93 Settlement Was Not A Settlement for Molestation Claims MJEOL Bullet #166 Yesterday brought further clarification of the 1993 settlement agreement from the transcript of the July 9 2004 hearing in the Jackson case. It seems that the 93 settlement agreement wasnt as black and white as even we claimed. Initially, it looked as if Jackson had agreed to some unknown form of negligence not related to molestation. However, it turns out that he didnt even agree to that much. There was absolutely no agreement of anything whatsoever; not even negligence. In short, to call the 1993 settlement a molestation settlement agreement is erroneous and has no basis in fact at all. Jackson didnt settle the molestation claims against him, as reported earlier. They were dropped by the 93 accusers family, along with every other claim made against him. This is confirmed by the information found within the actual settlement agreement itself:
a. Forthwith upon the signing of this Confidential Settlement by the Parties hereto, the Minor, through his Guardian ad Litem in the Action and attorneys, shall dismiss, without prejudice, the first through sixth causes of action of the complaint on file with the Action, leaving only the seventh cause of action pending. (page 7)
The first through sixth cause of action of the complaint refer to the molestation and fraud charges. Those were dismissed against Jackson and are not even a part of this settlement. The seventh cause is the ambiguous non-molestation negligence claim. In the settlement agreement, comes this stipulation:
2. This Confidentiality Settlement shall not be construed as an admission by Jackson that he has acted wrongfully with respect to the Minor [93 accuser], Evan Chandler, or June Chandler, or any other person or at all, or that the Minor, Evan Chandler, or June Chandler have any rights whatsoever against Jackson. Jackson specifically disclaims any liability to, and denies any wrongful acts against, the Minor, Evan Chandler or June Chandler or any other person. The Parties acknowledge that Jackson is a public figure and that his name, image and likeness have commercial value and are an important element of his earning capacity. The Parties acknowledge that Jackson claims that he has elected to settle the claims in the Action in view of the impact the Action has had and could have in the future on his earning and potential income.
This was specifically placed in the agreement so that Jackson could maintain his innocence. The other language, which was throwing a number of people off, including us, is specific language used so that the insurance company could pay the settlement. Jacksons attorney, Tom Mesereau, told Judge Rodney Melville Jackson didnt agree to, or admit any wrongdoing whatsoever; not even to any negligence. The negligence language is present solely so that the insurance company can fund the settlement. And many lawyers, with common sense and who have actually read the agreement, have said that it is boilerplate language involving any insurance settlement claim. Mesereau tells the judge:
There was never any admission by Mr. Jackson that he ever did anything negligent or anything wrong at all. (see transcript)
So we now have further clarification about what the settlement agreement was, and was not. One thing is for sure: the media wasnt prepared for just how less guilty Jackson looks as a result of them getting their hands on this information. It is absolutely nothing like what the public has been lead to believe. MJEOL has written extensively about the settlement and Dimonds involvement (see article). Read my mind and shut-up If you remember, tabloid reporter Diane Dimond broke the story with the leaked court sealed settlement agreement papers. She initially claimed all kinds of nonsensical garbage ranging from things that were nowhere to be found in the documents, to the ridiculously illogical claim that Jackson admitted to negligently sexually molesting the 93 accuser. This was echoed by Dan Abrams (MSNBC) and a number of other people before they actually got to see the agreement for themselves and pointed out the mistakes in the initial reports. Mesereau says, during that hearing:
there was public comment in the media, again, about this 11 year old case to the effect that somehow he admitted to negligence, which was completely false. It was a technical legal way of settling a case so insurance companies could fund a settlement and he could get on with his personal life and his business life.
Melville, inexplicably, claimed that the statement Jackson released as a result of this defamatory reporting was a violation of the gag order. This is the statement Jackson released as a result of the 93 sealed court documents being given over to Dimond as if they were just regular sheets of paper:
I respect the obligation of confidentiality imposed on all of the parties to the 1993 proceedings. Yet, someone has chosen to violate the confidentiality of those proceedings. Whoever is now leaking this material is showing as much disrespect for the Santa Maria Courts gag order as they are a determination to attack me. No action or investigation has been taken to determine who is leaking this information or why they are permitted to violate the law in such a manner. I respectfully request that people see these efforts for what they are. These kinds of attacks and leaks seek to try the case in the press, rather than to a jury who will hear all of the evidence that will show that I did not, and would not, ever, harm a child. I have always maintained my innocence and vehemently denied that these events ever took place. I reluctantly chose to settle the false claims only to end the terrible publicity and to continue with my life and career. I ask all of my neighbors in Santa Maria, the people to whom I give my loyal trust and admiration, to keep an open mind and give me a chance to show that I am completely innocent of these charges. I will not let you down. (original statement once posted at Jacksons official website)
Whats more interesting about this situation is that he didnt even so much as give the media, or Dimond, a public reprimand for this. He didnt encourage any investigations as to who leaked the sealed court documents either, but he did blast Jackson for responding to the nonsense that, as far as we know, has nothing to do with the current case. Mesereau told the judge:
I dont believe that the Courts gag order precludes Mr. Jackson from commenting on an 11 year old civil settlement. He has been involved in other civil cases as well, and I do not believe your gag order, and please correct me if Im wrong. As I read it, it does not preclude him from talking about other cases hes been in in his lifetime.
As a matter of fact, the defense says theyve repeatedly asked the prosecution if they plan to introduce anything from the 93 case into this current case, under the alleged similar facts law, and prosecutors have not notified them of this. So that would mean Jackson can or should be free to openly speak about the 93 case. If prosecutors havent made plans and informed the defense that theyre going to bring in information from the 93 case, then Jackson couldnt possibly have broken the gag order right? Not according to Melvilles reasoning. He claimed that Jackson, by addressing the community, broke the gag order. This may be yet another ridiculous ruling, just like his initial ruling about the $3M bail. On the bail issue, Mesereau took it to the Appeals Court and they ruled that the judge has to show why he hasnt lowered Jacksons bail. In their ruling, the Appeals Court even cited case law to Melville. Hes expected to make a ruling about the bail on July 27 2004. But I digress. Melville, as of this writing, still insists that Jackson broke the gag order without stating specifically how he did so if the 93 case has yet to be introduced into this current case. Some say prosecutors either arent being forthcoming about what they plan to do with the 93 “case” or are lying through their teeth to the judge. Mesereau says that the leaking of the 93 settlement agreement to Dimond was an obvious attempt to prejudice the potential jurors in this case. In the following statement from the transcript, Mesereau speaks about Auchincloss, a prosecutor, claiming that Jacksons statement is related to this current case:
And Mr. Auchincloss has attempted to suggest that these statements all related to this case, and that is untrue. I can go through them one by one and show the Court how they relate to that 93 case where he also denied any wrongdoing with respect to any alleged act of child sexual assault or molestation.
The Court hasnt even ruled on whether or not anything from the 93 case will be admitted into this current case yet, but Melville claims Jacksons attorney is missing the point. Melville says that if information from the 93 case is asked to be admitted by prosecutors, he will rule on it at that time; and it could come in if he decides to let it in. Interesting. But some observers say its Melville who has missed the point. Let me look into my crystal ball I see other cases I cant talk about As of the release of Jacksons statement, the 93 case is NOT a part of this case, and Jackson shouldnt be bashed for breaking the gag order by responding to jury-tainting lies by a tabloid reporter doing her best to help railroad him into prison. It seems thats the point Jacksons attorneys were trying to make. You cant warn someone about breaking the gag order in regards to something that isnt even a part of the current case. That would be like asking Jackson and his attorneys to be psychic; mystically divining what prosecutors will and wont bring in while changing how they respond in kind. Thats ridiculous. And its especially difficult when prosecutors have been asked repeatedlybefore Jackson released that statementif they were going to introduce information about the 93 case. Either its in or its not. Either prosecutors asked for it or they did not. If this is the standard, Jackson wouldnt be able to talk about any other case hes been involved in for fear that the judge will claim hes breaking the gag order. He wouldnt be able to respond to, for example, the case against Victor Gutierrez that he won. Gutierrez was one of Diane Dimonds sources from 10 years ago, and the creator of a horrendously false story propagated throughout the media by Dimond. He was sued by Jackson. Jackson won and Gutierrez was ordered to pay Jackson $2M. Instead, he filed for bankruptcy, then fled the country. There was another case involving an alleged wrongful termination of security guards who claimed they knew too much allegedly about Jackson and the 93 accuser. They sued Jackson and the case was later thrown out of court. There was yet another case where the 93 accusers father, Evan Chandler, sued Jackson, again, claiming that he broke the confidentiality agreement. He wanted Jackson to pay him more money and even wanted Jackson to produce a CD for him called EVANstory. Ridiculous. The portion against other defendants dragged into that lawsuit was thrown out of court AND the arbitrator used to decide the portion against Jackson sided with Jackson and against Chandler (see Jackson Scores Court Win – E!Online). All this to say that maybe the judge in this case shouldnt expect Jackson to just know what prosecutors plan to do and censor himself accordingly. And given the fact that the media has shown that they cant be trusted to report an accurate story even when they get their hands on the informationas with the 93 settlement papersit would seem that if gag order reprimands are to be given, they should be given all-around. As for the 93 case information coming in, should a judge try to protect the prosecutors options, when they themselves havent so much as informed the defense as to what theyre going to bring in or not? Is Melville trying to do the right thing? Or is he trying to protect the prosecutors in this case? Time will tell. -MJEOL