March 28th, 2005 Trial Analysis: Judge Melville’s Decision on Prior Bad Acts & Settlements Evidence, George Lopez, Ann Serrano Lopez, and Robert Spinner (Direct & Cross Examination), Part 4 of 4
Under cross examination, Ann Lopez was immediately asked about her knowledge of the JC Penney scam, and her suspicions about the fact that Janet was never at the hospital with her dying son:
2 BY MR. MESEREAU:
3 Q. Good afternoon, Miss Lopez.
4 A. Good afternoon.
5 Q. My name is Tom Mesereau and I speak for
6 Michael Jackson.
7 You thought it very odd that Janet was never
8 at the hospital while her son was apparently dying,
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And you noted to your husband how strange
12 that was, right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And you didn’t quite believe that she was
15 never there because she was waiting tables, true?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did you know at the time she was litigating
18 a sexual assault case with J.C. Penney?
19 MR. ZONEN: I’m going to object as assuming
20 facts not in evidence and argumentative.
21 THE COURT: Sustained as to assuming facts
22 not in evidence.
23 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Did you ever know anything
24 about any litigation Janet Arvizo was involved in
25 with anybody?
26 A. No. No.
27 Q. Did David or Janet ever talk to you about
28 their litigation with any company or individual? 3874
1 A. No.
23 Q. Okay. When you talked to Janet, did you
24 ever ask her why “You’re not visiting your dying
26 A. Well, the first conversation I had with
27 Janet was at our home, and it was just comforting,
28 and I hadn’t been to the hospital yet. But every 3875
1 other conversation David was there, so, no, I did
3 Q. Okay. Did Janet ever visit your home?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Now, to your knowledge, did the three Arvizo
6 children visit your home with David?
7 A. No. Just one. Gavin.
8 Q. Just Gavin? And how many times did he visit
9 your home, if you remember?
10 A. Just once.
11 Q. Okay. And that’s the time where suddenly
12 this wallet appeared on a mantle?
13 A. Yes, sir.
14 Q. And about how high was the mantle, if you
16 A. Probably — let’s see, it wasn’t as tall as
17 I was. Probably five feet.
18 Q. Okay. And do you remember seeing the wallet
20 A. I don’t, because I went directly into the
22 Q. Okay. And you don’t recall ever meeting
23 Janet in person, correct?
24 A. I don’t.
25 Q. Did you visit the hospital at different
26 times or did you typically visit at the same time of
28 A. No, different times, just depending on my 3876
1 husband’s schedule.
2 Q. Okay. And you thought you visited about six
3 times, right?
4 A. Uh-huh.
5 Q. You thought your husband visited about 12
6 times, right?
7 A. I’m not sure how many times he visited.
8 Sometimes he would go after his shift, without me.
Next, Mesereau questioned her about the red flags that were raised due to Janet’s absence from the hospital, and the comedy skits the kids would do in which they would talk about how impoverished they were:
9 Q. Okay. Okay. And you’re not sure if you’ve
10 ever met Janet in person, right?
11 A. I don’t recall ever meeting her.
12 Q. Were you ever at The Laugh Factory when she
13 was there with her children?
14 A. No, I never went to the comedy camp.
15 Q. Okay. Now, you did know that your husband
16 was teaching the children, right?
17 A. Yes, I did. He spoke about them.
18 Q. Did he talk to you about what they did on
20 A. Oh, yes. He thought they were very
21 talented, especially Gavin.
22 Q. Did he talk to you about Gavin’s skit where
23 he would talk about how impoverished they were on
25 A. He didn’t go into specifics, no.
26 Q. Was it your understanding the mother would
27 always be there watching the kids talk about their
28 poverty on the stage? 3877
1 A. Yes.
2 MR. ZONEN: Objection, speculation. She
3 wasn’t there.
4 THE COURT: Overruled. The answer was,
6 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: You indicated that when
7 David told you that Janet was working as a waitress
8 and couldn’t be at the hospital, that red flags went
9 up, correct?
10 A. Well, more that she was — not because she
11 was working as a waitress. I think the red flags
12 went up that she was emotional, and the hospital
13 would make her overcome and she couldn’t handle it.
14 That, I thought, was a little strange.
15 Q. Thought it was a little odd.
16 A. Uh-huh.
17 Q. You thought that even with the emotional
18 difficulty, a mother would likely be at the hospital
19 with her dying son?
20 A. Absolutely.
21 Q. And you never saw her there one time?
22 A. No.
In this excerpt, Ann describes the changes she noticed in Gavin and David’s attitude once Jackson entered their lives and they started visiting Neverland:
9 Q. All right. Now, at some point, you learned
10 that the Arvizo family were visiting Neverland,
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. When did you learn the Arvizo family were
14 visiting Neverland?
15 A. One day when we went to visit Gavin at the
16 hospital, he had already been to Neverland.
17 Q. Okay. And did he seem excited about
19 A. Oh, over the top.
20 Q. Okay. Did his father talk to you about
22 A. That’s all they talked about.
23 Q. Did his father talk to you about the fact
24 Michael Jackson had given a truck to the family?
25 A. Yes.
26 Q. And did Gavin talk about the fact that
27 Michael Jackson had given a truck to the family?
28 A. Yes. 3885
1 Q. Did you ever hear him discuss that Michael
2 Jackson had given a computer to the family?
3 A. I don’t remember the computer, but I do
4 remember the car.
5 Q. Did they talk about other gifts that Michael
6 Jackson had given the family, to your knowledge?
7 A. They just talked about the whole experience.
8 They were very — you know, the movie theater, and
9 the candy, and golf carts, and things like that.
10 Q. Okay. Did you notice David’s attitude
11 towards you change after he started visiting Michael
13 A. Oh, yes.
14 Q. And what was the change all about?
15 A. Well, all of a sudden, we — our friendship
16 to Gavin was not as important as them being at
18 Q. Okay.
19 A. It just seemed like a shift; that George’s
20 time and compassion for Gavin wasn’t as important
22 Q. Okay. And that bothered you?
23 A. Yeah.
24 Q. Okay. Did you ever discuss that with David
25 or Janet?
26 A. No.
7 Q. Okay. Ever talk to Janet about her
8 experiences at Neverland?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Okay. But you noticed a change in attitude
11 in Gavin and David, right?
12 A. Yes, and the two other children.
13 Q. All of them?
14 A. All of them, yes.
15 Q. They just didn’t seem to be as interested in
16 you and George anymore, right?
17 A. Well, it was just such a fantastic,
18 over-the-top kind of experience.
19 Q. And they kept talking about how much Michael
20 had given them, correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Did you get the feeling they were sort of
23 suggesting that maybe you didn’t give them enough?
24 A. Maybe, yeah.
25 Q. Okay. Did they talk about gifts that
26 Michael Jackson had sent to the hospital for Gavin?
27 MR. ZONEN: I’ll object as to vague as to
28 “they.” 3887
1 MR. MESEREAU: Excuse me, I’ll rephrase it.
2 Q. Did Gavin ever talk to you about gifts
3 Michael Jackson had sent to him at the hospital?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Did David ever talk about that?
6 A. I think there was a basket, but I don’t
7 remember what was in the basket. They pointed to a
8 basket — well, David pointed to a basket, but I
9 can’t remember what was in it.
10 Q. Okay. Okay. And Gavin kept talking to you
11 about driving golf carts at Neverland, correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. They seemed to — he seemed to be very
14 excited by that?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And did David tell you they were going to
17 keep visiting Neverland?
18 A. I don’t think so. I don’t think that came
19 up in the conversation.
20 Q. Did he tell you about numerous visits they
21 had made to Neverland?
22 A. The one that sticks out in my mind is the
23 first one.
24 Q. Okay. Now, did you talk to David on the
25 phone about Neverland, or in person?
26 A. In person at the hospital.
27 Q. At the hospital, okay. Okay.
28 And it was your understanding that Gavin was 3888
1 going back and forth to the hospital for treatment?
2 A. Oh, yes.
3 Q. And was it your understanding that while he
4 was in the middle of his treatments, he and the
5 family went to Neverland? Is that your
7 A. I believe it was one of the weeks that he
8 was feeling better and he was in remission.
Mesereau continued to question Ann about her relationship with the Arvizos, and upon his completion Zonen had a few more questions for her under redirect examination; in this excerpt, he wanted to play the “religion card” by having Ann elaborate on her earlier comment that Janet’s gratitude to her was “spiritual” (by touting Janet’s spirituality, it would make her look more favorable to the jury):
11 REDIRECT EXAMINATION
12 BY MR. ZONEN:
13 Q. Ms. Lopez, you said that you thought that
14 Janet’s gratitude was spiritual. What did you mean
15 by that?
16 A. Well, she just said — she said she was
17 praying for us and thanking us for being with Gavin,
18 and for giving him comfort and giving him hope and
19 making him stronger spiritually by being at his
21 Q. Did she ever say anything to you about money
22 that had been given to David by your husband?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Did she ever say anything at all about any
25 of the gifts to the family at all?
26 A. No.
27 Q. Did she ever talk to you about that gift
28 that she gave to your husband, the key chain? 3898
1 A. I thanked her for it, because it meant a lot
2 to George.
3 Q. Could you describe the gift for us?
4 A. It’s a — it’s a small key chain. It has a
5 mustard seed in it, and she said that she had had it
6 for — it was obviously used, and that she’d had it
7 for a long time and she just wanted him to have it.
8 Q. And he accepted it?
9 A. Yes, he did.
10 Q. And was grateful for it?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. You made the statement that you thought the
13 kids were a tool for David, or something like that?
14 A. I’m sorry?
15 Q. Were a tool of David?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Tell me what you meant.
18 A. Well, it just seemed he didn’t have a
19 connection with his children. And to me, it seemed
20 like he was using Gavin’s illness for gain,
21 financial gain.
22 Q. Did you notice any change in David’s
23 behavior as the months went by while Gavin was in
24 the hospital receiving treatment?
25 A. Well, he just kept asking for money. I
26 mean, it was just kind of his M.O.
27 Q. It was consistent?
28 A. Consistent. 3899
1 Q. Every time you were there?
2 A. Yes.
3 MR. ZONEN: I have no further questions.
4 MR. MESEREAU: No further questions, Your
6 THE COURT: Thank you. You may step down.
7 MR. NICOLA: Your Honor, we’ll be re-calling
8 Sergeant Bob Spinner.
9 THE COURT: All right.
Here is Anne’s original statement about Janet’s spirituality under cross examination:
28 Q. And about what time of day did you first see 3889
1 David and Gavin on that occasion?
2 A. I think they came to our house around noon.
3 Q. Okay.
4 A. I think.
5 Q. Now, did you know your husband George was
6 buying gifts for Gavin and bringing them to the
8 A. I bought them also, yes.
9 Q. And did David express gratitude to you for
10 doing that?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Did Gavin?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Did Janet?
15 A. She wasn’t there, no.
16 Q. Okay. When you talked to her on the phone,
17 though, she expressed gratitude for all you’d done
18 for her family, right?
19 A. But not really — more spiritually than —
20 being there with Gavin than financially, no.
Det. Robert Spinner was recalled to the stand after Ann Lopez’s testimony in order for him to finish his direct examination by Mag Nicola, which consisted exclusively of him identifying the fingerprints of Star and Gavin that he found on numerous magazines.
Sanger’s cross examination began with Det. Spinner being asked about the subjectivity of the fingerprint identification process:
26 BY MR. SANGER:
27 Q. Sergeant Spinner, how are you?
28 A. I’m fine, sir. 3913
1 Q. Good. And you’re retired?
2 A. Yes, sir, I think so.
3 Q. Okay. Not for a little while anyway.
4 First of all, when you talk about — when
5 you answer the district attorney’s questions as to
6 whose fingerprints are on something, that’s your
7 opinion; is that correct?
8 A. That’s correct.
9 Q. And fingerprint identification is
10 subjective; is that right?
11 A. It falls into two categories. The initial
12 examination and evaluation I would say is based in
13 fact. The opinion is subjective.
14 Q. All right. So ultimately your opinion —
15 this is what I was asking, I believe. Ultimately
16 your opinion as to whose fingerprints match is a
17 subjective opinion, correct?
18 A. That would be correct.
Next, here is Spinner’s testimony about the two fingerprints whose ruling were changed by a third parties after the initial reports were written; in December 2004, a fingerprint was ruled as “inconclusive”, but then it was changed to be a positive match of Star Arvizo, and another print was ruled to be a positive match of Jackson, but subsequently changed to inconclusive:
24 Q. Now, there were also two other prints that
25 had been identified either as positive or
26 inconclusive, and those two were switched or shifted
27 at a date after your initial reports were written;
28 is that correct? 3916
1 A. Yes, sir. After a review by a third party,
2 yes, sir. That’s correct.
3 Q. Let’s talk about those two for a moment.
4 You wrote final reports on the various
5 latent print examinations that you did on a certain
6 date in December; is that correct?
7 A. As the item process — each item was
8 finished, I had a mandate to complete a report
9 within 24 hours of completing each item as I went,
10 so it would — when the report was written would
11 depend on when the total completion date on that
12 item was — actually happened.
13 Q. I’m sorry.
14 A. Go ahead.
15 Q. What I’m asking, and maybe I wasn’t clear,
16 as of December of 2004, you had final reports
17 written on your identification of the various
18 prints; is that correct?
19 A. December the 17th, yes, sir.
20 Q. All right. And then these two prints were
21 subject to additional reports that you wrote
22 sometime in 2005; is that correct?
23 A. Yes, sir, that’s correct. That was due to
24 an agreement that —
25 MR. SANGER: I’m going to move to strike as
27 THE WITNESS: Okay. That’s correct, sir.
28 THE COURT: Stricken. 3917
1 MR. SANGER: Thank you.
2 Q. One of the prints had been labeled as
3 inconclusive as of December 2004; is that correct?
4 A. That’s correct.
5 Q. And then in January of 2005, you wrote a
6 report indicating that you believed that that should
7 be positive as to Star Arvizo; is that correct?
8 A. Yes, sir, that’s correct.
9 Q. The other print had been written up, as of
10 December 2004, as inconclusive — I’m sorry, as
11 positive as to Mr. Jackson, and then you changed
12 that to inconclusive; is that correct?
13 A. That’s correct.
14 Q. And that was based on additional
15 consultation that you had?
16 A. Yes, with Mrs. Hemman and also I.D. Tech
17 Allmeyer of the Santa Barbara Police Department.
18 Q. And I.D. Tech Allmeyer is somebody that
19 you’ve known for a number of years; is that correct?
20 A. Yes, sir, it is.
21 Q. And he worked for the sheriff’s department
22 for quite some time?
23 A. I’m going to guess about four years before
24 he went to another job.
25 Q. So that was not a stranger who you called
26 upon to do a review of the work; is that correct?
27 A. No, but I trust his judgment.
The credibility of the fingerprint evidence was further sullied when Det. Spinner stated that the fingerprint samples that were taken of Jackson and Gavin “could have been better”, and that there was “some smearing” on them:
18 Q. BY MR. SANGER: Do you have both sets of
19 rolled prints on each exhibit there?
20 A. One set of prints for Star Arvizo has two
21 cards on it, and the one for Gavin Arvizo has one.
22 Q. Okay. Was there another set of rolled
23 prints for Gavin Arvizo that you’re aware of?
24 A. Yes. But if my memory serves me correct,
25 they were not — they really weren’t any good.
26 Q. And so those — you had those redone? Did
27 you have those redone?
28 A. They were redone at my request, yes, sir. 3922
1 Q. Did you also have Star Arvizo’s prints
3 A. Yes, sir.
4 Q. And you wanted to see if a better set of
5 prints could be developed?
6 A. That’s correct, sir.
7 Q. Did you believe at the time you looked at it
8 that Mr. Jackson’s prints were done appropriately?
9 A. They could have been done better, but
10 they’re appropriate, yes.
11 Q. Okay. And the same — well, let me withdraw
12 that. As far as Star Arvizo’s, his first set was
13 done appropriately but could have been better.
14 Would that be your testimony?
15 A. His first set was okay, but they could have
16 been better. As I recall, there was some smearing
17 and areas that really couldn’t be seen into as far
18 as the clarity.
Judge Melville ended Det. Spinner’s testimony early so that he could address the court outside the presence of the jury regarding how he would instruct the jury on the 1108 evidence, as well as the possible re-call of former Neverland employee Kiki Fournier, who had requested permission to temporarily leave the country after her testimony:
1 THE COURT: Counsel, I’d like to stop a
2 little early, because there’s a couple issues we
3 need to take up outside the presence of the jury.
4 MR. SANGER: Yes, sir.
5 THE COURT: I’m going to excuse you now.
6 We’ll see you at 8:30 tomorrow morning. And
7 remember, Thursday you won’t come in.
9 (The following proceedings were held in
10 open court outside the presence and hearing of the
13 THE COURT: We need that door closed back
15 THE BAILIFF: I’ll get it.
16 THE WITNESS: He took care of it, sir.
17 THE COURT: Let’s see, the first issue I
18 wanted to take up was whether or not — the question
19 of whether or not we should instruct the jury on the
20 1108 and perhaps 1101 evidence before, at the time
21 of taking the evidence, during, after. I like to
22 instruct juries on special points as we go along.
23 I don’t know when you intend to start your
24 1108 evidence, now that the ruling’s been made. And
25 you don’t need to — since I’m just putting that to
26 you right now, you don’t need to answer me now. I’d
27 like to know tomorrow. And if you have a suggested
28 instruction, I think there’s a — there might be a 3928
1 CALJIC that applies. I haven’t looked. Anyway —
2 MR. SNEDDON: Yes, I believe they should be
3 preinstructed. And yes, there is a CALJIC that’s
4 been approved by the courts to be given in such
6 THE COURT: All right.
7 MR. SNEDDON: And I would anticipate maybe
8 in two weeks, depending on the length of
9 cross-examination of certain witnesses.
10 THE COURT: So that gives everybody time if
11 you want to submit a different instruction or a
12 pinpoint instruction or….
13 MR. MESEREAU: We’d want to do that, Your
14 Honor. There is some — for example, burden of
15 proof we think should wait till the end, but there
16 are some preinstructions we would like on that
18 THE COURT: I just put you on notice so you
19 can start feeding me information. That gives me —
20 I can relax a little bit, because I know we have
21 time to do this right.
22 MR. MESEREAU: Thank you.
23 THE COURT: The second issue is there’s a —
24 one of the — one of the witnesses who’s testified,
25 Kiki Fournier, has called my secretary. And as I
26 understand from my secretary, has contacted both
27 attorneys and she has requested permission to travel
28 outside the United States with her child, or 3929
1 children, I don’t know. And she advised my
2 secretary that she could not get agreement from the
3 attorneys on her ability to do that. She’s willing
4 to be on a return call for 48 hours if someone needs
5 her. So I need to get your position.
6 I think she’s basically testified and been
7 cross-examined. I don’t think she’s been excused
8 technically, but I don’t like to prevent people from
9 going on with their lives when we can make
10 arrangements to allow them to go on with their lives
11 and still be available when they’re needed.
12 What’s —
13 MR. SNEDDON: Judge, I indicated that that
14 was more than okay with me, that she could go. I
15 anticipated that if we would want to re-call her, we
16 would still have time, because we probably would not
17 have rested by the date she plans on returning, so
18 therefore it shouldn’t be a concern in terms of the
19 defense calling her, because she would be available
20 if they wanted to.
21 So as far as I’m concerned, she could do
22 that. If an emergency arose, and we need her to
23 come back, it sounds like she’s willing to come back
24 and we would arrange that. So as far as I’m
25 concerned, she can go and should go.
26 MR. MESEREAU: Your Honor, I don’t want to
27 interfere with her travel plans at all. Our concern
28 is there is a great likelihood we will re-call her 3930
1 for a lot of reasons I don’t want to disclose at the
3 THE COURT: Nor do you need to.
4 MR. MESEREAU: It seems to me that her
5 plans — I don’t know where she’s going or when she
6 plans to leave. But her plans are to be back in the
7 near future, is that correct?
8 THE COURT: Within — within 28 days, I
9 think. And I think she plans to leave immediately.
10 You probably know more than I do. My secretary just
11 said we have a problem here, and —
12 MR. SNEDDON: I can assist the Court and
13 Mr. Mesereau in this regard, Your Honor. My
14 information is she needed to book the tickets today.
15 She was going to leave immediately and she’d be back
16 the first week in May.
17 THE COURT: So that’s more than the estimated
18 time I thought. But at any rate, if you’re not
19 going to put on your 1108 evidence for two more
20 weeks, I can see that — it seems to me that’s a
21 safe return date for her.
22 MR. MESEREAU: Yeah.
23 THE COURT: Okay.
24 MR. MESEREAU: Again, I don’t want to
25 interfere with her plans.
26 THE COURT: I would require that she sign a
27 statement like — she’s on subpoena, and it’s not
28 uncommon. In fact, it’s more common than not that 3931
1 we put these people on call, under an agreement, and
2 the code section provides for that. And I would
3 have her sign an agreement to return upon 48 hours’
4 notice if there was an emergency before her return
6 And then I would personally go to Europe and
7 get her if she —
8 MR. MESEREAU: We will agree to that, Your
10 THE COURT: All right. Even if it took me
11 months to find her.
13 THE COURT: I think it’s the right thing to
14 do, so I appreciate that. I’ll take care of that.
15 Then I think we’re through for the day.
16 Thank you, everyone. I’ll see you tomorrow at 8:30.
17 (The proceedings adjourned at 2:35 p.m.)
To be continued….