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

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

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

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

The type of nudist magazines we are talking about:

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

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

So where does this claim come from?

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

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

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

Here is the document in question: ALS detector

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

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

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

Q. Could you explain that for us, please?

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

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

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

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

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

A. Or any trace evidence, hair, fibers.

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

A. Yes. What –

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

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

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

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

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

A. No.

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

A. Yes.

Q. — freely thereafter, right?

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

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

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

A. Yes.

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

A. It is.

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

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

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

A. I was looking for biological material, yes.

Q. Bodily fluids, pretty much?

A. Correct.

Q. The question is, did you find any?

A. I did not.

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

A. Well, there’s no seminal material.

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

A. That’s right.

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

A. I did, yes.

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

Sources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[…]

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

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

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

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

(Emphasis added.)

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

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

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

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

(Emphasis added.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Emphasis added.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

( Emphasis added.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

[11]

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

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

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

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

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

The redacted version of the description

The redacted version of the description

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“No, that’s good for us!”

‘Why?”

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

 “Ha!”

“Yeah, it’s a no-loser for us.”

“That’s very good.”

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

(Emphasis added.)

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

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

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

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

 (Emphasis added.)

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

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

 Sources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jason Francia

Jason Francia

Jason Francia at Jackson’s 2005 trial

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[3]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jason Francia: Macaulay Culkin.

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

Det. Birchim: He’s doing worse stuff.

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

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

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

Jason Francia: How old is he?

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

Det. Birchim: Like you had your mom.

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

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

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

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

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

A. Yeah. I remember telling the police that.

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

A. No.

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

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

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

A. I believe that’s how it went.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[…]

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

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

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

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

 

Sources:

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

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

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

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

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

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