Part3: Fireworks as Kent takes on Crier, Dimond a No-show –MJEOL Bullet #188 Mysteriously, Crier Live wasn’t shown today (Aug 30). But there were fireworks in part 3 of tabloid reporter Diane Dimond’s report, which aired August 27, trying to destroy Marc Schaffel and link his past with Michael Jackson. Again, there was more questionable information from Us Weekly’s Ian Drew, whose involvement was discussed in MJEOL Bullet #187. Drew claims Schaffel was a kingpin of sorts in Jackson’s organization. Sources say nothing could be farther from the truth.

As a way to convict Jackson of some imagined behavior, Schaffel was used to create a story where there is none. Catherine Crier also seemed to run so fast from it that you’d think Dimond’s report was the plague.

In this part, we got more from scorned wanna-be-insider Ian Drew. In the report, Dimond claims Drew has interviewed Jackson numerous times. Drew, who used to work for the tabloid The Globe, took it upon himself to level a number of unconfirmed, unfounded and questionable claims against Jackson’s associates. He also brings Jackson attorney Mark Geragos into the fray; at one point, claiming that Geragos was in contact with Schaffel during the time when an alleged “conspiracy” was on-going. Tale of the “tapes”? Drew also talks of 8 audiotapes that Schaffel allegedly recorded containing phone conversations with him and Jackson. Now, he doesn’t give any stipulations to this information. To hear him tell it, he has first-hand knowledge of these alleged tapes:

DREW: He has a shoebox hidden away of 8 audiotapes of his phone conversations with Michael Jackson. Michael, he said, was not—didn’t know he was being taped when this was happening. DIMOND: If I’m not mistaken, that’s illegal in the state of California. Both parties have to know they’re being taped. DREW: Um hum. And from what I have heard, Marc said explicitly that Michael didn’t know he was being taped.

And here comes Dimond again with the out of the blue speculation with absolutely nothing to base the insinuations on:

DIMOND: What is on those tapes? Did Michael Jackson incriminate himself? Were they recorded with blackmail in mind? And did the authorities find those tapes when they raided Schaffel’s house in February of this year [2004]?

One, she doesn’t know whether or not any tapes exist. Two, she wouldn’t know when they were recorded or what’s on the tapes. Three, she has no way of knowing if prosecutors seized audiotapes of Jackson at Schaffel’s house, if they ever existed in the first place. Quite frankly, given the constant leaks from law enforcement and prosecutors, if incriminating tapes ever existed, they would have already been leaked to the media months ago. Hey, it’s not my report…. The real fireworks started after the report aired. Dimond was mysteriously absent, which left Crier to make excuses and defend the shoddy and misleading report to a friend of Schaffel’s. Norm Kent appeared on the August 27 show and criticized the 3 part series by Dimond; something Crier failed to do in any of the days the report was given airtime during her show. Kent ripped in to the report and its insinuations while Crier seemed to distance herself so far from the report, you’d have thought it was the plague. Kent, a Florida based attorney, says that Schaffel’s association with Jackson was for charitable projects and nothing more. He also outs, so to speak, Paul Barresi, one of Dimond’s main sources in her report. When asked what besides one charity was Schaffel doing around Jackson, Kent replies:

Well, you indicate one charity encounter and you rely on the individual Paul Barresi—the private investigator who the LA Times referred to as a classic Tinseltown hustler, and a bagman—to disparage Marc’s reputation. But in truth and in fact, if you had decided or elected to give this story another slant, you would have said that Michael Jackson met Marc Schaffel at an AmFAR AIDS benefit years ago. That they developed a friendship and last year at RFK stadium, raising almost $3M for victims of 9-11 they put on a concert that was attended by a wealth of celebrities. Many of whom Marc has had a business association, friendship, and relationship with.

Not quite the story Dimond told in her report, is it? And according to sources the association between Jackson and Schaffel was for charitable endeavors. He was far from the puppetmaster Dimond and Drew tried to claim he was. When Kent started talking about the charity work accomplished, and using the pronoun ‘you’ to describe Court TV, Crier didn’t want to hear it and started distancing herself. She says:

CRIER: Hold on, hold on! It’s fair for you to use the term ‘you’ for Court TV. But ‘you’ isn’t me because I’m not the investigative unit. I in fact am asking you about reporting done by the investigative unit.

It appears mighty peculiar that she didn’t have any non-fluff questions about the reporting when Dimond was on her show making asinine detractions and pulling lamebrain speculation out of thin air. Those who watched the program say that she didn’t show an interest in making sure the sources for Dimond’s story didn’t have anything to gain from being….uh, let’s just say…less-than-honest about the facts. And she continued to argue with Kent as if he were the one making accusations for which he had to defend. Yelling over Kent, she says, “Hold on! Hold on! We gotta have a little dialog here.” Only it didn’t appear as if she wanted to hear what Kent had to say. Kent tries to explain why he used the term “you” and she immediately cut-in, “There’s no point in talking about that…” So much for “dialog”, huh? The only dialog wanted seemed to be her attempting to distance and defend what some have called a “poor” report “based on discreditable sources.” The Resurrection of Mark Geragos… Mark Geragos’s name was brought up in the report Friday. Not to be outdone in the ridiculous department by his counterpart Dimond, the-man-who-would-be-a-Jackson-insider, Drew, resurrected an old rumor; namely that prosecutors claim that Geragos was involved in a crime by getting the accusing family’s statements on the record. And Drew, too, links Geragos to Marc Schaffel. These ill-informed, self-important “hacks”, as sources have referred to them, seem to want Schaffel to be the mastermind of some imagined scheme against the accusing family. Drew tells Dimond:

DIMOND: Who’s the boss? Who’s giving all the directions to them? DREW: Marc is. But Marc is on the phone with Mark Geragos. Remember, Marc is talking to Geragos. They’re all talking to Geragos. The triumvirate is sitting there talking with Geragos about everything. But at Marc’s house, it’s really the epicenter of the activity. (:camera see CrierLive: Pt3 Dimond trying to Destroy Marc Schaffel Aug 27 2004)

Unlike his conniving colleague, Drew doesn’t have sense enough to defame-proof his comments. He’s stating this information as if it is fact; as if he was a witness to these actions. He says, as if it’s a certainty, that Schaffel is giving the orders; that all of the prosecution-alleged “co-conspirators” are in contact with Mark Geragos about everything; and that Schaffel’s house is some sort of epicenter of illegal activity. Keep in mind, this information is coming from someone who has recently done interviews rabidly trying to convince the public that Jackson has fathered quadruplets–something we now know is a complete lie–which got Us Weekly into trouble with the tabloid they swiped the story from: the National Enquirer. So I guess, according to the daft duo, Geragos is the ringleader along with Schaffel? Some observers say this theory is beyond ridiculous. Dimond, not one to let an opportunity to speculate slip through her fingers, mixes Drew’s unconfirmed info with uncheckable rumors from her “highly placed sources”. She says of Geragos:

DIMOND: Several reliable and confidential sources have told Court TV’s investigative unit that the early actions of Mark Geragos may land him in hot water too someday. While Geragos is not one of the unindicted co-conspirators, law enforcement is reported to be contemplating whether to add him to the list.

Talk about sound and fury signifying nothing! If prosecutors wanted to drag Geragos into this situation—claiming that he has broken the law—sources say they would have done so by now. Geragos is certainly no shrinking violet, nor would he ever break the law for a client or stand for being accused of doing so. But by claiming allegations against Geragos, they put their own necks on the line, as the state bar doesn’t take too kindly to licensees alleging crimes by other licensees. This Geragos rumor seems to be brought up for the specific purpose of making the non-existent conspiracy charge more plausible. This is a futile endeavor, especially given that the accuser’s stepfather admitted in court, while under oath, that the family freely came to and left Neverland AFTER the prosecution’s flaws conspiracy timeline. This rumor was written about by Fox news Roger Friedman (of all people) in an article dated May 21 2004. A source close to Geragos said then that Sneddon is desperate enough to try something like that:

Sneddon apparently is interested in indicting Michael Jackson’s former attorney, Mark Geragos, on the conspiracy charges of kidnapping. Sneddon, in his zeal to convict Jackson, has totally bought the story from the mother of Jackson’s 14-year-old accuser that she and her children were held hostage by Jackson associates in February and March 2003. Sneddon’s office, citing the case’s gag order, declined to comment. Geragos did not return our call. But a Geragos insider told me: “I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s true. Sneddon is trying everything he can to get Michael. He wanted to make Mark a witness in the case if he could.” (see it here Jackson: A Geragos Indictment? (May 21 ’04) or at Fox website)

But the main question about this rumor is why would prosecutors be desperate enough to try to drag Geragos into this alleged “case” as a witness? Geragos was the attorney that ex-family attorney William Dickerman corresponded with when the accusing family claimed Jackson’s people stole ( ha!) their property and was still conspiring against them. Geragos also got statements from the accuser’s family, for documentation purposes, right during the time when they now claim to have been held hostage. Of that time, the Fox article states, there will be ample proof of no wrongdoing:

But kidnapping? Held against their will? There will be reams of testimony indicating that the mother did not want to leave Neverland, and that the possessions she claimed were missing amounted to very little, if anything.

So why the snide resurrection of this rumor at this point? Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who you ask) Dimond was an in-studio no-show that day on Crier’s show. Observers say if Sneddon dares to go down this route, he better be prepared to see just what kind of a ride the accusing family has taken him and his “henchmen” on, based on the tall tales they’ve been told. These lies no longer only affect Jackson, but a number of people who aren’t going to allow their reputations to be impugned, especially since neither of them, including Jackson, did nothing wrong. According to reports like Dimond’s and accounts like Drew’s, everybody is guilty of a conspiracy against the “poor little family”, including the hundreds of visitors, guests, media, lawyers, maids, cooks, bonded security guards, managers, and other employees who were in and out of Neveland during the prosecution’s timeline. If that’s the way the prosecution is going to court, sources say, they’re in for an excruciatingly rude awakening. There’s a reason why Dimond seems to be the only one allowed to cover the Jackson story for Court TV. With a network full of judges, lawyers, and other legal experts—some of which have been openly dubious about the charges against Jackson—it appears odd that Dimond is the only one that has covered the pre-trial hearings. She is not a lawyer, nor a legal expert, let alone a judge; and sources say she doesn’t even have a degree in journalism. Certainly no one is arguing Schaffel is a saint. Where the problem comes in is when Schaffel is purposely given a false sense of authority over Jackson’s business, and his seedy background is being used to falsely incriminate Jackson, by those who have zero knowledge of the situation; by those whose careers are dependant on Jackson being guilty; by those who wanted to be a part of the inner circle and didn’t make the cut; and by those shady characters who see this as an opportunity to further their delusions of grandeur. Stay tuned. -MJEOL

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