‘New’ Jackson Leak a Tempest in a Teacup? Act of Desperation? – MJEOL Bullet #155

Tabloid reporter Diane Dimond has somehow gotten her hands on what she claims to be the settlement document from 1993.This was such “important” news that both Court TV and, later, MSNBC, broke into their programming to talk about this ‘new’ 11 year old information.And for what?

After all the initial craziness, what we now know is that Jackson didn’t pay the accuser millions of dollars after all.It was, from the info in the document, paid by an insurance company.

If this document is indeed authentic, however redacted, we also learn that the money went into a trust fund for the accuser, not directly to him.We also know that Jackson maintained that he is innocent of any wrongdoing in the settlement.

The information about an insurance company(ies) is interesting because it’s important to note that insurance companies do not pay on claims where there were criminal acts.

Insurance companies, who have their own set of investigators, can also force or even threaten to discontinue their coverage if a client refuses to comply with certain terms. They can in essence settle a civil case right from under the person being sued. This was mentioned by Jackson family attorney Brian Oxman as far back as Nov 18 2003.

Oxman appeared on Larry King Live:

KING: In other words, Brian, I would say that if that was — if I was accused of that, the natural thing to say, I would never settle if I didn’t do it.
 
OXMAN: Well, sometimes it’s not your choice.
 
KING: If I did do it, I would settle.
 
OXMAN: I have brought child molestation cases against defendants, and I always include a negligence allegation in that because that means that the homeowners’ insurance policy takes over and a homeowners’ insurance policy…
 
KING: Really?
 
OXMAN: … can settle right out from under the defendant. The defendant can scream, I will not settle that case, and they have no choice because the insurance company settles it. (see transcript)

So this settlement could actually have been…strongly urged…by an insurance company. Judging from the language of the document, most experts have said there’s no question that an insurance company was involved.

Former prosecutor {tag Paul Pfingst} appeared on MSNBC yesterday (June.15.2004) to discuss these “new” details. He said:

The settlement at first blush would cause people to say ‘nobody would settle a criminal case [sic] for 15 or 20 million dollars unless they had something to hide’.
 
But in reality, if we take a look at the terms of the settlement, that’s probably not so clear because, first, it appears as though the settlement was in part paid for by insurance. And you can tell that by the wording of the settlement. It seems to show there was insurance money as part of the settlement.
 
The second is that if you’re Michael Jackson’s team and you’re selling a lot of albums, settling a case for 15 or 20 million dollars may actually make money by allowing you to sell albums for 40, 60 or 100 million dollars. But will this, at the end of the day, settlement ever get in front of a jury in a criminal trial? No. No. (see video)

Pfingst also tries to put the “negligent” language into perspective in terms of how insurance policies read:

…The negligence language, somebody may ask, ‘well why are they talking about negligence because how do you negligently sexually molest a young boy?’
 
And the answer is, the reason is because insurance policies normally cover negligent behavior but don’t cover intentional crimes. So the phrasing of that makes me think insurance.
 
The disclaimer of liability, where he says ‘I don’t admit I did anything’ is the reason why this will not come in front of a jury. There is no admission [of guilt] by the settlement of this case.

Most legal experts also note that this settlement won’t see the light of day in the courtroom with this current “case”. Could this be the reason why a “law enforcement” source leaked this document to Dimond?

 Sources say {tag Diane Dimond} confessed on Fox (O’Reilly) that she received this document from a source in “law enforcement”. Leaking sealed documents: is this a legal act? What may be a more interesting story is how Dimond came upon this document, who gave it to her, and why were entire pages—at least 8 pages according to Dimond—redacted from the copy she obtained?

Moreover, could one also say that the confidentiality agreement signed by Jackson with the settlement has effectively been broken? Does this really blow the barn door off the hinges of the confidentiality agreement or are parties still bound by it? Can Jackson now rail against these people?

So far–and until they confirm that this is the actual document–Jackson’s people say they will continue to abide by the confidentiality agreement. They call the leaking of this document a desperate attempt to poison the jury pool, though. Jackson spokeswoman Raymone Bain says:

A spokeswoman for Jackson said she was trying to find out if the documents shown on camera by CourtTv were “the actual agreement” in that case.
 
She added the release of the information appeared aimed at influencing potential jurors against the entertainer.
 
“That settlement had a very strict confidentiality agreement that was negotiated by parties,” spokeswoman Raymone Bain said. “We are going to abide by that and not comment.”
 
She added: “Whoever released this agreement, whether it is the actual agreement or not, did it deliberately and willfully with the intent to influence potential jurors in the current case, which is outrageous and an act of desperation.” (see article)

This is the second document from 93 that has been leaked to the press to disrupt the current “case” and to taint the jury pool. What was the point in signing a confidentiality agreement if the agreement and the 93 accuser’s unchallenged and unproven affidavit gets leaked to the press anyway?

One also wonders if this information, which was suppose to be under seal, was leaked to gain points in a PR war where the prosecution looks like they are flailing in the “case”, trying to find something to hang their hats on. Is there any evidence at all in this current “case” and could this have been the reason for the leak?

Apparently, Jackson’s team is trying to confirm if this is even the actual (final?) settlement document. But what if this isn’t? No doubt Dimond’s credibility would be shot to hell…as if it could get any worse than it already is.

She would, at the very least, be embarrassed beyond belief. This leak factor was not lost on most of the panel last night (June.15.2004) on Greta van Sustren’s On The Record. Guest {tag Ted Williams} outright said this was leaked intentionally to “poison” the possible jury:

Well, you know the question is why is it leaking out right now. I think it is leaking out to poison, hopefully, the jury pool in this case. And I have some problems with it.
 
On the other hand, the question is will it be admissible even in this case and I really don’t think it’s gonna be admissible.
 
And by the way, the guy who got all of this money is in New York from what I understand. And it is certainly questionable as to whether they’re gonna get him out in California to testify. (see video)

Bernie Grimm brings up the fact that this document is supposed to be sealed and no one should have their hands on it in the first place in order to leak it to anyone in the media:

You know this thing opens up a legal hornet’s nest on so many questions, you don’t even know where to start, where to stop. Well one thing that troubles me is that this is a sealed settlement. It should be in no one’s hands.

{tag Jayne Weintraub}, as well, was troubled by the timing of this leak. She also says that the defense could be the one to bring in information about this settlement to show a money motive for the current accusers:

I’m very troubled. Obviously, the leak is not happening from Jackson’s camp. But I think, A, it will be admissible as cross-examination in court.
 
It will be used to explore the bias and the motivations for the kid that’s testifying. Remember who represents this child that’s in the present indictment. One of the benefactors of that $15M lawsuit was a $7M alleged fee to the lawyer who now represents the mom and the present accuser. So it raises my eyebrows.
 
And will the prosecutor of Michael Jackson’s case initiate an investigation [into who leaked the document]? I seriously doubt it.

Can the document be traced back to the source from wince it came and can legal action then be taken as a result? That is assuming this is even the actual document and not a ‘fabulous fake’ designed to make a fool out of certain members of the media.

There are only a handful of people who would have had access to it. So how, then, do the parties involved even know that they aren’t being watched or worse (better), being set up with this leak? This tempest in a teacup may continue to rage by a certain clique in the media. But at what cost? Will this leak end up backfiring spectacularly on those who meant it to do harm to Jackson?

Stay tuned.

-MJEOL

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