‘The Abrams Report’ for March 4 2004: JC Penny lawyer speaks out

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[b]’The Abrams Report’ for March 4 2004[/b] Read the complete transcript to Thursday’s showUpdated: 12:11 p.m. ET March 05, 2004Guests: Robert Butterworth, Gloria Allred, Karen Russell, Charles Gasparino, Richard Gabriel, Mike Cox [b]DAN ABRAMS, HOST:[/b] Hi everyone. Tonight, another exclusive on the Michael Jackson case. We‘ll show you documents that could raise questions about the mother of the boy accusing Jackson of molestation. But first, another Jackson case exclusive. New details about Michael Jackson‘s accuser and his family. It involves a multi million dollar lawsuit the family filed five years ago the department store J.C. Penney. NBC News has obtained over 100 documents never before made public. It involves another legal case with this family and allegations of physical and sexual abuse. NBC‘s Mike Taibbi broke the story. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) [b]MIKE TAIBBI, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): [/b]It was a simple case of alleged shoplifting at this J.C. Penney store followed by a brief scuffle in August of 1998, except that it involved the family of the boy who five years later would accuse pop star Michael Jackson of molesting him. In this case, though the shoplifting charges were dropped, the boy, his brother and mother accused security guards of viciously beating them without provocation. [b] TOM GRIFFIN, ATTORNEY FOR J.C. PENNEY:[/b] It became readily apparent that this was an incident and it turned into, in my opinion, a scam to extract money from J.C. Penney. [b]TAIBBI:[/b] Tom Griffin represented Penney‘s, which ultimately paid $137,500 settlement to the family days before the scheduled trial in 2001. The family had sued for three million. (on camera): If it was a cooked up scam, as you put it, why pay anything? [b]GRIFFIN:[/b] The worst-case scenario is that, you know, a jury is going to believe what she says and they‘re going to tee off on you. [b]TAIBBI:[/b] The public record of the case only briefly describes the stories told by the opposing sides, from Penney‘s, that the boy was sent out of the store by his father with an arm full of shoplifted clothes and that the whole family was quickly detained with the mother starting that brief scuffle. And from the family‘s side, that the boys were only modeling clothes for Penney‘s, not stealing them, and that they were all then beaten brutally by store security guards for no reason. [b](voice-over):[/b] But NBC News has obtained more than 100 pages of documents not on the public record, including defense deposition excerpts and psychiatric reports and the documents give a far more detailed version of J.C. Penney‘s case. That the psychiatrist hired by Penney‘s found the mother to be schizophrenic and delusional and severely depressed. Sad over being a nobody, she‘d said, a sad housewife getting fat, even though her own therapist found her to be anxious and depressed after the incident, but not delusional. Penney‘s says that more than two years after the incident, the mother added on the charge that one security guard had also fondled her breasts and pelvic area for up to seven minutes. And that Penney‘s psychiatrist said she rehearsed her two sons to back up her far-fetched story in what sounded like scripted copies of her testimony that they and she had all suffered broken bones, in addition to her sexual assault. Penney‘s insist there was no evidence to back up any of the allegations. [b]GRIFFIN: [/b]She just came up with this fairy tale, not a fairy tale, it‘s a horror story, and just ran with it. [b]TAIBBI:[/b] Because of the gag order in the Michael Jackson molestation case, none of the principles in that case would comment for the story. Two people who remain close to the family did tell NBC News they still absolutely believe the family‘s story of what happened at Neverland. Some might wonder what a 6-year-old shoplifting case has to do with the molestation charges against Michael Jackson. Griffin, J.C. Penney‘s lawyer, says that based on his experience with the family, he can guess about a possible connection. [b]GRIFFIN: [/b]They‘re going for a homerun this time. This is a shakedown. Shakedown, part two. [b]TAIBBI:[/b] Mike Taibbi, NBC News, Los Angeles. (END VIDEOTAPE) Full transcript of that Abrams Report show: http://forums.mjeol.com/showthread.php?t=1421

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