March 15th, 2005 Trial Analysis: Gavin Arvizo’s Testimony (Cross Examination), Terry Flaa, Jeff Klapakis, and Steve Robel (Direct & Cross Examination), Part 4 of 4
Sanger continued to ask Sgt. Robel about his recollections of the books that he saw all throughout Neverland, and stated that Jackson owned many copies of multiple books, and that they were oftentimes sent to him unsolicited. Sanger then asked Sgt. Robel about a particular book by Bruce Weber called “The Chop Suey Club”. Mr. Weber is a photographer who photographed the Jackson 5 and many other famous people, so by establishing that fact, it enabled the defense to impress upon the jury the fact that Mr. Weber’s previous relationship with Jackson was motivating factor for him to send Jackson his book. None of the Arvizos claimed that they were shown that particular book, or any of the other books that Sgt. Robel identified earlier.
2 Q. All right. Now, you saw all of this on
3 November the 18th, 2003, correct.
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. So you don’t know what exactly was there in
6 February or March; is that correct.
7 A. That’s a true statement.
8 Q. All right. Now, having talked about all
9 those books, among the books as you went through,
10 did you notice from time to time there might be more
11 than one copy of the same book.
12 A. Me, no, did not notice that.
13 Q. Did you notice that it appeared that a
14 publisher or an author had sent books to Mr.
16 A. I am unaware of that.
17 Q. All right. Now, this particular book,
18 Mr. Weber, who’s up there, Bruce Weber, The Chop
19 Suey Club, were you aware that Mr. Weber sent this
20 to Mr. Jackson unsolicited.
21 A. No, I’m not.
22 Q. Were you aware that Mr. Weber was a
23 photographer who had photographed The Jackson 5.
24 A. No.
25 Q. Photographed other people, Nelson Mandela
26 and a lot of other people.
27 A. No.
28 Q. Inside that very book, there’s an actual 2184
1 photograph of Elizabeth Taylor; is that correct.
2 A. It’s been a while since I’ve looked at that
3 book, so I couldn’t say for sure.
4 Q. Okay. And if I didn’t specifically ask you
5 on that, this, there was no witness that said they
6 were shown this book or saw this book, is that
7 correct, other than you and the officer that booked
8 it into evidence.
9 A. To the best of my knowledge, yes.
After going through the exact timeline of events with Sgt. Robel, Sanger asked him about a meeting that he had with the Arvizos on January 19th, 2004, where the detectives played for them the rebuttal tape that was confiscated from the home of Hamid Mosehli, the person who filmed it:
25 Q. Was there a tape-recorded interview on
26 January the 19th, 2004.
27 A. I don’t recall. I don’t have that report.
28 Who’s the author of that. Me. Or — 2195
1 Q. Well, I have the transcript here, and I’ll
2 have to find the report. But while I’m doing that,
3 or before I do that, let me see if I can refresh
4 your recollection a little bit.
5 Do you recall a meeting with the Arvizo
6 children during which, or preceding which, they were
7 played the rebuttal video.
8 A. I do remember that.
9 Q. And after the rebuttal video was played for
10 them, then you interviewed the various children one
11 by one; is that correct.
12 A. Yeah, but I was not involved in the
13 interview process of that. I was there, in and out.
14 That would be Detective Zelis that was the author of
15 that report. And he participated with the
17 Q. Okay. And when you say “the attorneys,” who
18 was there.
19 A. I believe it was Mr. Zonen and Mr. Sneddon.
20 Q. All right. Mr. Zonen and Mr. Sneddon
21 actually engaged in asking questions and making
22 remarks during those interviews, correct.
23 A. I do recall, yes.
24 Q. Okay. All right. So, could you —
25 A. Mr. Sanger.
26 Q. Yes.
27 A. No, it was — I stand corrected on that. It
28 was Mr. Zonen that was in there conducting that. 2196
1 Mr. Sneddon was with me outside the room. I mean,
2 we watched the videos together, but then when it
3 came to questioning the kids, we both stepped out,
4 and it was Mr. Zonen and Detective Zelis that
5 handled that.
6 Q. Okay. Let me see if I can refresh your
7 recollection in that regard.
8 May I approach.
9 THE COURT: Yes.
10 Q. BY MR. SANGER: I’m showing you a
11 transcript. And you’re welcome to look at the whole
12 thing. The introduction and subsequent pages where
13 there’s some references, does that refresh your
14 recollection that —
15 A. Yes, it does.
16 Q. Okay. Was Mr. Sneddon there and did he
17 actually participate in part of the interview.
18 A. Yes, he did.
19 Q. All right. Okay. So having said that, can
20 you put on your chart — let me take the book back.
21 Thank you.
22 Put on your chart a reference for this
23 interview, which is January 19, 2004, or series of
25 A. Okay.
The reason that they prosecutors completely changed the dates of the alleged abuse, as well as adding and subtracting charges (primarily the addition of the conspiracy charge) is because once they learned of the exculpatory statements that the Arvizo family willingly said about Jackson on the rebuttal tape, they needed to come up with a way to explain why the family would make such statements, especially since Gavin initially stated that the abuse occurred before the tape was filmed. So Sneddon rearranged the start date of the alleged abuse from February 7th to February 20th (the day the video was shot), the ending date of the abuse from March 10th to March 12th, and added the conspiracy charge to allege that Jackson forced the family to stay at Neverland and make the video against their will, and had planned on flying them to Brazil to escape the media onslaught.
This is what Mesereau had to say about the changing timeline on the first day of his opening statement:
7 Two days later, on February 6th, 2003, the
8 Bashir program aired in the United States, and
9 Prosecutor Sneddon began an investigation. And Mr.
10 Jackson knew that. Of course, the allegations now
11 are a few weeks after the media frenzy, and the D.A.
12 investigation, and the DCFS investigation, and
13 Michael suddenly starts molesting Gavin.
14 By the way, we’re going to prove something
15 else. Initially when the prosecutors charged Mr.
16 Jackson, they said the molestation began in early
17 February. Later on, they learned that during a DCFS
18 interview, Department of Children & Family Services,
19 the family had all said Mr. Jackson did nothing but
20 help them. Never hurt them. Never did anything
22 They later learned that on that video which
23 the prosecutor referred to where he says they had
24 essentially a gun to their head, or words to that
25 effect, and they also praised Mike Jackson and said
26 nothing bad was done, ever, and guess what. That
27 Complaint went by the wayside. An Indictment was
28 returned that changed the dates of the alleged 167
1 molestation to begin after those statements. And
2 that’s a fact.
3 And incidentally, we will prove to you that
4 after learning how important those statements could
5 be, where you’re recorded twice, actually more than
6 twice, you’re recorded over three times saying
7 Michael never did a thing wrong, never molested,
8 never touched, never did anything like that, Gavin
9 changed his story as well. Suddenly it all started
10 later on after the statements made to the Department
11 of Children & Family Services.
And here is what Mesereau said about it on the second day of opening statements:
18 I also indicated to you that the prosecutors
19 initially had filed a Complaint against Mr. Jackson
20 alleging that molestation had occurred, based on
21 what the Arvizos told them before the Arvizos did
22 the rebuttal tape praising Michael Jackson saying he
23 never did anything wrong. And you’ll see it in the
24 trial. And also before they were interviewed by the
25 Los Angeles Department of Children & Family Services
26 where they repeated their absolute denials that he’d
27 ever done anything wrong. They did nothing but
28 praise him to the hilt. 181
1 And what I said to you was after the reality
2 of those statements set in, the prosecutors changed
3 the dates of the alleged molestation and now they’re
4 supposed to have occurred after those interviews.
5 And as I said to you, this is a time when
6 the media and Mr. Sneddon’s investigating, and
7 everybody is talking about this Bashir documentary,
8 and the networks are coming out to see if they can
9 vie for the ability to do a rebuttal tape. This is
10 when they’re claiming these acts of molestation
11 occurred. They didn’t.
And here is Mesereau’s explanation of the trumped-up conspiracy charges; this excerpt is from the Frozen in Time legal seminar from September 2010:
The prosecution was out to get him in the best way that they could, and I understand that, but I think the person they chose as the victim, as the accuser, and particularly that person’s family, were really a disaster for them. They brought a conspiracy charge that Michael Jackson had masterminded a criminal conspiracy to abduct children, commit extortion, and falsely imprison a family. Michael Jackson couldn’t even imagine such behavior, let alone orchestrate it. And what that charge did for them, and I can’t get in the minds of the prosecutors, but here’s what I think they were doing, is that allowed the mother, who was really the lynchpin of that a lot of the case, to bring in co-conspirator hearsay under the exception. It allowed them to intimidate witnesses who were at Neverland because they were too fearful they would be indicted as conspirators. Great conspiracy here! The only person they charged was Michael Jackson. Everyone else was unindicted. She brings hearsay testimony in, the witnesses that can refute it are terrified to come to court for fear that ey’ll be indicted, so they lawyer up. And plus, it makes Michael Jackson look like this “Mafioso-type” guru, which he’s not even capable of being.
After Sgt. Robel finished summarizing his timeline, Sanger asked him to state it to the jury:
24 Q. Okay. Can we go through, just really
25 quickly with the pointer there, so you can tell us
26 what you wrote.
27 A. Okay. On February the 7th, that’s when the
28 family returned back from Miami. 2198
1 March the 12th, that’s when the Arvizos left
2 the ranch for good.
3 On June 13th, 2003, we received a call from
4 Attorney Feldman. And then on June 13th, Dr. Katz
5 was interviewed.
6 And July 7th was the first interview with
7 the Arvizo children.
8 August 13th was a follow-up interview with
9 the kids.
10 November 25th is when I met with Star and
11 Gavin for the bucchal swabs.
12 And November 18th is when we served the
13 search warrant at Neverland.
14 January 19th, 2004, that’s when the family
15 was interviewed regarding the rebuttal tape.
16 And then end of March through April of 2004,
17 the grand jury.
18 Q. Okay. Thank you.
Next, Sanger questions Sgt. Robel about the process of conducting searches, and specifically about the raids on the home of Hamid Mosheli and the office of Bradley Miller. Sgt. Robel admits that prior to the raids on November 18th, 2003, none of the Arvizo children ever mentioned that they had filmed the rebuttal video on February 20th, 2003 (although Janet mentioned it, albeit briefly, in one of her interviews):
21 Q. Okay. Now, if we look at — we have July
22 the 7th is the first set of interviews, right, that
23 are on tape.
24 A. That’s correct.
25 Q. And then August 13th, right.
26 A. Correct.
27 Q. Up to that point, you have not really
28 gathered much in the way of physical evidence in 2200
1 this case; is that correct.
2 A. That is correct.
3 Q. November 18th, you told us that you had
4 conducted a search at Neverland Ranch, right.
5 A. That’s correct.
6 Q. And that’s where you had quite a number of
7 officers and you were there all day, correct.
8 A. Right.
9 Q. And you’ve told us some of the things that
10 your department retrieved as a result of this
11 search, correct.
12 A. That’s correct.
13 Q. There was certainly quite a number of other
14 items that were retrieved, were seized, as a result
15 of that search; is that right.
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. In addition to that, two other locations
18 were searched on that same day, on November the
19 18th, correct.
20 A. That’s correct.
21 Q. One of the locations was Hamid Moslehi’s
22 house; is that right.
23 A. That’s correct.
24 Q. And the other location was the office of
25 Brad Miller.
26 A. Correct.
27 Q. Okay. Now, with regard to all of these
28 searches, you were responsible for the briefing of 2201
1 the officers before they went out to do the
2 searches; is that right.
3 A. I was one of the personnel that was involved
4 in that, yes.
5 Q. All right. And, of course, as the lead
6 investigator, you knew that all this was going on,
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. All right. And after the searches were
10 completed, you were eventually briefed on what was
11 retrieved from the various searches; is that right.
12 THE COURT: Can we turn on the light again
13 or — are you through with that.
14 MR. SANGER: We could for a couple minutes.
15 In fact, what I’ll try to do is see if I can avoid
16 coming back to it before the next break.
17 Q. Okay. So just give us an idea of how much,
18 quantity-wise, was seized from the Neverland Ranch
20 A. Are you taking about the various items,
21 Mr. Sanger. I mean, quantity —
22 Q. There were —
23 A. There was — there was a lot. I mean, there
24 was hundreds, yes, of items that we took.
25 Q. And of the hundreds of items that you took,
26 you were not able to evaluate all of them in the
27 field; is that correct.
28 A. Evaluate them to — their description. Or 2202
1 just to see what — if they fall within, what, the
2 search warrant.
3 Q. No. We’re not talking about that.
4 A. Okay. I just — I didn’t understand.
5 Q. You seized things. That’s a legal issue.
6 That’s fine. We’re here — I’m not worried about
8 Let’s put it this way: When you seize
9 certain items at any search, quite often you have to
10 go back to the office, you have to look at them,
11 evaluate them, try to figure out how they fit into
12 the puzzle. Sometimes, if it’s a tape, you got to
13 watch it. If it’s a computer, you have to download
14 it and look at it, right.
15 A. That is correct.
16 Q. Okay. So the fact that you searched things
17 on November 18th doesn’t mean that you necessarily
18 are going to know the contents and significance of
19 everything that you seized as of the end of the day;
20 is that right.
21 A. That’s a true statement, yes.
22 Q. And with regard to Mr. Moslehi, he was —
23 his residence was in the Los Angeles area; is that
25 A. Yeah, San Fernando Valley, I believe.
26 Q. And the material had been taken from there
27 and brought up to Santa Barbara; is that correct.
28 A. That’s correct. 2203
1 Q. And then people had to look through it and
2 try to figure out what it was, what it meant.
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. And among other things, there were a number
5 of tapes, either videotapes or CDs or some medium,
6 but there was a number of recorded items that were
7 taken from Mr. Moslehi’s house; is that right.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And you understood that he was a
10 professional videographer; is that right.
11 A. Correct.
12 Q. Okay. And so consequently, he had a lot of
13 videos, I suppose, right.
14 A. Right.
15 Q. And then Mr. Miller, Brad Miller, was a
16 licensed private investigator; is that correct.
17 A. That is correct.
18 Q. Or I should say “is,” I suppose. But at the
19 time he was as well, right.
20 A. Right.
21 Q. And in the — as the lead investigator,
22 you’re aware that what was seized from his office
23 included some video and audio tapes; is that right.
24 A. That is correct.
25 Q. All right. So it took some time for the
26 investigators in the case — well, let me back up
27 just a little bit and withdraw that.
28 When you do a search like this, you bring a 2204
1 lot of people in to assist who are not going to be
2 permanently on the team investigating the case; is
3 that right.
4 A. That is correct.
5 Q. So you may detail people from another
6 division or another unit whose duties have nothing
7 to do with this case or even a case like this; is
8 that right.
9 A. That’s correct.
10 Q. And once they do their job, once they’ve
11 completed the detail, they have finished doing the
12 search, they bring the stuff back and book it into
13 your sheriff’s evidence locker, they go on and do
14 something else, right.
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. And they may not be involved in the case
17 again unless they’re called in to testify as to what
18 they did, right.
19 A. Right.
20 Q. Okay. So you have the scribes and the
21 seizers, and they bring the evidence back, and then
22 it may be that somebody totally different is going
23 to be assigned to actually evaluate it and
24 understand it and figure out how it fits into the
25 case, right.
26 A. That is correct.
27 Q. All right.
28 So I was going to try to get to the break 2205
1 without asking the lights go off one more time, but
2 let’s do it, if we can, please.
3 Thank you, Your Honor.
4 So, up to this point, November 18th, you
5 were not aware, as of that point, that there had
6 been a tape-recording by Bradley Miller of this
7 family; is that correct.
8 A. Only — yeah, you are correct.
9 Q. And as of November 18th, you were not aware
10 that there had actually been a film made of this
11 family, which later became known as “the rebuttal
12 film”; is that correct.
13 A. I believe that — and I’m not — because I
14 haven’t reviewed that statement, but I believe that
15 Mrs. Arvizo was explaining to us in her interview
16 that that had taken place.
17 Q. Well, we weren’t talking about Mrs. Arvizo,
18 because she hasn’t testified yet.
19 MR. SNEDDON: Your Honor, I’m going to
20 object to that. He’s asking what the officer was
21 aware of. This isn’t a segregation.
22 MR. SANGER: No, this —
23 MR. SNEDDON: I apologize.
24 I object. Assumes facts not in evidence,
25 And it’s argumentative.
26 MR. SANGER: I apologize, because I said
27 something, but I will withdraw the question. How’s
28 that. 2206
1 THE COURT: I’m looking for a break, but —
2 rephrase your question.
3 MR. SANGER: Yes, Your Honor.
4 Q. That’s true, I am asking for your awareness,
5 but I was trying to avoid — I don’t want to get
6 into hearsay that’s not admissible because we
7 haven’t had the people testify yet, okay.
8 So it’s your belief that Janet Arvizo said
9 something about doing a film.
10 A. That is correct.
11 Q. Before November 18th.
12 A. That is correct.
13 Q. Okay. None of the children mentioned doing
14 the film before November 18th, though, correct.
15 A. To the best of my knowledge, that is
17 Q. And after the search, the searches on
18 November 18th, you eventually — well, you got
19 November 18th and November 25th all in kind of the
20 same place.
21 But after the searches on November 18th, you
22 became aware that there were actual copies of
23 videos; is that correct.
24 A. There were videos that we had seized. Is
25 that what you’re —
26 Q. Yes. But as of the 25th, you hadn’t
27 actually watched the — what turned out to be called
28 “the rebuttal video”; is that correct. 2207
1 A. I — I can’t say for sure if I did or not,
2 Mr. Sanger, because like I said, I had other guys
3 assigned going through that, because I was doing
4 other things at that point. But I was pulled in to
5 watch different things at various times, but I can’t
6 say for sure when I actually saw the rebuttal film.
7 Q. All right. But the first time you ever saw
8 the rebuttal film was sometime after November 18th;
9 is that correct.
10 A. That would be a correct statement, yes.
11 Q. And then January the 19th, 2004, was the
12 date that you assembled the Arvizo children to watch
13 the video; is that right.
14 A. That is correct.
15 Q. And they all watched it together, correct.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And then you conducted additional interviews
18 of each of the children; is that right.
19 A. Correct.
20 THE COURT: All right. We’ll take our
22 MR. SANGER: Thank you.
23 (Recess taken.)
Sneddon’s raid on the office of Bradley Miller was controversial because he knew that Miller was an employee of Mark Geragos, and the raid violated Jackson’s attorney/client privilege, which also extended to Miller because he was working for Geragos. There was a possibility that Judge Melville could have deemed the raid illegal and, at worst, could have had Sneddon recused from prosecuting Jackson, but as we all know that didn’t happen!
Legal analyst Jonna Spilbor explains how Sneddon SHOULD have known that Miller was protected by attorney/client privilege in this article from July 20th, 2004:
Looking for Clues in All the Wrong Places: Why the D.A.’s Search of Michael Jackson’s P.I.’s Office Was Unlawful, And What the Court Should Do About That
Tom Sneddon, Santa Barbara’s top prosecutor, has ended up a witness in a case which he himself is litigating. In what’s being touted as “an unusual move,” the judge in the Michael Jackson case has ordered Sneddon to testify at an upcoming hearing slated for next month.
In November 2003 — just hours before Michael Jackson was arrested on charges of committing lewd acts upon a child — sheriff’s deputies raided the Beverly Hills offices of private investigator Bradley Miller. Miller was working closely with Jackson’s then-attorney Mark Geragos on the Jackson case.
The subject of the hearing centers around whether Sneddon – who authorized the search warrant application, as well as the subsequent search, and reportedly conducted his own personal surveillance on Miller’s office building a couple of weeks prior – knew that Miller had been hired to assist in Jackson’s defense. Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville has explained that the court is “very concerned about the factual issue, whether or not the district attorney…knew that Mr. Miller had been retained by Geragos.”
If Sneddon did know, then why were obvious attorney-client privilege issues ignored? After all, Sneddon was authorizing a search of an employee of the defendant’s attorney. Imagine if he’d tried, instead, to ransack the office of one of Geragos’ paralegals! The illegality would be even more plain.
In this column, I will discuss why, exactly, the search of the private investigator’s premises was unlawful, and what the court should do about it.
California Law on Attorney-Client Privilege Can Extend to P.I.s
The attorney-client privilege preserves the confidentiality of communications between an attorney and his client. Its purpose is to encourage the honest, unfettered exchange of information between attorney and client during the course of legal representation.
In California, Evidence Code sections 950 – 954 define the attorney-client privilege broadly. Under California law, the privilege encompasses virtually any information — whether oral, written, photographic or otherwise — conveyed by a client to his attorney during the course of their professional relationship.
In addition, Evidence Code section 954 makes clear that the privilege applies not only to lawyers but to those third parties “who are present to further the interest of the client in the consultation, or to accomplish the purpose for which the lawyer is consulted.” (Emphasis added.) These third parties are best thought of as “necessary agents” – the persons the attorney needs to consult with to do his job.
Typically, such agents include experts, paralegals, secretaries, and, as in this case, private investigators retained by a party’s counsel. Thus, once it has been established that the investigator was retained by legal counsel to represent a suspect, the investigator cannot be forced to reveal the product of his investigation.
The law in this regard is quite clear. So what was Sneddon thinking when he authorized the warrant application relating to Bradley Miller’s offices?
Thus far, the prosecution is claiming simple ignorance: Sneddon says he did not know of Miller’s relationship to Jackson’s defense camp.
But that seems highly improbable at best. After all, consider what the prosecution did know at the time – both specifically about Geragos, Jackson and Miller, and more generally about the case.
First, let’s look at the specific knowledge the prosecution had:The prosecution knew Geragos represented Jackson. (Indeed, they were dialoguing with Geragos in an effort to negotiate Jackson’s voluntary surrender before literally busting down the door to Miller’s office.) It plainly knew Jackson or his attorney had hired Miller, or why search his office in the first place? It knew enough about Miller’s relationship with Jackson to include an affidavit of probable cause sufficient to convince a judge to issue a search warrant.
Second, let’s look at the general knowledge the prosecution had. Remember, this search happened just hours before Jackson’s arrest – and the arrest warrant was issued before the searches. This was not a prosecutor’s office acting in the initial investigation of a case – it was an office on the verge of arresting the defendant. Its investigation, it seems, was mostly or entirely finished. Yet the Miller/Geragos link had never been revealed?
Also, this search apparently was one of three separate, simultaneous searches between Santa Barbara and Beverly Hills, all at precisely the same moment in time. The Neverland Ranch search alone involved seventy police and prosecutors. With such a knowledgeable battalion working on the case, is it possible it occurred to not a single officer or prosecutor that Jackson’s lawyer and his P.I. were working together?
For all these reasons, Sneddon’s claim that the Geragos/Miller relationship was news to him and his office is highly incredible.
A Search With An Accompanying Special Master Would Have Been Legal
Ironically, prosecutors in the case could have conducted a legal search of Miller’s office. California Penal Code section 1524 is not a wholesale prohibition on the DA’s ability to search a premises where the privilege is likely to be asserted. Instead, it allows such a search, but sets out a specific procedure to be followed:
When the warrant is issued, the court must appoint a “special master” – that is, an independent person not associated with police or prosecutors – to oversee service of the warrant on the person in possession of the premises (here, Miller). Then, if that person (here, Miller) states that documents are privileged, they must be sealed by the special master and taken to court for a hearing.
Why didn’t Sneddon play by these rules? It’s hard to say for sure, but it’s possible that the special master procedure was intentionally ignored because it would have undermined Sneddon’s “sneak attack” strategy.
Sneddon plainly saw an advantage in ensuring that the three searches were done simultaneously at different locations, without advance notice to Jackson’s defense team. And of course, the defense couldn’t be present at three locations at the same time, to observe.
If the Court Deems the P.I. Office Search Illegal, What Sanction Should It Impose?
First and foremost – and assuming the search of Miller’s office revealed evidence useful to the prosecution – the judge has the power to deem the illegally seized evidence from Miller’s office inadmissible as “fruit of the poisonous tree.” But here, the judge should do more.
There is a fine line between zealous prosecution and prosecutorial misconduct – and it’s a line this district attorney may be dangerously close to crossing. As prior columns for this site by myself and others have discussed, Sneddon’s apparent vendetta against Jackson has caused him to act improperly in the past, as well.
Suppressing evidence is not enough of a sanction when serious prosecutorial misconduct is at issue – as seems to be the case here. Only additional sanctions will properly punish and deter.
Unfortunately, however our system of justice is not exactly set up to mete out punishment to those who are supposed to be trusted officers of the court. Imposing fines against the attorneys themselves is always an option. Another possible (though rarely-used) remedy for prosecutorial misconduct, as I discussed in a prior column, would be to recuse the individual offending attorney — or the entire District Attorney’s office.
This remedy can be proper if the court is convinced that the district attorney’s office has employed its discretionary powers to deprive the defendant of a fair trial. Did that happen here? Certainly, there is a strong argument that it did – based on the blatant violation of warrant procedures and the resulting seizure of potentially privileged material.
Finally, in the most serious of cases, there is but one remedy that both ensures a just resolution for an accused, and punishes prosecutors who fail to play by the rules: Dismissal of the charges. But it does so at a potentially great cost to the victim when the defendant is indeed guilty of the crime charged. Here, however, the evidence of the defendant’s guilt is tenuous at best – and what evidence exists, may be less than credible.
In this case, then, dismissal might not be too extreme a sanction. The critical import, however, is that suppression of evidence is not enough when misconduct is as grave as occurred here.
Mesereau filed a motion titled “Mr. Jackson’s Response To Plaintiff’s Memorandum RE: A Limit To Cross-Examination of Jane Doe”, in which he asserted that Janet Arvizo told Sneddon that Bradley Miller was an employee of Mark Geragos, and therefore Sneddon had firsthand knowledge of his attorney/client privilege, yet raided Miller’s office anyway, and this information should be subject to cross-examination.
In this article from MJEOL, Miller’s attorney John Dolan stated that Sneddon lied to Judge Melville when he told him that he didn’t know that Miller was working for Geragos, and Joe Tacopina (Frank Cascio’s attorney) stated that Sneddon was taped giving a speech, during which he violated the court’s gag order and bragged about subpoenaing people so that they could not defend Jackson on television!
Sneddon Admits He Knew Raid Was Illegal? Bullet #178
Written by Administrator. Posted in MJEOL BULLET
Sneddon Admits he Knew Raid was Illegal? MJEOL Bullet #178 There is word of breaking news today of two new pieces of information surrounding current district attorney Tom Sneddon and prosecutorial misconduct. Sources say that Sneddon, after initially lying about it, admitted to knowing a private investigator was hired by then-Jackson attorney Mark Geragos.
Further, we have also learned that even after they found out (the second time) that Miller was a part of the defense team, they lied again to get a second search warrant.
Appearing on Fox News Live today (Aug 15 2004), defense attorney John Dolan told Fox that the Jackson case is a train wreck waiting to happen because of the misconduct of current lead prosecutor and DA Tom Sneddon. Dolan says that prosecutors initially lied to Judge Rodney Melville when they first claimed they didn’t know Miller was working for Geragos in written papers. Dolan tells Fox News:
In the written papers filed with the court, Sneddon and his offices say they didn’t know Brad Miller was hired by Mr. Geragos. But in a telephone conference call with the defense and with some prosecutors, he admitted that he did know, before this investigation and before this entry by sledgehammer into Brad Miller’s office, that Miller was working for Geragos (:camera see FoxNewsLive: Sneddon Admitted to Knowing Miller worked for Geragos Aug 15 2004 ).
Dolan says that this extraordinary set of circumstances could cause the attorney general to have to become involved in this case once again if Sneddon is made to step down from this case. Thats a train wreck because then the attorney general comes in to take over the case, Dolan says. He continues:
The same attorney general that probably has to investigate the district attorney’s office about what they did in this search warrant. It’s a real mess.
Also discussed was what police may have been looking for in Miller’s office. Reportedly, the story goes, the family told prosecutors that Miller may be in possession of some letters Jackson wrote to the accuser. Most observers don’t seem to understand why Miller would have those alleged letters. Even though they had a search warrant, police still sledge-hammered their way into Miller’s office. These alleged letters were supposed to have been inside a storage box of some kind. Dolan said a storage locker was discovered during the police’s initial search. Evidently they didn’t find any letters because Dolan reports that after they were told (again) that Miller was working for Geragos and after Miller’s attorney showed up at the scene during the initial raid they obtained a second search warrant. This second warrant was obtained, again, without mention that Miller was a part of the defense team:
And that storage locker, by the way, was discovered during the initial search. And then a second search warrant was obtained compounding the problem because they again didn’t mention that Brad Miller was Mark Geragos’s investigator. And Brad Miller was there and told them that before they went and got the second search warrant.
So all of this illegal searching and prosecutors may have still come up empty-handed with regards to any incriminating evidence. The only report about any evidence prosecutors want to use is actually exonerating material: a video of the family on tape saying nothing happened and professing how good a person Jackson is. Believe it or not, prosecutors are actually trying to claim that this shows a conspiracy and that the family was made to say those things. Yeah right. This new information comes on the heels of other information about Sneddon breaking the gag order he, himself, requested. And then lying to the media about not breaking it. Attorney Joe Tacopina, who represents one of the prosecution-alleged co-conspirators told Fox News’s Geraldo Rivera (August 14 2004) that someone taped the speech Sneddon made in which Sneddon breaks the gag order by discussing this case. Not only that, Sneddon is supposedly caught saying that he subpoenaed certain people to keep them off TV and from defending Jackson:
He said this at a speech that someone taped. So yes, he’s gonna admit he did that. And he said he did that (:camera see Rivera: Joe Tacopina talking about Sneddon testifying Aug 14 2004 ).
This is more of that special treatment again. Tacopina says that if this situation had been overseen by an unbiased prosecutor, this case never would have been brought. He says that there is massive amounts of baggage that’s going to come out about the family.
The inconsistencies are gonna be enormous, Tacopina says. He also says that all the credible evidence in this case is overwhelmingly in Jackson’s favor. Stay tuned. -MJEOL
We will dedicate an entire post to Sneddon’s illegal and unethical raid of Bradley Miller’s office in the near future, so stay tuned!
After returning from recess, Sanger grilled Sgt. Robel about how the prosecution and detectives reacted to viewing the rebuttal tape for the first time, and what they said in their interview of the Arvizo family about the video on January 19th, 2004. Sgt. Robel claimed that the reason for the interview was to “clarify issues that they were saying on the tape”. None of the Arvizo children had ever mentioned, or been asked about, the rebuttal video or their interview with Bradley Miller in previous police interviews:
24 THE COURT: All right. You may proceed.
25 MR. SANGER: Thank you, Your Honor.
26 Q. All right. We’ve established this timeline
27 now — is that on. Yes.
28 We’ve established the timeline, and let’s 2208
1 just start with Davellin. The first time that
2 Davellin said anything to you about the rebuttal
3 video was in the January 19th, 2004, interview,
5 A. I believe that’s correct, yes.
6 Q. Now, when you had these interviews, this was
7 a pretty big event in the investigation, was it not,
8 the interviews of January 19th.
9 A. A big event in what respect.
10 Q. Big event in the respect that you — you,
11 meaning you and Mr. Sneddon and Mr. Zonen and
12 perhaps other law enforcement officers, had seen the
13 rebuttal video, and you were calling the family in
14 to ask them how they could do that video.
15 MR. SNEDDON: Your Honor, I object. Assumes
16 facts not in evidence.
17 MR. SANGER: Well, it was compound probably.
18 Let me break it down.
19 Q. You had seen the video by January 19th,
21 A. That’s correct.
22 Q. And to your knowledge, had Mr. Sneddon seen
23 the video by January 19th.
24 A. I don’t recall that.
25 Q. Before he commenced or before you all
26 commenced the interviews with the kids on January
27 19th, Mr. Sneddon saw the video, correct.
28 A. I can’t answer that. I’m not sure of that. 2209
1 I know that I — a portion of that video I did see,
2 because one of my investigators showed it to me on
3 the computer.
4 Q. All right.
5 A. I can’t answer for Mr. Sneddon. I believe
6 that was the first time I saw it. I’m not positive,
8 Q. Okay. My question may not have been clear.
9 What I was talking about is, at the very least, he
10 showed the video before you started doing the
11 interview with the kids, correct.
12 A. Yes, that’s correct.
13 Q. And when you showed the video to the kids,
14 Mr. Sneddon watched it, correct.
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. Mr. Zonen watched it, correct.
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. You watched it.
19 A. Correct.
20 Q. And were there any other people there. Was
21 Detective Zelis there.
22 A. Detective Zelis.
23 Q. He watched it.
24 A. That’s correct. And I think Lieutenant
25 Klapakis watched it.
26 Q. All right. Now, the reason for the meeting,
27 as it were, was to ask this family how they could do
28 a rebuttal video like that if they maintained these 2210
1 allegations; is that correct.
2 MR. SNEDDON: I’m going to object to that
3 question as argumentative. It’s just — that’s like
5 THE COURT: Overruled.
6 MR. SANGER: Do you have the question in
8 THE WITNESS: Why don’t you repeat your
10 THE COURT: I’ll have the court reporter do
12 (Record read.)
13 THE WITNESS: That is incorrect. It was to
14 clarify regarding my previous interview with them,
15 to clarify issues that they were saying on the tape.
16 Q. BY MR. SANGER: All right. As of the
17 previous interviews, none of the Arvizo children had
18 been asked about the rebuttal video, correct.
19 A. That is correct.
20 Q. And none of them had been asked about the
21 Miller interview; is that correct.
22 A. I believe that’s correct.
23 Q. In fact, due to whatever factors, you were
24 not able to actually listen to the Miller video
25 until sometime in February, I believe, of 2004; is
26 that correct.
27 MR. SNEDDON: I think counsel misspoke about
28 a video. 2211
1 MR. SANGER: What did I say. I said “listen
2 to a video.” I meant “listen to an audiotape,”
3 you’re correct.
4 May I rephrase.
5 THE COURT: Rephrase, yes.
6 MR. SANGER: Towards the end of the day. I
7 didn’t have pizza, but I’m — maybe because I
8 didn’t, I’m fading here. Okay. Let’s try that
10 Q. The Miller tape, which now we’ve found is an
11 audiotape; is that correct.
12 A. That is correct.
13 Q. And that audiotape apparently was made about
14 March the 16th, I believe, is that correct, of 2003.
15 A. That sounds about right.
16 Q. So that tape was not found at all by law
17 enforcement before November 18, correct.
18 A. That’s correct.
19 Q. And in other words, when I say “found,”
20 nobody gave you a copy. You didn’t have a copy of
21 it, correct.
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. And nobody told you about it before November
24 18th, did they.
25 A. Yeah. Meaning nobody told me about the
26 interview or about the tape.
27 Q. That there was a tape-recorded interview
28 with Brad Miller. 2212
1 A. I cannot say for sure because I haven’t gone
2 over my report, my interview with Mrs. Arvizo. But
3 I believe she mentioned something in her interview
4 regarding that.
5 Q. Your belief right now as you’re sitting
6 there —
7 A. I believe so. I’m not positive, but I
8 believe it was mentioned during that interview.
9 Q. We’ll come back to that. As far as the kids
10 are concerned, the kids never mentioned anything
11 about being tape-recorded.
12 A. I don’t believe they did.
13 Q. And they were never asked anything about
14 being tape-recorded, were they.
15 A. That is correct.
16 Q. Does that help refresh your recollection
17 that you didn’t know about it.
18 A. Right. We didn’t know, right.
19 Q. Now, that tape, that audiotape of Brad
20 Miller doing the interview with the Arvizo family,
21 was seized on November 18th from Brad Miller’s
22 office, correct.
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. Due to reasons beyond your control, you were
25 not able to actually listen to that tape until
26 sometime in February of 2004; is that correct.
27 A. I’m not sure of the date, but it was right
28 around that — it was 2004, somewhere in there. 2213
1 Q. And it was after the January 19th interview.
2 A. I believe it was.
Here is where Sgt. Robel describes what Davellin Arvizo said during her July 7th, 2003 interview. In it, she claimed that although she never witnessed any acts of abuse, she was told by Gavin and Star that Jackson had talked to them about masturbation, had simulated having sex with his mannequin, and that Gavin and Star were almost always together when they told her their stories of abuse.
Also, Sgt. Robel testified that he didn’t become aware of any explanation of the video from the Arvizo children until after the January 19th meeting, when they claimed they were forced to say nice things about Jackson by Dieter Wiesner.
3 Q. All right. So when you interviewed Davellin
4 on January 19th, 2004, you asked her why she said
5 “father,” and why they were talking about “father”
6 and “father figure” and all that; is that correct.
7 A. Okay. You’re getting into the interview
8 portion of it, and I — to the best of my
9 recollection, I don’t recall me being the one that
10 interviewed her regarding that video. That would
11 have been Detective Zelis.
12 Q. You were in and out of the room.
13 A. Yes, I was.
14 Q. Okay. When you were in the room, you don’t
15 recall ever talking about Dieter telling her she had
16 to say that sort of thing.
17 A. Like I said, I’d have to go on ahead and —
18 if you have the transcripts to that, to let me
19 recall my memory, that would be great.
20 Q. I do have the transcripts.
21 A. I cannot remember what portions that I was
22 in, and a majority of those I was not in.
23 MR. SANGER: May I approach, Your Honor.
24 THE COURT: Yes.
25 Q. BY MR. SANGER: The transcript of that
26 particular interview is a few pages. I’ve given you
27 the whole notebook.
28 A. This has the D.A. and then it has her. It 2214
1 doesn’t have us.
2 Q. If you — I’m sorry. What I did – I was
3 going to explain – I gave it to you open to the page
4 that I had it open to.
5 A. Right.
6 Q. If you go back, you’ll see where it starts
7 there. And you’re welcome to look at the whole
9 Either you were there or you weren’t. If
10 you weren’t there, that’s okay. You can just tell
11 me, and we’ll —
12 A. I don’t recall being in — sitting in on
13 this particular interview, is what I’m saying. And
14 even with the boys and so forth, because I was out
15 doing other things. I watched the video that day.
16 I did watch that.
17 Q. I’ll come get it in a second.
18 You’ve reviewed the transcript that I’ve
19 showed you, of Davellin’s interview of January the
20 19th, 2004, and it doesn’t refresh your recollection
21 as to anything that might have been said in your
23 A. It doesn’t.
24 Q. Okay. All right.
25 May I approach.
26 THE COURT: Yes.
27 MR. SANGER: Thank you.
28 Q. As the lead investigator in this case, did 2215
1 you become aware after the January 19th interviews
2 that essentially the three children had an
3 explanation for how they could give that interview
4 that was shown on the rebuttal and still maintain
5 their allegations.
6 A. That is correct.
7 Q. And, in essence, they were claiming that
8 Dieter told them to say much of what was said on
9 that tape.
10 A. Correct.
11 Q. All right. Well, while we’re on Davellin —
12 and then we’ll go back to the others and see how far
13 we get with them.
14 And, Your Honor, if you wanted to hit the
15 lights —
16 THE COURT: Okay.
17 MR. SANGER: — that would be fine.
18 Q. With regard to Davellin, you first
19 interviewed her on July 7th, ‘03. We talked about
20 that, right.
21 A. Correct.
22 Q. And that was the interview where she gave
23 you a tremendous amount of detail about what
24 happened to her brothers, allegedly, right.
25 A. “Detail” meaning — regarding what.
26 Q. Well, we could go through it.
27 A. I have transcripts of her interview up here.
28 Q. All right. Davellin told you some things 2216
1 that she claimed to have observed herself, correct.
2 A. Correct.
3 Q. And none of those things involved
4 allegations of child molest; is that correct.
5 A. Right.
6 Q. That she observed herself.
7 A. I believe you’re correct, yes.
8 Q. However, she gave you details as to what
9 allegedly happened to Gavin and allegedly what Star
10 claimed to have seen; is that right.
11 A. I recall her giving me details regarding
12 drinking alcohol, things to that effect, but not
13 regarding the actual act of molestation, no.
14 Q. She told you — well, let’s do it this way.
15 Your Honor, the bailiff indicated I was
16 supposed to alert if we were going to get into
17 sexually explicit —
18 THE COURT: No, just the photographs.
19 MR. SANGER: Just photographs, okay.
20 Q. She told you — and I’m talking about July
21 7th, 2003. She told you that —
22 MR. SNEDDON: Your Honor —
23 Go ahead. I’m sorry.
24 MR. SANGER: Let me start again.
25 Q. I’m talking about the July 7th, 2003,
26 interview. She told you that Gavin and Star told
27 her that Michael Jackson talked to them about
28 masturbation. Is that correct. 2217
1 A. Okay, that does — yes.
2 Q. And she told you that the conversation
3 involved the question of whether or not white stuff
4 came out; is that correct.
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. She told you that Gavin and Star talked
7 about other particular claims like the mannequin
8 incident, right.
9 A. Correct.
10 Q. And there are a number of others; is that
11 right. A number of other details.
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. All right. And she told you that the way
14 she learned those details is that Gavin would tell
15 her and Star would stand there and listen and agree
16 with what Gavin was saying.
17 A. I don’t recall that.
18 Q. Okay. I’ll come back to that in one second.
19 She also told you that her mother had told
20 her certain things about this; is that correct.
21 A. Just — I don’t know what certain things
22 you’re talking about, Mr. Sanger.
23 Q. Well, for instance, that the mother had told
24 her the story about the urine bottle —
25 A. Okay. Yes.
26 Q. — is that right.
27 Now, on the other one there, I’m going to
28 refer you to page 24. 2218
1 A. Okay. I’m there.
2 Q. Would it refresh your recollection as to
3 what you were told at that time.
4 A. Do you mean the whole page, is what you’re
5 asking, or —
6 Q. I’m sorry. If you start at about line 13,
7 or line 11.
8 A. Yes, it does.
9 Q. And, in fact, Davellin told you that Gavin
10 and Star told her the stories, correct.
11 A. Yes. That’s correct.
12 Q. And that she said, “Yeah, it’s like one
13 tells me and the other one agrees to it.” Is that a
14 quote as to what she said to you at that time.
15 A. I — it’s in the transcripts. I don’t
16 recall her saying that, but it’s there, so it must
17 be correct.
18 Q. Well, I don’t want you to agree with
19 something reluctantly.
20 A. I mean, I don’t recall her saying that.
21 Q. Would it help you to listen to the tape to
22 refresh your recollection.
23 A. That probably would.
24 Q. All right. Would you be able to do that at
25 the break this evening and come back tomorrow. I
26 don’t want to do it here in court, if we can avoid
28 A. Sure. 2219
1 Q. Okay. You have a copy of the tape you can
2 listen to.
3 A. I think I can get a copy of that, sure.
4 Q. All right. Do you recall her saying — let
5 me withdraw that. Do you recall Detective Zelis
6 asking her, “So they” — “So are they together” —
7 I’m sorry. Let me try it again.
8 “So are they together when they tell you
10 And Davellin saying, “Yeah, most of the
12 Detective Zelis: “Most of the time. Okay.”
13 Do you recall that, or do you need to listen
14 to the tape to refresh —
15 A. Well, the interview was quite a while ago,
16 so, I mean, I need to listen to that as well.
17 Q. This was a transcript that was actually
18 prepared by a certified court reporter —
19 A. Uh-huh.
20 Q. — is that correct.
21 A. Correct.
22 Q. And it was prepared at the request of the
23 sheriff’s department, or the D.A.; is that correct.
24 A. Correct.
25 Q. All right. So you don’t have any reason to
26 believe that the transcript is inaccurate. You just
27 want to be careful and —
28 A. Correct. That is correct. 2220
1 Q. All right. Now, do you recall Davellin
2 telling you on — during this interview of July the
3 7th, that Gavin was a loving little boy, and that he
4 started acting out after these events.
5 A. Yes, I do.
6 Q. Do you recall the next interview on August
7 13, 2003, where she said Gavin was becoming violent
8 and argumentative as a result of these events.
9 A. That is correct.
10 Q. All right. Now, there was an interview —
11 let me just be sure I’ve got the right one here.
12 Excuse me.
13 Did you interview Davellin on November the
15 A. No. I believe, to the best of my
16 recollection, it was only the boys.
17 Q. Only the boys. Okay.
18 At some point, did Davellin tell you in one
19 of the interviews that she was always by herself at
20 the ranch and she was not allowed to be with her
22 A. I’d have to review that.
23 Q. All right. I’ll ask you if you could do
24 that. And I’ll find you the page number for that —
25 A. Okay.
Next, Sanger questions Sgt. Robel about Gavin’s allegation from earlier in the trial where he attributed a statement about “men having to masturbate or else they may get to a point where they might go ahead and rape a woman” to Jackson, when he initially attributed that statement to his grandmother during all of his police interviews and grand jury testimony. Sgt. Robel stated that Gavin never ever attributed that statement to Jackson during his police interviews and grand jury testimony. Sanger then questioned Gavin’s statement from his January 19th, 2004 interview that “99.9%” of everything that he said on the rebuttal tape was true, and Gavin’s inconsistent statement regarding whether he called Jackson or vice versa during Jackson’s visit to the Universal Hotel.
Sanger challenged Sgt. Robel about a conclusion that was reached by his investigators that Gavin could not have been abused on five different occasions (Gavin initially claimed to have been abused five times during his July 7th and August 13th, 2003 interviews, but that amount changed to seven in December 2003 when the initial complaint was filed, and then dropped down to four when Jackson was indicted in April 2004). However, Sgt. Robel denied that that conclusion had been reached.
During his November 25th, 2003 interview, Gavin claimed that he was abused both before AND after the DCFS interview, but during his January 19th, 2004 interview Gavin stated that he wasn’t sure of the exact dates when the abuse occurred, and said that investigators probably would know the dates. Finally, Sgt. Robel admitted that after Gavin testified to the grand jury that the abuse began between March 2nd and 12th, after his trip to Neverland from the Calabasas hotel, he determined that Jackson was not on the ranch at all during two or three days in that time span!
27 All right. Let’s take a look at — at Gavin
28 Arvizo’s. Now, Gavin Arvizo, on August 13, 2003 — 2221
1 let me withdraw that, before we get to this.
2 This pertains to the story or the claims
3 about masturbation. You were sitting here when
4 Gavin Arvizo testified on the stand during this
5 trial, correct.
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. And he said that Michael Jackson told him,
8 “If men don’t masturbate, they get to a level where
9 they can — might rape a girl.” Do you remember
11 A. I do.
12 Q. Okay. That was the first time you ever
13 heard Gavin Arvizo attribute that statement to
14 Michael Jackson, was it not, sir.
15 A. I believe so.
16 Q. And, in fact, Gavin Arvizo told you on
17 August 13, 2003, that it was his grandmother who
18 told him, “If men don’t do it, men might get to a
19 point where they might go ahead and rape a woman.”
20 Is that correct.
21 Page 28, if you want to take a look at it.
22 A. I’d like to do that.
23 Q. August 13th.
24 A. Is that 28 you said.
25 Q. Yes. 28, line 4, starts, “My grandma
26 explained it to me.”
27 A. Yes.
28 Q. And you remember him saying that because, in 2222
1 fact, you testified before the grand jury on April
2 14th that — of 2004, that Gavin, in fact, told you
3 that his grandmother said that; is that correct,
5 A. That’s correct.
6 Q. And, in fact, in the August 13, 2003,
7 interview, Gavin said, “My grandma explained it to
8 me. She told me that — that you’re — the only
9 reason — because like if — if men don’t do it, men
10 might get to a point where they might go ahead and
11 rape a woman. So instead of having to do that, so
12 they don’t — so they don’t get wanting to go do
13 that.” Did he say that.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. All right. Now, do you have a recollection
16 of Gavin’s interview of January — January 19th of
18 A. That’s going to fall under the same category
19 as Davellin.
20 Q. Okay. As far as you know, though, from your
21 investigation, that was the first time — the
22 January 19, 2004, interview was the first time that
23 the kids were confronted with the rebuttal video and
24 asked to explain why they said what they said.
25 A. That’s correct.
26 Q. Did you become aware that Gavin Arvizo in
27 that January 19, 2004 interview said that 99.9
28 percent of the things on the rebuttal tape were not 2223
2 A. I don’t recall that, but I’d have to review
3 that as well.
4 Q. And were you in general – and I’ll get off
5 it here – were you, in general, aware that he had
6 said that Dieter told them to say what they said.
7 MR. SNEDDON: Your Honor, I should have
8 objected earlier. I object to the fact that this
9 officer is not established as even in the room when
10 those statements were made. Lack of foundation.
11 THE COURT: Well, I’ll sustain the objection.
12 More importantly, the question, “in general,” calls
13 for a conclusion on his part.
14 MR. SANGER: All right.
15 Q. Well, I’ll just ask you to review that tape
16 as well, or the transcript again, to see if it
17 refreshes your recollection if you were there. If
18 you were, that’s fine. And if you weren’t, that’s
19 okay, too.
20 Were there inconsistencies — besides the
21 one we just talked about, were there
22 inconsistencies —
23 MR. SNEDDON: I’m going to object to that
24 kind of talk from counsel. It’s a conclusion on his
26 MR. SANGER: “That kind of talk”.
27 I object to the objection as not being
28 proper. Let me withdraw it, Your Honor. 2224
1 THE COURT: There’s no question there, so go
2 ahead and make a — do a question.
3 Q. BY MR. SANGER: You talked about the
4 inconsistency between the statement about
5 masturbation on the stand versus prior statements.
6 And other than that, were there other
7 inconsistencies in Gavin Arvizo’s statements that he
8 gave over the period of time.
9 A. Can you direct me to what —
10 Q. Did you notice that there were any.
11 A. Both times regarding —
12 Q. Regarding anything. Other inconsistencies.
13 You can say “yes” or “no.”
14 A. I don’t believe so.
15 Q. All right. On July 7, 2003, Gavin said that
16 he called Michael Jackson at the Universal Hilton,
18 A. That’s correct.
19 Q. And in August, he said Michael Jackson
20 called him to invite him over, is that right.
21 Page 18 of the August 13 interview.
22 A. Yes, down here, that he “thinks he called
23 me.” It’s not a definite, but he says, “I think he
24 called me.” I see that.
25 Q. It goes on, does it not. He says — on
26 page 18, when he’s asked why did he meet with
27 Michael at the Hilton, he says, “I just wanted —
28 because he wanted me to come.” 2225
1 He says, “Did he call you or did you call
3 He says, “I think he called me. And then we
4 were talking, and he told me that he was at the
5 Hilton, at the Universal Hilton, and we started
6 talking about me visiting, so I just came to visit.”
7 A. I see that.
8 Q. Now —
9 MR. SNEDDON: Excuse me, Counsel. Will you
10 read the rest of the statement.
11 MR. SANGER: I can read whatever you want.
12 Let me see here.
13 MR. SNEDDON: Well, the last four lines of
14 the statement I think —
15 MR. SANGER: Well, then there’s a question.
16 Or do you want the next — I don’t have to do this,
17 but I will. All right.
18 There’s a question: “Did he say, ‘Hey, why
19 don’t you come over and visit’. Is that what he
21 Answer: “I don’t remember how it happened.
22 But I remember I came over.”
23 Okay. The point of this is that Gavin’s
24 current statements in court and his statement on the
25 7th of July, 2003, were to the effect that he had
26 found out that Michael was at the Hilton and he
27 called him, and Michael Jackson picked up, and
28 that’s how he got ahold of him; isn’t that right. 2226
1 A. According to his statement, that’s a correct
3 Q. All right. Now, let’s talk about something
4 a little more substantive here. On January — I’m
5 sorry. On July 7th, 2003, Gavin said that he was
6 masturbated by Michael Jackson five times or so, did
7 he not.
8 A. Yes, he did.
9 Q. And then on 8-13-03, he said he was
10 masturbated five times and he ejaculated all five
11 times, right.
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. Now, we’ll hold on to that. And let’s go to
14 another issue.
15 As far as the timing of the incidents was
16 concerned, you already answered some questions on
17 direct on this. On — I keep doing that. On July
18 7th, 2003, Gavin Arvizo said that the masturbation
19 incidents occurred on “one of the last days that I
20 was staying at Neverland.” Correct.
21 A. I recall it as being towards his last days
22 of staying at Neverland.
23 Q. Okay.
24 A. So it was towards — towards before he left
25 for good, yes. That’s the way I understand it.
26 Q. All right. If you look at page 30, the
27 question is, “He said one of the last days, like
28 towards the last days I was staying at Neverland”; 2227
1 is that a fair statement.
2 A. You’re talking about August, correct. The
3 August interview.
4 Q. No, this is July.
5 A. Oh.
6 Q. The first interview.
7 July 7th, 2003. Page 30.
8 A. I have it.
9 Q. Lines 20 and 21.
10 A. I just read it.
11 Q. Mr. Sneddon just indicated somebody was
12 confused. I don’t know who he was referring to
13 here, so we’re okay. He said, “In fact, one of the
14 last days, like towards the last days when I was
15 staying at Neverland”; is that correct.
16 A. That is correct.
17 Q. Your investigation eventually disclosed that
18 during the last days they stayed at Neverland, there
19 wouldn’t have been five occasions when molest could
20 have occurred; is that correct.
21 A. Can you repeat that.
22 MR. SANGER: No.
23 THE COURT: Would you like that read back.
24 THE WITNESS: Yes.
25 (Record read.)
26 THE WITNESS: No. That’s not correct.
27 Q. BY MR. SANGER: All right. Now, in August
28 of — in the August interview, Gavin told you, on 2228
1 pages 38 to 41 —
2 A. Okay. I’m there.
3 Q. He starts out talking about the DCFS
4 interview, correct. And —
5 A. Just a second. What line are you.
6 Q. Well, I’m just — hang on one second. I’m
7 not asking for a quote here. I’m just trying to put
8 it in context.
9 On page 38, they’re talking about the DCFS
10 interview. Put it in context. You’re welcome to
11 read the whole thing, too. Whatever you want so you
12 feel comfortable with it.
13 A. Okay.
14 Q. And if you read that whole segment, it
15 appears that he is saying that the molest occurred
16 before, started before the DCFS interview.
17 A. That’s not the way I understand that.
18 Q. Well, because he is saying, is he not, that
19 the purpose of the interview is to — let me
20 withdraw it.
21 Let’s put it this way: That’s not your
23 A. That’s not my impression.
24 Q. Okay. All right. Let’s come back to that.
25 Now, if you go to the 11-25-03 interview,
26 look at page two and three, he says that the acts
27 that Michael engaged in, Michael Jackson engaged in,
28 occurred both before and after the DCFS interview, 2229
2 A. Well, he initially states that they occurred
3 after the DCFS interview. And then he thought
4 further, and he said some of the acts, that he
5 believes they occurred before and after.
6 Q. Right. And the investigator asked, “It was
7 both. Are you pretty sure.”
8 Answer: “Yeah.”
9 A. Okay.
10 Q. And then it goes on, “Because I think you
11 said it happened about five times, and what you’re
12 saying is that you’re thinking it happened before
13 and after that.”
14 Answer: “Yeah.”
15 “Both times.
17 “Okay. Okay. That’s all I need to know.”
19 A. Right.
20 Q. And that pretty much ended the interview.
21 The investigator — was that you asking
22 those questions.
23 A. That was me. Yes.
24 Q. Okay. That was what you were trying to
25 discern in this tape-recorded interview, correct.
26 A. Correct.
27 Q. Now, in January — on January 19, ‘04 –
28 again, you don’t remember the exact interview. And 2230
1 you’re going to review that and see if you recall
2 more of it later – but did you become aware, as the
3 lead investigator in this case, that Gavin Arvizo
4 then told you he wasn’t sure when these events
5 occurred, and that you guys would probably know the
7 A. I would have to read — was that said during
8 that interview.
9 Q. Yes.
10 A. Okay. I don’t recall that. I’d have to
11 review that as well.
12 Q. Were you advised that was now an issue.
13 A. No.
14 Q. Okay. And you’re aware of his grand jury
15 testimony; is that correct.
16 A. Portions of it, yes.
17 Q. And in the grand jury he went back to saying
18 it was after the Calabasas trip from March 2 through
19 March 12th; is that correct.
20 A. I believe that is correct.
21 Q. And you determined, did you not, that
22 Michael Jackson was not at the ranch during that
23 entire period of time, did you not.
24 A. Which period of time are you talking.
25 Q. From March 2 through March 12th.
26 A. Yes.
27 Wait. Wait. I’m sorry. That he was not
28 there or that he was there. 2231
1 Q. Was he there the entire time, every day.
2 Did you determine whether he was or he wasn’t.
3 A. Not — from March 2nd through the 12th.
4 Q. Yes.
5 A. There were some — a couple of days, two or
6 three days, that he was not there.
7 Q. All right. There were two, three days that
8 you were able to establish he was somewhere else.
9 A. Showing that he was off the ranch.
Finally, Sanger wraps up the day’s testimony by asking Sgt. Robel about Star’s interview statements, including the following: the fact that Star never mentioned the interview with Bradley Miller or the rebuttal video, inconsistencies in the attire that Gavin was wearing when Star allegedly saw him abused by Jackson (In May 2003, Star told Dr. Katz that Gavin was wearing boxers, but he told Sgt. Robel on July 7th, 2003 that Gavin was wearing pajamas), and Star’s claim during his November 25th, 2003 interview that he first witnessed Jackson abusing Gavin “five days or a week after February 20th”, which contradicts Gavin’s claim that he was abused “a few days” before leaving Neverland (before he changed his story to a “few weeks” before leaving).
Also, Sanger challenged Sgt. Robel about the blatant lack of professionalism and objectivity that he displayed in his interviews with the Arvizo children by telling them “We’re going to try our best to make this case work”, and Sgt. Robel rationalized his statement by saying it was said to reassure the family because they were “terrified” about coming forward. Sanger then ended the day’s cross-examination by sarcastically asking Sgt. Robel if, from the very beginning, he had made a concerted effort to make the Arvizo case work, and Sgt. Robel snidely replied “Yep. I did.”
That quote speaks volumes about this case! Police are not supposed to make any case “work”!!
10 Q. Right. Now, let’s take Star — again, Star
11 did not mention the rebuttal video or the interview
12 by Bradley Miller before the search; is that
14 A. I don’t believe he did. That is correct.
15 Q. Star was more detailed in his description of
16 things than Gavin was; is that correct.
17 A. There were two different acts. I — he saw
18 things going on and Gavin was actually having it
19 happen to him. So, I mean, I thought that they both
20 described them very clearly.
21 Q. Okay. Well, there was — there were
22 conflicts in what they described. For instance,
23 Gavin described his brother as wearing boxers,
24 whereas his brother described that he was wearing
25 pajamas, right.
26 MR. SNEDDON: Your Honor, I’m going to
27 object. It’s vague in terms of what incidents he’s
28 talking about. 2232
1 THE COURT: Sustained.
2 MR. SANGER: All right.
3 Q. Well, when you interviewed — I’m sorry.
4 When you interviewed Star, he had already been
5 interviewed by Stan Katz; is that correct.
6 A. That is correct.
7 Q. And you said, in essence, what Stan Katz had
8 said all of the kids had said to him; is that right.
9 A. Correct.
10 Q. When Star described — on July 7th, Star
11 described walking up the stairs and he described his
12 brother having pajamas on; is that correct.
13 A. I believe you’re right.
14 Q. But then he said that he saw that Mr.
15 Jackson had his hand in Gavin’s underwear; is that
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. Okay. And you were aware that he had told
19 Stan Katz that the incident occurred while Gavin was
20 wearing boxers.
21 MR. SNEDDON: Your Honor, I’m going to
22 object again with regard to the fact that there are
23 two incidents described by this witness.
24 MR. SANGER: And I object to a speaking
25 objection, because —
26 THE COURT: Sustained, both of you.
27 MR. SANGER: It’s a fair trade-off. Okay.
28 Q. In Mr. Katz’, or Dr. Katz’s interview, there 2233
1 was reference to a first incident and a second
2 incident, correct.
3 A. I don’t have — I don’t believe I have Dr.
4 Katz’ interview with me here.
5 MR. SNEDDON: I’m going to object. I
7 MR. SANGER: We’ll go back to it. We’ll
8 just stick with what you have.
9 Q. So on the first interview — I mean, on the
10 first incident, the first incident on July 7th,
11 there’s discussion of sleeping — Gavin sleeping in
12 pajamas, but then Michael Jackson reaching into
13 Gavin’s underwear, right.
14 A. Correct.
15 Q. On August 13, Star says Michael Jackson put
16 his hand into Gavin’s boxers; is that correct.
17 A. I believe that’s correct.
18 Q. And on November 25th, 2003, Gavin said —
19 I mean, Star said that Gavin was wearing underwear,
20 specifically because Michael Jackson told him to
21 sleep in his underwear, right.
22 A. I’m looking over it. You’re talking about
23 the interview on the 25th, correct.
24 Q. On November the 25th.
25 A. With Star.
26 Q. Yes.
27 A. Okay.
28 Q. And he said — he said that; is that right. 2234
1 A. Correct.
2 Q. And then he said that Michael Jackson had
3 his hand in Gavin’s underwear, correct.
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. And he also said that this incident occurred
6 five days or a week after February 20th; is that
8 A. Are we on the same interview.
9 Q. Yes.
10 A. That is correct.
11 Q. And that this was — no incident of
12 masturbation occurred before this.
13 A. Before the —
14 Q. Before this one that he just described as
15 being five days to a week after February 20.
16 A. Right.
17 Q. Okay. Now, in the Stan Katz interview with
18 Paul Zelis, what Paul Zelis told you about his
19 interview with Stan Katz, there was no mention of a
20 second incident of masturbation.
21 MR. SNEDDON: Your Honor, I’m going to
22 object. It’s double — triple hearsay.
23 THE COURT: Sustained.
24 MR. SANGER: Okay.
25 Q. And on July 7th, Star told you that there
26 was a second incident of masturbation; is that
28 A. That is correct. 2235
1 Q. Now, on the 13th, it wasn’t clear from the
2 interview as to what incident he was talking about,
3 it wasn’t clearly delineated between two incidents;
4 is that right.
5 MR. SNEDDON: Your Honor, I’m going to
6 object to that, too. That’s a statement of counsel
8 MR. SANGER: I’m asking the witness who
9 conducted the interview
10 THE WITNESS: If it was —
11 THE COURT: Just a moment.
12 I’ll overrule the objection.
13 Do you want the question read back.
14 THE WITNESS: Yes, sir.
15 (Record read.)
16 THE WITNESS: To the best of my knowledge,
17 during that interview, he was — as I understood it,
18 he was very clear on both incidences that he saw.
19 Q. BY MR. SANGER: Well, he said that Gavin was
20 wearing boxers during an incident which may or may
21 not be the first or the second incident or both.
22 A. Okay. So you’re —
23 Q. I’m asking you. Did he say he was wearing
24 boxers. Did he tell you box — Gavin was wearing
25 anything other than boxers when he described the
26 incidents on August 13th.
27 A. I believe he said pajamas.
28 Q. Okay. The second incident he said pajamas. 2236
1 A. I’m going to look at that.
2 Q. All right.
3 A. What page are you on. That’s July 7th.
4 Q. No, this is August 13.
5 A. What page are you on.
6 Q. I’m trying to find it for you here.
7 Your recollection — what we’re looking
8 for — your recollection is that he talked about
9 wearing pajamas on August 13th for the second
11 A. Well, I need to look at it.
12 Q. Okay. I’m looking at page 17.
13 A. Okay.
14 Q. It says “boxers,” right.
15 A. Yes, down at the bottom, it does. “His
16 brother’s boxers.” Are you talking about line 23.
17 Q. Right. So once again, with Star, you’d have
18 to review the January 19th tape and/or transcript to
19 tell me whether or not you recall what he said
20 specifically about the video.
21 A. That is correct.
22 Q. But you do know from your investigation that
23 essentially he said Dieter made them memorize lines
24 and say things like “father” and “humble” and so on;
25 is that correct.
26 A. To the best of my recollection, yes.
27 Q. Okay. Just as a follow-up on something
28 here. I had asked you about Mr. Sneddon going down 2237
1 to Los Angeles and interviewing Janet Arvizo, I
2 believe, okay. Your answer was you don’t recall
3 that happening or you don’t recall when it happened.
4 A. No, I did recall him going down there. And
5 I don’t recall the date that that occurred. And it
6 wasn’t for an interview. It was for forms to be
8 Q. All right. It was sometime before — before
9 the 18th.
10 Okay. Now, you’ve been — I think you told
11 us you’ve been a sheriff for a long time, 20-some
12 years, right.
13 A. Yes. Approximately 22.
14 Q. And you were not personally — or were you
15 personally involved in investigating Mr. Jackson
16 anytime prior to the time that you — you commenced
17 your investigation in — whenever you told us,
18 June 20 or so.
19 A. No, that was the first time.
20 Q. All right. So June 20, you had information
21 that had been obtained from Dr. Katz, and July 7th,
22 you proceed to interview the kids, right.
23 A. That is correct.
24 Q. And on that date, you indicated that, “We’re
25 going to try our best to make this case work”; is
26 that correct.
27 A. Let me refer to that.
28 Q. You can look at — it’s in Davellin’s 2238
1 interview, page 33.
2 A. Okay. I’m on page 33.
3 There was quite a bit more where that — in
4 addition to what I said in regards to that.
5 Q. Well, we can read the whole thing.
6 A. Okay. I already read the whole thing.
7 Q. All right. So you said to Davellin at
8 the — towards the end of her interview, “Okay.
9 Okay. One thing I wanted to say and emphasize to
10 you is that you guys are doing the right thing here.
11 You know what, I know it’s scary, and I realize —
12 really realize that you guys are going through a lot
13 and you’ve been through a lot as a family. They’re
14 the ones that have done wrong, not you. And trust
15 me in this, and trust Detective Zelis, we’re law
16 enforcement. We’re going to try our best to make
17 this case work. I can’t guarantee it, where it’s
18 going to go from here, but that’s why we’re
19 interviewing everybody involved. I don’t care how
20 much money they have” – do you want me to keep
21 going. – “who he is, what — but he’s done wrong.
22 You guys are the victims. Your family is. He is
23 wrong in what he’s done. We’re going to try our
24 best. Can’t guarantee it. We’re going to try our
25 best to bring him to justice.”
26 Did you say that.
27 A. I definitely said that.
28 Q. Okay. So that’s not the statement of 2239
1 somebody who has an open mind who’s looking to see
2 whether or not these people are telling the truth,
3 is it.
4 A. That statement, Mr. Sanger, is what —
5 through my courses that I’ve had — and you have
6 victims that are terrified in coming forward to law
7 enforcement. That is to reassure them that they are
8 not the suspects or they are the victims in the
10 And I was reassuring them through that and
11 letting them know that they are doing the right
12 thing, because they were terrified when they came
13 forward. And it took us about two weeks to get them
14 to come forward and up here to be interviewed.
15 Q. Okay. Now, when you say that the technique
16 that you’re taught is to reassure people that if
17 they’re telling the truth and coming forward and
18 being honest that they have nothing to fear, right.
19 It’s not to tell them that they’re right and
20 somebody else is wrong and you’re going to get them.
21 That’s your — that’s your version of the speech,
22 isn’t it.
23 A. That — my version of the speech is what I
24 just explained.
25 Q. It is.
26 A. And they were concerned about coming forward
27 to law enforcement, and they were concerned about
28 whether they were going to make the case or not. 2240
1 And I told them we would try our best.
2 Q. And from the beginning, you have made a
3 concerted effort to make this case work, have you
5 A. Yep. I did.
6 Q. All right.
7 Now, we have three minutes. But Detective
8 Robel does need to look at the materials. And I
9 don’t — I could ask three minutes of silly
10 questions, but I’ll spare you that, Your Honor.
11 I don’t have another question for him until he does
13 THE COURT: You’re threatening me with silly
15 MR. SANGER: Yes.
16 THE COURT: All right. I don’t think you’re
17 bluffing, so we’ll call it.
19 (The proceedings adjourned at 2:30 p.m.)
I want to take the opportunity to tell you about what is called a “tainted interview”, which is oftentimes a precursor to false allegations of child abuse. This occurs when law enforcement questions children suspected of being victims of child abuse with a preconceived notion that they ARE victims, and they try to coerce a confession by asking leading questions, vilifying the alleged perpetrator, etc. Based on Sgt. Robel’s gleeful acknowledgement of how he tried to make the Jackson case “work”, it’s clearly obvious that his interview with the Arvizos was tainted due to his bias against Jackson! Here are a list of factors that are common in a tainted interview, from an article titled “The Fallibility of Forensic Interviewing”, pages 11-12:
The Analysis of Child Interviews
The New Jersey Supreme Court found nine factors sufficient to justify a pretrial taint hearing:
(a) Absence of spontaneous recall;
(b) Interviewer bias against defendant – a preconceived idea of what the child should be disclosing;
(c) Repeated leading questions;
(d) Multiple interviews;
(e) Incessant questioning;
(f) Vilification of defendant;
(g) Ongoing contact with peers and references to their statements;
(h) Use of threats, bribes and cajoling; and
(i) Failure to videotape or otherwise document the initial interview sessions.
The above factors were to be considered, if a hearing is held, in determining whether a child’s testimony is tainted and should be suppressed. Other indicators of faulty interviewing not only exist, but they can be quantified – allowing for an objective analysis.
All of those factors were present during the interviews with the Arvizos, except for (i), because Gavin’s initial interview was videotaped and showed the jury as a last ditch attempt by Sneddon to prejudice them into convicting Jackson, but it obviously didn’t work!
In 1993, the police also tried to make cases for Corey Feldman and Jason Francia “work”, and they failed with miserably with Feldman (who stood his ground and steadfastly denied any abuse by Jackson), but they were successful with Francia (who eventually capitulated and accused Jackson of abuse, and subsequently extorted $2.4 million dollars from Jackson by threatening to file a lawsuit). In fact, the police were so focused on nailing Jackson that they completely dismissed Feldman when he named the person who really did sexually abuse him!
For more information about the tainted interviews of Feldman and Francia, please read this post.
To be continued….