March 16th, 2005 Trial Analysis: Steve Robel (Cross Examination), Paul Zelis, Victor Alverez, and Karen Shepherd, Part 1 of 3
Robert Sanger’s cross-examination of Sgt. Steve Robel continued from the previous day with Sgt. Robel testifying about listening to the January 19th, 2004 interview with the Arvizo family, and confirming that he was not in the room with the children as Ron Zonen and Det. Paul Zelis conducted the interview:
22 CROSS-EXAMINATION (Continued)
23 BY MR. SANGER:
24 Q. Sergeant Robel, you were going to listen to
25 tapes and compare them to the transcript or do
26 something last night. Did you have a chance to do
28 A. I went ahead and I looked over the 2247
1 transcripts of Detective Zelis’s interview —
2 Q. Yes.
3 A. — okay. — regarding the — January 19th.
4 Q. Correct.
5 A. And I was not present during that, so my
6 thing is I think Detective Zelis would be able to
7 shed more light on that than me.
8 Q. And he’s going to be here soon, I assume.
9 A. Correct.
10 Q. The transcript does show, however, that you
11 were there. And your position is you were there and
12 then left.
13 A. My position is I was there during the
14 viewing of the video. And when the interviews took
15 place with the individual children, I remained
16 outside the room while Mr. Zonen and Detective Zelis
17 conducted the interviews with the kids.
18 Q. And Mr. Sneddon as well; is that correct.
19 A. He was — he was in and out as well. He was
20 in and out, yes.
Next, Sanger questioned Sgt. Robel about his interview with Davellin Arvizo on July 7th, 2003. During that interview, Davellin stated that her brothers Star and Gavin Arvizo were always together when they told her their stories of abuse by Jackson, and that “one tells her and the other agrees with it”. Sgt. Robel confirmed that Davellin truly stated that. The fact that the brothers were always together, egging each other on as they both told their tales of abuse by Jackson is symptomatic of the fact that they wanted to keep their stories straight and back each other up to maintain an appearance of credibility to Davellin and others!
23 Let me ask you if you had a chance to look
24 at the other things that you were going to look at.
25 You were going to look at — or listen to Davellin’s
26 tape. Do you recall that.
27 A. Okay. I went over her transcripts more in
28 detail. 2248
1 Q. Okay.
2 A. So if you can refresh my memory regarding
3 exactly what happened.
4 Q. That’s fine. I’d ask that you look at page
5 28 of Davellin’s transcript, and —
6 A. Okay. You’re talking on the initial one,
7 right, Mr. Sanger. The July interview.
8 Q. Let me just see here, because the note says
9 page 28. To tell you the truth, now I don’t know
10 which one it was. Let me just look here. I think
11 it was the second one.
12 A. Second interview.
13 Q. Hold on. Don’t go anywhere yet.
14 No, I think it was the first one.
15 A. I’m on page 28 on the initial interview.
16 Q. Okay. I’m looking at yesterday’s
17 transcript, and there must have been — okay. I’m
18 sorry, I misread it. It’s page 24. That’s why I
19 couldn’t find it.
20 It was line 28 of the — of yesterday’s
21 transcript, but it’s page 24 of the one I’m asking
22 you to look at right now. That’s Davellin’s — yes.
23 There it is.
24 A. Page 24 on the initial interview.
25 Q. That’s correct.
26 A. That’s where I am.
27 Q. All right. And do you remember — yesterday
28 I asked you if Davellin told you that Gavin and Star 2249
1 told her the stories, and you said that was true.
2 And then I asked if she had told you, “Yeah, it’s
3 like one tells me and the other one agrees to it.”
4 And I believe you said you had to refresh your
5 recollection either by listening to the tape or
6 reviewing the transcript in order to determine if
7 that’s what she, in fact, said.
8 A. Yes, I’m looking at that right now, and that
9 is, in fact, what she said.
10 Q. Okay. And Detective Zelis, in your
11 presence, on that occasion – this being the 7/7/03
12 transcript – on that occasion, Detective Zelis said,
13 “So are they together when they tell you this.” And
14 Davellin says, “Yeah, most of the time.”
15 And Detective Zelis says, “Most of the time.
17 Is that what actually transpired in that
19 A. Yes, it is.
Next, Sanger attempted to ask Sgt. Robel to verify the whereabouts of the Arvizos, based on the prosecution’s timeline, but Sneddon objected on the grounds that this line of questioning was beyond the scope of his direct examination, and stated “I didn’t put this witness on for a timeline, and I didn’t think I got into any of this. And he wasn’t prepared to testify to it, so I object it’s beyond the direct.” Judge Melville also questioned the scope of Sanger’s questions, so Sanger requested that Sgt. Robel review the timeline with his staff so that another witness could be asked about the timeline, and he ended his cross-examination. Judge Melville initially thought Sanger’s line of questioning was fine because Sneddon didn’t object to them at first:
8 Q. BY MR. SANGER: Okay. Sergeant Robel,
9 you’ve had a chance to look at that for a moment.
10 A. Yes, I have.
11 Q. What you have in your hand — because you
12 haven’t written on it yet. I’ve got it on the
13 board. There are three dates that are typed in on
14 this timeline. One is —
15 Can I borrow the pointer, if you have it.
16 MR. OXMAN: Bob. Right there.
17 MR. SANGER: Oh, we have our own. Okay.
18 Thanks, whoever brought that.
19 Q. Okay. One — and I don’t want to shine this
20 in the court reporter’s eyes. So we’re okay, right.
21 I’m going from the top. I don’t want to do
22 something wrong here.
23 One is the 16th. And we have 2-16, “Brad
24 Miller Interview,” showing February 2003, the 16th
25 of February, 2003. Is that your understanding of
26 when that taped interview occurred.
27 A. I believe it was.
28 Q. Okay. And then we have 2-19 to 2-20, which 2253
1 is in the late evening hours of 2-19 onto the early
2 morning hours of 2-20 when the rebuttal tape was
3 being filmed; is that your understanding.
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. Okay. And then we have 2-20, later in the
6 day, which would be February 20, 2003, we have the
7 DCFS interview. Is that your understanding of when
8 that occurred.
9 A. Yes, it is.
10 Q. Okay. Now, what I’d like you to do, if you
11 would, sir, is put your name once again where it
12 says “witness.” And I note last time you say
13 “Sergeant S. Robel,” and it looks like it says
15 A. Well, I just put my body number down there.
16 Q. That’s your badge number, or body number, or
18 A. Body number.
19 Q. Everybody in the sheriff’s department has a
20 different number so you can figure it out.
21 A. That’s correct.
22 Q. Okay. All right. Now, what I’d like —
23 what I’d like to do, based on your investigation as
24 the lead investigator in this case, is I would like
25 you to — in general, and then I’m going to ask you
26 specifically. But in general, I’d like you to try
27 to put in some of the important dates that you have
28 learned from your investigation in this case, so 2254
1 that the jury will have an idea of what was going on
2 during this February and March period of time.
4 A. Okay.
5 Q. All right. And then it will not show up
6 here, but it’s going to show up there, and we’ll put
7 that up after you finish.
8 First of all, do you know when the “Living
9 with Michael Jackson” aired in the United Kingdom.
10 A. I believe that was on the 4th. 4th or 5th,
11 one of those two. I’m not positive.
12 Q. Could it have been the 3rd.
13 A. It could have been.
14 Q. I’ll tell you what. For now, then, why
15 don’t — on your copy, why don’t — without
16 directing it to a particular number, since you’re
17 not sure, why don’t you just, above the general area
18 of the 3rd, 4th and 5th, put “Living with Michael
20 A. Okay.
21 Q. And do you know when the Arvizos flew to
22 Miami on Chris Tucker’s private chartered jet.
23 A. I believe it was the 6th.
24 Q. Could it have been the 5th. Is there
25 something you can refer to to refresh your
27 A. Well, I would like to.
28 Q. If you have it, could you do that. 2255
1 A. I don’t have it up here, the timeline.
2 Q. Do you have a second to confer with the
3 prosecutors. Can you get something that would help
5 A. Like I said, I don’t have it up here.
6 Q. That’s what I’m saying. Do you need a
7 second. Perhaps you could confer with Mr. Sneddon
8 and see if there’s something that might help you.
9 MR. SNEDDON: What, do you want me to
11 THE COURT: Well, Counsel, the way you have
12 to do that, either you’re prepared to give him the
13 documents that you want him to testify from or
14 you’re not. You don’t ask the other side to start
15 producing materials for you.
16 MR. SANGER: Well, I didn’t mean to — the
17 witness was indicating he thought he had something.
18 THE COURT: Well, if he doesn’t have it, you
19 have to move along to the next question.
20 MR. SANGER: That’s fine.
21 Q. So in other words, whatever you have, you
22 don’t believe you have it in the courtroom; is that
23 what you’re saying.
24 A. That is correct. If you have something that
25 would refresh my memory, that would be great.
26 Q. We’ll go over this with other witnesses,
28 Do you know the date of the return, the date 2256
1 when Michael Jackson and the Arvizos came back to
2 Santa Barbara and went out to Neverland Ranch.
3 A. I want to say I believe it was the 7th.
4 Q. Okay. February 7th.
5 A. February 7th, yes.
6 Q. So why don’t you make a note of that.
7 And just to be clear, as the lead
8 investigator, it’s your responsibility to review all
9 of the evidence, including other reports and other
10 things that people have done in this case; is that
12 A. That is correct. But there’s so much
13 involved in this, that some of these things, it’s
14 been a while since I have reviewed them.
15 Q. All right. Do you know — so the Arvizos
16 and Mr. Jackson come to the ranch on February 7th.
17 Was it in the evening; do you recall.
18 MR. SNEDDON: Your Honor, I’m going to
19 object to the lack of personal knowledge on the part
20 of the officer as to the date. He wasn’t there.
21 THE COURT: Sustained.
22 Q. BY MR. SANGER: Do you feel you can give us
23 a timeline of essentially — earlier you testified
24 about some dates in March when you believe the
25 Arvizos were at the ranch.
26 A. Correct.
27 MR. SNEDDON: Actually, Your Honor, can I
28 impose an objection. This is really beyond the 2257
1 scope of direct examination. I didn’t put this
2 witness on for a timeline, and I didn’t think I got
3 into any of this. And he wasn’t prepared to testify
4 to it, so I object it’s beyond the direct.
5 MR. SANGER: I believe on direct he did talk
6 about certain dates and —
7 MR. SNEDDON: Connected to the search
9 MR. SANGER: If he’s not the witness who’s
10 able to do this, we will certainly be able to do it.
11 I do think he talked about the March dates earlier.
12 THE COURT: He did discuss the time when the
13 family had returned from Miami and were at the
15 The problem I’m having is, after listening
16 to all that testimony yesterday, I’m not sure which
17 one of you asked that question.
18 MR. SANGER: I’ll tell you what we’ll do,
19 because — may I ask a question. And I’ll withdraw
20 whatever is pending so I can ask a different
22 THE COURT: Yes.
23 MR. SANGER: All right.
24 Q. Sergeant Robel, as a lead investigator in
25 this case, who do you feel from your department
26 would be best able to present a chronology based on
27 a review of the documents.
28 A. Well, the people that were assigned to the 2258
1 case, we all were familiar with the timeline. But
2 there were so many different dates in there, that
3 I’m familiar with it as well as anybody else. But I
4 would like something up here to refresh my memory to
5 make sure I’m correct on the exact chronological
6 events that took place.
7 Q. And you have those materials, but you don’t
8 have them in the courtroom.
9 A. I don’t have them with me in my binder.
10 Q. But you do have those materials somewhere.
11 A. Yes, we do.
12 MR. SANGER: So what I’ll do at this point,
13 Your Honor, is I’m not going to ask any further
14 questions on this. I would like to have Sergeant
15 Robel review this, since he is the lead
16 investigator, so he can give us a timeline. And in
17 the meantime, if we can work it out with another
18 witness, we’ll do that.
19 THE COURT: That’s fine.
20 MR. SANGER: All right.
21 THE COURT: Mr. Sneddon, you look like you
22 might want to say something.
23 MR. SNEDDON: Am I allowed.
24 THE COURT: Well, I have to decide after you
25 start talking.
26 MR. SNEDDON: Judge, I just want to make it
27 clear that I’m not trying to stop Mr. Sanger’s
28 cross, but this was not the purpose for this person 2259
1 at this particular point in time. And we had
2 intended to do much the same thing at another point
3 in time, and —
4 THE COURT: All right.
5 MR. SNEDDON: And I don’t want to —
6 THE COURT: I did agree with you, that a lot
7 of what was being asked was beyond the scope of the
8 direct examination. But you didn’t object, and I
9 thought that was fine.
10 MR. SNEDDON: I didn’t realize we were going
11 to plow this field again today. So I figured it’s
12 time to stop.
13 THE COURT: All right. So are you going to
14 ask — go ahead, Counsel.
15 MR. SANGER: I’m sorry. All I was going to
16 do is ask that — I’m going to officially ask, or on
17 the record ask that Sergeant Robel review his
18 materials. And rather than hold us up at this
19 moment, ask that he review his materials and then
20 ask for permission to call him back sometime perhaps
21 later today or tomorrow.
22 I understand there will be other police
23 officers, so we can cover this. If in the meantime
24 Detective Zelis or somebody else can do it, that’s
25 fine, too.
26 MR. SNEDDON: Judge, with regard to that
27 request, could counsel and I approach the bench for
28 just a second. It’s a personal thing — 2260
1 THE COURT: No.
2 MR. SNEDDON: — that you should be aware
4 THE COURT: No.
5 MR. SANGER: Your Honor —
6 THE COURT: If you’re through with this
7 witness – you’ve asked him to prepare – I’ll have
8 him step down. If you’re not through, I want you to
9 ask any questions that you have.
10 MR. SANGER: I am through with this witness
11 except for the preparation. And I understand what
12 Mr. Sneddon said and will accommodate the witness.
13 THE COURT: All right.
14 MR. SANGER: There is an issue, and I
15 understand, and we’ll accommodate him.
16 THE COURT: You can talk to each other about
18 MR. SANGER: Fine.
19 THE COURT: Do you want to have some
21 MR. SNEDDON: With the Court’s permission,
23 THE COURT: All right. Go ahead.
Sneddon began his redirect examination by asking “a couple of easy questions” to Sgt. Robel. First, he asked if there was an arrest warrant for Jackson in addition to the authorized search warrant (which there was), and then he asked Sgt. Robel to explain why the search warrant was executed without interviewing anyone at Neverland prior to the raid:
25 REDIRECT EXAMINATION
26 BY MR. SNEDDON:
27 Q. Detective Robel, first a couple of easy
28 questions for you. Prior to the time that you were 2261
1 assigned to this particular case — excuse me just
2 one second.
3 Prior to the time that you were assigned to
4 this particular case, had you and I ever met.
5 A. Prior to the case, no.
6 Q. Now, I asked you to look at Detective
7 Zelis’s report last night, and specifically asked
8 you to review the report with a view as to whether
9 or not that report contained information about the
10 Arvizo children saying that they had seen the
11 rebuttal tape before your actual first interview
12 with them. Not “seen the rebuttal tape,” but
13 participated in some interviews that we have now
14 called “the rebuttal tape.” Did you do that.
15 A. Yes, I did.
16 Q. Did that refresh your recollection.
17 A. Yes, it did.
18 Q. And did you, in fact, have that information
19 prior to the initial interview with the children.
20 A. Yes, I did.
21 Q. Now, on November the 18th of 2003, you’ve
22 told the ladies and gentlemen of the jury that you
23 went and participated in the execution of a search
24 warrant that was authorized by a Judge of the
25 Superior Court, correct.
26 A. That is correct.
27 Q. On that particular date, was there also an
28 arrest warrant issued by that Judge for the 2262
1 defendant, Michael Jackson.
2 A. Yes, there was.
3 MR. SANGER: I’m going to object and move to
4 strike. Object and move to strike on the grounds of
5 relevance and also beyond the scope of cross.
6 THE COURT: Overruled. The answer was “Yes,
7 there was.” Next question.
8 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: Now, Mr. Sanger asked you a
9 lot of questions about what you did from after you
10 interviewed the Arvizo family on a couple of
11 occasions until the point that you executed the
12 search warrant on November 18th. Do you recall
13 those questions.
14 A. Yes, I do.
15 Q. Now, was there a decision made with regard
16 to how those search warrants were going to be
18 A. Yes, there was.
19 Q. Was there a strategy involved in that.
20 A. Yes, there was.
21 Q. And what was that.
22 A. After interviewing —
23 MR. SANGER: I’m going to object. This
24 calls for hearsay, and it does not appear to be
25 relevant, and it’s beyond the scope of cross.
26 THE COURT: Doesn’t it — isn’t that exactly
27 what you were going into yesterday.
28 MR. SNEDDON: Absolutely. 2263
1 THE COURT: Overruled.
2 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: Go ahead and tell the
3 ladies and gentlemen of the jury.
4 A. After conducting the interviews with the
5 Arvizo family, myself, along with the other
6 investigators, including the D.A.’s Office, met and
7 we conferred and we decided at that point, like we
8 do on several investigations, sometimes, you know,
9 we’ll go in and advance further and interview people
10 to gather more information prior to serving a search
12 In this case we chose not to, due to the
13 nature of the investigation, and the high-profile
14 case being involved with Michael Jackson. So what
15 we decided to do is drop a search warrant and serve
16 it. And we did it that way because if we were to go
17 out and contact people prior to that, we were
18 concerned about evidence that we were looking for
19 that would corroborate the statements of the
20 children would be destroyed or would not be there,
21 and it would compromise our investigation. So
22 that’s the reason why we chose to serve the search
24 And then after serving the search warrant,
25 or during the search warrant service, I was able
26 to — due to the statements from the children, I was
27 already corroborating some of their statements to me
28 as I was walking through and searching through the 2264
1 house and things that they depicted.
2 MR. SANGER: I’m going to move to strike the
3 last part as being nonresponsive.
4 THE COURT: I’m going to strike the last
5 paragraph that starts, “And then after serving the
6 search warrant.”
7 MR. SNEDDON: All right.
8 THE COURT: And I’m going to admonish the
9 jury to disregard that statement as a conclusion of
10 the witness.
11 MR. SNEDDON: Your Honor, I don’t —
12 THE COURT: It’s nonresponsive.
13 MR. SNEDDON: It’s nonresponsive.
14 THE COURT: It was nonresponsive and a
15 conclusion of the witness.
Next, Sneddon asked Sgt. Robel to verify the corroborating evidence that he found at Neverland during the raid. Notice how Sneddon was admonished by Judge Melville for violating the court’s order to refer to pornography as “adult material”, as the term “pornography” is very prejudicial, and can be easily misinterpreted. The reason the defense wanted the term “pornography” banned from the courtroom is because the prosecution tried to pigeonhole Jackson’s art collection as “pornography” and “erotica”. (Read this multi-part series for more information on Jackson’s art collection, and how the prosecution tried to argue that it was homosexual erotica in order to prejudice the jury.)
17 Q. Now, Detective Robel, at the time that you
18 executed the search warrant on November 18th of
19 2003 – okay. – did you, during the course of the
20 execution of that search warrant observe, you
21 personally, observe items or things that you felt
22 corroborated the statements of the Arvizo children.
23 MR. SANGER: Objection, Your Honor.
24 THE COURT: Sustained.
25 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: On the date that you
26 executed the search warrant, did you see the
28 A. Yes. 2265
1 Q. Did you see the briefcase with the
3 A. Yes.
4 MR. MESEREAU: Object.
5 MR. SANGER: Yes, objection. Violates the
6 Court’s rule.
7 THE COURT: You didn’t say “adult material.”
8 MR. SNEDDON: Oh, God. I’m sorry, Your
10 THE COURT: All right.
11 MR. SNEDDON: I —
12 THE COURT: Rephrase your question.
14 MR. SNEDDON: Well, you know, you think like
15 a lawyer. I really apologize. I apologize to
17 THE COURT: Go ahead.
18 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: Okay. Did you see the
19 briefcase with the adult material in it.
20 A. Yes, I did.
21 Q. Did you go to the arcade.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did you see the jukebox.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Did you go in the cellar.
26 A. Yes.
27 Q. Did you see the wine.
28 A. Yes. 2266
1 Q. Did you go up the stairway to Mr. Jackson’s
3 A. Yes.
4 MR. SANGER: Your Honor, I believe this is
5 beyond the scope of cross. I object.
6 THE COURT: Overruled.
7 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: Did you stand on the
8 landing and look towards Mr. Jackson’s bed.
9 A. Yes.
Next, Sneddon asked Sgt. Robel if he could determine when the alleged conversations between Star, Gavin, and Davellin took place, based on her police interview (i.e. was Davellin told of Jackson’s alleged abuse while she was at Neverland, or after the family had left for the last time, etc.). Sgt. Robel could not determine the exact dates of those conversations, although he said that they took place while the family was at Neverland. Davellin was also aware of the urine bottle incident while she was at the ranch, according to her interview.
27 Q. Okay. Let’s talk a little bit about some of
28 the things that Mr. Sanger asked you this morning 2267
1 and yesterday.
2 You were asked by Mr. Sanger to review some
3 statements with regard to Davellin, and specifically
4 to Davellin with regard to that portion of the
5 transcript where she is describing events that —
6 where her brothers are present and they’re talking
7 about things.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Do you recall that.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. From reviewing the transcript, can you tell
12 us – tell the jury more importantly – tell them
13 whether or not, from the review of the transcripts,
14 that she’s referring to statements that have
15 occurred on the ranch or after they left the ranch.
16 MR. SANGER: I’m going to — I’m going to
17 object. That calls for a conclusion. It’s either a
18 statement of the witness or it’s not.
19 THE COURT: Sustained.
20 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: Can you tell from a review
21 of the transcript as to when those statements are
23 A. No.
24 Q. And just to be clear, the conversations
25 themselves, can you tell when — the conversations
26 she’s talking about, when they occurred.
27 A. I can tell when they occurred during their
28 stay on Neverland, but exact dates, no. 2268
1 Q. Now, you were asked yesterday by Mr. Sanger
2 with regard to whether or not Davellin told you that
3 she was aware of the urine bottles incident. Do you
4 recall that.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And did you have a chance to go back and
7 look at the transcript with regard to her statements
8 to you about that.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And can you tell from a review of the
11 transcript when she was aware of the urine bottles
13 A. It was —
14 MR. SANGER: Objection. That calls for
16 MR. SNEDDON: Let me rephrase it, Judge. I
17 can probably help you.
18 THE COURT: All right.
19 Q. Can you tell from a review of the transcript
20 whether or not she was aware of the urine bottle
21 specimen while she was at the ranch or —
22 A. Yes.
Sneddon ended his redirect-examination by asking Sgt. Robel about Gavin’s demeanor during his interview (when Gavin first told police about his alleged abuse), to which Sgt. Robel replied that Gavin’s demeanor changed drastically as he retold his alleged abuse. Also, when Sneddon asked Sgt. Robel what he thought about Gavin’s inconsistent testimony in between his initial interview and his cross-examination, Sanger objected on the grounds speculation, and Judge Melville sustained it. Finally, Sgt. Robel explained that Gavin only remembered two specific incidents of abuse, but claimed that he was abused more but couldn’t remember due to being intoxicated:
23 Q. Okay. I just have a couple more.
24 You were, you’ve told the jury, one of the
25 officers who interviewed Gavin Arvizo in the initial
26 interview and in the follow-up interview, correct.
27 A. That is correct.
28 Q. And during the initial interview, Gavin 2269
1 Arvizo disclosed to you certain things that Mr.
2 Jackson did to him, correct.
3 A. That is correct.
4 Q. Now, can you describe to the ladies and
5 gentlemen of the jury what Gavin’s attitude or
6 demeanor was at the time that you got into that part
7 of the conversation.
8 A. Prior to getting into that area, we were
9 just discussing just his stay on the ranch, and he
10 appeared to be, you know, fine with talking with us,
11 open, very positive.
12 As I got into questioning him regarding the
13 actual molestation acts and having him share with
14 that openly, immediately noticed a major change in
15 Gavin’s demeanor, and he basically became very, very
16 quiet, folded his arms, and just sunk down into his
18 And it took me approximately ten minutes or
19 so to reassure him that he was doing the right
20 thing. And he, at one point in time, kind of got a
21 little — a little choked up. And eventually he was
22 able to go on ahead and disclose what acts occurred.
23 MR. SANGER: I’m going to object and move to
24 strike the last sentence as a conclusion of the
26 THE COURT: Stricken. The jury’s admonished
27 to disregard the last sentence.
28 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: Now, yesterday Mr. Sanger 2270
1 asked you several questions about statements that
2 Gavin Arvizo made to you about the number of times
3 that he told you that Mr. Jackson molested him. Do
4 you recall those questions.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And do you recall that on a couple of
7 occasions he told you he thought it was between five
8 and seven times.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And do you recall in the courtroom here he
11 indicated that there were at least two times that he
12 was very specific about the information in which he
13 was — the defendant molested him. Do you recall
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Do you find any inconsistencies between what
17 he told you and what he said in the courtroom.
18 MR. SANGER: Objection, Your Honor. That
19 calls for speculation and comment on a witness’s
21 THE COURT: Sustained.
22 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: Were you present during a
23 conversation where Gavin Arvizo explained the five
24 and seven — the five figure that he gave you versus
25 the two figure that he testified in court.
26 A. Yes.
27 Q. And what did he say in that regard.
28 MR. SANGER: Objection; vague as to time. 2271
1 MR. SNEDDON: It’s a —
2 THE COURT: Overruled.
3 You may answer.
4 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: Go ahead.
5 A. During my initial interview with him, he had
6 told me that — that he was specific about two
7 events that he recalled occurring. And he also told
8 me that he believes that it happened between five
9 and seven times. And he could not articulate
10 exactly what occurred, but he believes that it
11 happened more than twice.
12 MR. SNEDDON: No further questions, Your
14 THE COURT: Recross.
Sanger’s recross-examination started off by focusing on determining when Sgt. Robel first became knowledgeable of the rebuttal tape. Sgt. Robel had no knowledge of the rebuttal tape until an interview with Janet Arvizo on July 7th, 2003 but prosecutors didn’t see it until after it was seized during a raid on Hamid Mosheli’s home. It was seen partially for the first time sometime in between the raid of Neverland on November 18th, 2003, and the Arvizo’s interview on January 19th, 2004. Sgt. Robel didn’t see the entire rebuttal tape until January 19th, 2004. None of the Arvizo children ever mentioned it in their interviews, nor were they asked about it.
Sgt. Robel claimed that due to his previous interview with Janet Arvizo, where she stated that her family was forced to shoot the rebuttal video under duress, he wasn’t surprised at its contents when he saw it in its entirety for the first time. However, he wasn’t aware of the cards that the family sent to both Jackson and comedian Louise Palanker (who married Assistant DA Ron Zonen last year in a wedding that included Gavin & Star Arvizo, and Diane Dimond as guests), in which they referred to them as “daddy” and “mommy”, respectively.
17 BY MR. SANGER:
18 Q. Now, you said you were aware of the rebuttal
19 tape. How were you aware of the rebuttal tape.
20 A. During interviews with Mrs. Arvizo.
21 Q. With Janet Arvizo.
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. You had no idea what the rebuttal tape
24 looked like at the time you talked to Janet Arvizo
25 before November 18th; is that correct.
26 A. That is correct.
27 Q. And you did not ask any of the children
28 about the rebuttal tape prior to the search on 2272
1 November 18th, 2003, correct.
2 A. I believe that’s correct.
3 MR. SANGER: May I just put up 5035. That’s
4 the timeline that —
5 THE COURT: Yes, that’s fine.
6 MR. SANGER: It’s already in evidence. Just
7 so we have a visual here.
8 Q. Okay. So again, search, November 18th. And
9 sometime after that — sometime between November
10 18th and January 19th, you saw a portion of the
11 rebuttal video, correct.
12 A. That is correct.
13 Q. And one of the other officers said, “Look at
14 this,” and he was looking at it on his screen, and
15 you came over and looked at it.
16 A. Yeah. It was a DVD, or video.
17 Q. Okay. And then the first time you watched
18 the full tape was January 19th; is that correct.
19 A. That’s correct.
20 Q. When you first — who was it that showed you
21 this tape, by the way.
22 A. Detective Bonner.
23 Q. Okay. So when Detective Bonner showed you
24 this tape, he called you over and said, “Look at
25 this,” right.
26 A. Yeah.
27 Q. And when you first saw, it was rather
28 remarkable, wasn’t it. 2273
1 A. Remarkable in what way.
2 Q. I’m asking you. Let me ask you this, then:
3 It did not appear to you at that time to be
4 consistent with what you had been hearing from this
5 family up until the time you saw it.
6 A. When I saw bits and pieces of what he showed
7 me on that day, I was not alarmed by that because of
8 — I recalled what Janet had told me in her initial
9 interview about them being forced to do that by
10 Dieter, so it was not alarming to me at all
11 regarding what I was seeing and the way she was
12 acting, if that’s what you’re asking.
13 Q. So forced to say things like “Call Michael
14 Jackson ‘daddy’ and ‘father figure’,” and all that.
15 A. Exactly.
16 Q. Okay. And you weren’t — you’ve sat here
17 now, you’ve seen the cards where that’s what this
18 family does. They call people “father” and
19 “mother,” and they tell them they love them and they
20 do all that, right.
21 A. According to the cards, yes.
22 Q. You weren’t aware of that at the time, were
24 A. No, I wasn’t.
25 Q. So when she explained, and later the kids
26 explained, “Oh, Dieter made us do it,” you weren’t
27 aware that that’s what they, in fact, did
28 spontaneously prior to ever meeting Dieter, right. 2274
1 MR. SNEDDON: Excuse me.
2 MR. SANGER: That was a long question.
3 MR. SNEDDON: It’s vague, ambiguous and —
4 MR. SANGER: Let me withdraw it.
5 THE COURT: All right.
6 MR. SANGER: I think it was compound,
7 actually. Let me try to break it down.
8 Q. Prior to — let’s put it this way: When did
9 you first learn that this family would send very
10 effusive cards and letters to people calling them
11 “mommy” or “daddy,” and telling them they’re part of
12 their family, and that sort of thing.
13 MR. SNEDDON: I’m going to object to the
14 question as “this family” is vague. If he has
15 specific people he wants to refer to, I think he
16 should do that.
17 MR. SANGER: I’m referring to Janet, Star,
18 Gavin and Davellin, whose names already show up on
19 the cards in evidence in this case with regard to
20 Palanker and Michael Jackson.
21 THE COURT: Just a moment. I don’t know how
22 this has deteriorated where both of you are talking
23 freely to the jury about your questions. So let’s
24 go back to the —
25 MR. SANGER: I’m sorry, Your Honor.
26 THE COURT: Let’s go back to the specific
27 objections, and not respond to them. The objection
28 is overruled. 2275
1 You may answer now. And I’ll have it read
2 back, because there’s been a conversation take
4 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
5 (Record read.)
6 THE WITNESS: Upon reviewing, after the
7 search warrant, some of the items that were seized,
8 when I was going through some of those items, I ran
9 across some of the cards and so forth that you have
10 displayed here in court.
11 Q. BY MR. SANGER: Now, the cards to Miss
12 Palanker, you were here in court when those were
14 A. That is correct.
15 Q. You didn’t see those cards until a couple
16 months ago; is that correct.
17 A. That is correct.
In this excerpt, Sgt. Robel disclosed that he obtained a search warrant on Neverland WITHOUT trying to discover any other evidence or conducting any other interviews besides the ones he conducted with the Arvizo family and Dr. Katz. Sgt. Robel claimed that this was due to the high profile nature of the case, and his concern that conducting further interviews would have compromised his investigation.
When questioned on this further, Sanger was admonished by Judge Melville for going outside the scope of the recross-examination. Sgt. Robel then went on to testify that based on the corroborating evidence that was seized from Neverland on November 18th, 2003, he felt that he had enough probable cause to seek an arrest warrant for Jackson. Also, another detective in his department stated that Sgt. Robel didn’t contact the Beverly Hills Police Department prior to executing the raid on Neverland because they were afraid of leaks, which would compromise their case.
Sanger challenged Sgt. Robel about the nature of his investigation tactics, including their attempts to discredit any witnesses who came forth and said the Arvizo family was lying. Sgt. Robel replied that their tactics were not meant to discredit, but rather to interview those witnesses and attempt to “clarify” and make sure that their stories are correct.
Finally, Sanger finished his recross-examination by asking Sgt. Robel if he had run a credit check on the witnesses in the case, including Janet Arvizo, and he replied that his department normally runs credit checks as part of their investigative process, but he couldn’t remember if one was ran on Janet Arvizo:
18 Q. Now, you indicated that you proceeded —
19 Mr. Sneddon was asking you how you proceeded with
20 this investigation. And basically, you said that
21 you talked to the family and you didn’t — you
22 didn’t develop other evidence before going to get
23 the search warrants, correct.
24 A. Meaning —
25 Q. I’m paraphrasing what you were saying, and
26 perhaps not accurately, because you’re not agreeing.
27 I believe in response to Mr. Sneddon’s
28 question, you said on November 18th, you got search 2276
1 warrants, and you proceeded in that fashion rather
2 than going out and interviewing other people, other
3 than the family, and I guess Dr. Katz, right.
4 A. That is correct.
5 Q. Okay. And I take it from what you are
6 saying, you did that, and I think you specifically
7 said, because this was a high-profile case, correct.
8 A. What I meant is, is that due to the nature
9 of the case being a molestation case, this is not
10 something that — it’s out of the ordinary for me,
11 as an investigator, that, on molestation cases, you
12 do not —
13 MR. SANGER: I’m going to move to strike.
14 That’s a narrative and not responsive.
15 THE COURT: Overruled. He’s answering your
17 Q. BY MR. SANGER: Go ahead.
18 A. That we take those differently, and each one
19 is dealt with differently as far as how far we
20 pursue it before we do a warrant, because it would
21 compromise evidence that we would possibly lose if
22 we were to go out and contact the people.
23 Q. Now, you once said that you were concerned
24 about, for instance, calling the Beverly Hills
25 Police Department, didn’t you say. Not here in
26 these proceedings, but previously. Were you aware
27 of that. I don’t know if you said it or —
28 A. I don’t know if it was me. I think it was 2277
1 one of the other investigators that was assigned to
3 Q. And you were concerned about calling the
4 Beverly Hills Police Department why.
5 A. I —
6 MR. SNEDDON: Judge, I object. Lack of
7 knowledge, personal knowledge.
8 MR. SANGER: That’s fine.
9 Q. If you don’t know — you’re the lead
10 investigator, right.
11 THE COURT: Just a minute.
12 MR. SANGER: Let me withdraw it.
13 THE COURT: The objection is sustained.
14 MR. SANGER: Okay.
15 Q. I’m basing this question on your position
16 here as the lead investigator. I take it, as lead
17 investigator, you have a say — or you discuss with
18 your superiors, but you have a say on what happens
19 in the case, correct.
20 A. Mr. Sanger, I have a say in what happens in
21 the case. But the magnitude of this case, you know,
22 I’m the lead, but I don’t know every little thing
23 that goes on and gets my approval. So I’m unaware
24 of some things that don’t go on on a regular basis.
25 Q. Well, you’re aware, for instance, as you
26 have told us, that Mr. Sneddon himself went down to
27 Beverly Hills and did some investigation, correct.
28 A. He went down to Beverly Hills. But it 2278
1 wasn’t for investigation.
2 Q. Well, sir, he went to Brad Miller’s
3 office —
4 THE COURT: Just a minute, Counsel. I just
5 feel that the examination is losing its focus.
6 Every time he answers something a little
7 differently, you go down that street. And we’re —
8 I wonder if you could get back to what you were
9 asking him about originally.
10 MR. SANGER: This is —
11 THE COURT: I don’t —
12 MR. SANGER: I can indicate to the Court —
13 THE COURT: I think you’re taking every side
14 street that comes up, and I’d like you to
15 concentrate on your recross of this witness.
16 MR. SANGER: Yes.
17 Q. The recross, and the focus of this, Sergeant
18 Robel, is what you just told us about, you told Mr.
19 Sneddon, this is a high-profile case, that’s why you
20 proceeded in this fashion. I asked you about that,
21 and you responded —
22 MR. SNEDDON: Object as a narrative.
23 THE COURT: Just ask your next question.
24 MR. SANGER: All right.
25 Q. And one of the things that your department
26 did, because you said this was a sensitive case, was
27 not contact the Beverly Hills Police Department; is
28 that correct. 2279
1 A. I did not say that, to not contact Beverly
2 Hills. That wasn’t me that said that.
3 Q. Somebody in your department said that; is
4 that right.
5 MR. SNEDDON: Object as lack of personal
7 Q. BY MR. SANGER: If you know.
8 THE COURT: The objection is overruled. I’ll
9 have the question read back, because he added
10 something at the end.
11 Go ahead.
12 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
13 (Record read.)
14 THE WITNESS: I believe so, yes.
15 Q. BY MR. SANGER: All right. And the reason
16 for that was, you were worried about leaks.
17 A. That’s correct.
18 Q. All right. Now, do you have any information
19 whatsoever that the Beverly Hills Police Department
20 would leak information.
21 MR. SNEDDON: Object, Your Honor, calls for
23 THE COURT: Sustained.
24 MR. SANGER: It’s just “yes” or “no.” All
26 Q. In fact, at that same time period you
27 contacted the Los Angeles Police Department to go
28 see where Mr. Moslehi lived or confirm his address, 2280
1 didn’t you.
2 A. Mr. Moslehi.
3 Q. Moslehi. However you say it. I apologize
4 to him, but —
5 A. I believe we did.
6 Q. Okay. And in any event — so sometimes you
7 would — before the 18th, there were occasions when
8 you did make some inquiries and occasions when you
9 didn’t, based on your concern about sensitivity; is
10 that right.
11 A. I guess that would be a fair way of putting
12 it, yes.
13 Q. And on November 18th, you not only got
14 search warrants to search for evidence, but as you
15 just told Mr. Sneddon, you also got an arrest
16 warrant; is that correct.
17 A. That is correct.
18 Q. So November 18th, you and your department
19 formed the opinion that you should — you had
20 probable cause, you should go out and arrest
21 Mr. Michael Jackson in this case, based on what you
22 had then, right.
23 A. That is correct.
24 Q. And then you investigated the case after you
25 got the arrest warrant.
26 A. That’s incorrect.
27 Q. You didn’t investigate the case after you
28 got the arrest warrant. 2281
1 A. We investigated the case prior to the search
2 warrant. We continued to investigate the case, and
3 we are currently continuing to investigate the case
4 as this trial is going on. This is a continuing
6 Q. So a part of the continuing investigation
7 you’re just talking about, for instance, is an
8 attempt to discredit witnesses who have come forward
9 to say that the Arvizos are not telling the truth;
10 is that correct.
11 MR. SNEDDON: Your Honor, I’m going to
12 object to this as beyond the scope.
13 THE COURT: I’m not going to sustain the
15 Go ahead.
16 THE WITNESS: Can you repeat that, please.
17 (Record read.)
18 THE WITNESS: To discredit, no. It’s when we
19 receive reports from you, as the defense, that we
20 have accusations or things in your reports, we’re
21 going to go and see if we can interview them to
22 clarify and to make sure that that is correct. And
23 we’re also having other people coming forward
24 besides your witnesses that you’ve talked to that
25 we’re following up leads regarding this case.
26 Q. BY MR. SANGER: All right. When you say
27 “our witnesses,” we submit reports to you, part of
28 what our investigators do through our office, right. 2282
1 A. Correct.
2 Q. And give you an opportunity to follow up and
3 talk to them and figure out what’s going on, right.
4 A. That is correct.
5 Q. And there have been a couple of witnesses –
6 without going into a lot of detail – a couple of
7 witnesses very recently, who I think have already
8 been referred to — but I think there have been a
9 couple of witnesses who came forward and said they
10 would talk only to both sides at the same time,
12 A. That is correct.
13 Q. And you went down — I think you personally
14 went down once with Mr. Sneddon, once with Mr.
15 Zonen, and interviewed these witnesses, correct.
16 A. No, I just went down with Mr. Zonen. I
17 didn’t go with Mr. Sneddon.
18 Q. You’re aware that Mr. Sneddon went down on
19 another witness with another investigator, is
20 that —
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And as to one of those witnesses, you had
23 your officers — as lead investigator, you had your
24 officers, or law enforcement agents, go door to door
25 in the neighborhood to see if people could say
26 anything about the witness who had come forward,
28 A. No. 2283
1 Q. Were you aware that —
2 A. I had them go down there and make sure that
3 was the address where that particular person was
4 living. It’s part of making sure that we have the
5 right location.
6 Q. And knocked on the doors, and asked people
7 about their neighbor, the witness, correct.
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. And you ran a — about a 150-page Equifax
10 credit check on one of the witnesses, didn’t you, or
11 had it done; is that correct.
12 A. A credit Equifax.
13 Q. Equifax credit check.
14 A. I’m unaware of that.
15 Q. Did you ever run an Equifax credit check on
16 Janet Arvizo or any of the other people that are
17 accusing Mr. Jackson.
18 A. We have run backgrounds on everyone involved
19 in this case, whether they’re a witness or whatever.
20 That is procedure for us to find out who we’re
21 dealing with before we send our investigators out.
22 Q. Did you ever run an Equifax credit check on
23 Janet Arvizo.
24 A. I believe we did.
25 Q. You did. An Equifax.
26 A. I believe so. I’m not sure.
27 Q. If you find that, would you provide it in
28 discovery to us. 2284
1 MR. SNEDDON: Your Honor, that’s
3 MR. SANGER: Well, but —
4 THE COURT: Sustained.
5 MR. SANGER: All right. Very well. I have
6 no further questions.
7 MR. SNEDDON: No further questions.
8 THE COURT: All right. You may step down.
9 MR. SANGER: Subject to the request that he
10 take a look at those materials.
11 THE COURT: Well, we’ll discuss that.
12 Call your next witness.
13 He’s always subject to re-call. He’s not
15 MR. SANGER: Thank you.
16 THE WITNESS: Mr. Sanger.
17 THE BAILIFF: I’ll get it. Excuse me.
18 MR. SNEDDON: Detective Zelis.
19 THE COURT: Please remain standing and raise
20 your right hand.
Summary of the testimony of Sgt. Steve Robel
1. In June 2003, Sgt. Robel was assigned as the lead investigator in the investigation of Jackson, and he worked under Lt. Klapakis, and supervised Det. Paul Zelis. On July 7th, 2003 Sgt. Robel interviewed the Arvizo family for the first time. Prior to his interview with the family, Sgt. Robel was already familiar with the results of the DCFS interview, and Det. Zelis’s phone conversation with Dr. Katz (during which Dr. Katz disclosed Gavin’s alleged abuse by Jackson). After confirming that the interview was taped and transcribed, Sgt. Robel described what Star told him about the third time that he allegedly saw Jackson abusing his brother (which Star admitted to Mesereau that he “forgot” to tell Dr. Katz during his interview in May 2003).
2. Sneddon asked Sgt. Robel to give details of his interview with Gavin, and Sgt. Robel stated that Gavin alleged that he was abused “towards the end” of his time at Neverland. Gavin was interviewed a second time on August 13th, 2003, and once again stated that he was abused “towards the end” of his time at Neverland. However, under cross examination, Gavin contradicted himself by stating he was abused “within a few days of leaving Neverland”, when he told police and the Grand Jury that it was “within a few weeks of leaving Neverland”.
3. Sgt. Robel was a part of the raid of Neverland in November 2003, and as the lead investigator, he oversaw the preparation of the affidavit in support of the search warrant. His initial request for the length of time to be authorized to execute the search warrant was two to three days, but Sneddon denied it, and eventually the judge authorized a time limit of 24 hours to conduct the search of Neverland. As a result of this reduced timeframe, a decision was made to increase the number of officers to conduct the raid.
4. Under cross-examination, Sgt. Robel admitted that the pornographic magazines that he seized from Neverland were not illegal, and that the Arvizo boys didn’t claim to have been shown the vast majority of the magazines that were shown to the jury in the courtroom. Also, Sanger wanted to impress upon the jury the fact that the percentage of books and magazines that Jackson owned that would be considered pornographic was extremely low, and that Jackson owned thousands of books. Sgt. Robel stated that he definitely saw hundreds of books, although he obviously could not give a firm estimate of the exact amount.
5. 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.
6. After going through the exact timeline of events with Sgt. Robel, Sanger asks 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 through an illegal raid on the offices of Bradley Miller, a private investigator for Jackson’s then attorney Mark Geragos (who would be replaced by Mesereau in April 2004).
7. Sanger questioned 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 admitted 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). Sanger then 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
8. Sanger questioned 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.
9. 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.
10. During his November 25th, 2003 interview, Gavin claimed that he was abused both before AND after the DCFS interview, and 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!
11. Sanger questioned 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 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). Sgt. Robel confirmed each of Sanger’s challenges regarding the inconsistencies in Star’s interviews.
12. Sanger challenged Sgt. Robel about the blatant lack of professionalism and objectivity that he displayed in hhis 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!
13. During an interview with Sgt. Robel on July , 2003, Davellin stated that Gavin and Star . Sgt. Robel was unable to determine when Star and Gavin allegedly told their stories to Davellin, although he said they told him while they were at Neverland in March 2003.
14. Under redirect examination, Sgt. Robel testified that he was concerned that if he and his sheriffs tried to contact indiviuals who could corroborate the Arvizo’s claims, that their investigation would be compromised, so the decision was made to raid Neverland to find the corroborative evidence and interview employees.
15. Sneddon ended his redirect-examination by asking Sgt. Robel about Gavin’s demeanor during his interview (when Gavin first told police about his alleged abuse), to which Sgt. Robel replied that Gavin’s demeanor changed drastically as he retold his alleged abuse. Also, when Sneddon asked Sgt. Robel what he thought about Gavin’s inconsistent testimony in between his initial interview and his cross-examination, Sanger objected on the grounds speculation, and Judge Melville sustained it. Finally, Sgt. Robel explained that Gavin only remembered two specific incidents of abuse, but claimed that he was abused more but couldn’t remember due to being intoxicated.
16. Sanger’s recross-examination started off by focusing on determining when Sgt. Robel first became knowledgeable of the rebuttal tape. Sgt. Robel had no knowledge of the rebuttal tape until an interview with Janet Arvizo on July 7th, 2003 but prosecutors didn’t see it until after it was seized during a raid on Hamid Mosheli’s home. It was seen partially for the first time sometime in between the raid of Neverland on November 18th, 2003, and the Arvizo’s interview on January 19th, 2004. Sgt. Robel didn’t see the entire rebuttal tape until January 19th, 2004. None of the Arvizo children ever mentioned it in their interviews, nor were they asked about it.
17. Sgt. Robel claimed that due to his previous interview with Janet Arvizo, where she stated that her family was forced to shoot the rebuttal video under duress, he wasn’t surprised at its contents when he saw it in its entirety for the first time. However, he wasn’t aware of the cards that the family sent to both Jackson and comedian Louise Palanker (who married Assistant DA Ron Zonen last year in a wedding that included Gavi & Star Arvizo, and Diane Dimond as guests), in which they referred to them as “daddy” and “mommy”, respectively.
18. Sgt. Robel disclosed that he obtained a search warrant on Neverland WITHOUT trying to discover any other evidence or conducting any other interviews besides the ones he conducted with the Arvizo family and Dr. Katz. Sgt. Robel claimed that this was due to the high profile nature of the case, and his concern that conducting further interviews would have compromised his investigation. When questioned on this further, Sanger was admonished by Judge Melville for going outside the scope of the recross-examination. Sgt. Robel then went on to testify that based on the corroborating evidence that was seized from Neverland on November 18th, 2003, he felt that he had enough probable cause to seek an arrest warrant for Jackson. Also, another detective in his department stated that Sgt. Robel didn’t contact the Beverly Hills Police Department prior to executing the raid on Neverland because they were afraid of leaks, which would compromise their case.
19. Sanger challenged Sgt. Robel about the nature of his investigation tactics, including their attempts to discredit any witnesses who came forth and said the Arvizo family was lying. Sgt. Robel replied that their tactics were not meant to discredit, but rather to interview those witnesses and attempt to “clarify” and make sure that their stories are correct.
20. Finally, Sanger finished his recross-examination by asking Sgt. Robel if he had run a credit check on the witnesses in the case, including Janet Arvizo, and he replied that his department normally runs credit checks as part of their investigative process, but he couldn’t remember if one was ran on Janet Arvizo.