Ben Brafman Speaks Out – Bullet #71

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Ben Brafman Speaks Out – MJEOL Bullet #71 The newest attorney for Michael Jackson, Ben Brafman, appeared on CNN’s Paula Zahn Now Jan 21 2004. Brafman is, according to many, one of the best defense attorneys in America and was brought on as a co-lead counsel with Mark Geragos (see Ben Brafman – Paula Zahn CNN – TRANSCRIPT). Many questions were asked of Brafman, one of which was pertaining to Jackson’s behavior after the arraignment. He was asked if he regretted when Jackson climbed on top of his SUV and waved to the adoring crowd. Brafman affirms that Jackson saw what they all saw: people “pushing forward so severely that it was becoming a dangerous situation.” He says that Jackson, by getting on top of that SUV, alleviated some of the threat for a while. He also said Jackson was showing respect for the fans that had traveled from all over the world just to show support for him. Brafman admits that as things continued to develop, he was concerned for his and his client’s safety when “thousands of people” were pushing forward through the temporary fencing put up by police. He says: “I wanted him down, yes, but what was going through my mind was, let’s get Michael out of here…” He also conveys what many people outside of the media have been saying, which is that Jackson’s actions—after the arraignment and outside of the courthouse—will have no impact on the actual outcome of a trial. Indeed, it is doubtful anyone would vote to convict Jackson, months from now and in the face of zero corroborating evidence, simply because he stood on top of an SUV after his arraignment hearing. Brafman further dismisses claims from the media that Jackson was intentionally being disrespectful to the court:

“I will also tell you this was not a sign of disrespect by Michael Jackson. He’s just not made that way. He’s a very, very courteous, sweet, person who just doesn’t think in a venal or corrupt way.”

Jackson Late? Zahn claimed some people thought it arrogant that Jackson was late for court. Brafman, who has already said it will never happen again, also stated that Jackson was ready to come to court hours before the hearing was set to begin:

“Michael being late that day had nothing to do with Michael Jackson who was ready to come to court since 5:00 in the morning. Moving Michael Jackson is like moving the president of the United States. It’s crazy. It’s absolutely nuts. He’s got nothing to do with it. “There are hundreds of people involved and they blew it. It will never happen again. There is nothing that Michael Jackson wanted to do to show disrespect. This is a terrific judge, he’s a fair man. He ruled in Michael’s favor in a number of important issues. Michael Jackson is just not a disrespectful person.”

Nation of Islam rumors? Again, another member from Jackson’s inner circle had to slap down the persistent and false rumors about the Nation of Islam (NOI) “taking over” Jackson’s life. Jackson has a security firm that has hired some people who are members of the Nation of Islam. They were not hired based on their religious beliefs, nor were they hired to preach to Jackson. They are, by the accounts of people who have been involved with them, very highly trained in all matters dealing with security. These NOI rumors are being pushed in the media by fired Jackson employees like Stuart Backerman, who appeared on Entertainment Tonight recently, spreading more nonsense about the NOI’s involvement (or lackthereof). It is unclear if Backerman has been terribly misinformed or if he has an agenda to push. Brafman, who is Jewish, says “they are involved with security.” Brafman also admits that he is no fan of the NOI because of their past policies. However, Brafman also says that they were definitely great to have at the arraignment and that they treated him with nothing but respect:

“…in all due respect, if they were not there that morning and if they were not there to supplement the security of the local police, we could have had a real tragedy on our hands… “I don’t know what is going on in terms of his personal life. It’s really none of my business. I will tell you, they [security] treated me with extraordinary courtesy and respect.”

Contrary to what has been reported, Brafman says the NOI have not even attempted to interfere in any way with Jackson’s defense. He says, “They have not tried to interfere at all in terms of any legal decisions. Mark Geragos and I are completely in control of that.” He also comments that if the security personnel would even attempt to be a “disruptive influence in any way” he would not hesitate to tell Jackson. Accurate picture of the case? Brafman says readers and tv viewers are not getting and have not gotten an accurate picture of what this case is all about. He states that “when you’re in a courtroom, sometimes you are stunned when you understand what the real facts are…and I think that’s one of the reasons why the judge” has been trying to ensure a fair trial as best he can. Brafman also brings up an interesting point. He says the case should be based on what happens in the courtroom and “not on what someone said 3 months ago in order to obtain a search warrant when the standards are a lot different.” This quote sticks out because prosecutors may have talked the issuing judge into issuing warrants based on information that does not match what was filed in the charging document in December 2003. If you have been following the news at MJEOL and other Jackson sites, you will know that CNN legal analyst Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsome said months ago that she was leaked information about the search warrants, and that the dates of alleged abuse are entirely different from the dates the prosecutors have filed charges with (Feb 7-March 10) against Jackson. This is startling information that, if true, could be yet another illustration of the family’s ever-changing story. Stay tuned. -MJEOL

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