May 6th, 2005 Trial Analysis: Joy Robson, Chantal Robson, Marie Lisbeth Barnes, and Karlee Barnes, Part 2 of 2
The next defense witness was Karlee Barnes, Brett’s sister. She began by describing how her family met Jackson for the first time; just imagine if the world’s biggest superstar called you on the phone out of the blue!
But before I get to her testimony, here’s a summary of her interview with Jackson’s private investigator S. Ross on April 30th, 2005:
Karlee described how Jackson and her family sparked a friendship through a series of phone calls over several years, and they gleefully accepted his invitation to spend Christmas at Neverland in 1991. During their first night at Neverland, she and Brett stayed up all night in Jackson’s bedroom suite, watching movies and playing games, while their mother slept in a guest unit. Karlee slept in Jackson’s bedroom suite numerous times throughout the years, although she never shared a bed with Jackson. She denied the possibility that Jackson could have molested Brett because he wouldn’t want to return to Neverland if he had been molested. Overall, she and her family were happy to be friends with Jackson, and were more than willing to defend him in court. (You can read a more detailed summary of her interview in this document, which the prosecution filed in order to prevent her and Chantal Robson from testifying due to their “lack of knowledge” of the alleged molestation of their brothers: http://www.sbscpublicaccess.org/docs/ctdocs/050505motexcllmttest.pdf)
Here’s the beginning of her direct examination by Mesereau:
6 DIRECT EXAMINATION
7 BY MR. MESEREAU:
8 Q. Good afternoon, Miss Barnes.
9 Miss Barnes, where is your home?
10 A. In Melbourne, Australia.
11 Q. And do you know the gentleman seated at
12 counsel table to my right?
13 A. Yes, I do.
14 Q. Who is that?
15 A. That’s Michael Jackson.
16 Q. And is he a friend of yours?
17 A. Yes, very —
18 Q. How long —
19 A. Very good friend.
20 Q. How long has he been a friend of yours?
21 A. Well, about almost 18 years. We first
22 started speaking on the telephone, and I’ve known
23 him in person for about 13 years.
24 Q. How did you first get in contact with Mr.
26 A. Well, it was pure luck really. When I was
27 about seven years old or so, my brother and I were
28 really, really great big fans of Michael, and my 9396
1 brother wanted to write a letter to him.
2 So he — well, with my assistance, we got a
3 letter out to him, and we badly — really, really
4 badly wanted to go to his concert. That was his
5 “Bad” tour. But my mom wouldn’t let us go, because
6 we were too small. We’d get crushed by the crowd.
7 So as a consolation, she let us go see his arrival
8 at the airport.
9 And at the airport, he had a number of
10 dancers and backup singers and band members there
11 promoting, giving us show bags and things like that.
12 So my mom handed the letter to one of his dancers,
13 who put the letter into a mail bag.
14 And fortunately, one day Michael decided to
15 pull out a letter and read it, and he put his hand
16 into the fan mail bag and he pulled out my brother’s
17 letter, read the letter, and he decided to telephone
18 us to say thank you.
19 And from there —
20 Q. And approximately what year was that?
21 A. It would have been about ‘87. Or ‘88.
22 Q. And did you speak with him on the phone that
24 A. Yes, I answered the telephone.
25 Q. Okay. And this was in — this was at your
27 A. Yes. It was at home.
28 Q. Okay. And how long did you speak to Michael 9397
2 A. Well, when I answered the telephone, I —
3 you know, I said, “Hello?” And a voice comes back,
4 “Hi. May I please speak to Brett?” And I was like,
5 this isn’t somebody I’ve spoken to before. And I
6 said, “Brett Barnes?” And he’s like, “Yes, please.”
7 And I said, “Okay. I’ll just go get him for you.”
8 I put the phone down. And my mom said,
9 “Who’s on the phone?” And I said, “I don’t know,
10 but it sounds like Michael Jackson.”
11 And so I ran outside, and I’m like, “Brett
12 Brett, Brett, Michael Jackson’s on the phone,” and
13 we’ve gone running back inside.
14 But after that, I was just too shy to speak
15 to him, so it was really only when I answered the
16 telephone that I spoke to him the first time.
17 Q. Okay. When did you next have communication
18 with Michael Jackson?
19 A. It was — it was such a long time, I really
20 don’t remember. But he did call us quite frequently
21 from then on.
22 Q. And did you used to speak to him from time
23 to time?
24 A. Yes. Of course, after I lost, you know, my
25 shyness, I definitely loved getting on the telephone
26 to speak.
27 Q. Did you talk to him a lot?
28 A. Yes. 9398
1 Q. Did you become his friend?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Okay. Did your family become friends of
4 Michael Jackson?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And you’re still his friend, right?
7 A. Yes, definitely.
8 Q. Where are you staying at the moment?
9 A. I’m staying at his ranch, Neverland Valley.
10 Q. And had you stayed there before this trip?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. How many times do you think you’ve stayed at
14 A. Oh, many, many times. I wouldn’t know
16 Q. Okay. And do you remember the first time
17 you visited Neverland?
18 A. Yes, that was just after I finished the
19 sixth grade, so that would have been like the — the
20 Christmas of 1990, like 1991.
21 Q. And who did you visit Neverland with, if you
23 A. My mom and my dad and my brother Brett.
24 Q. How long were you there?
25 A. Oh, that I really can’t remember.
26 Q. Okay. What’s your first memory of Neverland
27 when you first saw it?
28 A. Oh, amazement. I was just so excited and so 9399
1 happy and just so thrilled to be there. And it was
2 just — it was like going into this — I don’t know,
3 like this paradise that I’ve never seen before. And
4 it was just, yeah, wonderful.
5 Q. You still enjoy going there?
6 A. Every time I come back it feels like I’m
7 coming home.
Karlee went on to describe her activities in Jackson’s bedroom, and denied any and all abuse by Jackson. Mesereau quickly ended his direct examination afterwards:
8 Q. Okay. Now, the first time you visited
9 Neverland, do you recall where you stayed?
10 A. Yes. The first time my brother and I stayed
11 in Unit 3.
12 Q. Okay. And have you ever been in Michael
13 Jackson’s bedroom at Neverland?
14 A. Yep.
15 Q. Do you recall the first time you ever were
16 in Michael Jackson’s bedroom?
17 A. Well, the first time we went to his bedroom
18 was when we first met him, he came — like our
19 family was invited to meet him in his bedroom.
20 Q. Have you been in his bedroom many times?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And describe his bedroom, if you would.
23 A. Well, it’s like a normal bedroom, really.
24 He’s got a bed, and he’s got some chairs. And he’s
25 got a bathroom.
26 Q. And it’s two levels, right?
27 A. Yes, that’s right.
28 Q. And what else have you seen in his room that 9400
1 you recall?
2 A. At one stage he had, like, a throne in
3 there, like a big chair. And he had books, and some
4 things that fans have given to him, like a lot of
6 Q. And have you ever spent the night in Michael
7 Jackson’s room?
8 A. Yep.
9 Q. How many times do you think you’ve done
11 A. Well, I don’t remember exactly how many
12 times, but I do recall at least twice.
13 Q. Have you ever spent the night there with
14 your brother?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Has Michael Jackson ever made you feel like
17 you weren’t welcome into his room?
18 A. Never.
19 Q. Has he ever made you feel that you could go
20 into his room whenever you wanted?
21 A. Yeah. I mean, basically he’s always said to
22 us that his house is our house, we’re free to go
23 wherever we like whenever we like.
24 It’s out of personal respect that I, you
25 know, wouldn’t just walk anywhere, just, you know,
26 because everybody deserves a little privacy.
27 Q. Has Mr. Jackson ever made you feel unwelcome
28 in his home at any time? 9401
1 A. Never, ever, ever.
2 Q. Have you ever gone to his room and just
3 knocked on the door?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And has he been in the room when you knocked
6 on the door?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Did he let you in?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Have you ever been in Mr. Jackson’s room
11 with your mom?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. How many times do you think you’ve been in
14 his room with your mom?
15 A. Again, I’m not really sure, but it has been
16 on more than one occasion.
17 Q. Now, do you recall ever being in Mr.
18 Jackson’s room late at night?
19 A. Yeah, I’ve stayed — I’ve slept in his
21 Q. And what were you doing in his room at the
23 A. Sleeping.
24 Q. Well, besides sleeping. What —
25 A. Oh, well —
26 Q. Let me rephrase the question. It’s not a
27 good question.
28 Before you fell asleep in his room, what 9402
1 were you doing?
2 A. We were all talking.
3 Q. Okay.
4 A. And, you know, just having fun.
5 Q. Uh-huh. What kind of fun?
6 A. I don’t know. The fun that kids have. Just
7 making fun of each other and telling jokes. And,
8 you know, doing silly dances, and, you know, just
9 things like that.
10 Q. And would Mr. Jackson do that with you?
11 A. Yeah, he liked skipping and jumping, like
12 all of us.
13 Q. Have you done silly dances with Mr. Jackson?
14 A. Yeah, we always like do, you know, crazy
16 Q. Have you walked around Neverland with Mr.
18 A. Yeah, many times.
19 Q. And what have you done when you did that?
20 Excuse me. That’s not a good question.
21 When you walked around Neverland, what were
22 you guys doing?
23 A. Well, talking, telling jokes. Same sort of
24 thing. You know, running as fast as we can,
25 challenging each other to races. Stopping to look
26 at the animals. And, you know, things like that.
27 Q. And Mr. Jackson would do that with you?
28 A. Yeah. 9403
1 Q. Okay. Have you been to the theater at
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Been in the theater with Mr. Jackson?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. What have you done in the theater?
7 A. Watched movies.
8 Q. Okay. All right. Do you recall a Jacuzzi
9 at Neverland?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Have you been in that Jacuzzi?
12 A. Yes, I have.
13 Q. Have you ever seen Mr. Jackson in it?
14 A. Yes, I have.
15 Q. How about your mom?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. How about your brother?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Have you ever traveled with Mr. Jackson?
20 A. Yes, I have.
21 Q. And how many times have you done that?
22 A. Well, I’ve been to, like — well, in my
23 first — in seventh grade, I spent half of the year
24 over in Europe with him. And in the eighth grade I
25 spent half of the year over in South America. And
26 I’ve been to Chicago. And we’ve been to Las Vegas.
27 So I’ve been, you know, lucky, very fortunate.
28 When he came to Australia for his “History” 9404
1 tour, he took us to South Australia and to Western
2 Australia. So I’ve been on many, many trips with
4 Q. Have you ever been into the — in the
5 swimming pool —
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. — at Neverland?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And has Mr. Jackson been in there with you?
10 A. Yes, he has.
11 Q. Ever recall Mr. Jackson being pushed into
12 the pool?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. What happened?
15 A. The boys — like, there was myself and my
16 brother and two of Michael’s cousins. And we would
17 just — we’d been playing. We had had an egg hunt,
18 because it was around Eastertime. And then the boys
19 decided that they were going to be, you know, a bit
20 more crazy, and they started throwing eggs at
21 Michael and putting them in his hair, and then, you
22 know, they pushed him into the pool just to taunt
23 him even more.
24 Q. Has Mr. Jackson ever hugged you?
25 A. Yes. Many times.
26 Q. Have you ever been suspicious when he hugged
28 A. Never, ever. 9405
1 Q. Has Mr. Jackson ever kissed you?
2 A. On the cheek, yes.
3 Q. Have you ever been suspicious of his
4 behavior when he did that?
5 A. No, never.
6 Q. Have you ever hugged Mr. Jackson?
7 A. Plenty of times.
8 Q. Ever kissed Mr. Jackson?
9 A. Of course. On the cheek.
10 Q. Have you ever been suspicious of anything he
11 did when you hugged or kissed him?
12 A. No, never.
13 Q. Have you seen Mr. Jackson hug your brother?
14 A. Yes, I have.
15 Q. Have you seen him kiss your brother?
16 A. Yes. On the cheek, yes.
17 Q. Were you ever suspicious of the behavior
18 when he did that?
19 A. No, never, ever.
20 Q. When you were in Mr. Jackson’s room, did you
21 ever see Mr. Jackson do anything inappropriate to
22 your brother?
23 A. No, never, ever.
24 Q. Have you ever seen Mr. Jackson touch your
25 brother in a sexual way?
26 A. No.
27 Q. Have you ever seen Mr. Jackson molest your
28 brother? 9406
1 A. Never.
2 Q. When you were traveling, your family, with
3 Mr. Jackson did you see you brother with Mr. Jackson?
4 A. Yes, I have.
5 Q. Have you ever been suspicious of any of Mr.
6 Jackson’s behavior towards your brother?
7 A. Never.
8 MR. MESEREAU: I have no further questions.
After some friendly chit-chat, Auchincloss cut to the chase and – you guessed it! – asked Karlee to testify about the two nights (out of hundreds of nights at Neverland) that she spent in Jackson ‘s bedroom:
11 BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS:
12 Q. Good afternoon, Miss Barnes.
13 A. Hello.
14 Q. You are positively thrilled to be a friend
15 of Michael Jackson’s, aren’t you?
16 A. Absolutely.
17 Q. You seem almost giddy about it.
18 A. I love him with all of my heart. I’ve known
19 him since I was about seven or eight years old, so
20 he’s one of my closest fields.
21 Q. Do you feel giddy when you’re going to see
22 him a little bit, excited?
23 A. I feel no more excited than I would if I was
24 seeing one of my other close friends that I haven’t
25 seen in a while.
26 Q. Well, but he’s different, isn’t he?
27 A. No, he’s not. He’s just a normal human
28 being like anybody else. He’s got the same organs, 9407
1 the same blood, the same emotions, the same feelings
2 as anyone else.
3 Q. Well, but not everybody has Neverland, true?
4 A. Well, he’s worked hard to get everything
5 that he wants, so everything that he has he’s worked
6 really, really hard for.
7 Q. And he shares it with you?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And you love going to Neverland?
10 A. Of course I do.
11 Q. You get thrilled when you get to go there?
12 A. Of course.
13 Q. And when you were a child and you got to go
14 to Neverland, it’s kind of like having everything
15 you ever wanted as a kid, isn’t it?
16 A. It’s like going to a theme park and a zoo
17 all at once, yeah.
18 Q. But it’s better than that, isn’t it?
19 A. Well, I guess so, yeah.
20 Q. Because it’s all yours, it’s all private,
21 right? No other kids, no crowds?
22 A. There are other kids, though, because, you
23 know, it’s even better when there are other people
24 there to, you know, play games with, have fun with
25 and share things with.
26 Q. Haven’t you been there when it was just your
28 A. Yes, I have. 9408
1 Q. And you get to stay up late?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And you get to have whatever you want to eat
4 whenever you want it, right?
5 A. Like when I’m on any other vacation or
6 holiday, yes.
7 Q. And you can play with Michael Jackson, the
8 superstar, right?
9 A. No, Michael Jackson, the human being.
10 Q. Well, he is a superstar.
11 A. Yeah, I recognize that, but he’s also a
12 normal human being like anybody else.
13 Q. But didn’t you say that you were a huge fan
14 of Michael Jackson’s before you ever met him?
15 A. Yes. Yes, I was. And I’m still a huge fan
16 of his music today.
17 Q. Okay. So you greatly admire him for that?
18 A. I admire him for many things, yes, including
19 his music.
20 Q. Okay. Now, you testified a little bit about
21 your experiences with Michael Jackson and your
23 A. Yes. Yes.
24 Q. And the very first night that you went to
25 Neverland, you spent all night in his bedroom,
26 didn’t you?
27 A. Well, we didn’t spend all night in his
28 bedroom, no. We took a tour of the ranch. We went 9409
1 on the train that goes around the ranch. We saw,
2 you know, as much we could of the theme park, the
3 zoo. Because my brother and I were so excited to
4 see a place we’d never been before, we spent the
5 whole night trying to see everything all at once.
6 Q. Okay. But eventually you went back to Mr.
7 Jackson’s room, correct?
8 A. We might have. I don’t remember.
9 Q. Didn’t you tell an investigator that; that
10 you spent the entire first night at Neverland in Mr.
11 Jackson’s room?
12 A. No, I didn’t.
13 Q. You weren’t playing video games in his room?
14 A. I didn’t say that, no.
15 Q. Did you go into his room that night?
16 A. I did go into his room that night when we
17 first met him, yes.
18 Q. Did you stay up all night?
19 A. Yes, I did stay up all night, as I said
20 before, both of us.
21 Q. And —
22 A. And I remember this because we slept the
23 whole day the next day.
24 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: It’s nonresponsive. I’ll
26 THE COURT: Sustained.
27 Q. BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Now, Miss Barnes, how
28 many nights have you spent at Neverland? 9410
1 A. I don’t remember. It’s been that many that
2 I — I simply can’t recall.
3 Q. Hundreds, maybe?
4 A. Well, I wouldn’t say hundreds. But
5 definitely more than 10, 20, 30 times, yes.
6 Q. More than a 100?
7 A. I don’t remember, but maybe.
8 Q. Okay. And of that 100 or so nights at
9 Neverland, you’ve spent only two nights in Mr.
10 Jackson’s room?
11 A. That I remember, yes.
12 Q. Okay. And of those 100 nights that you
13 spent at Neverland, how many nights was Mr. Jackson
15 A. Probably about 80, 90 percent.
16 Q. Okay. And of that 100 nights, how many
17 nights was your brother there?
18 A. All the time.
19 Q. Okay. Every time that you were there?
20 A. Every time I was there, my brother was
21 there, yes.
22 Q. And of those hundred or so nights, 80
23 percent of the time your brother slept — when Mr.
24 Jackson was there, your brother basically slept in
25 Mr. Jackson’s room virtually every one of those
26 nights, didn’t he?
27 A. Yes, because he wanted to.
28 Q. That’s a “yes” or “no” question. 9411
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Can you tell me why you didn’t spend the
3 night in Mr. Jackson’s room as much as your brother?
4 A. Because I’m a girl, and I prefer to have a
5 little bit of privacy.
6 Q. Okay. I see. Is it your opinion that —
7 well, let me back up.
8 How old was your brother at that time?
9 A. What, when we first started going to his
11 Q. Uh-huh.
12 A. He was about — well, I was about 12, so he
13 was about ten.
14 Q. Okay. So are you saying that it’s okay for
15 a 35-year-old man who’s unrelated to sleep with a
16 ten-year-old boy, but it’s not okay for a
17 35-year-old man who’s unrelated to a girl to sleep
18 with her?
19 A. I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying that
20 from my personal point of view, I was developing
21 into an adult, and I was at the stage where I wanted
22 my own privacy.
23 Q. Uh-huh.
24 A. And there were times when I was happy to,
25 you know, hang out with them and sleep in their
26 room, and there were times when I wanted to have my
27 own room.
28 Q. Only two nights that you felt like sleeping 9412
1 with them?
2 A. That I remember, yes.
3 Q. Okay. Did you know that there were other
4 boys that were at Neverland?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Did you see other boys when you were at
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Did you see them sleep in Mr. Jackson’s
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Mr. Jackson chose your brother to be a very
13 special friend of his, didn’t he?
14 A. Yes, because the reason why —
15 Q. That’s a “yes” or “no” question.
16 A. Yes. Well, yes.
17 Q. Thank you.
In this excerpt, Karlee made a blunder that the media exploited to the highest degree; she estimated that Brett spent 365 nights together while they were on tour together, and this was blown totally out of proportion by the media in order to make Jackson look like a pedophile.
After a relatively short series of questions, Auchincloss ended his cross examination:
18 Now, when you went on tour with Mr. Jackson,
19 you spent how many nights on tour?
20 A. Well, as I said, it was about half the year
21 I was in Europe when I was in the seventh grade, and
22 about half of the year I was in South America in the
23 seventh — in the eighth grade.
24 Q. How old was your brother at that time?
25 A. I was what, 13, 14. So he would have been
26 about 11 or 12.
27 Q. And virtually every night on that tour, Mr.
28 Jackson slept with your brother Brett? 9413
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. How many nights would that have been,
4 A. Let’s see, let’s divide 365 days into half.
5 Q. Okay. Is that about it? About —
6 A. Well, if I said I spent half the year
7 overseas with him one year and half of the year
8 overseas with him the other year, I think that would
9 total about 365 days altogether.
10 Q. Okay. So 365 nights he spent the night
11 alone with your brother in his room?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Did that ever — did that ever seem odd to
15 A. No.
16 Q. Didn’t seem odd to you that a 35-year-old
17 man —
18 A. Not at all.
19 Q. — is sleeping with a ten-year-old boy?
20 A. Not at all.
21 Q. During this entire period of time that
22 you’ve known Mr. Jackson, has he given you gifts?
23 A. Yes, he has.
24 Q. Did he fly you over to the United States?
25 A. Yes, he has.
26 Q. Do you fly first class?
27 A. I have flown first class, and I’ve also
28 flown business class. 9414
1 Q. Did your mother permit this?
2 A. Yes. And so did my father.
3 Q. And do you know if your brother thinks it’s
4 a disgrace to be a victim of a child molestation?
5 A. Of course he would. I do, too.
6 Q. So if he had to admit that, it would be
7 disgraceful, wouldn’t it?
8 A. Well, no, it’s a disgrace that it would
9 happen to a child. Not a disgrace to admit that it
10 happened, but a disgrace that it has happened, if it
11 has happened.
12 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Thank you. No further
Mesereau had his usual follow-up questions ready for Karlee, and she was more than ready to answer:
15 REDIRECT EXAMINATION
16 BY MR. MESEREAU:
17 Q. The prosecutor for the government asked you
18 about your brother being a special friend of Michael
19 Jackson. Are you a special friend of Michael
21 A. Yes. And my parents are as well.
22 Q. Why?
23 A. Well, because we treat him just as we would
24 treat anybody else, as a normal human being. We
25 don’t take advantage of him, we trust him, we love
26 him, and we give him a normal sense of life that so
27 many other people never, ever do.
28 Q. The prosecutor for the government asked you 9415
1 about your brother sleeping with Michael Jackson,
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And you were traveling when your brother
5 would be in Mr. Jackson’s room, right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Did you ever suspect anything improper was
8 going on?
9 A. Never.
10 Q. The prosecutor for the government asked you
11 if — didn’t it seem odd that Michael Jackson was in
12 a room with your brother. Did you think it was odd?
13 A. No, I didn’t think it was odd.
14 Q. Why?
15 A. Because — well, he’s a family friend. He’s
16 like a brother to us. He’s given us — not just
17 given us gifts and given us things, but he’s — you
18 know, he’s given us —
19 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection; narrative.
20 THE COURT: Overruled.
21 You may finish.
22 THE WITNESS: He’s given us friendship and,
23 you know, experiences that we would never get to
24 see, you know, and….
25 My brother really always wanted to be there.
26 He wanted to spend every minute, and he still wants
27 to spend all of his minute — all his time with him.
28 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection; nonresponsive. 9416
1 THE COURT: All right.
2 THE WITNESS: And that’s why it’s not
3 strange, because my brother wanted it.
4 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Objection; it’s non-
6 THE COURT: Overruled.
7 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: The prosecutor for the
8 government asked you about victims of child
9 molestation. Did you ever think your brother was a
10 victim of child molestation?
11 A. Never.
12 Q. Did you ever think you were a victim of
13 child molestation —
14 A. Never.
15 Q. — of Michael Jackson?
16 A. Never.
17 Q. Now, have you learned about allegations in
18 this courtroom that somehow your brother was
19 improperly touched?
20 A. I have heard that that has been said by
21 other people.
22 Q. What do you think of that?
23 A. I think they’re liars.
24 MR. MESEREAU: No further questions.
Auchincloss tried to rebound by asking Karlee about the fact that most victims of child abuse are abused by people who are close to them, but Judge Melville sustained Mesereau’s objections, and Auchincloss quickly ended his recross examination. Judge Melville also dismissed the jury early so that he could hear arguments from both sides:
27 BY MR. AUCHINCLOSS:
28 Q. Miss Barnes, has it ever occurred to you 9417
1 that virtually all families that have victims of
2 child molestation where the molester is a friend and
3 acquaintance, has it ever occurred to you that they
4 are shocked and disbelieving when they learn that
6 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. No foundation;
8 THE COURT: Sustained.
9 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Goes to credibility.
10 THE COURT: The objection is sustained.
12 MR. AUCHINCLOSS: Nothing further.
13 There’s no question.
14 THE COURT: That’s true.
15 MR. MESEREAU: Oh, okay.
16 THE COURT: But you could say, “No
18 You may step down.
19 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
20 THE COURT: (To the jury) I think it’s time
21 for you folks to go home. We’ve got a couple of
22 things to do, and I think we’ll just recess until
23 Monday morning.
24 Let me tell you another day we’ve just —
25 I’ve been asked if we could take the 20th of
26 September, which is — or “September.”
28 THE COURT: I’m going to give you the 20th 9418
1 of September.
2 The 20th of this month, May, one of the
3 attorneys has asked — one of the attorneys has a
4 commitment which I’m going to allow him to keep.
5 And I think it’s good, too, that we get a break like
7 So next Tuesday afternoon we’re off, and the
8 20th of May. And we think we’re on schedule, just
9 so you’re — if you’re wondering about that
10 information. Everything looks like we’re right on
11 schedule. So see you Monday.
12 Remember the admonitions.
Next, Sneddon had two issues that he wanted Judge Melville to consider: the issue of the defense not giving the prosecution all of their discovery, and the second issue was in regards to potential questions for the remaining defense witnesses. Sneddon argued that the defense did not give them their full list of witnesses, who range from Neverland employees to celebrity friends, and requested that Judge Melville compel them to provide the requested documents. His second argument was for Judge Melville to hold a hearing where the prosecution could ask what types of questions about character they are entitled to ask of the remaining defense witnesses. (Notice how Sneddon stated that he made his request “in good faith”).
14 (The following proceedings were held in
15 open court outside the presence and hearing of the
18 THE COURT: Mr. Sneddon, you had an issue you
19 wanted to take up.
20 MR. SNEDDON: Yes. Actually, I have two
21 issues, Your Honor.
22 THE COURT: All right.
23 MR. SNEDDON: The first issue I’d like to
24 address is a discovery issue, which has been an
25 ongoing problem. And I wanted to alert the Court to
26 the details and also make a record in that respect.
27 We announced last week that we were going to
28 rest, and then again the beginning of this week 9419
1 announced that we figured we’d be finished by
2 Tuesday. We didn’t. We finished on Wednesday.
3 But when we began to ask for defense
4 witnesses, we were given the name of six witnesses.
5 Five of them were not even on the defense witness
6 list, and the discovery was provided about five
7 o’clock the day before we were to rest. Then we
8 find out yesterday on the witness stand that one of
9 the witnesses had signed a declaration that we
10 hadn’t been provided by the defense.
11 Last Saturday, I faxed a letter to the
12 defense, after having reviewed the defense witness
13 list and compared that to our discovery, and there
14 are at least 75 to 80 people listed on the defense
15 list where we have no documentation or reason or
16 reports or anything to indicate why those people are
17 going to be called in this case.
18 Since that time, I’ve further expanded my
19 research on that issue. There are at least four
20 employees from the ranch for which we have no
21 reports on. Today there were three witnesses that
22 they were going to call that we have no reports on,
23 one of whom was not even on their witness list that
24 was read to the jury.
25 There are 21 celebrities that they mentioned
26 in their witness list. Of those, 15 have no reports
27 indicating what they’re going to testify to.
28 There are 12 Los Angeles Police Department 9420
1 officers, only six of which can we identify anything
2 that shows their names in the reports. We have no
3 idea what the others are going to testify to, and I
4 might add that I don’t think they know what they’re
5 going to be asked to testify to.
6 In sum and substance, Your Honor, it is not
7 my desire to prolong this case. I have every — as
8 much interest as this Court does in moving it. On
9 the other hand, in being fair to us and the way that
10 the Court required us to provide discovery to the
11 defense, I think we’ve been placed in a very unfair
12 posture at this point in the trial with regard —
13 for instance, just to use an example and then I’ll
14 just sit down.
15 For example, two of the witnesses that were
16 going to be called today, Detective Birchim and
17 Jerome — James —
18 MR. ZONEN: Jimmy Johnson.
19 MR. SNEDDON: It’s not Jimmy Johnson. Van
20 Norman. They were witnesses whose depositions were
21 taken in a lawsuit for which we have not been able
22 to gain access because there’s Court orders sealing
23 those records. And the defense knows that they’re
24 going to call these people as witnesses, yet they’ve
25 never provided the transcripts to us, yet we
26 provided all of the transcripts of everything we had
27 during the 1993 investigation.
28 That’s the kind of disadvantage that we’re 9421
1 being placed at, and I’m only asking the Court to
2 hold the defense to the same standard that we’re
3 held to and were being held to during the
4 presentation of our case.
5 Now, I’m not unreasonable. I understand that
6 there are going to be times when there are going to
7 be things that are going to be turned over late.
8 That happened to us. Somebody says something
9 different or adds something to something at the last
10 minute. But to have this kind of problem set forth
11 when we’re talking about literally hundreds of
12 witnesses with no documentation, I think it’s going
13 to be very difficult for us to be prepared to
14 continue and keep this trial moving on track. And
15 I’m asking for the Court to enforce the provisions
16 of the Penal Code that requires the defense to
17 comply with discovery.
18 Oh, I want to also add, some of the reports
19 that we were provided at five o’clock on Tuesday
20 night were reports that were dated in January. In
21 other words, the defense had had them for four, five
23 Oh, can I — do you want me to tell you the
24 second thing and I’ll sit down, or do you want to do
25 them separately?
26 THE COURT: Whatever you like.
27 MR. SNEDDON: Let me do it separately — at
28 the same time and get it done. 9422
1 MR. SANGER: At the same time; separate?
2 MR. SNEDDON: I indicated to the Court that
3 it is our opinion, and we filed a brief on it this
4 morning, that the defense has opened up the area of
5 character evidence by introducing a lot of opinion
6 evidence through all these witnesses, and we’re
7 asking the Court to hold a hearing as to what we are
8 entitled to ask, in good faith, of have-you-heard
9 questions and to have some of those people re-called
10 as witness or for future witnesses that may stray
11 into that area.
12 Thank you.
13 THE COURT: I haven’t seen that material yet.
14 MR. SNEDDON: Okay.
15 THE COURT: Usually it’s brought over to me
16 as soon as it’s filed, so are you sure you filed it
17 this morning?
18 MR. ZONEN: It was this morning.
19 MR. SNEDDON: I was under the impression it
20 was filed this morning.
21 THE COURT: Okay. Usually I have it by now.
22 As to the discovery issue?
Sanger countered Sneddon’s accusations by stating that the prosecution was guilty of the same thing! He named Kasim Abdool as a witness who was added late by the prosecution, thus throwing off the defense. Sanger also stated that many of the defense’s witnesses had to be rescheduled because they are from out of town. There were a few other key witnesses that Sanger addressed as well:
23 MR. SANGER: Yes. Before I address that,
24 can I just — on the matter of things getting to the
25 Court, we also filed something this morning, and
26 Your Honor, a little while ago, didn’t have it.
27 THE COURT: Which was the — yeah, I don’t
28 have that either. 9423
1 MR. SANGER: It was the response to —
2 THE COURT: I know what you’re talking — to
3 the last item on —
4 MR. SANGER: I remember sequentially what it
5 was, but the substance is escaping me at the moment.
6 Anyway, we did file it. It was on Mr. Viner’s
8 THE COURT: Viner’s testimony. Yes, I —
10 MR. SANGER: Well, I suppose all I’m saying
11 is, there may be a glitch somewhere in the conveyor
12 belt from where it started and where it’s coming.
13 THE COURT: I’ll check.
14 MR. SANGER: With regard to discovery, first
15 of all, there’s some factual inaccuracies in what
16 Mr. Sneddon just said, one of which is he said that
17 names were not on the witness list that we have
18 included on our list of people that we’re trying to
19 give both the Court and counsel prior to calling
21 And that is not correct. They are — the
22 ones that are added are at the end, starting on page
23 28 on the sixth amended witness list. So they were
24 put on the witness list, but they are not
26 THE COURT: But you gave that list yesterday.
27 MR. SANGER: No, it was — this last one was
28 a couple of days ago. 9424
1 THE COURT: The day before?
2 MR. SANGER: But we have — well, there’s
3 two different lists. Let’s just be clear, Your
5 THE COURT: I guess the question, though, is,
6 does that really comply if you make a new list and
7 put the name on it the day before you call a witness
8 when you gave the real list several months ago? I
9 mean, I find that to be a little —
10 MR. SANGER: Let me address that before the
11 Court forms an opinion on this – okay? – if I may.
12 THE COURT: All right.
13 MR. SANGER: I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to
14 misread what the Court was saying.
15 What I — what has happened is, we have
16 witnesses on this — on the big list that was
17 provided originally in December. The prosecution
18 filed one in December, and then we all filed amended
19 ones in January, and both sides have tried to keep
20 up, all right?
21 The defense has had to react to certain
22 things that have occurred. For instance, the
23 prosecution has called some people that they
24 indicated at first they weren’t going to call,
25 particularly on the 1108. Mr. Abdool was a late
26 addition. He may have been on their master list,
27 but when it came down to figuring who they were
28 really going to call, they called a small percentage 9425
1 of the people they had on their master list.
2 THE COURT: I hope you do the same.
3 MR. SANGER: And we will do the same unless
4 Mr. Sneddon forces us to call every one just to show
5 that we can do it.
6 What we have done, seriously, is taken the
7 master list, which had, oh, let’s see, something
8 like — by the time we add all these other people,
9 something like 500-and-some people on it.
10 We’ve taken that master list — now, the
11 master list, our understanding of providing it was
12 any name or any possible witness who could be called
13 by either side or whose testimony would figure
14 prominently in the case, or their presence, even if
15 they didn’t testify. So we were trying to provide
16 the Court with something that the Court could read
17 and ultimately have counsel read it to the jury so
18 they could see if they knew any of these people. It
19 did not mean that we were going to call everybody.
20 And I think both sides know that, that that’s the
22 Now we’re coming down to the people we’re
23 calling. We tried to give a list, not just for
24 today, but we gave a list for a couple of three
25 days’ worth of witnesses.
26 As I explained to Mr. Sneddon personally,
27 and as they did, we have to shift things around as
28 time goes on. We expected that, for instance, we 9426
1 were going to start earlier, and as a result of
2 that, we had other witnesses who were going to be —
3 who were ready to be called, and now we’ve had to
4 reschedule them because they’re from out of town,
5 and that’s just the way it goes. So that’s that.
6 Now, of the people on the list, on our list
7 that we gave to Your Honor and to the District
8 Attorney, the short list, the — the ones we’re
9 calling right now, there was one witness for which
10 we had a declaration which we….
11 You have it. Okay. I take it you have Mr.
12 Sneddon’s as well.
13 THE COURT: Now I have each of those
15 MR. SANGER: Thank you.
16 Of the people that Mr. Sneddon just referred
17 to — he said there were three people. Of those
18 three people, there was one person, Francine Orozco,
19 who we had a declaration from, and we believed that
20 it had been turned over along with a whole series of
21 declarations that had been turned over. They said
22 they didn’t get it.
23 We went back. We can’t show that we gave it
24 to them. I gave a copy immediately to Mr. Zonen
25 and agreed that we would not call Francine Orozco
26 until they had a chance to review it. He said
27 Monday would be fine, so I think we worked that out.
28 We’re trying to be reasonable on that. 9427
1 The other two, Russ Birchim is a
2 sheriff’s — I believe he’s a commander now, isn’t
4 THE COURT: I think so.
5 MR. SANGER: He’s a commander, and the only
6 thing we were going to ask him about is contained in
7 his reports on this case, and we have not
8 interviewed him independently. There was one other
9 small issue we were going to ask about. I won’t
10 announce what it was. I’ve explained this to Mr.
11 Zonen. It was an issue that he testified to in the
12 Abdool trial.
13 The Abdool court reporter’s notes are, by
14 and large, not available, and what few notes we got
15 were such — they were so garbled, we couldn’t read
16 it. In fact, the court reporter hired a computer
17 expert to try to straighten it out and couldn’t. We
18 got no notes with regard to this person.
19 So he testified. I told Mr. Zonen what he
20 testified to, which was basically a one-sentence
21 issue, and I said we weren’t — we weren’t going to
22 call him for that anyway. So the only issues we’re
23 calling him on would be issues for which he wrote a
24 report in this case.
25 The last witness they referred to, James Van
26 Norman, we put on the list not to call him today,
27 but to call him next week. We’re just trying to
28 give them a heads-up for a couple, three days, and 9428
1 we have not reinterviewed him.
2 Now, I was just told today, and I wasn’t
3 aware of this, that the prosecution did not receive
4 copies of the Abdool case. Because they had Mr.
5 Ring on their witness list, my understanding was
6 they had all the depositions and the files. All the
7 public files have been ordered unsealed, with the
8 exception of just a very few, thanks to Mr. Boutrous
9 and his never-ending work over there in Judge
10 Canter’s court. I am now informed, as of today,
11 that they did not have these depositions.
12 I have not reviewed his deposition, and we
13 have no new report. We expect to talk to him before
14 bringing him up here again. I will get his
15 deposition, to the extent we have it, from our old
16 files. If we have it, we will give it to them. So
17 that was really it.
18 Now, as far as the rest of the people are
19 concerned, we are — to the extent we knew we were
20 going to call them and we intended to call them and
21 we interviewed them, we have provided reports. If
22 we have any reports on anybody – in other words,
23 anybody that’s on the master list – that we intend
24 to call, if we had a report, we turned it over, to
25 the best of my knowledge. I don’t know how Orozco
26 slipped through as a declaration, but other than
27 that, we have turned them over.
28 We understand our obligations. I think 9429
1 we’re complying with them. The People, as Mr.
2 Sneddon acknowledged — you know, there were — a
3 couple people actually got on the stand, as the
4 Court may recall, and we didn’t have a report from
5 them at all. So it happens. The Court dealt with
6 it and said, “Call them tomorrow.” I voluntarily
7 said to do that with Miss Orozco. I suspect that we
8 will cooperate in that regard. I don’t think we’re
9 going to have a problem. We will have a further
10 meeting today to make sure that all these Abdool
11 depositions that pertain to witnesses we intend to
12 call get turned over.
13 So I think that really answers the question.
14 We haven’t been withholding anything. And I’d
15 suggest — rather than arguing back and forth,
16 unless there’s something I said that was factually
17 inaccurate, I’d suggest we try to continue to work
18 this out, because I have talked with Mr. Zonen and I
19 thought we were doing fine.
20 THE COURT: Is there a way that you could —
21 here’s the problem that I find from both sides, and
22 that is that if there’s no report, the party
23 notifying the other side of the witness could make
24 such a notation beside the name, so it’s clear on
25 the record to each other — not for me, but to each
26 other that there is no report, and it gives them a
27 chance — and if you say there is a report and they
28 don’t have it, they could get it to you immediately. 9430
1 There’s a problem when you don’t know if you’re just
2 not giving a report, forgot to give a report, or
3 there’s no report.
4 MR. SANGER: More — beyond that, I would go
5 beyond that. There will be a report on everybody.
6 I mean, even if the report is, “Their statement is
7 their declaration.” We actually have one person at
8 this point, the only statement that we could turn
9 over was a statement that a lawyer — paraphrase of
10 what a lawyer told us. In other words, we haven’t
11 had a chance to interview that witness yet. We may
12 or may not before the witness is called. If we do,
13 we’ll give a formal report. But we have provided
14 that to the D.A. We’ll let them know.
15 There is the concept of rebuttal, and Mr.
16 Mesereau is reminding me to just let the Court know.
17 Obviously, a couple of these people, I think I said
18 that at the very beginning —
19 THE COURT: I understood that.
20 MR. SANGER: — Orozco and Jimmy Van Norman
21 are really rebuttal to what came up very recently in
22 the case. It’s not we’re holding back. It’s that
23 we’re responding the best we can to that.
24 And we’re starting with the ‘93 segment of
25 the case, which I think is appropriate from our
26 standpoint, but it also is the part where we have
27 the real rebuttal burden because we didn’t know
28 whether it was coming in and what was coming in 9431
1 until late, so it’s compounded that problem. But I
2 think we’re getting it done.
3 So if there’s any other problem, I would
4 suggest we meet and confer. And — hold on one
5 second. I’m sorry. Yeah.
6 (Discussion off the record at counsel
8 MR. SANGER: And I think the Court
9 understands, for instance, there are experts like
10 the financial expert who just came forward, and we
11 got his PowerPoint I think the very morning he was
12 put on, if I’m not mistaken. So, we — we have to
13 respond —
14 THE COURT: I understand there’s always
15 problems on both sides.
16 MR. SANGER: We’re doing our best is all I
17 can tell you.
18 THE COURT: I expect you to comply, as I do
19 both sides.
20 Is there anything you want to add that?
21 MR. SNEDDON: Well, I’d like to get out of
22 here early today, Judge, but I just want to say, are
23 we to assume, then, from Mr. Sanger if we don’t have
24 a report from anybody, they made the decision not to
25 call them? I mean, there’s over 100 people on
26 there, plus, that we —
27 MR. SANGER: No.
28 MR. SNEDDON: Well, can we find out? 9432
1 MR. SANGER: There’s 500 people on that
2 original list.
3 MR. SNEDDON: With no indication why they’re
5 MR. SANGER: Let’s just make that clear.
6 One more time, just like the prosecution gave us a
7 giant list with a lot of people, we gave them a
8 giant list with a lot of people. We’re not going to
9 call everybody on that list. So the prosecution
10 can’t assume anything from that.
11 When we give them the list, which we typed
12 out and gave the Court a copy and we gave the
13 prosecution the same thing, when we do this, as we
14 do this, we expect that there will be a report
15 that’s been disclosed on every single one of the
16 people that we put on the list before we call them.
17 And if we have it, we’ll give it to them right now.
18 If we’re — for instance, in the case of the one
19 person who’s not on the list yet, the one person who
20 we’ve only talked to his lawyer, we can’t give a
21 further report until we get it. So that’s the
23 But as far as other people that are on the
24 master list, nothing should be assumed. I mean,
25 we’re going to provide the discovery as soon as we
26 can. And if we interviewed somebody and we intended
27 at the time to call them, we would turn it over, and
28 that’s still our position, and that’s what we will 9433
1 do. And I think once we get over the 1108, which is
2 a little bit spontaneous because of the way it came
3 up, it should go a little smoother.
4 MR. SNEDDON: Judge, the difference is very
5 fundamental. We turned — we had a list of people
6 and we didn’t call them all, but we gave discovery
7 on everybody on that list before this trial started,
8 so that if we did call them they could prepare.
9 There were a couple of people — there were a couple
10 of people who we added to that list during the
11 course of the trial.
12 And I don’t mind a couple of people being
13 added. We’re talking about hundreds of people here,
14 without us having an ability to even know why
15 they’re going to be called or what they’re going to
16 say, and they’re going to walk in here, and I
17 guarantee you, they’re going to dump it on us two or
18 three days before they come in here. If we’re lucky.
19 MR. SANGER: We promise not to dump it on
21 MR. SNEDDON: Well, I don’t want promises.
22 I want compliance. We had compliance dates that you
23 gave us. Why don’t they?
24 MR. SANGER: Well, I don’t know if this is
25 productive. The fact of the matter is, there were a
26 tremendous number of witnesses for which we had no
27 reports. And we were —
28 MR. SNEDDON: That’s not true. 9434
1 MR. SANGER: And we filed something in
2 writing demanding the reports and we were told they
3 didn’t have them. They had several experts in
4 different categories and they gave us no reports.
5 We couldn’t even figure out who they were.
6 Your Honor may recall we filed a motion
7 because they had names down there that weren’t even
8 real names of people. They had — I remember one
9 person, they had two people’s names put together,
10 totally different people put together with a hyphen,
11 and we spent forever trying to figure out who that
12 was. So we’re beyond that, and we’re going to do
13 our best and —
14 THE COURT: What I want you to do is to give
15 them the reports on the witnesses that you have as
16 soon as you possibly can.
17 MR. SANGER: Yes, sir. That’s what we —
18 THE COURT: That’s what’s required.
19 MR. SANGER: That’s what we intend to do.
20 And with the exception of Orozco, for which I
21 apologize – that was an old declaration – I think
22 we’ve been doing the best we can. So we’ll —
23 THE COURT: And I do remember that I gave you
24 some relief. We continued — you know, we had to
25 put some witnesses off until the next week, or
26 several days, anyway. So if that is happens, you’re
27 entitled to the same type of relief.
28 MR. SANGER: Do you want to address the 9435
1 character issue, or not?
Judge Melville ruled that the defense must give the prosecution the witness reports as soon as possible, but delayed ruling on the character issue until a later date. Court adjourned shortly thereafter.
2 THE COURT: Not right now. Now I have them.
3 I haven’t read it, so I want time to study what
4 we’re dealing with.
5 Are you going to file a response to that?
6 MR. SANGER: That’s what I was going to say.
7 If the Court would like, or give us permission to do
8 it, we would like to file a response.
9 THE COURT: I would, if you’ll file that
11 MR. SANGER: Yes, sir.
12 THE COURT: Then I think —
13 MR. SANGER: Eight o’clock or 8:15 or
15 THE COURT: Yeah, that’s fine.
16 Now we have to have an in-camera hearing on
17 the issue that Mr. Mesereau requested, so I’ll need
18 an attorney from each side, the court reporter and
19 the clerk.
20 MR. SNEDDON: I’ll go in.
21 THE COURT: And for those present in the
22 courtroom, there won’t be any further open court
23 sessions today, so if you want to leave, you may.
24 MR. MESEREAU: Your Honor, can Mr. Jackson
26 THE COURT: Yes, Mr. Jackson may leave, too.
27 (The proceedings adjourned at 1:20 p.m.)