March 22nd, 2005 Trial Analysis: Louise Palanker (Direct & Cross Examination), Part 2 of 2
In this excerpt, Palanker flat out denies that she said that “Janet always put him up to it, and he had to do what she told him to do”, regarding the $300 dollars that was allegedly stolen by George Lopez, despite the fact that her words were clearly transcribed in the interview report. I’m sure the incompetent court reporter misquoted her again!
16 Q. Okay. And when did you learn there was a
17 problem with George Lopez.
18 A. David told me about it at The Laugh Factory.
19 Q. And do you remember — do you remember
20 telling the Santa Barbara sheriffs with respect to
21 George Lopez the following: “I guess she had left a
22 message on her machine screaming something that they
23 were taking advantage of her child and that she
24 didn’t want to have anything more to do with them
25 and David.”
26 A. Yes, I —
27 Q. Do you remember.
28 A. I remember saying that, yes. 3069
1 Q. And you were referring to Janet, correct.
2 A. I was referring to Ann Lopez.
3 Q. Okay. Weren’t referring to Janet at all.
4 A. No.
5 Q. Okay. Do you remember saying to the
6 sheriffs, “Janet always put him up to it, and he had
7 to do what she told him to do”.
8 A. No.
9 Q. Remember saying those words.
10 A. No, I don’t.
11 Q. Would it refresh your recollection if I show
12 you the transcript.
13 A. Okay.
14 MR. MESEREAU: May I approach, Your Honor.
15 THE COURT: Yes.
16 THE WITNESS: All right.
17 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Have you had a chance to
18 look at that portion of transcript.
19 A. Yes, I have.
20 Q. Does it refresh your recollection about what
21 you said.
22 A. No. I think it’s a very inaccurate
23 depiction of what would have been said.
24 Q. So you don’t think you said, “Janet always
25 put him to it, and he had to do what she told him to
27 A. No, I don’t.
This just keeps getting better and better! Mesereau questioned Palanker about her statement to police that she thought that David made Gavin call and say that the $300 dollars was missing from his wallet, but Palanker “couldn’t remember” saying it, so when Mesereau presented her with a copy of her interview transcript, Palanker uttered some random gibberish about what she “thought” she would have said, or some nonsense like that:
28 Q. Okay. Now, to your knowledge, did Jamie 3070
1 Masada have any involvement in the dispute with
2 George Lopez.
3 A. To the extent where David told both Jamie
4 and I had what had transpired.
5 Q. And did Jamie try to solve that problem, if
6 you know.
7 A. Yes, he did.
8 Q. You knew the Arvizos had been at George
9 Lopez’s house; is that correct.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. How did you learn about that.
12 A. When they told me about the incident with
13 the wallet. And he may have known that they had
14 them over from time to time.
15 Q. And at some point, you told the sheriffs you
16 thought David had made Gavin call and say the money
17 was in the wallet, right.
18 A. Yeah, I was trying to remember, but I don’t
20 Q. Do you remember saying that.
21 A. I probably said that, yes.
22 Q. Would it refresh your recollection if I just
23 show you the transcript.
24 A. I think I know — I think I know what I
25 would have said. I would have said that I thought
26 David had Gavin call, but I’m not sure who called.
In this excerpt, Palanker stated that when she told the police that “these people are teaching their kids to lie”, she wasn’t speaking of her own opinion of the Arvizos, but what she assumed was the opinion of George and Ann Lopez (after they were accused of stealing $300 dollars from Gavin’s wallet)! Yeah, whatever. Pay attention to how Mesereau sarcastically says “OK” and “Right.” and just moves on to the next question about what Janet really spent her $20,000 dollars on!
27 Q. Okay. Do you remember telling the sheriffs,
28 “These people are teaching their kids to lie”. 3071
1 A. No, I don’t.
2 Q. Would it refresh your recollection if I show
3 you a portion of the transcript of your recorded
5 A. Okay.
6 MR. MESEREAU: May I approach, Your Honor.
7 THE COURT: Yes.
8 THE WITNESS: Okay.
9 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Have you had a chance to
10 look at that portion of the transcript.
11 A. Yes, I have.
12 Q. Does it refresh your recollection about what
13 you told the sheriffs.
14 A. Yes, it does.
15 Q. And what did you tell them.
16 A. That that would have been George and Ann’s
18 Q. So George and Ann Lopez suspected that the
19 Arvizos were teaching their kids to lie.
20 A. That would have been my understanding of
21 what was going on.
22 Q. Okay.
23 A. Because they found a wallet and there was
24 only three dollars in it.
25 Q. Right. Okay. Now, you indicated that David
26 told you that Janet had spent the money that you had
27 generously given them.
28 A. No. 3072
1 Q. What did you say about that.
2 A. Oh, that David told me that.
3 Q. Yes.
4 A. Yes, he did.
5 Q. And did he tell you what he had thought she
6 had spent it on.
7 A. Votive candles.
8 Q. Anything else.
9 A. I can’t recall anything else he said.
10 Q. Well, he didn’t really just tell you she’d
11 spent $20,000 on votive candles, did he.
12 A. He said, “She’s going crazy and she can’t
13 cope with this situation, and she’s buying a lot of
14 statues and votive candles.” I don’t remember —
15 he — it was one big blurry sentence that didn’t
16 make a lot of sense to me, considering the amount of
18 Q. And you did tell the sheriffs, in referring
19 to the — what the Arvizos had done with your money,
20 “They bought him a giant, like, flat-screen picture
21 and picture T.V. and DVD player. You know, a kid at
22 that point, five years ago, doesn’t really need more
23 than a VHS.” Do you remember that.
24 A. Yes, I did say that.
25 Q. And were you upset that your money had been
26 spent that way.
27 A. I wouldn’t use the word “upset.” I was
28 concerned that they weren’t going to be very good at 3073
1 budgeting their money.
2 Q. So you weren’t complaining that they should
3 have spent it on a VHS.
4 A. No, it was just a thought in my head.
5 Q. Well, your thought in your head was, “Why
6 spend the money on a flat-screen picture T.V. and a
7 DVD player,” right.
8 A. That was my thought. I didn’t articulate
9 that to them.
10 Q. You didn’t articulate that to the Arvizos.
11 A. No, I didn’t.
12 Q. You didn’t think it was your place to tell
13 them how to spend it, right.
14 A. I really didn’t, no.
Next, Mesereau questioned Palanker about her statement that Jamie Masada, the owner of the Laugh Factory, is a “pathological liar”, and although Palanker tried to dismiss her statement as being hyperbole, Mesereau challenged that assertion by quoting her statement to police where she agreed that Jamie was a liar. Mesereau was skeptical about Palanker’s claim of just exaggerating how she felt about Jamie Masada, based on the transcript of her interview with sheriffs:
15 Q. You also told the sheriffs you think Jamie
16 Masada is a pathological liar, right.
17 A. It was hyperbole. I had a falling-out with
18 him, and his English is difficult to understand and
19 sometimes he doesn’t recall events correctly.
20 Q. But you told them, “I think Jamie is a
21 pathological liar,” correct.
22 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: I’m going to object and
23 move to strike. Mr. Masada’s character is not in
24 evidence — is not in issue here.
25 MR. MESEREAU: I think the prosecutor did
26 bring out testimony about Mr. Masada throughout his
28 THE COURT: The objection is overruled. 3074
1 THE WITNESS: I — I said something along
2 those lines, because he sometimes doesn’t recall
3 things. But I’m a comedian, so —
4 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Well, but just not
5 recalling things doesn’t make you a pathological
6 liar, right.
7 A. I’m not in a place to really make that
8 diagnosis, so —
9 Q. Well, you told them, “I think Jamie’s a
10 pathological liar,” right.
11 A. I may have said those words.
12 Q. Would it refresh your recollection to look
13 at the transcript.
14 A. No, I may have said those words.
15 Q. I’m trying to find out if you did, okay.
16 A. I probably did. But I was exaggerating.
17 Q. Okay. You talked about Jamie Masada and
18 David, and you said that Jamie told you David wanted
19 to set up a committee to get more money, right.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And you said, with respect to Jamie and
22 David, “One of them is telling the truth. The truth
23 is somewhere in the middle,” right.
24 A. Yes, I did.
25 Q. And the officer said, “Who do you believe to
26 be the truth.” And your response was, “I think
27 Jamie is a pathological liar,” right.
28 A. Well, it’s difficult to say in that 3075
1 situation. I still don’t know the truth, so it’s
2 difficult to say.
3 Q. Well, let me ask you this, if you recall the
4 conversation. I know you didn’t know they were
5 recording you.
6 You could have responded, “I think David is
7 a pathological liar,” but you didn’t. You said,
8 “I think Jamie’s a pathological liar,” right.
9 A. Right.
10 Q. And then the officer said, “Jamie is.” And
11 you said, “Yes.”
12 Now, that’s not just hyperbole, is it.
13 A. Sometimes he confuses incidents.
14 Q. Do you remember after you said, “I think
15 Jamie is a pathological liar,” the officer said,
16 “Jamie is.” And you said, “Yes”. Do you remember
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Okay. So you did say that, right.
20 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection; cumulative.
21 THE COURT: Asked and answered; sustained.
22 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: What do you recall about
23 the idea that a committee would be formed to raise
24 more money.
25 A. Well, I had reason to believe that a few
26 years prior to David asking me for more money, there
27 had been some kind of committee at The Laugh Factory
28 set up to help comedians that needed help. So the 3076
1 word “committee” was familiar to me in that there
2 had been a committee at The Laugh Factory that was
3 designed to give money to comedians in need. But I
4 think the committee didn’t sustain itself and had
5 been long since dissolved.
6 So, that’s what made me think that Jamie
7 might have said that to David; that there was a
8 committee that could decide to give the family more
9 money. But there wasn’t a committee, to my
10 knowledge. And Jamie insists that David made it up
11 to try to get more money from me, so I really don’t
12 know where the truth is.
Moving along through Palanker’s police interview transcript, Mesereau next questions her about her statement that “Janet needs to see a psychologist” (actually, Janet did see a psychologist during the litigation phase of her JC Penney lawsuit, and she was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, but we’ll get to that later on in the trial!), and Palanker once again gave a rambling answer that made absolutely no sense, and then she spoke about the phone calls that she received from Jay Leno’s camp complaining about the multiple times that the Arvizos tried to call him and leave messages. She didn’t refer to Leno specifically, but she said “people”, which implies that it was more than just Leno who called her to complain about the Arvizos, but (once again) Palanker said that she was misquoted!
13 Q. Okay. In this interview, do you remember
14 telling the Santa Barbara sheriff that, “Janet needs
15 to see a psychologist”.
16 A. No.
17 Q. Would it refresh your recollection if I show
18 you the transcript.
19 A. Okay.
20 MR. MESEREAU: May I approach, Your Honor.
21 THE COURT: Yes.
22 THE WITNESS: Okay.
23 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Have you had a chance to
24 look at that transcript.
25 A. Yes, I have.
26 Q. Does it refresh your recollection about what
27 you told the Santa Barbara sheriff.
28 A. Yes, it does. 3077
1 Q. Did you tell them that, “Janet needs to see
2 a psychologist”.
3 A. I told them that I had told David during the
4 periods of time when Janet was not appearing at the
5 hospital, and I found that to be very peculiar, that
6 if she couldn’t be — if she couldn’t be there for
7 her son, that she might need to see a psychologist,
8 because she was — it didn’t seem like natural
9 mother behavior.
10 Q. Okay. Now, with respect to Janet, you told
11 the Santa Barbara sheriff that anytime the Arvizos
12 got someone’s phone number, they would use it,
14 A. They liked making phone calls.
15 Q. And who do you know that they used to call
16 besides yourself.
17 A. They called Jamie. Chris Tucker. George
18 Lopez. And they called Jay Leno.
19 Q. And you — excuse me. Something in my
21 You told the sheriffs, “I have people call
22 me at home and say, ‘What do you want me to do with
23 these people.’ They won’t stop calling,” correct.
24 A. That was concerning the Jay Leno incident.
25 Q. Did Jay Leno tell you they won’t stop
26 calling him.
27 A. He told me they had left about three
28 messages on his voice mail. 3078
1 Q. Okay. And you told the sheriffs you took
2 David aside and said, “Stop calling all these
3 people,” right.
4 A. I said specifically, “I’ve been asked by Jay
5 for you to stop calling Jay.”
6 Q. Okay. Now, are you — have you ever heard
7 any recorded phone conversation between the Santa
8 Barbara sheriffs and Jay Leno in this case.
9 A. No, I haven’t.
10 Q. Okay. Have you discussed what’s on that
11 recorded conversation with any prosecutor.
12 A. No, I haven’t.
13 Q. Did you tell the prosecutors in your meeting
14 that Jay Leno had asked you to tell these people to
15 stop trying to contact him.
16 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection; hearsay.
17 THE COURT: Overruled.
18 You may answer.
19 THE WITNESS: Yes, I told them that.
20 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Who did you tell that to.
21 A. The detectives that interviewed me.
22 Q. Okay. Do you know approximately when you
23 told them that.
24 A. It would have been Craig, when — a few
25 months ago.
26 Q. Would that be Craig Bonner.
27 A. Yes.
28 Q. Okay. And where did that meeting take 3079
2 A. At a recording studio.
3 Q. Is that in Los Angeles.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Okay. And who was at that meeting.
6 A. Me and Craig and someone he — another
7 detective that he brought with him.
8 Q. Okay. Now, when you told the sheriffs,
9 “People call me at home and say, ‘What do you want
10 me to do with these people. They won’t stop
11 calling,’” that sounds like it’s more than just Jay
12 Leno, doesn’t it.
13 A. But I wouldn’t have said that, because I was
14 specifically talking about Jay.
15 Q. Would it refresh your recollection if I just
16 show you what is in the transcript.
17 A. Okay.
18 MR. MESEREAU: May I approach, Your Honor.
19 THE COURT: Yes.
20 MR. MESEREAU: Thank you.
21 THE WITNESS: Okay.
22 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Have you had a chance to
23 look at that passage.
24 A. Yes, I have.
25 Q. Does it refresh your recollection about what
26 you told the Santa Barbara sheriffs.
27 A. Yes, it does.
28 Q. And you said “people” call you. You didn’t 3080
1 just limit it to Jay Leno, right.
2 A. No. I said, “Jay called me at home.” So
3 that’s a mistype.
4 Q. That’s a mistype.
5 A. Yeah.
6 Q. Okay. Did you remember telling the Santa
7 Barbara sheriffs, “I don’t know who’s putting the
8 kids up to all the phone calls”.
9 A. Yes, I do.
10 Q. And did you say that because you knew that
11 the Arvizo children were calling celebrities by
13 A. I did know they were calling. I didn’t know
14 it was Gavin’s initiative – Gavin likes to pick up
15 the phone and call people – or if they were being
16 asked by their parents to do it.
Pay close attention to what Palanker says about Janet Arvizo in this excerpt: she states unequivocally and unambiguously that Janet tries to latch on to not only celebrities, but ANYONE who could get her family out of their destitute situation!
17 Q. Okay. So you told the sheriffs, “They would
18 go over to his house anytime they encountered a
19 celebrity if they felt to be important. They would
20 go over the top with cards and phone calls. And at
21 first I thought, after I found out what — maybe
22 they saw celebrities as a lifeline to get out of her
23 situation — to get her out of her situation that
24 she had gotten into at 16.”
25 Do you remember saying that.
26 A. Yes, I do.
27 Q. You’re referring to Janet Arvizo, correct.
28 A. Yes. 3081
1 Q. You were referring to the fact that Janet
2 Arvizo became — got married at the age of 16,
4 A. Yes, I was.
5 Q. And what you were telling the sheriffs was
6 you thought Janet and the family were trying to
7 latch on to a celebrity to get out of their
8 situation, true.
9 A. Latch on to anyone who could help them.
10 Q. Okay. You told the sheriffs, after Gavin
11 got ill, you rarely saw Janet, right.
12 A. Right.
13 Q. But you stayed in touch with her by phone,
14 didn’t you.
15 A. Yes, I did.
Next, Palanker contradicts her earlier testimony of being concerned for Janet’s safety after she called her by admitting that she was asked by Janet to pick her up from Von’s supermarket, but refused to because she was already on her way out the door to do something else! That shows just how much “concern” she had for Janet’s safety!
And as further proof just how dysfunctional the Arvizo family was (and still is!), look no further than this excerpt, where Palanker states that David made an inappropriate comment to her about Gavin starting to get erections! This is another example of how sexually mature Gavin and Star were; the apples didn’t fall very far from the tree!
16 Q. Now, the prosecutor asked you some questions
17 about Janet talking to you on the phone and you
18 detected she was scared, right.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. She wanted you to meet her in Van Nuys,
22 A. In Sherman Oaks.
23 Q. Okay. Just — you told the sheriffs she
24 wanted to meet you in Van Nuys, Van — Ventura, at
25 Von’s, correct.
26 A. Yeah. That would be Sherman Oaks.
27 Q. Okay. Okay. And you told the sheriff that
28 she wanted you to come and get them, right. 3082
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And you were on your way out the door,
4 A. To do something else, yes.
5 Q. And you said, “I didn’t really want
6 something about the Arvizos.” You were afraid of
7 David,” And “I just didn’t want them at my house.”
8 Do you remember that.
9 A. Right.
10 Q. She wanted you to take them to your house.
11 A. Yes, she did. Yeah.
12 Q. Do you recall either David or Janet wanting
13 you to take Davellin and Gavin to a movie set.
14 A. No, I don’t.
15 Q. Well, at some point you told the sheriffs
16 you thought David had made inappropriate remarks to
17 you, right.
18 A. Oh, are you talking about when we went to
19 see Adam Sandler.
20 Q. I’ll ask you about that for sure, but let me
21 just stick to what I asked you first.
22 You did tell the sheriffs that, in your
23 opinion, David had made some inappropriate remarks
24 to you, right.
25 A. Yes. Yes.
26 Q. And you told the sheriffs that you were
27 asked to take Davellin and Gavin to a movie set,
28 right. 3083
1 A. I was asked to accompany Gavin and David to
2 a movie set because Jamie had another appointment
3 after the meeting he had set up between Gavin and
4 Adam Sandler. So I was asked to drive David there
5 and drive David and Gavin back to The Laugh Factory.
6 Q. And you were uncomfortable with Janet making
7 comments to the effect, “You’re David’s Sweetheart,”
9 A. She said something to that effect to me at
10 one point.
11 Q. And you didn’t like that comment.
12 A. No. They were married.
13 Q. Okay. And you told the sheriffs that David
14 made inappropriate comments to you about Gavin
15 starting to get erections, right.
16 A. Yes, he did.
17 Q. And that made you uncomfortable, didn’t it.
18 A. I didn’t — I didn’t think that line of —
19 that area needed to be discussed. It would have
20 been embarrassing to Gavin if he had known.
After Mesereau finished going through Palanker’s interview transcript, he began to ask some general questions about her relationship with the Arvizos. For example, Palanker was asked if she remembered telling Mesereau’s investigator that Janet had “hostage syndrome” from being in an abusive marriage since the age of 16, and she was asked if she knew about Janet’ claims that David sexually abused Davellin as a child. Earlier in the trial, the prosecution tried to use Janet’s so-called “hostage syndrome” to explain why she didn’t notify authorities during her “imprisonment” at Neverland:
7 Q. Do you remember telling our investigator you
8 thought Janet had a hostage syndrome.
9 A. Yes, I did.
10 Q. And you thought that began when she was
11 married at the age of 16.
12 A. To an abusive man, yes.
13 Q. Right. Did you ever have a discussion with
14 David about this alleged abuse.
15 A. No, I never knew anything about the abuse
16 until after Janet finally told me, when she was
17 going to court about it.
18 Q. Now, are you aware that at some point during
19 the divorce, Janet, for the first time, claimed that
20 David had molested Davellin.
21 A. No.
22 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection. 403; 352.
23 THE COURT: The objection is overruled. The
24 answer was, “No.” Next question.
Next, Palanker was asked by Mesereau to confirm that she called a lawyer instead of calling the police when she was first contacted by Janet Arvizo, whom Palanker believed was frightened to be held at Neverland against her will. Palanker in fact never called the police about ANYTHING that Janet told her! If Palanker was so concerned for Janet’s safety, why didn’t she call the police?
25 Q. Now, after you had your phone call with
26 Janet where you thought she was scared, you said you
27 called your lawyer, correct.
28 A. Correct. 3098
1 Q. You didn’t call the police, did you.
2 A. No, I didn’t.
3 Q. You never called the police about anything
4 Janet told you, correct.
5 A. Right. Correct.
Finally, Mesereau finished up his cross-examination by asking Palanker to verify her knowledge of Gavin’s behavior at school before the year 2003, and she wasn’t very knowledgeable about his disciplinary problems:
6 Q. Okay. Do you know anything about Gavin’s
7 behavior at his school before the year 2003.
8 A. Yes. One of the teachers came to the
9 hospital to visit him, and she joked about it.
10 Q. Do you know, for example, whether or not
11 Gavin was repeated disciplined by virtually every
12 teacher at school.
13 A. I think he was chatty. You know, we joked
14 about that he was — he talked a lot. And —
15 Q. Did you ever look at his school records.
16 A. No, I didn’t.
17 Q. Do you know anything about him fighting in
19 A. No, I don’t.
20 Q. Do you know anything about him getting up in
21 the middle of class and starting to sing.
22 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection; relevancy.
23 MR. MESEREAU: I think it’s been opened,
24 Your Honor.
25 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Has no bearing on
27 THE COURT: The objection is overruled.
28 THE WITNESS: I don’t know anything about 3100
1 that, no.
2 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Do you know how many
3 teachers disciplined Gavin at his school, if any.
4 A. No, I don’t, other than it had been
5 discussed in a joking manner by a teacher that came
6 to visit him at the hospital.
7 Q. Do you know whether Gavin was often sent to
8 detention at his school.
9 A. No, I don’t.
10 Q. Do you know whether he called teachers
12 A. No, I don’t.
13 MR. MESEREAU: Okay. No further questions,
14 Your Honor.
15 THE COURT: Redirect.
16 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Thank you, Your Honor.
Auchincloss began his redirect-examination by asking Palanker to clarify her earlier statements under cross examination about the children being coached by their parents; upon further consideration, Palanker stated that she never had the impression that the children were coached:
14 Q. And there was a great deal of testimony
15 dealing with the subject of coaching the Arvizo
17 A. Uh-huh. Right.
18 Q. Did you have an impression as to who would
19 be the coach in that situation.
20 A. No, I really didn’t.
21 Q. Okay.
22 A. I couldn’t tell.
23 Q. Would it ever be Janet.
24 A. I wouldn’t have been able to make that
26 Q. Now, specifically you’ve mentioned two
27 occasions, I think, that you thought the children
28 were coached; one involving a computer — 3103
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. — and another involving when Star was
3 coached, you felt he was coached about saying he
4 just got love for Christmas.
5 A. Yes. And as soon as David went down to the
6 car, Gavin told me the truth.
7 Q. Okay. Let’s talk about that. Tell me the
8 circumstances of that second incident.
9 A. I called to make sure they were there,
10 because I wanted to bring them my presents for
11 Christmas. And I said, “What else did you get for
12 Christmas, Star.” And he said, “Just love.”
13 Q. Now, was this — were you in the room at the
15 A. No, I was on the phone —
16 Q. Okay.
17 A. — to make sure they were there before I
18 came down.
19 Q. And this was at the hospital.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And Gavin’s hospital room.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And so you’re talking to Star, and you ask
24 him this question, and he says what.
25 A. “Just love.”
26 Q. And that sounded what to you.
27 A. It sounded coached.
28 Q. Okay. But did you know it was coached. 3104
1 A. No, I didn’t know it.
2 Q. It just sounded funny to you.
3 A. It didn’t sound like something a child would
4 say, unless they say that in their family, unless
5 it’s like a family thing, that that’s what they say.
6 Q. Okay. So then you go back down to the
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. How much time between the phone call and the
10 trip to the hospital.
11 A. Half hour.
12 Q. And who do you find when you’re at the
13 hospital. Who’s there.
14 A. All three of the children and David.
15 Q. Okay. Anything else said about what the
16 kids got for Christmas.
17 A. When David took my gift down to the car,
18 Gavin told me that Michael had given them a Play
19 Station 2.
20 Q. And what impression, if any, did that leave
21 upon you.
22 A. I went, “Oh.” Well, I was happy for them.
23 And I — I felt that, with David gone, they would
24 tell me the truth.
25 Q. Did you notice any difference in the
26 behavior between the children when they were around
27 David and their mother.
28 A. They were much more affectionate with their 3105
2 Q. Are those the only two incidents where you
3 felt you had an impression that the children were
5 A. Those were the only two, yeah.
6 Q. Okay. But, in fact, did you ever see any
7 coaching going on.
8 A. Never.
9 Q. Have you ever seen Janet Arvizo under any
10 circumstances where you believe she was teaching her
11 children to lie.
12 A. No. Never.
13 Q. Have you ever had that impression.
14 A. No.
Here is where she attempted to clarify her earlier statement that the Arvizo family liked to latch unto celebrities, but as she attempted to go deeper into her explanation, Mesereau objected and it was sustained by Judge Melville:
12 Q. You also said something about celebrities or
13 famous people being a lifeline to this family.
14 A. Yes, I did.
15 Q. What did you mean by that.
16 A. It felt to me like Janet was reaching out to
17 people who were more stable so that they could pull
18 her out of her circumstances and help her stabilize
19 herself. Like she was almost desperate for
20 stabilization or to rescue her children from this
21 situation. The more people that she let know, the
22 more likely she would be able to get help for
23 herself and her kids.
24 Q. Do you perceive her to be vulnerable.
25 A. Yes.
26 Q. Why.
27 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Relevance;
28 foundation. 3109
1 THE COURT: Sustained.
2 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: I believe counsel has
3 questioned her extensively about Miss Arvizo’s
4 character and psychological wherewithal.
5 THE COURT: The objection was sustained.
In this excerpt, Palanker denies ever seeing Janet ask anyone for money, but of course this will be proven to be true later on in the trial. This was just a lame attempt by the prosecution to make Janet look good in front of the jury:
9 Q. Have you been around Miss Arvizo, Janet
10 Arvizo, around other people.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Other celebrities.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Have you ever seen her ask for money from
16 A. No, never.
17 Q. Ever seen her angling for money.
18 A. Never.
19 MR. MESEREAU: Objection; vague.
20 THE COURT: Overruled.
21 Excuse me for a moment. A moment ago you
22 made a motion to strike, and I grant that now.
23 MR. MESEREAU: Okay. Thank you.
In this excerpt, Judge Melville admonished Auchincloss for asking an inappropriate question regarding Janet’s phone call to Palanker during her “imprisonment”. Mesereau initially objected, but Judge Melville gave Auchincloss a strict guideline to adhere to, and his question went outside of that guideline, so he was thoroughly admonished:
24 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Getting back to the
25 phone call that counsel questioned you about, when
26 Janet called you and she was upset, did she express
27 any other fears that she had at that time.
28 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Leading, and 3111
1 hearsay, and no foundation.
2 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Counsel has asked her
3 about part of the statement, and I’m asking to
4 have the entire statement come in.
5 THE COURT: All right. Then I think you need
6 to identify the statement so he — he and I know
7 what you’re addressing.
8 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: How would you like me to
9 do that, Your Honor. Should I read it, read the
11 THE COURT: You can say, “He asked you this,”
12 and then read it, and then complete it, if that’s
13 what you’re —
14 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: All right.
15 Q. Did Janet indicate that the Jackson people
16 wanted to send her to Brazil, make her leave the
17 country, and make her disappear.
18 A. Yes, she did.
19 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Misstates the
20 evidence; leading; no foundation; beyond the scope.
21 THE COURT: Well, the question is stricken
22 and the answer is stricken. The jury’s admonished
23 to disregard it.
24 That’s not what I told you to do. I told
25 you to address the statement that you say you’re
26 going to complete first with her, so that I know
27 what statement you’re talking about.
28 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: All right. 3112
1 THE COURT: You’re saying that —
2 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: I’m sorry, I thought I
3 made it clear.
4 THE COURT: You gave the complete statement,
5 so I don’t know that.
6 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: The statement that I’m
7 referring to is the statement in which Janet called
8 you when she appeared to be distressed. Do you know
9 what I’m talking about, which statement we’re
10 talking about.
11 A. The statement that Janet made or the
12 statement that I made.
13 Q. The conversation between you.
14 A. Yes.
15 THE COURT: Now, does this go back to the
16 spontaneous declaration statement.
17 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Well, it does, but since
18 that time, there has been an inquiry made into other
19 areas of the statement by counsel.
20 THE COURT: All right. Maybe you better show
21 me the statement so I can — will you approach, with
22 counsel, and let me see the statement.
23 (To the jury) You can talk.
24 (Discussion held off the record at sidebar.)
25 THE COURT: All right. You may proceed.
Finally, Auchincloss asked Palanker to describe why she felt that Janet was suffering from “hostage syndrome”, after of course he made her confirm to the jury that she is not a licensed psychologist! This was done to destroy the credibility of Palanker’s “diagnosis” of Janet, which surely cast aspersions on Janet’ character in front of the jury:
27 Q. You also made a remark that you thought
28 Janet suffered from hostage syndrome. 3113
1 A. That was my assessment, yes.
2 Q. Okay. Do you have any training in
4 A. No, I don’t.
5 Q. Okay. Did you have something specific in
6 mind. Do you know the clinical definition of
7 hostage syndrome.
8 A. I don’t know the clinical definition, but it
9 just reminded me of when Elizabeth Smart was
10 kidnapped and she would be in public places and she
11 wouldn’t tell anybody.
12 Q. Okay.
13 A. Just reminded me of Janet.
14 Q. And for those who don’t know who Elizabeth
15 Smart is, I’m not going to ask you, but I’m going to
16 ask you why you think — or why you used that phrase
17 to describe Janet.
18 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Relevance;
20 THE COURT: Sustained.
21 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: All right. Thank you,
22 Miss Palanker. I have no further questions.
23 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
24 THE COURT: Recross.
25 MR. MESEREAU: Yes, please, Your Honor.
Mesereau’s recross-examination started with a question about Palanker’s statement about Janet having “hostage syndrome”, but when Mesereau asked if she knew that Janet’s father had also beaten her and held her hostage, Auchincloss objected and it was sustained by Judge Melville, so Mesereau had to move on to more general areas of Palanker’s knowledge of Janet’s childhood:
2 BY MR. MESEREAU:
3 Q. You made a comment that you thought Janet
4 had suffered from hostage syndrome since she was 16,
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And it was your understanding at the age of
8 16 she married David, right.
9 A. Right.
10 Q. And you also talked to Janet about her
11 upbringing, did you not.
12 A. No, I don’t think I did.
13 Q. Did she tell you that her father had beaten
14 her and held her hostage, too.
15 A. No, she didn’t.
16 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection. No foundation;
18 THE COURT: Sustained.
19 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Now, the prosecutor —
20 excuse me, let me rephrase that.
21 Did you have a lot of discussions with Janet
22 about her upbringing.
23 A. Not really, no.
24 Q. But you certainly had enough discussions to
25 conclude that she has this thing about — she’s had
26 this thing about being held hostage since she was
27 16, right.
28 A. That’s when she got married. 3115
1 Q. Right. Okay. All right. Did she ever
2 describe her — describe her situation as like a
3 hostage syndrome since the time she was 16.
4 A. She didn’t use those words, but that’s what
5 she described.
6 Q. Okay. Okay. So she told you, in effect,
7 she’d been held hostage since she was 16, right.
8 A. Yes.
9 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection; misstates what
10 the witness just said.
11 THE COURT: Sustained.
12 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: When you discussed Janet’s
13 life with her, it was your impression, was it not,
14 that she felt she had been held hostage since she
15 was 16.
16 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection. Improper
17 opinion; calls for a conclusion.
18 THE COURT: Sustained.
19 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Did Janet tell you she’d
20 been held hostage since she was 16.
21 A. No.
22 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection; hearsay.
23 THE COURT: She said, “No.” The answer is
24 in. The objection’s overruled.
25 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Have you ever had any
26 discussion with David about his side of this story.
27 A. Yes, I have.
28 Q. And when did you last talk to David about 3116
1 his impression of what was happening in the family.
2 A. It was about 2002, right after he had lost
3 custody of his children.
4 Q. And David was complaining about not having
5 custody of his children, was he not.
6 A. Yes, he was.
7 Q. He was complaining that Janet had told the
8 children what to say, wasn’t he.
9 A. No.
10 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection; hearsay.
11 THE COURT: Sustained.
12 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Where did you have a
13 discussion with David.
14 A. On the phone.
15 Q. Did he call you.
16 A. Yes, he did.
17 Q. And was that the only discussion you had
18 with him about the domestic situation.
19 A. Since the divorce, that — there were two
20 phone calls. Two phone calls.
Next, Mesereau challenges Palanker’s constant flip-flopping over her statement to police that Jamie Masada is a pathological liar! She told police she thought he was one, and then was hesitant to admit to it under cross examination, and then denied it under redirect examination, so Mesereau wanted to pin her down, and she tried to cover her bases by saying that she’s not qualified to make that type of psychological assessment of Masada:
6 Q. Now, you admitted telling the sheriffs in a
7 conversation you did not know they were recording
8 that Masada was a pathological liar and then they
9 asked you to confirm that, and you said, “Yes.”
10 You come here today, under oath, and you
11 completely change your statement. Why.
12 A. I haven’t completely changed it.
13 Q. Well, didn’t the prosecutor just get up and
14 ask you if you thought Jamie Masada was a
15 pathological liar.
16 A. I don’t think I’m clinically trained to make
17 that diagnosis. So if I made that comment, it — it
18 was an exaggeration.
19 Q. Do you think you need clinical training to
20 look at someone, evaluate what they’re saying, and
21 conclude they’re a pathological liar.
22 A. I don’t even know the clinical definition of
23 “pathological liar.”
24 Q. How about a nonclinical definition. Just an
25 ordinary common sense one.
26 A. Someone that’s been caught misrepresenting
27 past events.
28 Q. And when you told the police he was a 3119
1 pathological liar, you were accusing him of doing
2 just that, weren’t you.
3 A. Of doing that, yes. But I don’t think I’m
4 qualified to call him a pathological liar.
5 Q. Because you’re not a psychiatrist or
7 A. Right.
8 Q. But don’t — in your experience, don’t
9 ordinary people often look at others and say, “That
10 person is a pathological liar”.
11 A. Those would be opinions.
12 Q. When you told the sheriffs he was a
13 pathological liar, you were telling them the truth,
15 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection; asked and
17 THE COURT: Overruled.
18 You may answer.
19 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Right.
20 A. I was telling him an opinion.
21 Q. An opinion that you believed was true,
23 A. I was probably exaggerating.
24 Q. Then why did you confirm it two sentences
25 later that it was true.
26 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection; argumentative.
27 THE COURT: Sustained.
Finally, Mesereau questioned Palanker about her refusal to go to a Von’s supermarket to meet up with Janet and bring her back to her home, but before Mesereau could dig further into this incident, Auchincloss objected and it was sustained by Judge Melville.
3 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: You’ve indicated that when
4 you spoke to Janet, she wanted you to meet her in
5 Van Nuys or Sherman Oaks.
6 A. Sherman Oaks.
7 Q. Okay. And that was at a Von’s.
8 A. It’s now a Gelson’s.
9 Q. Okay. And did you — was it your
10 understanding she was at Von’s when she called you.
11 A. It was my understanding she was nearby.
12 Q. Okay. Do you know who she was with.
13 A. No.
14 Q. Do you know how she got to Von’s.
15 A. No.
16 Q. Did she tell you.
17 A. It was all very secretive. She was scared.
18 Q. She was scared, but wanted you to meet her
19 at Von’s so she could come to your house, right.
20 A. So she could tell me what was happening.
21 Q. She wanted to go to your house at one point;
22 is that correct.
23 A. She wanted to be able to privately tell me.
24 She felt like she was being listened to all the
26 Q. She wanted to visit your home, true, and you
27 said, “No”.
28 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection; beyond the 3128
2 THE COURT: Sustained.
3 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: At some point in the last
4 six months, Janet Arvizo called you and said, “Don’t
5 talk to the defense investigator,” right.
6 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection; hearsay.
7 THE COURT: Sustained.
8 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Ask to strike the
10 THE COURT: The objection was sustained. The
11 answers are stricken.
12 MR. MESEREAU: Okay.
13 Q. Do you remember telling the Santa Barbara
14 sheriffs in that interview where you didn’t know you
15 were being recorded, “I didn’t want them at my
16 house,” something about it, “Giving me a red flag.”
17 Do you remember that.
18 A. Yes. I have boundaries with the children I
19 teach, that I keep.
20 Q. Have they ever been to your house.
21 A. No.
22 Q. Have you ever driven them anywhere.
23 A. No.
24 MR. MESEREAU: I have no further questions.
25 THE COURT: Thank you, Counsel.
Auchincloss had one last question for Palanker under further redirect-examinatioin: he wanted to know if she ever allowed children who were involved in the comedy programs at the Laugh Factory to come to her house, and she stated that she only recently allowed this due to a lack of another place to bring them.
Perhaps Auchincloss was trying to insinuate that “normal” people would never invite children to their homes, and that only a child abuser like Michael Jackson would?
1 FURTHER REDIRECT EXAMINATION
2 BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS:
3 Q. Just one question.
4 Do you ever have children over at your house
5 that are part of the programs where you work with
6 children dealing with comedy.
7 A. I recently started an advanced program on
8 Saturdays, and for lack of another place, we hold it
9 at my house. And the parents are welcome to stay.
10 Q. When did that happen. When did that start.
11 A. About six weeks ago.
12 Q. And prior to that time, did you have a rule
13 that you did not allow children to come to your house.
14 A. Yes, I did.
15 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: All right. Thank you. No
16 further questions.
17 Thank you, Your Honor.
18 MR. MESEREAU: No further questions, Your
20 THE COURT: Thank you. You may step down.
21 Your testimony is completed. Thank you.
22 The Court will recess now, and we’ll convene
23 tomorrow morning at 8:30.
24 MR. MESEREAU: May the witness be subject to
26 THE COURT: Yes, I did not excuse her.
27 (The proceedings adjourned at 11:30 a.m.)
Summary of Louise Palanker’s testimony:
1. Louise Palanker is a comedian, writer, producer, teacher, and friend of the Arvizo family. She performed stand-up comedy at the Laugh Factory, and assisted Jamie Masada with his comedy camp for underprivileged children, and became acquainted with the Arvizo family in 1999.
2. Auchincloss began 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.
3. When Palanker became aware of Gavin’s cancer diagnosis, she loaned the Arvizos $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. Two separate checks for $10,000 dollars each were written by Palanker, and deposited in Janet’s mother’s bank account . Afterwards, David Arvizo repeatedly asked for more money, which made Palanker uncomfortable.
4. Palanker testified that she didn’t the contractors were never paid for the renovation work that they did for Gavin’s clean room, and that much of the money she loaned the Arvizos was used to buy a flat screen television, DVD player, and other electronics.
5. Palanker described what David Arvizo 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 if she told anyone about her JC Penney scam.
6. 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. However, instead of notifying law enforcement about her concerns for Janet’s safety and welfare at Neverland, she called her lawyer! After being told by Janet about how scared she was, Palanker suggested that they meet the next day at a local supermarket because she was already on her way out to do something else!
7. Under cross-examination, Palanker admitted that she was clueless about the facts of the JC Penney lawsuit, and Janet had never told her about the settlement that she received.
8. 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 (which meant that Janet was responsible for withdrawing the money and spending it).
9. 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.
10. 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 claim of being misquoted during his cross examination on March 8th, 2005). It was an obvious attempt to absolve herself of personal responsibility from her previous statements.
11. Palanker stated that when she told the police that “these people are teaching their kids to lie”, she wasn’t speaking of her own opinion of the Arvizos, but what she assumed was the opinion of George and Ann Lopez (after they were accused of stealing $300 dollars from Gavin’s wallet)! Yeah, whatever.
12. Mesereau questioned Palanker about her statement that Jamie Masada, the owner of the Laugh Factory, is a “pathological liar”, and although Palanker tried to dismiss her statement as being hyperbole, Mesereau challenged that assertion by quoting her statement to police where she agreed that Jamie was a liar. Mesereau was skeptical about Palanker’s claim of just exaggerating how she felt about Jamie Masada, based on the transcript of her interview with sheriffs.
13. Mesereau next questions her about her statement that “Janet needs to see a psychologist” (actually, Janet did see a psychologist during the litigation phase of her JC Penney lawsuit, and she was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, but we’ll get to that later on in the trial!), and Palanker once again gave a rambling answer that made absolutely no sense, and then she spoke about the phone calls that she received from Jay Leno’s camp complaining about the multiple times that the Arvizos tried to call him and leave messages. She didn’t refer to Leno specifically, but she said “people”, which implies that it was more than just Leno who called her to complain about the Arvizos, but (once again) Palanker said that she was misquoted!
14. When asked by Mesereau about Janet’s habit of scamming celebrities for money, Palanker testified that Janet tries to latch on to not only celebrities, but ANYONE who could get her family out of their destitute situation!
15. Palanker contradicted her earlier testimony of being concerned for Janet’s safety after she called her by admitting that she was asked by Janet to pick her up from Von’s supermarket, but refused to because she was already on her way out the door to do something else! That shows just how much “concern” she had for Janet’s safety!
16. After Mesereau finished going through Palanker’s interview transcript, he began to ask some general questions about her relationship with the Arvizos. For example, Palanker was asked if she remembered telling Mesereau’s investigator that Janet had “hostage syndrome” from being in an abusive marriage since the age of 16, and she was asked if she knew about Janet’ claims that David sexually abused Davellin as a child. Earlier in the trial, the prosecution tried to use Janet’s so-called “hostage syndrome” to explain why she didn’t notify authorities during her “imprisonment” at Neverland.
17. Palanker was asked by Mesereau to confirm that she called a lawyer instead of calling the police when she was first contacted by Janet Arvizo, whom Palanker believed was frightened to be held at Neverland against her will. Palanker in fact never called the police about ANYTHING that Janet told her! If Palanker was so concerned for Janet’s safety, why didn’t she call the police?
18. Under redirect examination, Palanker testified that she didn’t know who could possibly coach the Arvizos, and that she had never personally witnessed the Arvizo children being coached to ask for money or lie. However, she did reiterate that Janet liked to reach out to people who could help her out of her desperate situation.
To be continued: https://michaeljacksonvindication2.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/march-23rd-2005-trial-analysis-robert-charles-cooley-freddy-padilla-craig-bonner-and-antonio-cantu-direct-examination-part-1-of-2/