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Tag Archives | Michael Jackson

Was Michael Jackson’s semen found on magazines with nude children?

A couple of months ago I got informed by a fan about another claim that is being circulated in Internet folklore about the Michael Jackson case. Then some time later I got confronted with the same claim again, so I feel the need to take a deeper look into it here. The claim is that Michael Jackson’s semen was found on the nudist magazines confiscated from his home during the 2003 police raid.

The significance is, according to Jackson’s critics, that these magazines contain some images of nude children. The implication of this Internet rumour is clearly that Michael Jackson was looking at magazines that had photos of nude children in them and masturbated to those images.

It has to be noted that while these vintage nudist magazines (mainly from the 1930s and some from the early 1960s), do contain some non-sexual images of nude children (mainly in the context of families being photographed), their focus is overwhelmingly on nude adult women. So even if the above claim was true it would not prove that Jackson masturbated to images of children, but the claim is not true at all.

The type of nudist magazines we are talking about:

Sunshine_and_Health-230x325 wood_nymph Sunshine_and_Health3    images2 images oldmags.cgi wood_nymph_04eden

When I first heard this claim about Jackson’s semen being found on these nudist magazines I was very perplexed because I have read about this case extensively, I read the court documents, the trial transcripts but I have never encountered such an information.

So where does this claim come from?

I went back to the trial transcript again, read the expert testimonies, read about what was said about these nudist magazines at the trial by the prosecution’s own experts and police officers and I found nothing at all. Nothing that mentioned that Jackson’s semen was found on these nudist magazines. If fact, not even his fingerprints were found on them and when Janet Willams, the police officer who confiscated them, testified on April 19 about them she admitted she had no way of telling if Jackson ever even opened these magazines [1]. Obviously, semen from Jackson on them would be a clear way to tell that he had opened them if such an evidence existed. And obviously if this evidence existed it would have been mentioned by the prosecution at some time in court. Instead the prosecution spent days on tedious fingerprint talk (found on Jackson’s heterosexual magazines) and analysis, but they did not make any mention of his semen being found on nudist magazines.

By the way, from Janet Williams’ testimony we also learn that District Attorney Tom Sneddon either was mistaken or deliberately lied in one of his motions and also in his opening statement about the location where the nudist magazines were found. He claimed that they were found in the upstairs bedroom section of Jackson’s room at the base of his bed along with his hard core pornography. Officer Williams, however, clearly refuted that claim in her testimony. She said that she found these magazines in the downstairs, sitting room portion of Jackson’s room in a box that otherwise had all kind of other books, art books etc. – not pornography. [1]

Eventually I realized that it was a section of a certain prosecution document that provided the inspiration for this story about ALS (alternate light source) findings supposedly “proving” that Jackson’s semen was on these magazines. However, the claim in that particular document is NOT what it was later turned into in Internet folklore. Whoever put that twist on it either did not understand what ALS was and what it could and couldn’t prove, or they deliberately and maliciously twisted the document’s meaning.

Here is the document in question: ALS detector

The document simply states that because ALS testing showed some fluorescents on the surface of these particular magazines they sent them to the Santa Barbara Department of Justice to further testing. It does not say it was semen, let alone Jackson’s. ALS cannot determine such things. Apparently someone simply jumped to the erroneous conclusion that these fluorescents can only be semen – and only Jackson’s – although these old, vintage magazines were clearly bought second-hand. In actuality, the prosecution document itself states that such flourescents can be anything from hair to fibers, as well as fluids.

Moreover, during the 2005 trial the prosecution’s own expert witnesses further explained what ALS is. It is not a detector of semen exclusively like some apparently like to represent it – it detects ANYTHING biological. Hair, fiber, saliva, blood, semen, sweat – just anything of biological origin. If such a fluorescent shows up on one surface of an item then the item is sent to a laboratory for further analysis (eg. DNA analysis) to see what it is exactly and whom it belongs to.

From the March 24, 2005 testimony of Lisa Susan Roote Hemman, a senior identification technician in the forensic unit of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department:

Q. Could you explain that for us, please?

A. I was asked to do a visual inspection of the contents, and I used an alternate light source which goes into the UV wavelengths. And when you look — search for body fluids, they will fluoresce under UV light, and anything that seemed to fluoresce, it could be body fluids, but it could also be other things. My job was to find items that weren’t on the paper when they were published, they were placed there later. It could be anything that fluoresced. And I separated those items out for further testing. And when I did that, I repackaged them into another bag and I sent them to the Department of Justice Lab to find out what those fluids or deposits were.

Q. How did you mark on a specific item where you suspected there may be some kind of body fluid or other substance that was foreign to that magazine or picture?

A. I sent the entire item to be reinspected by the Department of Justice. I also put a yellow tab, a post-it note, on the page that I suspected, but I  also requested that the Department of Justice reevaluate the entire magazine or piece of paper. [2] 

Later in her testimony some more was explained about ALS and what it actually detects:

Okay. Now, the alternative light source that you used during that one-week period from January 20 to January 26th was for the purpose of — oh — was for the purpose of determining whether or not there was bodily fluids?

A. Or any trace evidence, hair, fibers.

Q. And an alternative light source, can you describe that briefly?

A. Yes. What –

Q. Let me stop you for a second. We’ve already had a little testimony. What color is it, and did you wear goggles, or was there a different color? What did you do?

A. Yes, it’s basically a light source that goes through numerous wavelengths, mainly in the UV, and I wore orange goggles which narrows the band down and helps you see things fluoresce, or absorb the light, turn dark. And so basically I just went page by page, wearing those orange goggles, and using the UV light and examining each piece of paper.

Q. All right. Is this destructive of the evidence to do that?

A. No. The CSS — the light source has dials on it, which dial each wavelength, and the CSS is the one that we use mainly for searching for body fluids, and that one is not, as far as I know, destructive to DNA evidence.

Q. Okay. It’s not destructive to the paper?

A. No.

Q. Okay. So when you do an alternative light source examination of that sort, you can then do other tests on the materials –

A. Yes.

Q. — freely thereafter, right?

A. It’s harmless to the evidence that we looked at. [2]

From the expert testimonies we learn even more that completely debunks this Internet folklore that it was Jackson’s semen that was found on those magazines. On the same day (March 24, 2005) a senior criminalist of the California Department of Justice at the Santa Barbara Regional Crime Laboratory,  Charlane Marie testified about the results of their analysis of the fluorescents that were sent to them by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

Q. Okay. And your job was to look at that with an alternative light source, correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Did I ask you this? On 766, that’s your handwriting on the notes around the pictures?

A. It is.

Q. All right. And when you looked at the alternative light source, looked at the items with the alternative light source, did you find any suspected DNA to sample and analyze?

A. Well, the light source is just a presumptive searching tool, and all it’s going to tell you is if something’s glowing. If something’s glowing, biologicals do glow, so that’s one area that you might want to test.

Q. Okay. Is that what you were looking for?

A. I was looking for biological material, yes.

Q. Bodily fluids, pretty much?

A. Correct.

Q. The question is, did you find any?

A. I did not.

Q. So as far as you could tell, there was no DNA to be tested from the materials you were sent?

A. Well, there’s no seminal material.

Q. There’s nothing you felt — just to make it clear, I’m not trying to trap you here, but there was nothing that you found and you said, “Ah-hah, we ought to send this off to Sacramento or have a DNA lab do a further analysis of this”; is that correct?

A. That’s right.

Q. You pretty much packaged it back up and sent it back to Santa Barbara?

A. I did, yes.

I don’t think it can be any clearer than that.

Sources:

[1] Janet Williams’ testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (April 19, 2005)
http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Court-Transcripts.zip

[2] Lisa Susan Roote Hemman’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (March 24, 2005)
http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Court-Transcripts.zip

[3] Charlane Marie’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (March 24, 2005)
http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Court-Transcripts.zip

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Grooming or A Generous Heart?

This section is dedicated to articles, stories and comments about Michael Jackson’s interactions with various children, adults and families. While this at first glance has nothing to do with the allegations against him, we felt the need to include these stories, because Jackson’s accusers, the prosecution and the media have often turned innocent gestures and the general generosity of the star into a “grooming of young boys” story with the intent of sexually abusing them. As you will see Jackson was very giving and generous with everyone – children, adults, girls and boys alike – and what the prosecution attempted to portray as the “grooming of young boys” was not limited to his treatment of young boys at all, but he behaved like that with everyone he considered a friend or even complete strangers.

Laura Chaplin is the granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin.

LAURA CHAPLIN: REMEMBRANCE

“Michael Jackson came three times to the mansion, he was like a child” “I was about 12 years old when Michael Jackson came to the mansion. Subsequently, he called me almost every day to chat. He sent me incredible birthday gifts. Huge cartons. I went up on stage with him in Geneva. He was a great friend of the family. ” During his first visit, MJ had landed by helicopter in the garden of the domain. “I was pretty impressed,” said Laura. The King of Pop, too, but the big dogs. “We had nine dogs and he was afraid. We had to lock them up before it happens. “At the time of eating, seeing the big table, Jackson sat down with the children. “He was very shy. He was doing pirouettes in the garden. We played the PlayStation. He was a great kid. “Smile”, composed by my grandfather was one of his favorite tracks “

Source: http://www.lematin.ch/people/charlot-jusqu-doigts/story/24716250

Michael Jackson and his friendship with Taiwanese couple and their twins

A Taiwanese fan Mrs. Ma Qi Zhen not only met Michael with her family, but also she became a close friends of Michael for many years. Mrs Ma had always kept a low profile about their 17 years family friendship with Michael Jackson. It was until Michael’s sudden passing last June, did Mrs. Ma have spoken out for the first time about this in the media about her friendship with the King of Pop. She pays tribute on how kind, loving and approachable the King of Pop was. She shared her memories of an extraordinary friend and how she felt that Michael was misunderstood by many.

It was a fax message that leads to the friendship between Michael and the Ma Family. During the Dangerous Tour in Taiwan in Sept 1993, Mrs Ma and her husband had trouble of getting tickets for their nine month old twin daughters for the concert, as ticket will not be allowed to be sold to their 9 month old babies for safety concern. Ma wouldn’t settle for it, as it was going to be the last day of Michael’s concert in Taiwan. She decided to give it a try and send a fax message to the hotel that Michael was staying in. She directly address the fax message to ask him asking him to allow her twins to go to the concert. She didn’t really expect that Michael would see it, next thing she knew was that Michael did read it and responded to it. He immediately sent down VIP passes for the family to be able to come to the concert and to meet him personally in his hotel room after the concert.

When the family arrived at his Presidential Suite, Michael was already in his pajamas, ready to go to bed. They find the superstar very kind and approachable, Ma recalled that he was so fascinated by the twins, he wanted to know everything about bringing up babies. The twin babies were crawling around in his room, at one point, one of the twins grabbed his CD player and started to bite it, Michael immediately went to pick up the baby and softly he said to her “Don’t bite it, it’ll hurt you.” Ma recalled that Michael was not yet a parent during that time but was very protective of children.

When they said goodbye, Michael personally escorted them off to the elevator and promised to invite them to come and visit him when he returned to America in his home Neverland. Ma family never took his words seriously, but Michael meant it! During the 17 years friendship Michael had with the Ma Family, the family had been able to visit 6 times as guests at his Neverland home, and even travels with him to other parts of world. Every time they said goodbye, he would cuddle them with words like “I’ll always love you”. He would seemed just simply wanted to be loved. Michael adored the twins, when he returned to Taiwan for the History tour in 1996, he invited the twins for an appearance to ” Heal the world ” Song with him on stage. He even invited the family to follow History tour with him. The twins was also featured in “Heal the world” in Durban, South Africa and it was said to be his last concert ever.

Michael had confided to Mrs. Ma things like his iconic sequins glove, was first used to hide his skin problem vitiligo that first appeared on his hand, and the glove had surprisingly become his signature trademark. Michael even referred himself as Chinese, as according to Michael, his mother Katherine was of a quarter Chinese descent. Michael did often expressed his strong desire to perform in China.

According to the the Taiwanese concert organizer Mr. Yu, during both his Dangerous and History Tour in Taiwan in the 90’s, Michael asked for his help to perform in China, though Yu did his best, During that time China was not yet ready to open up to Western pop performers.

Ma had seen the very sincere side of Michael, pure and innocent, like a big kid, love surprises, magic, very compassionate, very trusting and very caring. She hoped that by sharing her story, the world would know the true nature of Michael. The world not only loose a musical genius but a beautiful soul.

Below is the video that apparently was sent by Michael to the Ma family after the History tour, featuring the Ma twins with Michael singing “Heal the World” in Kaohsiung, South Taiwan. Towards the end of the song, MJ made an effort to say “I love you” in Mandarin to the audience. This he had asked the twins to teach him before the performance. His interactions with the twins was just so sweet. Rest in peace, Michael, we’ll miss you.

kellie

Kellie Parker and Michael Jackson

Kellie Parker was the little girl in Michael Jackson’s 1988 movie Moonwalker. In a CineVegas Podcast with Vincent Paterson, after a Moonwalker screening in 2009 she said:

Kellie: “It’s hard… (losing composure, pauses) I’ll always feel that way. I’ll always be waiting for him.”

Steve Friess: “As I understand it you remained in contact with Michael up until very recently.”

Kellie: “Yeah. I remained very close with Michael for about ten years. Then after that I continued to stay in touch with him but not as regularly, every couple of years and then I did actually see him a couple of weeks before he passed away.”

Steve: “What was the occasion?”

Kellie: “I was working on a show he came to see, sort of randomly…”

Kellie: “I do know that in his life he would struggle with being so well known, that was sort of a constant struggle throughout his life. But I do have to say, I spent a lot of time with Michael alone on set, he and I had a lot of scenes together and he taught me so much. He was so dedicated. We would go through – before we even shot he and I would spend sometimes like half an hour together just improving, ’cause he was so committed to it.”

[…]

“Michael was magic, pure and simple. He was a man who believed in the goodness of mankind and embodied pure unconditional love for the world. I am so sad on so many levels. For the loss of an innovative genius and who was music and dance personified, for the loss of a man who loved the whole world and touched so many lives, but mostly, for me personally, the loss of a friend that I loved so dearly. Most people don’t know about how close I was to Michael for many years following ‘Moonwalker/Smooth Criminal’ because I was never one to exploit that, even to this day I rarely talk about it, for that was a friendship that I honored and respected as private. I feel compelled at this time though, to speak of my amazing friend, as a witness to his life, and the gentleness of his soul. He taught me so much, both as an actor and as a person, he continually inspired me to reach beyond my boundaries. He and I spent a great deal of time, one on one, while filming ‘Moonwalker.’ I remember that he told me once to never rush an emotion, that everything in life has a rhythm, and that it is the pauses and silences that speak the truth. He understood this better than anyone, he had a way of quietly inspiring everyone around him to be better than ever thought they could be. He helped so many, and inspired us all. Michael believed in Magic, he believed that we could change the world, and he had such unconditional love that when you were around him, you couldn’t help but believe it too. He is intertwined in all of who I am, I became a dancer because of him, I became an artist because he inspired me to dream, and a writer because he taught me the power of moving people through words and actions. I love you my friend, and I know you are in a better place, we were blessed to have you for as long as we did.”

Here is Kellie returning to Neverland after Michael Jackson’s death:

Nicole Richie in November 2003:

“Nicole, in particular, supported Jackson against the charges of improper sexual behavior with children. To that end, she offered tales of her own childhood romps at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, during which she often slept in Jackson’s bedroom. ““You know, a group of us would all sleep in the same room,” she said. “It was like, absolutely nothing more than just…an adult kind of wanting to be a kid again. Just, you know, enjoying the company of children. I grew up with him. I have spent many evenings there and many days there.” Noting that she could “only speak for myself,” she still added “that absolutely nothing went on.” Nicole also said that she wouldn’t have held her tongue had Jackson tried anything with her. “I’m not a quiet person,” she said. “If there was something going on, I’d be like ‘who are you?’… and I’d tell my parents. But my parents would never put me in hands that they thought were dangerous. I never had any complaints, and you know, I love him.”

Source: Reality TV World

The Cascio family were very close to Jackson since the 1980s until the singer’s death. In his 2011 book entitled My Friend Michael: An Ordinary Friendship with an Extraordinary Man Frank Cascio defended Jackson against the allegations and attested to the fact that the media often misrepresented the issue of Jackson “sharing bed with children”, which was not helped by the fact that Jackson often was misunderstood, sometimes genuinely, sometimes deliberately when he spoke about this issue in interviews. For details about that please this article.

The family also appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s TV program in 2010 talking about their relationship with the star.

“Michael called me, after a surgery I had & invited me to the set of his video for “The Way You Make Me Feel”. Here’s what stood out about the day, the biggest super-star in the world made me feel like the super-star. In the middle of all his hectic-ness he would come see me, take pics with me & make sure I was good between takes!! At 5 yrs old I sat & watched him shoot, take after take in this warehouse in San Pedro CA. He introduced me to everyone, his sister Latoya was there, his co-star, that beautiful girl he was SO shy to kiss Tatianna. Even at that young age I was very aware of how gracious & kind he was with EVERYONE on set. Looking back now I remember he was sooooo excited that all of the extras were real ex bloods, crips, gang members from LA. I remember him being so excited about giving them … a chance to shine & a new opportunity.

We sat in his trailer, I remember telling him I wanted to be a singer when I grew up & gave him pics of me from my dance recital. I remember eating with him & him being the very first vegetarian I had ever met! I was like u don’t eat meat??? I was so confused!! Lol. Man writing this, thinking about this day & all the rest of the times I spent with him makes me smile!! As a lil girl I never really grasped how famous he was, honestly I think that’s why he loved hanging out with me! To me & all the other kids, he was just a fun, crazy, silly guy, who sang our most favorite songs. I love him for being the most honest, pure heart I have ever known for showing me video shoots, recording studios, & concerts, up close and personal, making my dream seem possible. I was there in it, seeing it happen, he brought me into a world I would have never known existed without him. A lil girl from Van Nuys CA. I can’t even begin to count the ways he changed my life. He helped create my dream. Records like Homegirlz & Sadgirl I know he would be proud of, he was always ALWAYS about giving back!! I miss him everyday & can’t believe he is gone.”

Source: Lalaromero.com

Romero talking about Jackson:

From the book Private Conversations in Neverland with Michael Jackson written by one of Jackson’s friends Dr. William B. Van Valin II:

“DAVID ROTHENBERG

One day Michael phoned and said, “I want to know if you’d like to bring your family up for dinner. I have a friend here that I’d like you all to meet.” I always knew when he said that sort of thing that it was bound to be something interesting and that I would be glad I’d done it afterward. I told him that we’d be happy to come. He said, “First I need to ask you something. Do you think your children would be upset by meeting someone who has some deformities from an accident?” I told him “Michael I can assure you, my children will treat this person as if they had no deformities. I’ve taught them from a very early age that you never say anything to anyone that would hurt them. Especially about things they can’t help. But I will tell them about this before we get there.” Michael said “Good. Then I’d like you to come out for dinner to meet David Rothenberg.”

By this time, having been to the Ranch so frequently, we were usually waved on through rather than stopping to sign in. This visit was no exception and upon arrival we parked out in front of the house. Although I had told Michael many times that he didn’t need to, he always had the maids and cooks lined up outside the front door to greet us as we entered the house. Michael insisted that this was protocol and they were always to follow it. I told him “Really, I already know everyone by name since I’m out here so often. I feel kind of guilty for making them drop what they’re doing and stand out here and greet us.” Michael replied, “You mustn’t feel bad. It’s one of the things that I pay them to do.”

Anyway, going to the house was always a treat. It was a lovely assault on all senses. Through the front door we turned to the left through the dining room. Two steps down the opposite end was a large fireplace that faced a bar making up the south side of the kitchen. On this night, Michael’s guest was sitting to the right of the fireplace. Michael looked at us and said, “You guys, this is David Rothenberg” and he introduced us one by one. Greetings went around my family. The kids ran off to do their own thing around the house leaving Criss, Michael, and me to talk with David.

I imagine there are pictures out there of David for those who want to see him but suffice it to say he had been ravaged by flames at some point in his life. What I remember clearly now was that there was a long tuft of hair on the back of his head and there was a young girl, apparently a cousin of Michael’s, who was meticulously braiding the tuft while David told us about his day at the Ranch. When we all sat down to dinner, Michael turned to him and asked, “So, David did you paint today?” David replied, “Yes, I did. I think I did some of my best work ever.” Michael said, “Good. I need you out there painting every day that you’re here. I want you to express yourself.” David assured him he was. Later in the evening Michael and I went out by the lake where he had an easel and paints set up and he showed me some of David’s paintings. They consisted of stick figures and V’s for birds. Michael told me, “I don’t care if he doesn’t become a great painter. I just think it’s important for him to do this while he’s here. I always want to keep him occupied.” I asked Michael, “So, how did you and David meet?” Michael said, “Well, when he was quite young, his father spread gasoline on him and set him on fire. The reasons don’t matter. And actually there are none. Anyway, he ended up living through it and I’ve kind of watched him through the years. Not long ago, I read in the paper an article saying that David Rothenberg tried to commit suicide. He was despondent over not being able to get a job. So I sent for him. One of my drivers went and got him and brought him back to the Ranch. When he got here, I told him that I had heard what had happened. David told me that it was true and he was just depressed ‘because who would hire someone that looks like me?’ I looked at him and said, ‘I would. I want you to work for me. Would you do that? ’ David said, ‘Yes. I would like that.’ So I put him to work.” I asked Michael, “Did you really have a job for him?” He said, “Not really. I kind of made one up.” I asked, “What was it? What did you have him do?” He said, “I give him letters or packages and I have him take them to other cities telling him that it’s important that they be mailed there. So for example, I send him to Los Angeles or San Diego and tell him to mail something when he gets there. I gave him a car to take him everywhere he wants to go and he has a place to call home. He’d lost his sense of purpose and I wanted him to know he had one.”

I never saw David again after that and I never asked Michael what happened to him. I now know, from old news stories, that when David was six back in 1983 his father, Charles, who was in a custody fight with David’s mom, Marie, set him on fire and burned him over 90% of his body. There’s a video on YouTube in which David, who changed his name to Dave Dave (which to me sounds like a name Michael would’ve given him), told Larry King just before Michael’s burial in 2009 about Michael’s kindness to him – which Dave said began when he was just seven years old and which his mother had always kept a secret. Dave told King that Michael opened Neverland to him and provided emotional support and was like a father he never had.”

article

 

Doug Lewis worked on the set of Michael and Janet Jackson’s 1995 video “Scream” when he suffered an accident. The story in his own words:

“Once shooting began, my role was the ‘on-set dresser’, basically the ‘art department representative’ who remains on set at all times as the ‘face’ of the art department. By the very nature of the position, the on-set dresser has close interaction with the talent while on the set.

[…]

Finally, we get down to business. Michael makes his entrance and is met by Mark who explains the shot. The first footage we shoot with Michael is of him dancing on one of the many white floors seen throughout the video. Michael finds his position, about six feet from camera, does a couple of takes, then mentions how the floor (white vinyl linoleum) was feeling slick. I move in with my tools, a fine grade steel wool, rag and a spray bottle with the ‘special sauce’ and scruff up the floor a bit with the wool then step back. Mark comes out from behind the camera, looks at my handiwork then calls out for Tom before asking me if we lost the ‘gloss’. I say no, give it a quick spray with the special sauce and it dries to a sparkle. When I get up from my kneeling position Michael is smiling at me and says, “I remember you from the tour rehearsal”. I say, “That’s right”, and he asks me how my kids are doing, I say, “great, amazing.” And then everything is back to normal, Michal does his bit and we’re off to a good start.

As predicted, crew call switched from 7am to 4pm, and we worked throughout each night until 4-6am. In the final hours of the last night of shooting, we had moved to the ‘zen’ set. This was it, last day, last set, last series of shots. The art department had prepped the set with final touches before Michael was brought in to take his place on the zen podium in the center of the set. Michael surveyed the scene and commented on how beautiful the set looked. He was very relaxed and it was obvious he enjoyed sitting in the middle of this temporary temple. When Mark called out for a piece of the ceiling to be trimmed, I grabbed a 12-step (ladder), scrambled to the top and began sawing. In an unfortunate moment the portable saw kicked back and amputated a third of my left ring finger. Without word, I reached in my back pocket for my rag, wrapped my finger with it and stepped down off the ladder and exited the set. I passed Tom on the way out and showed him what happened. Tom escorted me to the edge of the stage and I laid down on the concrete. It wasn’t long before an entire film crew of towering bodies was in a half circle looking down at me. Union guys chewing gum. 3am. Right?

Suddenly the crowd parts and Michael appears and stands there for a moment, leaning over me, looking down. He looks at my left hand held in the air then he looks at me. Then just like that he is on his knees by my right side and he picks up my right hand and holds it in his. He looks me straight in the eye and tells me how sorry he was, he kept repeating how sorry he was, and then he had tears in his eyes and he held my hand until the ambulance came and took me away.

That next week, recovering at home, the gifts began arriving from Michael and Janet, tasteful and cool things like great soaps, a bathrobe, incense, a card. Anyway, that’s my story. Michael Jackson held my hand, too. Michael, if you read this, thanks for caring.

Source: https://veniceartsclub.wordpress.com/2009/09/06/michael-jackson-held-my-hand-too/

To be continued…

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Lawyers being hired and the formation of the allegations

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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The crucial period: February 7-March 12, 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 discuss it in detail in this article. 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)

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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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An introduction of the Arvizo family and how their relationship with Michael Jackson started

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)

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The Conspiracy Charge

The conspiracy charge was one of the charges brought against Michael Jackson in 2005. The prosecution’s initial felony complaint in December 2003 did not include this charge, it was later added, after the Grand Jury hearings, and this addition is related to the problem of explaining the timeline of the allegations.

Like we discussed in detail in this article the Arvizos initially claimed that Jackson started to molest Gavin as soon as they returned from Miami with Jackson, on February 7, 2003. This claim however later changed to the claim that Jackson started to molest Gavin after February 20 – so after the Arvizo family gave an interview to the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) and after the taping of a video on which the Arvizos are seen happily praising Jackson. [For details of the this change in the timeline and its significance see this article.]

The conspiracy charge claimed that between February 1 and March 31, 2003 Jackson conspired with Ronald Konitzer, Dieter Wiesner, Frank Cascio, Vinnie Amen, Marc Schaffel and other unnamed co-conspirators to abduct Gavin Arvizo and to falsely imprison the Arvizo family. Even though the charge names five alleged co-conspirators the prosecution did not indict any of them, their only target was Michael Jackson. So these people remained “unindicted co-conspirators” throughout the process. This meant that these five important witnesses to the period in which the Arvizos were at Neverland, were not able to testify for Michael Jackson’s defense. They were named to intimidate important potential defense witnesses with a threat of retaliatory prosecution.

According to prosecution theory, the reason for this alleged abduction and false imprisonment was to force the Arvizo family to participate in the so called “rebuttal” video – a film that was created in answer to the public relations backlash resulting from the Martin Bashir documentary. [For details see this and this article.]

Why Jackson would need to abduct and falsely imprison the Arvizo family in order to make them participate in the rebuttal video was never explained by the family or the prosecution. Although the Arvizo family first tried to claim they were under duress and intimidated when they shot the rebuttal video on February 20, their story later changed when a behind the scenes video of their segment was discovered during the investigation that showed them not only laughing and joking, but even making suggestions themselves about what they wanted to do on film. They certainly did not seem to be forced or under duress by any means.

The supposedly abducted Arvizo family on February 20, 2003:

This resulted in a change of the timeline and narrative of their allegations [for details see this article]. The new, and final, narrative was that the Arvizos were so praiseful of Jackson on February 20, 2003 – both in the rebuttal video and in an interview they gave to the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) on the same day – simply because nothing had happened at that point yet and the molestations had only started after February 20.

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. His mother Janet Arvizo also testified that she was willing to say positive things about Jackson on camera in the rebuttal video:

Q. Were you willing to say something at that time that was positive –
A. Yes.
Q. — about Michael Jackson?
A. I was.
Q. At that time, did you have anything to say about Michael Jackson that was negative?
A. No.
Q. Did you tell him you’d be willing to do that?
A. Yes. [1]

This makes the whole conspiracy allegation confusing. Why would Jackson need to abduct and falsely imprison a family to do a rebuttal tape (that eventually was not even included in the final rebuttal documentary called Michael Jackson, Take Two: The Footage You Were Never Meant To See) when they were freely willing to participate in it and willing to say positive things about him anyway?

There are further problems with the conspiracy charge. Receipts and testimonies showed that during their alleged captivity the Arvizos went shopping several times, talked to Child Protective Services because of the Bashir documentary, talked to doctors, visited a lawyer, William Dickerman to stop the media from using the Arvizo children’s likeness and photos in their publications and on their programs, and appeared in a Court with another lawyer, Michael Manning regarding a child support debate, yet they never reported to authorities, their lawyers or to anyone that they were allegedly being kidnapped and held against their will at Neverland.

The Arvizo family claimed in their conspiracy allegation that they escaped from their Neverland “captivity” three times. 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.” (page 25) [2]

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. Shortly after Janet Arvizo’s “escape” her children were taken home as well.

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 on March 12. 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). 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. For this reason Jackson’s people did keep an eye on the Arvizo family, but there was no “imprisonment” or “kidnapping” as you will see below.

Here is a list of the Arvizo family’s excursions during their alleged captivity between February 7 and March 12:

Receipts showed that on February 11 the mother, Janet Arvizo went to a beauty salon to get a leg wax. On the stand she claimed that this was the idea of Jackson’s people, “the Germans” (Ronald Konitzer and Dieter Wiesner) as PR for Michael Jackson. During that trip she never mentioned being kept captive to anyone. [3]

Some time between February 12 and 15 first Janet Arvizo then her children too leave Neverland (characterized later as their second “escape” – see above). They stay at the home of Janet Arvizo’s boyfriend, Jay Jackson. Jay Jackson was an army officer, a major, and had no relation to Michael Jackson. While staying at her boyfriend’s house for several days, neither Janet Arvizo or her boyfriend contacted authorities or anyone to report that they had allegedly been held captive at Neverland. In actuality recorded phone conversations showed that during this time Janet Arvizo was on the phone with Michael Jackson’s personal assistant, Frank Cascio several times and the conversations were very friendly – Janet Arvizo even called Cascio’s family her family. From Janet Arvizo’s cross-examination at the 2005 trial:

Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Now, you’re telling Frank that you love his family, correct?
A. Yes.
Q. You’re telling Frank that, in effect, “We’re all family,” right?
A. Yes. Because of Michael’s initial lovey-dovey meeting.
Q. Just please answer my question, Miss Arvizo. The prosecutor will then ask you whatever he wants. I just want direct answers to my questions, all right? Is that all right with you?
A. If you could simplify the questions, that would be easier for me.
Q. I will try to make them as clear as I can. And if you don’t understand, don’t answer me. Just ask me to try and restate it. Okay?
A. Okay. That’s fair enough.
Q. You told Frank Cascio in this conversation,
“We’re all family,” true?
A. I said, “It’s like we’re family.” True.
Q. Did that mean in your mind that your family, Frank’s family, and Mr. Jackson’s family were all united?
A. Let me see. It says right here, “I love you so much. You don’t know how much I love your little sister and your little brother.” That’s what it said.
Q. And then later on, it says, “It’s like we’re family, you know, Frank?”
A. Yeah.
Q. Okay.
A. “Like we’re family.”
Q. And when you said that you meant it, true?
A. Yes, I believed what he said in the initial meeting in Miami. [4]

On February 16 Bradley Miller, a private investigator working for Jackson’s lawyer Mark Geragos, conducted and tape recorded an interview with Janet Arvizo in Jay Jackson’s home. 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. [1]

On February 20 the Arvizos got a visit from the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS, also mentioned as Child Protective Services – CPS). They interviewed Janet Arvizo and her children 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. The interview took place in Major Jay Jackson’s home. [3]

The next day, on February 21, while her children went back to Neverland, Janet Arvizo visited a civil case lawyer William Dickerman who was offered to her by Jamie Masada. Janet Arvizo denied meeting Dickerman on February 21 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. During none of these visits Janet Arvizo mentioned to the lawyer that they were supposedly kidnapped or being held captive at Neverland, 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. [3] [5]

On February 25 Gavin had a doctor’s appointment and the Arvizo family also went to visit Jamie Masada at the Laugh Factory. Again they never mentioned to the doctor or anyone that they had allegedly been held captive at Neverland and no one reported any such claims to authorities.[3]

Between February 25 and March 2 the Arvizo family stayed at a hotel in Calabasas with Frank Cascio and Vinnie Amen. During this period and also during their stay at Neverland, as receipts show, they went shopping several times. During these shoppings they never alerted anyone that that they had allegedly been held captive. [3]

Some time during this period in February-March, while allegedly being held captive, the Arvizos also went to see a dentist to have the braces removed from Gavin’s and Star’s teeth. Again, they never mentioned to the dentist or anyone that they were allegedly being kept against their will at Neverland. [3]

On March 11 the Arvizos appeared in a Court regarding a child support debate with Janet Arvizo’s ex-husband David Arvizo. They were accompanied by another one of their lawyers, Michael Manning. They never reported to either the lawyer or the Court that they were allegedly being kidnapped and held against their will at Neverland. [3]

So as you can see the Arvizos had several opportunities to report their alleged captivity to authorities, a court, lawyers, doctors, relatives, friends and shop assistants, but they did not. In actuality, they went shopping, to doctors, to a lawyer, to a court appointment, stayed in Major Jay Jackson’s home and so on – all during their alleged captivity at Neverland.

Sources:

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

[2] Statement of Probable Cause (filed by the Prosecution on November 17, 2003) plugin-111703stmtpc

[3] Janet Arvizo’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (April 13-19, 2005)

[4] Janet Arvizo’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (April 15, 2005)

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

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Did Michael Jackson pay “hush-money” to a family in Brazil in 2003?

No. This is yet another “hush-money” story that has no factual evidence. The story originates from Jackson’s former associate Marc Schaffel. Schaffel formerly worked as an advisor for the star but in 2004 after he stopped working for Jackson he sued him claiming Jackson owed him $1.6 million, then later $3.8 million, for various endeavors he worked on for the pop star. Jackson counter-sued him claiming that Schaffel owed him money too. At the end Schaffel was awarded some of his demands and Jackson too was awarded some of his.

The relevant thing for our purpose is that during the civil trial of that case in an attempt to get the case settled, Schaffel, out of the blue, made a claim of $300,000 that he never claimed before. Then he made his rounds in the media – and especially appeared to feed articles written by Roger Friedman for Fox News – in which he suggested or downright claimed that this was some sort of secret “hush money” pay-off in November 2003 on the behalf of Jackson for a family (supposedly a certain David and Ruby Martinez) in Brazil who “felt their child was abused by the pop star” [1].

In another article written by Friedman a couple of days later the story got more confusing. Now Friedman claimed that Jackson wanted to adopt 3-4-year-old children from Brazil, a boy and a girl, and “the $300,000 secret payment that I told you about last week was going to be used for this adoption. When that didn’t work out, the money (already in Brazil) was subsequently used to buy the continued silence of a family Jackson had quietly paid off years earlier when they claimed he’d had inappropriate relations with their son”[2].

In each case the articles end with what seem like thinly vieled attempts at blackmailing the star into a settlement or else Schaffel would make more allegations which could potentially harm Jackson’s reputation:

“The Schaffel case continues Thursday in Santa Monica, although I cannot understand why Jackson doesn’t borrow the money and settle out of court. More testimony in this direction, no matter how oblique, cannot be good for him.” [1]

“There’s more to this story, and it only gets worse. The reason all this is coming out, of course, is because the Schaffel v. Jackson trial continues without a settlement. The reason for this can be only one of two things: Jackson is either getting the worst advice ever from lawyers, who are also billing him at top dollar, or he simply doesn’t have the cash on hand to settle the case.
My guess is it’s both, and before this trial is over, Michael Jackson’s reputation will be even more thoroughly damaged than it was last year.” [2]

Despite of these threats Jackson refused to settle the case.

We learn from an Associated Press report that forensic accountant, Jan Goren testified that he had no reason to believe this allaged payment ever took place.

“Jan Goren, who showed jurors how he traced millions of dollars through the various bank accounts of F. Marc Schaffel, also said he found no substantiation for a $300,000 payment Schaffel claimed he provided to a mysterious “Mr. X” in South America on Jackson’s behalf.” [3]

[…]

On the purported delivering of $300,000 to “Mr. X” in South America, Goren testified that Schaffel never claimed the amount until this year and “there is no check, no moneys leaving a bank … no bank statements, no ledgers.”

“I have nothing that corroborates it from a documentary point of view,” he said.

He noted that the entry was coded “EFT,” which refers to an electronic fund transfer to another account. But he said the amount was never transferred to or from any account.

“My conclusion on this is it is not a valid claim,” Goren said.” [3]

During Goren’s cross examination Schaffel’s lawyer, Howard King tried to prove this claim by showing a receipt of a withdrawal of $258,000 from a Hungarian bank. However, the date of the withdrawal was three years before Schaffel claimed this supposed pay-off took place – at the time Schaffel did not even work for Jackson yet. The sum did not match, the place did not match and the date was off by three years.

“On the issue of the $300,000, King asked if Goren had seen a receipt from a Hungarian bank.

“No, you can show me,” said Goren.

But it wasn’t until redirect examination by Mundell that the receipt was displayed in court. It showed a withdrawal of $258,000 from a Hungarian bank three years before Schaffel claims he was dispatched to South America on a mission for Jackson.

“Of course this does not influence my opinion,” Goren said. “This transaction took place three years before. So what? How does it end up in South America? I don’t see the connection at all.” [3]

After the civil case between them ended Schaffel never made this claim again. Schaffel was one of the main sources for Randall Sullivan’s 2012 book entitled Untouchable – The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson and in that book he talks about this civil trial, but he totally “forgets” to mention this particular action by him during that trial. In the book Schaffel never claims to have any knowledge about Jackson being a child molester or paying off anyone. Nor did Schaffel ever mention this allegation before this civil case. He never went to authortities during the 2003-05 investigation and criminal trial against Jackson to report any knowledge about alleged pay-offs.

He only made this claim during the civil trial in 2006 while he was trying to make Jackson settle the case by threatening him with bad publicity and, as we have seen, evidence presented at that trial did not support this claim.

Sources:

[1] Roger Friedman – Jacko’s Big Secret: $300,000 Payoff to Another Family? (FoxNews.com, July 6, 2006)
http://www.foxnews.com/story/2006/07/06/jacko-big-secret-300000-payoff-to-another-family/

[2] Roger Friedman – Michael Jackson Tried to Adopt Brazilian Babies (FoxNews.com, July 10, 2006)
http://www.foxnews.com/story/2006/07/10/michael-jackson-tried-to-adopt-brazilian-babies/

[3] Linda Deutsch – Accountant Disputes Claims Against Jackson (Associated Press, 13th July 2006)
Accountant Disputes Claims Against Jackson

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The Persistent but Untrue Media Myth of Michael Jackson Paying Off Dozens of Families

Despite of not any evidence of it ever, some portion of the media cannot let go a myth about Michael Jackson supposedly secretly paying off dozens of families not to go public or to authorities with allegations of sexual abuse of their children by the star.

Stacy Brown, the tabloid journalist from whom the story originated

Stacy Brown, the tabloid journalist from whom the story originated

We already addressed this claim in connection with an article written by the Sunday People in June 2013 and showed there why that claim is not true, but the myth of these secret pay-offs seems to be too persistent and some of the media too lazy to fact-check the veracity of these claims before they publish articles about it based on simple “copy-and-paste” journalism. In early April of 2015 there was another article, this time written by Stacy Brown, that spread through the mainstream media once AGAIN without anyone ever bothering to fact-check it before they re-publish it. (Stacy Brown is a freelance tabloid journalist who used to be a Jackson family hanger-on until the early-mid 2000s. He was NOT in Michael Jackson’s inner circle, he only saw the singer from the distance a couple of times, he was associated more with Jackson’s eldest sister Rebbie Jackson and her husband Nathaniel Brown. Initially he had a positive attitude towards the family and Michael Jackson, but it all changed when it became clear that Michael Jackson did not want to associate with him. Since then he made it his profession to regularly write slanderous articles about the singer, his family and even his children.) This time the claim was that over the years Michael Jackson paid $200 million “hush money” to families of 20 of his supposed victims to not to come forward with allegations of child sexual abuse against him.

Fact is, however, that there is not any evidence in support of this claim. Some of the media rehashing this claim over and over again will not make it true, although of course it can do a lot to make people believe it, simply based on the old communications trick of repeating a lie enough for it to become people’s “truth”.

In this article I am going to provide some bullet points about this issue:

  • Michael Jackson has been investigated by authorities for over 10 years and he was on a criminal trial in 2005. No evidence of secret pay-offs to 20 or 24 families (or whatever the number is in any given tabloid article) was ever even offered by the prosecution (or the FBI or by anyone). It was not a case of such evidence being “excluded” from court. Such evidence simply was not even offered. This prosecution threw everything but the kitchen sink at Jackson in 2005 so it is not realistic to think that they would leave out such an important evidence if it existed. In actuality, the only evidence of pay-offs which came out at the trial was the money the prosecution’s many witnesses received from the tabloid media for their allegations! It is ironic that some of the same media who paid out fortunes to people for making up allegations about Michael Jackson over the course of two decades, continue to accuse the singer of secret pay-offs with no evidence whatsoever. (To read more about the media’s role in the allegations against Jackson please read this article.)
  • None of Michael Jackson’s actual accusers claimed to have been offered any “hush money”. The article claims that the family of Jackson’s posthumus accuser, James Safechuck received $1 million as hush money. It appears that the author of the article (and all those who uncritically rehashed it) did not even bother to check out the actual allegations of these accusers, which are not consistent with the claims in the article. Safechuck’s claim is that his parents never knew about his alleged abuse until his recent “revelation” of it. There is no allegation made about the parents receiving any hush money from Jackson to stay silent about alleged abuse. Wade Robson does not allege either that his parents received any hush money from Jackson. [We have a lot to say about Robson and Safechuck’s allegations, but on this website we are only going to address these claims in detail after the case leaves the court system.]
  • Regarding Robson’s allegations. Among other things he accuses Jackson’s companies, MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures of      “facilitating” his alleged abuse. There are many problems with this claim, but for the purpose of this article there is one that is important: for a company to be responsible for alleged sexual abuse by one of its employees, agents, representatives, the law requires that the company knew or had a reason to know about the alleged abuse or about previous criminal activities of the accused person and that the company failed to apply reasonable safeguards to prevent abuse. The Judge already sustained a demurrer by Jackson’s Estate stating that Robson failed to claim a viable cause of action about how Jackson’s companies were supposed to be responsible for alleged abuse, but the Judge allowed Robson to amend his complaint in order to try to claim a viable cause of action. As of our current information of the case, Robson filed his amended complaint, but yet again it does not seem to include much more than his first complaint. If there was evidence of “hush money” being paid out to other people we would probably see references to it in this complaint, because it would strengthen Robson’s argument about why and how Jackson’s companies “had a reason to know”. But from what we are able to see so far there is not any such claim from Robson in any of his papers, even though his lawyer was pretty hopeful about this possibility of alleged “hush money” victims being discovered when the Sunday People published its article in 2013. Then Maryann Marzano was quoted saying:

“Choreographer Robson’s litigation counsel Maryann R. Marzano of Gradstein & Marzano said: ‘These revelations confirm what we’ve been saying: that Michael Jackson was a pedophile and Wade Robson was one of his victims.

‘To continue to deny this, defies both common sense and common decency.’

A source close to Wade added: ‘The information in these files could provide many leads both for witnesses in the case and background information on deals we may never have heard of before.

‘Wade wants his lawyers to go through the papers page by page.’” [1]

However, almost two years later none of these alleged “hush money” allegations have found their way into any of their court papers, which suggests that just like prosecutors and the FBI before, they have not found anything either. For anyone following the actual court proceedings in the Robson/Safechuck matter it is clear that there is no evidence provided about such alleged hush money payments. Not surprisingly, because this is nothing but a media myth.

  • Sometimes Michael Jackson’s settling a civil lawsuit with  Jordan Chandler and Jason Francia’s (to learn more about those settlements please click on their names) families in 1994 is characterized as “hush money” by the media, but we are talking about different things here. Those were settlements well after those allegations went public and after authorities already were notified about them. “Hush money” is what is paid for a family not to go public or to authorities with allegations of sex abuse. There is no evidence of Michael Jackson ever paying such money to anyone.
    The settlements with Chandler and Francia WERE mentioned in court in 2005, during the testimonies of Jordan’s mother June Chandler and Jason Francia. That is not new information and not something that the trial jury in 2005 did not hear about.
    In actuality, the way Jackson handled the Chandler situation makes it very unlikely that he ever paid hush money to anyone, which leads us to our next point.
  • The Chandler family – Jackson’s first accusers in 1993 – wanted nothing more than hush money. This is admitted in a book entitled All That Glitters, published in 2004 by Jordan Chandler’s uncle Ray Chandler. That book goes into a lengthy discussion of the so called “negotiations” – ie. the Chandlers’ monetary demands from Jackson in order to not go public and to authorities with their allegations of sexual abuse of Jordan by the singer. (For a detailed discussion of those monetary demands please see this article.) Jackson however refused to pay them off. Quotes from that book:

“Fields and Pellicano [Jackson’s lawyer and his private investigator] already knew Evan [Chandler – the boy’s father] was willing to negotiate. Why not pay him off and nip the nightmare in the bud while you’ve got the opportunity? Especially when you know your man is guilty of sleeping with little boys, at least. Not only do you avoid a civil suit, but also, more important, you buy your way around authorities by removing their star witness. Ten, twenty, thirty million? Money’s no object. The deal could be a fait accompli within hours. And if it doesn’t work, you can always come out swingin’ anyway.” [2; page 126]

“On the morning of August 17, 1993, as he negotiated with [the Chandlers’ lawyer] Barry Rothman, Anthony Pellicano had in his possession a copy of the psychiatrists report with the names omitted. He held in his hand the future of the most famous entertainer in human history. Yet the tape is replete with examples of Pellicano refusing to compromise on what would amount to chump change to Jackson. Why take the chance of Michael’s name ending up on that report and triggering an investigation?” [2; page 138]

“Had Michael paid the twenty million dollars demanded of him in August, rather than the following January, he might have spent the next ten years as the world’s most famous entertainer, instead of the world’s most infamous child molester.”[2; page 128]

In actuality, according to the book at one point Evan Chandler offered to go away for $1 million. Many people fail to realize had Jackson wanted to “hush” his accuser he could have done so before the allegations went public and before the authorities were involved. In fact, the accusing side’s goal was to get a pay-off from the very beginning. It is clear that the reason they turned to the public and the authorities with their allegations was because they did NOT get the pay-off they desired. If paying off people was such a routine for Michael Jackson why did not he pay off the Chandlers who were so eager to be paid off?

  • Such huge amount of pay-outs would have their traces somewhere in financial records – money moving from and to bank accounts, ledgers, accounting etc. Such huge amount of money cannot just appear or disappear without any trace and any explanation and any effect on either the one who pays it or those who receive it. The prosecution in 2005 was given several search warrants against Jackson – including search warrants on his bank accounts. They were given full authority to look into Jackson’s finances. However, there is nothing from a financial point of view supporting the idea of such pay-outs.

Based on the above points it is safe to say Jackson has never paid hush money to anyone in exchange for silence about alleged sexual abuse of their children. There was never any evidence of such payments and no one has ever claimed that he or his parents ever received any such payments. Prosecutors, the FBI and opposing lawyers could not find anything either after all these years. The court documents of the 2005 trial and the period leading up to it are freely available online (http://sbscpublicaccess.org/) and there is nothing in them about $200 million being paid out by Jackson to 20 alleged victims. The prosecution never offered any such evidence, so it was not a case of such evidence being “excluded” – such evidence simply did not exist.

The only realm this claim is stubbornly rehashed over and over again is some portion of the media which fail to do due diligence before they rehash potentially slanderous stories about someone who is not here to defend himself.

UPDATE: Howard Weitzman, attorney for the Estate of Michael Jackson said this to Entertainment Tonight regarding these claims:

“We are aware of recent false ‘reports’ regarding Michael Jackson having, among other things, paid over $200 million to 20 ‘victims,'” Weitzman told ET in a statement on Monday. “There is not a shred of evidence to support these ludicrous ‘reports.’ It is unfortunate that, even in death, Michael cannot be free of these types of allegations, but we are confident that the truth will prevail in the end, just as it did in 2005 when a jury fully exonerated him.” [3] 

Sources:

[1] James Desborough – Michael Jackson ‘victim’ Wade Robson claims leaked FBI files proves he told the truth about child molestation [Daily Mail, July 2, 2013]

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2353244/Michael-Jackson-victim-Wade-Robson-claims-leaked-FBI-files-proves-told-truth-child-molestation.html#ixzz2XrYdtDCf

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

[3] Raphael Chestang – Michael Jackson Accused of Paying Millions in Hush Money to Alleged Molestation Victims (ET Online, April 6, 2015)

http://www.etonline.com/news/162324_michael_jackson_accused_of_paying_millions_hush_money_to_alleged_molestation_victims/

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