Analyzing the Media’s Hypocrisy in Reporting on Michael Jackson’s Settlements vs. The Settlements of Other Celebrities, Part 1 of 2
Hey guys, how may times have you heard someone say that Michael Jackson must have been guilty in 1993 because he paid $20 million in “hush money”? I’ve heard it so many times that I decided to write an article refuting that argument ONCE AND FOR ALL! I had so much information that I wanted to include that I was forced to divide this post into two parts! In part 1, I discuss the difference between civil and criminal law, and thoroughly examine the civil suits that the Chandlers and Francias brought against Michael Jackson. Enjoy! — D. E.
Analyzing the Media’s Hypocrisy in Reporting on Michael Jackson’s Settlements vs. The Settlements of Other Celebrities, Part 1
As we all know, years of biased media coverage is the number one reason why so many people have a negative opinion of Michael Jackson. The media built him up in the 1980’s, and then tore him down without apology from 1993 through his death (and even after his death!). There have been so many lies peddled about MJ throughout the years in regards to skin bleaching, plastic surgery, the paternity of his kids, his health issues, his sexuality, and his drug use, among other things. But the most damaging lie that has been deliberately disseminated to the public is that MJ “paid hush money” to the Chandlers in 1993 (and the Francias in 1996) in order to prevent them from testifying in criminal court. How many times have you heard someone say the following: “MJ must have been guilty because there is no way an innocent man would choose to settle a lawsuit!” I will use this column to totally debunk that myth, and compare MJ’s settlement to the settlements of other celebrities and point out the media’s hypocrisy in the way that they cover them.
First, let’s look at the biggest misconceptions that the general public has about the 1993 case. They think that the following events happened in this order:
1. Jordie Chandler willingly confessed to his father Evan that he was molested by Michael Jackson.
2. Evan Chandler immediately called the police in a pursuit of justice.
3. The police began their investigation, and obtained a description of MJ’s penis from Jordie that matched.
4. MJ panicked when he realized that the description matched and decided to pay $20 million in “hush money” to silence them in criminal court.
5. The hush money prevented them from testifying, which shut down the criminal investigation, thus allowing MJ to “get away with it”.
6. The Chandlers went on to live happily ever after. Everyone is still alive, living together under one roof, and is on speaking terms. The Chandlers wanted to testify against MJ in 2005, but were afraid that they would have to pay back MJ’s hush money.
Those assumptions are totally false! This is what happened:
1. MJ had a falling out with Evan, probably over MJ’s refusal to hire him or finance his screen plays.
2. Evan concocts a plan to extort money from MJ by threatening to accuse him of molesting Jordie.
3. Evan and Dr. Mark Torbiner give Jordie a drug (possibly sodium amytal) during a dental procedure, after which Jordie is coerced into claiming molestation.
4. Evan meets with MJ and demands a $20 million film deal, and is flatly denied.
5. June Chandler wins a court order to regain custody of Jordie, and SOLELY AS A RESULT OF THIS COURT ORDER Evan calls a psychiatrist (instead of reporting it to the judge who ordered the transfer) and reports MJ’s molestation, who then subsequently reports this to the police
6. In Sept. 1993, Evan hires Larry Feldman and files a civil lawsuit against MJ, and they successfully argue that it should go to court before the criminal trial. MJ’s request to have the civil case delayed until after the criminal case is denied.
7. MJ is strip searched, and the description does NOT match, and as a result MJ is NOT arrested.
8. Subsequently, Evan’s attorney Larry Feldman unsuccessfully tries to have the photos barred from the civil trial so that MJ cannot use them to help clear his name.
9. MJ’s insurance carrier settles the civil suit WITHOUT his consent, and the Chandlers sign a confidentiality agreement that EXPLICITLY states that they can testify in criminal court if they so desire. All of the Chandlers refuse to cooperate with the criminal investigation after receiving their settlement money, this perpetuating the myth that they were “paid off”. Ray Chandler is unable to secure a book deal to publish “All That Glitters”, which was ghost-written by Evan Chandler and describes their decision to choose money over justice!
10. In Sept. 1994 the criminal investigation ends after two grand juries refuse to indict MJ, but Sneddon stubbornly allows the case to remain “open, but inactive”, instead of closing it altogether.
11. In the years after the settlement:
- Jordie legally emancipated himself from his parents (most likely in 1996)
- Evan sued MJ again for $60 million and the right to record a “rebuttal album” in 1996 and lost
- Ray Chandler self-published “All That Glitters” in 2004
- Geraldine Hughes, the sole legal secretary for Evan’s lawyer Barry Rothman, published “Redemption” (which reveals previously unknown exculpatory evidence about the 1993 case) in 2004
- All of the Chandlers (except June) either threatened or actually took legal action to avoid testifying against MJ in 2005
- Evan tried to murder Jordie after the trial in August 2005
- Evan eventually committed suicide in November 2009
The media has been very clever in distorting the truth about the settlement by intentionally omitting the fact that MJ settled a CIVIL LAWSUIT, and that the Chandlers could have still testified. By omitting those facts, the general public – the overwhelming majority not knowing a clue about civil law — believes that MJ “bought” his way out of the criminal case, and somehow he had some sort of legal recourse against the Chandlers if they would have testified against him. What’s truly disappointing is the fact that it’s not only phony baloney journalists like Diane Dimond and Maureen Orth that promote this garbage, but legal analysts like Nancy Grace, Sunny Hostin, Gloria Allred, and Geoffrey Fieger as well! (I’ll introduce you to Fieger later on in this article!). Not only have adults been duped into believing that the settlement was a sign of guilt, but even fifth graders have been fooled!
What if a chemist with a Ph.D. from Harvard lied to you and said that water is composed of H3O? His colleagues would consider him a quack, but he’d probably convince people who aren’t familiar with chemistry that he’s telling the truth, based on his education and his expertise. Everyone knows that the chemical makeup of water is H2O (two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom), and that is one of the basic fundamentals of chemistry. Similarly, settling a civil lawsuit out of court is not an admission of guilt, and that is one of the basic fundamentals of civil law, yet time and time again these legal quacks have deliberately LIED to the general public in order to convict MJ in the court of public opinion. So I will spend the next few pages explaining the core principles of criminal and civil law, and pointing out the differences between the two.
Civil Law vs. Criminal Law
Let’s start with the biggest distinction between a criminal and civil case. This is basic law school 101! In a criminal case, the state brings charges against the defendant, and he has no choice but to stand trial if the state decides to prosecute. (For example, MJ’s 2005 trial was known as “The People of the State of California v. Michael Joseph Jackson”). A criminal case CANNOT be settled out of court!
In a civil case, the plaintiff sues the defendant, and the case can be settled out of court by both parties, or dismissed without trial by a judge. The vast majority of civil lawsuits are frivolous. In fact, 97% of all civil lawsuits are either settled or dismissed!! (The lawsuit filed against MJ by the Chandlers was titled “J. Chandler v. Michael Joseph Jackson and John Does 1 through 100“)
Here are some basic differences between the punishment meted out, and the burden of proof required to get a conviction in criminal and civil court, respectively:
In criminal law, a guilty defendant is punished by either (1) incarceration in a jail or prison, (2) fine paid to the government, or, in exceptional cases, (3) execution of the defendant: the death penalty. Crimes are divided into two broad classes: felonies have a maximum possible sentence of more than one year incarceration; misdemeanors have a maximum possible sentence of less than one year incarceration.
In contrast, a defendant in civil litigation is never incarcerated and never executed. In general, a losing defendant in civil litigation only reimburses the plaintiff for losses caused by the defendant’s behavior.
So-called punitive damages are never awarded in a civil case under contract law. In a civil case under tort law, there is a possibility of punitive damages, if the defendant’s conduct is egregious and had either (1) a malicious intent (i.e., desire to cause harm), (2) gross negligence (i.e., conscious indifference), or(3) a willful disregard for the rights of others. The use of punitive damages makes a public example of the defendant and supposedly deters future wrongful conduct by others. Punitive damages are particularly important in torts involving dignitary harms (e.g., invasion of privacy) and civil rights, where the actual monetary injury to plaintiff(s) may be small.
One can purchase insurance that will pay damages and attorney’s fees for tort claims. Such insurance coverage is a standard part of homeowner’s insurance policies, automobile insurance, and insurance for businesses. In contrast, it is not possible for a defendant to purchase insurance to pay for his/her criminal acts.
While a court can order a defendant to pay damages, the plaintiff may receive nothing if the defendant has no assets and no insurance, or if the defendant is skillful in concealing assets. In this way, large awards for plaintiffs in tort cases are often an illusion.
Notice how civil (and not criminal!) defendants can purchase insurance to pay for legal fees and any damages that are subsequently awarded to the plaintiff in the event of a conviction. That is EXACTLY the type of insurance that MJ had, and in fact he’s probably had that type of insurance since he was a member of the Jackson 5. Being a celebrity in the public spotlight, it was only inevitable that MJ would sue and be sued throughout his career (and boy did that ever come to fruition later on in his life!). So those insurance premiums were a smart investment, as opposed to being uninsured and having to pay all of the legal fees and damages himself.
2. Burden of Proof
In criminal litigation, the burden of proof is always on the state. The state must prove that the defendant is guilty. The defendant is assumed to be innocent; the defendant needs to prove nothing. (There are exceptions. If the defendant wishes to claim that he/she is insane, and therefore not guilty, the defendant bears the burden of proving his/her insanity. Other exceptions include defendants who claim self-defense or duress.)
In criminal litigation, the state must prove that the defendant satisfied each element of the statutory definition of the crime, and the defendant’s participation, “beyond a reasonable doubt.” It is difficult to put a valid numerical value on the probability that a guilty person really committed the crime, but legal authorities who do assign a numerical value generally say “at least 98% or 99%” certainty of guilt.
In civil litigation, the burden of proof is initially on the plaintiff. However, there are a number of technical situations in which the burden shifts to the defendant. For example, when the plaintiff has made a prima facie case, the burden shifts to the defendant to refute or rebut the plaintiff’s evidence.
In civil litigation, the plaintiff wins if the preponderance of the evidence favors the plaintiff. For example, if the jury believes that there is more than a 50%probability that the defendant was negligent in causing the plaintiff’s injury, the plaintiff wins. This is a very low standard, compared to criminal law. In my personal view, it is too low a standard, especially considering that the defendant could be ordered to pay millions of dollars to the plaintiff(s).
Another distinction between criminal and civil trials are the number of Constitutional Rights that are afforded to defendants in criminal trials, but don’t apply to civil trials. For example, the Fourth Amendment protects against illegal search and seizure, the Fifth Amendment guarantees criminal defendants the right to not self incriminate (i.e. “pleading the Fifth”), and the Sixth Amendment guarantees a right to a speedy trial. Here are some examples of how these three amendments differ between criminal and civil trials:
A.) In criminal law, police generally must first obtain a search warrant in a proceeding showing a “neutral and detached” magistrate that there is “probable cause”, before searching or seizing items from a person’s house. Spinelli v. U.S., 393 U.S. 410 (1969); Aguilar v. Texas, 378 U.S. 108 (1964); Johnson v. U.S., 333 U.S. 10 (1946). (For example, Sneddon had to get a search warrant before he was able to perform the strip search on MJ.)
In civil law, an attorney may request documents or a visit inside a building. (Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34). In civil law, an attorney may demand information from the opposing party about any matter that is relevant to the case, provided that information is not privileged. In civil law, an attorney may properly demand information that would be inadmissible at trial, if such demand “appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence”. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1). An attorney may even take the deposition of nonparties in a civil case, and require them to bring documents with them. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30, 34(c).
B.) In a criminal case, the suspect or defendant has the right to remain silent during questioning by police and prosecuting attorneys. In a criminal case, the defendant may choose to refuse to be a witness, and the jury may infernothingfrom the defendant’s choice not to testify. However, in a civil case, the defendant must be available and cooperative for depositions and testimony as a witness in the trial. In fact, the defendant in a civil case in Federal court must voluntarily provide his/her opponent with a copy of documents “in the possession, custody, or control of the party that are relevant to disputed facts alleged with particularity in the pleadings.” [Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(1)(B)] Further, the defendant in a civil case must voluntarily provide names of people who are “likely to have discoverable information relevant to disputed facts alleged with particularity in the pleadings.” [FRCP 26(a)(1)(A)] In other words, the defendant in a civil case must help his/her opponent collect evidence that will defeat the defendant. And, at trial, if a party invokes their fifth amendment privilege against self-incrimination, then the judge will instruct the jury that they may make an adverse inference against the party who refused to testify.
C.) There are often several years between the filing of a complaint in a civil case and the trial. (So much for the notion of having a “speedy trial”! For example, Evan Chandler sued MJ for $60 million in 1996 for violating the Confidentiality Agreement, but the case wasn’t thrown out until 2000).
Let’s look closely at the Fifth Amendment for a moment. In a criminal case, a defendant can refuse to testify entirely, or refuse to answer certain questions, and it CANNOT be used against him in determining his guilt. (For example, MJ did not testify in his 2005 criminal trial, and we all know the outcome of that case!) However, in civil trials the defendant MUST testify, or else it will be used against him. Now let’s say that MJ had a civil trial in 1994. If he would have plead the fifth (either on the witness stand, or in a deposition), which is what his lawyers wanted him to do, the jury could have legally perceived it as a sign of guilt. Combine that with the lower burden of proof, and the chances of MJ being found liable would have increased exponentially. Conversely, if he would have testified in civil court, then his defense strategy would have been exposed to Sneddon and Garcetti before the criminal trial. This is exactly why Larry Feldman and Robert Shapiro wanted to sue MJ before the criminal trial, so that it would put him in a position where his best option would be to settle, which is what they wanted in the first place! Here is Shapiro’s advice to Evan Chandler about suing MJ first instead of prosecuting him, from “All That Glitters”, pages 160-161:
“If there’s a hung jury, sure, it could be retried, but time goes on. The real risk is if there’s an acquittal. In that case, prevailing at a civil suit afterwards becomes a real uphill battle.
Now the alternative is for you to bring a civil suit first. And the first thing we would do is schedule a deposition of Michel Jackson, placing him in an extremely uncomfortable position because everything he says could be used against him in a criminal case. And if he takes the Fifth Amendment to avoid that, it can be used against him in your civil case. So immediately, he’s in a real bad spot.
But there’s a third alternative. If we went to the other side and said, ‘Listen, a trial for Michael Jackson is a disaster, he can’t win. Because even if he’s acquitted, when the public hears what this boy has to say, you will have no endorsements, you will have no contracts, you are virtually finished.’ If we say that, it is my belief we have control of the situation, we have power.
However, if this matter is pushed too far and somebody starts screaming there should be a grand jury or the DA is not handling this correctly, then we lose all control. Garcetti will have to go to the Grand Jury, even if he doesn’t want to. And if the Grand Jury returns and indictment on a case the DA can’t win, especially against a superstar, then you’re all screwed.”
As you can see from Shapiro’s analysis, MJ was in a lose-lose-lose situation! 1.) If he submits to a deposition, it will be used against him in the criminal trial. 2.) If he takes the Fifth, it can be used against him in civil trial. And 3.) if he’s acquitted in criminal court, his image will be forever tarnished from the salacious headlines that the media is going to exploit for ratings (which is what they did in 2005). The media would say that his “celebrity status” got him off, or that the jurors were “too star-struck to convict”, or “he got off on a technicality”, or some other nonsense in order to undermine the verdict. (This conversation between Shapiro and Evan Chandler took place before MJ’s failed attempt to get the criminal trial scheduled before the civil trial, so that’s why the third alternative is listed as a possibility.)
For those of you who may say, “Well, if he’s that innocent, then why should it matter if the DA’s know his defense strategy? He should have just told the truth and he would’ve been acquitted, right?” This is what MJ (and many of us) would have naively thought, but as we all know the justice system is not perfect, and MJ couldn’t afford to have his defense strategy exposed to Sneddon or Garcetti! Guilty people get acquitted every day, and innocent people get convicted every day! The reasons are because defense lawyers can raise enough reasonable doubt to get an acquittal (such as in the OJ Simpson case), and prosecutors can prejudice the jury to convict an innocent man by using irrelevant, inflammatory evidence. They also engage in prosecutorial misconduct as well!
Here’s an example: what if I told you that a prosecutor used a famous celebrity’s tattoo as a sign of his guilt, and as a result that celebrity was sentenced to jail? That would sound crazy, right? Well, it happened!
The celebrity who was literally sentenced to jail based on the fears and prejudices of the jury was the late, great Tupac Shakur, the top selling rapper of all time. In addition to his amazing musical career, he also starred in several movies, including 1993’s “Poetic Justice”, alongside Janet Jackson. He and a few members of his entourage were arrested and charged with sexual assault and possession of illegal firearms in November 1993 after a female groupie had a falling out with him in his hotel room. On November 30th, 1994 Shakur gave an interview outside of the courthouse where he was on trial. (Ironically, his friends never stood trial. Could it be because Shakur was a victim of malicious prosecution due to his fame?)
Here is a breakdown of his interview:
- After listening to the prosecutors’ closing arguments, Tupac admits to feeling drained after hearing the prosecutor twist the truth around. He states how the trial is about peoples’ “innermost fears” about “loud, rap music, tattoo having thugs”, and “anyone with a Thug Life tattoo is guilty”. This is similar to Sneddon (and the media’s) attempts to try to prejudice the jury by making the trial about MJ’s weirdness, bizarreness, creepiness, plastic surgery, hyperbaric chambers, skin bleaching, and implying that “any grown man who shares a bed with children is guilty!”
- Tupac blasts the media for their biased, pro-prosecution coverage. They don’t’ report the exculpatory evidence (for example, the lack of any DNA, semen, or fingerprints found on the crime scene), and they always use the prosecution’s quotes in their coverage in order to convict him in the court of public opinion. He asks for the media to “PRINT THE FACTS” and says that his life is RUINED by the bad press and he lists some of the business opportunities that he has lost.
- Tupac then goes on to once again blast the media for “building him up and then tearing him down”, and claims that the whole trial is just about his image. This is EXACTLY what the media did to MJ: they built him up in the 80’s, and tore him down from 1993 until his death using his “Wacko Jacko” image!
As you can see, the media’s treatment of Tupac in 1994 was only a prelude to what they would do to MJ in 2005! Unfortunately, due to Shakur’s thug image, violent lyrics, baggy pants, and the “Thug Life” tattoo on his stomach, the jury’s prejudices outweighed their common sense, and this is why an innocent man was sentenced to jail!
Sneddon knew that the only way he could convict MJ was to prejudice the jury, the same way that Tupac’s prosecutor knew that was his/her only shot at a conviction. (And it worked!) This is why Sneddon and Garcetti helped enact California Penal Code 288a, which does not require the alleged victim to be present or corroborating evidence to be provided. It only requires that an accusation be made and that the jury decides whether or not to believe the accusation, thus capitalizing on prejudices against MJ. (If the page asks you to log in, just keep pressing cancel until box disappears, and then do a search of “288”).
Sneddon and Garcetti knew that MJ had a habit of not only letting children sleep in his bed, but that he often slept in bed with them (with their parents’ full consent and knowledge), and if a child could level an accusation that MJ molested him/her while they slept in the same bed, then that would severely prejudice the jury against MJ. Can you imagine if Congressman Peter King was on the jury? (He defended his vicious statements by saying that even if MJ didn’t physically molest any children, that he “molested their psyche” by convincing them that sharing beds is acceptable behavior.) In fact, after the trial, juror (and eventual traitor) Ray Hultman said that he believed that MJ molested children in 1993, and that he has a hard time respecting someone who admits to sleeping with young boys. That prejudice against MJ may have influenced him to flip flop and accept the blood money he was offered by that sleazy book publisher.
Sneddon had the same intentions when he tried get the details of the 1994 settlement admissible in court as evidence, and when he enacted California Evidence Code §1108 in the 1990’s, hoping to prejudice the jury with the testimony of June Chandler, the Francias, and the “Neverland 5” (the former employees who owed MJ millions in legal fees). Mesereau tried to have their testimony excluded because he thought they would jeopardize MJ’s presumption of innocence in the current trial (and not because he thought MJ was guilty in 1993! In fact, Mesereau subpoenaed Raymond Chandler, so that shows how much faith he had in MJ’s innocence. The link is found later in this article.) Legal analyst Jonna Spilbor thoroughly criticizes this unfair and prejudicial evidence in this article. It is also discussed in this article as well.
The reason that sleazy prosecutors like Sneddon and Garcetti oftentimes maliciously prosecute high-profile defendants is because, as a district attorney, you occupy two of the three most dishonest jobs known to mankind: a lawyer and a politician!! (The third most dishonest job is a used car salesman!) District attorneys are ELECTED by their constituents, and if they can get a high profile conviction, then their popularity in the community will skyrocket, and a thriving political career can be launched on a “tough on crime” platform. Many DA’s run for multiple terms UNOPPOSED, which is dangerous because they develop a sense of entitlement! Sneddon was elected to 5 terms without any challengers, so he practically had a monopoly on the DA’s office, and thus he was able to establish a “good ole’ boys” network with the rest of his cronies! His vendetta against MJ was (in my humble opinion) fueled in part by his desire to use a conviction as a launching pad into political office, such as running for Governor of California, or Attorney General.
Another scumbag DA who maliciously prosecuted innocent people is former DA Mike Nifong, who almost railroadedthe three Duke Lacrosse players to jail on a phony rape charge. He knew they were innocent, but he saw a conviction as a political weapon, and he engaged in prosecutorial misconduct that was so egregious that even Sneddon would be proud! For example, investigators found no DNA evidence, but Nifong “misled the public by suggesting condoms were used by the alleged attackers and that there was no DNA evidence discovered for comparison purposes”. The reason this is so flagrant is because the accuser claimed that her attackers did not wear any condoms! So Nifong enabled and encouraged her lies by covering up for her! (The same way Sneddon enabled and encouraged the Arvizos by changing the molestation dates to get an indictment.) Fortunately, the Attorney General of North Carolina investigated him, and his misconduct was punished with disbarment, and the three players filed a $30 million dollar civil lawsuit, claiming that Nifong’s sole motive was to “win support for his reelection bid”, and that Nifong told his campaign manager that the case would provide “millions of dollars’ in free advertising” for his campaign. The icing on the cake is when Nifong lost the suit and had to file bankruptcy!
Now, back to MJ: any defense lawyer who is willing to expose their client’s defense strategy, especially with charges as serious as molestation, should have their law licenses revoked! What if the Superbowl Champion New Orleans Saints played the St. Louis Rams (who went 1-15 last year), and the Saints players felt so confident that they faxed the Rams players a copy of their playbook before the game. Just imagine how Saints coaches would feel if they found out? They would accuse the Saints players of underestimating their opponent by revealing their strategy! That analogy applies to MJ’s defense lawyers. In fact, MJ’s first attorney, Mark Geragos, publicly stated MJ’s defense strategy by declaring that he had a “concrete, iron clad alibi”, and as a result Sneddon altered the dates of the molestation in 2005 after he realized that, according to the original timeline, MJ started molesting Gavin while he was being investigated by the DCFS. When MJ was indicted, the timeline changed, and MJ started molesting Gavin after he was cleared by the DCFS! This just goes to show that no matter how innocent your client is, you never expose your strategy to the prosecution!
Jordie Chandler Civil Suit
Larry Feldman filed the civil suit on September 13th, 1993 (after he and Evan Chandler fired Gloria Allred for wanting to seek justice instead of money, which is discussed later in greater detail). MJ’s legal team then filed a motion to have the civil case delayed until after the statute of limitations in the criminal case expired in 1999. This is considered a legal blunder by many experts because in a child molestation case, the victim’s memory tends to fade over time, so the judge felt that a six year wait was too long, and thus denied their request. They should have merely asked that the civil trial be delayed until after the criminal trial. But I think their rationale for asking for the civil trial to be delayed until after the statute of limitations expired is that they felt there was a possibility that the Chandlers would refuse to testify in court (since MJ’s legal team knew they were extorting MJ anyway), and they wanted to be sure that in case they changed their mind or were forced to testify in criminal court (this possibility is discussed later on), that MJ’s civil case testimony couldn’t be used against him. They used the case of Pacers, Inc. v. Superior Court to make this point, In this case, “the Court of Appeal directed the trial court to stay the proceedings in the civil action until after the expiration of the statute of limitations in the criminal action”. (Please read section IV for an explanation for this rationale.) Here is a brief excerpt:
“An order staying discovery until expiration of the criminal statute of limitations would allow real parties to prepare their lawsuit while alleviating petitioners’ difficult choice between defending either the civil or criminal case.”
“This remedy is in accord with federal practice where it has been consistently held that when both civil and criminal proceedings arise out of the same or related transactions, an objecting party is generally entitled to a stay of discovery in the civil action until disposition of the criminal matter.”
Now, after their request was denied, MJ’s legal team had no choice but to prepare for the civil trial. MJ was determined to clear his name in court, but his legal insurance carrier forced him to settle the case. Now, you may say to yourself “Why would the insurance carrier even want to settle, and how were they able to make MJ settle against his wishes?” The insurance carrier settled because, in addition to not wanting to expose MJ’s defense strategy before his criminal trial, they were also concerned about the negative media coverage of having back to back civil and criminal trials, airing MJ’s “dirty laundry” in public (i.e., imagine Sneddon asking the following: “Mr. Jackson, do you think it’s appropriate for a 35 year old man to share a bed with other people’s kids?”), and they were concerned about MJ’s health as well (remember, he had just come out of rehab for pain killers).
Another theory as to why the insurance company settled is because they may have been pressured by Sony Records, and other entities that depended on MJ to make them millions in profits, based on record sales, concerts, etc. On September 17th, 2004 Mesereau issued a statement in response to numerous lies that were being peddled by the media about the number of settlements that MJ had in the 90’s, and that they were not an admission of guilt. Here is an excerpt (and here is the actual video of the press conference):
Mr. Jackson has been repeatedly advised by those who stood to make fortunes in his business affairs to pay money, rather than face certain false allegations. As a result, many years ago, he did pay money, rather than litigate, two false allegations that he had harmed children. People who intended to earn millions of dollars from his record and music promotions did not want negative publicity from these lawsuits interfering with their profits.
The reason that they were able to pay the settlement without his consent is because insurance companies always do a cost-benefit analysis before going to trial. If they feel that it is cheaper and more expedient to settle, then they have every right to do so without the consent of the insured, and the settlement cannot be used as evidence of guilt in either criminal or civil court. This right has been upheld by the numerous court cases that are listed in Mesereau’s objection to Sneddon’s request to use the settlement as evidence of guilt in the 2005 trial. Here is an excerpt from that document:
Page 2, Lines 20-27
Mr. Jackson was not liable for any of the claims compromised by the settlement agreement, and plaintiff cannot present evidence of the nature, source, individuals, or companies who actually paid the settlement amounts evidenced by the settlement agreement. Because insurance companies were the source of the settlement amounts, and the insurance companies make the payments based on their contractual rights to settle the proceeding without Mr. Jackson’s permission, the settlement does not constitute an admission (of guilt) and cannot be used to create such an impermissible inference to the jury. Introduction of the document would be improper because the settlement payment from a third party with the contractual right to make the settlement regardless of Mr. Jackson’s wishes is irrelevant to any issue of this proceeding.
Here are some excerpts from Ian Halperin’s “Unmasked” that include an interview with an insurance lawyer who further explains how settlements work. (And yes, I know you guys are rolling your eyes at the thought of actually reading “Unmasked”, but this excerpt shows what MJ fans can learn when we read tabloid trash like this!) From page 100:
Even if Jackson’s insurance company forced the settlement, doesn’t it mean that they thought Jackson would lose?
“Not at all,” explains insurance lawyer Lewis Kaplan. “Insurance companies almost always settle. That’s what they do. It’s not an admission of guilt. It’s an attempt to avoid a long, costly legal process and one where there’s always a risk. You never know what a jury might do. In this case, with the defendant worth hundreds of millions of dollars, settling is a no-brainer. Of course they would settle.”
And before I forget, let me quote the Confidentiality Agreement between MJ and the Chandlers, which explicitly states that this settlement does not preclude them from testifying in court:
“In the event the Minor, the Minor’s Legal Guardians, the Minor’s Guardian ad Litem, the Minor’s attorneys, Evan Chandler or June Chandler… receive any subpoena or request for information from any person or entity who has asserted, or is investigating, any claim against Jackson or the Jackson Releases or the Action or the Claims, they agree to give notice in writing to Jackson’s attorneys regarding the nature and scope of any such subpoena request for information, to the extent permitted by law.”
If there was any “hush money” paid out, then Sneddon would have immediately charged MJ with obstruction of justice, which is defined as “all unlawful acts that people partake in to obstruct, hinder, or delay the administration of justice.” It includes, but is not limited to, the following acts: bribing witnesses, threatening or intimidating jurors, resisting arrest, and aiding & abetting a criminal.
So Sneddon could have subpoenaed Ray, Evan, and Jordie in 2005 (in fact, he subpoenaed June Chandler), but chose not to. Gee, I wonder why? Could it be that he didn’t trust their testimony?
Now, let’s look at an even better source who will confirm that the settlement wasn’t “hush money”: Larry Feldman! Here’s his statement on the settlement:
Larry R. Feldman, the boy’s lawyer, has not said whether his client would be willing to testify in a criminal case. Although he has said that “nobody bought anybody’s silence” with the civil settlement, he also repeatedly has stressed that psychologists believe the best thing for the boy would be to get on with his life rather than to keep dealing with the allegations.
So Feldman says that the psychologists believe that it would be best for Jordie not to testify in criminal court, but they had absolutely no problem with Jordie testifying in civil court or giving a deposition (which is what he would have had to do if MJ’s insurance had not settled).
Here’s another excerpt from “Unmasked” that debunks the “MJ paid him off” myth. From pages 101-104:
In the fifteen years since Michael Jackson settled the civil suit with Jordan Chandler, a dangerous myth has grown – the myth that the settlement prevented Jordan Chandler from testifying against Jackson in a potential criminal case. In fact, there is not a word in the settlement documents that precludes Chandler from giving testimony against Jackson. Jordan’s own lawyer, Larry Feldman, made that clear following the settlement.
“The plaintiff has agreed the lawsuit should be resolved,” Feldman declared. “Nobody has bought anyone’s silence. He is allowed to testify against Mr. Jackson in a criminal proceeding.”
Yet there have been literally tens of thousands of media accounts implying that it was the settlement that prevented a criminal prosecution. Among the worst offenders in this regard is Diane Dimond, whose reporting encouraged this myth.
“It soon grew increasingly clear to both Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti and Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon that without the testimony of Jordan Chandler, or some other complainant, they could not win a case against Michael Jackson,” she writes.
Either district attorney could have subpoenaed Jordan to testify. Jordan had already signed a lengthy affidavit detailing the abuse that had occurred. But the fact is that if Jordan had appeared in a criminal trial, he could have been cross-examined under oath, under threat of perjury. If justice was the object, and not money, why not testify?
It is a question that would arise again a decade later when another boy would level similar abuse charges against Michael Jackson. Sneddon and Garcetti badly needed Jordan Chandler to establish a pattern.
For now, Sneddon and Garcetti were getting increasingly desperate. Each had convened his own separate grand jury to hear evidence. But that evidence was getting sparse. They had both conducted their own thorough investigations into most of the so-called witnesses who claimed they could corroborate stories of Jackson’s abuse. Although the ragtag assortment of disgruntled former employees made sensational guests on Hard Copy, the district attorneys had evidently discovered that their testimony and credibility were next to worthless.
For another five months after Jordan settled, two grand juries – one in Los Angeles, one in Santa Barbara – continued to hear evidence, sparse thought it may have been.
For Garcetti’s jury, that evidence was slim pickings. Grand jury testimony is secret, but among the witnesses called was Jackson’s mother, Katherine, who presumable offered nothing of substance. Sneddon called the former maid, Blanca Francia, some parents of Jackon’s former “special friends,” and Janet Jackson’s former husband, James DeBarge.
Besides Francia, the only grand jury witnesses with the potential to inflict real damage were a group of security guards that had once worked for Jackson – later knows as the Neverland Five. The five claimed to have damning information that could corroborate many of Jordan Chandler’s claims. It’s impossible to know what his group told the grand jury, but in later years, when the five former employees filed a lawsuit against Jackson, their credibility would be so tarnished that it’s hardly surprising their stories made little impression on the jurors.
After another eight months and countless millions of dollars spent attempting to solidify the case against Jackson, Garcetti and Sneddon held a joint news conference on September 21, 1994. They announced that they wouldn’t be filing criminal charges against the singer. In announcing the conclusion of the investigation, they failed to mention that they hadn’t found a single piece of supporting evidence or credible witness to secure an indictment. Instead, Garcetti would once again perpetuate the myth that the case had stalled because Jordan wouldn’t cooperate.
“After about thirteen or fourteen months of investigation, this is our conclusion,” he told the assembled media. “We have a very important witness who has told us ‘I’m sorry. I do not want to and will not testify.’ And I’m telling you that if he steps forward a month from not, two months from now, and says ‘Now I want to testify,’ we would reevaluate our case at that time.”
Later the same day, Jackson issued his own statement: “I am thankful that the investigation has reached a conclusion. I’ve continually maintained my innocence. I am grateful to all of my family, friends, and fans who have stood by me and also believe in my innocence.”
What the media and MJ haters don’t seem to understand is this: If MJ was truly guilty and wanted to “pay off” the Chandlers, then why didn’t he pay them before he was forced to undergo that embarrassing strip search? Why didn’t he pay them in August 1993 before the scandal went public? In “All That Glitters”, Ray Chandler admits to you, in no uncertain terms, that Evan would have swept everything under the rug had he been given the $20 million dollar film deal that he demanded from MJ!!! From page 128:
“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.”
Here’s another excerpt that confirms that they never wanted to prosecute MJ at all; they only wanted money! From page 167:
“By the conclusion of the meeting, June and Dave, like Evan before them, had no doubts about switching from Gloria Allred to Larry Feldman. The choice came down to either waging an all-out media campaign to pressure the DA to seek a Grand Jury indictment, or conducting subtle, behind-the-scenes negotiations toward a quick, quiet and highly profitable settlement. Avoiding the trauma that a lengthy criminal or civil lawsuit would bring to the entire family, especially Jordie, was a no-brainier.
Now, here’s a bombshell development that I recently discovered while researching this article. Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti was so desperate to get the Chandlers to testify in criminal court that he tried to get the law amended so that he would IMMEDIATELY be able to FORCE them to testify! If your son was molested, would the cops have to “force” you to testify? Of course not!
Unfortunately his attempt was unsuccessful, and the Chandlers were able to take the money and run! This story totally obliterates that lie that Ray Chandler spewed about the Chandlers not testifying because they wouldn’t be put in the witness protection program. If the Chandlers had truly needed protection, Sneddon and Garcetti would have hired the Secret Service to protect them! Read the “Officials Desperate to Nail Jackson” article for more info. Here’s an excerpt:
The child sex abuse case against Michael Jackson has taken a new – and ugly – turn.
Prosecutors in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties are scrambling to salvage what’s left of their criminal investigations into sex abuse allegations against the pop music star.
Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti urged state legislators last week to amend a law that now prohibits forcing people who say they have been sexually assaulted to testify in criminal proceedings.
If passed, the change would take effect immediately and allow Garcetti to compel the 14-year-old boy with whom Jackson reached an out-of-court settlement last month to testify in any criminal trials growing out of his widely reported charge that the superstar sexually abused him.
So if the confidentiality agreement explicitly states that the Chandlers’ could testify in court if they wanted to, and if Larry Feldman explicitly stated that “nobody bought anybody’s silence”, then you would think that the media would report that it was the Chandlers who CHOSE not to testify, right? WRONG!
Let’s look at what that Maureen Orth had to say about the settlement in her June 2005 Vanity Fair column, C.S.I. Neverland:
Michael Jackson has finally wound up in a courtroom facing charges of pedophilia, a disaster people had warned him for years was coming. In 1993, police in California investigated claims that he had molested a 13-year-old boy, whose silence Jackson bought for $25 million. Another boy, the son of one of his former maids, has now testified that Jackson started groping him when he was seven. The boy’s mother received $2.4 million for their silence.
Maureen Orth just contradicted herself! How can she say that MJ bought the silence of Blanca and Jason Francia, when they both testified in court?! Well, maybe it’s because she’s not a lawyer with years of experience, right? She’s just some hack journalist writing a poorly researched article that is literally filled with information derived from tabloids and other untrustworthy sources, right? Surely, a lawyer would never say that a defendant “bought the silence” of an accuser, right? Wrong! I’ll give you a few examples later on in this article!
Another example of a hack journalist who has tried to insinuate that MJ “got away with it” in 1993 is Martin Bashir, someone so despised in his home country that he was voted the 5th worst Briton of all time in a 2003 poll. During his infamous crock-umentary “Living With Michael Jackson”, he stated the following to MJ: “The reason that’s been given as to why you didn’t go to jail is because you reached a financial settlement with the family.” Let’s analyze that statement for a moment:
Bashir is insinuating that MJ “bought his freedom” by settling the civil lawsuit. But, as I’ve stated earlier while discussing the differences between criminal and civil law, you CANNOT be sentenced to prison if found liable in civil court! You can only be ordered to pay monetary damages! And as I’ve also stated earlier, the Chandlers had no desire to testify in criminal court, so Bashir and the rest of the lamestream media should be blaming The Chandlers for MJ not going to jail if they really feel he’s guilty! I don’t think I’ve EVER heard any MJ hater criticize the Chandlers!!
(Bashir’s settlement interrogation begins at 3:48)
This is what MJ should have done as soon as Bashir started interrogating him about the settlement, as well as the plastic surgery, sleeping arrangements of children, et cetera!!!
Here is so-called comedienne Joan Rivers’ take on the settlement! In this audio clip, she claims that she and MJ shared the same manager, and he showed her a check for $35 million dollars that was paid to the Chandlers. This is wrong on so many levels that I won’t even try to address such an outrageous claim. It’s one thing to say this in her lame standup comedy routine, but another thing to say it in an interview, and expect to be taken seriously! I guess MJ must be the most irresponsible celebrity ever when it comes to managing his “hush money” checks, because his sister Latoya also claimed to have seen his checks as well!
In this video, beginning at 1:50, Latoya recanted what she said at the press conference, claiming that she was threatened into reading what was put in front of her, and having to “act” like she believed what she was saying to avoid getting beat by her abusing ex-husband.
But this article from Time magazine is probably the most egregious example of the media’s distortion of the settlement. It explicitly states that there was an “unwritten agreement” between MJ and the Chandlers that Jordie wouldn’t testify, which implies that had it not been for the settlement, they would have testified in criminal court. If the Chandlers truly wanted to testify in criminal court, then they would not have sued MJ in the first place! Here’s an excerpt:
The other glove finally dropped. Last week representatives of Michael Jackson and the 14-year-old boy who accused him of sexual molestation agreed to settle the boy’s civil suit. No promises were put in writing — and no judge would tolerate such promises — but it was understood that the boy will not testify in pending criminal investigations of Jackson being pursued by the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara district attorneys. Meanwhile, the star gets to maintain his innocence. The price tag was estimated between $15 million and $50 million — part paid in cash, part to be fed into a trust fund for the boy.
And one last thing to think about regarding this “hush money” nonsense: why would MJ, or any other defendant for that matter, pay millions in hush money when there is NO INCENTIVE WHATSOEVER for the accuser to remain silent? If MJ’s settlement really was “hush money”, and the Chandlers accepted it, and then had a change of heart and testified anyway, what legal recourse would MJ have against them? Could he sue them for breaking their word? Of course not! It is illegal to bribe someone to not testify, and MJ would have been completely out of luck. Not only would the Chandlers testify against him, but they could say “Hey, he paid me all this money to be quiet! Look at my bank statements!” If MJ was guilty, and wanted to silence the Chandlers, then instead of offering money, he would have THREATENED THEM!!! Think about this: do drug dealers and gang bangers “pay off” witnesses to their crimes to keep them silent! NO!!! They threaten to kill them, and that’s the number one reason why so many inner-city murders go unsolved. And if the Chandlers truly wanted to testify, but were threatened by MJ’s entourage, then they would have asked for and receive all the protection that they needed, and Sneddon would have gleefully announced to the world that MJ was threatening them. Hopefully that scenario should put an end to this “hush money” garbage once and for all!
Now, here is another example of an insurance carrier settling lawsuits without the consent of the insured. You guys are going to laugh out loud, because the person who was forced to settle was none other than Evan Chandler! Not only was he frivolously sued for medical malpractice by several former patients after he received the settlement, but he was also falsely accused of molesting one of them too! Oh, the irony! From “All That Glitters”, page 226:
“After the media announced that Evan controlled his son’s fortune, several of Evan’s patients all of a sudden threatened malpractice suits against him. Most of these claims were so frivolous they died a quick death. One or two were paid because the amount was so small it was more costly for the insurance company to defend than to fight. And one went to trial, but was dismissed when the plaintiff, knowing she was losing, attempted, in the middle of the case, to admit new evidence that a repressed memory had surfaced of her being sexually molested while under sedation in the dental chair.”
I wonder if MJ haters would assume that Evan was guilty of medical malpractice, based on the settlement with his former patients? Or if he was guilty of molestation, but “bought his way out of it” with the money that he extorted from MJ?
Blanca & Jason Francia Civil Suit
Now, let’s discuss the other “victim” of MJ, Jason Francia. He is the son of Blanca Francia, who worked as a maid atNeverland until she was fired in 1991 for trying to steal a watch, rifling through MJ’s wallet, and for tardiness. After the 1993 scandal hit the airwaves, Blanca was courted by Diane Dimond to do an exclusive, “tell-all” interview about her experiences at Neverland. She lied and said that she witnessed MJ showering naked with young boys on a number of occasions, and as a result she “quit in disgust”. She was paid $20k by Hard Copy for her salacious lies, but she was forced to recant them while under deposition by MJ’s defense team. Blanca admitted she never saw Jackson shower with anyone nor had she seen him naked with boys in his Jacuzzi. They always had their swimming trunks on, she acknowledged.
Blanca’s son, Jason, often accompanied her to work at both Neverland Ranch, and at MJ’s “Hideout” condo in Century City. Oftentimes, he and MJ would engage in tickling games, and other forms of innocent horseplay. This horseplay would be exploited by aggressive police looking to force Jason into making an accusation. He was interrogated by cops after the scandal broke, and he initially denied any wrongdoing by MJ, and Blanca was very uncomfortable with the way he was being interviewed. He had been lied to by police to solicit an allegation against Jackson. They told him that Jackson was “molesting Macaulay Culkin, and that Corey Feldman was a drug-head who would probably die early because he hung out with Jackson”. They wanted Francia to “help them” help the kid who was being abused (Jordie Chandler). Here is a brief transcript of the police interview:
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: Macauly 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.
Though he denied any abuse, he was pressured to make up allegations that he was touched inappropriately during the tickling games. Diane Dimond stayed in touch with Blanca, and when she decided to pursue a settlement just as Chandler did (after the criminal case was closed in September 1994), Dimond was there to offer her “assistance”. When MJ’s lawyers objected to any form of settlement, Diane Dimond aired a special report about the demands made by Blanca’s lawyers in December 1994 on Hard Copy in order to pressure MJ’s team with negative publicity. Sony, which was about to release MJ’s new “HIStory” album, intervened and compelled his lawyers to settle for a mere $2 million so as not to sabotage their multi-million dollar marketing campaign for “HIStory” with negative publicity, irrespective of the facts.
This settlement was not an admission of guilt, but was meant to avoid negative publicity. Period. The MJ haters who try to use this as a sign of guilt would have said “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire” if the allegations had gone public. If he had gone to civil court and was acquitted, they would have called it “celebrity justice”, so MJ took Sony’s advice and just chose the lesser of two evils.
When Mesereau cross-examined Jason in 2005, he asked him if he remembered how he initially denied to police that he had been molested. Here is a brief transcript of the cross-examination:
Q. Do you remember stating in that interview, “They 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”? Do you remember that?
Q. Would it refresh your recollection if I show you the transcript of that?
A. Probably not. But you can show it to me anyway.
Q. Do you remember anything you said in that interview at the moment?
A. Not really. (4908-4909 (20-15))
In this excerpt, Jason is asked if he remembers making up a story for the police, and of course he all of a sudden became a victim of amnesia! Even after he was given official transcripts of his interview, he refused to acknowledge what he said!
Q. — that was recorded – all right? – when asked if Mr. Jackson said anything to you about whether you should discuss what happened, do you remember telling the interviewers, “No, but I’m working on that”?
A. I do not remember that.
Q. Would it refresh your recollection if I show you the transcript?
A. No. But — you could bring it over.
Q. Well, I can’t unless you’re willing to see if it refreshes your recollection.
A. Okay. Bring it over. I’ll give it a shot. I’ll read it just to see if it refreshes my memory.
Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Have you had a chance to
23 review those pages —
24 A. I have.
25 Q. — of your transcript?
26 Do they refresh your recollection about what
27 you said on that subject?
28 A. No, it does not. 4942
1 Q. It doesn’t.
2 A. Sorry.
Jason’s testimony was so awful under cross-examination that some of the jurors actually LAUGHED at him during a break! Their laughter was overheard by some members of the media who subsequently reported their behavior to Judge Melville, hoping to get them kicked off of the jury for misconduct. Here is some analysis of the story by MSNBC’s Dan Abrams. And here is analysis of Jason’s laughable testimony by Mike Taibbi, one of the few journalists who was actually fair to MJ throughout the trial. How he was able to keep his job at MSNBC is beyond me! He must have tenure! Also, in that video they show Blanca Francia’s ugly face!
Here is an interview that William Wagener did with Tom Mesereau in December 2010, and Wagener described a chance encounter that he had with Jason Francia. Jason denied any wrongdoing by Michael, but of course he flip-flopped right on the witness stand! Wagener’s recollection of his encounter with Jason starts at 5:48:
Here’s another example of finding a diamond ring in a pile of feces! This excerpt from “Unmasked” includes the interview of two former Neverland housekeepers who blasted Blanca Francia for lying, and vehemently defended MJ. Halperin’s analysis of their interview is dead on! I couldn’t have said it better myself! From pages 71-72:
Meanwhile, two other former Neverland housekeepers came forward to discredit Francia’s allegations, telling CNN that the stories were made up.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” declared Shanda Lujan, who worked at Neverland for almost a year. “I mean, there’s just no way that Michael could do that. Michael’s just not that type of person.”
Francin Orosco worked for Jackson for two years and also said Jackson was incapable of the kind of behavior he was being accused of. “I think it’s pure lies. I think it’s just pure lies. It’s disgusting what they – what they could accuse somebody of for, and I think it’s just all for money. Michael could never do something like that. Never, ever.”
Both Orosco and Lujan claimed that Francia had actually been fired because of a bad attitude and was obsessed with the pop superstar.
“You could tell a lot that she had a little crush on him. And very jealous of the other housekeepers and didn’t want no one close to Michael. There was….there’s a lot of jealousy there,” said Orosco.
“He was great with kids,” added Lujan. “I mean, you know, if….I think he would be a very good father. I mean, he’s just wonderful with them.” The former maids said their ranch chores involved entering Jackson’s room at times, but that they had never seen anything suspicious.
Most notable about their statements was that at the time of their interviews, each of the two women were no longer on Jackson’s payroll and were not paid for their interviews, and therefore had no incentive to lie.
Finally! There really are Neverland employees who are actually honest and have integrity! I almost thought that the term “honest Neverland employee” was an oxymoron, until I read that interview!
Here is the testimony of attorney Kris Kallman, who represented Blanca & Jason Francia during their settlement negotiations against MJ in 1995. (When you open the link, scroll down and open the link in his name to see his testimony.) He confirms that the settlement was NOT an admission of guilt, it did NOT prevent the Francias from testifying in court (obviously!), and that there was unique language added to it to reinforce MJ’s innocence.
(I know that this testimony is long and monotonous, but bear with me! I wanted to include it to give readers the complete scope of Kallman’s explanation of the Francia settlement.)
Sneddon’s Direct Examination of Kris Kallman
Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: Who was the individual that
12 the Complaint was directed towards?
13 A. Mr. Jackson.
14 Q. At some point in time, did you have contact
15 with individuals who were representing Mr. Jackson
16 over the proposed filing of the criminal — of the
17 civil complaint?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And who did you make contact with?
20 A. Initially our contacts were with Johnnie
21 Cochran and his associate, Carl Douglas.
22 Q. Do you recall approximately when it was when
23 you first made contact with Mr. — or when contact
24 was made between you and Mr. Cochran and Mr.
26 A. It was either late ‘94 or early ‘95.
27 Q. Did you, after your conversations with those
28 individuals, file the civil lawsuit? 4953
1 A. No.
2 Q. At some point in time later, were you then
3 dealing with other lawyers with regard to the
4 proposed filing of that civil lawsuit?
5 A. Yes. At some point, Mr. Jackson’s
6 representation was assumed by a lawyer named Zia
7 Modabber, and a lawyer named Howard Weitzman.
8 Q. And do you recall approximately when it was
9 that you then began contact with those particular
11 A. I believe it was in mid 1995.
12 Q. And the purpose of those contacts?
13 A. Well, the —
14 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Vague;
16 THE COURT: Overruled.
17 You may answer.
18 THE WITNESS: The purpose of the contacts
19 was that they knew that we had a Complaint that we
20 were about to file in Santa Barbara County Superior
21 Court, and they didn’t want us to do that.
22 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Hearsay;
24 THE COURT: The answer is stricken.
26 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: As a result of the
27 conversations between these individuals, did you
28 pursue your lawsuit? 4954
1 A. Well, we never filed the lawsuit.
2 Q. Did you reach an agreement, a settlement
4 A. Yes, we did.
5 Q. Did you reach a settlement agreement in
6 which Jason Francia received monetary compensation
7 from Mr. Jackson?
8 A. Yes, sir.
9 Q. Did you receive — did you reach an
10 agreement in which Blanca Francia received monetary
11 compensation from Mr. Jackson?
12 A. Yes, we did.
13 Q. During the time that you were
14 representing — during the time that you had
15 prepared a Complaint ready to be filed and you were
16 in contact with attorneys representing Mr. Jackson,
17 can you give the ladies and gentlemen of the jury an
18 idea of how old Jason Francia was at that particular
19 point in time?
20 A. Well, he was about 14 years old. He’s 24
21 now, as I understand it, and we’re talking about
22 things that happened just about exactly ten years
24 Q. And in your position as a civil litigator,
25 at the time that an individual is of minority, at
26 the age of 14, how do you deal with representing a
27 person like that?
28 A. Well, a child – 4955
1 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Vague;
2 foundation; relevance.
3 THE COURT: Overruled.
4 You may complete your answer.
5 THE WITNESS: A child, under California law,
6 under the age of 18, is not permitted to enter into
7 a contract. I suppose he or she could, but it
8 wouldn’t be enforceable. So the only way a child
9 can act legally is through a guardian ad litem. And
10 it’s normally the parent and normally the mother.
11 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: Was that the case in this
12 particular instance?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Now, during the course of the time that you
15 were involved in obtaining a settlement from Mr.
16 Jackson on behalf of the Francias, did you deal
17 personally with Jason at any time?
18 A. Yeah. Sure.
19 Q. In what respect?
20 A. Well, I knew who he was, I met with him. I
21 met with he and his mom. He was a teenaged boy, and
22 a nice young man.
23 Q. Now, at some point in time was Jason
24 required to sign some kind of documents in
25 conjunction with the settlement?
26 A. Yes. When he turned 18, part of the
27 condition was that he sign a confidentiality
28 agreement. 4956
1 Q. Now, with regard to the confidentiality —
2 and to your knowledge, did he sign that?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And with regard to the confidentiality
5 agreement, did it have a provision that required
6 notice to Mr. Jackson in the event that Jason
7 Francia talked to anybody?
8 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Leading; move to
10 THE COURT: Overruled.
11 You may answer.
12 THE WITNESS: I believe so, yes.
13 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: And what was the
14 requirement notice in the confidentiality agreement
15 with regard to notice to the defense?
16 A. I believe it’s five days.
17 Q. And were you at some point contacted by Mr.
18 Zonen of our department with regard to interviewing
19 your — Jason Francia?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And in that particular case, did you
22 indicate to Mr. Zonen that you would have to do
23 something before you could agree with that?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And what was that?
26 A. Well, I’d have to notify somebody on Mr.
27 Jackson’s legal staff that they wanted to talk to
28 him. 4957
1 Q. And did you do that?
2 A. Yeah. Yes. Excuse me.
3 Q. And did you then grant permission for Mr.
4 Zonen to have a conversation with your — with Jason
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Now, were you present during the
8 conversations between Jason Francia and Mr. Zonen?
9 A. I don’t think so. I think I was there, and
10 then I think I had to go to another court or
11 something like that. I don’t remember being an
12 integral part of any of those — if there was more
13 than one, I don’t even know.
14 Q. And I’m talking about the conversations that
15 occurred after you gave notice to the defense in
16 this case, or gave notice to Mr. Jackson. To your
17 knowledge, was Mr. Cannon present?
18 A. I believe so. At least for part of it.
19 Again, I’m not certain.
20 Q. Do you remember when it was that you
21 finally — the year that you finally reached a
22 settlement agreement with Mr. Jackson?
23 A. Yes. It’s been a long time. But it was a
24 big deal. And I do remember —
25 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Nonresponsive;
26 move to strike.
27 THE COURT: The answer is stricken.
28 Nonresponsive. 4958
1 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: Just —
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And what year was that, approximately?
4 A. It was either ‘95 or ‘96, I believe.
Mesereau’s Cross Examination of Kris Kallman:
Q. Yes. Okay. Now, the prosecutor asked you
13 some questions about provisions in the settlement
14 agreement, okay? And one of the issues that was
15 carefully negotiated by the people representing Mr.
16 Jackson was that he deny any wrongdoing in that
17 agreement, right?
18 A. Again, the best evidence of that would be
19 what’s in the agreement. I don’t remember what’s in
21 Q. Okay. Well, let me — the prosecutor read
22 you a provision, asked you about it.
23 Let me ask you about this: There was
24 language in that agreement that said, “The parties
25 acknowledge that Jackson has elected to settle the
26 claims solely in view of the potential impact any
27 litigation could have in the future on his
28 reputation, earnings and potential income, and not 4968
1 because of any alleged wrongful conduct on his
2 part,” right?
3 A. If you’re asking me if that’s in the
4 document, I’ll have to take your word for it. You
5 don’t need to show it to me. It sounds pretty
6 standard to me.
7 Q. The agreement further said — excuse me, let
8 me rephrase that.
9 Both agreements, the one involving Jason and
10 the one involving Blanca, his mother, both had
11 language which said, “This agreement shall not, in
12 any manner, be construed as an admission by Jackson
13 that he has acted wrongfully with respect to
14 Francia, Blanca, or any other person, or at all, or
15 that Francia or Blanca have any rights whatsoever
16 against Jackson or Jackson’s releasees.” Sound
17 familiar to you?
18 A. It sounds like standard language in
19 virtually every release that I deal with. But, yes,
20 it does sound familiar.
21 Q. Actually, there’s a whole separate paragraph
22 entitled, “Denial of Claims by Mr. Jackson,”
24 A. Don’t know.
25 Q. Would it refresh your recollection if I show
26 you a copy?
27 A. It would.
28 MR. MESEREAU: May I approach, Your Honor? 4969
1 THE COURT: Yes.
2 THE WITNESS: It does refresh my
4 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Okay. And do you recall
5 that language being in both agreements?
6 A. I believe so, yes, sir.
7 Q. Okay. In addition to the language that I
8 have read, there’s further language which says,
9 “Jackson specifically disclaims any liability to,
10 and denies any wrongful acts against, Francia,
11 Blanca or any other person and may continue to do so
12 publicly, to the extent reasonably necessary, to
13 respond to any inquiries in this regard.” Right?
14 A. Correct.
15 Q. It said further, “The parties acknowledge
16 that Jackson is a public figure, and that his name,
17 image and likeness have commercial value and are an
18 important element of his earning capacity.” Right?
19 A. That’s true.
20 Q. And that language was in both settlement
21 agreements, the one involving Blanca Francia and the
22 one involving Jason Francia, correct?
23 A. I don’t remember that. I will take your
24 word for it. You don’t need to refresh my
25 recollection. It sounds like it should be or would
27 Q. Now, Mr. Kallman, provisions in which a
28 settling party denies liability are fairly standard 4970
1 in settlement agreements, right?
2 A. True.
3 Q. But the language that I just read to the
4 jury is not standard language in a settlement
5 agreement, is it?
6 A. This is not a standard case, or was not.
7 And no, you’re right. These were carefully drafted
8 by a team of lawyers, and we agreed to the terms.
9 Q. And the reason those terms are different is
10 because Mr. Jackson is an unusual individual in
11 terms of his need to preserve his reputation and
12 public image so he can earn a living, right?
13 MR. SNEDDON: Calls for speculation on this.
14 It wasn’t drafted by him. No foundation.
15 MR. MESEREAU: I think it was drafted by
16 this witness.
17 THE COURT: All right. I’ll sustain a
19 MR. MESEREAU: Okay.
20 Q. When you settled these matters – and I’m
21 talking about matters involving Michael Jackson,
22 Blanca Francia, and Jason Francia – you put in
23 language involving denial of claims by Mr. Jackson
24 that was not standard language in a typical
25 settlement agreement, right?
26 MR. SNEDDON: Your Honor, I’m going to
27 object to the question as lack of foundation; that
28 he put the language in there. 4971
1 THE COURT: Well, that was the foundation I
2 was looking for.
3 So I’ll allow you to answer the question as
4 long as you understand the limitations of your
6 THE WITNESS: Well —
7 THE COURT: If you put the language in.
8 THE WITNESS: I didn’t draft that agreement.
9 THE COURT: Okay.
10 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Did lawyers from your
11 office draft the agreement?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Who drafted the agreement?
14 A. Somebody in Mr. Modabber’s office, the
15 Katten, Muchin, Zavis & Weitzman firm in Century
17 Q. Did you have any input into the language in
18 the agreement?
19 A. Only to review it. And if there was
20 language we found objectionable, we could strike it,
21 I suppose.
22 Q. Okay.
23 A. But they wanted that in there, and I didn’t
24 find it objectionable.
25 Q. Okay. Now, you made a statement, I believe,
26 in response to the prosecutor’s questions, that if
27 someone from law enforcement wanted to speak to your
28 client, you had to first notify representatives of 4972
1 Mr. Jackson, true?
2 A. True.
3 Q. That — really, that language is not in that
4 agreement, is it?
5 A. I don’t know.
6 Q. Then why would you say it?
7 A. Because that’s part — in one of the
8 agreements, I have to give notice to the defense
9 team. And I’ve given notice once to Mr. Sanger.
10 And then when I got subpoenaed on Friday, I gave
11 notice to Mr. Modabber down in Los Angeles.
12 Q. But the notice you’re supposed to give to
13 the defense team does not involve requests by law
14 enforcement to speak to your client, does it?
15 A. I assume that anybody from law enforcement
16 that wants to talk to my client, there was a
17 requirement to notify somebody from the defense
19 Q. Nowhere in those settlement agreements is
20 there language to that effect, is there?
21 A. I have no idea.
22 MR. SNEDDON: Object as immaterial;
24 MR. MESEREAU: The prosecutor brought it up
25 on direct, Your Honor.
26 THE COURT: The objection is overruled. And
27 the answer came in as, “I have no idea.”
28 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: It would be against public 4973
1 policy for a civil litigator to put language in a
2 settlement agreement precluding anyone from
3 cooperating with law enforcement, wouldn’t it?
4 A. In my opinion, yes.
5 Q. Lawyers are not allowed to have language
6 like that in settlement agreements, right?
7 A. Wrong.
8 Q. Pardon me?
9 A. No. It’s a notice requirement. It’s not a
10 preclusion requirement.
In Part 2, I will discuss other athletes and entertainers who have been extorted with civil lawsuits, and analyze the media’s hypocrisy in NOT treating their settlements as signs of guilt! I will also thoroughly discuss Janet Arvizo’s shakedown of JC Penney!
UPDATE October 8th, 2010
Here is a story from September 1993, when MJ visited Russia for his first concert there. It gives a timeline of events up through September 1993. Even in the early stages of the scandal, the media was reporting that “hush money” could be paid to Evan Chandler, and this was mentioned @ 4:14.
@ 4:45 you hear Pellicano playing a tape of Rothman saying that he would be “amazed” if MJ didn’t “take this deal” because it would be a “great move” for him.
@ 5:12 you see LaToya giving a less than supportive statement about MJ’s innocence, which as we all know was only a prelude of things to come! I wonder if Jack Gordon “forced” her to say this too?
And for pure comic releif, at 5:21 you see Gloria Allred (BEFORE she cut her hair! LOL!) stating that Jordie is “ready, willing, and able” to testify, yet a few days later she was FIRED!!! (Which I described in the article.)
Finally, @ 7:30 the reporter quoted the LAPD as saying that they “won’t be bullied into prosecuting Jackson!!”. We all know that was a total farce, especially with the desperate attempt that Garcetti made to have the law changed so that he could FORCE Jordie to testify! He was so desperate to prosecute Jackson that he didn’t HAVE to be bullied!