Fmr. Sheriff Allowed to Taint Jury Pool by Judge? MJEOL Bullet #195 In late news yesterday (September 10 2004), the judge in the Michael Jackson case has essentially allowed the former sheriff of Santa Barbara, Jim Thomas, to continue to taint the potential jury pool by refusing to hold a hearing to decide whether he should fall under the gag order in the case.
Thomas, who is currently an analyst for NBC, recently appeared on a defamatory Dateline NBC report in which he claimed there was evidence against Jackson in 1993. He, however, provided zero evidence or documentation speaking to the allegation. He is also a source regarding an alleged $2M settlement in 1990. Again, he provided zero documentation or other evidence speaking to that allegation either.
Thomas was the sheriff in 1993 and is a crony of Tom Sneddon, according to sources. While he clearly should fall under the gag order, the judge has refused to hold a hearing on the matter. According to a report from the AP dated September 10 2004, the judge has declined to hold a hearing on the matter:
Jackson’s lawyers filed a motion earlier this week saying former Sheriff Jim Thomas has spoken to news organizations about information that was filed under seal or subject to the gag order. The attorneys said the information was “uniquely available” to the sheriff’s department. The judge said the defense didn’t demonstrate that either prosecutors or the current sheriff was responsible for “the regrettable statements of former Sheriff Thomas.” (see Judge Rejects Hearing On Jackson Gag Order (Sept 10 04) – AP)
Apparently, not regrettable enough. If you remember, Judge Rodney Melville jumped down Jacksons throat when he released a statement in defense of erroneous reports from Diane Dimond concerning the 1993 Settlement Agreement. The defense stated in their Ex Parte Application for Leave to File Under Seal that they were concerned about the leaking of information uniquely available to the Santa Barbara Sheriffs Department. They note:
Repeatedly, former Santa Barbara Sheriff, Jim Thomas, has been cited as a source of information that is either under seal or subject to this courts protective order. It is public information that Mr. Thomas participated in an investigation of Mr. Jackson during 1993-1994. (see Ex Parte Application for Leave to File Under Seal Mr. Jackson’s Application for an OSC Re Sanctions for Violation of this Court’s Protective Order)
Despite asking the many violations of the gag order by Thomas, prosecutors didnt so much as respond to the defenses question of whether or not their ole buddy Thomas should be gagged:
The prosecution has not responded to inquiry regarding whether Mr. Thomas is bound by the protective order.
The defense filed the motion, stamped Sept 7 2004, in response to the rather obvious leakage of information from the sheriffs department. Remember, the Attorney Generals letter to the sheriff was also leaked to the press beforehand as well. So sheriffs deputies certainly arent new to leaking information. The defense says that they have instances of public statements that clearly show Thomas was getting information from the sheriffs department:
As a result of recent public commentary by Mr. Thomas, it is incumbent upon defense counsel to bring the matter to this Courts attention. Toward that end, we are filing an application for an order to show cause. That application refers to public statements of Mr. Thomas that indicate he is receiving information from the sheriffs department and revealing that information on television and to the print media.
But apparently those who further prosecution lies and theoriesespecially those who were actually involved in the 1993 case–are allowed free reign to do so by Melville. This is the same judge who gave Tom Sneddon a free pass for breaking the gag order when he appeared on a discussion panel talking about the case at a National district attorneys conference in Canada. He is also the one that has refused to lower Jacksons unconstitutional $3M bail. The decision is made further questionable because of Thomass proximity to the 1993 investigation and the position of Thomas during that investigation. Allegedly, prosecutors will try to bring in information from the 1993 investigation; either that, or theyve been bluffing for the past few months. So, one of the people who should be subpoenaed is the sheriff who oversaw the ransacking of Jacksons Neverland ranch during that time: Jim Thomas. Melvilles decision was based on the fact that Thomas is no longer working for the sheriffs department. However, Mark Geragos and Ben Brafmanwho are no longer Jacksons attorneysremain gagged even though they are no longer a part of this case. The sheer ridiculousness of the hypocrisy is what seems to be stumping a number of observers; one of them admitting, If youre going to gag one, then they should all be gagged. The secrecy is maddening, but there should be even-handedness as well. Further, Thomas claims that hes never talked to Sneddon about this case. He is quoted as recently saying I don’t talk to the Sheriff’s Department regarding the case. I don’t talk with Tom Sneddon regarding the case. Apparently, he seems to be as talented in lying as he is in disseminating information. This is not what he said on the Today Show which aired December 19 2003. He said then:
MATT LAUER: Jim, does the timing bother you at all? THOMAS: No, I don’t think so. I talked to Tom about it at some length after the–the interview, basically, from Los Angeles occurred. And he said that yesterday in his news conference that that’s what that was. It really wasn’t an investigation. It was an interview. He feels comfortable with the case regardless of that Los Angeles memo. (see Today Show: December 19, 2003 – Jim Thomas)
Clintonian distinctions aside, its quite clear at some point, hes spoken to these people about the case. Thomas has also made it very clear that he thinks Jackson is guilty, as evidenced by his comments which aired on the Today show January 19 2004. The judge claims that releasing too much information could prejudice the potential jurors. However, he seems to have no problem when prosecutors and prosecution sympathizers break the gag order and spout unproven lies from 1993. Some observers of this case say that if the prosecution would have asked the judge to gag a person who was speaking about the case in a pro-defense way, the judge would have certainly extended the gag order to cover that person. Thomas, as of now, is left to spout all forms of unfounded, uncorroborated nonsense with no repercussions. But could this really be a plus for Jacksons defense team? Thomas has already made some incredible statements about this case which totally contradict what other prosecution-apologists have said. Not to mention, to try to further untrue information. Stay tuned. -MJEOL :check Your comments