April 5th, 2005 Trial Analysis: Jason Francia (Cross Examination), Kris Kallman, Blanca Francia (Direct & Cross Examination)
Jason Francia’s testimony continued today, and a complete summary and analysis can be found in this post.
The next prosecution witness was Kris Kallman, the attorney for Jason and Blanca Francia who represented them against Jackson in 1994. He and his partner Terry Canon contacted Jackson’s attorneys Johnnie Cochran and Carl Douglas, and threatened to file a civil lawsuit claiming that Jackson had abused Jason Francia in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Jackson’s attorneys decided that it was in his best interest to settle the matter out of court, rather than subject him and his family to further public humiliation by defending this frivolous lawsuit in civil court. Jason and Blanca received a $2.4 million dollar settlement, and were required to sign confidentiality agreements that prevented them from speaking with the press, but did NOT prevent them from speaking with police! However, there was a “notice” requirement that stated that if Jason or Blanca did decide to cooperate in a police investigation, they would have to give Jackson’s attorneys five days’ notice:
25 DIRECT EXAMINATION
26 BY MR. SNEDDON:
27 Q. Good morning, Mr. Kallman.
28 A. Good morning, Mr. Sneddon. 4949
1 Q. You’re an attorney?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Licensed to practice in the State of
5 A. Yes, sir.
6 Q. And what is your brief educational
7 background to prepare you for the practice of law in
8 the State of California?
9 A. Well, I graduated from Santa Barbara High
10 School. Went to Santa Barbara City College.
11 Graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Went to
12 Pepperdine University Law School.
13 Q. Do you have a certain area of law that you
14 specialize in?
15 A. Yes. I am a civil trial lawyer, and for the
16 most part, I represent people that get injured due
17 to the fault of another person or company.
18 Q. How long have you been practicing law in the
19 State of California?
20 A. 29 years.
21 Q. And how long have you lived in Santa Barbara
23 A. My whole life, except when I was away at
25 Q. And where do you live in Santa Barbara
27 A. I live in Santa Barbara, on the mesa, in the
28 city. 4950
1 Q. Now, during the time that you’ve practiced
2 law in Santa Barbara County, have you had associates
3 that have practiced with you in your firm?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Are you a sole practitioner?
6 A. Essentially. Although I currently have two
7 lawyers that office with me and they act as “of
8 counsel.” They’re not employees, but they help me
9 out on cases.
10 Q. Are you familiar with an attorney by the
11 name of Terry Cannon?
12 A. I sure am.
13 Q. And how long have you known Mr. Cannon?
14 A. Oh, I’ve known Mr. Cannon for at least 20
16 Q. And at some point in time prior to today,
17 was Mr. Cannon one of the people who was associated
18 with you in the practice of — your civil practice?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And during what period of time was that; do
21 you recall?
22 A. Well, the relevant period here would have
23 been in the early to mid ‘90s.
24 Q. And at that time Mr. Cannon was practicing
25 with you?
26 A. He was associating with me on certain cases.
27 Q. And do you recall where Mr. Cannon was
28 residing at that particular point in time? 4951
1 A. I believe he was living in Santa Barbara.
2 Q. Now, at some later time, did Mr. Cannon
3 leave your association and take up the practice of
4 law somewhere else?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. To your knowledge, where was that?
7 A. In Oregon.
8 Q. And then after that, did Mr. Cannon come
10 A. He came back to San Luis Obispo County, and
11 then moved to San Diego County.
12 Q. And at this particular point in time, do you
13 know where Mr. Cannon is?
14 A. Not exactly this moment. But I happen to
15 know that he bought a condominium here in Orcutt.
16 Q. And is he, once again, associated with you
17 in the practice of law?
18 A. Yes, sir.
19 Q. Now, did you have occasion to represent
20 Jason Francia in some litigation?
21 A. He and his mother, yes.
22 Q. And can you tell us, did you ever prepare a
23 lawsuit on behalf of Jason Francia?
24 A. We prepared a Complaint, which is a document
25 that’s the beginning of a lawsuit, yes.
26 Q. And when you say “we,” who’s “we”?
27 A. Mr. Cannon and myself.
28 Q. So Mr. Cannon was working with you on that 4952
1 particular case?
2 A. Yes, sir.
3 Q. And after the preparation of that
4 document — well, with regard to that document, what
5 were the allegations set forth in the proposed
6 Complaint to be filed?
7 A. Well, it’s been —
8 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Hearsay;
10 THE COURT: Sustained.
11 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: Who was the individual that
12 the Complaint was directed towards?
13 A. Mr. Jackson.
14 Q. At some point in time, did you have contact
15 with individuals who were representing Mr. Jackson
16 over the proposed filing of the criminal — of the
17 civil complaint?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And who did you make contact with?
20 A. Initially our contacts were with Johnnie
21 Cochran and his associate, Carl Douglas.
22 Q. Do you recall approximately when it was when
23 you first made contact with Mr. — or when contact
24 was made between you and Mr. Cochran and Mr.
26 A. It was either late ‘94 or early ‘95.
27 Q. Did you, after your conversations with those
28 individuals, file the civil lawsuit? 4953
1 A. No.
2 Q. At some point in time later, were you then
3 dealing with other lawyers with regard to the
4 proposed filing of that civil lawsuit?
5 A. Yes. At some point, Mr. Jackson’s
6 representation was assumed by a lawyer named Zia
7 Modabber, and a lawyer named Howard Weitzman.
8 Q. And do you recall approximately when it was
9 that you then began contact with those particular
11 A. I believe it was in mid 1995.
12 Q. And the purpose of those contacts?
13 A. Well, the —
14 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Vague;
16 THE COURT: Overruled.
17 You may answer.
18 THE WITNESS: The purpose of the contacts
19 was that they knew that we had a Complaint that we
20 were about to file in Santa Barbara County Superior
21 Court, and they didn’t want us to do that.
22 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Hearsay;
24 THE COURT: The answer is stricken.
26 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: As a result of the
27 conversations between these individuals, did you
28 pursue your lawsuit? 4954
1 A. Well, we never filed the lawsuit.
2 Q. Did you reach an agreement, a settlement
4 A. Yes, we did.
5 Q. Did you reach a settlement agreement in
6 which Jason Francia received monetary compensation
7 from Mr. Jackson?
8 A. Yes, sir.
9 Q. Did you receive — did you reach an
10 agreement in which Blanca Francia received monetary
11 compensation from Mr. Jackson?
12 A. Yes, we did.
13 Q. During the time that you were
14 representing — during the time that you had
15 prepared a Complaint ready to be filed and you were
16 in contact with attorneys representing Mr. Jackson,
17 can you give the ladies and gentlemen of the jury an
18 idea of how old Jason Francia was at that particular
19 point in time?
20 A. Well, he was about 14 years old. He’s 24
21 now, as I understand it, and we’re talking about
22 things that happened just about exactly ten years
24 Q. And in your position as a civil litigator,
25 at the time that an individual is of minority, at
26 the age of 14, how do you deal with representing a
27 person like that?
28 A. Well, a child – 4955
1 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Vague;
2 foundation; relevance.
3 THE COURT: Overruled.
4 You may complete your answer.
5 THE WITNESS: A child, under California law,
6 under the age of 18, is not permitted to enter into
7 a contract. I suppose he or she could, but it
8 wouldn’t be enforceable. So the only way a child
9 can act legally is through a guardian ad litem. And
10 it’s normally the parent and normally the mother.
11 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: Was that the case in this
12 particular instance?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Now, during the course of the time that you
15 were involved in obtaining a settlement from Mr.
16 Jackson on behalf of the Francias, did you deal
17 personally with Jason at any time?
18 A. Yeah. Sure.
19 Q. In what respect?
20 A. Well, I knew who he was, I met with him. I
21 met with he and his mom. He was a teenaged boy, and
22 a nice young man.
23 Q. Now, at some point in time was Jason
24 required to sign some kind of documents in
25 conjunction with the settlement?
26 A. Yes. When he turned 18, part of the
27 condition was that he sign a confidentiality
28 agreement. 4956
1 Q. Now, with regard to the confidentiality —
2 and to your knowledge, did he sign that?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And with regard to the confidentiality
5 agreement, did it have a provision that required
6 notice to Mr. Jackson in the event that Jason
7 Francia talked to anybody?
8 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Leading; move to
10 THE COURT: Overruled.
11 You may answer.
12 THE WITNESS: I believe so, yes.
13 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: And what was the
14 requirement notice in the confidentiality agreement
15 with regard to notice to the defense?
16 A. I believe it’s five days.
17 Q. And were you at some point contacted by Mr.
18 Zonen of our department with regard to interviewing
19 your — Jason Francia?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And in that particular case, did you
22 indicate to Mr. Zonen that you would have to do
23 something before you could agree with that?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And what was that?
26 A. Well, I’d have to notify somebody on Mr.
27 Jackson’s legal staff that they wanted to talk to
28 him. 4957
1 Q. And did you do that?
2 A. Yeah. Yes. Excuse me.
3 Q. And did you then grant permission for Mr.
4 Zonen to have a conversation with your — with Jason
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Now, were you present during the
8 conversations between Jason Francia and Mr. Zonen?
9 A. I don’t think so. I think I was there, and
10 then I think I had to go to another court or
11 something like that. I don’t remember being an
12 integral part of any of those — if there was more
13 than one, I don’t even know.
14 Q. And I’m talking about the conversations that
15 occurred after you gave notice to the defense in
16 this case, or gave notice to Mr. Jackson. To your
17 knowledge, was Mr. Cannon present?
18 A. I believe so. At least for part of it.
19 Again, I’m not certain.
20 Q. Do you remember when it was that you
21 finally — the year that you finally reached a
22 settlement agreement with Mr. Jackson?
23 A. Yes. It’s been a long time. But it was a
24 big deal. And I do remember —
25 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Nonresponsive;
26 move to strike.
27 THE COURT: The answer is stricken.
28 Nonresponsive. 4958
1 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: Just —
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And what year was that, approximately?
4 A. It was either ‘95 or ‘96, I believe.
5 THE COURT: Counsel, we’ll take our break.
Before ending his direct examination, Sneddon made sure that he reminded the jury again of exactly why Jason and Blanca Francia threatened to sue Jackson:
11 THE COURT: Okay. Counsel, you may proceed.
12 MR. SNEDDON: All right.
13 Q. Mr. Kallman, I think I just have a couple
14 questions left.
15 I think where we were headed before the
16 break was you told us the approximate year in which
17 the case actually reached a settlement.
18 And what I wanted to know was, after the
19 settlement of the case, have you kept in contact
20 with Jason over the years?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And to your knowledge, has Mr. Cannon kept
23 in contact with Jason over the years?
24 A. I believe so.
25 Q. Now, with regard to the lawsuit that was
26 contemplated against Mr. Jackson at the time, the
27 basis of the — of the nature of the representation
28 of Jason Francia involved inappropriate sexual 4965
1 conduct against Jason by the defendant, Mr. Jackson?
2 A. Yes.
3 MR. SNEDDON: Nothing further, Your Honor.
4 THE COURT: Cross-examine?
5 MR. MESEREAU: Yes, please. Your Honor.
Under cross examination, Kallman testified that there were separate agreements between Blanca and Jason; Blanca signed her settlement agreement on April 1st, 1996, and Jason signed his settlement agreement on June 1st, 1998. Jason didn’t receive his portion of the settlement initially because he could not sign his contract until he turned 18 years old:
8 BY MR. MESEREAU:
9 Q. Good morning, Mr. Kallman.
10 A. Good morning.
11 Q. My name is Thomas Mesereau and I speak for
12 Mr. Jackson.
13 A. Pleasure to meet you.
14 Q. I want to ask you some questions about the
15 settlement agreement you referred to in response to
16 the prosecutor’s questions, okay?
17 First of all, you had separate settlement
18 agreements for the mother, Blanca Francia, and the
19 son, Jason Francia, correct?
20 A. I believe so. I can tell you, I have not
21 reviewed this material and it’s been ten years, but
22 I believe that was the case. Some of this I’m going
23 to have to take your word for it.
24 Q. Well, I can show you a copy if you need it.
25 A. I don’t disbelieve that.
26 Q. Okay. The settlement agreement with Blanca
27 Francia was entered into approximately April 1st,
28 1996, right? 4966
1 A. I don’t know.
2 Q. Would it refresh your recollection if I show
3 you a copy of the agreement?
4 A. Sure.
5 MR. MESEREAU: May I approach, Your Honor?
6 THE COURT: Yes.
7 THE WITNESS: That’s what it says.
8 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: The settlement agreement
9 with Jason Francia was entered into approximately
10 June 1st, 1998, right?
11 A. Don’t know.
12 Q. Would it refresh your recollection if I just
13 show you a copy of it?
14 A. Sure.
15 MR. MESEREAU: May I approach, Your Honor?
16 THE COURT: Yes.
17 THE WITNESS: That’s what it says.
18 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Okay. Now, that would
19 suggest, wouldn’t it, that the mother had agreed to
20 get money for herself before there was any agreement
21 for Jason to get money in a settlement, right?
22 A. No, it was all part of one global
24 Q. Then why would there be a two-year
25 difference between the execution of those settlement
27 A. Remember when I told the jury that a minor
28 can’t enter into a contract? 4967
1 Q. Yes.
2 A. Jason wouldn’t have been able to sign before
3 he was 18. My guess is that’s probably when he
4 turned 18, and that’s what Mr. Weitzman and Modabber
6 Q. And then just for the jury’s benefit, why
7 would the mother sign in ‘96?
8 A. She was an adult. She could sign.
9 Q. The point I’m making is that she had a
10 separate settlement from her son.
11 A. Exactly. I mean — yes. She got money.
Next, Mesereau emphasized to the jury the fact that Jackson vehemently denied any wrongdoing, and the settlement was not a sign of guilt; in fact, there was extra language that was carefully drafted by Jackson’s lawyers to further accentuate the fact that Jackson asserted his complete innocence:
12 Q. Yes. Okay. Now, the prosecutor asked you
13 some questions about provisions in the settlement
14 agreement, okay? And one of the issues that was
15 carefully negotiated by the people representing Mr.
16 Jackson was that he deny any wrongdoing in that
17 agreement, right?
18 A. Again, the best evidence of that would be
19 what’s in the agreement. I don’t remember what’s in
21 Q. Okay. Well, let me — the prosecutor read
22 you a provision, asked you about it.
23 Let me ask you about this: There was
24 language in that agreement that said, “The parties
25 acknowledge that Jackson has elected to settle the
26 claims solely in view of the potential impact any
27 litigation could have in the future on his
28 reputation, earnings and potential income, and not 4968
1 because of any alleged wrongful conduct on his
2 part,” right?
3 A. If you’re asking me if that’s in the
4 document, I’ll have to take your word for it. You
5 don’t need to show it to me. It sounds pretty
6 standard to me.
7 Q. The agreement further said — excuse me, let
8 me rephrase that.
9 Both agreements, the one involving Jason and
10 the one involving Blanca, his mother, both had
11 language which said, “This agreement shall not, in
12 any manner, be construed as an admission by Jackson
13 that he has acted wrongfully with respect to
14 Francia, Blanca, or any other person, or at all, or
15 that Francia or Blanca have any rights whatsoever
16 against Jackson or Jackson’s releasees.” Sound
17 familiar to you?
18 A. It sounds like standard language in
19 virtually every release that I deal with. But, yes,
20 it does sound familiar.
21 Q. Actually, there’s a whole separate paragraph
22 entitled, “Denial of Claims by Mr. Jackson,”
24 A. Don’t know.
25 Q. Would it refresh your recollection if I show
26 you a copy?
27 A. It would.
28 MR. MESEREAU: May I approach, Your Honor? 4969
1 THE COURT: Yes.
2 THE WITNESS: It does refresh my
4 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Okay. And do you recall
5 that language being in both agreements?
6 A. I believe so, yes, sir.
7 Q. Okay. In addition to the language that I
8 have read, there’s further language which says,
9 “Jackson specifically disclaims any liability to,
10 and denies any wrongful acts against, Francia,
11 Blanca or any other person and may continue to do so
12 publicly, to the extent reasonably necessary, to
13 respond to any inquiries in this regard.” Right?
14 A. Correct.
15 Q. It said further, “The parties acknowledge
16 that Jackson is a public figure, and that his name,
17 image and likeness have commercial value and are an
18 important element of his earning capacity.” Right?
19 A. That’s true.
20 Q. And that language was in both settlement
21 agreements, the one involving Blanca Francia and the
22 one involving Jason Francia, correct?
23 A. I don’t remember that. I will take your
24 word for it. You don’t need to refresh my
25 recollection. It sounds like it should be or would
27 Q. Now, Mr. Kallman, provisions in which a
28 settling party denies liability are fairly standard 4970
1 in settlement agreements, right?
2 A. True.
3 Q. But the language that I just read to the
4 jury is not standard language in a settlement
5 agreement, is it?
6 A. This is not a standard case, or was not.
7 And no, you’re right. These were carefully drafted
8 by a team of lawyers, and we agreed to the terms.
9 Q. And the reason those terms are different is
10 because Mr. Jackson is an unusual individual in
11 terms of his need to preserve his reputation and
12 public image so he can earn a living, right?
13 MR. SNEDDON: Calls for speculation on this.
14 It wasn’t drafted by him. No foundation.
15 MR. MESEREAU: I think it was drafted by
16 this witness.
17 THE COURT: All right. I’ll sustain a
19 MR. MESEREAU: Okay.
20 Q. When you settled these matters – and I’m
21 talking about matters involving Michael Jackson,
22 Blanca Francia, and Jason Francia – you put in
23 language involving denial of claims by Mr. Jackson
24 that was not standard language in a typical
25 settlement agreement, right?
26 MR. SNEDDON: Your Honor, I’m going to
27 object to the question as lack of foundation; that
28 he put the language in there. 4971
1 THE COURT: Well, that was the foundation I
2 was looking for.
3 So I’ll allow you to answer the question as
4 long as you understand the limitations of your
6 THE WITNESS: Well —
7 THE COURT: If you put the language in.
8 THE WITNESS: I didn’t draft that agreement.
9 THE COURT: Okay.
10 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Did lawyers from your
11 office draft the agreement?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Who drafted the agreement?
14 A. Somebody in Mr. Modabber’s office, the
15 Katten, Muchin, Zavis & Weitzman firm in Century
17 Q. Did you have any input into the language in
18 the agreement?
19 A. Only to review it. And if there was
20 language we found objectionable, we could strike it,
21 I suppose.
22 Q. Okay.
23 A. But they wanted that in there, and I didn’t
24 find it objectionable.
In this excerpt, Kallman testified that he merely “assumed” that the notice requirement applied to law enforcement requests to speak with Blanca or Jason Francia, and that is why he gave Jackson’s attorneys notice in this case. It is ILLEGAL for civil contracts to preclude people from cooperating with police, and Kallman confirmed that the notice requirement did NOT preclude Jason or Blanca from cooperating with police (hence their testimony in this case):
25 Q. Okay. Now, you made a statement, I believe,
26 in response to the prosecutor’s questions, that if
27 someone from law enforcement wanted to speak to your
28 client, you had to first notify representatives of 4972
1 Mr. Jackson, true?
2 A. True.
3 Q. That — really, that language is not in that
4 agreement, is it?
5 A. I don’t know.
6 Q. Then why would you say it?
7 A. Because that’s part — in one of the
8 agreements, I have to give notice to the defense
9 team. And I’ve given notice once to Mr. Sanger.
10 And then when I got subpoenaed on Friday, I gave
11 notice to Mr. Modabber down in Los Angeles.
12 Q. But the notice you’re supposed to give to
13 the defense team does not involve requests by law
14 enforcement to speak to your client, does it?
15 A. I assume that anybody from law enforcement
16 that wants to talk to my client, there was a
17 requirement to notify somebody from the defense
19 Q. Nowhere in those settlement agreements is
20 there language to that effect, is there?
21 A. I have no idea.
22 MR. SNEDDON: Object as immaterial;
24 MR. MESEREAU: The prosecutor brought it up
25 on direct, Your Honor.
26 THE COURT: The objection is overruled. And
27 the answer came in as, “I have no idea.”
28 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: It would be against public 4973
1 policy for a civil litigator to put language in a
2 settlement agreement precluding anyone from
3 cooperating with law enforcement, wouldn’t it?
4 A. In my opinion, yes.
5 Q. Lawyers are not allowed to have language
6 like that in settlement agreements, right?
7 A. Wrong.
8 Q. Pardon me?
9 A. No. It’s a notice requirement. It’s not a
10 preclusion requirement.
11 Q. When did you last review the notice
12 provisions in these agreements?
13 A. Probably in 1996 or 1997.
14 Q. Well, let me ask you this question: Did you
15 talk with Mr. Sneddon about what questions he was
16 going to ask you before you testified today?
17 A. No. I mean, we talked, but it was very,
18 very general and I don’t think the conversation was
19 more than five or ten minutes long.
20 Q. Okay. The notice provisions that you
21 describe talk primarily about anyone who’s suing Mr.
22 Jackson or if he’s contacted by the media, correct?
23 A. I don’t — not the notice provisions I’m
24 thinking about. I think there’s a specific
25 provision — it may not be in that agreement. Maybe
26 it’s in another agreement, but there’s a provision
27 that I’m supposed to contact either Johnnie Cochran
28 or Zia Modabber or somebody on the defense team if 4974
1 there was a request to speak or interview my
3 Q. But never in the agreement did it refer to
4 law enforcement, right?
5 A. That I don’t remember. It’s been a long
7 Q. Okay. Okay. Now, you answered some
8 questions about Terry Cannon.
9 A. Yes, sir.
10 Q. When did — excuse me, you’re currently
11 associated with Mr. Cannon, correct?
12 A. He is “of counsel” to my law firm.
13 Q. When did he become “of counsel” to your law
15 A. He’s been “of counsel” twice. Once about
16 ten years ago, during this period, and then again
17 just recently, within the last two months.
18 Q. So he wasn’t “of counsel” to your law firm
19 in October, November and December of last year,
21 A. I don’t believe so, but I can’t be sure.
22 Q. During October, November and December of
23 last year, he was with the District Attorney’s
24 Office in San Diego, wasn’t he?
25 A. Well, I know he recently retired from the
26 San Diego D.A.’s Office. I don’t know precisely
27 when he retired, but you’re right, it’s been recent.
28 MR. MESEREAU: Okay. No further questions, 4975
1 Your Honor.
2 MR. SNEDDON: No questions, Your Honor.
3 THE COURT: All right. Thank you. You may
4 step down.
5 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honor.
6 MR. ZONEN: We’ll call Blanca Francia to the
8 THE COURT: Come to the front of the
9 courtroom, please.
10 When you get to the witness stand, remain
11 standing. Face the clerk over here, and raise your
12 right hand.
13 Remain standing.
14 BAILIFF CORTEZ: Remain standing.
15 THE COURT: Face the clerk here. Right over
17 BAILIFF CORTEZ: Right over there, please.
The next prosecution witness was Blanca Francia, the mother of Jason Francia and a former maid of Jackson at both his Hayvenhurst and Neverland estates. You can read a summary and analysis of her testimony in this post: