March 22nd, 2005 Trial Analysis: Louise Palanker (Direct & Cross Examination), Part 1 of 2
Auchincloss continued his direct examination of Palanker by getting her to describe how she trained the Arvizo children in their acting and comedic skills; this is a contradiction to Star’s testimony that he didn’t have any acting training prior to his deposition for the JC Penney case. Palanker testified that she grew an attachment to the children, but when she was asked why, Mesereau objected and it was sustained by Judge Melville:
20 DIRECT EXAMINATION (Continued)
21 BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS:
22 Q. Good morning, Miss Palanker.
23 A. Good morning.
24 Q. When we left off yesterday, we were talking
25 about the comedy camp and the Arvizos’ attendance.
26 During — and I believe you previously
27 testified that that camp operated for two months in
28 the summer of 1999, and that the Arvizo children 3004
1 were there each weekend, one day a week.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Okay. To your recollection, did they attend
4 every session.
5 A. I don’t think they missed one.
6 Q. Okay. And were all three of the children
7 members of the comedy camp.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Did you personally work with them.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And how did that work. How did you — what
12 would you do when you would be — would go with them
13 at the comedy camp.
14 A. I’m a comedy writer, and primarily I would
15 help the children come up with punch lines for their
16 stories and work on their material with them.
17 Q. So, they make up jokes and you help them
18 make them funnier.
19 A. They tell stories from their real life, just
20 like adult stand-up comedians would. They talk
21 about things that they’ve observed or things that
22 happen in their lives, and we try to twist the
23 material into punch lines to create good pieces of
24 material for the kids that adults will laugh at.
25 Q. What is the goal of the comedy camp in
26 working with these children.
27 A. To give the children self-esteem,
28 confidence, creative thinking, things of that 3005
2 Q. Is it effective.
3 A. Yes. I believe it is.
4 Q. And why do you say that.
5 A. Some of these children don’t really have a
6 voice. They go through their day, no one’s really
7 listening to them. You give that child a microphone
8 and put them on a stage, and everyone is watching
9 them, and it really makes them feel like they
10 matter. And I’ve seen it work.
11 Q. Did you form any attachment to the Arvizo
13 A. I did, yes.
14 Q. And how did you find them to be.
15 MR. MESEREAU: Objection; vague.
16 THE COURT: Sustained.
17 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: How did you find them
18 to be in terms of their personality.
19 Well, maybe I’ll back off that question and
20 ask you, why did you form an attachment to these
22 A. These children are —
23 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Relevance;
25 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Goes to this witness’s
26 relationship with the children.
27 THE COURT: Objection sustained.
28 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Your Honor, I will be 3006
1 asking that this is foundation for an ultimate
2 question regarding character.
3 MR. MESEREAU: Same objection.
4 THE COURT: Sustained.
Here is what Star said under cross-examination on March 8th, 2005:
25 Q. Now, you indicated to the jury that you’ve
26 done some training as a comedian; is that right.
27 A. It wasn’t really actual training. We just
28 did it for fun. 1221
1 Q. Pardon me.
2 A. It wasn’t actually training. We just did it
3 for fun.
4 Q. Okay. But did you take a class.
5 A. No.
6 Q. Did you take an acting class.
7 A. No.
Moving on, Auchincloss asked Palanker to describe how she first found out about Gavin’s cancer, and about her desire to help the family financially through their difficult time. She would wind up loaning the family $20,000 dollars to renovate a “clean room” for Gavin that was totally sanitary, as his immune system was weakened due to his cancer and chemotherapy:
13 Q. At some point — well, let me strike that.
14 After the comedy camp was over, did you
15 continue to have a relationship with the Arvizos.
16 A. I believe we spoke on the phone a few times,
17 but I did not see them until Gavin got ill, which
18 was in June.
19 Q. So you had — you had the experience at the
20 summer — during the summer of ‘99 with the comedy
22 A. And then Christmas.
23 Q. And then Christmas. And then you spoke
24 again when Gavin got ill.
25 A. Yes. Well, we spoke in between, but I
26 didn’t see them.
27 Q. Okay. And who would you talk to when you’d
28 speak on the phone with the Arvizos. 3011
1 A. Janet would call and then she would put each
2 of the kids on one at a time.
3 Q. So tell me about how you found out that
4 Gavin became ill.
5 A. Janet called me.
6 Q. Tell me about that conversation.
7 MR. MESEREAU: Objection; hearsay.
8 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Offered to explain her
9 conduct which followed this phone call.
10 THE COURT: All right. I’ll overrule the
11 objection. This is not offered for the truth of the
12 matter. It’s offered only to explain the conduct
13 that follows.
14 THE WITNESS: She was screaming, “Gavin has
16 Q. BY MR AUCHINCLOSS: Were you upset by this.
17 A. Oh, yes.
18 Q. And did Gavin go in the hospital after that
19 phone call.
20 A. He was already in the hospital when she
21 called me.
22 Q. Did you visit him.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. During Gavin’s stay at the hospital, how
25 often would you visit him.
26 A. Two to three times a week.
27 Q. And can you describe your relationship with
28 Gavin over this period. 3012
1 A. I think — I think we became very close.
2 And it was very difficult, because he was very ill.
3 They gave him very extreme doses of chemotherapy,
4 and he became very, very ill.
5 Q. Did you become aware that he almost died.
6 A. Oh, yes.
7 Q. At some point did you offer some financial
8 assistance to the Arvizo family.
9 A. When Gavin was in the hospital the first
10 time I went down there before his operation, I
11 realized the gravity of the situation, and I decided
12 to pull his father aside and ask his father what the
13 situation was financially in terms of did they have
14 full medical coverage, and what else needed to be
15 done to help the family get through, get through
16 this crisis.
17 And I discussed that I was in a position to
18 give them some money so that David could take some
19 time off work and be with Gavin, and so that they
20 could fix up a cleanroom for Gavin.
21 Q. All right. I have several exhibits I’d like
22 to show you now, Miss Palanker.
23 I’ve previously showed counsel Item No. 718
24 and 719.
25 If I may approach.
26 THE COURT: You may.
27 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Miss Palanker, I show
28 you People’s Exhibit No. 31. Can you identify that 3013
1 for me.
2 A. Janet Arvizo.
3 Q. And I show you People’s No. 35. Would you
4 identify that for me, please.
5 A. David Arvizo.
6 Q. I show you People’s Exhibit No. 718. It
7 appears to be a photocopy, not a very good, one of a
8 check for $10,000, Check No. 114. It’s dated
9 6-15-2000. Can you identify that for me, please.
10 A. That’s my sister’s — excuse me, my sister’s
11 my business manager. That’s her handwriting, and
12 that’s a check that she wrote to Janet.
13 Q. Okay. And I’m also going to show you a
14 second exhibit, 719, appears to be a Check No.
15 10893, dated July 10th, 2000. Can you identify that
16 for me, please.
17 A. That was a check made out to David three
18 weeks after the first check.
19 Q. Okay. Also a check for $10,000.
20 A. Yes, for $10,000.
21 Q. All right. And are these copies, 718 and
22 719, are they fair representations as far as copies
23 go of the checks that you wrote.
24 A. I imagine so, but I — I didn’t make them
25 out. I just handed them to David, so I really
26 didn’t look at them that carefully.
27 Q. Okay. But you do recognize them.
28 A. Yes. 3014
1 Q. Thank you.
2 Ask to move Exhibits 718 and 719 into
3 evidence at this time.
4 MR. MESEREAU: No objection, Your Honor.
5 THE COURT: They’re admitted.
Palanker testified that David Arvizo “told her” to write the checks to Janet Arvizo. Notice how Palanker stated that Janet is prone to endearments such as “Sweetie Wheezy”, and that flies in the face of the notion that the reason she and the Arvizos called Jackson their “daddy” in the rebuttal tape is because they were under duress!
10 Q. All right. Now, Miss Palanker, we have
11 Exhibit No. 718 that we’re showing at this time. I
12 think you’ve identified that as a check that you
13 wrote. The check indicates it is made out to Janet
14 Arvizo. And I believe you testified that your
15 sister wrote this check.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And did she do it at your direction.
18 A. Yes, she did.
19 Q. It was written to Janet Arvizo. Was that
20 your idea to write it to Janet or did someone ask
21 you to write it to her.
22 A. David told me to.
23 Q. All right. And it’s endorsed — if you can
24 see underneath the endorsement, it appears to say,
25 “Thank you, Louise, my Sweetie Wheezy,” with a heart
26 over the “Louise.”
27 A. That — that’s Janet.
28 Q. Why do you say that. 3015
1 A. That’s her personality.
2 Q. Okay. Is she prone to endearments like
3 “Sweetie Wheezy”.
4 A. Very much so.
In this excerpt, Palanker went into more detail about the clean room that she wanted built for Gavin at his grandmother’s house:
17 Q. Okay. Now, I want to go back to the — how
18 this check was actually provided to the Arvizos and
19 what preceded it.
20 Tell me why you wrote a check for $10,000 to
21 Janet Arvizo.
22 A. Why I made it out to her or why —
23 Q. No, why you gave them a check for $10,000.
24 What was the purpose.
25 A. Because I was in a position where I could
26 help this family, and I didn’t want to — I didn’t
27 want Gavin to ever be alone in the hospital. And I
28 didn’t see — I didn’t see how a family of their 3016
1 means would be able to take off work and be with him
2 if I didn’t do this.
3 Q. Did you believe this check would help
4 provide funds for his medical — medical needs.
5 A. No, I did not.
6 Q. And why is that.
7 A. Because he was at Kaiser, and Kaiser
8 provides full hospitalization.
9 Q. And how did you know that.
10 A. I knew that because my uncle passed away at
11 Kaiser, and I knew that because I directly asked
12 David if Gavin needed any financial help for medical
13 purposes, and he told me no.
14 Q. Okay. Now, you mentioned a germ-free room.
15 Tell me about that, that you thought the money might
16 be used for such a purpose.
17 A. Yes. They told me that Gavin needed a room.
18 And I had seen their apartment and I know they live
19 in one room. And together we — we determined that
20 possibly Janet’s parents could provide such a room,
21 but that it would have to be fixed up, and the rugs
22 ripped out and tile — tile floor put down, and some
23 other changes. I don’t remember exactly, but to
24 make sure that dust couldn’t get in, et cetera.
25 Q. So at the time you wrote the check, was it
26 your impression that David was working at that time.
27 A. He was working at that time at a Von’s
28 warehouse, to my understanding. 3017
1 Q. And I believe you testified that you wanted
2 him to take some time off to spend with Gavin.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Was it your impression that Janet was
5 working at that time.
6 A. It was my impression that she worked either
7 as a waitress, or a hostess at a restaurant, or
8 something like that. And that if she took time off
9 work, she would lose her job. But he would be able
10 to take time off work and then get his job back.
11 Q. So tell me about the circumstances
12 surrounding the act of your handing this check over
13 to David. Do you recall where it occurred.
14 A. It was probably at the hospital. I probably
15 pulled him out of the room and, you know, did it
17 Q. Okay. But you do specifically recall giving
18 it to David Arvizo.
19 A. Yes. Janet was seldom at the hospital.
Palanker was asked by Auchincloss if she was asked or pressured into writing the checks, and she denied it, which played into the prosecution’s assertions that the Arvizo family was not the group of grifters that Mesereau insinuated in his opening statement:
8 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Okay. I think where we
9 left off, I’m covering the circumstances surrounding
10 your actually giving the check to David.
11 So you recall that it happened at the
12 hospital, I think you said it was maybe a day or two
13 after June 15th. Do you know who else was around.
14 A. I don’t recall that.
15 Q. At that point, had anybody of — any member
16 of the Arvizo family asked you for any money.
17 A. No.
18 Q. Had anybody influenced you in any way to
19 give that $10,000 check to the Arvizos.
20 A. No, it was fairly spontaneous. It’s just a
21 decision I made after I saw Gavin and what the
22 situation entailed and would entail for this family,
23 and I just decided on my own to do it.
24 Q. Did you have any strings attached to this
25 check — to the giving of this check in terms of
26 what the money had to be used for.
27 A. No.
28 Q. And what did you envision the money would be 3019
1 used for.
2 A. So that he could support his family. He has
3 two other children, and a wife, and so he could
4 support them and not have to be at work every day.
5 Q. So you didn’t have any rules about what they
6 spent that money on.
7 A. No, I didn’t.
8 Q. Did you later become aware of some items or
9 some changes or some redecorating, anything of that
10 nature, that occurred to — that — well, let me
11 strike that.
12 Did you later become aware of anything that
13 the Arvizos used that $10,000 for.
14 A. I sent my contractor down to the home in El
15 Monte, and when the room was finished they wanted me
16 to come see it. And so I did. I went to see the
18 Q. And what did you see when you got there.
19 Well, maybe I should ask you first, did you go see
20 the room.
21 A. Yes, I did.
22 Q. And what did you see when you got there.
23 A. It was a very small room in a suburban tract
24 home in El Monte. And they had — I don’t know what
25 the room looked like before, but it looked like they
26 had bought a nice big bed for Gavin, some bedding.
27 They explained that the carpet had been
28 ripped up. And I saw that the tile — and then 3020
1 there was — the floorboards had been fixed so that
2 it could be dust-free.
3 And there was some kind of air conditioning/
4 air filtration device right outside the window. And
5 then a hose and a hole had been created near the
6 floorboards so that the filtrated air could come in.
7 And they had bought a big television and a
8 DVD player.
9 Q. Okay. And was that for Gavin’s use.
10 A. Yes, but I believe the whole family would
11 sit on the bed in there and watch it.
Although she wasn’t pressured into loaning the family $20,000 dollars for renovations, Palanker testified that she was asked for money subsequently by David Arvizo “very often from that point forward”. David allegedly asked for money to help pay the rent and other utilities because Janet had spent all of the money already.
12 Q. Okay. After you made that charitable gift
13 to the Arvizos, did any member of the Arvizo family
14 start asking you for money.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Who was that.
17 A. David.
18 Q. How often did that occur.
19 A. Within two weeks of having given him the
20 first check, and very often from that point forward.
21 Q. Now, you’ve previously identified David.
22 Tell me, when was the first time you met him.
23 A. At the hospital right before Gavin’s
24 operation, the day that I offered him the money.
25 Q. And how long had you known him before he
26 started asking you for money.
27 A. Two weeks.
28 Q. About two weeks. 3021
1 A. Yeah.
2 Q. So tell me how he would do that. How would
3 he approach you for money.
4 A. He would say — I don’t remember the exact
5 words, but it would be along the lines of, you know,
6 “We’re really strapped and we’re not going to be
7 able to make rent.”
8 And he would — he would — I don’t know if
9 this is hearsay or not, but he would tell me that
10 Janet had spent all the money.
11 Q. Did he tell you what Janet had spent all the
12 money on.
13 A. He told me she was going crazy, and she had
14 spent the money on votive candles and things of that
15 nature, praying.
16 Q. Did you believe that, that she’d spent
17 $10,000 on votive candles.
18 A. No, I didn’t.
19 Q. Where would these conversations take place.
20 A. At the hospital and at The Laugh Factory.
21 Q. And so David would sometimes go to The Laugh
23 A. At night, yes.
24 Q. Would he come with Gavin.
25 A. One — after Gavin’s operation, he was in
26 the hospital for about a month recovering. And then
27 he had to start his first dose of chemo, so it was
28 several months before Gavin was well enough to come 3022
1 to The Laugh Factory, or at least come between
2 chemotherapy treatments. So at first he — for
3 several months, he would just come by himself.
4 Q. And at some point was there a benefit at The
5 Laugh Factory for Gavin.
6 A. Yes. In October.
7 Q. So that’s October 2000.
8 A. That’s when Gavin was finally well enough to
9 be able to attend.
10 Q. So prior to the time when Gavin would be —
11 was well enough to attend, if you can characterize
12 it, about how many times did David come to The Laugh
14 A. 15 or 20. Maybe once a week or so.
15 Q. Was he given free admission, as far as you
17 A. Oh, yes.
18 Q. Why is that.
19 A. Because Jamie does that for people.
20 Q. At some time did you give this second check
21 that you’ve identified to the Arvizos.
22 A. Yes. I explained to him that I could — I
23 could gift them each $10,000 per year without being
24 taxed on it.
25 And when he asked me for a second check, I
26 realized I needed to put some boundaries on the
27 situation, so I told him I could gift him 10,000, as
28 I had already gifted Janet $10,000, and then that 3023
1 would have to be it.
2 Q. Okay.
3 A. And I would tell him, “You’re going to have
4 to” — towards the end of, I would say, four to five
5 months into Gavin’s illness, I would repeatedly tell
6 him, “You’re going to have to figure out how to get
7 your family back into balance, and go back to work
8 or make this work for everyone. Because I’m not
9 going to be able to give you any more money.”
10 Q. Were you concerned about the Arvizos’
12 A. I was concerned that they weren’t managing
13 them very well.
14 Q. And why did you say that. Why did you
15 believe that.
16 A. Because he asked me for a second check
17 within three weeks.
Palanker testified that she didn’t believe that David ever paid the contractors for their work in renovating Gavin’s room:
22 Q. All right. Did you have any impression as
23 to what this second $10,000 was going to be used
25 A. The same purposes.
26 Q. Just for the family.
27 A. The room had already been fixed up, but he
28 kept telling me they didn’t have any money to live 3025
1 on. They didn’t have any food and clothing.
2 Q. As far as your contractor goes, do you know
3 if he required to be paid for his services.
4 A. He charged them $800, which was just his
5 bare costs. He did the labor for free, as a gift to
6 the family, and he charged them $800.
7 Q. Do you know if David ever paid him that
9 A. I don’t believe he did.
10 Q. After you gave David the second check for
11 $10,000, did he make any further requests of you.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. More requests for money.
14 A. Continuously.
15 Q. Did this cause you some concern.
16 A. Yes, it did.
17 Q. Why do you say that.
18 A. Because it’s very difficult to keep saying
19 no. It’s very awkward. And I had — I had told him
20 that that was going to be it. It seemed like the
21 wisest thing for me personally to do in terms of the
22 situation. And he just kept asking.
23 Q. And did these conversations take place at
24 The Laugh Factory.
25 A. Primarily, yes, they did.
26 Q. Where else would they take place.
27 A. At the hospital. He’d pull me aside into a
28 hallway and ask for more money. 3026
1 Q. Same kind — you tell me. What kind of —
2 what kind of requests would he make. How would he
3 word it.
4 A. “Is there anything else you can do for us.
5 We’re really having a tough time.” That type of
Next, Auchincloss asked Palanker to describe what David told her about his ties to organized crime; he described his brother as being a “gangster”, and said he wouldn’t live that way for himself. This is consistent with Mary Holzer’s statement that Janet Arvizo threatened her by telling her that David’s brother could have her killed!
7 Q. Did he ever indicate that he had any ties to
8 any organized crime.
9 A. Yes.
10 MR. MESEREAU: Objection; leading.
11 THE COURT: Overruled. She said, “Yes.”
12 Next question.
13 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: What did he have to say
14 about that.
15 A. His brothers were thugs, he told me, and
16 gangsters, and that he disrespected that lifestyle,
17 and wouldn’t live that way himself.
18 Q. Did you have any impression as to why he’s
19 sharing that impression.
20 A. He told me a lot of personal things.
In this document, beginning on page 42, Holzer (a paralegal for the law firm that represented Janet in her civil case against J.C. Penney) described the threat that she received from Janet Arvizo after Janet disclosed to her that the JC Penney lawsuit was a scam, as well as numerous other interactions with Janet and her family. Holzer’s testimony later on in the trial was crucial for defense, as the jury was able to hear a firsthand account of Janet’s deceitfulness, and it eradicated the prosecution’s claims that David Arvizo was the mastermind behind all of Janet’s money making schemes.
Next, Palanker was asked to describe David Arvizo’s allegation that comedian George Lopez had stolen $300 dollars from his wallet, which Gavin had left at Lopez’s house. Here is an excerpt where she describes how David insisted that Lopez perform at a fundraiser for Gavin during his treatments:
10 Q. So tell me about the second benefit. Was it
11 as similar to the first, different. You tell me.
12 A. I think there was less big-name talent,
13 because — I’m not sure exactly why, but the thing I
14 do remember is that David was insistent that he
15 wanted George Lopez to host it. And he kept pushing
16 for that.
17 Q. Did George Lopez perform at the first
19 A. I believe he did. He had been their coach
20 to get them ready to graduate. He had worked with
21 the three Arvizo children one-on-one, and he was
22 very close to them.
23 Q. And at the second benefit, did Mr. Lopez
25 A. No, he didn’t.
26 Q. Do you know why.
27 A. I believe he had become — he and his wife
28 Ann had become very aggravated with David. 3032
1 Q. Do you know why that was.
2 A. I don’t — I don’t know all of the reasons,
3 but one of them had to do with a wallet that Gavin
4 had left at their home.
And here are more details about the alleged stolen wallet; after being told about the missing wallet, Lopez’s wife Ann found and returned it, but claimed that there was only $3 dollars in it, not $300, so David became irate and continually called the Lopez’s, but they refused to communicate with him. As a result, David brought Gavin with him to Lopez’s radio show (where Lopez worked as a disc jockey) and confronted Lopez there in a heated exchange:
4 Q. All right. So do you know about how much
5 was collected at the second benefit.
6 A. I think it was about the same amount. $800
7 to a thousand dollars.
8 Q. And about what time was it that Jamie gave
9 this money to David, in the evening or the day.
10 A. 11:30. 11:30 in the evening.
11 Q. In the evening.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And tell me about that. Tell me about the
14 circumstances of that.
15 A. Well, there was some controversy concerning
16 the wallet. And I decided this would be a good
17 time, since me and Jamie and David were all
18 together, to clear up the controversy, because David
19 was very agitated about the situation where he
20 had — Gavin had left his wallet, they had called
21 George, and said, “There was a wallet left at your
22 house with $300 in it.”
23 And when Ann found the wallet, there was
24 three dollars in it, and they became irate.
25 Q. So you’re talking about Ann.
26 A. Ann and George.
27 Q. Lopez.
28 A. Yes. 3035
1 Q. And they became irate. Why did they become
3 A. I think they thought that David was lying
4 about the amount of money in the wallet.
5 Q. Did you confront David at this time about
6 this problem between him and George and Ann Lopez.
7 A. I did. He still kept calling George and
8 asking him to host the benefit, and they wouldn’t
9 return the phone calls. And I said, “David, you
10 need to leave it alone. Just let it go.”
11 And George was going to be doing a live
12 broadcast the following morning. He was a disc
13 jockey at that time. He was going to be doing a
14 live broadcast from a remote location, which radio
15 stations frequently do.
16 And David wanted to go down there and
17 personally ask George one more time, “You promised
18 you would host this benefit.”
19 And I said, “Don’t go down there. He hasn’t
20 returned your phone calls. It’s pretty clear he’s
21 not going to be at the benefit.”
22 But he went down there. And George got up
23 from behind his broadcasting booth and just started
24 screaming at him in front of everybody.
25 Q. So did you confront David about this problem
26 at that meeting.
27 A. I had Jamie come up, and I said, “David, is
28 this is a good time to tell us what happened. What 3036
1 happened with the wallet.”
2 And David brought Gavin over, and he said,
3 “Tell him. Tell him how much money was in the
5 And Gavin said, “I have a couple of wallets,
6 Dad. I — I don’t — I don’t know what you mean.”
7 And he just kept — Gavin just kept saying,
8 “I don’t know what you mean. I don’t know what you
9 mean, Dad. I have a couple of wallets. Which
10 wallet. Which wallet, Dad.”
11 And David kept saying, “Tell him about the
12 wallet, Gavin.” And he got increasingly enraged at
14 And when Gavin wouldn’t talk about the
15 amount of money in the wallet, David got really
16 frustrated, and angry, and he stood up, and he
17 turned to Jamie, and he said, “I don’t want your
18 money,” and he took the pile of cash and he threw it
19 at Jamie.
20 Q. Did you get the feeling that — well, let me
21 strike that.
22 What happened after that, after the money
23 got thrown at Jamie.
24 A. Jamie turned and walked away. And David sat
25 back down and his face was red. And I said, “David,
26 I don’t know what’s going on, but you might as well
27 just pick up the money and take it, because Jamie’s
28 not going to take it back,” and so that’s what he 3037
1 did. And we never solved the mystery of the wallet.
Next, Auchincloss questioned Palanker about a phone call that she received from Janet after the airing of the Bashir documentary. She described Janet as scared and in fear of her life at Neverland. Pay attention to Judge Melville’s admonishment of Palanker for going beyond the scope of the question that she was asked about Janet’s phone call:
2 Q. All right. So after this second benefit,
3 did you continue to have a relationship with the
5 A. I think it became less and less frequent,
6 because Gavin was getting well, and he started
7 spending more time with Michael.
8 Q. Okay. “Michael,” who do you mean.
9 A. Michael Jackson.
10 Q. Okay. At some time during the early part of
11 2003, did you see the documentary “Living with
12 Michael Jackson”.
13 A. Yes, I did.
14 Q. Did you recognize Gavin in that.
15 A. Yes. And I had TiVo’d it. And I had been
16 told in advance by a comedian friend that Gavin was
17 in it, so I was prepared to see Gavin.
18 Q. Do you recall what month that was in 2003.
19 A. Was it February. Around about that time.
20 January, February.
21 Q. And sometime after you saw that documentary,
22 did you attempt to contact the Arvizos.
23 A. Yes, I did.
24 Q. Were you successful.
25 A. No.
26 Q. Why not.
27 A. All of their numbers had been disconnected.
28 Q. So when was the next time you had contact 3038
1 with the Arvizo family.
2 A. I wrote a note to Janet and sent it to her
3 mother’s house, and she called me within a couple of
5 Q. Do you know if she called you in response to
6 the note.
7 A. In response to the note and because she felt
8 that she was in trouble.
9 Q. Do you know if she had received the note.
10 Do you know that.
11 A. She had heard about the note from her
13 Q. All right. So do you recall about what time
14 of the month this phone call took place between you
15 and Janet.
16 A. It may have been late February, early March.
17 I can’t really — I can’t really pinpoint it.
18 Q. So tell me about the phone conversation.
19 MR. MESEREAU: Objection; hearsay.
20 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: I’ll lay a little
21 additional foundation, Your Honor, but it will be
22 offered as a spontaneous statement and as a
23 state-of-mind exception.
24 THE COURT: The foundation objection is
26 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Could you tell me about
27 Janet’s demeanor when she called.
28 A. She was extremely agitated, and she was 3039
1 almost whispering.
2 Q. Could you tell if she was weeping.
3 MR. MESEREAU: Pardon me, I couldn’t hear
5 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Could you tell if she
6 was crying at the time.
7 MR. MESEREAU: Objection; this is leading.
8 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: It’s foundational.
9 THE COURT: Sustained.
10 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Okay. Can you tell me
11 anything else about her emotional demeanor during
12 this phone call.
13 A. She may have been crying at some point in
14 the conversation. She was very frightened.
15 Q. Was — can you characterize her level of
16 emotion in relation to Janet’s normal demeanor.
17 A. Well, Janet’s a very emotional person,
18 and — but this was different. She’s usually
19 emotional in a very ebullient, happy, charming type
20 of personality. And this was fear. This is
21 fear-based agitation.
22 Q. Were you concerned.
23 A. It was an extremely disturbing phone call.
24 Q. Tell me what she said.
25 MR. MESEREAU: Objection; hearsay.
26 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Spontaneous statement.
27 Also offered for the state of mind of one of the
28 victims. Or I should say — well, of Janet Arvizo. 3040
1 THE COURT: All right. I’ll allow the
3 THE WITNESS: She started by saying,
4 “Wheezy, if you have caller I.D., this is not a safe
5 line. Don’t call me back here. They’re listening
6 to everything I say.”
7 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Did she go on to tell
8 you more.
9 A. She said, “These people are evil. They’re
10 keeping us.”
11 I would say, “Where are the children.”
12 “The children are with me.”
13 I said, “Are the children in school.”
14 She said, “No,” and that’s when she started
16 I said, “Can I come and see you.”
17 She said, “No.”
18 She wanted me to come and get them and meet
19 them at —
20 THE COURT: Just a moment. Now you’ve gone
21 beyond the proposed —
22 THE WITNESS: Oh, sorry.
23 THE COURT: You’ve gone beyond your offer of
24 proof. And I’ll stop her at that point.
25 And I’ll advise the jury that the statements
26 that the witness just related to you that Janet said
27 are to be used by you only for the purpose of
28 establishing Janet’s state of mind, not for the 3041
1 truth of the matter that Janet stated.
2 All right. You cannot continue with the way
3 you’re doing it. Go ahead, next question.
4 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: May I offer it under the
5 spontaneous exception —
6 THE COURT: I’ve accepted that, but you’re
7 now into a lengthy conversation. The spontaneity
8 has left. Start with another question immediately.
9 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: All right.
Palanker described the actions she took after getting Janet’s phone call, notice how she said that she felt that Janet was being held against her will, so who does she call? The police? No! The FBI? No! She called her lawyer!
9 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: All right.
10 Q. So did she explain any further what was
11 causing her agitation.
12 MR. MESEREAU: Same objection; foundation.
13 THE COURT: Sustained.
14 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Were you concerned
15 after this phone call.
16 A. Yes, I was concerned enough to call my
17 lawyer immediately following the phone call.
18 Q. Why were you concerned.
19 A. She told me they were going to send her —
20 MR. MESEREAU: Objection —
21 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Offered to explain this
22 witness’s conduct.
23 MR. MESEREAU: — hearsay.
24 THE COURT: The objection is sustained.
25 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Did you do anything.
26 Did you take any action after this phone call.
27 A. I told her to, “Call me tomorrow at noon,”
28 and I would meet her at a location that we had 3042
2 Q. And did you ever receive the phone call.
3 A. No, I didn’t.
4 Q. I should say from Janet the following day or
5 any other day after that —
6 A. No, I didn’t.
7 Q. — during that time period.
8 Did you take her remarks seriously.
9 A. Yes, I did.
10 Q. Did you call anybody after this phone call.
11 A. Just my lawyer.
12 Q. Why did you call your lawyer.
13 A. I felt that they were being held against
14 their will.
15 Q. And did you consult with your lawyer about
16 this subject.
17 A. He told me that —
18 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. This is hearsay.
19 THE COURT: Sustained.
Auchincloss finished his direct examination by asking some open-ended questions to Palanker about the family, and this was an obvious attempt to shift the blame for the mishandling of her $20,000 dollar gift from Janet to David. Palanker really showed why she is a successful stand-up comedian, as her opinions of the Arvizo family are truly hysterical!
20 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Miss Palanker, over the
21 years that you’ve known the Arvizos, have you had an
22 opportunity to interact with Janet — with Janet
23 Arvizo under a variety of circumstances.
24 A. Yes, I have.
25 Q. What type of circumstances.
26 A. I visited — I have seen her the whole
27 summer at The Laugh Factory, probably three to four
28 times at the hospital, and many, many phone 3043
1 conversations during her divorce from David.
2 Q. Have you had an opportunity to interact with
3 her children, the Arvizo children, each of them.
4 A. Yes, I have.
5 Q. Also under a variety of circumstances.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Have you formed any affection for Janet
9 MR. MESEREAU: Objection; leading.
10 THE COURT: Sustained.
11 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: It’s offered as a
12 foundational on — for character evidence.
13 THE COURT: The objection was leading. It’s
15 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Have you formed any
16 emotional bonds — well, have you formed any — let
17 me just make it open-ended. How would you
18 characterize your relationship with Janet Arvizo.
19 A. I feel that she’s a lovely, caring person.
20 MR. MESEREAU: Objection; nonresponsive.
21 THE COURT: Sustained.
22 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: I guess the question —
23 you have to answer the question specifically.
24 How would you characterize your relationship
25 with Janet Arvizo. Without saying what you think
26 about her, how would you characterize your
28 A. We’re friends. 3044
1 Q. And how would you characterize your
2 relationship with Gavin Arvizo.
3 A. Friends.
4 Q. Davellin.
5 A. Friends.
6 Q. Same with Star.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Do you continue to communicate with the
9 Arvizo family.
10 A. Yes, I do.
11 Q. Has Janet Arvizo — has Janet Arvizo ever
12 asked you for money.
13 A. No.
14 Q. Have you ever had the impression that she
15 was interested in your money.
16 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Improper opinion;
17 relevance; foundation.
18 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: It’s a fairly —
19 THE COURT: Overruled.
20 You may answer.
21 THE WITNESS: No.
22 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: How would you
23 characterize your ability to judge character.
24 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Relevance;
25 improper opinion.
26 THE COURT: Sustained.
27 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Foundation for — all
28 right. 3045
1 Q. Miss Palanker, during your period of time
2 that you’ve known Gavin Arvizo, have you been able
3 to form an opinion about him concerning his
4 character for honesty.
5 A. Yes, I have.
6 Q. And what is that opinion.
7 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Relevance;
9 THE COURT: Overruled.
10 You may answer.
11 THE WITNESS: He’s been honest in the face of
12 others wishing him not to be.
13 Q. BY MR AUCHINCLOSS: So you believe he is an
14 honest person.
15 A. Yes, I do.
16 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Thank you. I have no
17 further questions.
18 THE COURT: Cross-examine.
19 MR. MESEREAU: Yes, please, Your Honor.
Mesereau’s cross examination got off to a fiery start! He immediately questioned Palanker about her knowledge of Janet and Gavin’s role in the JC Penney scam, but Judge Melville sustained Auchincloss’s objection to Mesereau’s questions about Janet’s character, due to the fact that he also sustained Mesereau’s objection’s to Auchicloss’s questions about Janet’s character!
22 BY MR. MESEREAU:
23 Q. Good morning.
24 A. Hey, how are you.
25 Q. Fine, thanks.
26 Miss Palanker, my name is Tom Mesereau, and
27 I’m here to speak for Michael Jackson.
28 A. Uh-huh. 3046
1 Q. You’ve testified to your opinion about the
2 character and honesty of Janet Arvizo.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You’ve also testified to your opinion about
5 the character and honesty of Gavin Arvizo, right.
6 A. Right.
7 Q. Do you know anything about the J.C. Penney
9 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Your Honor, I’m going to
10 move to strike the question that counsel raised.
11 You’ve testified to your opinion about the character
12 and honesty of Janet Arvizo. She’s never testified
13 about that. I never asked her any questions
14 concerning that.
15 THE COURT: That was his question, though.
16 Your objection is overruled.
17 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Did you know that Gavin
18 Arvizo and Janet Arvizo sued J.C. Penney stores when
19 Gavin was caught with unpaid merchandise in the
20 parking lot, and that both claim that security
21 guards at J.C. Penney’s pulled Janet’s breasts out
22 of her blouse, squeezed her nipple 10 to 25 times —
23 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection. 403, Your
25 THE COURT: I’m sorry, what’s the objection.
26 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection. 403, as well
27 as improper.
28 MR. MESEREAU: I think the door is opened, 3047
1 Your Honor.
2 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: As well as improper
3 impeachment without a good-faith basis. I have a
4 good-faith basis.
5 MR. MESEREAU: And I think they’ve opened
6 the door.
7 THE COURT: Just a moment.
8 MR. MESEREAU: Yes, Your Honor.
9 THE COURT: Let’s be sure about one thing.
10 Even though I allowed your question, there’s been no
11 character testimony allowed as to Janet Arvizo.
12 Understood. You successfully objected to that.
13 MR. MESEREAU: Okay.
14 THE COURT: Okay.
15 MR. MESEREAU: Now, I’ll limit my
16 question —
17 THE COURT: Just a moment. I’ve got to
18 scroll back. I wanted to see something else. But
19 I’ve got to capture it here. If you’ll bear with me
20 a moment.
21 The second thing is the objection under 403,
22 as to going into the J.C. Penney case, is sustained.
23 MR. MESEREAU: Yes, Your Honor.
24 May I inquire, Your Honor, with respect to
25 the character testimony of Gavin, is it still
27 THE COURT: No. You know, I think maybe it
28 would be better if you approach so we don’t talk in 3048
1 front of the jury for a second, so I can give you
2 some limitations on your questions.
3 (Discussion held off the record at sidebar.)
4 THE COURT: All right. I think we’re ready
5 to proceed again.
After a brief discussion with Judge Melville at his sidebar, Mesereau continued to pound at Palanker’s lack of knowledge of the JC Penney case:
6 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Miss Palanker, did you
7 know that in the J.C. Penney lawsuit, Gavin Arvizo
8 claimed that at the age of eight he had taken
9 merchandise out of J.C. Penney that was not paid
10 for, and run into the parking lot so he could trick
11 his father into purchasing it.
12 A. No.
13 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection. Form of the
14 question; “did you know.”
15 THE COURT: You should say, “Have you
16 heard,” but I’ll allow the question.
17 THE WITNESS: No, I didn’t know that.
18 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Would it be accurate to
19 say you don’t know anything about that lawsuit.
21 A. I knew something of it, but they had told me
22 they were not allowed to talk about it.
23 Q. Did you ever learn how much money, if any,
24 was recovered by the Arvizo family in that case.
25 A. No, I didn’t.
26 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection. Relevancy as
27 to credibility; irrelevant.
28 THE COURT: Overruled. The answer’s in. 3049
1 Next question.
Next, Mesereau attempted to get Palanker to assign some personal responsibility to herself for those two $10,000 dollar checks by having her state to the jury the fact that both checks were deposited into Janet’s mother’s bank account (something that Palanker didn’t know until a private investigator told her), and that she had no knowledge of David’s inability to write checks against Janet’s mother’s bank account:
4 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Okay. Now, you testified
5 in response to the prosecutor’s questions that
6 David, to your knowledge, never paid the repairman
7 who fixed up Gavin’s room in El Monte, right.
8 A. That no one from the Arvizo family had paid
10 Q. So it wasn’t just David who didn’t pay them,
11 Janet didn’t pay the person either.
12 A. He wasn’t paid.
13 Q. He just wasn’t paid, period.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Okay. Now, at some point you learned that
16 both of these checks were deposited into Janet’s
17 mother’s bank account, right.
18 A. I only learned that after the private
19 investigator informed me of that.
20 Q. And that was an investigator for the
21 defense, right.
22 A. For — yes. Yes.
23 Q. And you don’t know whether David even had
24 check-writing ability on Janet’s mother’s bank
25 account, right.
26 A. I didn’t know any of those types of
27 particulars, no.
28 Q. So realistically, you don’t know whether 3052
1 David even had the capacity to write a check on any
2 of the $20,000 that you gave the Arvizos, right.
3 A. I never asked for any accountability. I
4 just gave the money.
5 Q. Okay. Okay. Did you ever ask Janet,
6 “Janet, why didn’t you pay the fellow who repaired
7 the room for Gavin.”
8 A. I discussed it with the contractor, when I
9 found out that he had not been paid. I said, “I’ll
10 pay you.” I said, “Would you like me to check into
11 that.” I just couldn’t believe that he hadn’t been
12 paid, based on the amount of money that I had given
14 And I said, “Would you like me to call
15 them.” He said, “No, just — let’s just let this be
16 my gift to Gavin.”
17 Q. So he decided that he would just donate his
18 work at that point.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. But your understanding was that when he did
21 the work, he was expected to be paid, correct.
22 A. Oh, yes. Yes.
Before going to a break, Mesereau found a material inconsistency in Palanker’s statement to police and her direct examination regarding who it was that actually called George Lopez about the missing $300 dollars from Gavin’s wallet; she initially told sheriffs that Gavin called the Lopez’s about the missing money, but under direct examination she said it was David who called:
23 Q. Now, in response to the prosecutor’s
24 questions, you indicated that David had called the
25 Lopezes to talk about the $300 in the wallet, right.
26 A. Yes.
27 Q. But when you were interviewed by the Santa
28 Barbara Sheriffs, you told them that Gavin had 3053
1 called the Lopezes to talk about that, didn’t you.
2 A. I wasn’t there. So I don’t know which one
3 of them called. So I may have told the story
5 Q. Okay. Would it refresh —
6 A. It wasn’t anything I witnessed.
7 Q. So you don’t really know which one called.
8 A. No, I don’t.
9 Q. Okay. I’m not trying to press you on this.
10 Is there a reason why you told the Santa Barbara
11 Sheriffs that Gavin called the Lopezes to complain.
12 A. I don’t recall a reason, no.
13 Q. Okay.
14 A. One of them — I may have said that because
15 it was Gavin’s wallet.
16 Q. Okay. Okay.
17 THE COURT: Is this a good place for our
19 MR. MESEREAU: Yes, sir.
20 (Recess taken.)
Upon their return from recess, Mesereau questioned Palanker about another material inconsistency; during her interview with sheriff’s investigators on January 7th, 2005, Palanker stated that the Arvizo family was “out of balance”, and that she felt that the kids had “collaborated in what Janet was saying”. She also “wanted to be out of it”. Mesereau used this to challenge Palanker’s earlier effusive statements about the integrity of the Arvizo family under direct examination.
1 THE COURT: Go ahead, Counsel.
2 MR. MESEREAU: Thank you, Your Honor.
3 Q. Miss Palanker, I’d like to ask you a couple
4 of questions about your interview with the Santa
5 Barbara sheriffs on January 7th, 2005. Okay.
6 A. Uh-huh.
7 Q. You’ve told the sheriffs that you met the
8 Arvizo family probably around ‘98 or ‘99, right.
9 A. Right.
10 Q. Do you know which year it was, do you
12 A. It was 1999. I’ve since had a chance to
13 look at a calendar.
14 Q. Okay. And obviously you met them at The
15 Laugh Factory —
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. — right.
18 Okay. Now, you told the sheriffs the
19 following, when you were discussing giving the
20 Arvizos $10,000, okay. You said, “I gave him a
21 check,” “him” being David, “a check for $10,000, and
22 he accepted that. But the thing was, that a few
23 weeks later, he was asking for more money, so that’s
24 when I started going” — and you said, “That was the
25 thing where I went out of balance with this family.”
26 Sound right.
27 A. I felt the family was out of balance.
28 Q. Yes. 3059
1 A. Yeah.
2 Q. And then you mentioned Janet, and you talked
3 about what was happening, and you said, “I believe
4 the kid — and the kids collaborated in what she was
5 saying. I just wanted to be out of it.”
6 Clearly when you talked to the sheriffs, you
7 were including Janet in your problems with the
8 Arvizo family, weren’t you.
9 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection. Argumentative.
10 THE COURT: Overruled. You may answer.
11 THE WITNESS: I don’t recall. They were all
12 a family. There were five of them.
13 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: You told the sheriffs,
14 “This family can be as whacky as they want to be,”
16 A. I don’t recall saying that or what I would
17 have meant by that, because you’re saying it to me
18 out of context.
19 Q. Would it refresh your recollection if I just
20 showed you the transcript of your interview.
21 A. Yes.
22 MR. MESEREAU: May I approach, Your Honor.
23 THE COURT: Yes.
24 THE WITNESS: There’s several things in here
25 that say “inaudible,” so I’m having a difficult time
26 remembering what the intent of this passage was
27 because I was talking casually, so I don’t recall.
28 MR. MESEREAU: Okay. Let me just have that. 3060
1 Q. Have you had a chance to review those pages
2 of transcript.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And do they refresh your recollection about
5 your interview with the Santa Barbara sheriffs.
6 A. Not really.
7 Q. Do you recall making statements to the Santa
8 Barbara sheriffs on or around July 7th, 2005.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And were you at a meeting with the sheriffs.
11 A. Yes. They came to where I was working, yes.
12 Q. Okay. And you don’t recall saying, “This
13 family can be as whacky as they want to be”.
14 A. It was probably —
15 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Your Honor, I’m going to
16 object and move to strike. I believe counsel
17 misspoke when he said “July 7th, 2005.”
18 BAILIFF CORTEZ: Can’t hear you, sir.
19 MR. MESEREAU: Pardon me, January 7th. I
20 did misspeak. My mistake. Let me restate the
22 Q. You do recall being interviewed by the
23 sheriffs on January 7th, 2005, right.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And do you recall making general statements
26 to the sheriffs about the Arvizo family.
27 A. Yes.
28 Q. Do you recall telling them that you “went 3061
1 out of balance with this family”.
2 A. No.
3 Q. You don’t recall making those statements at
5 A. That was not the intent of what I had said.
6 Q. Okay. Did you say that.
7 A. I said I felt that something had gone out of
8 balance; something was out of balance within that
10 Q. Okay. And do you recall, referring to
11 Janet, saying that you believed the kids were
12 collaborating in what she was saying.
13 A. No, I don’t.
14 Q. Okay.
15 A. There’s several things in there that are
16 marked “inaudible,” and so I know I never said
17 anything to that extent.
18 Q. Okay. Do you recall saying, “This family
19 can be as whacky as they want to be”.
20 A. I’m a comedian, and I’m sure I was talking
21 casually about something involving the family being
22 out of balance.
23 Q. Okay. Okay. Do you recall telling the
24 Santa Barbara sheriffs that Janet wanted to move —
25 take her kids and move into your home.
26 A. No, I never told them that.
27 Q. You never told them anything like that.
28 A. No. 3062
1 Q. Okay. Have you ever told that to any
2 sheriff at any time.
3 A. No. She wanted me to pick them up at one
4 point so she could talk with me about what was
5 happening in her situation.
6 Q. Did you know you were being tape-recorded in
7 this discussion.
8 A. No, I don’t think I did.
9 Q. Do you remember telling them that, “I know
10 that Janet’s unbalanced. I think she’s totally
12 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection. Improper
14 THE WITNESS: Do I answer.
15 THE COURT: Overruled.
16 (To the witness.) I’m thinking.
18 THE COURT: You may answer.
19 THE WITNESS: I’m not a psychiatrist, but
20 she — she’s very excitable.
Palanker also stated in her police interviews that she thought Janet was bipolar (actually, she was a paranoid schizophrenic, so she was close! It was Evan Chandler who was bipolar; read this post for more details!), and when asked about a statement she said to police about Janet “selling” her children to others at benefits and fundraisers, Palanker said that she believed she had been misquoted! (Similar to Star’s statement during his cross examination on March 8th, 2005). Notice how Palanker refers to Zonen as “Ron” (just as the Arvizos did), which indicates that they were already on friendly terms during the trial, and as we all know by now they took their relationship to the ultimate level!
21 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: But do you remember
22 telling the sheriffs the following: “I know that
23 Janet’s unbalanced. I think she’s totally bipolar.
24 Something — the behavior from the children from the
25 family was so over the top all the time”. Do you
26 remember saying that.
27 A. Yes, I do.
28 Q. Okay. Do you remember telling the Santa 3063
1 Barbara sheriffs when you were talking about letters
2 you received from the Arvizos, “You don’t just get
3 one letter from them. You get five letters from
4 them. You don’t get one phone call. You get five
5 phone calls. A message from Janet on your answering
6 machine can last five minutes.’ She mimics types of
7 messages on the phone.”
8 You mimicked for the sheriffs her messages
9 on the machine. Do you remember that.
10 A. Yes, I do.
11 Q. Is that something you said.
12 A. Yes. I was exaggerating. I didn’t know I
13 was being taped.
14 Q. Do you remember telling the Santa Barbara
15 sheriffs, when you didn’t realize that you were
16 being recorded, “Janet would sell them at the
17 benefits, then sell them at the hospital, and David
18 was never at The Laugh Factory when the children
19 were coming”.
20 A. “Sell them”. I don’t remember saying that,
22 Q. Okay. Would it refresh your recollection if
23 I show you a transcript of your recorded statement.
24 A. Okay.
25 MR. MESEREAU: May I approach, Your Honor.
26 THE COURT: Yes.
27 MR. MESEREAU: Thank you.
28 THE WITNESS: It says “inaudible,” and I 3064
1 don’t know what I was referring to.
2 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Okay. Have you had a
3 chance to review that page.
4 A. Yes, I have.
5 Q. Do you recall telling the sheriffs —
6 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Counsel, may I see that.
7 MR. MESEREAU: Sure.
8 Let me withdraw that question. Let me start
10 Q. You’ve had some meetings with the
11 prosecutors before you came in to testify, true.
12 A. Over the phone.
13 Q. And you talked to some Santa Barbara
14 sheriffs over the phone as well, correct.
15 A. I talked to the sheriffs in person.
16 Q. Did — at any time, did any of them tell you
17 that your conversation with the sheriffs had been
19 A. I don’t believe so.
20 Q. Okay. Is today the first time you ever
21 realized that they had recorded you without your
23 A. No, I found out a couple days ago.
24 Q. Who told you.
25 A. Ron.
26 Q. Prosecutor Zonen.
27 A. Yes.
28 Q. Okay. Okay. Do you recall telling the 3065
1 officer, “Janet would sell them at the benefits,
2 then sell them at the hospital, and David was never
3 at The Laugh Factory when the children were coming”.
4 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Your Honor, I’m going to
5 object and ask counsel to notify the witness when
6 there are inaudible portions of the statement that
7 he is reading.
8 THE COURT: I don’t think he’s required to do
9 that. But the question is — all right. You may
10 answer the question, but I know you won’t remember
11 it, so I’ll have it reread.
12 THE WITNESS: I believe that the first
13 portion of that statement is mistyped.
14 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Okay.
15 A. The second portion of that statement is
17 Q. Okay. So you don’t think you told the
18 sheriffs, “Janet would sell them at the benefits,
19 then sell them at the hospital”.
20 A. No, I don’t.
21 Q. Okay. Do you remember telling them that
22 Janet was never at the hospital.
23 A. Yes, I do. I think it may have been
24 “seldom,” now that I’m thinking of how they would
25 have mistyped it.
So according to Palanker, she originally said “Janet would seldom at the benefits, and then sell them at the hospital.” Yeah, that makes perfect sense!
Here is what Star said about being “misquoted” by the court reporter on March 8th, 2005:
23 Q. By the way, do you remember yesterday when
24 you told the jury that on the plane you looked at a
25 soda can that Michael Jackson had and you saw a red
26 ring around it.
27 A. Yes.
28 Q. You told that to the police in one of your 1237
1 interviews also, didn’t you.
2 A. I think so.
3 Q. You also told the police that you looked in
4 the can and saw white wine, correct.
5 A. When.
6 Q. When you told them there was a red ring
7 around the can, you then told them you looked in the
8 can and saw white wine, remember.
9 A. I don’t remember saying that.
10 Q. Would it refresh your recollection if I show
11 you a transcript from a police interview.
12 A. Sure.
13 MR. MESEREAU: May I approach, Your Honor.
14 THE COURT: Yes.
15 MR. SNEDDON: Excuse me, what page.
16 THE WITNESS: The lady might have misheard
18 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Excuse me, what did you
19 just say.
20 A. I never looked into the can.
21 Q. You said a lady might have misheard you.
22 A. The — I don’t know what her — what the –
23 Q. The court reporter.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Oh, you think the court reporter made a
27 A. Yes.
28 Q. Because, as you’ve seen, it says you told 1238
1 the police there was a red ring around the can and
2 then you looked in and saw white wine, right.
3 That’s what it says, doesn’t it.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. But what you’re telling the jury is you
6 think the court reporter made a mistake.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Do you have a lot of experience with court
10 A. No.
In yet another material inconsistency, Palanker was asked about her prior statements to police where she explicitly told them that she felt that the Arvizo children were being “coached” to ask her for a laptop computer! Palanker admitted to Mesereau that she thought, at the time, that Star was being coached to ask her for the gift.
26 Q. Do you remember being asked if Janet had
27 ever approached you for money in that phone
28 conversation — excuse me, in that interview. 3066
1 A. Say it again. I was just thinking about my
2 last thought. I’m sorry.
3 Q. Okay. In that interview on January 7th,
4 2005, with the Santa Barbara sheriffs, do you
5 remember being asked if Janet had ever personally
6 approached you or asked you for money.
7 A. I told them she hadn’t.
8 Q. No, you have to answer my question, please.
9 A. Okay.
10 Q. Do you remember being asked that question.
11 A. Yes, I do.
12 Q. Do you remember responding, “It was always
13 David or it was the children being coached to ask me
14 for a laptop”.
15 A. I felt that Gavin had been coached to ask me
16 for a laptop.
17 Q. Did Gavin ask you for the laptop.
18 A. He would go like this (indicating), because
19 I had promised him one, so he was reminding me.
20 Q. So you were asked by the officer, “What do
21 you mean by coached.” Do you remember that.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And you said, “being coached to tell me that
24 they hadn’t gotten any Christmas presents
26 A. Star had told me that, yes.
27 Q. Did you believe Star when he told you they
28 hadn’t gotten any Christmas presents. 3067
1 A. I didn’t, really. I wasn’t sure. A lot of
2 people were giving them gifts at that time.
3 Q. Did you think Star was being coached.
4 A. I did.
5 Q. Okay. And how do you know a lot of people
6 were giving them gifts around the same time that
7 Star said, “We don’t have any Christmas presents”.
8 A. I don’t know. I just know that people
9 visited them, comedians visited them, and it was
10 Christmastime, so I felt that he — they probably
11 would have gotten something.
12 Q. Okay. And in discussing Gavin asking for a
13 laptop, you told the sheriffs, “But he’s right next
14 to David asking for things. The father should say,
15 ‘Honey, don’t ask for anything. She’s being very
16 generous.’” Do you remember saying that.
17 A. Yes, I do.
18 Q. What did you mean by that.
19 A. I had just given David a second check for
20 $10,000 within a three-week period of time, and I
21 felt that David should have told Gavin, “We’ll get
22 you the laptop, Honey. It’s taken care of.”
23 Q. And this is when you thought Gavin was being
24 coached to ask you for the laptop.
25 A. Because David was right there and he didn’t
26 stop him.
27 Q. But you don’t know if his mother coached him
28 at all, do you. 3068
1 A. His mother wasn’t there.
2 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection. Speculation.
3 THE COURT: The objection is overruled. She
4 did answer, though.