Sneddon Stifling Speech & Lying to the Media about it? – Bullet #168

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Sneddon Stifling Speech & Lying to the Media about it? – MJEOL Bullet #168 Just when you thought the prosecution in the Michael Jackson “case” couldn’t look any more ridiculous, comes word out of Canada that the current district attorney of Santa Barbara may have been caught breaking the gag order in the Michael Jackson “case”, then later lying about it. Tom Sneddon, speaking at the National District Attorneys Association(NDAA) Summer conference in Vancouver, admitted to a number of things that now warrant further investigation and discipline from a higher authority. Veteran journalist for The Globe and Mail, Robert Matas, witnessed Sneddon breaking the gag order by talking about the case, admitting to sending out letters telling people they were witnesses in the case to keep them off TV, and who knows what else. Then allegedly lying about what he did to the media—namely to AP reporter Linda Deutsch. Matas, in an article posted on The Globe and Mail website July 21 2004, writes that he was surprised at the kind of statements Sneddon made at the conference. The remarks were made at the conference during a closed-door meeting with other district attorneys around the nation. Sneddon was on a discussion panel in which the DAs discussed how to deal with the media in high-profile cases. Sneddon, according to the NDAA program, was involved in at least 3 different panel discussions. The discussion about high profile cases was scheduled on Tuesday July 20 2004. It included Sneddon, James Brazelton, the DA from Modesto, CA, Robert Horan (Fairfax, VA) and Geoffrey Gaul (Criminal Justice Branch, Victoria). According to the information about that panel discussion:

…Panelist will address the prosecutor’s responsibility to inform the public about crime-related problems in the community while experiencing and maintaining control over the shaping of public awareness and public opinion. (see program, pg 6)

“…exercising and maintaining control over the shaping of public awareness and public opinion.” That about says it all. Everything prosecutors have done in the Jackson “case” has been in an effort to maintain control over public opinion; mostly to the detriment of Jackson and starting with that joke of a press conference in which Sneddon publicly announced allegations against Jackson, noted that an arrest warrant has been issued against him, and allowed the sheriff to beg for more alleged “victims” to “come forward”. That “control” continued with the gag order, requested by the DA, and the secret grand jury–AFTER already arresting and charging Jackson. That “control” may be further illustrated with prosecutors sending out letters to people, partly or wholly, designed to shut them up and keep them from speaking to the media. In light of all the cry-baby whining media attorneys have been doing, it looks like prosecutors were involved in cutting off media access to some people who may not even be called at trial in this “case” (if it makes it that far). Where’s the whining about the prosecutor’s behavior? Why aren’t the media attorneys fighting for the first amendment rights of these people? *the sound of crickets* Appearing on The Abrams Report July 21 2004, Matas says the prosecutors were there in informal attire. He also says each one was allotted time to talk about their high-profile case:

ABRAMS: So put this into context for us. What was he speaking about when he made these comments? MATAS: Well, it was a summer conference for District Attorney‘s Association. It was a very informal affair. It was about 200 district attorneys. They were there in their jeans and shorts and T-shirts. It was a panel on how to deal with the media in high-profile cases and there were some other prosecutors that were also on the panel and his area for the time that he was allotted was to speak about the Michael Jackson case and how he handled it. (see article at forum or at site)

Matas, who was there because a prosecutor from a Canadian case was on the panel as well, confirms that Sneddon did admit to sending out letters to people claiming to call them as witnesses at trial in order to keep them off TV. In Matas’s Globe and Mail article, he writes:

Mr. Sneddon also strongly advised them to obtain court orders prohibiting those involved in the case from speaking publicly. “We sent letters to some people saying we intended to call them as witnesses in order to keep them off TV,” he frankly admitted. (see article at forum or at site)

In a reply to this report, Sneddon called up the Associated Press (AP) to dispute Matas’s article. He claims his comments were taken out of context and that he thought no press would be covering the event (see article). Yeah, I bet he didn’t think his remarks would see the light of day. Matas says he researched for other public comments made by Sneddon to see if he had ever said anything like the things he said at the conference. He says that Sneddon went so far as to compare/contrast the way the media reported the allegation story in 1993 and today:

MATAS: The context in which it came up was he talking about—he started the first time around when—I guess in 1993 when he investigated Michael Jackson. He said the media was different. The media always waited for—the mainstream media at that time second sources before they would come out with something. And now they‘ll just do what they have to do to be first. This is his perception, what he was saying. And then he started talking about defense lawyers and saying defense lawyers were going on TV every night talking about things that, as the prosecutor, he felt he had an ethical responsibility to the case and he couldn‘t respond. So he modeled this gag order to try and control things and level out the playing field. (see transcript at forum)

Pay close attention to the amount of detail being given by Matas. So it’s quite clear that Sneddon was in fact discussing this case. Even going so far as to explain about how he “modeled” the gag order to silence people from talking about the case! Continuing to report about what Sneddon said at the conference in regards to what he’s done in the Jackson “case”, Matas says:

MATAS: …And he said he wanted the gag order to apply not just to the defense lawyers, but to the people that are involved on the defense team. The witnesses and anyone else who‘s going to comment with inside information, with the evidence, the contents that he wouldn‘t be able to respond to. (CROSSTALK) MATAS: And that‘s when he came out with this statement that he sent some letters out to some people.

This coincides with what attorney Russ Halpern said months ago. Halpern says Sneddon, in a “disingenuous” attempt to shut him up, sent a letter to him claiming he would be a witness in this case. We reported in MJEOL Bullet #73 that Halpern appeared on Court TV’s Crier Live Jan 27 2004 talking about this issue. On that show, Halpern says:

“I was told by him [Sneddon] that he thought that I might be a potential witness because I may be an impeaching witness.” (hear audio)

This begs the question: for whom would Halpern be an impeaching witness if he has no first-hand knowledge about anything regarding this alleged molestation “case”? It does look as though Sneddon was trying to get Halpern covered under the gag order. Halpern and his client, the accuser’s father, was dropping bombshell after bombshell concerning background information about the accuser’s family. We learned that this family had been involved in a prior domestic dispute where Child Services were called in to investigate. When Child Services Workers (CSW) initially came to interview the children, the mother wasn’t there. The children admitted that their father never abused them or their mother. When CSW came back for another interview, this time with the mother present, suddenly the children told tales of being beaten, abused, and threatened by the father. The accuser’s sister even claimed that the father kicked her so hard, that he broke her tail bone. This was all documented. Those docs were obtained and posted online by Celebrity Justice (See LA County DCFS Report; see State of California Health and Welfare Agency Report). What this could speak to is a pattern of behavior (no pun intended) whereas the children tell one story, while away from the watchful eye of the mother. Then they suddenly make all sorts of allegations at her direction and while under her watchful eye. Knowing this information would cover the father being called as a witness, but certainly not his attorney. Thus, Halpern says he has been intimidated by Sneddon in an effort to keep him off TV and away from the media’s grasp. In an AP article about this story, reporter Linda Deutsch spoke with Halpern who had some incredibly damaging things to say about the way he’s been treated by the prosecution:

Halpern said he was considering a lawsuit against Sneddon for violating his First Amendment rights. “I have a lot of things I could say and I haven’t voiced them because I’ve actually been intimidated to some degree,” he said. “I felt all along that he was (disingenuous) when he sent me a letter saying I was a potential witness. His real interest was to stymie any comments made about his case.” (see article)

Halpern says that this sort of behavior is a violation and the California state bar should investigate this situation. Speaking of which, Sneddon is currently already being investigated by the CA State Bar in relation to another attorney, Art Montandon, of which Sneddon may have tried to railroad and prosecute, while trying to destroy his credibility (see article). Who knows who else may have received intimidating letters from the DAs office telling them they may be a potential witness at trial in an effort to shut them up. Who knows who else may have been threatened or intimidated by prosecutors or police. One thing’s for sure, he damn sure didn’t send a letter to Diane Dimond because her mouth—with her “highly placed” sources—has been wide-open since she was lying in wait with a camera crew for police to show up to ransack Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in Nov 2003 (see article). She also had COURT SEALED documents about the 93 settlement agreement mysteriously leaked to her as well. She may be sued or forced to testify in court as to who gave her this information. Where’s her letter? More important, if the 93 “case” will be involved in this current “case”, the former sheriff of Santa Barbara, Jim Thomas, should have also received a letter from his buddy Sneddon a long time ago. Yet, Thomas has been allowed to spin and explain-away various damaging stories as a Jackson-case analyst for MSNBC. No letter for him either?? Investigator Bill Dworin, also involved in the 93 “case”, has been allowed to spew all sorts of illogical and untrue information via programs like Entertainment Tonight. Where’s his letter? Got lost in the mail? I don’t think so. According to Matas, at the meeting, Sneddon also recommended that other DAs hire public relations firms if they’re involved in high-profile cases. The PR firm working with Sneddon is Tellem Worldwide, who, itself, has had ties to people who were involved in the 1993 “case”. Sneddon claims they aren’t being paid for their services, but rather are volunteering their services. Yeah….ok. Could the DA be lying about the real role of his PR firm? Who knows. The DA’s PR firm has come under major suspicion recently for a number of leaks and unproven stories circulating throughout the media. One of these stories involved a leak to ABC News regarding a prosecution theory that Jackson paid-off the alleged “co-conspirators” (HA!) to be involved in this “crime”. That report was ripped to shreds by Fox News reporter Roger Friedman (of all people). He says ABC was the victim of erroneous information. He says his sources have told him that not only was the story untrue, but that there are documents to prove it:

ABC reported this morning that five Jackson employees, who may be named as co-conspirators in his child molestation case, received huge payouts from Jackson to watch the family of Jackson’s accuser…. Not only is this untrue, my sources said, but it is completely documented to not have happened. Here’s what they told me happened. (see article)

Prosecutors lying to the media? Oh say it ain’t so! Looks like it may be, if a number of people are to be believed. And Sneddon may be trying to pull a fast one now by claiming he didn’t say what reporter Robert Matas is reporting he said. Why is Sneddon now claiming that his words were taken out of context by Matas? Is Sneddon lying? If so, is it on purpose and on his own accord? Or was this move recommended by his PR firm? At the very least, he has broken the gag order after discussing the “case” for which he secured a gag order. What is Matas’s response to Sneddon’s denial; all but calling Matas a liar? He spoke to Santa Maria Times reporter Steve Corbett. In an article dated July 25 2004, Matas stands by his story and even offers more information about just what happened. Matas says he is planning to call the DA’s PR firm for a follow-up story he’s doing and insists that his story is accurate. The following is from Corbett’s article:

Matas also insisted that his Sneddon story is correct. “It’s definitely accurate,” said the 57 year old reporter, who has worked in journalism more than 30 years. “My notes are accurate. I was sitting there and taking notes as he spoke.” Matas said Sneddon was introduced as the prosecutor of the Jackson case and during his appearance related several anecdotes about the case. (see article)

So Sneddon was definitely talking about the case, in direct violation of the gag order. To further knock a hole in the DA’s denial, Matas tells the Santa Maria Times that he even asked Sneddon a follow-up question about the Jackson case:

The reporter said he even spoke to Sneddon after the panel discussion ended and that Sneddon answered a follow-up question about the Jackson case. “I went up and asked him what he was most surprised about,” Matas said. “He said that he’s been accused of doing this in revenge.” “Prosecuting Jackson?” I asked. “Yeah,” Matas said. “So he actually answered your specific question about the Jackson case?” “Yeah,” Matas said.

Unbelievable. It has always been that mouth of his that has been his worst enemy. To quote him from an earlier apology he had to make for his behavior in this “case”: “I should have just shut-up”. Yeah. But it’s nice to know how these prosecutors really behave in this “case”. On top of this, Sneddon will be forced to testify in August in the Jackson “case” where he and his “henchmen” were involved in illegal search and seizure, lying on search warrants, intimidating witnesses, and a slew of other actions that can only be labeled as misconduct. Isn’t he supposed to be on an Alaskan vacation anyway? Did he mention to the judge in the case that he’d be speaking on a discussion panel about high-profile cases? I doubt it. Did he think he would get caught defying the court’s gag order (at the very least)? Probably not. How many more people will began to speak out about being intimidated and forced to keep quiet? Let’s all stay tuned. -MJEOL

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