Personal Vendetta Will Get Sneddon Tossed from Prosecuting Jackson? – MB #208

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Personal Vendetta Will Get Sneddon Tossed from Prosecuting Jackson? – MJEOL Bullet #208 In the defense’s Motion for Recusal of the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office, Michael Jackson’s lawyers say that the DA’s office has a conflict of interest which will make it “unlikely that Mr. Jackson will receive a fair trial.” Many observers of the “case” do agree that district attorney Tom Sneddon is too personally involved in this case; so much so that he may be blinded by a personal vendetta to fully understand the difference between ‘justice’ and what is his own vindictiveness. Jackson’s lawyers say that the current DA is so “blinded by his zeal” to prosecute Jackson that he has been involved in some of the most ridiculous behavior ever executed by a district attorney. They say that faced with retirement and a complete failure to prosecute Jackson in ’93, Sneddon “renewed his campaign against Mr. Jackson” after the Bashir documentary. The law on recusing a DA is as follows:

(1) a conflict of interest must exist and (2) the conflict must be “so grave as to render it unlikely that [the] defendant will receive fair treatment during all portions of the criminal proceedings” People v Griffin 33 Cal. App. 4th 536, 569 (2003) (citation omitted). (see Defense Motion to Recuse Santa Barbara District Atty pg 25 | pg 29 of .pdf file)

Astonishingly, the defense reveals that the original officer assigned to the case determined that there wasn’t any misconduct on Jackson’s part in their first, two-month investigation into this very allegation in 2003. If you remember, the sheriff’s notes, along with the accuser’s accusations, were leaked to NBC’s Mike Taibbi earlier this year. Sneddon was essentially forced to abandon this first investigation in 2003 for lack of evidence, according to the defense—which is backed up by these sheriff’s notes. The defense writes in their motion that Sneddon pursued this family and a “case” against Jackson solely based on the family’s word:

Mr. Sneddon was forced to abandon the investigation for lack of evidence. In June 2003, Mr. Sneddon again pursued Mr. Jackson based solely on the [redacted] family’s recantation of their prior statements to [Los Angeles Child Protective Services (LACPS)], made just a few months earlier. (see Defense Motion to Recuse Santa Barbara District Atty pg 3 | pg 7 of .pdf file)

The defense lays out their reasons why they think Sneddon and the DA’s office is simply too biased to fairly prosecute the “case”. They say evidence of Sneddon’s prejudice in pursing the case is obvious. One of the most obvious and biggest reasons why he should be tossed is that Sneddon has already made himself a witness in this “case”. He already had to testify once in a pre-trial hearing. He can’t prosecute the “case” and be a witness in it at the same time. This alone should be reason enough to have him and his office kicked. Since his decision and/or input goes into who’s hired and who’s fired, it taints the entire office. Can you imagine the retaliation from Sneddon that would occur if only Sneddon is removed, and another prosecutor takes the lead and decides to drop the “case” for lack of evidence? It would be career suicide in that office. Add in all the other misconduct that has already occurred during the investigation and grand jury process and one can see why the defense is asking for a recusal of the entire office. The prosecution has already invaded the defense camp, twice, and taken material that falls under the attorney-client privilege; from Brad Miller’s office, who was working for Geragos and from Jackson’s personal assistant at the end of Sept. 2004. What most deem unprofessional conduct was quite clear from the very first press conference in this “case” given by Sneddon and the current sheriff of the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department (SBSD), Jim Anderson. Sneddon joked with reporters while Anderson begged for more “victims”. This current course began when prosecutors opened a second investigation as a result of the Bashir documentary, and partly because Bashir—chasing ratings and state-side notoriety–took it upon himself to all but call Jackson a child molester on the program. The defense says:

On February 6 2003, the program “Living with Michael Jackson” filmed by Martin Bashir aired in Britain. In one segment of the program, Mr. Jackson was interviewed in the presence of [redacted]. The [redacted] witness explained to Mr. Bashir that Mr. Jackson had helped him with his struggle with cancer and allowed the family to visit Neverland. He recalled one occasion when Mr. Jackson allowed him and his brother to sleep in his bed while Mr. Jackson slept in a sleeping bag on the floor. Mr. Bashir twisted what had actually been said and questioned Mr. Jackson about “sharing his bed” with minor children, giving the mis-impression that Mr. Jackson had slept in the same bed with [redacted] (see Exh. A to Cochran Decl. 7). (see Defense Motion to Recuse Santa Barbara District Atty pg 5-6 | pg 9-10 of .pdf file)

As a result of this documentary the DA received complain letters from Carole Lieberman and Gloria Allred. These two names sound familiar? They should. Allred was the ’93 accuser’s lawyer for a very very short time. Lieberman has been trying to get the state to snatch Jackson’s children away from him and throw them into the foster care system. They both were reportedly involved in trying to pursue another case against Jackson in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Police Department investigated the claims made by this other person claiming to have recovered memories of being abused by Jackson. The LAPD ultimately deemed the claims to be false and cleared Jackson (see LAPD Clear Jackson of Abuse Allegation (June 2 2004) ). Sources told the media at the time that this faker was represented by Allred and Lieberman was the shrink who allegedly “recovered” these memories of abuse. For further information, see “Two Jackson Haters Collaborate to Set Him Up?-Bullet #126” From the defense’s motion:

As a result of their complaints, the LACPS dispatched investigators to interview [redacted] about their interaction with Mr. Jackson. The interview took place on February 20 2003. Each of the [redacted] denied any wrongdoing by Mr. Jackson. Quite the opposite, the [redacted] praised Mr. Jackson for his support during [redacted] struggle with cancer and for the generosity he had shown to their family. The LACPS concluded that…none of the [redacted children] was at risk of harm and closed the investigation (Cochran Decl. 9.) (see Defense Motion to Recuse Santa Barbara District Atty pg 6 | pg 10 of .pdf file)

So after receiving essentially baseless complaints, and after LA Child Services found the very allegations against Jackson to be “unfounded” (see > summary memo). Sneddon still pursued a “case” against Jackson anyway. According to a report from Fox news, dated April 22 2004 ([Jackson] Case: Did DA Contact Family Early On?), Sneddon was trying to get in contact with this family at least since February 16 2003. From the report:

In fact, I am told, Tyson and Amen will recount how, when they returned the family to their own apartment in East Los Angeles on Feb 16 2003, a business card belonging to Sneddon had already been slipped under the door of their apartment. The mother—fresh from the uproar 10 days earlier caused by her two sons being featured in the Martin Bashir special “Living with Michael Jackson” picked up the card and called Sneddon, they will say. And that could suggest that Sneddon, long before there was any accusation against Jackson of child molestation, was already looking for a case that might develop into something more. (see DA Contacted Family Months Before Investigation – Fox )

This brings up another question. Do prosecutors expect the public to believe–that with the world watching and with the DA’s office in contact with the family—that Jackson would then begin to molest this accuser? That makes absolutely no sense at all; much like other prosecution theories. Who is next to be accusing of conspiring with Jackson to kidnap this family? ‘Dirty’ and ‘Skeeter’ ?? Jeez. (A little Scott Peterson humor there). As mentioned earlier, the defense states that the SBSD did their own investigation into this very allegation around the same time as LACPS opened their investigation. According to reports, the SBSD investigation lasted two months. As discussed in MJEOL Bullet #103, “Yet More Damaging Info about Prosecution’s Case”, NBC’s Mike Taibbi reported about the investigation. Taibbi says the family gave two very detailed and very different stories in just a period of months to SBSD investigators. Their investigation ended April 16 2003 according to reports. Taibbi says the documents related to that investigation state:

“Based on the interviews with the children and their father, it was determined that the elements of criminal activity were not met. Therefore, this investigation was classified as a suspected sexual abuse indictment report, with no further action required. ‘Case closed’. (see Mother of alleged victim initially said, “I trust my children with him”)

The defense motion states that detective Terry Flaa talked to the LACPS about their investigation into the family. Flaa determined that a “case” against Jackson couldn’t go forward because there was nothing to show any criminal activity existed. No complaining witnesses, no allegation, no misconduct and no evidence of anything. Yet, Sneddon still pressed on. A new investigation began just two months after the first one: in June 2003. During the investigation, Sneddon went to Beverly Hills to Miller’s office. Miller, for the record, was working for Jackson’s then-attorney Mark Geragos. What’s more telling is that one of the officers admitted in court that he could have easily assigned an actual officer to do this, but Sneddon wanted to stakeout Miller’s office himself, anyway:

On November 8 2003, Mr. Sneddon traveled alone from Santa Barbara to Beverly Hills to obtain a description of the offices he believed were occupied by private investigator Bradley G. Miller. Lieutenant Klapakis, the lead investigator, admitted he could have easily assigned an investigator to investigate Mr. Miller’s office, meet with [redacted] and retrieve the items of evidence. Mr. Sneddon insisted, though, that he would make the trip outside the jurisdiction. He did not request an investigator. (Cochran Decl. 11.) (see Defense Motion to Recuse Santa Barbara District Atty pg 6-7 | pg 10-11 of .pdf file)

Once at the office, Sneddon “canvassed the building photographed the outside of the office and attempted to verify Mr. Miller’s address in a public telephone book.” What’s more, after his little trip, Sneddon met with the accuser’s mother, alone, at a Federal Building in Westwood. There, he did a photo lineup where she identified people. He didn’t record the conversation nor did he take a witness with him which may have been able to verify that the meeting was on the up-and-up. Remember this is still on November 8 2003, 10 days before they raided Jackson’s Neverland ranch. Also brought out in court was the fact that at the secret meeting, Sneddon gave the mother Victim’s Compenstation Fund forms, which she had previously requested. So she was already trying to draw money from the fund even before Jackson’s house was raided, before an arrest, and before any charges were filed. Was this a little quid pro quo side deal? We simply don’t know yet. From the defense’s motion:

He brought along a photo array and asked her to identify individuals under investigation. She apparently did so. Mr. Sneddon did not record his interview [redacted]. He gathered evidence, a CD disk and jacket, [redacted] and put those items in the trunk of his car. (see Defense Motion to Recuse Santa Barbara District Atty pg 7 | pg 11 of .pdf file)

Sneddon is so personally involved in this case that he even refused to admit—even under oath—that what he was doing equaled to investigating the “case” itself. Even detective Klapakis testified during the pre-trial hearings that one of the most important duties of an investigator is to collect evidence, which is what Sneddon did. What is more telling is that the lead investigating officer, Officer Robel, testified he was not aware of any case where the DA of a county has actually been involved in the investigation: collecting evidence, meeting secretly with witnesses, etc. (see Defense Motion to Recuse Santa Barbara District Atty pg 7 | pg 11 of .pdf file) Also cited in the defense’s Motion to Recuse is the blatantly ridiculous way in which the grand jury process was handled. This was discussed at length in a 3-part MJEOL Bullet: #162 – Massive Prosecutorial Misconduct during Grand Jury Process? One of the things the attorneys cite with regard to the grand jury process is Sneddon using civil attorney Larry Feldman and psychologist Stan Katz to “poison” the grand jury. These two characters were involved in the latter stages of the 1993 investigation. Feldman also received money from the reportedly $15M (total; not $25M) 1993 settlement agreement funded by Jackson’s insurance (see 93 Settlement Was Not A Settlement for Molestation Claims ). What prosecutors essentially did, judging from the included excerpts of the grand jury transcripts, was allow both Feldman and Katz to essentially talk people into believing Jackson was “guilty” in ’93 and so he must be “guilty” now. They provided no proof of this. And, as you know, prosecutors didn’t have a “case” in 1993: there was no matching description given of Jackson’s body and no evidence to arrest, charge, or indict Jackson of anything. Yet prosecutors allowed these two to speak, unchallenged, about what would have happened and speculate about what they could have done. At one point, Feldman arrogantly claimed that he could have gotten a settlement from Jackson in this “case” if he wanted to. Yeah right. Besides being a flat-out lie, there is new testimony that Jackson wasn’t budging an inch in giving this family any cash settlements for anything; not even for a possible video appearance in the Bashir documentary rebuttal video. And this testimony came from the accuser’s stepfather. So it’s highly unlikely Feldman would have received or been offered a settlement of any kind. And this makes all the more sense now seeing as how the mother sought out Feldman even before she ever met Jackson. That came out in court too (see Accuser’s Mother Hired Numerous Lawyers before Meeting Jackson? –MB #204 ). The defense cites example after example from the grand jury transcript where prosecutors allowed some of the most ridiculous things to happen; including “bullying” witnesses, cutting them off when they weren’t agreeing with him and even threatening one with further legal litigation. At one point, one of the people testifying asked prosecutors if it was illegal to say “MJ Is Innocent” and Sneddon told them: “You violate the gag order. Yes, you do” (see Defense Motion to Recuse Santa Barbara District Atty pg 21 | pg 25 of .pdf file). WTH? The feud between the SBDA’s office/SBSD and Jackson has been ongoing since 1993. The record clearly shows Sneddon’s “emotional investment” in this “case”, say the defense:

Here, the record establishes that Mr. Sneddon’s emotional investment in prosecuting Mr. Jackson, conflicts with his role as an impartial public prosecutor. As discussed below, this conflict is so grave that there exists a reasonable possibility that Mr. Sneddon cannot exercise the discretionary functions of his office in an evenhanded manner. (see Defense Motion to Recuse Santa Barbara District Atty pg 27 | pg 31 of .pdf file)

To further illustrate Sneddon’s bias, he gave two interviews with what some have suggested are his favorite reporters: Diane Dimond and Art Harris. The interview with Dimond aired November 20 2003, just days after the raid. In it, Sneddon claimed he would treat this like any other case. So, I guess he routinely seeks over 100 search warrants in other cases too? Not likely. Stranger still is that the tabloid reporter who got the very first sit down interview with Sneddon is the same one who just so happened to be outside of Jackson’s Neverland ranch—camera crew in tow—laying in wait for the police to raid Jackson’s home. According to the report about the Sneddon interview:

Published reports have singled out a 12 year old boy as the accuser. Unlike the family behind the 1993 abuse allegations, however, this child’s family is more concerned with justice than money, according to Sneddon. (see Court TV Exclusive: D.A. discusses case against Michael Jackson).

Oh yeah sure. What Sneddon neglected to tell Dimond, during that interview, is that he had already given the accuser’s mother Victim’s Compensation forms. This effectively gives her access to thousands of dollars. Their attorney, Larry Feldman, has already filed a claim against the LACPS for “leaking” the devastating summary memo which concluded the allegations against Jackson were “unfounded”. Of course, no such lawsuit by Feldman has been filed against anyone for leaking the 1993 accuser’s affidavit to thesmokinggun website back in Feb 2003. It came out in court during pre-trial hearings that prosecutors have already invested a lot of money into this family. They moved the family out of the county “at great expense to taxpayers”. I wonder what that money really was for? Quite frankly, as harsh as it sounds, I hope these shysters are bleeding the county dry. It is because of all these things, and more, that the SBDA’s offfice should be tossed from prosecuting this case. As talked about in an earlier MJEOL Bullet, this same SBDA’s office has already been recently tossed from prosecuting another case–the case against Judge Diana Hall—for a conflict of interest. Time will tell if the judge in the Jackson case cares more about justice or about appeasing these prosecutors. Stay tuned. -MJEOL

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