Judge Based Bail Reduction Denial on False Info? – MJEOL Bullet #203

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Judge Based Bail Reduction Denial on False Info? – MJEOL Bullet #203 Court documents dated September 10 2004 reveal that the judge in the Michael Jackson case may have based his denial for reduction of the unconstitutional $3M bail on faulty information.  The defense asked for a reduction in the bail amount on May 30 2004, sources say because it is a violation of Jackson’s rights, pure and simple.  With prosecutors and police trampling on this rights with regards to search warrants and personal property taken, its no wonder the defense doesn’t want to give an inch in the way of letting prosecutors get away with violating his rights.

Jackson’s attorneys have asked the judge to reconsider his denial of the reduction request.  The Appeals Court had previously remanded his original decision back to his court for further review.

In the defense’s Motion to Reconsider Defendant’s Motion for Bail Reduction (C. C . P 1008), they say that Judge Melville based his denial ruling on everything from what Jackson paid his previous attorney to the civil settlement over a decade ago.  They also state that the judge cited information that wasn’t even in the grand jury testimony for his decision.  From the motion:

The purported facts referenced by this Court’s order are not supported by the grand jury transcripts.  For instance, the Court referenced purported testimony that Mr. Jackson said he would join the Doe family in Brazil.  However, there is nothing in the grand jury transcripts that supports the statement that “[d]efendant said he would join them in Brazil ” (Order Denying Bail Reduction, page 2).  (see Motion to Reconsider Defendant’s Motion for Bail Reduction | pg 2)

Not only has this unchallenged information not proven to be true, but the judge threw in an extra allegation not testified to in court. Specifically, Melville said in his ruling on the bail issue “[d]efendant said he would join them in Brazil.” This is not true, according to court documents. Melville claimed there was testimony that Jackson said he would join the family in Brazil. As far as we can tell from the court documents, this is not even an allegation and it certainly wasn’t testified to during the grand jury. While the defense doesn’t outright call it ridiculous, they do say:

The Court’s order improperly assumes not only the allegations in the indictment to be true, but also allegations that are not in the indictment, and that did not sustain a finding of probable cause by the grand jury, to be true. (see Motion to Reconsider Defendant’s Motion for Bail Reduction | pg 2)

They say that other information exist which show these allegations are false and refutes what the accusing family testified to during the grand jury. Jackson’s attorneys also state that the court should allow them to present this evidence in court. The defense gets into detail, as much as they can, about what was and what wasn’t said during the grand jury proceedings. They state that nowhere in the transcripts does anyone say that Jackson was absolutely going to fly to Brazil either with or after the accusing family. As a matter of fact, despite the prosecution’s darnedest efforts, no one from the accuser’s family even implicated Jackson in this Brazil trip plan. They write:

Despite repeated attempts by the prosecution to prompt the Doe family into implicating Mr. Jackson, personally, in the alleged scheme to take them to Brazil, there is no evidence that Mr. Jackson had any involvement in such a plan. Furthermore, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Mr. Jackson personally planned to travel to Brazil at any time for any reason. (see Motion to Reconsider Defendant’s Motion for Bail Reduction | pg 5)

Again, the defense writes that there is sufficient evidence that demonstrates Jackson had never planned on going to Brazil either with or after the accusing family. They say the accuser’s sister actually testified to the grand jury that people, whose names were redacted, never told them that Jackson himself would be going with them to Brazil or definitely joining them later. This is a problem, of course, because the judge based his ruling on this info:

The sister of the complaining witness testified that Mr. [redacted] and Mr. [redacted] did not tell the Doe family that Mr. Jackson would be traveling with them to Brazil and that they said that “maybe later” he would join them. (RT 270:5-10.) The transcript reveals that the prosecution gave the complaining witness many opportunities to testify that Mr. Jackson was involved in the trip to Brazil, however, the complaining witness stated that he never discussed this alleged trip with Mr. Jackson. (RT 404:27-406:23.) (see Motion to Reconsider Defendant’s Motion for Bail Reduction | pg 5)

Remember all of the nonsense being reported about this alleged Brazil trip and how there was a plan to get rid of the accuser’s family? Well it seems the facts don’t support what was being reported. And Jackson’s defense team may want a chance to prove that in court. Jackson’s security guard also testified in front of the grand jury. He said that there was no such planned trip for Jackson, and had there been, he certainly would have been informed of it. From the defense’s motion:

Furthermore, Mr. Jackson’s security guard testified that it was Mr. [redacted] and Mr. [redacted] who mentioned Brazil. (RT 581:22-26; 995:12-17.) He also testified that no one ever told him that Mr. Jackson was going to Brazil and that he would have known if Mr. Jackson was making such a trip. (RT 582:6-19.) (see Motion to Reconsider Defendant’s Motion for Bail Reduction | pg 5)

The defense says any evidence of any Brazil trip is so flimsy that the indictment doesn’t even contain an allegation of Jackson planning or even intended on gong anywhere, let alone Brazil. From the motion:

Even the highly incredible testimony of the Doe family does not go as far as to claim that Mr. Jackson actually spoke with them about the trip to Brazil, let alone that he personally told them that he would be joining them. In fact, there is evidence to the contrary. (See RT 270:5-10; RT 404:27-406:23). The evidence of any involvement in the trip to Brazil by Mr. Jackson was so flimsy that the indictment itself does not contain any allegations that Mr. Jackson intended, planned, or was even aware of the alleged plan to send the Doe family to Brazil. (see Motion to Reconsider Defendant’s Motion for Bail Reduction | pg 6)

__Prosecution Self-note # 1: Use 1993 Only When It’s Convenient__ The prosecution only seems to want to invoke the 1993 investigation when it’s convenient: when getting search warrants, when talking grand jurors into handing down an indictment, when publicly tainting the jury pool, etc. Melville used the 1993 investigation to argue against bail reduction in his decision as well. This, of course, does not make sense since there were no charges brought against Jackson in that case nor was an indictment handed down against him; this being before the law changed in California. The defense makes it known that the current DA failed to prove Jackson guilty of anything in relation to 1993. As you know, there were no charges or indictment then. There was not even a “case” considering there was zero evidence of any wrongdoing, sources say. Outside of using it to get search warrants in this case, prosecutors even used speculation about what would have happened in the ‘93 investigation to convince grand jurors to hand down an indictment in this “case”. Jackson’s defense team says that it’s inappropriate for the judge to consider or even “assume charges that were rejected by two separate grand juries to be true.” One cannot consider the settlement of a civil suit as a means to reject bail now. Jackson’s attorneys state that lawsuits cause damage to public reputations, let alone lawsuits like the one filed in 1993. They also say Jackson certainly would have been vindicated then:

Like any entertainer who makes his living in the public eye, Mr. Jackson had to consider the damage to his reputation that would have been caused by a public civil lawsuit, no matter how baseless the allegations. Even though he would have been entirely vindicated by such a proceeding, that vindication would have come [at] tremendous cost to his public image. His decision to settle that case is not a valid basis for setting bail in the present case. (see Motion to Reconsider Defendant’s Motion for Bail Reduction | pg 6-7)

According to court documents–as written about in MJEOL Bullet #196: “Prosecutors Used 1993 Investigation to Get Search Warrants”—the defense has been trying to get discovery (information) from prosecutors about the ’93 investigation at least since January 2004 when Mark Geragos was still Jackson’s attorney. It is prosecutors who have been stalling by claiming they aren’t sure if they’re going to use the ’93 investigation. This is very disingenuous because they have already used it. It’s already a part of this case. Prosecutors and police even used old layouts of Neverland from ’93 when raiding Jackson’s home in November 2003. In Exhibit A as referenced in the defense’s Motion to Compel, Jackson’s lawyers cited an interview with the Santa Barbara News-Press dated Dec 3 2003. In that interview, Sneddon is quoted as saying there are 5 boxes of material gathered during the 1993 investigation. From the News-Press article:

“Mr. Sneddon, who has been elected county district attorney six times, added that his decision to try the case himself came in part because he is so familiar with the five boxes of transcripts and evidence gathered in that first criminal investigation. The evidence includes photographs, statements from employees and items recovered by detectives in search of Mr. Jackson’s Neverland Valley Ranch and a home in Encino. (see Motion to Compel | pg 12)

Either he was lying to the media in an effort to taint the jury pool or he’s dragging his feet purposely by not handing over these alleged 5 boxes of info…that is, if they even exist. The question then becomes why aren’t they eager to hand-over this information to the defense? They had so much “evidence”, according to media reports right? Right?? Wrong. The stalling behavior could be because of the exculpatory evidence they also found during the 1993 investigation. This exonerating information was cited in the defense’s Motion to Compel as “reports, transcripts, witness statements and other materials from the prior investigation”:

The prosecution has relied on information from the prior investigation in this case. Moreover, in view of the scope and result of the prior investigation, materials in the possession of law enforcement likely contain or will lead to exculpatory evidence. (see Motion to Compel)

No doubt there were numerous witnesses who testified during the 1993 grand juries in Jackson’s favor. There may have been actual evidence showing that it was in fact an extortion plot gone wrong since Jackson’s PI and at least one bodyguard testified then, according to reports. What made matters worse for prosecutors is that the description the 1993 accuser gave of Jackson’s body did not match, despite prosecution mouthpieces trying to publicly rewrite history. As reported in a January 28 1994 article from The Herald (Glasgow), “Police photographs my save Jackson”:

The source, who asked to remain anonymous, said the photographs did not tally with a description given to police by a 14-year old boy who accused Jackson in a civil suit of sexually abusing him. …The source said the description the youth gave of Jackson’s genitalia turned out to be at variance with photographs a Judge ordered police to have taken. “The pictures simply didn’t match the boy’s description,” said the source. (see Police photographs may save Jackson (Jan 28 94) – The Herald)

This was also reported in at least two other articles from the Hamilton Spectator (Ontario, Canada) and USA Today, both dated January 28 1994: “Jackson photos will clear him, source says; Settlement didn’t end probe” (Hamilton Spectator) and “Photos may contradict Michael’s Accuser” (USA Today). From the USA Today article:

An unidentified source told Reuters news service Thursday that photos of Michael Jackson’s genitalia do not match descriptions given by the boy who accused the singer of sexual misconduct. If so, this could weaken any possible criminal actions against the singer. (see Photos may contradict Michael’s accuser (Jan 28 1994) – USA Today)

So what does all of this have to do with Jackson’s bail? Nothing, which is what the defense is pointing out. It seems “odd”, say some observers, that the judge wouldn’t just lower the bail amount since it is unconstitutional to base a person’s bail on how much money they have; especially in the face of behavior by Jackson that shows he is definitely NOT fleeing the country. Will the defense be allowed to present their evidence in court? We will know soon enough. Stay tuned. -MJEOL

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