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S1: Episode 9. The Arvizo Allegations Part 3--The State's Case Against Michael Jackson

In this episode, we present the remaining prosecution witnesses. Here’s what I was looking for:

*Evidence that this family was held against their will and that Jackson knew about it

*Evidence that Jackson had employees and handlers protecting him

*Evidence of molestation or suspicious behavior by Jackson around Gavin Arvizo or any other child

*Evidence of Jackson giving Gavin or any other child alcohol

We explain the prosecution's arguments against Michael Jackson, and how the cross examination testimony either neutralizes or undermines these arguments. There are about 80 more witnesses, including Neverland employees, police detectives, many expert witnesses, Jackson's ex-wife, Martin Bashir, and prior bad acts witnesses regarding the Chandler Allegations from 1993. Celebrity witnesses include George Lopez, and Jamie Masada.

Trial transcripts sent to the Reflections on the Dance website by Jackson’s attorney Tom Mesereau.

While her testimony makes some of Jackson's associates look shady, she explains that Jackson played no part in the PR plan after the Bashir doc. She says he was out of the loop and that he was being taken advantage of by the people around him, including associates embezzling from him. Kite was fired after challenging their approach of not putting Jackson's best interests as the priority.

Masada says Janet only hired civil attorney during their stay at Neverland for purposes of getting the kids photos out of press, there was no mention to the lawyer about threats or being held captive. He says that Janet told him by phone that she was being held against her will, but he doesn't take it seriously, and doesn't call for help--he tells her to call police. Masada also says he held 2 fundraisers during Gavin's illness and gave the family money whenever they needed it, and helped out paying rent. He said he had no idea Janet's fiancé was earning a good salary.:

Palanker told police Janet had "hostage syndrome", thought she was bipolar and needed mental health care. She gave Janet money that Janet ended up using personally rather than to help Gavin medically. Janet told her she was being held captive, but Palanker also doesn't reach out for help, and instead Palanker calls her own lawyer.

Barron explains that it was the policy of the ranch that kids weren't allowed off property without permission as a safety measure, it wasn't a policy specially designed for the Arvizo boys:

Rowe said she didn't trust any of Jackson's associates, and thought they were all taking advantage of him, especially Mark Schaffel, who she called a con man.

Swingler explains how he was hired without vetting to become Jackson's house manager. After the Arvizo allegations, he said he wanted to cash in on his association with Jackson just like everyone else. Even though he only worked for Jackson for 5 weeks, he does end up selling a book about his experience.

The judge allows 1108 prior bad acts evidence into the trial in March 27, 2005. This brings in the witnesses from the 1993 Chandler case, and is considered a major win for the prosecution.

"The Jackson team has not done much to reward loyalty at a time when the pop singer needs all the friends he can get."

"In associated testimony, the conspiracy part has taken a beating thus far. Tyson and Amen were said to have held the family for a week in a hotel in Calabasas, Calif. But this column reported exclusively that the family went on wild shopping sprees, to the movies and to many local restaurants. The mother even had a full body wax and a manicure. None of this is considered standard fare during a kidnapping. The family also made dozens of phone calls to friends and family, never mentioning once that they were in any peril.

The family's attorney, William Dickerman, dealt the conspiracy part of the trial a fatal blow when he was cross-examined by defense attorney Thomas Mesereau yesterday. He admitted to writing several letters to Michael Jackson's then-attorney Mark Geragos after the family left Neverland for good on March 11, 2003.

The letters, which concerned the return of the family's meager possessions from a storage vault, were called a 'series' by Dickerman. But the lawyer never mentioned in any of them that the family had been "held hostage" or made to do anything they didn't want to do. At the same time, Dickerman indicated that during his many meetings with the family, none of them mentioned their 'kidnapping' either.

In fact, Dickerman revealed that his first two meetings with the family were on Feb. 21 and 25, 2003. Amen drove the mother to the meeting on the latter date. On the same day, he and Tyson took the family on their seven-day shopping trip in Calabasas.

At no time during the meetings with Dickerman did the mother or her three kids indicate there was any trouble at all. They were simply there, Dickerman recalled, to see if they had any rights for appearing in the Martin Bashir documentary Living with Michael Jackson. They did not."

Jason Francia is the first of the prior bad acts witnesses, who changed his story during his police interview in which he was pressured to "remember" more and given false information about Jackson abusing other boys. He conveniently can't remember anything about his legal actions.

Blance Francia flip-flops over whether she saw or didn't see Wade Robson in the shower with Jackson. She says on the stand under cross examination that when she said she only saw one figure and one voice, that was the truth.

He says he witnessed abuse against Jordan Chandler. Chacon owes money to Jackson from a prior fraudulent legal claim, admits he got money for tabloid stories, had a grudge against new security guards who got a few dollars more than he did and took away some of his status. He was found to have stolen $25,000 worth of goods from Jackson.

McManus says on the stand that she witnessed abuse by Jackson against Brett Barnes, MacCauley Culkin, and Jordan Chandler. However, she strongly defended Jackson under oath in 1993 , only changing her story in 1994 after meeting with Victor Gutierrez and selling stories to tabloids. She joins Chacon's legal claim against Jackson in 1994--the case is found to be fraudulent and she also owes Jackson money. She was found to have stolen $35,000 worth of goods from Jackson.

LeMarque says he saw Jackson molesting MacCauley Culkin. LeMarque never said anything until he sold stories to the tabloids. He was caught lying on the witness stand, claiming he didn't negotiate for money and that he took his story to the police. However, his recorded conversation reveals him to be negotiating for 100s of thousands of dollars for a story and that the tabloid broker sent the recording to the police; LeMarque himself did not take his story to the police, as he claimed on the stand.

This documentary is about the media circus surrounding the Chandler allegations from 1993. It focuses on how even the mainstream media lost its standards for checking out stories because of the pressure for ratings.

On the stand Jones denies ever seeing Jackson lick the head of Jordan Chandler, even though in an email he made this claim when discussing his tell-all book. He also denied ever seeing this when interviewed by police. Jones admits that he wrote his book because he was angry at being fired and he was broke. The book is salacious, and ridicules Jackson's vitiligo and plastic surgeries. Jones says there was pressure to sensationalize the stories by his co-author journalist Stacy Brown.

June Chandler joined her ex-husband's civil suit against Jackson only when she was at risk of being sued by Evan and losing custody of Jordan. Prior to switching she said that she believed Evan had brainwashed her son At the time of the trial she hadn't seen her son for 11 years, and she expresses bitterness towards Jackson. She says she never suspected anything, and says Neverland was open and she could walk into Jackson's suite at any time. Like many other witnesses who had lawsuits against Jackson, she conveniently doesn't remember the most basic questions about her lawsuit against Jackson or other legal issues.

Testimony about fingerprints and DNA evidence:

No DNA (fluids, fibers, hair) or fingerprints of the Arvizos found anywhere on Jackson's mattress, bedding, or any furntiture linked to the bed where Star and Gavin Arvizo say Jackson masturbated Gavin. Out of the dozens of adult pornography found in Jackson's possession, there was only one magazine in which both Jackson's and Gavin's fingerprints were found, but they were on different pages, and you can't test for when the prints were made, so this result is not meaningful. Especially considering the multiple witnesses who saw Gavin and Star in Jackson's suite without his being around, and also the many witnesses who saw the boys repeatedly going through drawers and rifling through others' belongings. The defense brought up the question of Gavin handling the magazines in the Grand Jury proceedings without gloves, and fingerprint testing was done after that potential exposure.

The article explains the testimony that revealed there was no DNA evidence in mattress/linens or anything that matched the accuser.

The prosecution took every opportunity to parade Jackson's legal adult heterosexual male pornography on the big screen for the jury. There was no child pornography found in any of the raids.

Jackson's attorney Tom Mesereau explains that this book was a gift, (see page 2664 of transcript) and sent to Jackson by the publisher, Taschen, a German photographer who was planning to photograph the Jackson family.The prosecution includes this book as evidence because it includes some sexually explicit material, but it carries little weight because it is legal, has no children, is artistic, and a gift.

Testimony from flight attendant Cynthia Bell:

Bell was the flight attendant on the flight back to LA from Miami, with Jackson, the Arvizos and others. Bell testifies that Jackson was her lead passenger and she kept her eye on him the entire flight. She says she never saw any head licking or giving Gavin alcohol, as alleged by the family. She says Gavin moved around during the flight to talk to the Cascios and his sister. She also notes Gavin's entitled behavior, ordering the staff around and complaining about everything. Bell also contradicted Gavin sister Davellin's testimony by saying she served Davellin alcohol on the flight. Davellin had testified that she had never tasted alcohol until Jackson gave it to her at Neverland.

Testimony by lead investigator Sgt. Robel:

Robel says he obtained a search and arrest warrant for Jackson without conducting any interviews outside of the Arvizo family and Dr. Katz. We also hear about Robel's suggestive and leading questioning of the Arvizo family even from his first interviews with them. He tells them, "You guys are the victims," "He's wrong in what he's done," and "We're going to try and make this case work."

Zellis reveals damaging evidence against Sneddon and Gavin. He brings up the police interview in which Gavin confirmed that Jackson was forcing his family to do the rebuttal interview so that if Gavin ever told anyone the truth about being molested by Jackson, that nobody would believe him. But Gavin has a completely different story at trial, saying no abuse happened until after the rebuttal interview. So how could Jackson's people be forcing him to deny what hasn't happened yet? This is a catastrophic contradiction in Gavin's account.

Testimony from Janet Arvizo's fiancé, Jay Jackson

Jay Jackson testifies that he worked for Sneddon conducting surveillance of Michael Jackson's investigator, Brad Miller, prior to the police raid of his office. Jay claims never to have known that Miller worked for Jackson's lawyer, even though Jay was present for the entire recorded interview by Miller. In this recorded interview, we hear Miller identify himself both at the beginning and end saying he worked for Jackson's lawyer Mark Geragos. Janet acknowledged this relationship both times. If Janet and Jay knew that Miller worked for Jackson's lawyer, then the raid of his office could be ruled illegal because of attorney-client privilege. Jay Jackson also claims that he didn't know anything about Gavin's bad behavior at school, which is contradicted by the testimony of Gavin's school counselor, who said Jay Jackson attended the meetings with Janet to discuss Gavin's repeated unruly behavior. Jay said he went back and forth about money for a tabloid story after the Bashir doc, but turned it down. He admits he directly asked a Jackson associate for money, but was turned down.

Dr. Katz took the initial report of abuse by Gavin and Star Arvizo. Dr. Katz is the same psychologist that the Chandlers' lawyer used to review the psychiatrist interview with Jordan Chandler and Dr. Richard Gardner, who was known at the time as an expert on false allegations. Defense attorney Tom Mesereau brings forward evidence that Katz had been wanting to testify in a celebrity case as publicity for his new TV show.

The Arvizo's early civil attorney Larry Feldman was also the civil attorney for the Chandlers, and Feldman was brought in before there were ever any allegations of abuse. Feldman testifies that if a conviction were to occur in Jackson's criminal case, the Arvizos could use anything they wished from the criminal case into their civil case to claim an easy win of monetary damages. The Arvizos were unable to file a civil claim before the criminal case because of a change in the law after the Chandler allegations.

Testimony from Neverland employees

Neverland employees Fournier, Salas and Barron testified that they saw Janet Arvizo having dinner in the main house with others, sleeping with her kids in theater, and walking the grounds, completely contradicting Janet's testimony that she was confined to her room.

Even though he had been fired by Jackson's associates, Moslehi testifies against the prosecution narrative, saying there was no coaching of the Arvizos for the rebuttal doc and no script, and Janet's only hesitation to do the interview was worry about more press attention.

This post covers the witness statement from Neverland employee Angel Vivanco, who allegedly had a romantic relationship with Davellin during her stay at Neverland. Vivanco in his statement said Davellin told him Janet was planning "something big" regarding Jackson.

Lopez says he gave the Arvizo family money and gifts and came to realize the fundraisers weren't about Gavin's health, but about money. His wife also testifies and says Gavin would tell her about gifts that other celebrities gave him, to suggest they weren't giving him enough.

Bashir refuses to answer almost anything, and has a lawyer by his side during his time on the stand. His Living with Michael Jackson documentary is the first evidence presented to the jury in the prosecution's case.

The staff had to clean up after the mess of the raid, in which the police went into areas that breached the search warrant.

Thanks to the following websites for collecting documents and providing case analysis over many years:

Many of their posts helped to guide the research for this episode.


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