Part 2: Absurd Excuses in Effort to Retain Jackson Prosecution – MJEOL Bullet #214B Continuing with the prosecution’s attempt to retain the Michael Jackson “case”, we pick up at the flippant “so what” quote in the Prosecution’s Opposition to Motion to Recuse the District Attorney. A little background first. There were two investigations in 2003 by the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s department surrounding this accusing family. The first one began in February 2003 and ended in April 2003. The second one began in June 2003 at the behest of civil lawyer Larry Feldman and his favorite shrink, Stan Katz. This is an essential fact which stunned many case observers, legal analysts and lawyers alike. Concerning that previous closed investigation, and the second investigation which began in June 2003, prosecutors say “so what”:

If it is that the initial investigation did not result in criminal charges, so what? It was the further investigation that followed [redacted] disclosures to a forensic psychologist that resulted in Defendant’s indictment. (see Prosecution’s Response to Recusal Motionpg 4)

“So what”? This isn’t a playground argument. The larger issue here is that the “gunning-for-Jackson” attitude omits any possibility of an impartial look being given to these allegations; especially after a previous investigation into the exact same allegation turned up nothing. But even this attitude is a bit misleading. It was not a “confession” to a psychologist/psychiatrist that caused this “case” to come to bear. There are indications that civil attorney Larry Feldman and obviously the mother had a plan to bring this allegation to fruition before the accuser ever set foot in a shrink’s office. Possibly a plan executed even before Jackson had ever actually met the accuser. The Sheriff’s notes about this “case” were obtained by NBC months ago. The story was broken by reporter Mike Taibbi in March 2004. The first investigation by the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department (SBSD) began right at the point where the eyes of the world were focused—however misled—on Jackson’s relationship with children. Reportedly it began on February 18 2003. The first SBSD investigation was sparked by a letter from Carole Lieberman, says Taibbi. Remember her? She’s the psychiatrist that was reportedly linked to trying to get another person–deemed to be a fake by the Los Angeles Police Dept–to make allegations against Jackson. And who was the faker’s attorney? Gloria Allred (see Two Jackson Haters Collaborate to Set Him Up?-Bullet #126). But I digress. The investigation was given its own case number and daily report number. Taibbi’s report says that on March 10 2003 there was an entry in the sheriff’s notes which relayed what the family told LA Child Services in February 2003. One of the interviews done by LA Child Services happened in the apartment of the mother’s boyfriend. This is yet ANOTHER indication that these people were not being “held hostage” at Neverland or being forced to exonerate Jackson repeatedly, as they now claim. From the report:

(voice-over): It was February 18 last year, the investigation of suspected child abuse was given a case number and a daily report number. Producer Matt Carluchio (ph) and I spent hours transcribing portions of the documents and can reveal their contents for the very first time. One early entry from last March 10, an account of an interview by three Los Angeles social workers of the accuser and his brother, sister and mother at the apartment of the mother’s boyfriend. (see Abrams Report: SB Sheriff’s Dept 1st Investigation (March 12 2004) – TRANSCRIPT)

This specific interview is the second one the public is aware of in which a 3rd party talked to the accusing family out of the presence of Jackson or any of his employees during the time when prosecutors now claim the family was being held hostage/kidnapped. As previously reported, there was also the taped interview of the family talking to Brad Miller (Mark Geragos’s private investigator) where they exonerated Jackson and dismiss all of the speculation that ran rampant in the media at that time. That interview, too, was done in the stepfather’s own apartment. We also found out from the sheriff’s notes that the accuser’s father was interviewed during that crucial period of time between Feb 2003 and April 2003 as well. From the report:

And the father interviewed separately says there is no reason to suspect any wrongdoing by Jackson, adding that he too attributed his son’s recovery to Jackson. (see Abrams Report: SB Sheriff’s Dept 1st Investigation (March 12 2004) – TRANSCRIPT)

After finding no criminal conduct on Jackson’s part and no other accusers, they had to finally close their first investigation on April 16 2003…long after the family supposedly “escaped” from Neverland. From the report:

On April 16, the Santa Barbara Sheriff‘s Department reached a conclusion. 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 incident report with no further action required. ‘Case closed’. (see Abrams Report: SB Sheriff’s Dept 1st Investigation (March 12 2004) – TRANSCRIPT)

So the first investigation turned up nothing. But that didn’t stop them from hoping against hope that somebody…anybody would level allegations against Jackson. It was revealed that Sneddon or someone from the prosecutor’s office got in touch with the accusing mother as early as February 16 2003 (see [Jackson] Case: Did DA contact Family Early On?). Prosecutors claim that had it not been for the “Santa Barbara Sheriff’s focused and persistent investigation” (pg 5), there may not have been an indictment or a conspiracy charge. What they fail to report is that no conspiracy charge was filed against Jackson in the initial set of charges brought by Sneddon. Remember those? Apparently prosecutors don’t. So this “focused and persistent investigation” apparently did not mean much to prosecutors in December 2003. It seems it was only after the bombshell revelations from leaked information—like the LA Child Services investigation and reports of these people being caught on audio and videotape, shooting down the speculation of inappropriate behavior on Jackson’s part—that a “conspiracy” charge suddenly appeared. Prosecutors seem to want to be congratulated for this alleged “focus” and “persistence”, even given the one-sided, biased and desperate attempt to bring a “case” whether it is believable or not. The excuse is that they were just doing their jobs; the jobs some of them were elected to do. Yeah, Sneddon was just doing his job when he joked repeatedly with reporters at the first press conference in November 2003. He was just doing his job when he went and investigated Brad Miller’s office, alone. He was just doing his job when he handed the mother Victim’s Compensations Forms before Jackson’s home was ransacked. Yeah right. Were prosecutors and police just doing their jobs when they were bullying and arguing with witnesses in front of the grand jury? Were they just doing their jobs when they invaded the defense camp twice, taking attorney-client privileged information? Were they just doing their jobs when they obtained over 100 search warrants in this “case”; a number of them having been approved quite recently, almost a year after Neverland was raided? Were they doing their jobs by previously hiding the identities of “informants” who made conspiracy allegations? This untested information which allowed prosecutors access to more search warrants? Were they simply doing their jobs by snatching attorney-client privileged information from Jackson’s personal assistant’s office recently? Never mind those folders labeled ‘Mesereau’! “So what”, right? Right?? Wrong. Prosecutors call it a “minor contribution” that Sneddon became an investigator in this “case”, and thus a witness, by his very own actions. They call the argument of Sneddon’s profound biased behavior–when he took his sleuth-happy ass out to surveil Miller’s office–a “triviality” (pg 5). Trivial? Not hardly. Another asinine and condescending explanation given was in response to Sneddon’s joking with reporters at that first press conference in 2003; behavior for which he later had to apologize. They say:

Defendant may have a point there. Everyone knows that a sense of humor and a willingness to admit error are defining characteristics of a zealot. Pg 7

Wow. Maybe Franklin, the author of this prosecution motion, should get a job writing for Saturday Night Live. How’s that for flaming arrogance? What are characteristics of a zealot are the actions and attitude which got that zealot into this situation in the first place; into the situation where he would joke openly about this incredibly serious matter. What IS indicative of a biased and blinded prosecutor is the mental state which caused this zealot to have to apologize in the first place. No one is saying Sneddon can’t have a sense of humor, however terrible. But no one agreed with it being appropriate for his sense of human to be displayed at a press conference announcing a molestation investigation. Was the Sheriff joking? Of course not. He was too busy begging for other “victims”, which apparently don’t exist. But none of this matters to prosecutors . We have discussed at length what the defense uncovered during the grand jury process, namely 1) a belligerent DA arguing and bullying witnesses; 2) substituting his own unsworn testimony for witnesses who didn’t agree with his side of the story; 3) downplaying the importance of the defense’s exonerating evidence; 4) not showing the jury all of the exonerating information turned over to them by Jackson’s former attorneys, Mark Geragos and Ben Brafman; ETC. (see Massive Prosecutorial Misconduct during Grand Jury Process? – MB#162 REPOST ) Prosecutors claim Sneddon was just “impatient” with “hostile witnesses”…probably because they weren’t telling him what he wanted to hear. Here’s a snippet of the conversation with one of those “hostile” witnesses and you decide if this was “impatience” or if he was actively substituting his own story for the under oath testimony of the witness. From the defense’s 995 Motion:

Taking only one example from dozens, no Court has ever condoned the kind of grand jury decorum exhibited by Mr. Sneddon during an exchange with witnesses:

Q. Did you at the time that you heard that these serious charges had been leveled against a worldwide known entertainer, ever come to the DA’s office and say, “Hey Mr. Sneddon, I’ve got these_____”, or “I heard about these _____” or “You might want to know this.” Did you ever do that before you went on national TV? A.No. I found the DA’s office to be hostile when I called. I found the head DA, that being yourself, to be very uncooperative. In fact, I called your office in the beginning to find out whether my client’s son was the person who was charged with molestation. You initially refused to tell me. I asked you if my client’s son was dying. You initially refused to tell me. I was only after I told you that I might have to tell the press of your reaction that you called back and then told me. I found your attitude, conduct to be very hostile, and not a office that would be wanting to hear from me, period. Now, I have other information. And if you want to ask me other information, I’ll provide – Q. That is total—that is not the way that conversation went and you know it. A. You know it too. Q. I explained to you why at that time we couldn’t tell who the victim was. Because nobody knew the family at that time, did I not? A. No, you didn’t. Q. And then you said, “Wouldn’t you as the father want to know if the child was sick?” And I said to you, “Okay. I’m going to tell you.” And I did tell you the child was fine, did I not? A. I’ll tell you, I remember the conversation specifically because I took notes. Q. So do I.

The transcript reveals Mr. Sneddon was personally upset by the fact that [Halpern] had embarrassed him by making public statements to the media. (see Defense’s 995 Motion | pg 4-5)

“Impatience”? I think not. And the condescension doesn’t make their argument any stronger. __Loose Lips Sinks Ships__ On the subject of Jim Thomas and him running his mouth about issues he could have only gotten from people currently involved in the “case”, prosecutors again refuse to take any responsibility for his mouth. Prosecutors allege that Thomas “is neither the ‘agent’ of the District Attorney nor subject to his authority or that of the current sheriff” (pg 8). Of course Thomas isn’t an ‘agent’ for prosecutors! Why, they’ve got professional agents to spread jury pool tainting leaks for them, damn it! Seriously, though. The only problem is that Thomas’s mouth is too big. He has actually previously admitted to talking to Tom Sneddon about this current “case”. As discussed in MJEOL Bullet #195, it was revealed that Thomas appeared on the Today Show and spoke to Matt Lauer December 19 2003. From the show:

MATT LAUER: Jim, does the timing bother you at all? JIM 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 new 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)

Oh really? He spoke to Sneddon “at length”, huh? He even knew enough to let the public know how “comfortable” Sneddon was with info concerning the Child Services investigation. That big mouth of Thomas’s may have also hurt Sneddon as far as the prosecution’s wild theories are concerned. The first Santa Barbara sheriff’s department investigation into this very allegation was discussed earlier. Well, Thomas tried to do a little damage control once that information became public. It ultimately ended up backfiring and caused questions about his credibility. Appearing on the Abrams Report with TV lawyer Dan Abrams, Thomas said something which turned out to be astonishing in the succeeding months. He claimed there was no allegation during the first SBSD investigation because nobody knew about any alleged “abuse” until June 2003. Nobody…including other family members:

THOMAS: They opened the case but at that point you had no victim. The child had not confided in anyone until June. So the mother didn‘t know. The siblings didn‘t know and the case was started only because of suspicions based upon Bashir‘s document [sic]. Nobody had ever come forward at that point and specifically said that Michael Jackson had molested that child. Certainly, that child had not said that and did not say that until June. So in essence you really had no victim until June. (see Abrams Report: SB Sheriff’s Dept 1st Investigation (March 12 2004) – TRANSCRIPT)

Wait a minute! Given that we now know prosecutors are claiming the accuser’s brother is a “witness”, and that the sister claims they were getting drunk every night, how in hell could no one in the family have known, like Thomas claimed? It seems in his effort to get his ole’ pal Sneddon out of this mess, he said anything he could think of to take the heat off. Either that, or the “case” was changed fundamentally because of the devastating information about these people repeatedly exonerating Jackson until they were thrown from the gravy train. Prosecutors claim Thomas is not a potential witness in this current “case”. This is absurd. Thomas was the sheriff who oversaw the first raid during the 1993 investigation. Prosecutors already used the 1993 investigation to 1) get “dozens” of search warrants in this current “case”; 2) talk grand jurors into handing down an indictment; 3) using speculation about the 1993 accuser as a reason to keep Jackson’s bail set at $3M. Some legal experts have confessed that they can’t imagine how the former sheriff won’t be a witness in this “case”, especially since he has previously spoken openly about the strength (or lack thereof) of the 1993 allegation. __Watch out for that tree!__ Other analysts, prosecutors and defense attorneys alike, have been very vocal about Sneddon’s behavior–concerning Miller’s office, at the press conference, 11 years ago, etc– and how it will or should ultimately get him tossed from this case. Royce Russell, a regular on Court TV, says Sneddon’s conduct put him in a bad position. Appearing on Court TV August 16 2004, he said a DA should never want to be on the scene which could make him a witness in the case:

HOST: … Is there anything illegal about a prosecutor appearing at a site where law enforcement authorities are going to be conducting a search pursuant to a search warrant? RUSSELL: Well I can tell you right now, I don’t believe that there’s anything illegal. But it surely puts you in a bad position where you’re the prosecutor and you may become a witness because of what you saw or what you allowed others to do. So you never really want to be on the scene when something is taking place. You wanna remove yourself and be this impartial individual that says ‘look I’m just looking to uphold the law. I really have no bias one way or the other. I mandate and give out—delegate these orders. And the police department do what they have to do in order to help me prove my case.’ (see Court TV: Prosecutor Slams Sneddon August 16 2004)

Russell says Sneddon’s behavior puts him in the role of investigator:

RUSSELL:…Not that ‘I’m on the scene and I’m knocking on the door and I’m taking questions and writing down answers’, because then you become an investigator. You become part of the case which will subject you to taking the witness stand. …It’s nothing illegal. But in this particular case where you have the DA that tried to bring charges prior to—1993 against Michael Jackson and now almost a decade and some days, some years later, he’s going after him again. Whether rightfully or wrongfully, you should know that you should remove yourself. You’re the DA. You’re not the assistant DA who might be overzealous and ‘oh boss, I’m sorry I got in the way’. No. (see Court TV: Prosecutor Slams Sneddon August 16 2004)

Debra Opri, the attorney for Joe and Katherine Jackson, also spoke about Sneddon’s misconduct which may get him tossed. She appeared on Fox News Live w/Rita Cosby August 15 2004 and said he did become an investigator and thus a witness in this case, and it is indicative of his mindset:

OPRI:…He put himself in this situation. He took a step out of the prosecutor’s box and put himself as a investigator. He went and did a stake-out, drove down to Los Angeles, did a map of the office that was going to be subject to the subpoena [sic]. He got involved in areas that the law enforcement and investigators and detectives should have been doing themselves. Very usual. (see FoxNewsLive: Opri talking about Sneddon’s misconduct August 15 2004)

Opri says the State Attorney General may have to come in and take over this “case”. Bill Lockyear, the AG, has filed a motion rejecting the notion that the DA’s office should be removed. However, this is standard practice. He also filed a motion siding with the DA in the Judge Diana Hall case. Hall’s judge disagreed and yanked Sneddon off that case anyway. Opri further told Cosby:

This is the—this is beyond prosecutorial misconduct. This is something where the state attorney may eventually have to step in if Tom Sneddon is so involved he has to remove himself from the case. …[Prosecutorial misconduct] spreads in how you intimidate witnesses in a grand jury proceeding, how you do subpoenas, how you question people, how you seize evidence. This is major stuff, Rita. (see FoxNewsLive: Opri talking about Sneddon’s misconduct August 15 2004)

Even the former prosecutor, Eileen Daly, refused to excuse Sneddon’s actions:

RITA COSBY: It was unusual. Eileen Daly, I was surprised. I mean, it—he became much more than a prosecutor. People are saying he became this sort of private investigator. If it turns out—and we’re hearing that maybe in a phone call he did relay—it seems to be some kind of discrepancy. Apparently he has said that he didn’t know this guy was working for Mark Geragos. But then there’s word that maybe in some phone conversation, he said he did know. If it turns out he did know, that’s not good stuff. EILEEN DALY: Well, I agree with what was previously said. And if it turns out he did know, and he didn’t disclose this information when he went for a warrant, that’s gonna be a problem because… COSBY: What could happen to him? Prosecutorial misconduct? DALY: Well prosecutorial misconduct, the judge could suppress some of the evidence. Depending on what was stated in the warrant is gonna be controlling as to what happens in the courtroom with this hearing. (see FoxNewsLive: Opri talking about Sneddon’s misconduct August 15 2004)

Appearing on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, Kimberly Guilfoyle-Newsom also weighed in on the possible ramifications of Sneddon’s actions. She says it is unusual for a prosecutor to inject himself into a case he’s prosecuting in the same manner than Sneddon has. On July 9 2004, she told the guest host sitting in for Cooper that there is a good argument to be made for Sneddon’s recusal:

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE NEWSOM, 360 LEGAL ANALYST: It is highly unusual. And here you just don’t have an assistant D.A., you have the head district attorney himself, Tom Sneddon, who’s really interjecting in this case, going on — basically putting himself into the investigation, going to this investigator’s place, his place of office, taking photographs. It is basically doing this himself when he’s supposed to allow the police to do it. There is a good argument that he would have to recuse himself because it is improper. However, no criminal charges should be levied against this D.A. But he really should back off. (see Anderson 360: Kimberly Newsom talks about Sneddon’s conduct – CNN (July 9 2004))

Newsom also found it ridiculous that a DA would voluntarily want to be put on the witness stand in any fashion and insinuated that the DA’s proclamations were little more than posturing. From the CNN interview:

HEIDI COLLINS, GUEST HOST: Yes, it sounds like a huge conflict. Well, what about everything that he says at the hearing? Is it actually admissible at trial? GUILFOYLE NEWSOM: Yes, he even volunteered to testify. It is the last thing any district attorney wants to do is make themselves a witness, I’ll take the stand and talk about it. He says, “I have nothing to hide.” It is preposterous. He should stay out of it, let his office and the police handle it. And anything he says could be used if it becomes relevant at the trial himself. COLLINS: Well, could he actually testify at the trial then? GUILFOYLE NEWSOM: He could. If any of those issues come up, he could be called to the stand. If that’s the case, there is a good argument that his whole office should be recused and that it should be taken over by a different jurisdiction. And this is where you’re starting to create a lot of problems because there is already allegation that this has been prosecutorial misconduct, that this is overzealous, that he’s out to get Michael Jackson, that it’s a conspiracy against Michael. This sort of feeds into that.

__More whining__ There is more whining, in the prosecution’s reply to the defense, about this “case” and the 1993 investigation. More asinine arguments and more insults with zero evidence to back up most of their claims. Then out comes this gem of an admission: “Defendant does not have a constitutional right to a District Attorney who likes him, nor one who is indifferent about prosecuting him successfully” (pg 10). I highly doubt Jackson gives a flying flip about whether or not Sneddon “likes” him. That is not the issue. The issue is that Jackson IS entitled to a prosecutor who looks at evidence, or lack thereof, and takes into account EVERYTHING; not just the information he “likes”. Jackson IS entitled to a prosecutor who furthers a “case” based on evidence, not based on his sheer desire for a conviction so much so that they keep fishing—100+ search warrants and all—hoping to find something…anything. Jackson IS entitled to a prosecutor(s) that doesn’t break attorney-client privilege or tramples on the rights of the accused. It is his right, whether prosecutors like it or not, to have a prosecutor who isn’t involved in massive misconduct during the grand jury process. Jackson IS entitled to a prosecutor(s) who isn’t a witness in this “case”, who has not injected himself into this “case” by an insane desire to convict him…not matter what. It IS his right to a prosecutor(s) who isn’t trying to railroad him or convict him in the court of public opinion with the help of the DA’s crisis management firm. Jackson IS entitled to have a prosecutor(s) who follow the freakin’ law, whether is hurts their case or not. Period. But these prosecutors seem to be assuming Jackson wants someone to play tiddlywinks with him in the courtroom. Please. It is disgustingly ridiculous to claim that the reason the defense wants Sneddon & co. yanked from prosecuting the “case” is because Jackson wants someone who “likes” him. But then again, some aren’t surprised by these types of arguments from prosecutors which seem more based on “Ms. Cleo”-like speculation than on real facts. The audacity with which they claim to have had “substantial evidence” during the 1993 investigation, yet brought no case against Jackson is eye-rolling to say the least. Now they claim to have “substantial evidence” in this “case”, yet can’t seem to logically explain how the accusing family vindicated Jackson repeatedly while not at Neverland and without one Jackson employee in sight. In fact, some observers speculate that the only thing that held these people hostage was Jackson’s open-tab: the credit cards, shopping sprees, free trips, etc., etc., etc. Maybe prosecutors think they shouldn’t be held hostage to the law…or the truth…or the facts…or the evidence…or the…well you get the picture. Stay tuned. -MJEOL

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