and Barkley Company morning show (KABC-AM Radio, January 9, 1995)

[2] Maureen Orth – Losing His Grip (Vanity Fair, April 2003)
http://www.vanityfair.com/fame/features/2003/04/orth200304 (page 4)

[3] Margaret Maldonado – Jackson Family Values: Memories of Madness (Newstar Pr, November 1995)

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

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

[6] Jan Fleischhauer and Wiebke Hollersen – The Sexual Revolution and Children, How the Left Took Things Too Far (Der Spiegel, July 2, 2010)
http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/the-sexual-revolution-and-children-how-the-left-took-things-too-far-a-702679-3.html

[7] “Es war Liebe!” (Die Tageszeitung, April 5, 2005)
http://www.taz.de/1/archiv/?id=archivseite&dig=2005/04/05/a0170

[8] FBI Agent Robert Hamer’s undercover operation as described in Order Amending Opinion and Amended Opinion – USA v. David Cary Mayer
Page 8.: “He requested an invitation to NAMBLA’s 2002 conference but was denied because he had not been a member for a long enough period of time.”
USA vs Mayer

[9] Onell R. Soto – Little-known group promotes ‘benevolent’ sex (February 17, 2005)
Quote: “The annual meetings, Polhemus said, were hush-hush affairs. Attendees were told to go to the host city, and the venue was not disclosed until the last minute.
“They don’t want press and they don’t want the cops showing up,” he said.”

http://legacy.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20050217-2208-manboy-daily.html

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

[11] Taped phone conversation between Evan Chandler and David Schwartz (July 8, 1993)
schwartz_chandler

[12] Jacko: Accuser’s Uncle to Publish Exposé (FoxNews, September 8, 2004)
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,131615,00.html

[13] Michael Jackson’s FBI files as released in 2009
http://vault.fbi.gov/Michael%20Jackson/Michael%20Jackson%2062%20File%20Part%202%20of%203/view (Page 52)

[14] Charles P. Wallace and Jim Newton – Jackson Back on Stage; Inquiry Continues (Los Angeles Times, August 28, 1993)
http://articles.latimes.com/1993-08-28/news/mn-28760_1_michael-jackson

[15] Ralph Chacon’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (April 7, 2005)

[16] Kassim Abdool’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (April 25, 2005)

[17] Adrian McManus’ testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (April 8, 2005)

[18] La prensa y el caso Spiniak (El Periodista, August 27, 2004)
http://www.elperiodista.cl/newtenberg/1682/printer-63826.html

[19] Abogado confirma que Víctor Gutiérrez entregó dinero a L.Z. (Emol.com, February 11, 2004)
http://www.emol.com/noticias/nacional/2004/02/11/138241/abogado-confirma-que-victor-gutierrez-entrego-dinero-a-lz.html

[20] UDI: se confirma tesis del montaje (LaNacioncl, February 12, 2004)
http://rie.cl/lanacioncl/?a=15112

[21] Víctor Gutiérrez reconoce que pasó su billetito a menor del caso Spiniak (La Cuarta, February 12, 2004)
http://www.lacuarta.cl/diario/2004/02/12/12.04.4a.CRO.GUTIERREZ.html

[22] Millonaria sentencia a favor de Cecilia Bolocco remece a la farándula local (El Mercurio, October 30, 2008)
http://www.emol.com/mundografico/?F_ID=657315

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Jason Francia

Jason Francia

Jason Francia at Jackson’s 2005 trial

As discussed it in this article despite an extensive and costly investigation, the prosecution still struggled to find corroborating victims to support the Chandlers’ allegations. In 1993 police officers interviewed 40-60 children who had either spent time with Jackson or at his Neverland Ranch. None of the children corroborated the accuser’s story. They all told authorities that they had never been molested by the star and he had never done anything inappropriate to them.

In desperation, the prosecution engaged in questionable tactics, which are detailed in the above mentioned article, but that still did not result in the discovery of more alleged victims, with the exception of one boy: Jason Francia. He was the only young man whom the prosecution was able to put on the stand in support of the Arvizo allegations at Jackson’s 2005 trial as well.

Jason Francia is the son of Blanca Francia, a maid who worked for Jackson between 1986 and 1991.

When the police first interviewed Jason Francia in 1993, the only boy claiming abuse by Jackson was the original accuser, Jordan Chandler. The police interviewed dozens of children but could not find any other child willing to corroborate the Chandlers’ claims, despite the investigators engaging in questionable methods. This is how they got to Blanca Francia’s then 13-year-old son, Jason, on November 4, 1993 and then again on March 24, 1994. It was the police who initiated the contact, Blanca and Jason Francia never turned to authorities.

To the police, Jason Francia initially denied that Jackson had ever done anything inappropriate to him. He said: “I’ll just say this out flat. I don’t remember him trying anything with me except for the tickling” [1]. When the police pressured him to “remember” wrongdoings by Jackson, he maintained: “If I don’t remember, I don’t remember” [1].

At Jackson’s 2005 trial, Jason claimed that he initially denied impropriety because of embarrassment. However, audio tapes and the police transcripts of his 1993-94 interviews reveal how investigators pressured and lead him to create  allegations against the star. In a Motion in opposition to the DA’s Motion For Admission Of Alleged Prior Offenses, Jackson’s defense classified these interviews as “textbook examples of improperly suggestive interrogations” [2].

A paper written by Kenneth E. Blackstone, a member of the American College of Forensic Examiners International and an expert of sexual offense investigation explains how interviewing methods can make a child’s testimony tainted and unreliable, leading to false allegations. On page 11-12 of his paper The Fallibility of Forensic Interviewing, Blackstone lists nine factors which raise suspicion of improper interrogations techniques that can lead to false allegations. Those factors are:

  • Absence of spontaneous recall;
  • Interviewer bias against defendant – a preconceived idea of what the child should be disclosing;
  • Repeated leading questions;
  • Multiple interviews;
  • Incessant questioning;
  • Vilification of defendant;
  • Ongoing contact with peers and references to their statements;
  • Use of threats, bribes and cajoling; and
  • Failure to videotape or otherwise document the initial interview sessions.

[3]

Eight of those nine factors (1-8) can be observed in the interrogations of Jason Francia.

For example, on November 4, 1993, in a police interview, Francia told investigators he did not remember Jackson ever putting his hand anywhere that made him feel uncomfortable. Detective Vincent Neglia was not satisfied with that answer and made it very clear what answer he would be satisfied with, by suggesting to the boy that his memories were wrong and blatantly suggesting what he should “remember”:

 “Det. Neglia: Okay, but what I am getting at is that maybe I am not being obvious enough. What I am saying is maybe he put his hands someplace on you where he shouldn’t have. Maybe he put his hands on you someplace that made you feel uncomfortable. And that’s why you are not remembering. It’s like there is a little bit of “Oh, I can’t remember that guy’s name and I don’t remember his last name, and I just don’t remember that. No I don’t want to remember that, no I can’t remember.” It’s a little of bit of a different kind of not remembering, one is because you are choosing not to, and one is that you just can’t call back the uh, the event. And I think of what you doing is tickling and all this stuff, is trying forcing yourself not to remember. And you also kind of got to the one where you’re saying that fourth time at the party you said something like, “That was the time.” What time was it Jason: What was the time?“ [2]

At other times during the interviews investigators lied to the boy and said that other boys, such as Macaulay Culkin, had been molested by Jackson and the only way they could rescue them was if Jason said incriminating things about Jackson.

“Det. Neglia: I realize how hard this is. I realize how painful it is to think of these things you tried so hard not to think about but you are doing fine. And you are also helping the kid that he is bothering now.

Jason Francia: What do you mean he’s bothering?

Det. Birchim: He’s doing the same thing.

Jason Francia: Macaulay Culkin.

Det. Neglia: Only he’s getting a lot more into it. Like your mother pulled you out of there. Macaulay’s mother is not going to pull him out of there. They are feeding him.

Det. Birchim: He’s doing worse stuff.

Det. Neglia: It’s much worse with him.” [2]

They claimed Corey Feldman had drug problems because Jackson molested him:

“Det. Neglia: He’s a junkie now, he gets arrested, he doesn’t act or anything. He gets high. He packs his nose with cocaine and he’s going to die by the time he is 22 years old.

Jason Francia: How old is he?

Det. Neglia: About 21. But that’s the kind of life he is living, and it’s got to do with being exposed to people like this, and having nobody to protect them and to take them out.

Det. Birchim: Like you had your mom.

Det. Neglia: Like your mom pulled you out, and you’re, you’re candid, and you’re (sic) honesty with us is going to help us. To pull the next kid out, it might even be too late for Macauly (sic) already. But these kids that he’s traveling with are on tour right now. Maybe we can pull them out of it… “ [2]

Both Culkin and Feldman stated very firmly to authorities and the public alike that Jackson never molested them and never touched them in an inappropriate way.

The investigators referred to Jackson as a “molester”[1] in their interviews with Francia, even though they did not have any evidence against him. They also used derogatory profanity against Jackson, for example, saying: “he makes great music, he’s a great guy, bullshit” [1]. At one point, after the investigators told Francia what they thought Jackson did to him, the boy said “Well, I’ll have to work on that” [1]. In one of the interviews Francia said: “They [the interrogators] made me come out with a lot more stuff I didn’t want to say. They kept pushing. I wanted to get up and hit them in the head” [1]. In the second interview, on March 24, 1994 Francia indicated he was aware of the fact that another boy (Jordan Chandler) had sued Jackson for money [1].

In his 1993-94 interviews, after initially denying any wrongdoing by Jackson, Jason Francia gave in to the pressure. Case in point, in 2005, while under cross-examination by Jackson’s lawyer, Thomas Mesereau, he admitted that he said things in those interviews because he “was trying to figure out how to get out of there” [1]:

Q. Remember telling the police, “You guys are pushy”?

A. Yeah. I remember telling the police that.

Q. Okay. And after they kept pushing you, you finally said, “You know, I think he did tickle me,”right?

A. No.

Q. Do you remember that? Do you remember at first saying you didn’t know, and then after –

A. Yeah, I remember saying at first, “I don’t know.”

Q. And after telling the police, “You guys are pushy,” you eventually finally said, “Yes, he tickled me,” right?

A. I believe that’s how it went.

Q. Okay. You kind of went back and forth during the interview, didn’t you? One second you’d say, “He tickled me,” and the next second you’d say you’re not sure, right?

A. I was trying to figure out how to get out of there.

Q. I understand. And you remember exactly how you felt in 1993 during the interview, right?

A. The feeling of, yeah, crying and crappiness. [1]

It was also revealed that after the police’s first interrogation of Jason Francia in 1993 he was sent for therapy with a counselor by the name of Mike Craft. District Attorney Thomas Sneddon was present at least one time in Craft’s office while Jason was there, though Jason could not explain what communication went on between the two men and why Sneddon was there at all. According to an article in USA Today on February 7, 1994, the therapist Jason Francia was sent to was arranged and paid for by the county Sheriff’s office after the boy’s mother expressed concern that Sheriff Deputies had called and met with her son while she was not present [4].

There had never been charges filed against Jackson based on Jason Francia’s claims, although the prosecution was obviously desperate to find another alleged victim besides Jordan Chandler.

However, Jason’s mother, Blanca Francia, taking a page out of the Chandlers’ playbook: hired civil lawyers and at the end of 1994 threatened Jackson with a civil lawsuit. In actuality, Blanca Francia talked about wanting to sue Jackson for money at least as early as March, 1994 – while the criminal investigation was still ongoing (for details see this article – the “Document 2″ segment). With the Chandler case behind him and a plan to release a new album in 1995, Jackson settled with the Francias out of court. As testified to during Jackson’s 2005 trial, two settlements were signed with the Francias – one with Blanca and another one with Jason Francia. Reportedly Jackson paid them $2.4 million.

It must be noted that only a criminal trial can send a perpetrator to jail; a civil trial can only result in a monetary award, so, like the Chandler settlement, this was not a case of Jackson buying his way out of a criminal indictment. [You can read more about the Chandler settlement here.] Two Grand Juries had already decided in the spring of 1994 not to indict Jackson. However, a civil trial could have resulted in a long, drawn out court process with lots of negative publicity for Jackson, which, regardless of the lack of credibility of the allegations and the outcome, would have affected Jackson’s ability to promote a new album, that he planned to release in 1995. To put the $2.4 million he paid out to the Francias into a perspective: Jackson’s record label, Sony Music spent $30 million on the promotion of Jackson’s double album released in 1995, entitled HIStory. The first video of the album, Scream, cost $7 million and a teaser that was shot for the album in Budapest, Hungary cost $4 million.

The language in both the settlements with Blanca and with Jason Francia emphasized that there was no admission of any wrongdoing on Jackson’s part. The fact that both Jason and Blanca Francia were called to testify at Jackson’s 2005 trial is a clear indication that such settlements of civil lawsuits do not and cannot prohibit anyone testifying at a criminal court. Francia’s allegations were heard in Court during the 2005 proceedings and weighed in when the jury reached its “not guilty” verdicts.

During Jackson’s 2005 trial, Jason alleged the first act of impropriety occurred in 1987, at Jackson’s Century City condo, in Los Angeles, when Jason was about seven years old. According to his story, while his mother was cleaning the condo, he and Jackson watched cartoons on the television and Jackson supposedly started to tickle him which resulted in a “tickle contest” between the two. Jason claimed that while tickling him Jackson’s hand moved down to his crotch and he touched his genital area above his clothes.

A second act of impropriety was described, similar to the first one, occurring in the same place, again while watching cartoons, one and a half years later, this time when Jason was about eight, eight and a half years old. Jason again claimed, while watching cartoons, Jackson moved behind him and began “spooning” him. Jason claimed he started to tickle him and while doing so Jackson again touched his genitalia above his clothes. He claimed the contact with his genital area lasted at least about four, five minutes.

A third act of impropriety was claimed to have happened at Neverland in the arcade when Jason was about ten and a half years old. He claimed while playing a video game, Jackson again started to tickle him and somehow they ended up on the couch in a “spooning” position. Jason claimed that this time Jackson put his hand in his shorts and touched his testicles. He alleged this lasted about three to four minutes. At this point Jason felt the need to voluntarily emphasize: “It took a lot of counseling to get over, just to let you know.” [1] (Note: Jason Francia was put into therapy by the prosecution in 1993/1994, like we mentioned above.)

Jason further alleged that every time Jackson tickled him, the star put a hundred dollar bill in his pants. Jason claimed he never told his mother about the alleged abuse: “I don’t even think to this day she knows”[1], he said on the stand in 2005, even though his mother hired civil lawyers and threatened to sue Jackson over the allegations in 1994.

During the 2005 trial, Jason’s Francia’s testimony was not considered credible by the jury, and the improper police interrogations those led to his allegations were not the only reason. Other than the alleged impropriety, Jason Francia did not seem to know or remember anything on the stand and was caught in several contradictions and lies. At the very least, this young man seemed to have an extremely bad, unreliable and ever-changing memory.

At age of 24, he sat on the stand and claimed he did not know if he ever signed a settlement with Jackson. He claimed he had not heared about the payment his mother received from Hard Copy until two days before his testimony and that he never discussed it with his mother.

At first, he claimed he never told his mother he was improperly touched but then admitted he did, claiming he was “mistaken” earlier. He claimed he never told the lawyers who represented him in 1994, Terry Cannon and Kris Kallman, that he was improperly touched, but later on in the testimony he said he did not know if he ever told them, and even later he said he did tell them.

In one of the 1993-94 interrogations Francia claimed that during a tickling episode he blacked-out and because of that he did not remember anything besides the tickling. In 2005, when Mesereau asked him if he had a black-out how could he have told the police that his mother was not in the room, he answered: “I blocked it out. I didn’t blank it out” [1]. Please note, Jackson’s condo was a small apartment and the alleged improprieties occurred while Blanca Francia was present, cleaning up and able to walk in on them at any time.

When the police asked Jason in 1993-94 if anything inappropriate had ever happened to him at Neverland he said “I was around too many people” and when they pressured him about the third account of tickling in the arcade, the incident where he now alleged Jackson put his hand in his pants – at the time initially Jason said he did not know if Jackson touched him inappropriately while tickling him. In actuality, he said he was not sure if Jackson even tickled him at all [1].

Mesereau pointed out that in an interview with the police in October, 2004 Jason claimed that this third tickling incident lasted more than ten seconds but he did not remember how long. At the trial, only a couple of months later, Jason suddenly remembered that it lasted for three to four minutes.

As for the money Jason allegedly received from Jackson after alleged acts of improper touching, when Jason Francia was initially interviewed by the police in 1993-94, he claimed that Jackson promised him money each time he read a book or achieved a good grade, because Francia had difficulties in school and with learning (in 2005 on the stand he admitted he still had problems with reading). This story later somehow evolved into Jackson putting money in his pants after each tickling.

During the trial, when asked if Attorney, Terry Cannon still represented him, Jason said “I don’t think so, no”[1] but later said he did not know if Cannon represented him. Mesereau reminded him that Cannon was present at a meeting Jason had with the prosecutors on December 6, 2004. At that meeting Jason did not want the interview to be tape-recorded. When Mesereau asked him why, at first he claimed to not remember that he made that request. Then when presented with documents that showed he indeed did, he could not testify what his reason was: “I don’t know”[1] and “Tape-recording is weird. I don’t know. No, I don’t” [1]. Documents also showed that he requested Cannon to be present at the interview but Jason said he did not remember why Cannon was there and whether he asked him to be there or not.

During the trial, when asked whether any criminal charges had ever been filed against Jackson based on his claims (there had never been), Jason answered: “I don’t know much. I don’t watch the news.” [1]

Mesereau asked Jason about another meeting which prosecutors held on November 19, 2004 when his mother was interviewed in the DA’s office. Again, Jason first claimed to not know anything about it:  “I don’t know. Me and my mother don’t talk about that stuff much.” [1] However, when Mesereau pointed out to him that he was present at that meeting, Francia all of a sudden remembered: “Now I remember, yes.” [1] In actuality, not only was Jason present, but he too was interviewed by the prosecutors and he asked that the interview not be tape-recorded on that occasion as well. Again, Francia did not remember any of this: he did not remember that an interview by the prosecutors that lasted for about an hour, took place at all, although it happened only a couple of months before his testimony at Jackson’s trial!

So not surprisingly, Jason Francia did not make a good impression on the jury at Jackson’s trial. Jury Foreman, Paul Rodriguez told Nancy Grace in an interview after the verdict.

GRACE: Mr. Rodriguez, did you believe the boy that came in that is now a youth minister* that stated Jackson molested him in the past?

RODRIGUEZ: Well, we got a little problem with that because he had no idea where some of his money came from, and he didn’t want to talk to his mother. And so those kind of things that we kind of didn’t focus on, but it did keep — we kept that in the back of our minds.

GRACE: So would it be safe to say you did not believe him?

RODRIGUEZ: Yes, we had a hard time believing him…

[…]

GRACE: Yes. What about the one kid that became a youth minister*, who stated plainly Jackson molested his — fondled his genitals?

RODRIGUEZ: Again, like you said earlier, you know, about his scenario or his testimony, it was hard to buy the whole story, when he acted like he knew nothing about it. I mean, he acted so much like the mother of the other accuser, you know, he just didn’t seem that credible. He didn’t seem to convince us, like we wanted to be convinced. And he just — he was leaving too many little loopholes in his statements. [5]

(* The prosecution and the media constantly tried to make Jason Francia look more credible by emphasizing that he used to be a youth minister.)

It is very telling that Rodriguez put Francia’s testimony on par with that of “the mother of the other accuser”, Janet Arvizo, which was widely regarded, even by pro-prosecution journalists, as a disastrous testimony for the prosecution.

 

Sources:

[1] Jason Francia’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (April 4-5, 2005)

[2] Supplemental Brief In Support Of Opposition To District Attorney’s Motion For Admission Of Alleged Prior Offenses (March 25, 2005)
http://www.sbscpublicaccess.org/docs/ctdocs/032505suppopp1108.pdf

[3] Kenneth E. Blackstone – The Fallibility of Forensic Interviewing
http://www.blackstonepolygraph.com/articles/Fallibility_of_Forensic_Interviewing.pdf

[4] Officials desperate to nail Michael Jackson (USA Today, February 7, 1994)

[5] Nancy Grace’s interview with jury foreman, Paul Rodriguez (CNN.com, June 13, 2005)
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0506/13/ng.01.html

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