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Tag Archives | Martin Bashir

The fallout resulting from the Bashir documentary and damage control by Jackson’s PR team

The Arvizos had not met Jackson again until after the Bashir documentary aired in the UK on February 3, 2003 and then in the US on February 6, 2003. As a result of the documentary the media went into a frenzy, the 1993 allegations against Jackson were rehashed in articles and talk shows. On February 6 someone illegally leaked Jordan Chandler’s 1993 declaration to the media to further antagonize the public against Jackson. [For more details about the 1993 Jordan Chandler allegations please see the relevant section of our website.] The media also tried to “hunt down” the Arvizo family.

Jackson’s team tried to fight this negative publicity and decided to hold a press conference with the Arvizo family in Miami on February 5 or 6, 2003. The press conference eventually was called off, but the Arvizos did travel to Miami with actor Chris Tucker to participate in it in support of Jackson. Jackson and the Arvizos then returned to Neverland on February 7-8. The family remained there, on and off, until March 12.

In the hindsight, while making their allegations the Arvizos claimed that on the way back to Los Angeles from Miami on February 7 on the airplane they witnessed Jackson lick the head of a sleeping Gavin [1] [2] . Despite of the fact that many people were on the plane the only two people who have ever claimed to have witnessed this alleged scene were Star and Janet Arvizo. Although this whole alleged scene lasted for only six seconds, Janet Arvizo got up from her seat to go to the restroom exactly at the right moment to witness it – quiet conveniently [2].  Oddly, Janet Arvizo never confronted Jackson about what she allegedly witnessed, nor did she ever ask her sons about it [2]. Supposedly she just kept it to herself and the first time she ever mentioned it to anyone was when the family first started to make child molestation allegations against Jackson later in 2003.

Sources:

[1] Star Arvizo’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (March 7, 2005)

[2] Janet Arvizo’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (April 13, 2005)

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Martin Bashir’s documentary, “Living with Michael Jackson”

In the Summer-Autumn of 2002 British journalist and television host Martin Bashir worked on a documentary with Michael Jackson entitled “Living with Michael Jackson”. During the creation of that documentary Bashir suggested to Jackson that in the film he could show the public how the singer helped children with serious illnesses. Jackson presented Bashir with two examples: the story of David Rothenberg (“Dave Dave”) who was badly burned by his father when he was a child in the 1980s. Jackson took it upon himself to help Rothenberg throughout his life. Here is Rothenberg talking about Michael Jackson after Jackson’s death:

The other option offered was the cancer survivor Gavin Arvizo. By 2002 Rothenberg was an adult and Bashir chose to go with the still 13-year-old Gavin instead, so they invited him and his siblings, Star and Davellin to the set – even though Rothenberg was present as well, according to Gavin’s testimony:

Q. Okay. Did you ever meet this person who was burned?

A. Yeah, I think Michael introduced me to him.

Q. And when was this?

A. Around the same time as the Martin Bashir thing.

Q. Was it at Neverland?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you talk to this person?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you remember the person’s name?

A. I think his name might have been David.

Q. Was it Rothenberg?

A. I don’t know.

Q. Was this a young man that you learned his father had poured gasoline on him and set him on fire?.

A. I don’t know.

Q. Okay.

A. I think that’s what happened.

Q. And he was supposed to be in the film with you, right?

A. Yes.

Q. Okay. And correct me if I’m wrong, you discussed with Michael the fact that Michael had helped this young boy, right?

A. Yes.

Q. Okay. Did you talk to this young boy about what he had experienced?

A. No.

Q. Okay. Did you ever see him?

A. Yes.

Q. And please describe for the jury what he looked like.

A. He looked like he was really badly burned and he had like – he was like a rocker. He was wearing, like, rocker stuff. And he was burned. And he had like only a few hairs on his head because I guess it covered all the pores when he was burned.

Q. Did you and he appear in the film, if you know?

A. Later I watched it, and then — well, I watched my part, and then I don’t think he was in there.

Q. Okay. But was he at Neverland the day you were filmed?

A. Yes.

Q. Okay. Did you meet him shortly after you arrived?

A. Yes. [1]

The shooting of the scene with Gavin and his two siblings took place in September 2002. Janet Arvizo later said that she was not aware at the time that her children would appear in the documentary.

Jackson trusted that Bashir had no hidden agenda in how he presented his relationship with Gavin and out of naivety and guilelessness allowed himself to be filmed showing affection to Gavin and holding his hand while the boy leaned his head on his shoulder. Bashir exploited Jackson’s poor judgement in public relations and drew him into a discussion of whether it was acceptable to share a bedroom with a child.

When the documentary aired in February 2003 this segment caused a storm of bad publicity for Jackson and wild speculations about the nature of his relationship with Gavin Arvizo. In reality, as you have seen above, there was no close relationship between Jackson and Gavin, and since 2000 they hardly even met.

Throughout the documentary Bashir uses suggestive and highly manipulative narration and it seems that his intention from the beginning was to create and feed in innuendo about Jackson’s relationship with children. Even Gavin admitted in his 2005 testimony that Bashir’s portrayal of Jackson in the documentary was false. After the shooting of the scene the Arvizo children stayed at the ranch for one night, but Jackson immediately left after the segment and he was again unavailable to Gavin:

Q. At that point, could you reach Michael Jackson by telephone if you wanted to?

A. No, after the Martin Bashir thing, he didn’t give me any phone numbers, because he left, like, either the same day or the day after the Martin Bashir interview, and I didn’t really get any other phone numbers. [1]

Source:

[1] Gavin Arvizo’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (March 14, 2005)

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A general outline of the events leading up to the Arvizo allegations

In this section we give a general outline of the Arvizo case and mainly about the events leading up to the allegations and how and when the allegations emerged. The exact content of the Arvizo family’s allegations, the contradictions and changes in them, the timeline and its changes and the credibility issues with the Arvizo family and other issues of the case will be discussed in detail in separate articles.

Click on the title to read the articles below:

Michael Jackson first met his later accuser, Gavin Arvizo and the boy’s family in the summer of 2000. At the time the then 10-year-old Gavin was in hospital with a rare type of cancer that affected his kidney and spleen. His doctors removed one of his kidneys and his spleen and began chemotherapy.

Gavin was a big fan of comedians and before his illness he went to comedy classes at the Laugh Factory which is a comedy club in Hollywood owned by the comedian, Jamie Masada. In the club Gavin and his family made friends with several comedians such as Masada, George Lopez, Louise Palanker and Chris Tucker. When Gavin became ill Masada visited him in the hospital several times. Gavin asked him to help him meet certain celebrities, and one day he asked to meet Michael Jackson.

Masada testified at Jackson’s trial that he did not personally know Michael Jackson, but he somehow managed to contact his people and tell them about Gavin’s request. Jackson called the boy in the hospital and they talked for about five minutes, according to Gavin’s testimony in 2005. During the conversation Jackson invited Gavin and his family to his Neverland Ranch. According to Gavin’s 2005 testimony Jackson called him about 20 other times during his illness – sometimes in the hospital, sometimes in his grandmother’s home where Gavin lived at the time in a sterile room.

After the first round of Gavin’s chemotherapy the Arvizo family went to Neverland in August 2000. The family at the time consisted of Gavin, his older sister Davellin, his one year younger brother Star, their mother Janet Arvizo and their father David Arvizo. They all went on that Neverland visit.

On that first visit Gavin and Star slept in Jackson’s bedroom. This is the night that is referenced in the 2003 Bashir documentary that caused big public uproar, even though both Gavin and Jackson made it clear that while the kids slept on the bed, Jackson slept on the floor:

“Gavin: There was one night, I asked him if I could stay in his bedroom. He let me stay in the bedroom. And I was like, ‘Michael you can sleep in the bed’, and he was like ‘No, no, you sleep on the bed’, and I was like ‘No, no, no, you sleep on the bed’, and then he said ‘Look, if you love me, you’ll sleep in the bed’. I was like ‘Oh mannnn?” so I finally slept on the bed. But it was fun that night.

Jackson: I slept on the floor. Was it a sleeping bag?

Gavin: You packed the whole mess of blankets on the floor.” [1]

(Emphasis added.)

What is not mentioned in the documentary is the fact that not only Jackson did not sleep in the same bed as Gavin and Star, but he also insisted on his personal assistant, Frank Cascio (also called Frank Tyson sometimes) to sleep in the room as well. Jackson’s own children, 3-year-old Prince and 2-year old Paris (Blanket was not yet born), were there as well and slept on the bed with the Arvizo kids, while the two adult men, Jackson and Cascio, slept on the floor.

Cascio recalled the situation in his 2011 book, My Friend Michael:

“Then came the night when Gavin and his brother Star pleaded with Michael to allow them to sleep with him. “Can we sleep in your room tonight? Can we sleep in your bed tonight?” the boys begged. “My mother said it’s okay, if it’s okay with you,” Gavin added. Michael, who always had a hard time saying no to kids, replied, “Sure, no problem.” But then he came to me. “She’s pushing her kids onto me,” he said, visibly concerned. He had a strange, uncomfortable feeling about it. “Frank, they can’t stay.”

I went to the kids and said, “Michael has to sleep. I’m sorry, you can’t stay in his room.” Gavin and Star kept begging, I kept saying no, and then Janet [Arvizo – the mother] said to Michael, “They really want to stay with you. It’s okay with me.” Michael relented. He didn’t want to let the kids down. His heart got in the way, but he was fully aware of the risk. He said to me, “Frank, if they’re staying in my room, you’re staying with me. I don’t trust this mother. She’s fucked up.” I was totally against it, but I said, “All right. We do what we have to do.” Having me there as a witness would safeguard Michael against any shady ideas that the Arvizos might have been harboring. Or so we were both naive enough to think.” [2]

The fact that Cascio and Jackson’s children were in the room as well was not disputed by the Arvizos in Court, nor did they claim any molestation or attempt at molestation occurring that night. They claimed the acts of molestation happened almost three years later, in February-March 2003, AFTER the Bashir documentary aired and WHILE Santa Barbara authorities and child protective services were investigating Jackson because of the Bashir documentary. We will discuss this timeline later in this article.

There was one disputed element of this night, though. In Court in 2005 the Arvizos accused Jackson and Cascio of showing them adult heterosexual pornography on a laptop computer that Jackson gave to Gavin as a gift that day. Both Jackson and Cascio denied showing any such material to the children. We address this allegation in our article entitled The Changing Content of the Allegations and Contradictions.

According to Gavin’s own testimony, after this one occasion at Neverland he and his family did not have much contact with Jackson until the fall of 2002, when they were called back for the Bashir documentary. They were allowed to go to Neverland, and they did at least 7-10 times during that period, but most of the time Jackson was not even there and when he was, he actively avoided the Arvizos. From Gavin’s direct examination at Jackson’s 2005 trial:

Q. And on those occasions when Mr. Jackson was on the ranch, did you have any contact with him ?

A. Those two occasions, yeah. But, I mean, like, sometimes I would go up to the ranch and he would say that he ‘s not there, and then he would be there .

Q. What do you mean by that?

A. Like, when I would have cancer. I don‘t know what happened, but Michael, like, kind of stopped talking to me and stuff, right in the middle of my cancer. And, like, I would go up there, and I would see, like, Prince and Paris playing there, and I would think that Michael was there, and they would tell me that Michael wasn’t there. And then, like, I would see him somewhere, and — I don’t know.

Q. Was there one occasion when you actually ran into him by accident ?

A. Yeah.

Q. Tell the jury about that.

A. Well, I was playing with Prince and Paris outside, like in the back of the house near where the arcade was . And then we were walking into the — into the main house . And I knew the code, because they would give me the codes. And then I walked in the door with Prince in my hand and Paris in my other hand, and — we were holding hands. And then we walked into the house and there I saw Michael walking, like, toward me. But I guess he didn’t see me turn the corner. And then he acted as if , “Oh, crap,” you know what I mean? Like, he saw me. And then — then he just played it off and , like, acted like, “Oh, hi, Doo-Doo Head.” You know, at the time I — I was kind of hypnotized and, like, he ‘s my –

MR. MESEREAU: Objection; calls for a narrative and non responsive.

THE COURT : Sustained .

Q. BY MR . SNEDDON : Okay.

A. And then , like –

Q. That’s all right. I’ll give you a question. So in any case , you bumped into him ?

A. Yeah. And I was — because of –

Q. That’s okay . How much more contact did you have with him on that time when you bumped into him? How much time did the contact last?

A. I didn’t really see him through my cancer a lot.

Q. I mean, you told the ladies and gentlemen of the jury there was an occasion where you were there when you kind of bumped into him by accident ?

A. Yeah.

Q. When you actually made contact with him – okay? – how long did that last? Just — how long was the conversation between the two of you?

A. Maybe , like , five minutes. When — that time we bumped into each other, and then we just talked about — and stuff, and he said he had to go somewhere. [3]

On cross-examination by Jackson’s lawyer, Thomas Meserau Gavin again complained about Jackson avoiding him and said that no other celebrity he befriended ever did that to him:

Q. Can you look this jury in eye and tell them Michael Jackson did nothing for you when you had cancer?

A. I never said Michael did nothing for me.

Q. Did you say he did very little?

A. Yeah. He didn’t do as much as I felt, as my 11-year-old mind felt.

Q. He should.

A. No. He shouldn’t — it’s not his obligation to do anything.

Q. Well, are you telling the jury you deserved a lot more from Michael Jackson than you and your family got?

A. No.

Q. Is that what you’re saying?

A. No. I’m just saying that — see, when I have a friend, Michael, and you’re saying all these things that he did, but, you know, when my 11-year-old mind — and when I see my friend say that he’s not there, and he’s not at Neverland Ranch trying — and I see him walking and I see his car that he only drives going down at Neverland, you know, it felt like my heart broke right there.

Q. So by doing all of these things –

A. And I don’t remember George Lopez or Jamie Masada or Louise Palanker ever doing that to me. [4]

Gavin also complained on the stand that Jackson changed his phone numbers and became unavailable to them.

Q. And at some point you complained to the sheriffs that Mr. Jackson had changed his phone numbers after you visited the Hilton, right?

A. Well, that was the only phone number I left — or I called — well, I’m not sure. Because the only phone number that never changed was Evvy’s [Evvy Tavasci – Jackson’s secretary at the time] phone number. And I would call her and I would ask her sometimes where Michael was or something. And then — and I had the phone number to his hotel, so I think I called him at his hotel and asked him if I could go visit him. I think it was around — I’m not sure when exactly.

Q. When did you first get upset about your phone numbers for Michael Jackson not working?

A. Maybe around the third or fourth chemotherapy round I called his numbers and it would be, like, “This phone number is no longer in service.” Or sometimes it would just ring and it wouldn’t never — no one would ever pick up or something like that.

Q. Well, you’ve indicated that you were upset that the phone numbers you had for Mr. Jackson at some point didn’t work, right?

A. Yes.

Q. And the phone numbers you had for Mr. Jackson began to not work after it appeared that your cancer was in remission, correct?

A. No, I said they stopped working after my third or fourth chemotherapy round.

Q. Okay. Before that, could you easily call him?

A. Yes.

Q. And before that, did you often call him?

A. Yes. And he would call me and stuff. We would talk — we talked a lot more before then.

Q. In fact, you called him at the Universal — Hilton Universal the day you visited, right?

A. I believe so. I’m not too sure how it came about. [5]

and

Q. Okay. Now, you complained to the Santa Barbara Sheriffs that, “After I was done with my cancer stuff,” you never saw Michael again, right?

A. No, not until the Martin Bashir thing.

Q. Okay. And you wanted to see him after you were in remission, correct?

A. Yes.

Q. You wanted to visit Neverland after you were in remission, right?

A. Yes.

Q. And you felt in some way that Michael had cut off the friendship, right?

A. Yes.

Q. You felt he had abandoned you, right?

A. Yes.

Q. And you felt he had abandoned your family, right?

A. Yes. [5]

To not to lose contact with Jackson the Arvizo family started to bombard him with nice letters and cards:

Q. And approximately when do you think he wasn’t talking to you anymore?

A. Two months into my cancer.

Q. Excuse me?

A. Two months into my chemotherapy.

Q. Approximately when would that be?

A. August or September of 2000.

Q. Okay. So August or September of 2000, you and your family started sending nice letters and cards to Michael Jackson, correct?

A. Yes.

Q. And those are the letters and cards that I showed you a little while ago, right?

A. Yes.

Q. And it was your understanding your mother used to send him cards and letters as well, right?

A. I think so.

Q. And she used to refer to him as “daddy,” didn’t she.

A. I don’t think she referred to him as “daddy.”

Q. You never heard her say that once.

 A. Well, toward me, me saying that. Because, I mean, my dad had left. And I started calling him “daddy” after my dad left because I didn’t have a dad.

 Q. And your mother approved of that, correct.

 A. Yeah. [5]

While Jackson personally kept his distance from the family, he did things to help them. In October, 2000 Jackson gave the family a white van as a gift. He also allowed the Arvizos to use Neverland for a blood drive for Gavin and all his employees donated blood.

In the Spring of 2001 Gavin’s biological father and mother, David and Janet Arvizo seperated – according to Janet Arvizo’s 2005 testimony because David physically abused her and the children.

In the Summer of 2001 both the laptop and the van Jackson gave the Arvizos the previous year had broken down and the family sent them back to Jackson to have them repaired. According to the Arvizos they never saw any of them again.

On September 24, 2001 the Arvizo family reached an out of court settlement with the J. C. Penney department store. The subject of the case was an allegation by the Arvizo family that in 1998 J.C. Penney guards beat up Janet, David, Gavin and Star Arvizo in a parking lot and they sexually abused Janet Arvizo. The guards followed the family in the parking lot because Gavin was caught stealing two school uniforms and two school uniform pants. The Arvizos then managed to turn it around into a physical and sexual abuse lawsuit against the J. C. Penney guards. At Jackson’s 2005 trial evidence and testimony showed that the family lied under oath in depositions in that case. We will discuss the details of this case in a separate article.

In the Spring of 2002 the Arvizos spent a few days at Neverland with the actor Chris Tucker to celebrate the birthday of latter’s infant son. Jackson was not present.

Sources:

[1] Martin Bashir – Living with Michael Jackson (February 2003)

[2] Frank Cascio – My Friend Michael: An Ordinary Friendship with an Extraordinary Man (William Morrow, November 15, 2011)

[3] Gavin Arvizo’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (March 9, 2005)

[4] Gavin Arvizo’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (March 10, 2005)

[5] Gavin Arvizo’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (March 14, 2005)

In the Summer-Autumn of 2002 British journalist and television host Martin Bashir worked on a documentary with Michael Jackson entitled “Living with Michael Jackson”. During the creation of that documentary Bashir suggested to Jackson that in the film he could show the public how the singer helped children with serious illnesses. Jackson presented Bashir with two examples: the story of David Rothenberg (“Dave Dave”) who was badly burned by his father when he was a child in the 1980s. Jackson took it upon himself to help Rothenberg throughout his life. Here is Rothenberg talking about Michael Jackson after Jackson’s death:

The other option offered was the cancer survivor Gavin Arvizo. By 2002 Rothenberg was an adult and Bashir chose to go with the still 13-year-old Gavin instead, so they invited him and his siblings, Star and Davellin to the set – even though Rothenberg was present as well, according to Gavin’s testimony:

Q. Okay. Did you ever meet this person who was burned?

A. Yeah, I think Michael introduced me to him.

Q. And when was this?

A. Around the same time as the Martin Bashir thing.

Q. Was it at Neverland?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you talk to this person?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you remember the person’s name?

A. I think his name might have been David.

Q. Was it Rothenberg?

A. I don’t know.

Q. Was this a young man that you learned his father had poured gasoline on him and set him on fire?.

A. I don’t know.

Q. Okay.

A. I think that’s what happened.

Q. And he was supposed to be in the film with you, right?

A. Yes.

Q. Okay. And correct me if I’m wrong, you discussed with Michael the fact that Michael had helped this young boy, right?

A. Yes.

Q. Okay. Did you talk to this young boy about what he had experienced?

A. No.

Q. Okay. Did you ever see him?

A. Yes.

Q. And please describe for the jury what he looked like.

A. He looked like he was really badly burned and he had like – he was like a rocker. He was wearing, like, rocker stuff. And he was burned. And he had like only a few hairs on his head because I guess it covered all the pores when he was burned.

Q. Did you and he appear in the film, if you know?

A. Later I watched it, and then — well, I watched my part, and then I don’t think he was in there.

Q. Okay. But was he at Neverland the day you were filmed?

A. Yes.

Q. Okay. Did you meet him shortly after you arrived?

A. Yes. [1]

The shooting of the scene with Gavin and his two siblings took place in September 2002. Janet Arvizo later said that she was not aware at the time that her children would appear in the documentary.

Jackson trusted that Bashir had no hidden agenda in how he presented his relationship with Gavin and out of naivety and guilelessness allowed himself to be filmed showing affection to Gavin and holding his hand while the boy leaned his head on his shoulder. Bashir exploited Jackson’s poor judgement in public relations and drew him into a discussion of whether it was acceptable to share a bedroom with a child.

When the documentary aired in February 2003 this segment caused a storm of bad publicity for Jackson and wild speculations about the nature of his relationship with Gavin Arvizo. In reality, as you have seen above, there was no close relationship between Jackson and Gavin, and since 2000 they hardly even met.

Throughout the documentary Bashir uses suggestive and highly manipulative narration and it seems that his intention from the beginning was to create and feed in innuendo about Jackson’s relationship with children. Even Gavin admitted in his 2005 testimony that Bashir’s portrayal of Jackson in the documentary was false. After the shooting of the scene the Arvizo children stayed at the ranch for one night, but Jackson immediately left after the segment and he was again unavailable to Gavin:

Q. At that point, could you reach Michael Jackson by telephone if you wanted to?

A. No, after the Martin Bashir thing, he didn’t give me any phone numbers, because he left, like, either the same day or the day after the Martin Bashir interview, and I didn’t really get any other phone numbers. [1]

Source:

[1] Gavin Arvizo’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (March 14, 2005)

The Arvizos had not met Jackson again until after the Bashir documentary aired in the UK on February 3, 2003 and then in the US on February 6, 2003. As a result of the documentary the media went into a frenzy, the 1993 allegations against Jackson were rehashed in articles and talk shows. On February 6 someone illegally leaked Jordan Chandler’s 1993 declaration to the media to further antagonize the public against Jackson. [For more details about the 1993 Jordan Chandler allegations please see the relevant section of our website.] The media also tried to “hunt down” the Arvizo family.

Jackson’s team tried to fight this negative publicity and decided to hold a press conference with the Arvizo family in Miami on February 5 or 6, 2003. The press conference eventually was called off, but the Arvizos did travel to Miami with actor Chris Tucker to participate in it in support of Jackson. Jackson and the Arvizos then returned to Neverland on February 7-8. The family remained there, on and off, until March 12.

In the hindsight, while making their allegations the Arvizos claimed that on the way back to Los Angeles from Miami on February 7 on the airplane they witnessed Jackson lick the head of a sleeping Gavin. Despite of the fact that many people were on the plane the only two people who have ever claimed to have witnessed this alleged scene were Star and Janet Arvizo. Although this whole alleged scene lasted for only six seconds, Janet Arvizo got up from her seat to go to the restroom exactly at the right moment to witness it – quiet conveniently.  Oddly, Janet Arvizo never confronted Jackson about what she allegedly witnessed, nor did she ever ask her sons about it. Supposedly she just kept it to herself and the first time she ever mentioned it to anyone was when the family first started to make child molestation allegations against Jackson later in 2003.

In the hindsight, when they made their allegations, the Arvizos claimed that during this period, February 7-March 12, 2003, they were kept captive at Neverland against their will. This allegation is what the conspiracy charge deals with and we will discuss it in detail in another article [coming soon]. During their alleged captivity the Arvizos went shopping several times, visited a lawyer, talked to Child Protective Services because of the Bashir documentary and appeared in a Court regarding a child support debate, yet they never reported to authorities that they were allegedly being kidnapped and held against their will at Neverland. The claim was that Jackson supposedly kept them captive to force them to participate in the so called “rebuttal video”.

Jackson’s team was trying to do damage control regarding the Bashir documentary and they were working on a so called “rebuttal video” which was released on February 20, 2003 as Michael Jackson, Take Two: The Footage You Were Never Meant To See. This documentary features footage made by Jackson’s own cameraman Hamid Moslehi during the shooting of the Bashir documentary and it features material that Bashir deliberately omitted, shows his manipulation of Jackson and also features interviews with other people, for example with Jackson’s ex-wife, Debbie Rowe.

Initially the Arvizos would have been featured in this documentary as well, but at the end their segment was not included. However, the footage that was made for this documentary with the Arvizo family was shot early in that morning (on February 20) and later found by the prosecution when they searched Moslehi’s home during the Jackson investigation. As a result the Arvizos, – with the prosecution’s assistance – were forced to change their initial timeline of the allegations.

Initially the Arvizos claimed the molestation started as soon as they returned from Miami with Jackson, on February 7. Their segment of the “rebuttal video” however was shot on February 20. In it they are seen laughing and joking, happily praising Michael Jackson. They also express their displeasure with Martin Bashir. In the hindsight they tried to claim they were under duress, but behind the scenes footage showed them not only laughing and joking, but even making suggestions themselves about what they wanted to do on film. They certainly do not seem to be forced or under duress by any means. The resulting timeline change was not just a minor correction. It significantly changed the narrative of the Arvizo’s initial story as we will discuss later in this article.

The Arvizo segment from the so called “rebuttal video” which eventually was not used in the Take Two documentary, but later became significant at Jackson’s trial:

Behind the scenes footage shows the family laughing and joking:

On February 20, the same day as the Arvizo’s segment for the “rebuttal video” was shot they also got a visit from the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS, also mentioned as Child Protective Services – CPS). They interviewed the Arvizo family because a teacher from Gavin’s school filed a complaint over the claim in the Bashir documentary that Gavin had slept in Jackson’s bed. Again, the Arvizos said nothing but positive things about Jackson. They denied molestation and never claimed that they had been supposedly “kidnapped” or held against their will. In actuality, this meeting with the DCFS took place in Major Jay Jackson’s (no relation to Michael Jackson) home who was Janet Arvizo’s boyfriend at the time and later her husband.

To explain why they did not tell anything negative about Michael Jackson to the DCFS the Arvizos had several versions of their story: initially they claimed it was because Jackson and his people intimidated them. According to the prosecution’s Statement of Probable Cause (November 17, 2003) document on August 13, 2003 Gavin told them:

“Gavin was asked why he did not disclose anything to the CPS people. He said by then they were really afraid of Frank (Cascio) and Michael.” [1; page 60]

His brother Star too claimed on the same day that the reason why they had not disclosed anything to the DCFS was intimidation by Jackson and his people:

“When asked during the CPS interview why he did not disclose anything about what was going on with Michael’s people and Michael himself, Star replied that Michael had scared them by threatening them that he was going to kill them. He then clarified that it was not Michael that actually made the threat, but “Michael’s people.” He was asked if he was personally threatened or if he heard a threat, and he said yes. Frank told him that if Star didn’t protect Michael, something bad would happen to the family.

The threat was made at the snack area of the theatre at Neverland. He was the only one there at the moment. Frank made another threat a couple days before the CPS meeting. Star was asked if Frank knew that they would be meeting with the ladies from the Child Welfare Services, and he said yes. When Star was asked why he thought Frank had made that threat, he said, “Because he already knew what Michael did to us.” If they had told the truth, Michael would have gone to jail. “ [1; page 51-52]

and

“He is sure he did not say anything bad about Michael (to the CPS), because he was scared.” [1; page 52]

This is, however, totally contradictory with the later version of the Arvizos’ story, in which they claimed that the molestation started happening only AFTER the DCFS’s visit and that is why they did not disclose anything to them. In actuality, in 2005 in Court Gavin testified – according to the latest version of their story – that on February 20, when they shot the “rebuttal video” and when they were interviewed by the DCFS, they still considered Jackson to be a good person and they had no problem praising him.

Under cross-examination by Jackson’s lawyer, Thomas Mesereau, the boy stated that most of the things that they said in the “rebuttal video” reflected their true feelings about the entertainer at the time. He talked about some lies that they told – allegedly at the request of one of Jackson’s people, Dieter Wiesner – but these were only exaggerations about how much Jackson was really there for him during his cancer or how much part he really played in his healing. However, on contrary with his and his brother’s earlier statements to the police, on the stand Gavin clearly stated that when they made the ”rebuttal video” they still felt that Jackson was a great person. Gavin also said that he had a good time at Neverland and did not give the impression they were intimidated by anything there:

Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Okay. It wasn’t until you realized you were not going to be part of Michael Jackson’s family, you were not going to meet Michael Jackson in Brazil, you were not going to be going to Neverland, that you ever came up with these allegations of molestation, right?

A. I didn’t come and talk to the — to the — my mom always wanted to leave. She was the one that was able to realize and get us out of there. I liked being there. [2]

 and

Q. I see. So you went into town with Michael Jackson, correct?

A. Yeah. Michael took us to Toys R Us.

Q. You picked up some fans, correct, on the way?

A. Yeah, Michael invited some people into our – the thing.

Q. You never complained to anyone in the store or any of these fans that anyone was being held against their will, correct?

A. I was actually happy to be at Neverland all the time.

Q. And you were happy to go –

A. That’s something you don’t really understand, is that the majority of those times was — the first few escapes that you talk about, I liked being at Neverland. That was like Disneyland. I loved being there. I had lots of fun. I mean, my mom was the one always worried. It wasn’t until the last time that I realized “I don’t want to be here.”

Q. Your mother was worried, but she always came back, right? Right?

A. I guess so. [3]

These last two lines are a reference to the Arvizos’ claim that during their alleged “kidnapping” they “escaped” three times, but then they always returned.

The first alleged “escape” happened shortly after they returned from Miami on February 7. One night Janet Arvizo asked Jackson’s ranch manager, Jesus Salas to take them home to Los Angeles, which he did. Moreover according to Janet Arvizo’s own claims in her police interview on July 6-7, 2003, Marie Nicole Cascio assisted them in their “escape”:

“She described running in the dark through Neverland, being led by Marie Nicole, to find her way to the car. Mrs. Arvizo was unable to recall exact dates of events during this period. She stated that there were no clocks or calendars at Neverland and she would lose track of the date.” [1; page 25]

Marie Nicole Cascio is the sister of Frank Cascio, who allegedly was one of the main culprits in the Arvizos’ “kidnapping”.

According to the Arvizo family there were no clocks at Neverland...

According to the Arvizo family there were no clocks at Neverland…

Janet Arvizo explained her “escaping” with the fact that she did not like two of Jackson’s people, Dieter Wiesner and Ronald Konitzer, whom she called “the Germans”, and felt intimidated by them. After Frank Cascio promised her that the Germans would not be at Neverland any more, she and her children returned. However, the Germans were still at Neverland, so Janet Arvizo “escaped” again, this time on her own, leaving her children behind, asking Jackson’s bodyguard, Chris Carter to take her to Jay Jackson’s house, which he did.

Both of these alleged “escapes” happened within a couple of days after they returned from Miami on February 7. The third occasion that was characterized as an “escape” by Janet Arvizo was when the Arvizos left Neverland for good. Once again the “escape” was not met with resistance from Jackson’s people – in fact, Janet Arvizo just asked Vinnie Amen, Frank Cascio’s friend and closest colleague, one of the Arvizos’ alleged “kidnappers”, to take them to the home of Janet Arvizo’s parents and he did.

Jackson and his people apparently were suspicious of the Arvizos and of how they may use the media frenzy resulting from the Bashir documentary for their benefit. The media at this point tried to contact the Arvizos and Jackson already had experience with the practices of the tabloid media and what the temptation of tabloid money can make people claim (see this article). (Remember this is all before the Arvizos allege Jackson started to molest Gavin.) The fact that Jackson did not trust this family from the beginning is apparent from the fact that he tried to keep his distance from them, as described by even Gavin himself in Court.

Gavin’s mother, Janet Arvizo too complained about Jackson’s people keeping her away from the star during their stay at Neverland. The following exchange is from the testimony of Jesus Salas, a prosecution witness, who served as a housekeeper at Jackson’s Neverland ranch. The prosecutor tried to get Salas say that Janet Arvizo complained about her children being kept away from her, but Salas made it clear that the woman did not complain about her children, but about Jackson being kept away from her:

Q. You also said that Janet complained about being separated from Michael, that Dieter was separating her from Michael. Yes?

A. Yes. That was her expression, yes.
 
Q. Didn’t she say that she was — didn’t she complain that Dieter was separating her from Michael Jackson and her children?
 
A. Not exactly what she said. She said that she was being separated from Michael.
 
Q. Okay. But didn’t she reference her children when she was talking about that?
 
MR. MESEREAU: Objection; asked and answered.
 
THE COURT: Sustained.
 
Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: You say “not exactly.” What do you mean?
 
A. She never mentioned the kids.
 
Q. Did she ever complain about being separated from her kids?
 
A. No, sir. [9]

Not long after the Bashir documentary aired Jackson hired attorney, Mark Geragos. Bradley Miller, a private investigator working for Geragos, conducted and tape recorded an interview with Janet Arvizo in Jay Jackson’s home on February 16. On the tape Janet Arvizo does not mention she or her children being “kidnapped” or being held captive by either Jackson or his people, nor any other wrongdoing by Jackson. In fact she says nothing but nice things about him. In Court in 2005 Janet Arvizo said of that interview:

Q. All right. And you said nice things about Mr. Jackson, did you not?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. And did you believe those things at that time?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. You would have said those things even if he hadn’t rewound the tape-recorder?

A. That’s right. [4]

Like said before, the Arvizos’ story changed over the course of the investigation. Initially they claimed that Jackson started molesting Gavin immediately after they returned from Miami on February 7. This is also represented in the prosecution’s initial felony complaint, filed on December 18, 2003 [5]. In interviews they gave to the police in 2003 the Arvizos claimed that they told nice things about Jackson in their interview with the DCFS and the “rebuttal video” (both on February 20) because they were under duress and intimidated by Jackson’s people.

However, with the emergence of the “rebuttal tape” that was shot of the Arvizo family by Hamid Moslehi, this claim became hard to defend, so the story later changed to the molestation starting only after February 20 – after the shooting of the “rebuttal video” and after the Arvizo’s interview with the DCFS. In the new version of their story, and this was the version they presented in Court, the Arvizos did not tell the DCFS simply because no molestation had happened yet on February 20 and not because they were intimidated by Jackson and/or his people, as they initially claimed.

It was not only the DCFS that started an investigation against Jackson because of the Bashir documentary. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department too launched an investigation in February 2003 based on a complaint by psychiatrist Dr. Carol Lieberman – again, because of the Bashir documentary. This investigation continued until April, 2003.

(Dr. Lieberman is the same psychiatrist who together with attorney and TV personality Gloria Allred also filed complaints against Jackson for the so called “baby dangling incident” and campaigned for Jackson’s children to be taken away from him. Then later in 2003 Allred represented a 18-year-old young men, Daniel Kapon, who claimed he had been sexually molested by Michael Jackson when he was a child. Kapon claimed he had “repressed memories” of the molestation and therefore only recently recalled the abuse. It was Dr. Lieberman who “helped” bring forth his “repressed memories”. During an investigation into the matter by the Santa Barbara Police Department it emerged that in reality Kapon never even met Jackson. For details about Kapon see this article.)

In the latest version of their story the Arvizos’ claim was that Jackson molested Gavin between February 20 and March 12, 2003 [6]. So the Arvizos’ story is that while all this was happening – public outrage because of the Bashir documentary, innuendo and allegations in the media about Jackson’s relationship with children – and specifically Gavin – as a result of the Bashir documentary, high media interest, tabloids trying to “hunt down” the Arvizo family, DCFS investigation, another investigation by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, Jackson’s PR and legal team working overtime on damage control because of the public relations backlash resulting from the Bashir documentary and its innuendo – all WHILE this is happening Jackson starts molesting Gavin Arvizo, even though for three years he has not touched him and obviously not even trusted him and his family. And even though he had not molested Gavin until all these investigations by the DCFS and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department started, but he started to molest him WHILE these investigations were ongoing. THIS is exactly what the Arvizo family claimed, this is exactly their story that you have to believe in order to believe their allegations! (Among several other problems with their case that we detail in separate articles.)

The Arvizos left Neverland for good on March 12, so according to their final version of the allegations Jackson molested Gavin between February 20 and March 12, 2003. In actuality, this period becomes even shorter when we know that between February 25 and March 2 the Arvizos were not at Neverland but stayed in a hotel in Calabasas. Moreover phone logs presented by the prosecution towards the end of the presentation of their side of the case inadvertently revealed that in early March Jackson stayed a few days at the Beverly Hilton hotel using the pseudonym Kenneth Morgan (as celebrities often use pseudonyms to avoid attention). From the logs it appears he was there at least on March 7-8, but possibly also on March 6, while the Arvizos were at Neverland. Based on the phone logs it also seems on February 20 Jackson was at the Turnberry Isle Resort in Miami, Florida. The testimony of Azja Pryor (Chris Tucker’s girlfriend at the time) confirms that Jackson was not at Neverland on February 20.

On February 21 Janet Arvizo first visited civil attorney William Dickerman. Janet Arvizo denied this in her testimony, but Dickerman in his own testimony stated they first met on February 21. Then they met again on February 25 – on this both testimonies agreed. This was during the Arvizos’ supposed “kidnap”, yet Janet Arvizo did not mention being kidnapped or being held captive to the lawyer on any occasion, nor did the lawyer report any such thing to any authority. According to Janet Arvizo she contacted Dickerman because she wanted him to stop the media from using her children’s likeness and photos in their publications and on their programs.

Around this time there were plans to take the Arvizos to Brazil for a vacation (possibly to keep them away from the media). This was later characterized by the Arvizos and the prosecution as an attempt to deport them, when in reality travel documents presented in Court showed that they were supposed to stay in Brazil for only a one week vacation. From Janet Arvizo’s cross-examination:

Q. Well, the itinerary says you’re leaving Los Angeles for Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 1st, 2003, right?

A. Okay.

Q. It says you’re returning from Sao Paulo, Brazil, to Miami on March 6th, 2003, correct?

A. Uh-huh.

Q. And it says you’re leaving Miami for Los Angeles on March 7th, 2003, correct?

A. Uh-huh. [8]

According to the testimony of Azja Pryor, girlfriend of the actor Chris Tucker at the time, far from being forced, at the time Janet Arvizo was looking forward to the trip and even invited her:

Q. Did Janet ever mention a trip to Brazil to you?

A. Yes.

Q. What did she say?

A. She said that they –

MR. SNEDDON: I’ll object as hearsay.

MR. MESEREAU: Impeachment, Your Honor.

THE COURT: The objection’s overruled.

THE WITNESS: She said that they were going to Brazil for Carnival.

Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: And what is Carnival, to your knowledge?

A. Beautiful costumes, beads. I guess it’s kind of like Mardi Gras.

Q. Kind of a holiday celebration, right?

A. A holiday celebration.

Q. Did she ever ask you to go with her?

A. Yes, she did.

Q. And when did Janet ask you to go to Brazil with her to attend Carnival?

A. During a phone conversation. It was sometime in February.

Q. Okay. And did you say anything in response to her invitation?

A. I said, “Sure, I’d love to go.”

Q. And did you ever talk to her about Brazil again?

A. Yeah, we talked a couple of times about Brazil.

Q. And did you talk about your going with her?

A. I’m sure — I’m sure I did. I told her I couldn’t go for too long. I was in school at the time, so I would only be able to be there for, like, three or four days.

Q. Did she say that was okay?

A. Yes. [7]

Eventually the whole trip was called off and never happened.

On March 2 the family went back again to Neverland and stayed there until March 12 when they left for good. Like mentioned above, this was characterized by Janet Arvizo in her 2005 testimony as their “final escape”. In actuality, according to Janet Arvizo’s own testimony, she told Frank Cascio on the phone that her parents were sick and she would like her children to see them. Then Vinnie Amen delivered them to their parents’ home and that was it. This was “the big escape”.

Sources:

[1] Statement of Probable Cause (filed by the Prosecution on November 17, 2003)
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[2] Gavin Arvizo’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (March 14, 2005)

[3] Gavin Arvizo’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (March 15, 2005)

[4] Janet Arvizo’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (April 13, 2005)

[5] The Prosecution’s original felony complaint (filed on December 18, 2003)121803complaint_initial charges

[6] Opening statements at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (February 28, 2005)

[7] Azja Pryor’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (May 19, 2005)

[8] Janet Arvizo’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (April 18, 2005)

[9] Jesus Salas’ testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (April 4, 2005)

On March 24, 2003 Janet Arvizo formally hired William Dickerman as her attorney and Dickerman began writing letters to Jackson’s attorney, Mark Geragos on her behalf demanding the return of furniture, clothes, documents and various other items which were put in a storage locker after the Arvizos moved out of their Los Angeles apartment on March 1-2. The storage locker was rented in Bradley Miller’s name. There were numerous back and forth letters between the two attorneys about the issue of where and how the Arvizos would take possession of their belongings and who would pay the outstanding bill of the storage locker.

In his letters Dickerman also claimed that Jackson’s people harrassed and followed around the Arvizo family after they left Neverland. However, nowhere in his letters there are claims of child molestation, claims of false imprisonment or claims of providing alcohol to a minor. From William Dickerman’s cross-examination by Jackson’s attorney, Thomas Mesereau:

Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Nowhere in this letter of March 26th that you wrote to Mr. Geragos on behalf of the Arvizos is there any mention of alcohol, correct?

A. Correct. [1]

and

Q. Now, in this letter of March 26th to Mr. Geragos, there is no mention of the Arvizo family ever being falsely imprisoned, correct?

A. I believe that’s correct.

Q. And in this letter of March 26th to Attorney Mark Geragos, there’s no mention of the Arvizo family ever being kidnapped, correct?

A. Correct.

Q. In this letter of March 26th, 2003, to Mr. Geragos that you wrote, there’s no mention of any extortion, right?

A. I believe that’s correct. I haven’t read this word for word, but it sounds right.

Q. Okay. When you sent this letter to Mr. Geragos on March 26th, 2003, two days after you had been retained by the Arvizos, did you ever call the police to complain about false imprisonment, kidnapping, molestation or alcohol?

A. No. [1]

 and

Q. In that letter, you never mention anything about molestation, correct?

A. That’s correct. The only purpose of the letter was to get the items that I had written about before.

Q. In the April 3rd letter, 2003, you mention nothing about alcohol, correct?

A. That’s correct.

Q. You mention nothing about false imprisonment, correct?

A. Correct.

Q. You mention nothing about any alleged kidnapping, correct?

A. That is correct.

Q. You mentioning nothing about any alleged extortion, correct?

A. Correct. [1]

Dickerman never mentioned any such complaint in his verbal communication with Geragos either:

Q. Now, in all of these conversations you had with Mark Geragos on behalf of the Arvizos, at no time did you mention to him anything about child molestation, correct?

A. Well, I don’t think I had more than one or two conversations.

Q. And you never mentioned anything about child molestation, correct?

A. That’s correct. That wasn’t the purpose of the communication.

Q. You never mentioned anything about wine allegedly being given to any of the Arvizo children, correct?

A. Correct. There was no reason to do that. [1]

According to his own testimony, in early May of 2003 William Dickerman entered into a fee-sharing agreement with attorney, Larry Feldman. Feldman in his own testimony confirmed that they had fee-sharing agreement, although he suggested it came about a little bit later, (”not right at the beginning”), but he did not specify when.

Larry Feldman was the same civil attorney who negotiated the $15 million settlement for the Chandlers, the family of Jackson’s first accuser in 1993-94 . [For more details about the 1993 Jordan Chandler allegations please see the relevant section of our website.] According to the Arvizos’ later story at this time Gavin had not yet disclosed his alleged abuse to anyone, including his mother or Dickerman, so at this time there were no allegations of child sexual abuse by the Arvizos yet. So why would Dickerman refer them to the same attorney who dealt with the first child abuse allegation against Jackson in 1993-94? In his 2005 testimony he explained it this way:

Q. All right. Did you file a lawsuit on behalf of Janet Arvizo or her family?

A. No.

Q. At some point in time, did you refer this matter to another attorney?

A. Yes.

Q. All right. Who was that other attorney?

A. Larry Feldman.

Q. And why did you do that?

A. Excuse me. I began representing the Arvizos in February. And by the time I met with Mr. Feldman, it was the beginning of May. In that period of time I had learned a lot of things. There were a lot of allegations being made, and I realized that the best thing for my clients to do, and for me personally as their attorney, was to get some expert input as to matters of Michael Jackson. The initial things I didn’t think I really needed to do that with, but as things developed, I wanted to get some input. So I met with Mr. Feldman, whom, by the way, I knew — not “by the way.” It was very important. I knew that he was – by reputation, he was one of the top trial lawyers in California, if not the United States.
And actually, previously, not knowing him except by reputation, I had referred a case to him, tried to refer a case to him that I could not handle for various reasons of an old client of mine. And I knew that he was the go-to guy with regard to Michael Jackson matters. Of course, I knew about the 1993 case, so I met with him, with the idea of picking his brain, actually, not to refer any matters to him. And afterwards, he met with them, and they — we all associated together. The Arvizos hired both him and me.

Q. All right. Have you filed a lawsuit as of this time on behalf of the Arvizos or anybody else?

A. No.

Q. Is it the case that the extent of your dealings with them so far, in terms of your communicating with others, has been for purposes of getting their property returned or dealing with the consequences of “Living with Michael Jackson,” the documentary?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you have an understanding with Mr. Feldman that should there be a lawsuit in the future, that –

THE COURT: They’re not hearing you.

MR. ZONEN: I’m sorry?

THE COURT: Behind; these people can’t hear you.

MR. ZONEN: I’m terribly sorry.

Q. Is there an arrangement that, should there be a lawsuit in the future, that there would be compensation for you in any form of a settlement even if you’re not participating in that lawsuit? Do you know what I mean?

A. Well, we have an agreement.

Q. Okay.

A. It doesn’t say anything about participation or not. We were retained together, and I have a fee-sharing arrangement with Mr. Feldman.

Q. Which means what?

A. Which means I will get — if there is such a lawsuit anytime in the future, that I will be entitled to a sliding scale, depending on whether there’s a settlement or a judgment.

Q. Okay. What kind of lawsuit do you anticipate?

A. I don’t anticipate any lawsuit. My understanding is that there isn’t one in the offing. Nobody’s talking about one. And I suppose if there were to be one — well, that would be speculation. [1]

It is not clear what Dickerman refers to when he says: “In that period of time I had learned a lot of things. There were a lot of allegations being made”, because according to the Arvizos’ own story they had not disclosed anything about alleged child sexual abuse to Dickerman at that point yet. The claim is that they contacted Dickerman to get back their stuff from the storage locker, to stop alleged harassment by Jackson’s people and to deal with the Arvizos’ issues with the media – i.e. writing letters to various media outlets to make them stop using the Arvizos’ photos and footage from the Martin Bashir documentary, unless they could show that the Arvizos had given their legal consent.

In the above extract Dickerman says: “And I knew that he was the go-to guy with regard to Michael Jackson matters. Of course, I knew about the 1993 case, so I met with him, with the idea of picking his brain, actually, not to refer any matters to him.”

Feldman previously dealt with only one case regarding Michael Jackson and that was the allegations of child sexual abuse by the Chandler family in 1993. There is no other claim for him being “the go-to guy with regard to Michael Jackson matters”. But we are supposed to believe that Dickerman contacted him just to help him get back some old furniture from a storage locker or to help him write letters to the media? Because remember, this was all happening BEFORE Gavin first made allegations of sexual abuse against Michael Jackson.

After being referred to Feldman by Dickerman, Feldman sent the Arvizos to Dr. Stanley Katz, a psychologist whose field is child sexual abuse. Moreover, Dr. Katz is the same psychologist who evaluated Jordan Chandler in 1993 and with whom Larry Feldman first worked together in 1987. Dr. Katz was formerly also involved in the highly controversial McMartin preschool trial. He was the Director of Training and Professional Education at the Children’s Institute International (CII). Kee McFarlane, who initially interviewed the McMartin children, worked under him. On cross-examination at Jackson’s 2005 trial, Dr. Katz testified that he did the assessments of the McMartin children. [2] The CII’s role in the McMartin case has been widely criticized in professional circles. Their interviewing techniques are considered coercive and manipulative which may lead children make false allegations about sexual abuse. [3]

Again, keep in mind that the claim is that the Arvizos were sent to Feldman regarding the storage locker, the alleged harassment and the media issues. Gavin testified in 2005 that the first person he ever made his allegations to was Dr. Katz and that he did not make any such allegations to either Dickerman, Feldman or his mother. Yet, he was sent to the same lawyer who negotiated a $15 million settlement for the Chandler family in 1993 in a child molestation lawsuit and this lawyer then sends him to a child abuse psychologist – the same one who also evaluated the 1993 accuser.

In his testimony Feldman claimed that Dr. Katz reported his findings to him in a verbal conversation in his office. Next Feldman called the Arvizo family back in his office to tell them about it. This is yet another contradiction among the many contradictions in the Arvizos’ story, because according to Janet Arvizo she had not learnt about her son’s alleged abuse until September 2003 when the police informed her about it after talking to her children. It actually does not make much sense that a child is sent to a psychologist who is a child abuse expert and the parent would not be informed of the alleged findings of that interview until months later, nor would she enquire about them.

From Feldman’s testimony:

Q. At some point in time, did you receive a report back from Dr. Katz about his initial contacts with the family?

A. Oral. I got an oral — I had an oral conversation with him.

Q. Do you recall whether it was in person or over the phone?

A. I think it was in person, quite frankly. I think he came to my office.

Q. Now, after you received this report, did you do anything?

A. Yes.

Q. What did you do?

A. I called the Arvizo family, Mrs. Arvizo and the three children, back into my office for a meeting.

Q. All right. And in that meeting, what was the topic discussed?

MR. MESEREAU: Objection to the extent it calls for hearsay.

MR. SNEDDON: All right.

THE COURT: Overruled. The subject matter only.

THE WITNESS: The subject matter only. The subject matter was the options — well, what Dr. Katz had told me, and their — the options that existed at that point for that family. Different courses of action that were available to them at that point in time. [4]

Now we have four different versions by the accusing side about how and when Janet Arvizo found out about the alleged abuse of her son:

1) According to the prosecution’s Statement of Probable Cause (November 17, 2003) in her initial interview with Sgt. Steve Robel on July 6-7, 2003 Janet Arvizo claimed that their sons disclosed to her the alleged abuse after February or March, 2003:

“These disclosures were made to her after February or March of this year [2003]. She explained that she would interrupt and tell Star and Gavin to “forgive and forget”. She did this because she thought she was doing the right thing. She wanted Star and Gavin to make the disclosures to a priest or someone else. She has since learned that this was wrong of her to do.” [5; page 23]

On the stand in 2005 Janet Arvizo claimed that at the time she was not aware that either of her sons were molested, she was only “aware of things”, however, in the prosecution’s Statement of Probable Cause document (November 17, 2003) it is clearly claimed that in February-March, 2003 her sons disclosed accounts of molestation to Janet Arvizo (eg. Jackson allegedly “moving his hips against Gavin” in bed while they were supposedly in bed together, Jackson allegedly touching Star’s private parts etc. – see page 22-23 of the referenced document [5]).

2) The very same prosecution document later contains a totally different version of how and when Janet Arvizo learnt about the alleged molestation of her son:

It is important to note that during the course of the two interviews detailed in this affidavit, Mrs. Arvizo was not aware that Gavin has been molested. She believed the focus of our investigation was the family’s having been held against their wishes at the Neverland Ranch upon their return from Miami and their escape in March. Mrs. Arvizo (sic) told your Affiant she had contacted an attorney to help get their possessions back and to set up contacts with law enforcement to report what had happened to them. She emphasized she was not interested in money.

Your affiant is aware through a conversation with Sgt. Robel that around 5:00 p.m. on September 30, 2003, that Sgt. Robel, Lt. Klapakis and District Attorney Tom Sneddon met with Mrs. Arvizo and her family in a Los Angeles hotel and informed her that our conversations with her children had established that Gavin had been molested. This was the first time she was aware of the nature of her children’s disclosures to law enforcement.” [5; page 64]

3) On contrary with both versions in the prosecution’s Statement of Probable Cause Larry Feldman in his testimony in 2005 then provided a third version when he said after sending the Arvizo family to Dr. Stanley Katz in June 2003 he called them back to his office and discussed Dr. Katz’s findings with them and what kind of legal actions were available to them at that time.

4) As mentioned above, in March-April 2003 attorney William Dickerman wrote letters to Jackson’s attorney, Mark Geragos regarding the issue of returning the Arvizos’ items from a storage locker. In those letters Dickerman never makes any allegation of child molestation, false imprisonment or providing alcohol to a minor. When asked about this on the stand by Jackson’s attorney, Thomas Mesereau, this is what Janet Arvizo had to say:

Q. In none of his letters did he ever mention anything about alcohol or child molestation, true?

A. Because that was information for these guys right here, for the police.

Q. How many months later?

A. Because I didn’t want Geragos to know that we were headed towards — straight to the police. [6]

So this is yet another version, in which they do not mention alleged molestation in those letters dated March-April, 2003, not because Janet Arvizo was not aware of it at the time yet, but because they were preserving that information for the police. Here we have to add, however, that they did not go “straight to the police” in March-April 2003, but they went to civil attorney Larry Feldman in May 2003 – like we have described above.

This is just one of the many contradictions in the Arvizos’ allegations. Others are discussed in detail in a separate article.

Although Feldman represented the Arvizos, in a private conversation with television and radio host Larry King, shortly before Jackson’s trial began, Feldman admitted to King that he did not believe them, that he felt they only wanted money and that the mother was a ”whacko”. King testified about it at Jackson’s trial but due to the hearsay nature of his testimony the jury was not allowed to be present and to take his testimony into consideration. Earlier in April in his own testimony, Larry Feldman denied making these remarks to Larry King.

It should be also noted that the California law that allowed the Chandlers to push the civil trial ahead of the criminal trial in 1993-94 was changed since – according to Santa Barbara District Attorney, Thomas Sneddon directly because of what happened in the Chandler case. [Details see in our article about Jackson’s settlement with the Chandler family.] Because of this change, an accuser in a sexual assault case cannot pursue a civil lawsuit right away. The new law restricts a civil trial from preceding a criminal trial.

It is for this reason that the Arvizos could not use the same strategy as what the Chandlers did in 1993. They had no choice but to begin a criminal trial first. And if they had won the criminal case that could have been used to secure an automatic win for them in a civil court too, as we have learnt from the cross-examination of William Dickerman by Thomas Mesereau:

Q. But you certainly know that if someone has a judgment of a criminal conviction against them for sexual assault, you can use that in a civil court to establish liability and not have to incur the expenses and the time involved in a trial on liability, right?

A. I would assume that to be the case.

Q. The only issue at that point would be how much money you get in a civil courtroom, correct?

A. I don’t know if there are other issues, but I think as the judgment, that’s true of any criminal action, that you don’t then have to go, once again, and prove exactly what was proved with a higher burden of proof. [1]

Larry Feldman’s testimony under cross-examination confirmed this:

Q. Isn’t it true that a judgment of conviction in a criminal case for anything related to child molestation could be dispositive in a parallel civil suit alleged for the same facts?

A. As long as it’s a felony conviction, that’s right.

Q. In other words, if Mr. Jackson were convicted of felony child molestation in this case, either Gavin Arvizo or Star Arvizo could use that conviction to essentially win a civil case regarding similar alleged facts against Mr. Jackson?

A. That’s correct.

Q. If there were a conviction for felony child molestation in this case, and if Star or Gavin elected to sue in a civil case based on the similar alleged facts of sexual abuse, essentially the only issue remaining would be how much money you get, correct?

A. Probably. I think that’s — it’s close enough. I mean, nothing is that simple, as just stated. You know it as well as I. But essentially I think that’s what would happen. [4]

Whatever Larry Feldman privately thought of the Arvizos, on June 13, 2003 he called Lieutenant Jeff Klapakis at the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office and reported to him Gavin’s allegations. The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office was not new to the case. Like mentioned earlier they were already investigating Jackson since February 2003 and their investigation started before the alleged molestations even happened according to the Arvizos’ final timeline. Klapakis was personally involved in that investigation since the beginning.

In July-September, 2003 investigators conducted several interviews with Gavin, Star, Davellin and Janet Arvizo. These interviews contain several contradictions with each other, as well as with the later versions of the Arvizos’ story. We address those and other contradictions of the Arvizos’ allegations in a separate article.

According to Larry Feldman’s testimony in about August, September or October of 2003 (he was not sure of the exact month) he wrote a letter to the Arvizos saying he was not going to represent them. However, from his testimony we have learnt that later he and his law firm did represent various members of the family in related and other matters. For example, in 2004 on behalf of the Arvizos he filed a claim with the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services, seeking monetary damages, because the DCFS’s report from February 20, 2003 got leaked to the public.

On November 18, 2003 an arrest warrant was issued for Michael Jackson based on Gavin Arvizo’s allegations. Jackson at the time was in Las Vegas, but at the news of his arrest he returned to California and turned himself in. He was then released on a 3 million dollar bail. The same day, in Jackson’s absence, 70 sheriffs raided his home, the Neverland Ranch, to carry out a search warrant.

The Prosecution’s Statement of Probable Cause (November 17, 2003) document, on which the search and arrest warrants were based, reasoned the request for the warrants as follows:

“The mere fact of forty-five-year-old Jackson’s three-year-long interest in the adolescent Gavin is corroborating in itself; it would strike a reasonable person as grossly abnormal. So is the way that interest manifested itself: endless telephone conversations with the youngster, inappropriate and relatively public touching, kissing, licking and cuddling of him; expensive gifts, cross-country flights, the relocation of the family from their modest quarters in Los Angeles, his efforts to have them take up residence in Brazil.” [5; page 66]

As you have seen above in reality Jackson did not have a “three-year-long interest in the adolescent Gavin” and “endless telephone conversations with the youngster”. In actuality, Gavin himself complained on the stand that Jackson was actively avoiding him during those three years and did not take and return his phone calls. The so called “inappropriate, public touching, kissing, licking and cuddling” was conveniently always only observed by other members of the Arvizo family and there were no independent witnesses to confirm them.

As for expensive gifts, Jackson was generous with everyone – children and adults alike. The only cross-country flight (there were no cross-country flights in plural) took place on February 5-6 where the Arvizo family, including the mother, was invited to Miami for a press conference which eventually was called off (see above) and the claim about an attempt to relocate the family, to have them “take up residence in Brazil” is also a gross misrepresentation of what really happened (again see earlier in this article).

The case went to Court in 2005 and Jackson was found not guilty on all charges on June 13, 2005. We will discuss the details of the case in separate articles.

Sources:

[1] William Dickerman’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (March 30, 2005)

[2] Dr. Stanley Katz’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (March 30, 2005)

[3] See for example:
– Learning From the McMartin Hoax (1989)
http://www.ipt-forensics.com/journal/volume1/j1_2_7.htm
– Suggestive interviewing in the McMartin Preschool and
Kelly Michaels daycare abuse cases: A case study (5 May, 2005)
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1014&context=james_wood

[4] Larry Feldman’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (April 1, 2005)

[5] Statement of Probable Cause (filed by the Prosecution on November 17, 2003)
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[6] Janet Arvizo’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (April 18, 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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The Media’s Role In The Allegations Against Michael Jackson

While the prosecution, both in 1993 and in 2005, struggled to find credible corroborating “victims” in support of their case against Michael Jackson, much of the media, rather than report impartial and factual events, corrupted the legal proceedings by offering monetary rewards to people who were willing to make up slanderous lies about Jackson and his relationship with children. In this article we will show you some examples of what is probably just the tip of the iceberg.

Those who were tempted, but resisted

During Jackson’s 2005 trial, Fox News’ Roger Friedman met with a family, the Newts, who told  him that when Jackson’s first scandal went public in 1993, the National Enquirer offered them $200,000 to say that in the 1980s the then 11-year-old twin boys of the family had been molested or improperly touched by Jackson.

In the mid-80s the twin boys, Robert and Ronald Newt Jr. were aspiring child performers, managed by Michael Jackson’s father, Joseph Jackson. The Newts explained that the National Enquirer had learned that in 1985 they spent two weeks in the Jackson’s Encino family home as guests. They approached the family and offered the boys’ father, Ronald Newt Sr. $200,000 to say Michael Jackson was sexually inappropriate with his sons.

Robert Newt was 18 years old in 1993 when he and his father were contacted by a National Enquirer reporter, Jim Mitteager, whom they agreed to meet with at the Marriot Hotel in San Francisco. Mitteager wanted to pay them to lie.

“He said, ‘Say he grabbed you on the butt. Say he grabbed you and touched you in any kind of way,'” Newt said. “He told us he took all these people down. Now he was going to take Michael down. That he would really destroy him. He told us he took all these other famous people down. All the major people that had scandals against them. He said, ‘We take these people down. That’s what we do.'”

[…]

“My dad said these dudes are offering this money to take Michael Jackson down. And the guy [Mitteager] said, ‘Say he touched you. All you have to do is say it. But you might have to take the stand. You might have to go on ‘Oprah’ in front of all these people. You have to be prepared for this thing. Just say it. And we’ll give you money,'” Newt said.” [1]

According to Friedman, the Newts had evidence of their story, the contract that was given to them by Mitteager and signed by David Perel, who was the editor of the tabloid at the time. The Newts refused to sign the contract and told the tabloid that they were not willing to accuse Jackson of anything.

“The contract, written as a letter, says it’s an agreement between the tabloid and the Newts for their exclusive story regarding “your relationship with and knowledge of Michael Jackson, and his sexuality, your knowledge of Michael Jackson’s sexual contact and attempts at sexual contact with Robert Newt and others.” [1]

According to Robert Newt, Mitteager knew nothing had happened but wanted them to lie nevertheless:

He didn’t care! He was like, ‘Just say it and we’ll give you the money.’ And I was like, ‘He [Jackson] never touched me!” Newt said. “He [Mitteager] was really fishing and really digging. Think about it — most people you say it to, ‘We’ll give you this money,’ even [if it’s not true]. And they’d take it.”

[…]

“He was trying to coach me — if I decided to take the money, what would happen. He said ‘You know, it’s going to be a huge scandal. You’ll probably have a lot of people not liking you. You’re going to be famous!’ But to me, you’d be ruined. And the truth is Michael didn’t do anything even close to trying to molest us.” [1]

Friedman had another piece of evidence, independent from the Newts, to back up their story: Mitteager had a habit of taping his conversations. After he died, his tapes were handed over to private investigator, Paul Barresi. Those tapes, according to Friedman, included Mitteager’s negotiations with the Newts.

The Newts’ story is not unique and could be considered the norm in the media’s handling of the allegations against Michael Jackson. In 1993, Jackson’s cousin, Tim Whitehead disclosed to Geraldo Riveira’s television show that he was offered $100,000 by a tabloid to say Jackson was gay. In the same episode, television show actor Alfonso Ribeiro, who as a child in 1984 appeared in a Pepsi commercial with Jackson (and who is best known for his role as Carlton in the Will Smith sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air) told that his father “was offered $100,000 by a tabloid to say anything negative about Michael Jackson”. Whitehead and Ribeiro firmly stated that they never saw Jackson act sexually inappropriate with any child and they never felt uncomfortable around him. [2]

Not everyone resisted the temptation of the money being offered by the tabloids. Many of these people, however, were quickly ruled out as credible witnesses even by this prosecution’s low standard for credibility.

Daniel Kapon

In 2003, Daniel Kapon was 18 years old when he, accompanied by his mother, contacted the Santa Barbara Police Department and the Los Angeles Police Department claiming he had been sexually molested by Michael Jackson when he was a child. The young man was represented by Gloria Allred, an attorney who also represented the Chandlers for a short period of time in 1993. The claim was that Kapon had “repressed memories” of the molestation and therefore only recently recalled the abuse. The psychiatrist who helped Kapon “remember” was Dr. Carole Lieberman. Allred and Lieberman had filed earlier complaints against Jackson for the so called “baby dangling incident” and campaigned for Jackson’s children to be taken away from him. [3]

The police interviewed the boy but they did not find him credible. He described horrendously sadistic acts, kept changing his story and he claimed impossibilities. Most importantly, when the police contacted Kapon’s father, they learned the boy had never even met Michael Jackson.

On May 28, 2004 the police closed the investigation stating “after an extensive investigation, which included hours of interviews with the person making the allegations, detectives concluded there was no evidence that any crime occurred. No charges will be sought”. [4]

After the police closed their investigation, Kapon sold his story to the tabloid publication, News of the World. Reportedly, the tabloid paid him $500,000 for an approximate half hour video tape where he described the alleged abuse in graphic detail [5]. On May 30, 2004 the paper printed the story of Kapon’s allegations, but failed to mention that the police had already investigated his claims and did not find them credible.The article was published two days after the police released the statement stating that the case had been closed but at the end of the article, the journalist claimed that the investigation in Kapon’s case was actually ongoing [6].

Kapon also filed a civil complaint against Jackson. In his case, besides the allegations of sexual abuse, he claimed that a number of Jackson’s hit songs had been stolen from him, including songs on Jackson’s Bad album which was released in 1987. In 1987, Kapon was two years old. Kapon also claimed that he fathered the singer’s two eldest children; that his mother appeared in Jackson’s Thriller video and that Jackson was “madly in love” with her; that “his mother married Jackson multiple times, and testified that the ceremonies were attended by Elizabeth Taylor, Celine Dion, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Beyonce Knowles and Diana Ross” [7].

Daniel Kapon did not show up at start of the civil trial and the case was thrown out of court in January 2008.

Joseph Bartucci Jr.

Another accuser who, as it later turned out never even met Jackson, was a man called Joseph Bartucci Jr. Although he did not go to tabloids and “only” filed a civil lawsuit against Jackson, we will briefly discuss him in this article because his case has similarities to Kapon’s in terms of absurdity.

In 2004 Bartucci filed a civil lawsuit against Jackson claiming the star kidnapped and molested him in New Orleans between May 19 and May 27, 1984. Bartucci alleged that Jackson cut him, licked the blood off of his arm and proceeded to snort coke off of the laceration – all while raping him. Bartucci was 18 years old at the time of the alleged assault. As an explanation for why he waited until 2004, twenty years later to report this kidnapping, he too cited “repressed memories” that he claimed he only recalled when he heard that Thomas Sneddon was calling for alleged victims to come forward in November, 2003.

Jackson was not in New Orleans but in California at the time of the alleged assault, a fact that could be easilly proven by the entertainer’s attorneys, so Judge Eldon Fallon tossed the lawsuit. It also emerged that Bartucci was, as Judge Fallon put it, a “professional litigator”. He had been involved in 18 civil and criminal suits over the previous 17 years and had also formally accused a minister of sexual abuse [8].

According to The Smoking Gun website, in 1996 Bartucci was arrested for stalking a woman: “According to court records, Bartucci took a plea to a reduced count of harassment and was fined, sentenced to probation, and hit with a 90-day suspended jail term.” [9]

Terry George

Terry George never filed a lawsuit against Jackson and in fact never reported his allegations to authorities but he was a frequent source for British tabloid stories in the wake of the 1993 Chandler scandal and has since been at their disposal whenever a fictitious story about Michael Jackson being inappropriate with children is required.

George, a disc jockey at the time, gained notoriety on August 29, 1993 when only six days after the Chandler case was first reported by the media, he appeared in British tabloids claiming that Jackson had been inappropriate with him in 1979, when Jackson was 20 and he was 13 years old.

George was a celebrity-obsessed teenager who regularly sought out celebrities, sneaked into their hotels to meet them, asked for their autographs and hoarded photos and taped interviews of them. As an adult George, who now amongst other businesses, runs a gay adult phone chat service, still likes to present himself as someone associated with celebrities. According to George, he met Michael Jackson in a hotel in February of 1979 while the Jacksons were on tour in the UK. He actually taped an interview with Michael and his brother, Randy, which was later aired on local radio stations. After the interview, George claimed, Michael Jackson asked for his telephone number and Jackson then regularly called him for about three months. George alleged that during these phone calls Jackson was once inappropriate with him, speaking about masturbation and masturbating while he was on the phone with him.

In the article it is claimed that the phone contact ended when George’s parents realized that he had run up a high telephone bill calling the US. George then tried to reach Jackson from a phone box but claimed that Jackson would not take his calls: according to one of the original 1993 tabloid articles “it became clear his superstar friend didn’t want to know” [10].

George, however, kept stalking Jackson. According to the article, “the final rejection came four years later when Terry tried to rekindle their friendship when Jackson came to London again. Terry tracked him down and was even photographed alongside his idol, but now the management were on hand to issue the polite brush-off.” [10]

In the article George concludes that Jackson rejected him because he was no longer a child, however this contradicts the earlier claim that Jackson actually refused to take his phone calls four years earlier, when George was still 13.

In a 2003 documentary made by British broadcaster, Louis Theroux, George spoke about his alleged “friendship” with Jackson. George proudly recalled his phone conversations with Jackson as a happy and joyful experience. It is Theroux who brings up his 1993 tabloid allegation that Jackson was inappropriate with him on the phone. George is reluctant to talk about that and claims what was printed “came out really without my authority”. When Theroux asks him if the story was true, George claims “parts of it are true” but adds that papers twisted and sensationalized it. Then, after stating he did not want to talk about that because “it is well documented in the papers”, he tries to go back to discussing what a great “friendship” he had with Jackson. [11]

Unfortunately the contradiction between the story being “well documented” in the papers and the claim that papers twisted and sensationalized it, is not resolved in the interview and George makes no attempt to make it clear what parts of the story, according to his current position, are true and what parts are not.

In the Theroux interview, George also says that it is unfortunate that the focus of the media has been on this small detail of the story, when they had such a great “friendship” otherwise. We are to believe that when George went to the tabloid media with these claims, six days after the Chandler allegations became public, he did not know what impact this story would have and what people would focus on. In actuality, it is safe to say that this hook, the masturbation claim, is just what George needed to include in his story to be picked up and printed by the tabloid media at all and to lend George national and international notoriety. Why did he make his allegations in the tabloids, which are known to pay money for such claims, instead of contacting the prosecutors in the Chandler case?

In January 2005, on his website George criticized tabloids for rehashing his story from 1993 and claiming that he would be a prosecution witness at Jackson’s upcoming trial. Despite this criticism and George’s claim to Theroux that the original story had been released without his authority, sensationalized by the media and that the “small detail” about the alleged masturbation had received disproportionate attention, in February 2005, shortly after Jackson’s trial began, George appeared in Martin Bashir’s slanderous documentary entitled Michael Jackson’s Secret World and rehashed the original story that was printed in the tabloids in 1993, adding even more focus on the masturbation claim.

Although the tabloid articles in 1993 claimed that George was ready to help investigators in the Chandler case, he never did. Based on Jackson’s FBI files, the FBI monitored George’s claims in the tabloid media, but then the prosecution never used him. Either the prosecution did not consider him credible and/or he was not willing to repeat his claims under oath and subject himself to a cross-examination about them. In 2005, on his website, he vehemently denied media reports that claimed he would be a prosecution witness at Jackson’s upcoming trial. Instead of testifying at Jackson’s trial and subjecting himself to cross-examination he chose to smear Jackson in the media and in Bashir’s documentary. His platform to make allegations against the star was always only the media and mainly the tabloids which are known to pay money for such allegations. George never testified about his claims under oath and was never cross-examined about them.

In 2009, in the wake of Michael Jackson’s death, George once again made his rounds in the British tabloids, now posing as a “friend” of the star and recounting stories with very questionable credibility. According to a June 28, 2009 Mirror article, George conveniently claimed that just before his death Jackson called him to apologize and they made up. “He phoned me out of the blue and we both made our peace about what had happened in the past. I’ve forgiven him for what happened” [12]. Not surprisingly, he had no evidence for this alleged phone call and once again we are just supposed to take George’s word for it.

George used the opportunity to make false statements in order to promote a website he set up in 2005, Gone Too Soon, curiously bearing the name of a Michael Jackson song, although it has no association with the star.

“Terry also revealed that Jacko had taken a strong interest in the website he’d founded, Gonetoosoon.org – where users post tributes to people who die young.

“He had been on the site and said he was touched to see some of the messages,” he said. “It had left him very sad and emotional.” [12]

No other child has ever claimed that Jackson masturbated while on the phone. Several recordings exist of private phone conversations Jackson had with children, as people often taped their telephone conversations with him without his knowledge and consent, but no tapes have shown that Jackson ever behaved inappropriately with children. On the contrary, all of his taped phone conversations with children are very child-like and innocent. Terry George could never present evidence for his claims either (consider that he often taped his conversations with celebrities), though there is plenty evidence of his opportunism.

Prosecution witnesses sponsored by tabloids

Although the likes of Kapon, Bartucci and George never made it on the stand, the prosecution did not shy away from using people who were previously paid money by tabloids. Most of the people called in support of the prosecution’s “prior bad acts” allegations at Jackson’s 2005 trial were these types of witnesses. We will discuss them in detail in a seperate article later on this website. Here we only note that Blanca Francia, Ralph Chacon, Adrian McManus, Kassim Abdool all had to admit on the stand that they were paid money by the tabloid media. Phillip LeMarque also admitted to have asked tabloids for $100,000 and then $500,000 for his story. Jackson’s former public relations man, Bob Jones wrote a sensationalist book about the star – admittedly to make money because he was broke. On the stand he admitted that the salacious story about Jordan Chandler and Jackson that he included in the book (the reason why he was called to testify) was not true. This made prosecutor Gordon Auchincloss, who did his questioning, argumentative with the witness and he made attempts to impeach him. Remember, Jones was the prosecution’s own witness!

There are former employees who did not appear at Jackson’s trial as prosecution witnesses but instead made their rounds in the media and were richly compensated for making slanderous claims. The “Hayvenhurst 5”, as dubbed by the media, was a group of bodyguards (Leroy Thomas, Morris Williams, Donald Starks, Fred Hammond, Aaron White) who formally worked at the Jackson family’s Encino home. In November 1993 they went to Diane Dimond’s televised news program, Hard Copy and claimed they were fired because they “knew too much” about Jackson’s relationship with children. According to Mary A. Fischer’s 1994 GQ Magazine article:

“Purporting to take the journalistic high road, Hard Copy’s Diane Dimond told Frontline in early November of last year that her program was “pristinely clean on this. We paid no money for this story at all.” But two weeks later, as a Hard Copy contract reveals, the show was negotiating a $100,000 payment to five former Jackson security guards who were planning to file a $10 million lawsuit alleging wrongful termination of their jobs.”[13]

The bodyguards never reported to authorities that they saw any inappropriate behavior by Jackson towards children. In fact, in depositions given to the police they admitted they never saw anything inappropriate. Their lawsuit was thrown out of court in July, 1995.

A Filipino couple, Mariano “Mark” and Ofelia “Faye” Quindoy, who worked for Jackson between 1989 and 1990, sold stories to the tabloid media in 1993 in the wake of the Chandler allegations, claiming that they quit because they were so disturbed by what they witnessed Jackson do with children. However, they were not disturbed enough to report what they saw to the authorities. In actuality, a lawsuit they filed against Jackson claiming he owed them $283,000 in overtime reveals that the real reason they left their employment with Jackson was because of disagreement about their wages and conflicts with other employees.

The Quindoys gave a television interview about a year before the Chandler scandal, in which they never mentioned any impropriety by Jackson towards children. In that interview they described Jackson as “the shyest person in the world”. [2]

Additionally, in 1992 the couple was also interviewed by Allan Hall, a reporter from the British tabloid, The Sun. Hall also attested to the fact that at the time they had nothing bad to say about Jackson:

“The Sun drew up a contract for $25,000 and I spent some time with them in Los Angeles doing the Life and Times with Michael Jackson… [They] didn’t have a bad word to say about the guy, not one bad thing… Nothing, absolutely nothing. That he was just a kind man with children.” [14]

Hall remarked:

“They are two people that I would not trust at all. And I think that they have really gone to town to do Michael Jackson down for the mighty dollar. Now they see money being offered around again and they want some more.” [14]

In 1993, the Quindoys’ own nephew, Glen Veneracion, a law student at the time, came forward and denounced his aunt and uncle as opportunists:

“I just feel bad that this is happening. I’m ashamed. I’m ashamed to be related to these people. I’m ashamed for the people in our country. It’s an embarrassment It really is.” 

[…]

“What disturbs me the most out of all of this is that they waited so long. Why did it take them three years to come up with these allegations? That’s what really is disturbing. If this was true, they should have come out with it a long time ago instead of jumping on the bandwagon. They never said that Michael was a pedophile, they never said that Michael was gay, so I don’t know where this is coming from. I find it shocking. It’s very disturbing to me.” [2]

At the time, Veneracion said he would be willing to testify against his relatives if the case went to court.

After the Chandler case went public in 1993 the Quindoys did not contact authorities but went to tabloids instead with their new allegations. In the 1994 documentary Tabloid Truth Diane Dimond revealed first the Quindoys wanted $900,000 for their story then they went down to $500,000. News of The World reporter, Stuart White disclosed in the same documentary that from his paper the Quindoys wanted about $250,000. [14]

Authorities eventually contacted the couple as a result of those tabloid stories. When asked why they did not turn to authorities with the information they now claimed to have, not even after the Chandler scandal went public, their answer was: “we were just witnesses not victims”.  Keep in mind that Mark Quindoy was a lawyer in his country.

The Quindoys also tried to shop around a book deal. In their attempt to get publishers interested they claimed they had “secret witnesses” that they formerly withheld from the District Attorney.

It is unknown exactly how much money the media paid out for the slander of Michael Jackson but it is safe to say it is probably in the millions. Instead of reporting facts and uncovering the truth, a large segment of the media enabled false allegations by paying people to make up stories about Jackson, knowing full well that they were lies that they could potentially put Jackson behind bars for the rest of his life. A jury could have been prejudiced by such articles and influenced by the prosecution witnesses who created their allegations only after being paid by the media for them. These were not innocent white lies, Jackson’s life was deeply affected by the character assassination and the emotional distress they put him through, yet the media and much of their audience actually considered these stories “entertainment”.

In addition to paying people for false allegations, the media also did their part in misleading the public and biased reporting on the Jackson criminal proceedings. During Jackson’s 2005 trial much of the media reported the salacious claims of the prosecution witnesses while failing to report the cross-examination of those same witness, where they were totally discredited. Although the payments for false allegations were mainly offered by tabloids, in the reporting of the Jackson trial there was hardly any difference between the tabloid stories and many “legitimate” news reports. Additionally the “serious media” often used, and still continues to use, tabloids as sources about Michael Jackson, thus blurring the line between tabloid journalism and serious reporting.

One of the latest examples of media manipulation about the Michael Jackson allegations is an article by British tabloid Sunday People that was published on June 30, 2013 and went viral almost immediately, being quoted by several other publications – without these other publications vetting the information. The article claimed that the paper 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”. This was not true and we discuss that article in detail here.

Sources:

[1] Roger Friedman – Former Protégé Vouches for Jacko (FoxNews.com, April 7, 2005)
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,152708,00.html

[2] Lisa Campbell – The King of Pop’s Darkest Hour (Branden Publishing Company Inc., Boston, 1994)

[3] Jennifer Vineyard – Jackson Camp Calls New Allegations A Smear Campaign (MTV.com, June 1, 2004)
http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1488069/new-jackson-allegations-called-malicious.jhtml

[4] Press release by the Los Angeles Police Department (June 2, 2004) http://www.lapdonline.org/press_releases/2004/06/pr04305.htm – the original link is not active any more, for a secondary source see http://vindicatemj.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/police-release-on-kapons-case-june-2-2004.png

[5] Mozart an Idiot! (OCweekly.com, January 12, 2006)
http://www.ocweekly.com/2006-01-12/music/mozart-an-idiot/

[6] Carole Aye Maung – Jacko filmed as he abused me; News Of the World investigates (News of the World, May 30, 2004)

[7] Lawsuit accusing Michael Jackson of molestation is dismissed (The Daily Breeze, January 15, 2008)
http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_7969754

[8] Judge: Jackson in California during claim (USA Today, April 18, 2006)
http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2006-04-18-jackson-follow-up_x.htm?csp=34

[9] New Jackson Accuser’s Stalk Rap (The Smoking Gun, November 10, 2004)
http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/crime/new-jackson-accusers-stalk-rap

[10] Tabloid articles of Terry George from 1993 attached to Jackson’s FBI files as released in 2009
http://vault.fbi.gov/Michael%20Jackson/Michael%20Jackson%2062%20File%20Part%201%20of%203/view (page 3)

[11] Interview with Terry George from the documentary “Louis, Martin & Michael” (documentary by Louis Theroux, November 16, 2003)

[12] First target of Michael Jackson’s obsession with boys says: ‘What he did was wrong.. but I forgive him’ (Mirror, June 28, 2009)
http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/first-target-of-michael-jacksons-obsession-402845

[13] Mary A. Fischer: Was Michael Jackson Framed? (GQ, October 1994)
http://www.buttonmonkey.com/misc/maryfischer.html

[14] Tabliod Truth – The Michael Jackson Scandal (documentary by Frontline, February 1994)

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What about Jackson’s sharing his bedroom with unrelated children?

Many people base their own “guilty” verdict about Michael Jackson on the fact that in the 2003 Martin Bashir interview Living with Michael Jackson Jackson talked about “sharing his bed” with children. The infamous scene featured Jackson and his later accuser Gavin Arvizo. Jackson said whenever a child wants to sleep in his bed he allows them, while he would sleep on the floor on a sleeping bag. He said sometimes he and children, like Macaulay Culkin and his brother Kieran, slept in the same bed, but he usually would sleep on the floor. Jackson also stated that he never asked children to come to his bedroom:

“[W]e have guest units, but whenever kids come here they always want to stay with me, they never want to stay in the guest rooms. And I have never invited them into my room, they always just wanna stay with me. They say, ‘Can I stay with you tonight?’, so I go ‘If it’s OK with your parents then yes you can’.” [1]

In the interview this was supported by Gavin stating that he specifically asked Jackson to be allowed in his bedroom and sleep there with his brother, Star:

“Gavin: There was one night, I asked him if I could stay in his bedroom. He let me stay in the bedroom. And I was like, ‘Michael you can sleep in the bed’, and he was like ‘No, no, you sleep on the bed’, and I was like ‘No, no, no, you sleep on the bed’, and then he said ‘Look, if you love me, you’ll sleep in the bed’. I was like ‘Oh mannnn?” so I finally slept on the bed. But it was fun that night.

Jackson: I slept on the floor. Was it a sleeping bag?

Gavin: You packed the whole mess of blankets on the floor.” [1]

(Emphasis added.)

Never in the interview is it claimed that Jackson and Gavin slept in the same bed. In actuality, both state that Jackson slept on the floor and later, at the 2005 trial Gavin testified that Jackson’s friend and personal assistant Frank Cascio also slept in the room that night, as well as Gavin’s brother, Star [2]. In his 2011 book entitled My Friend Michael: An Ordinary Friendship with an Extraordinary Man Cascio recalls that it were the Arvizo children who insisted they wanted to sleep in Jackson’s bedroom despite the fact that Jackson was reluctant to let them.

“Gavin and Star kept begging, I kept saying no, and then Janet [Arvizo – the boys’ mother] said to Michael, “They really want to stay with you. It’s okay with me.” Michael relented. He didn’t want to let the kids down. His heart got in the way, but he was fully aware of the risk. He said to me, “Frank, if they’re staying in my room, you’re staying with me. I don’t trust this mother. She’s fucked up.” I was totally against it, but I said, “All right. We do what we have to do.” Having me there as a witness would safeguard Michael against any shady ideas that the Arvizos might have been harboring. Or so we were both naive enough to think.” [3; Kindle Locations 3868-3873]

Nevertheless this is the scene in the Bashir documentary that caused worldwide uproar and speculation about the nature of Jackson’s relationship with children. The picture the media painted of Jackson was of a predator who lured children in his bedroom while keeping them away from their parents. In reality, Jackson’s two-story bedroom was a gathering place for families and friends, and the parents and families of the children were allowed to stay there as well as the children.

In his 2005 book entitled Lost Boy, Macaulay Culkin’s father, Kit Culkin wrote the following about these so called “sleepovers”:

“Michael’s bedroom (an enormous room with alcoves and dressing rooms and a fireplace and French doors leading out to a private garden, as well as a stairway leading to the entire upstairs) was almost always an open place to hang out in, as was most all of the rest of the house.  My children would sit on the bed, as would I, to play cards or checkers, or watch television or whatever, but then we would do so most everywhere else also.  They might of occasion fall asleep there, just as they might of occasion fall asleep most anywhere else, and at most any daylight hour.  While they had a bedtime, I rarely enforced it, as they were, after all, at Neverland to play; and as is most always the case with children (as any parent will tell you), they never enforced it themselves, thinking that they should get some rest so as to be better rested to play again the coming day. Children don’t worry about “the coming day”.  Therefore, I was constantly and most usually after suppertime, having to round them up and often carry them (sometimes by golf cart) to their accommodations. They’d fall asleep watching a movie at the movie theater or playing with the toy trains in the toy trains room, and there was one occasion, I well remember, when one of them was actually found asleep on the carousel!” [4]

He also wrote:

“First of all, I never saw or heard anything at all during my early days of knowing Michael to suggest that he was a pedophile.  I would note that a busload or two of kids might arrive at the estate of an afternoon and be taken straight to the amusement park or the movie theater, and then just as swiftly be bused back off the grounds.  In fact, I believe that there was an entire office in an adjacent building and an entire staff that was responsible for overseeing these visits; and I noted also that on no occasion at all did any of these children ever get asked to the house for any reason whatsoever.  These were all strictly well-planned and well-supervised excursions, and the people who made them up quite apart from the people (such as those of my own family) who were actual guests. And while we’re on the subject of guests, this list was hardly confined to children. Indeed, adults roamed most everywhere, many of them from the world of government, including (just for instance) former President and neighbor Ronald Reagan, together with “Just-Say-No” Nancy, as well as Secretary of Defense William Cohen and not a few others that I’ve since forgotten; none of whom certainly gave one the feeling that the estate was (goodness knows) a den of pedophilia.” [4]

Even Jordan Chandler’s mother, June Chandler admitted in her 2005 testimony that she was allowed to go into Jackson’s bedroom and stay there whenever she wanted:

Q. And why were you in the bedroom those ten times?
A. Because I’m Jordie’s mother. I’m allowed to go into the bedroom.
Q. Were you dropping clothes off?
A. Oh, I might have. I don’t recall.
Q. Did you ever sit down and watch T.V. or anything in there?
A. Yes.
Q. How often did you do that?
A. A few times.
Q. Did you ever have food delivered to you in Michael Jackson’s bedroom?
A. I don’t recall.[5]

Macaulay Culkin explained the “bedroom sharing” in an interview he gave to Larry King in 2004 (the part about the “bedroom sharing” can be found from about 1:17):

Another person who spent time with Jackson since an early childhood was Frank Cascio. In his 2011 book entitled My Friend Michael: An Ordinary Friendship with an Extraordinary Man he too attested to the fact that the media often misrepresented this issue, which was not helped by the fact that Jackson often was misunderstood, sometimes genuinely, sometimes deliberately when he spoke about this issue in interviews. Something that Macaulay Culkin also noted in the above interview.

Cascio wrote in his book:

“In Bashir’s interview, Michael was shown holding Gavin’s hand and telling the world that kids slept in his bed. Anyone who knew Michael would recognize the honesty and innocent candor of what he was trying to communicate. But Bashir was determined to cast it in a different light.

What Michael didn’t bother to explain, and what Bashir didn’t care to ask about, was that Michael’s suite at Neverland, as I’ve said before, was a gathering place, with a family room downstairs and a bedroom upstairs. Michael didn’t explain that people hung out there, and sometimes they wanted to stay over. He didn’t explain that he always offered guests his bed, and for the most part slept on the floor in the family room below. But, perhaps more important, he didn’t explain that the guest were always close friends like us Cascios and his extended family.

One of the biggest misconceptions about Michael, a story that plagued him for years following the Bashir documentary, was that he had an assortment of children sleeping in his room at any given time. The truth was that random children never came to Neverland and stayed in Michael’s room. Just as my brother Eddie and I had done when we were younger, the family and friends who did stay with Michael, did so of their own volition. Michael just allowed it to happen because his friends and family liked to be around him.

What Michael said on Bashir’s video is true. “You can have my bed if you want. Sleep in it. I’ll sleep on the floor. It’s your’s. Always give the best to the company, you know.” Michael had no hesitation about telling the truth because he had nothing to hide. He knew in his heart and mind that his actions were sincere, his motives pure, and his conscience, clear. Michael innocently and honestly said, “Yes, I share my bed, there is nothing wrong with it.” The fact of the matter is, when he was “sharing” his bed, it meant he was offering his bed to whoever wanted to sleep in it. There may have been times when we slept up there as well, but he was usually on the floor next to his bed, or downstairs sleeping on the floor. Although Bashir, for obvious reasons, kept harping on the bed, if you watch the full, uncut interview, it’s impossible not to understand what Michael was trying to make clear: when he said he shared his bed, he meant he shared his life with the people he saw as family.

Now, I know that most grown men don’t share their private quarters with children, and those who do so are almost always up to no good. But that wasn’t my experience with Michael. As one of those kids who, along with his brother, had any number of such sleepovers with Michael, I know better than anyone else what did happen and what didn’t happen. Was it normal to have children sleep over? No. But it’s also not considered especially normal for a grown man to play with Silly String or have water balloon fights, at least not with the enthusiasm Michael brought to the activities. It’s also not normal for a grown man to have an amusement park installed in his backyard. Do these things make such a man a pedophile?

I’m quite sure that the answer is no.

The bottom line: Michael’s interest in young boys had absolutely nothing to do with sex. I say this with the unassailable confidence of firsthand experience, the confidence of a young boy who slept in the same room as Michael hundreds of times, and with the absolute conviction of a man who saw Michael interact with thousands of kids. In all the years that I was close to him, I saw nothing that raised any red flags, not as a child and not as an adult. Michael may have been eccentric, but that didn’t make him a criminal.

The problem, though, was that this point of view wasn’t represented in the documentary. Listening to Michael talk, people who didn’t know him were disturbed by what he was saying, not only because his words were taken out of context but also because Bashir, the narrator, was telling them they SHOULD BE disturbed. The journalist repeatedly suggested that Michael’s statements made him very uncomfortable. Michael was quirky enough without the machinations of a mercenary newshound, to be sure, but there’s no doubt that Bashir manipulated viewers for his own ends. His questions were leading, the editing misguided. As I watched the broadcast, it seemed to me that Bashir’s plan all along had been to expose Michael in whatever way he could in order to win the highest ratings he could for his show.” [3; Kindle Locations 3738-3771]

Sources:

[1] Martin Bashir – Living with Michael Jackson (February 2003)

[2] Gavin Arvizo’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (March 14, 2005)

[3] Frank Cascio – My Friend Michael: An Ordinary Friendship with an Extraordinary Man (HarperCollins, Kindle Edition, November 15, 2011)

[4] Kit Culkin – Lost Boy (May 09, 2005, the book was published and distributed exclusively through KitCulkin.com)

[5] June Chandler’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (April 11, 2005)

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