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General credibility problems with the Arvizo family

In this article we will discuss some other events, outside of their allegations against Michael Jackson, which highlight the Arvizo family’s credibility problems. While some of the media in 2005 pretended that the information you will find in this article was irrelevant information only to undermine the Arvizo family’s credibility the fact is that the Arvizos’ allegations against Michael Jackson were based solely on the Arvizo family’s word so their credibility, propensity to lie for a financial gain and modus operandi at large is not irrelevant at all. Of course, lying in another case does not directly prove lying in the Michael Jackson case and we do not make that fallacy either. That they lied, contradicted themselves and each other, changed their stories in significant ways in this relevant case as well was already discussed in detail in the previous articles. The information that you will find in this article is only additional information to that to further put things into a perspective.

The J.C. Penney Incident

On August 27 1998, when Gavin Arvizo was only eight years old, the Arvizo family was involved in an incident at a J.C. Penney department store. The incident started with Gavin stealing two school uniforms and two school uniform pants from the store and ended with a settlement between the Arvizo family and J.C. Penney in which the store paid the family $152,200. How did Gavin’s shoplifting end up with the department store paying to the family?

According to an interview that the Arvizo kids’ father David Arvizo gave to Michael Jackson’s private investigator Scott Ross on October 27, 2004, on the day of the incident the mother Janet Arvizo applied for a job at the loss prevention unit of Oshman’s Sporting Goods Store. While she went to that store to fill out paperwork for her job application David Arvizo and their two sons, Gavin and Star, went into the neighboring J.C. Penney store. While they were shopping Gavin grabbed two school uniforms and two school uniform pants and ran out of the store with them. David ran after him, according to him to stop him, but before they reached their van they were surrounded by J.C. Penney security guards. [1]

Janet Arvizo was exiting Oshman’s just in time to witness this and jumped in to protect her husband and two sons. There was a scuffle between Janet and the guards but David was ultimately escorted back to J.C. Penney. [1] According to Janet Arvizo’s testimony in 2005 both Janet and David were arrested and taken to jail where their mugshots were taken and they were charged with burglary, assault and battery, and petty theft, but then they were released later that day and the charges were eventually dropped by the store. [2]

According to David, upon arriving home Janet ordered him and the boys to write out their version of what happened. When they were done she took their papers and changed their stories to a version that she wanted to represent. The changed versions were returned to the children and they were required to read and study it on a daily basis. This went on for almost a year then almost a year later on July 22, 1999 the Arvizos filed a civil lawsuit against J.C. Penney for battery, false imprisonment and infliction of emotional distress. At the time no sexual assault was alleged by them. One more year later in a June 29, 2000 amendment of their complaint, however, they added sexual assault allegations as well. Janet Arvizo now claimed that a security guard fondled her breasts, squeezed her nipples 10-20 times, punched her with a closed fist, molested her in her vaginal area and she was called racial slurs. [1]

According to David Arvizo eventually Janet never worked a day at Oshman’s claiming that she was unable to work due to the injuries she allegedly got in the J.C. Penney altercation. This “loss of earnings” claim became a part of the lawsuit. David also said that Janet exploited Gavin’s illness in raising sympathy and putting J.C. Penney under pressure to settle. [1] Eventually the case was settled on September 24, 2001 with J.C. Penney paying the family $152,500.

While David Arvizo was Janet’s estranged ex-husband and a controversial character himself, and as such one could suspect an axe to grind against his ex-wife, but there is other, independent evidence and testimony to support David’s claims that Janet Arvizo lied and was very manipulative in the J.C. Penney case. Some of that evidence came out at Jackson’s 2005 trial.

In a testimony on May 24, 2005 Mary Holzer, an office manager and paralegal who worked for the Law Offices of Feldman & Rothstein that represented the Arvizos in the J.C. Penney case testified that Janet Arvizo admitted to her that she was lying about the photographs of her bruises that were used to prove her allegations against J.C. Penney. The photographs showed Janet Arvizo with bruises that she claimed she got during the altercation with the J.C. Penney guards. However, according to Holzer, Janet Arvizo admitted to her that the bruises were not caused by the J.C. Penney guards but by her own husband.

“And what did she tell you about those photographs while that lawsuit was going on?

She told me that the bruises that were on her body were inflicted by David that night after the altercation at J.C. Penney’s.

And what was your response to her telling you that?

Well, it scared me.

Why?

Well, I represent my law firm, and when a client admits to fraud, it’s kind of scary.

And did you say anything to Mrs. Arvizo in response?

Yes, I did.

What did you say to Ms. Arvizo about that?

I told her that she couldn’t do that, that that was wrong, and that, you know, she needed to retract that, and that she needed to speak to Mr. Rothstein about it.

Did you tell her that was fraudulent?

I don’t know whether I used that word. I told her it was wrong; that “You can’t do that.”

And –

I was very upset.” [3]

The photographs taken by the police on the day of the altercation right after Janet and David’s arrest do not show any injuries. The photos with the bruises and injuries were not presented by Janet until a week later.

In her testimony in 2005 Janet Arvizo admitted that she lied in the J.C. Penney case about how she got her bruises. In fact, after she received the settlement money from J.C. Penney in 2001 she filed for divorce from David and during that divorce battle she changed her story about the bruises, now claiming that they were not caused by the J.C. Penney guards but by her husband. She blamed her lying in the J.C. Penney case on being intimidated by David.

„Okay. You claimed in that case that you had bruises from what the security guards did to you, right?

It is correct.

After you had resolved that case and obtained money, you claimed that you were bruised by David, true?

I had always been bruised by David for years. But I never told anyone until after David was arrested. That was the pivotal point in my life. Not until David was arrested did I say anything about bruises in my whole entire life, and that was only with people of authority. That’s it.” [4]

On another instance during her testimony she blamed her lying on the law firm that represented her. She claimed that she tried to correct her lies but the law firm did not allow her.

“Did you lie under oath in your deposition in the J.C. Penney case?

I tried to remedy that when I had gone to my — after David was arrested, I went to Rothstein’s office. And I requested that they inform Tower Records and J.C. Penney’s that I would like to make that correct statement because the statements that were there were incorrect. But finally me and my kids could finally say what was really happening for many, many years.

Mrs. Arvizo, the problem you had was that when you made allegations later on against David that he had abused you for 17 years, there was a deposition that had previously been taken where you said the opposite under oath, right?

You’re — it’s too long. There’s a yes and no and yes and no, and now I don’t know.” [4]

and

“How many lies under oath do you think you told in your depositions in the J.C. Penney case?

Like I said, I tried — after David was arrested, I went to the Rothstein office and I pointed out to them, prior to a settlement agreement, that I would like to correct the statements that were inaccurate, because finally David was arrested. Finally, we and my children could speak. And Rothstein, including with Mary Holzer, said, “Don’t worry. We’ll take care of it.” And they didn’t. So I considered their firm a — liars.” [4]

According to Mary Holzer’s testimony this was not true and Janet Arvizo never tried to correct her lies.

“Now, at any point in time, did Janet Arvizo ever tell you words to the effect, “Call up J.C. Penney or their lawyers and tell them I lied under oath”?

Never.

At any time did Janet Arvizo ever tell you words to the effect, “Call up J.C. Penney or their lawyers and give the money back”?

No.

Did Janet Arvizo ever tell you words to the effect, “Let the other side know I perjured myself”?

No.” [3]

In actuality, Holzer testified that instead of trying to come clean about her lying Janet Arvizo indirectly threatened her when Holzer tried to convince her to talk to the attorney about her false claims.

“She told me that David’s brother Ray is in the Mexican mafia and runs drugs between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and that she knows where I live, because she had been to my house on several occasions, and they would come and kill me and my nine-year-old daughter.”

 […]

“Or, let me rephrase it. Did you ever have any further discussions with her about the fake claims against J.C. Penney?

I did. I tried to get her to speak to Mr. Rothstein about it. I asked her if I could speak to Mr. Rothstein about it, because we run a clean law firm, and I really didn’t feel that we should be involved in something like that. And she proceeded to call me daily and tell me she had told David, and David was raging mad, and that he was going to come after me, and that I better watch my back.

How many times do you think Janet Arvizo threatened you and your daughter?

I’d say about eight, nine times.

Are there any other — are there any other things you haven’t described that she said to you when she threatened you?

She just said she was scared for me and my daughter; that she didn’t want to see anything bad happen to us, because she considered me her dear friend.

Did you consider her to be your dear friend?

Not at all. I was just doing my job.” [3]

Holzer further testified that when she tried to take Janet to an independent medical examination for her alleged injuries Janet threw a tantrum. When they were in the driveway heading to that examination „she threw herself down on the ground, started kicking and screaming, carrying on that the doctor was the devil, and the nurses were the devil, and they were all out to get her. And I explained to her that they were only asking her standard questions that they ask in an Independent Medical Examination; that — the history of her injuries and how she obtained the injuries. And she was very defensive. And they asked us to leave because she was so irate.” [3]

Holzer also testified that Janet told her that her kids went to acting classes because she wanted them to be good actors so that she could tell them what to say and how to behave.

„What did Janet Arvizo tell you about her children learning to act?

She said she wanted them to become good actors so she could tell them what to say and how to behave.

Did she ever say anything to you about Gavin getting his stories straight in the J.C. Penney case?

Yes.

What did she say?

She said she wasn’t worried. This was at the Independent Medical Examination for psychiatric of all three, Gavin, Star and Janet. And when we were at the doctor’s office, she was very concerned about them completing general forms, you know, like, “Generally do you feel happy?” “Generally do you feel sad?” You know, “What kind of days” — “How do you feel when you wake up?” Those kind of forms. And she refused to have the children fill them out. And then she wanted to participate in the medical examinations with the doctor and the children. And I asked her, you know, I said, you know, “It doesn’t work that way.” You know, “The doctor sees the children on their own.” You know, “You can’t go in there.” And she said, “Well, I’m pretty sure Gavin will get the story straight, but I’m not sure Star will remember what we practiced and what I told him to say.” [3]

About the kids Holzer also said: „They would come into the office. Usually they would pop in every once in a while and the children would come in my office, and sit on my lap, and draw me pictures, tell me how much they loved me, and write little notes and post it on my pin board, and say how great I was, and that I was helping their family.” [3] This mirrors their behavior with Michael Jackson and other celebrities that they were trying to get sympathy and support from.

Holzer also testified that about three or four months before her testimony at Jackson’s trial Janet Arvizo called her again telling her that she wanted to be friends with her. [3]

Welfare fraud

Not only Janet Arvizo lied in the J.C. Penney case but she also committed welfare fraud when she collected $18,782 in welfare payments claiming that she was indigent while failing to disclose the fact that she just got a $152,500 settlement from J.C. Penney and she had $30,000 on her bank account. According to the felony complaint against her she committed these fraudulent acts, including lying under oath, between November 15, 2001 (so she started two months after the settlement with J.C. Penney and four months after she and David Arvizo seperated) and March 31, 2003. [5]

At Jackson’s trial the jury was not informed of this because Janet Arvizo invoked her 5th amendment right on this issue and there was an agreement between the prosecution and the defense that they were not going to ask her about this issue in the presence of the jury.

Nevertheless, on August 23, 2005, only a little more than two months after Jackson’s acquittal, Janet Arvizo was charged with five counts of welfare fraud and perjury. [5] She pleaded “no contest” and was eventually sentenced to paying a fine and doing community service time. After she complied with it her felony judgement was reduced to a misdemeanor in 2007. [6]

A history of manipulative behavior and grifting

The Arvizo family also has a history of grifting and cunning, manipulative behavior.

As a defense witness at Jackson’s trial actor and comedian Chris Tucker testified on May 24-25, 2005 about his encounters with the Arvizos. Long before Michael Jackson even came into the picture Tucker met the Arvizo family at the Laugh Factory where he was approached by the father David Arvizo who told him they were going to have a benefit for his son who was dying of cancer. Tucker met Gavin at the benefit. The actor felt sorry for Gavin and he befriended the family. A couple of days after the benefit Gavin called Tucker on the phone and told him that they did not raise any money at the fund-raiser and that they needed money for his medical bills and because of that Tucker wired money to Gavin’s foundation. [8.]

In the hindsight, however, it turned out that it was not true that the family did not raise any money at the found-raiser. At Jackson’s trial Gavin admitted that they did raise money but he denied that he asked Tucker for money by telling him they did not raise any money.

“Do you remember ever telling Chris Tucker that you didn’t make any money from the fund-raiser.

No. Well, what fund-raising.

Fund-raiser for you at The Laugh Factory.

No, because we did make money at The Laugh Factory.

Yes. So you never told Chris Tucker, “We didn’t make any money from the fund-raiser”.

Why would I say that when we did. No, I never said that.

Okay. Do you recall yourself asking Chris Tucker for money.

No.” [7]

Tucker, however, had a totally different recollection of what happened.

“I was asked a few days later to give some money, because they didn’t raise any money. They didn’t make any money. So I did. I wired some money to their foundation.

Okay. Who told you they hadn’t raised any money at the benefit?

Gavin told me, and his father — well, Gavin told me. Gavin told me.

So Gavin told you they didn’t make a dime at that fund-raiser?

Yeah, they said they didn’t make any money, and they needed some money. They couldn’t – you know, they needed some money. So –

And you then wired them some money?

Yeah, I wired them some money.

How much did you send them; do you know?

It was probably 1500 or more.” [8]

Tucker also testified that because he felt sorry for Gavin he took him and his family to the Knotts Berry Farm theme park, shopping and sports games. In 2001 the family visited him in Las Vegas on the set of his movie Rush Hour 2. Tucker testified that while he expected the family to stay for just a couple of days they overstayed their welcome and they stayed for a week or two – all at Tucker’s expense. The kids were very undisciplined and were disturbing the work at the set of the movie so much that Tucker’s people asked him to keep them away. [8.]

It was on the set that Gavin told Tucker about having Michael Jackson’s phone number and knowing that Tucker was a big fan of the singer he offered him to put him on the phone with Jackson and he did. That was the first time Tucker and Jackson talked to each other. [8.]

Jackson offered them to visit his Neverland Ranch and Tucker and the Arvizo family visited it several times in the next two years, including having a birthday party for Tucker’s son there but Jackson himself was almost never there.

In his testimony Tucker described Gavin as “sophisticated”, “smart” and “cunning” and Gavin’s brother Star as “definitely cunning” – on contrary to the image of the naive, innocent, wholesome little kids that the prosecution tried to portray them. Tucker stated that he felt the kids were using Gavin’s illness to emotionally manipulate him but tried to ignore that feeling because he felt sorry for Gavin.

“And explain what you mean by that.

He was really smart, and he was cunning at times, but I always overlooked it because I felt sorry for him. But I knew he was — he was a little kid, but he was cunning. And his brother Star was definitely cunning.

When you say “cunning,” explain what you’re saying.

Always say stuff like, “Chris, let me have this. Let me have this. Let me get this. Come on, I’m not feeling good,” stuff like that.

And I knew it was going a little too far, but I always said, “He’s sick,” you know, “He’s got a lot of problems, family problems,” so I always just overlooked it.” [9]

The actor even said that he felt that he almost needed to check Star’s pockets before they left his home whenever they visited him.

“When did you begin to think that Gavin was cunning?

When he approached me and was asking for more money, I knew that — you know, I know – I meet a lot of kids, and I knew that he — he – and the little things that he would say. And definitely Star. Star would say stuff all the time like, “You got too much stuff.” And, “You don’t need all this stuff.” And — but I would always ignore it, because I’m thinking I’m helping a kid with cancer, and it’s all about, you know, that. But Star would always say cunning stuff, and would always — I had to check — almost check his pockets before he would leave my house, because I didn’t really — I never really trusted him. But I was always naive because I thought I was doing a good thing.” [9]

Tucker testified that in February 2003, right after the Bashir documentary aired, Gavin called him on the phone to complain about how they were not able to get around due to the media hounding them, that they wanted to get away from California and that they wanted to find Michael Jackson. Tucker was just planning to visit his brother in Miami so he offered the Arvizo family to charter an airplane and take them with him to Miami where Jackson was also staying at the time. Tucker testified that the whole family was excited to see Michael Jackson. [8.]

Tucker stated that when they arrived in Miami he took Jackson aside and warned him about the mother Janet Arvizo because at the time he already felt suspicious about her and had an uneasy feeling about the family. Tucker’s growing suspicion had to do with his own experiences with them. The Arvizo kids called him to tell him that their family could not get around and that they needed a car. Tucker loaned them a Toyota truck to use and he gave them the keys but they lost them and then they kept calling Tucker’s girlfriend Azja Pryor to replace the keys for them. By the time Tucker was not sure about the family’s motives any more and was rather trying to distance himself so he instructed his girlfriend not to give them the keys. Tucker also described a strange encounter with the mother when he first gave her the keys to his truck that made him uncomfortable and he also stated that the family’s insistence on calling him a “brother” also made him very uncomfortable because he felt they were starting to cross certain lines.

“That’s the point that I was — I was going to give her (Janet Arvizo) this truck, the loaner, this truck to drive, but I got real uncomfortable when I was getting ready to loan the truck because she started frantically crying, like — not crying like something normal, but it was like something was wrong with her. And I got really, really — something in my spirit just didn’t feel right about it, and I felt — I said, “Oh, I’m going too far,” because — and I knew she was — something mentally wasn’t right. So I gave her the keys. But then I didn’t feel — I didn’t feel comfortable about it at all.

[…]

Do you remember what she said? She was just, like, you know, “Chris,” you know, “you like a brother,” and the “brother” thing again, and crying and — just frantically crying and stuff. And then I was, like, “Something” – you know, “Something ain’t right,” you know.” [9]

Tucker’s testimony that the family started calling him a “brother” is also relevant in pointing out that it was this family’s habit of calling the celebrities they befriended “brother”, “father”, “sister”, apparently in an effort to cajole them. This is relevant because at a point the prosecution and the media tried to suggest that the fact Gavin and Star called Jackson “dad” in the letters and cards that they bombarded him with were somehow a sign of an ulterior motive by Jackson. In reality, it was the family who called such nick names several celebrities that they befriended. In actuality, Tucker testified that when they arrived at the hotel in Miami where Jackson stayed, Janet Arvizo and her kids kept calling him “brother” and Jackson “father” which, again, made Tucker feel uneasy because he felt it was too much.

“Do you recall Janet saying anything about Michael Jackson being a father to their family?

Oh, yes. Oh, yes. That was right before we went in the room. She was frantically — the same thing. Michael’s the father. I’m the brother. And that’s when — that’s when I told Michael. I took him in the room, and I was trying to talk to him. I said, “Something ain’t right.” Because I was never around her that much until that point. They came to the house and then in Miami. And I said, “Mike, something ain’t right.”

Do you recall in Miami whether Gavin was saying anything about Michael Jackson being a father?

Yes.

And what was Gavin saying?

He was repeating the same thing. It was — it was — she was saying “father,” and Gavin was saying “father,” and he was saying I was a brother, and it was just getting to be a little bit too much.”[9]

All this made Tucker gradually distance himself from the family.

Another comedian that the Arvizo family befriended was George Lopez. On March 28, 2005, as a prosecution witness, Lopez testified at Jackson’s trial that he had initially met the Arvizo family at the Laugh Factory. When Gavin fell ill with cancer the mother Janet Arvizo called him on the phone to inform him about it. Lopez then went to the hospital to visit Gavin. The father David Arvizo complained to Lopez that they did not have any money and from then on Lopez regularly gave the Arvizos small amounts of money and gifts to help them and on one occasion he took them to shopping. The prosecution tried emphasize that it was the father David Arvizo who was asking for the money, not the mother Janet Arvizo.

Lopez further testified that David Arvizo asked him to organize a fund-raiser for Gavin at the Laugh Factory but at this time it became apparent to him that it was not about Gavin’s health but about the money.

“What is it that he was asking you to do?

He was asking me to take care of a fund-raiser for Gavin, which I was more than happy to do. But then it became apparent to me that it wasn’t about Gavin anymore. I was about how Gavin was and how he was feeling. I wasn’t about money for Gavin. And it seemed to me at that time that David Arvizo was more interested in the money than he was about his son.

All right. Was David working at the time, to your knowledge?

To my knowledge, I don’t think he was working.

Did he ever express to you any concerns about insurance, medical insurance?

I was always led to believe that they had no insurance whatsoever.” [10]

(Emphasis added.)

Again, the prosecution tried to emphasize that it was David Arvizo making these requests not Janet, as if Janet Arvizo was not involved in such manipulative behavior and frauds on her own (see the part above about her welfare fraud, for example).

Lopez’s statement that he was led to believe that the family had no insurance is significant because, as you will see below, the family did have a good health insurance that covered all of Gavin’s medical costs so they did not actually need all this money that they requested from celebrities and that they were trying to get through fund-raisers by telling people that they were in need of money to cover Gavin’s medical bills. On cross-examination by Michael Jackson’s attorney Thomas Mesereau Lopez also told that the family never told him about their lawsuit against J.C. Penney either. [10]

According to Lopez David Arvizo was pushing him to organize the fund-raiser and after a while he became “pretty aggressive”, calling Lopez at all the times about when it would happen and about the amount of money that they would raise. The last time Lopez saw David Arvizo was when the latter approached him outside of a restaurant and “asked me aggressively what was the deal with the fund-raiser. And I told him that I didn’t think it was going to happen. And he said, “What do you mean it’s not going to happen?” And I said, “It doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.” And then he — his tone changed, and we had words, and that was the last time I ever saw him.” [10]

In his testimony Lopez also described an incident when Gavin left his wallet in his house (in a room where he was not supposed to go, by the way). Lopez found it and he returned it to the Arvizo family, but he later learnt that David Arvizo told Jamie Masada, a mutual comedian friend they had from the Laugh Factory, that Lopez stole $300 from Gavin’s wallet. This contributed to Lopez cutting ties with the family, according to his testimony. On cross-examination by Michael Jackson’s attorney Thomas Mesereau Lopez additionally told about that incident that he later learnt that Masada compensated David Arvizo for the “stolen” $300 which upset Lopez because he felt it indicated that Masada believed the Arvizos over him. [10]

Lopez further stated that both Gavin and Star were asking him to buy gifts for them and the father, who was there with them, never intervened to stop them. [10]

Other than David Arvizo accusing Lopez of stealing from Gavin, another reason for the comedian’s distancing himself from the family was that David Arvizo “got kind of nasty” when Lopez’s wife confronted him about his constant requests for money. Lopez himself also had a heated confrontation with David Arvizo and then Lopez cut off all his relationships with the family.

“Okay. David tried to make you feel guilty about not helping Gavin at that point, didn’t he?

Um, yes. At the point of May 5th, he did.

And you told him basically he’s an extortionist, correct?

I did.

That wasn’t a pleasant conversation, was it?

It was not.

Okay.

And I don’t use big words like that, you know.

(Laughter.)

All right. Now, after you called him an extortionist, what happened next?

You know, it was pretty — it was a pretty heated exchange. And after that, he left. And, you know, I got — I got to be honest with you, after that, I had no conversations with Gavin or any of the Arvizos after May 5th of that day.” [10]

Another comedian Jay Leno had only a brief contact with the Arvizos before he cut them off. Leno testified at Jackson’s trial on May 24, 2005 and told the jury that in about 2000 it was fellow comedian Lousie Palanker who asked him to call this cancer stricken child Gavin Arvizo in the hospital. He did and talked to him, his brother Star and his mother Janet on the phone on one occasion. Leno noted that the boy sounded “overly effusive for a 12-year-old” [11], overboard with the praises he showered Leno. He also felt that Gavin sounded “very adult-like” [11]. According to his testimony he even told Palanker afterwards: “What’s the story here? This” — “This doesn’t sound like a 12-year-old. This sounds like an adult person.” It seemed — I — I think the words I used was, “It seemed a little scripted in his speech.” And then she said to me, you know, “That’s just the way he is. He wants to be a comic, so he writes everything out before he says it, and then he kind of reads it. And I said, “Oh, okay.” Well, that sort of made sense at the time.” [11] Gavin started to send Leno messages and trying to reach him again but according to Leno this was unusual from a child. He got annoyed by Gavin’s messages and asked Palanker to make him stop and that was the end of his brief contact with the family. He never personally met them.[11]

Although the Arvizos often indicated or straight up told people that they were in need of money to pay Gavin’s medical bills, in reality the family had an insurance which covered all of Gavin’s medical expenses. This did not stop them from trying to solicit money from not only celebrities but also from regular people using Gavin’s illness for sympathy.

On May 23, 2005 Connie Keenan, editor of the Mid Valle News, a community newspaper in the City of El Monte, testified at Michael Jackson’s trial about how Janet Arvizo manipulated her newspaper and its readers for money. She told that one day in 2000 Janet Arvizo called them and asked them to run a story about Gavin’s illness and ask their readers to donate money to him. Keenen was not sure about running the story because it was not in the profile of the paper but she eventually had an intern Christie Causer write an article about it although she was suspicious about the money Janet Arvizo claimed Gavin’s treatment cost. For example, she claimed that one chemotherapy injection cost more than $12,000. The story appeared in the newspaper and then Janet Arvizo asked them to run it for a second time because they did not raise enough money from the first article. Keenan a couple of months later called the Kaiser Permanente hospital that treated Gavin and found out that she and her readers had been “duped”, as she put it, because Gavin’s medical bills were fully covered by insurance. [12]

Janet Arvizo admitted in her testimony that all of their medical costs have been covered by insurance but she denied being aware of anyone donating money to them to cover medical expenses. When asked about that particular request that she made to the Mid Valley News for donations to cover medical bills she gave vague and elusive answers.

“Did you withdraw thousands of dollars from that account?

Yes, I sure did.

Was any of that money used for medical expenses?

No, there was no need for medical expenses in the hospital, because everything was covered through Kaiser.

Okay. And were you ever aware that anyone donated money to that account to help with medical expenses?

No.

Now, you’ve told the jury you told someone at the Mid Valley News about $1200* per type of treatment, correct?

And I was expressing to her that – that thank God our family is experiencing a lot of miracles, and that was covered.

And you never mentioned the word “chemotherapy” to that person, true?

I think I did. It was — it was a little story about my son being ill.

Did you ever mention the cost of chemotherapy to Miss Causer?

ZONEN: I’m going to object as asked and answered.

THE COURT: Overruled. You may answer.

THE WITNESS: I think what I was telling her was a story complete about the miracles that we were experiencing. That’s it.” [13]

(*In her testimony Janet Arvizo claimed that she told the Mid Valley News that one chemotherapy injection cost $1200 not $12,000, however, Connie Keenan in her testimony was positive that Janet Arvizo said $12,000 and Keenan said that she even re-checked the tape that Christie Causer made of the interview with Janet Arvizo to verify it.)

Wholesome, innocent, naïve kids?

The prosecution tried to portray Gavin and Star Arvizo as wholesome, innocent little kids who were naïve about sexuality, never cussed and never drank alcohol before Jackson allegedly corrupted them. Gavin and the prosecution also made sure to emphasize Gavin and his family’s religiousness. Apparently this was an appeal to the emotions of a presumably conservative Santa Barbara jury and to the religious sentiments of the American general public. However, as the we heard more and more testimonies about the family and the kids’ past and their general behavior it became evident that this was a false portrayal of them.

In the previous articles you could already read about the lies and changing stories that these kids and their mother had no problem telling under oath in this very case which in itself flies in the face of thise “wholesome” portrayal, but there is more to tell about whether the Arvizo boys were really as innocent, naïve and wholesome as portrayed by themselves and the prosecution.

In the article The Changing Content of the Allegations and Contradictions you could read about how Gavin initially claimed that it was his grandmother who told him that men have to masturbate because otherwise they might rape women. By the time the case went to court Gavin claimed it was Michael Jackson who told him that and when he was caught in the contradiction by Jackson’s attorney Thomas Mesereau, to get out of it Gavin claimed that both Jackson and his grandmother told him the same thing. This is important because Gavin’s story was that this was how Jackson introduced him to masturbation and the molestation. He also claimed that before Jackson introduced him to masturbation and pornography he had no idea what they were and he acted as if he was a sexually clueless little boy before Jackson allegedly corrupted him at the age of 13. However, there have been several accounts by people who knew them and other evidence which refuted this notion about the Arvizo boys.

Carol Lamere has known both Michael Jackson and the Arvizos independently for years before the Arvizos even met the singer. She used to work for Jackson as a hair stylist. Independently from that she met the Arvizos in the mid-1990’s when Janet Arvizo enrolled her kids in dancing lessons at a studio run by a friend of Lamere’s, Arlene Kennedy.

In interviews that she gave to private investigators in 2004, among other things, she stated that the Arvizo kids had serious behavioral problems before they even met Michael Jackson. Specifically she described Star Arvizo as a “horny nine year old” and told about how at that age the boy was flirting with adult women in an “unnatural manner”. She recalled an occasion in a restaurant when Star tried to pick up the waitress by offering her a $5 tip. Then Star demanded the waitress’ phone number and became vocally angered and irate when she refused, demanding his money back. Lamere also said that Star had a crush on her as well. [14]

Lamere also told that in 2000 the older sister of the Arvizo boys Davellin lived with her for a while because she did not get along with her mother. Davellin told her stories about their mother physically abusing them, forcing them to shoplift and making them tell lies – among others about their father David sexually molesting Davellin. Lamere described the Arvizo children as “trained con-artists”. [14]

Two young cousins of Michael Jackson Simone and Rijo Jackson (siblings) were often present at Neverland while the Arvizos were there in February-March 2003. At the time Rijo was 10 years old and Simone was 14. Rijo testified at Jackson’s trial in 2005 that on one occasion he stayed with Gavin and Star Arvizo in their guest unit and the Arvizo boys (who were 2-3 years older than Rijo) were watching an adult program on TV with nude women and started to masturbate under the sheets. They invited Rijo to join them but he refused and ran away. [15] Rijo also recalled hearing the Arvizo boys talk about girls all of the time. [14]

Rijo testified that he witnessed the Arvizo boys steal money and other items from the office of the house manager Jesus Salas and from a drawer where a chef kept his belongings. [15] According to Rijo, looking through drawers and paperwork is how the Arvizo boys found out the various combinations to keypad locks on doors throughout the ranch, including the wine cellar. Rijo stated that he saw the Arvizo boys frequently go to the wine cellar, although he could not tell if they were drinking because he never joined them. He also stated that Gavin and Star went to Michael Jackson’s room several times while the singer was not there [14].

Rijo’s sister Simone testified in 2005 that one night she witnessed Gavin and Star Arvizo steal wine from the kitchen. When Simone saw that she told them they were not allowed to do it but they told her to be quiet and not to say anything to anyone [16]. Michael Jackson was not present [14].

By the way, Rijo and Simone’s testimonies go against Gavin’s testimony in which he claimed that he had never gone to the wine cellar and drunk alcohol without Jackson being present.

Did you ever go down there and drink any alcohol without Mr. Jackson being present.

No. [17]

In his testimony Gavin also claimed that before Jackson gave him wine he never drank alcohol outside of church [18].

No independent witness (ie. someone who was not a member of the Arvizo family) had ever claimed to have seen Jackson serve alcohol to minors. On the other hand, there have been witnesses who saw the Arvizo boys with alcohol and in the wine cellar while Jackson was not there.

Simone also testified that while she was in the pool one time Gavin and Star repeatedly urged her to take off her bathing suit top. When she refused “Star called me a pussy and a bitch because I wouldn’t take off my top. I called my mom and told her about it. They were really rude and wouldn’t leave me alone.” [14] Simone’s mother Peaches Jackson called Jackson’s bodyguard Chris Carter who in turn informed Michael Jackson about the incident. Michael Jackson asked Star to apologize to Simone telling him “I can’t make you, but I’m asking you to apologize.” [14] According to Simone Star did apologize but avoided her from that point forward. Simone also said that she had witnessed the Arvizo boys steal a laminated $1000 bill from Jackson’s desk in his office. [14]

By the way, Gavin also had an e-mail address with America Online, gblade2000@aol.com where his password was “Sexy”. [14]

Other guests and staff at Neverland also reported a disruptive behavior by the Arvizo boys.

Julio Avila, an employee of Michael Jackson who operated the amusement park rides at Neverland stated in a declaration that he found the Arvizo boys to be “troublemakers” and that “the boys behaved as if they owned the place” [19]. He stated that both Gavin and Star spat at him and other employees while on the rides. They would also drop their shoes from the top of the ferris wheel trying to hit park personnel. They continued to misbehave even after they were asked by several employees to stop. On one occasion the boys dangerously started a ride by themselves although they were not allowed to. While confronted about operating the machinery without adult supervision they were belligerent and sarcastic. Avila also said that he observed Star Arvizo writing the words “You suck dick” on a wall in one of the control rooms in the park. Avila stated that he also witnessed Star bringing pornographic magazines to the park and he hid them in various places, including the control box of the park stereo and on the rides. When Avila asked him where did he get the magazines from Star told him he brought them from home [19]. Another Neverland employee Maria Gomez testified on May 16, 2005 that she saw adult magazines in Star Arvizo’s backpack while she was once cleaning the guest unit where they were staying [20]. An ex-employee of Jackson Kiki Fournier testified as a prosecution witness that Star Arvizo once pulled a knife on her in the kitchen, although she considered it a joke [21].

Even testimonies by prosecution witnesses who were put on the stand to vouch for the Arvizo family’s integrity backfired at the Arvizos.

Louise Palanker was another one of the several comedians who the Arvizos befriended at the Laugh Factory. As a prosecution witness under direct examination by prosecutor Gordon Auchincloss she portrayed Janet Arvizo and her children as honest and genuine people. The prosecution’s strategy was to blame every less than honest thing that the family provably was involved in on David Arvizo, the estranged father and separate Janet Arvizo and their children from those actions. Their narrative was that it was David who forced his otherwise “honest” family into these dubious things. This was refuted by evidence about actions that can clearly be attributed to Janet and/or her children and show that Janet and their children did not have to be under David’s influence to commit such dishonest acts (see the welfare fraud that Janet committed after she and David had already separated, Janet’s actions in the J.C. Penney case as per Mary Holzer’s testimony, the children’s and their mother’s demonstrable lies and changing stories in this very case, their manipulative behavior to celebrities even after Janet and David had seperated etc.).

However, true to the prosecution’s narrative, on direct examination Palanker was quick to point her finger at David Arvizo whenever she had to concede to anything that would put the Arvizo family in a bad light. For example, she told about how when Gavin underwent chemotherapy she gave the Arvizos $20,000 to renovate a sterile room in the house of his grandmother that Gavin needed to recover. Palanker wrote them two separate checks for $10,000. Palanker pointed out that it was David Arvizo who she handed the check to. She said that she was not pressured by the family into giving them the money, it was all her decision, but she also stated that “very often from that point forward” [22] David Arvizo kept asking her for money for such things as paying the rent and utilities. According to Palanker David claimed that they already spent the money she had given them and they needed more money. Palanker admitted that she did not believe this was true, but again, the prosecution’s and Palanker’s narrative was that this was all just David Arvizo. Palanker admitted that she later learnt that the family actually paid the contractor only $800 for the renovation – just his bare costs, but they never paid him for the labor. The contractor eventually decided that he would write off the rest of his fee as a gift to Gavin, although this was not what he and the family had agreed upon previously. [22]

On cross examination, however, it came out that in an earlier police interview Palanker’s opinion about the Arvizos, and not just David Arvizo, was less favorable. For example, in an interview with the sheriff’s investigators on January 7, 2005 Palanker stated that the Arvizo family was “out of balance” and that she felt that “the kids collaborated in what she [Janet Arvizo] was saying. I just wanted to be out of it.” [22] This was in the context of her $10,000 check to the family. It is curious why she would say the kids collaborated in what Janet Arvizo was saying if she felt that David Arvizo was the mastermind behind all the schemes. Also the two $10,000 checks that she gave to David Arvizo were deposited into the bank account of the mother of Janet Arvizo. Palanker was not aware of this until a private investigator for the defense informed her about it during the preparations for the trial. This suggests that Janet Arvizo was involved in these things just like David Arvizo was.

In the same police interview Palanker also stated “This family can be as whacky as they want to be” and “I know that Janet’s unbalanced. I think she’s totally bipolar” and “Janet needs to see a psychologist” [22]. She also admitted that she felt that the children were coached to ask her for a laptop computer as a gift. She also said in her police interview in January 2005 that “these people [the Arvizos] are teaching their kids to lie” [22]. On the stand she tried to explain that by saying that it was not her opinion of them but that of George Lopez and his wife – as if that would make it better.

In the same interview Palanker also stated “They would go over to his house anytime they encountered a celebrity if they felt to be important. They would go over the top with cards and phone calls. And at first I thought, after I found out what — maybe they saw celebrities as a lifeline to get out of her [Janet Arvizo’s] situation — to get her out of her situation that she had gotten into at 16.” [22] Meaning that Janet Arvizo was a teen mother at the age of 16.

It has to be noted, and perhaps this explains Palanker’s change of tone between her police interview in January and testimony in March 2005, that Palanker had a romantic relationship with one of the case’s prosecutors Ron Zonen. A few years later they eventually got married.

Another prosecution witness Cynthia Ann Bell, a flight attendant for XTra Jet International testified about her experiences with Michael Jackson and the Arvizo family on the airplane that took them from Miami back to California in early February 2003. Besides Michael Jackson, his children, Janet, Gavin, Star and Davellin Arvizo there were a number of other associates of the singer on that plane. The prosecution made much of the fact that Jackson drank wine from a soda can on the plane and the Arvizo boys claimed that Jackson gave them alcohol from that soda can but Bell testified that she never saw Jackson gave alcohol to the kids. In actuality, Bell testified that Jackson’s intention with drinking the wine from a soda can was exactly that he did not want children to see him drink alcohol. The singer regularly flew with that flight company and Bell testified that he usually drank wine on the plane because he was a very nervous flyer. He usually drank alcohol from “a plastic thermal, like, mug-looking thing” [23] but on that flight there was not any available and it was Bell’s idea to put the wine in a soda can instead. Bell testified that she had never seen Jackson behave inappropriately with any child. She had nothing but nice things to say about the singer.

“Well, he’s very soft-spoken, and typically because of — he’s very polite and very soft-spoken, I would have to kneel and gain eye contact with Mr. Jackson. And, you know, he is very, you know — you know, would touch my arm when we were communicating. I don’t mean touchy-feely like in a weird sort of manner. Just sort of a polite, gaining eye contact, you know, maintaining, you know, communication that way.

You never found Mr. Jackson to be rude or impolite, did you?

Absolutely not, neither him or his children.” [23]

She had the polar opposite impression of the Arvizo children and specifically Gavin. She described Gavin as “very rude” [23] and she further stated “The individual was unusually rude, discourteous, very — I remember him talking about, “I got this watch from Michael, and it’s really expensive,” and just — altogether just not — just loud, obnoxious, like, “Serve me my food. This isn’t warm. This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.” And he was just unintelligent. It was embarrassing to have him on board, actually.” [23] and “Well, he was just incredibly rude. And I find that behavior unintelligent, and strange.” [24]

Bell also made it clear that Gavin behaved in this unacceptable way during the whole flight and that his mother, although witnessed her son’s behavior, did nothing to discipline him.

“BY MR. MESEREAU: How soon after Gavin got on that plane did the rude behavior start?

Immediately.

And when you say “immediately,” where was Gavin when the rude behavior began?

When he came up the stairs to enter the aircraft.

And what was the first rude thing he did?

He threw his book bag at me and started ordering me around the cabin as to where he wanted placement of his items.

And how did you respond to that?

Polite and efficiently.

Was his mother near him when he began the rude behavior?

Yes.

And if you recall, where was his mother when Gavin began this rude behavior?

She entered the aircraft behind him.

Was it obvious to you that she could see his rude behavior?

Absolutely.

What’s the next rude thing you recall him doing on the plane?

He was just very demanding throughout the entire flight, with wanting to get his needs met, whether it was, you know, more ice in his orange soda, to no cole slaw on his plate with his chicken, more mashed potatoes. It seemed like nothing — his chicken wasn’t warm. He — you know, “I want a side of cole slaw. I don’t want it on the same plate.” Just unusual things, like just very — like, you can tell that, like, he was a newcomer to these sort of flights. Either you have people who are really polite or lovely, or you have people who are really demanding, and they feel like they need to be that way to make them feel important. I’m not sure why. But he was very demanding throughout the entire flight.” [24]

On redirect examination prosecutor Gordon Auchincloss attempted to blame Gavin’s rude behavior somehow on Jackson by asking the question “Did it seem odd to you that Mr. Jackson didn’t do anything to stop this young boy from being what you said was rude?” [24], even though Gavin’s mother was on the plane, witnessed her son’s behavior and it was her place to discipline him, not anyone else’s. Bell, however, pointed out that Jackson’s own children were very well mannered and disciplined and that Jackson always intervened when they misbehaved.

“BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Does he [Michael Jackson] intervene when his children —

Absolutely. They’re very well disciplined and polite.” [24]

Bell also testified that while she had never served alcohol to the boys, she did serve their older sister Davellin Arvizo alcohol on the plane although she too was still a minor – and that was because Davellin presented her with a fake identity document that stated she was over 21 years old. She stated firmly that she had never seen Jackson give alcohol to Davellin or the Arvizo boys. [23]

The Arvizo family and the prosecution attempted to spin Gavin’s behavior that flew in the face of their “wholesome, innocent, naïve little boy” portrayal and suggest that he was just acting out as a result of Jackson’s alleged sexual abuse of him. Gavin’s sister Davellin, for example, told police investigators in interviews that were conducted with the family in 2003 that Gavin was a “loving little boy” who only became aggressive and argumentative after their stay at Neverland and Janet Arvizo claimed similar things [25]. Gavin’s brother Star Arvizo said in a deposition regarding the J.C. Penney incident that Gavin would not steal because he wanted to become a priest (when he did steal in that incident) [26]. However, testimonies like Bell’s clearly refute this because they show that Gavin was very disruptive and far from innocent and wholesome even before the date of the alleged molestations.

According to the prosecution’s Statement of Probable Cause Star Arvizo also claimed to them about that flight that Jackson “was acting funny on the plane. Michael was poking others in the ‘butt’ with his foot. He was making crank calls on the plane to unknown people and asking, ‘Does your pussy stink?'”[26]. Star also claimed that it was Jackson who taught them to curse and he wanted them to curse [26]. This behavior would be very uncharacteristic for Jackson though. By every account he was the polar opposite of this description and it was very important for him to teach children to be polite and well-mannered and speak nicely. His own children were a testament to that. However, the behavior described by Star, as you could see above, was very much characteristic for the Arvizo boys. It appears that a lot of their allegations were made up of stories in which they projected their own behavior and character onto Jackson.

Also well before date of the alleged abuse by Jackson Gavin had a reputation of being argumentative and impudent with teachers in school. During his cross-examination at the trial he had this exchange with Jackson’s attorney Thomas Mesereau.

I don’t really remember what I said. It probably happened, because a lot of times there was — I would stand up to the teacher. A lot of the kids would kind of congratulate me, and then –

You were kind of a hero for standing up to teachers.

Sometimes.

[…]

Okay. Did you have problems with your conduct –

Yes.

– in Mr. Finklestein’s class.

Yes.

Please tell the jury what those problems were.

Same problems with every other teacher.

And what do you mean by that.

I was kind of argumentative sometimes, and I shouldn’t have been. I didn’t like the way he taught because I wasn’t learning anything.

And what did you do in his class that caused a disruption.

I would argue sometimes about the way he would teach, and that he wouldn’t use our textbooks. And I asked him why we have these textbooks, if he didn’t let us use them.

And were you disciplined at all.

Yes, sometimes he would send me out of class.” [18]

This line of questioning does not only show Gavin’s behavior problems way before the alleged abuse, but also that he was not the kind of child who would have been easy to victimize. Gavin could not hide his brazenness even on the stand during the Michael Jackson case.

BY MR. MESEREAU: Okay. Do you remember when you were in front of the Santa Barbara Grand Jury, [lead prosecutor] Mr. Sneddon told you there was an order that you not talk to the media, and your response was,“Oh, man, I was going to have a press conference”. Do you remember that. 

That was probably a joke.

That was a joke. 

Yeah. 

So you’re in front of the Santa Barbara Grand Jury talking about this case and you’re telling a joke. 

Yes.” [7]

Sources:

[1] Memorandum regarding the use of J.C. Penney issues in defense opening statement (February 28, 2005)
http://www.sbscpublicaccess.org/docs/ctdocs/022805memojcp.pdf

[2] Janet Arvizo’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (April 18, 2005)
http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Court-Transcripts.zip

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

[4] Janet Arvizo’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (April 15, 2005)
http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Court-Transcripts.zip

[5] Felony Complaint for Arrest Warrant Against Janet Arvizo (August 23, 2005)

[5] Felony Complaint for Arrest Warrant Against Janet Arvizo (August 23, 2005)
http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Janet-Arvizo-Welfare-Fraud-Charges.pdf

[6] Mom of Jackson’s Accuser: I’m Only a Small Fraud (TMZ, August 1, 2007)
http://www.tmz.com/2007/08/01/mom-of-jacksons-accuser-im-only-a-small-fraud/

[7] Gavin Arvizo’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (March 15, 2005)
http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Court-Transcripts.zip

[8] Chris Tucker’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (May 24, 2005)
http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Court-Transcripts.zip

[9] Chris Tucker’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (May 25, 2005)
http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Court-Transcripts.zip

[10] George Lopez’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (March 28, 2005)
http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Court-Transcripts.zip

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

[12] Connie Keenan’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (May 23, 2005)
http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Court-Transcripts.zip

[13] Janet Arvizo’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (April 18, 2005)
http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Court-Transcripts.zip

[14] Notice of Motion and Motion to Admit Evidence of Gavin Arvizo and Star Arvizo’s Sexual Conduct (March 11, 2005)
http://www.sbscpublicaccess.org/docs/ctdocs/030105motadmevidgsa.pdf

[15] Rijo Jackson’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (May 18, 2005)
http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Court-Transcripts.zip

[16] Simone Jackson’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (May 17, 2005)
http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Court-Transcripts.zip

[17] Gavin Arvizo’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (March 10, 2005)
http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Court-Transcripts.zip

[18] Gavin Arvizo’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (March 14, 2005)
http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Court-Transcripts.zip

[19] Motion to exclude or limit the testimony of witnesses Julio Avila and Prudence Brando (May 23, 2005)
http://www.sbscpublicaccess.org/docs/ctdocs/052305motexclbrando.pdf

[20] Maria Gomez’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (May 16, 2005)
http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Court-Transcripts.zip

[21] Kiki Fournier’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (March 17, 2005)
http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Court-Transcripts.zip

[22] Louise Palanker’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (March 22, 2005)
http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Court-Transcripts.zip

[23] Cynthia Ann Bell’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (March 29, 2005)
http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Court-Transcripts.zip

[24] Cynthia Ann Bell’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (March 30, 2005)
http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Court-Transcripts.zip

[25] Statement of Probable Cause (filed by the Prosecution on November 17, 2003)
http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/plugin-111703stmtpc.pdf

[26] Star Arvizo’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (March 8, 2005)
http://michaeljacksonallegations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Court-Transcripts.zip

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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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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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