April 1st, 2005 Trial Analysis: Jeff Klapakis (Cross Examination), Jack Green, Larry Feldman, and Jesus Salas (Direct Examination), Part 4 of 4
The next prosecution witness was Jesus Salas, who worked at Neverland for 20 years (starting before Jackson bought the ranch in 1987), and resigned in June 2003. Here is his testimony on his background and responsibilities at Neverland:
5 DIRECT EXAMINATION
6 BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS:
7 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Salas.
8 A. Good afternoon.
9 Q. In the year 2003, Mr. Salas, who were you
10 employed by?
11 A. I was employed by Neverland Valley Ranch.
12 Q. And who was your employer?
13 A. Mr. Jackson.
14 Q. Michael Jackson?
15 A. Michael Jackson, yes.
16 Q. The man seated to my right?
17 A. That is correct.
18 Q. Mr. Salas, how long — well, let me back up.
19 When did you cease to work for Neverland Valley
20 Ranch? When did you stop working there?
21 A. It was late June 2003.
22 Q. And how many years did you work at Neverland
23 Valley Ranch?
24 A. 20 years.
25 Q. Did you work there before Mr. Jackson bought
26 that property?
27 A. Yes, sir.
28 Q. And what did you do during your years at 4613
1 working at Neverland Ranch? What were you employed
3 A. I was outside on-grounds maintenance
5 Q. You were a supervisor of grounds
7 A. Right.
8 Q. And what did that involve?
9 A. Keeping up the place, you know, maintaining
10 the place, and anything that — any activities that
11 needed to be done on the grounds.
12 Q. Did you have people working under you?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And how many?
15 A. I believe it was about 15 people, something
16 like that.
17 Q. 15?
18 A. Uh-huh.
19 Q. Who did you report to during that period of
21 A. We had a ranch manager.
22 Q. And at some point, did you change jobs?
23 A. Yes, I did.
24 Q. When was that?
25 A. It was — I would say it was in the middle
26 of 2002.
27 Q. And what job did you take up? What was your
28 new job at that time? 4614
1 A. I was assigned to be the house manager for
2 Mr. Jackson.
3 Q. Was that a promotion?
4 A. I would say yes.
5 Q. Okay. More responsibility?
6 A. More responsibility.
7 Q. And what did you do as the house manager?
8 A. Making sure that the house was — making
9 sure that everything that the house needed to be
10 done. I was just to make sure that everything was
11 there for Mr. Jackson and his guests.
12 Q. And when you say “the house,” what structure
13 or structures do you mean with specificity,
15 A. It was the main house and guest units,
16 theater. Anything involved with the facilities of
17 Mr. Jackson.
18 Q. How many people did you have working under
19 you as house manager?
20 A. Eight people.
21 Q. And what were their various employments?
22 What did they do?
23 A. House — house maids and cooks.
24 Q. So who did you report to when you were house
26 A. We also have a ranch manager. But I also
27 report to Mr. Jackson.
28 Q. Did you report directly to Mr. Jackson? 4615
1 A. Yes, I did.
2 Q. And whereabouts did you work? What was —
3 in your day-to-day life as house manager, your
4 employment as house manager, tell me about — give
5 me an idea of what you would do in a given day.
6 A. Well, we did the various of things, you
7 know. Making sure that the place was clean. Making
8 sure that we had everything stocked, supplies. And
9 making sure that the guesthouse was clean. Stuff
10 like that. Just keeping up with the place.
11 Q. Did you have an office or anything of that
13 A. Yes. There’s an office in the house.
14 Q. And where is that located?
15 A. It’s in the back of the house, as you first
16 go into the main, the back door on the left side.
17 Q. When Mr. Jackson was on the property, how
18 often would you have contact with him, as house
20 A. Daily basis.
21 Q. More than once a day, or — give me an idea,
22 if you would.
23 A. Sometimes it was once. Sometimes it was
24 more than that. It depends.
25 Q. And if Mr. Jackson wanted something done,
26 let’s say he wanted flowers in a certain place at
27 the house, who would take care of that?
28 A. It was — that responsibility, it was some 4616
1 other people who was in charge of the flowers.
2 Q. Okay. Would he — who would he tell that he
3 wanted the flowers in that particular place?
4 A. Mr. Jackson will tell anybody that he wanted
5 to first.
6 Q. Okay. As far as keeping the kitchen
7 stocked, was that one of your jobs?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. What about alcohol on the ranch, was that
10 your job as well, to keep alcohol stocked?
11 A. I had to make sure that we had what he
12 needed or anything that needed to be in the house.
13 Q. Can you characterize for me what level of
14 service Mr. Jackson expected at Neverland Ranch?
15 A. The best.
16 Q. What were your daily hours like?
17 A. It was pretty long hours. 7 a.m. to — to
18 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. 3:00 sometimes.
19 Q. Was that a normal day for you to work such
20 long hours?
21 A. It was not normal. But it was a requirement
22 that we had it — to get things done.
23 Q. And can you characterize for me the
24 expectation that Mr. Jackson had concerning the
25 level of service?
26 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Vague; calls for
28 THE WITNESS: When you say “expectation,” 4617
1 could you specify it a little bit?
2 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Just a moment.
3 THE COURT: Okay, he’s asked you to clarify.
4 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: You said that the
5 services for Mr. Jackson was first class?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Yes?
8 MR. MESEREAU: Objection; misstates the
10 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: I can’t recall exactly
11 what you said. What did you say about the level of
13 A. That he expected the best.
14 Q. He expected the best. Okay. And if he
15 didn’t get the best, would he let you know that?
16 A. Yes.
17 MR. MESEREAU: Objection; calls for
19 THE COURT: Overruled.
Next, Auchincloss questioned Salas about Jackson’s demeanor and personality, in an attempt to portray him as the gangster mob boss of Neverland or some crap like that:
20 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Was Mr. Jackson shy
21 about telling somebody, an employee, that he was
22 displeased about something?
23 A. Not necessarily. He would tell you the
24 way — he will make you understand what he wanted.
25 Q. Did he ever fire people?
26 A. Not that I’m aware of.
27 Q. Was he ever responsible for firing someone?
28 A. No. 4618
1 Q. You don’t know if he ever wanted someone
3 MR. MESEREAU: Objection; asked and
5 THE COURT: Sustained.
6 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Was anybody fired
7 during the period of time that you worked there?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Tell me, was anybody fired when you worked
10 as a house manager?
11 A. No, nobody.
12 Q. While you worked at Neverland, were you ever
13 asked to maintain any level of secrecy about what
14 happened at Neverland?
15 MR. MESEREAU: Objection; leading.
16 THE COURT: Overruled.
17 You may answer.
18 THE WITNESS: There’s — there’s a procedure
19 that when you are hired at Neverland Valley Ranch
20 you do sign some confidentiality forms.
21 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: And when you agree to
22 that form, what are you agreeing to?
23 A. To respect the policy.
24 Q. What is the policy?
25 A. Of not talking anything that you shouldn’t
26 talk about, Neverland.
27 Q. Okay. Are you allowed to talk about
28 anything that happens on Neverland off the Neverland 4619
2 A. No, you’re not.
Auchincloss then questioned Salas about his motivations for leaving Neverland after so many years:
3 Q. Why did you — why did you leave your
4 employment at Neverland?
5 A. The reason I left — it was many things
6 involving that. And I became to the point that I
7 say, you know, “This — it’s time for me to move
8 on.” There was some things that I didn’t like about
9 how things were running there. So it was a lot of
10 stress, and I say, “Okay, it’s time for me to move
12 Q. Whose decision was it to leave Neverland?
13 A. It was my decision.
In this excerpt, Salas described his recollections of the Frank Cascio through his experiences with him at Neverland throughout the years:
2 Q. Showing you Exhibit No. 20. I believe
3 you’ve identified this as whom?
4 A. Frank Tyson.
5 Q. And how long have you known Frank Tyson?
6 A. I know Frank Tyson for quite a few years
8 Q. Can you give me an idea how old he was when
9 you first met him?
10 A. Not quite sure how old he was, but he was
11 pretty young.
12 Q. Okay. Can you estimate?
13 A. He was probably about 18 years, or something
14 like that.
15 Q. 18 years old?
16 A. Something like that.
17 Q. When you first met him?
18 A. Right.
19 Q. Do you know how old he is now?
20 A. I don’t.
21 Q. Okay. And where did you meet him?
22 A. At Neverland Valley Ranch.
23 Q. And did he associate with Mr. Jackson while
24 he was at Neverland Valley Ranch?
25 A. Yes, he did.
26 Q. How often?
27 A. I would say pretty often.
28 Q. Do you know what his relationship was with 4627
1 Mr. Jackson?
2 A. Just a friend, I believe.
3 Q. Okay. Have you ever described him as Mr.
4 Jackson’s right-hand man?
5 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Leading; move to
7 THE COURT: Overruled.
8 You may answer.
9 THE WITNESS: At one point, yes, sir, he was.
10 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: When was he Mr.
11 Jackson’s right-hand man?
12 A. Don’t remember exactly the year that he was,
13 but I believe it was probably around ‘90. I want to
14 say that. Not quite sure of the year, you know.
15 Q. 1990?
16 A. Somewhere around there.
17 Q. So that would have been 15 years ago?
18 A. Something like that, I would say. Maybe
19 less than that.
20 Q. How old do you think he is now?
21 A. I’m not sure. I don’t know. I honestly
22 don’t know.
23 Q. How many years have you known him?
24 A. Well, I want to say it was about 15 years
25 since the first time I met him.
26 Q. All right. Now, why did you characterize
27 him as “Mr. Jackson’s right-hand man”?
28 A. Because at one point he came to the ranch 4628
1 and he is the one that was giving orders as to what
2 to do around the property.
3 Q. When he was there in 2003 — well, let me
4 back up. Was Frank Tyson on the ranch in 2003?
5 A. Yes, he was.
6 Q. And when he was there in 2003, did he also
7 give orders as to what should go on at the ranch?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Didn’t he also give you some orders, Mr.
11 MR. MESEREAU: Objection; leading.
12 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: That’s impeachment.
13 MR. MESEREAU: Misstates the evidence. It’s
14 asked and answered.
15 THE COURT: Overruled.
16 You may answer.
17 THE WITNESS: Yes, he did. I mean, he did,
18 but not the same orders as when he was the first
19 time. This was more like for Mr. Jackson.
20 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: More like he was giving
21 you orders for Mr. Jackson; is that what you’re
23 A. Yes.
24 MR. MESEREAU: Move to strike. The
25 prosecutor didn’t let him finish his answer. And
26 that’s leading.
27 THE COURT: Actually, he’s just repeating
28 what the witness said. Would you phrase a new 4629
1 question, please?
2 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Yes. Thank you.
3 Q. Why do you say that he was giving you orders
4 for Mr. Jackson?
5 A. Because many times, if things that needed to
6 be done, or anything that need — to Mr. Jackson to
7 be notified, he would said, “I will take care of
8 that.” So that’s how I realized that he was also
9 giving orders.
10 Q. Did you ever see Mr. Jackson give Frank
11 Tyson orders or —
12 A. No, no, I didn’t.
13 Q. And did Mr. Jackson spend time with Frank
14 Tyson in 2003?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Can you characterize how often they would
17 spend time together when they were at the ranch?
18 A. I would say, I don’t know, about once a day
19 or something like that. All depends.
20 Q. Once a day they would get together?
21 A. On occasions. Not always, okay?
22 Q. I’m just asking you for what you saw.
23 A. Right.
24 Q. Okay. So when you’d see them get together
25 during the day, can you tell me, whereabouts would
26 they meet on the ranch? Where would you see them?
27 A. Many times it was in his office. Many times
28 it was in the video library. Not in the video 4630
1 library. The library at the house.
2 Q. Uh-huh.
3 A. Sometimes in Mr. Jackson’s room.
4 Q. When you say “his office,” do you mean Mr.
5 Jackson’s office?
6 A. Mr. Jackson’s office, yes.
7 Q. Can you tell me, how would you characterize
8 their relationship, based upon what you saw, the
9 years of seeing them together?
10 MR. MESEREAU: Objection; asked and
12 THE COURT: Overruled.
13 You may answer. Do you want the question
14 read back?
15 THE WITNESS: Yes. Go ahead and ask the
16 question again, please.
17 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: My question is, how
18 would you character — how would you describe their
19 relationship, based on all the years that you saw
20 Mr. Tyson and Mr. Jackson associating with one
22 A. I would say that it was some friend
23 relationship, bonded together.
24 Q. How would you characterize it in terms of
26 A. What do you mean by that?
27 Q. Well, were they close friends or distant
28 friends? You know what I mean, I think. 4631
1 A. No, I think at one point they were pretty
2 close friends.
3 Q. Did they still appear to be friends in 2003?
4 A. Not really.
5 Q. Not really?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Well, Mr. Tyson was a guest in 2003, wasn’t
9 A. Yes, he was.
10 Q. And he was — did Mr. Jackson allow guests
11 on the ranch when he didn’t want them there?
12 MR. MESEREAU: Objection; leading question.
13 THE COURT: It’s argumentative.
14 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Okay.
15 Q. Do you know if Mr. Jackson allowed anybody
16 on the ranch who he was not friends with?
17 MR. MESEREAU: Objection; calls for
19 THE COURT: Sustained.
20 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: If Mr. Jackson did not
21 want somebody on the ranch, would he keep them out?
22 MR. MESEREAU: Objection; calls for
24 THE COURT: Sustained.
25 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Is there a security
26 gate at Neverland Ranch?
27 A. Yes, there is.
28 Q. And does someone have to get permission to 4632
1 get into Neverland Ranch?
2 A. Absolutely.
3 Q. And if Mr. Jackson says, “Don’t let this
4 person in,” will that person get into Neverland
6 A. No.
7 MR. MESEREAU: Objection; calls for
9 THE COURT: Overruled. The answer is, “No.”
10 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Now, during this time
11 in 2003, was Mr. Jackson still meeting with Frank on
12 about a daily basis?
13 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Misstates the
14 evidence; move to strike; it’s leading.
15 THE COURT: Assumes facts. I’ll sustain the
17 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Okay.
18 Q. When Mr. Jackson and Mr. Tyson — well, let
19 me back up.
20 In early 2003, January, February, March
21 2003, where was Mr. Tyson living?
22 A. He was living — he was at the video
24 Q. At Neverland Ranch?
25 A. Yes, sir.
26 Q. He had his own bedroom there?
27 A. They had a bed upstairs, yes.
28 Q. And during that period of time in 2003, 4633
1 would you see Mr. Jackson and Mr. Tyson together?
2 MR. MESEREAU: Objection; asked and
4 THE COURT: Sustained.
5 THE WITNESS: Occasionally, yes.
6 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: You would see them
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Did Mr. Tyson have an office set up at
10 Neverland Valley Ranch during that period of time?
11 A. Yes, he did.
12 Q. Where was his office?
13 A. It was in the video library.
Salas was then asked to describe his observations of Vinnie Amen, one of the other unindicted co-conspirators in the case. Judge Melville ended the court early that day in order to address the lawyers outside the presence of the jury about motions that they had recently filed:
14 Q. Was there anybody else who had an office in
15 the same area?
16 A. Yes. That was Vinnie.
17 Q. Who?
18 A. Vinnie.
19 Q. Vinnie?
20 A. Uh-huh.
21 Q. Who is Vinnie?
22 A. Vinnie was a friend of Frank Tyson. Or I
23 guess, I should say.
24 Q. Where was Vinnie living during that time?
25 A. He was living in the same area, same place.
26 Q. I show you grand jury exhibit — or, sorry,
27 People’s Exhibit No. 19. Can you identify that
28 photo? 4634
1 A. Yes, that’s Vinnie.
2 Q. All right. Do you know what the office that
3 Vinnie and Frank had in the video library was being
4 used for? Do you know what they were using that
5 office for during that period of time?
6 A. No, I don’t.
7 Q. That was in the house; is that true?
8 A. That was at the video library.
9 Q. Is that in the house?
10 A. That is outside the main house.
11 Q. Okay. And where is it?
12 A. That is above Mr. Jackson’s office,
14 Q. Okay. So is that connected in some way by
15 any building to the main house?
16 A. Yes, they’re all bonded together.
17 Q. They’re all part of the same structure?
18 A. Right.
19 Q. And would Mr. Jackson go up into the video
20 library during that period of time, in early 2003?
21 A. I would say occasional.
22 Q. And why didn’t you know what was going on up
23 there? Why didn’t you know what Frank and Vinnie
24 were doing up there if you were the house manager?
25 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Calls for
26 speculation; no foundation; leading.
27 THE COURT: Overruled.
28 You may answer. 4635
1 THE WITNESS: It wasn’t my business to find
2 out what they were doing up there.
3 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Were you ever
4 discouraged from asking those kinds of questions?
5 MR. MESEREAU: Objection; leading.
6 THE COURT: Sustained.
7 THE WITNESS: Not really.
8 MR. MESEREAU: Withdraw the objection.
10 THE COURT: (To the jury) You know, we
11 are — I think we’re at a point where we’ll stop,
12 because we have to take up a motion with the
13 attorneys before the end of the day. So I’ll let
14 you go early. We’ll see you on Monday morning at
16 If you haven’t seen the wildflower
17 displays — I went out yesterday. It’s really worth
18 seeing. Highway 58 out of — up by Lake Santa
19 Margarita. If you go out on that, it’s just carpets
20 and carpets of yellow and spotted with blue, and
21 it’s just a nice way to relax. I recommend it.
22 Thanks. I’ll see you — remember next
23 Wednesday we’re dark.
24 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Mr. Salas? You come this
26 THE WITNESS: Oh. Somebody needs to guide
Jackson’s attorney Robert Sanger inquired about his motion to have a mistrial due to prosecutorial misconduct in their inability (or refusal) to have their witnesses conform to the court’s order to not discuss their testimony with other witnesses. (The motion for a mistrial can be read here.) Sanger gave examples of how prosecution witness Louise Palanker discussed her testimony with Jamie Masada, William Dickerman spoke about his testimony with Larry Feldman, and Larry Feldman spoke about his testimony with Dr. Katz.
Sanger stated to Judge Melville that if he didn’t want to grant a mistrial, he could also admonish to the jury to completely disregard the testimonies of those aforementioned witnesses. Sneddon argued that although the witnesses talked to each other, they did not discuss the case in detail. Judge Melville told them to put their arguments in writing and submit a pleading so that he could think it over and make a ruling on this later.
1 (The following proceedings were held in
2 open court outside the presence and hearing of the
5 THE COURT: All right. Mr. Sanger, you had a
6 motion you wanted to make?
7 MR. SANGER: Yes, Your Honor. There’s
8 actually two things. But the first is a motion
9 regarding prosecutorial misconduct, and the issue is
10 the admonishment by the prosecutors to their
11 witnesses to conform to the courts orders. In
12 particular, in this case, we have several witnesses,
13 Louise Palanker, who discussed her testimony with
14 Jamie Masada, and perhaps vice versa, but at least
15 there’s clear evidence of that. We have Bill
16 Dickerman, who talked with Dr. Katz. We had Larry
17 Feldman, who talked with Mr. Dickerman and Dr. Katz.
18 And it is up to the parties who call the witnesses
19 to admonish them to conform to the courts orders.
20 The courts already admonished the
21 prosecution that they need to do that with regard to
22 the gag order and going outside and talking to the
23 press. That may have occurred, actually, since the
24 Court made that admonishment. But in particular, at
25 this point, I’m addressing the discussion of
26 testimony between witnesses who are witnesses called
27 by the prosecution.
28 The prosecutor has sufficient staff, 4637
1 including a witness coordinator, to take care of
2 this, sheriff’s personnel and the D.A.s themselves.
3 It seems to be a consistent problem, and as a result
4 of that, I believe it rises to the level of
5 prosecutorial misconduct. It could be conveniently
6 forgotten, but it just couldn’t be innocently
7 forgotten after all this time, and the repetition of
8 the — of the misconduct on the part of the
9 witnesses that we’ve heard.
10 So I’d ask the Court to fashion an
11 appropriate remedy. Remedy number one, of course,
12 in any misconduct situation, prosecutorial
13 misconduct situation, is a mistrial. And depending
14 on how the Court rules on that, I have a proposed
15 curative instruction. But the Court would have to
16 rule on the first remedy before we get to that, I
18 I can go ahead and give the Court a quick
19 idea, because I don’t want to spend unnecessary
20 time. If the Court denied the motion for mistrial,
21 I think a proper curative instruction is along the
22 lines of other instructions, that the Court can
23 advise the jury that witnesses called by a
24 particular party, in this case the prosecution, are
25 supposed to be admonished by the — by the lawyers
26 calling them to conform to the courts order.
27 And if the jury finds that they have not
28 conformed to the courts orders particularly in this 4638
1 case, not to discuss their testimony with other
2 witnesses, that the jury can draw an adverse
3 inference from that as to the credibility of the
4 witnesses, and as to the strength of their
5 testimony. And that the jury, if they find that to
6 be true, can disregard the entire testimony of the
7 witness, unless the review of all the facts in the
8 case supports the testimony of that witness.
9 And that would be the alternative, but I
10 propose that only in the event that the Court denied
11 the motion for mistrial.
12 THE COURT: Counsel?
13 MR. SNEDDON: Well, first of all, Your
14 Honor, I don’t think there’s any evidence that they
15 were discussing their trial testimony. The
16 discussion was they had conversations. There’s no
17 evidence at all that I can hear of that they talked
18 about — about their trial testimony. And even in
19 the case of Palanker, she didn’t discuss her trial
20 testimony. She discussed some observations about
21 the behavior of one of the lawyers in the courtroom.
22 And —
23 THE COURT: When did she do that?
24 MR. SNEDDON: I’m sorry?
25 THE COURT: When did she do that?
26 MR. SNEDDON: When Mr. Masada testified —
27 when counsel asked Mr. Masada, he was trying to get
28 him to say that she said something about the 4639
1 pathological liar thing, but she really didn’t. She
2 really said something else. She said — I don’t
3 want to describe it again, but I can if you want me
4 to, about counsel’s behavior, that he was —
5 THE COURT: Did she say that outside the
7 MR. SNEDDON: Yes, sir. It wasn’t —
8 THE COURT: I don’t — I haven’t watched
9 this —
10 MR. SNEDDON: No, no. Let me go back. I —
11 THE COURT: I’m missing something.
12 MR. SNEDDON: The whole thing — these ought
13 to be put in writing, if there’s a motion, and we
14 ought to be able to respond in writing. It would be
15 more efficient.
16 THE COURT: Let’s do this. I think that’s a
17 good way to do it. Why don’t you put something in
18 writing for Monday morning, and —
19 MR. SANGER: My free time on the weekend
20 while I’m looking at the flowers?
21 THE COURT: Yes. If you want — if you look
22 at the flowers, I’ll give you till Tuesday.
24 MR. SANGER: There’s an incentive. I’ll do
25 both and try to get it for you on Monday, Your
27 THE COURT: And then you’ll have to respond
28 by Tuesday. 4640
1 THE COURT: All right. We’ll see you on
3 (The proceedings adjourned at 2:30 p.m.)