Judge Accepts Lousy Excuses from Prosecutors, Witnesses – MJEOL Bullet #212

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Judge Accepts Lousy Excuses from Prosecutors, Witnesses – MJEOL Bullet #212 Regarding the Miller raid, prosecutors inexplicably get their way…for now Is the judge in the Michael Jackson “case” trying to clean-up the mess created by prosecutors and police? It certainly appears that way to some “case” observers who have read Judge Melville’s decision not to toss out the information taken illegally from Bradley Miller’s office. Miller, for the record, was working for Jackson’s then-attorney Mark Geragos—something he made known to the accuser’s family as far back as February 2003. Despite prosecutors and police invading the defense camp, and after it was shown in court that they at the very least should have known, this judge has sided with Tom Sneddon. Besides having the affect of inciting a number of attorneys to outrage, the decision sent up huge red flags as to whether the judge is following the law and erring on the side of caution. The judge says that the search warrant for Brad Miller’s office was issued by Judge Thomas Adams, the same judge prosecutors have obtained dozens of search warrants through at the beginning of this “case”. It seems that Miller was cited as being one of the people who was present when the family exonerated Jackson, which was taped. The tape was seized by police from Miller’s office on Nov 18 2003, the same day police ransacked Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. The judge, as if writing for a news organization, stated that the “Doe family was reportedly encouraged to stay at Neverland and not to return to its apartment home in East Los Angeles.” “Reportedly” is a word reserved for observers of this case, like us. A judge is not supposed to be dealing with reports in the media, but rather dealing in factual information. Ok. That can be overlooked. But this is by far not the most eyebrow-raising statements in his decision. The accuser’s mother, and her ‘they’re-all-out-to-get-me’ paranoia, alleged that Miller was one of Jackson’s “people” who allegedly told her there were people out to kill them. What we do know for a fact is that Miller told her he was working for the attorney representing Michael Jackson (at the time): Mark Geragos. His telling the whole family this information is on tape. Thus, if she claimed it slipped her mind, certainly it didn’t slip the entire family’s mind. A transcript of the conversation was cited during a pre-trial hearing where the mother gave combative and evasive answers to every question the defense asked her. Melville’s ruling recounts the allegation from the mother who tries to implicate Miller as being involved in some “crime” because he was doing his job. What is known about the raid is that both Miller and his attorney arrived after police had already busted down the door with sledgehammers. They told police that the information being taken was attorney-client privileged info. Instead of stopping the search and/or calling in a special master to oversee the search from that point on, they continued. Although Melville claims that a “waiting period” for examination seemed to have been their intention, it does not negate the fact that the materials were taken essentially without any neutral 3rd party overseeing the search. What? Sneddon has no special masters in his back pocket? Woops! Did I write that? Moving on. This tape of the family exonerating Jackson was the subject of wrangling while Geragos was still the attorney of record for Jackson. And rightly so, Geragos argued to the judge that the tape was “impeachment material” and was not discoverable by prosecutors; i.e. the defense could use it to impeach the testimony of these people. Geragos told the judge, as the judge cites, that the info falls under work product protection. Some legal observers also say that at the very least, Miller should have been subpoenaed to produce the said tape; not be the subject of a smash and grab (my term) search warrant. For the record, an attorney’s work product is:

n. written materials, charts, notes of conversations and investigations, and other materials directed toward preparation of a case or other legal representation. Their importance is that they cannot be required to be introduced in court or otherwise revealed to the other side. (see Definition: Attorney’s work product)

Attorney-client privilege is the requirement that an attorney may not reveal such information and all other communications between he/she and his/her client. The judge says that no claim of attorney-client privilege was made:

No claim of attorney-client privilege or that an invasion of the defense camp had occurred was made, and it was agreed that the court should examine the items seized to confirm application of work product protection. (Decision Re: Miller raid pg 4)

Huh? He stated earlier in the ruling that both Miller and Miller’s lawyer asserted attorney-client privilege, while the police were raiding the office. He also stated earlier that Geragos labeled the material taken as work product. But he then turns around and says no claim of attorney-client privilege was made? At first, Melville says he ruled that the Miller material is work product and therefore off-limits to prosecutors. Then he reversed his decision based on the prosecution claiming that there is no work product exception in criminal search warrant proceedings. So, is he claiming prosecutors thought Miller is/was involved in illegal activity? If so, why haven’t they arrested and filed charges against Miller? For that matter, why haven’t prosecutors shown the least bit interest in arresting and charging anyone else concerning this so-called “conspiracy”? Afraid of what they may be hit with during a conspiracy trial, perhaps? They also seemed to have come upon the grand realization that Miller may be involved in some felonious activity as an after-the-fact excuse for why the invaded the defense camp. Courtroom observers say that the game plan for prosecutors seems to be to accuse every witness of criminal conduct who saw this family’s behavior at the time. Everyone around Jackson seems to be an alleged co-conspirator! If they were present while this mother was demanding a house, they must be a co-conspirator! If she asked and was taken shopping on Jackson’s dime by anyone, that person must be a co-conspirator! If they were being threatened by her—that she would go to the tabloids and tell them “things”, as reported months ago by Rita Cosby—they MUST be a co-conspirator! It looks as if it is indicative of a ‘believe-me-and-not-the-dozens-of-people-who-can-testify-to-my-threats-demands-and-manipulation’ type of situation. As with this “conspiracy” charge, it isn’t just Jackson’s word against the accuser’s word. By bringing in a conspiracy to bolster their “case”, prosecutors have effectively brought in–possibly at great peril to their “case”—more witnesses who were around this family during the time they claim they were being held hostage at Neverland…at shopping center(s)…at expensive hotels…at court when asking the judge to increase her ex-husband’s child support payments, etc. Miller’s office is located in Beverly Hills. If prosecutors really thought Miller was a part of criminal activity beforehand, why didn’t they get the Beverly Hills police involved in the raid? Santa Barbara sheriff’s deputies, at the behest of the current DA, simply can’t go around busting down the doors of offices outside of their jurisdiction—alone–based solely on unfounded suspicion of criminal activity. Melville says that certain “issues of possible privilege or work product protection as to the other items seized from Bradley Miller’s office…remain to be resolved” (pg 4). In the decision, Melville flat out states:

First, the prosecution had in hand the correspondence between Mark Geragos and attorney William Dickerman, who represented Mrs. Doe in seeking the return of her belongings placed in storage. The correspondence plainly indicated that Mr. Geragos was acting as attorney for Mr. Jackson…and when Mr. Miller wrote to Mr. Dickerman he copied Mr. Geragos, expressly noting in the correspondence that he was doing so. (see Decision on Miller raid pg5)

But Melville believes the excuse prosecutors came up with. He claims that prosecutors “could not imagine that Mr. Geragos would have directed Mr. Miller to keep Mrs. Doe’s belongings for her.” That’s funny because they had no problem imagining Miller would be involved in illegal activity, apparently. They had no problems believing the incredibly fishy story the family told about them being kidnapped and held hostage…at shopping places…at eateries…while using Mr. Jackson’s credit card…at the courthouse when she asked a judge to increase the child support payments against her ex-husband…You know the rest. Thus, seriously, why wouldn’t they have thought ‘hey! I see Geragos’s name on this document. Geragos is Jackson’s attorney. Maybe I should make sure this PI isn’t working for Geragos’. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to ask this question. But according to the judge, it never was even supposed to have crossed their minds. Melville further claims that “all events were fully consistent with the viewpoint that Mr. Miller was acting at the direction of Mr. Jackson, or of Mr. Jackson’s associates” (pg 6). What? So, what explains why Dickerman (the family’s pre-Feldman attorney) would be corresponding with Geragos at all? Remember, there are letters written between Geragos, Miller and Dickerman. According to what prosecutors claim they were thinking at the time, Miller is working for Jackson, right? Right? So how in the world can they explain why Geragos was brought into this? Geragos was Jackson’s attorney, not Miller’s attorney. Follow the logic here. If Sneddon claims Miller was working directly for Jackson, how in hell does Geragos’s name even come into the picture? Why in hell would one think Miller was sending a copy of this correspondence to Geragos if he wasn’t employed by Geragos? Further, why didn’t the accusing family realize that ‘woops! This is the same man that told us, on tape, he was working for Mark Geragos?’ I am no stranger to condescension, but Melville seems to have taken the cake with this one: “The Court cannot require miracles of intuition from agents of law enforcement,” (pg 7). It certainly wouldn’t have taken a “miracle of intuition” to see Geragos’s name on a letter and think that maybe there’s a connection. Let’s be real. This isn’t the keystone cops, here…hopefully. I don’t believe that these prosecutors were so smart (vindictive) as to put together a “conspiracy” case, but dumb as a box of rocks when it came to even questioning and confirming who Miller’s employer was. This is simply an unacceptable excuse, say some observers of the “case”. Every “case” observer I’ve talked to has absolutely refused to believe that everybody on the prosecution’s side, including the accusing family, is that darn stupid. If so, I got a big bridge in Brooklyn that I’d like to give them a good deal on. Maybe Melville can foot the down-payment? Jeez. Oh, but the excuses don’t end there! As previously reported, Sneddon spoke directly to the defense team—in front of member of his own prosecutors as well—and ADMITTED he knew Miller worked for Jackson attorney Mark Geragos. This was reportedly said during a conference call. Sneddon further said he would fill out an affidavit stating he knew, too. Reportedly, no other prosecutor spoke up to correct this admission if they thought it was a mistake. Courtroom observers say that Jackson’s attorneys revealed this in court during the pre-trial hearings where Sneddon was cross-examined. What was Sneddon’s excuse? ‘I made a mistake’. Yeah, he “made a mistake” and told the defense attorneys for a person he’s prosecuting, that he violated their client’s rights. He further “made a mistake” and said he would even stipulate to the fact that he knew Miller was protected as a member of the defense team. Sneddon claimed he was exhausted and angry that some papers were filed late. Yeah right. So does that mean he has to be at the point of exhaustion to tell the truth? Melville accepted the fact that the DA just “made a mistake” in admitting he violated the law because he was tired? Yep. They—Dickerman, Stan Katz, Sneddon and police officers—all got on the stand and claimed not to know Miller worked for Geragos. And Melville believed them. He even believed Dickerman, who had previously testified to the grand jury that he KNEW Miller worked for Geragos, who later changed his story to match the stories being told by everybody else. This could explain why Dickerman didn’t want to testify in the pre-trial hearings; so much so that the judge had to issue a staid search warrant and set a bail amount of $5,000.00 if he didn’t show up (see Civil Lawyer Refusing to Testify in Court? – MJEOL Bullet #171). Jackson’s attorneys were not about to let Dickerman’s lies go unchallenged. Either he perjured himself in front of the grand jury or he was perjuring himself in front of the judge. As reported by courtroom observers, and discussed in MJEOL Bullet #182, attorney Steve Cochran laid into Miller:

According to courtroom observers, Cochran made him read aloud his testimony given during the grand jury process. Observers report that Cochran, looking rather annoyed at Dickerman’s repeated denials when he was clearly caught red-handed, said, “Sir, do you contend that your grand jury testimony was the truth?” Dickerman replied, “Yes.” Cochran ended, “…no further questions.” (see Astonishing Admissions from Witnesses- Bullet #182 MAJOR UPDATE)

No wait! Let me do a mock ruling from the judge concerning this fact:

[sarcasm] ‘In Mr. Dickerman’s pre-trial testimony, it was obvious he either lied during the pre-trial hearing or during the grand jury proceedings. As regrettable as this is, as long as the witness was telling the truth in at least one of the proceedings, his perjury does not harm the defense.’ [/sarcasm]

Uh! *rolling eyes* Melville excuses the mother by saying, “Mrs. Doe herself testified that she had never paid any attention to the fact that Mr. Miller had told her he worked for Mr. Geragos.” She can claim she never “paid attention” to him. Apparently she paid enough attention to him to then go on and discuss how wonderful Michael Jackson is…while AT the accuser’s stepfather’s residence, no less. No threats, no Jackson “people” and a military reservist—who would later become a “confidential agent” to the Santa Barbara sheriff’s department—right there with them. And again, they all exonerate Jackson of these allegations while NOT at Neverland, NOT being intimidated and NOT being held hostage. But the evidence doesn’t seem to matter. It is a fact made more unbelievable given the amount of people this family was in contact with during the time when they claimed to have been “held hostage”. One of the people the mother spoke to was, reportedly, Sneddon or someone in the prosecutor’s office. Remember, it was reported back in April 2004 that these people were in contact with Sneddon as early as Feb 16 2003. So she certainly could have told Sneddon or anyone else what was being said. According to the report, entitled “[Jackson] Case: Did DA Contact Family Early On?”:

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)

What will be interesting to find out is the full involvement of prosecutors with this family as far back as Feb 2003—long before any allegations were made. She tells the judge she did not know, therefore she didn’t know, according to Melville….because we all know she never lies under oath… And there may have also been a warning shot to Jackson’s own attorneys when Melville says in the ruling “Even the offices of attorneys may be subjected to a warranted search provided there is probable cause to believe that evidence of felonious criminal activity may be discovered.” Ok. So, now prosecutors can go out and raid the offices of defense counsel just as long as they THINK a felony has been committed regardless of how off-base and unfounded their suspicions are? I certainly hope that’s not what he’s suggesting. Of course this makes sense…to Melville; even given the current circumstances around this “case”. Remember, when they raided Miller’s office and later when prosecutors filed initial charges against Jackson back in December 2003, there was no “conspiracy” charge. What Melville does admit to in the ruling is the rule that would require prosecutors to get a special master does apply. For the record, a special master is “a person appointed by the court to carry out an order of the court”. Loyola Law professor Laurie Levinson is a special master, for example. This person is a neutral 3rd party. From Melville’s decision:

On the other hand, there was apparently no claim of conspiracy at the time. No accusations of criminal conduct have been made against Mr. Geragos, and if Mr. Miller is seen as a sort of branch office of the Geragos firm, there is arguably no reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing on the part of the document custodian. Thus, the special master provisions of Section 1524 would apply. (See Decision Re: Miller raid pg 10)

He also claims no harm was done to the defense as a result of prosecutors raiding Miller’s office. Oh really? The harm done is that prosecutors took attorney-client privileged material, namely a tape of the family exonerating Jackson. To get out from under this devastating information, prosecutors, in effect, changed their entire “case” to try to nullify this exonerating evidence. If this sounds familiar it should because fans have been talking about this huge change since it was reported that a conspiracy charge was among the counts. When this privileged material taken from Miller’s office was used during the grand jury process, prosecutors attempted to explain away the existence of this defense material by tacking on a “conspiracy” charge. Call me crazy, but I think that qualifies as “harm” to the defense. When prosecutors changed the counts to fit with this info, it’s “harm” to the defense. When the timeline of events was changed to fit around this explosively devastating information, it’s “harm” to the defense….no matter what Melville says. The harm is that they lose the ability to present this at a possible trial without the prosecution trying to put their spin on it beforehand. What’s more, if prosecutors did not find this tape at Miller’s office, some have expressed doubts as to whether or not the accusing family would have even told them about it. Or maybe they did, and prosecutors secretly went in specifically looking for it under the lame guise of claiming Miller was involved in criminal activity…for which he was never charged or arrested. Let’s hope that’s not the case. Moreover, Melville wants police and prosecutors to be imaginative in one sense, but wants to excuse their lack of imagination in another sense. On the topic of why police seized Miller’s computer equipment, he writes: “But it takes little imagination to suppose that records of Mr. Miller’s activities, in connection with the storage unit for example, would be located in a computer if he had one” (pg 11). Ok. When being thorough in investigating a case, it does not require a “miracle of intuition” to suppose that maybe the stuff you are looking for is on someone’s computer. But, according to Melville, when being thorough in an investigation, it DOES take a “miracle of intuition” to know the employer of the guy whose computer you are taking in the first place?? What?! Unbelievable. It has been speculated by some observers that Melville was not and/or could not toss out the Miller raid for a number of reasons. One, things taken from the Miller raid were reportedly used to secure the indictment against Jackson. Two, Miller hasn’t been arrested, charged, indicted or convicted of any “suspected” crime, which was the excuse given for raiding his office in the first place. Three, even given the fact that both Miller and his attorney told police who Miller worked for, while they were grabbing the attorney-client privileged material, police continued. But there is a much larger issue here. Why do prosecutors seem bold enough as to engage in what can be called misconduct so readily and easily? Maybe it’s because they don’t care. Maybe it’s because they think they won’t get caught? Or maybe it’s because they know there will be no consequences for their actions? Will they be held accountable at some point by somebody? Or will there be a permanent pooper-scooper attached to the bench? Stay tuned. -MJEOL

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