Abstract: [i] Nov. 20, 2003 Court TV coup: Dimond lands another scoop The news media may be back in force on the trail of Michael Jackson, but they were all playing catch-up Wednesday with Court TV’s Diane Dimond, who was the first to report the news of Tuesday’s raid on Jackson’s Neverland ranch and was the first to expose the pop star’s legal battles against child molestation allegations a decade ago. Dimond, a freelance anchor with Court TV, was at the Neverland ranch Tuesday morning with the cable network’s cameras trained on the cavalcade of police cars raiding Jackson’s property hours before any 24-hour news network got there — thanks to highly placed sources that tipped her to the pending search weeks beforehand. Later that night, Dimond broke the news on CNN’s “Larry King Live” that an arrest warrant for Jackson had been issued just minutes after scoring an exclusive interview with Santa Barbara (Calif.) County District Attorney Tom Sneddon. “I’ve been working this story for 10 years,” Dimond said in a phone interview during a quick lunch break she spent sitting in a grassy meadow just outside Neverland. (Andrew Wallenstein) FULL STORY [/i] :nav SOURCE: [url=http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr/television/brief_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=2032800]http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr/telev…tent_id=2032800[/url] —————————– By Andrew Wallenstein NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) – The news media may be back in force on the trail of Michael Jackson (news), but they were all playing catch-up Wednesday with Court TV’s Diane Dimond, who was the first to report the news of Tuesday’s raid on Jackson’s Neverland ranch and also the first to expose the pop star’s legal battles against child molestation allegations a decade ago. Dimond, a freelance anchor with Court TV, was at the Neverland ranch Tuesday morning with the cable network’s cameras trained on the cavalcade of police cars raiding Jackson’s property hours before any 24-hour news network got there — thanks to highly placed sources that tipped her to the pending search weeks beforehand. Later that night, Dimond broke the news on CNN’s “Larry King Live” that an arrest warrant for Jackson had been issued just minutes after scoring an exclusive interview with Santa Barbara (Calif.) County District Attorney Tom Sneddon. “I’ve been working this story for 10 years,” Dimond said in a phone interview during a quick lunch break she spent sitting in a grassy meadow just outside Neverland. In 1993, Dimond was the first to report the molestation accusations leveled at Jackson while she was an investigative reporter on the syndicated tabloid newsmagazine “Hard Copy.” The information about Tuesday’s raid was so sensitive that Dimond requested resources from Court TV to pursue the story without revealing what the story was about. She said: “I told them, ‘I want to go get you a big, juicy story, but I can’t tell you what it is; you just have to trust me. And you have to let me hire the camera crews because I don’t want anyone to know where I’m going.”‘ To her surprise, Court TV chairman and CEO Henry Schleiff granted her request. Dimond flew from New York to Santa Barbara on Tuesday, arriving at 2 a.m., enough time to get three hours of sleep and have one of her two camera crews stationed at Neverland when the police arrived at 6 a.m. She was at the local police station with the other crew when the raid began just in case Jackson was arrested, but she soon sped back over to Neverland. Court TV had the police-raid story to itself until an unsuspecting camera crew with local station KCOY-TV just happened to be filming an unrelated story down the road. “They came over and asked if we were filming a commercial,” she recalled, laughing. Before the Jackson story, Dimond maintained a relatively low profile filling in as a substitute anchor on “Catherine Crier Live” and other daytime Court TV shows. She also has covered a wide variety of stories in past stints at MSNBC and Fox News Channel. As if the Jackson story wasn’t boosting her profile enough, Dimond’s name also has surfaced in a separate California-based scandal: the ongoing federal probe into illegal wiretapping activities allegedly conducted by private investigator Anthony Pellicano. Dimond’s phone conversations concerning Jackson while at “Copy” were among the recordings seized last year. “The FBI (news – web sites) called me several months ago, and we discussed how my phone had been tapped,” she said. “I knew it; I wasn’t surprised.” Dimond’s involvement in the Pellicano wiretapping case has put her in the uncomfortable position of being both a subject and a reporter on a continuing investigation. Should she be called before the grand jury, Dimond would likely have to abstain from reporting on the Pellicano case. “This is weird for me,” she said. “I’m not the story.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *