Leaks Force a Jackson Reply, Media Hypocritical About Response – MJEOL Bullet #238 UPDATE Ridiculous comments from ABC’s Jim Avila spark questions from some observers about the hypocrisy of his statements concerning grand jury leaks JAN 20 2005 — More fallout from the illegally leaked grand jury transcripts as the judge in the Michael Jackson “case” allows Jackson to make a public statement about the leaks. Sources say prosecutors are upset at the judge’s decision. Some observers are surprised that prosecutors would have the audacity to be upset after the way their side leaked the grand jury transcripts and other sealed court documents to two different sources: Court TV-backed thesmokinggun and ABC news. In an attempt to poison the jury pool with their one-sided version of events, someone on the prosecution’s side or sympathetic to the prosecution, leaked the grand jury transcripts to the media along with other reports. However, as mentioned in MJEOL Bullet #237, some observers who were squarely behind prosecutors have now started to question the logic and validity of the story once they got some of the specific details about the allegations through these leaks. To some, trying to stack the deck against Jackson may have totally backfired. It seems ridiculous to have a gag order in place if prosecutors are allowed to break it in such an obvious way and not be held responsible or sanctioned in some way. And letting Jackson make a public statement not directly refuting the actual testimony can hardly be seen as an adequate enough remedy, say some. Watching and reading ABC News’s reporting about this story only makes the level of contempt increase. Jim Avila appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America (GMA) this morning (Jan 19 2005). He claims the prosecution is “livid” that the judge allowed Jackson to make a statement. From the GMA segment with Avila:

AVILA: …We’re told that the prosecutor was livid that he in fact was vigorously opposed to allowing Michael Jackson to make this personal appeal. (see GMA: Jim Avila whining about Jackson responding to ABC jury pool poisoning (Jan 19 2005) )

Well boohoo! Cry me a river and cue the violins! They should have thought about that before leaking the grand jury transcripts to the media. The defense didn’t start this. The prosecution has only themselves to blame if they have the audacity to now claim it’s unfair for Jackson to respond to these one-sided leaks. Avila also implied that prosecutors are concerned that Jackson’s statement could poison the jury pool. And he said it with a straight face. As if ABC isn’t somehow partly responsible for poisoning said jury pool themselves with the help of the prosecution. As if the leaking of the 1900 page one-sided grand jury transcripts can be in any way compared to a general statement to be released by Jackson! From the transcript:

AVILA: …What the jury pool means is these are people who eventually will be sitting down to of course judge him and they’re out there now not protected and they’ll hear his plea.

Oh how unfair! Please. It doesn’t seem like ABC News gave a damn about the unprotected possible jury pool when they aired the Primetime Live special; putting on the prosecution’s unchallenged “case” for the world to both see and read the very lurid and uncross-examined detail. You will excuse me if I find Avila’s comments and implications astoundingly asinine. Probably the most infuriating of all is his comments about the prosecution not being allowed to rebut whatever statement Jackson will make. He says:

AVILA: …And this is very rare. As you know, there is a gag order out there. And that nobody else is speaking. The prosecutor can’t come out afterwards and say ‘no that’s not true.’

Oh, my heart aches for them! They have already benefited from the leaking of the transcripts. The prosecution has already done their talking, both during the one-sided grand jury process and now with the leaking of these transcripts. They should not be allowed to publicly say anything further about this subject until the trial. They are the ones bringing this “case”. Jackson didn’t start this fight. Prosecutors and/or their sympathizers may have already had their “say” by spitting in the judge’s face with breaking the Court’s order sealing these documents. So whatever hole they feel like they’re in because of the asinine and illogical stories told by the accusing family, that’s not Jackson’s fault. I have no sympathy for the prosecution not being allowed to say ‘no it’s not true.’ __Mustache Envy?__ It also seems as if Avila is trying to downplay Geraldo Rivera’s significance as well. He says Rivera is a “friendly reporter” and is “not really acting as a reporter…”. From the transcript:

AVILA: We do know what he said. In fact Geraldo Rivera has been a supporter of Michael Jackson. He’s not really acting as a reporter but more of a talk show host now.

I’m sure Rivera would be interested to know that Avila says he’s not really a reporter, but more so a ‘talk show host’. And, some observers say, this may have been Avila’s way to downplay the fact that an investigative reporter isn’t buying the prosecution’s so-called “case” against Jackson. Others say Avila is certainly implying that Rivera’s views shouldn’t be taken seriously because he’s just a “talk show host now.” Rivera has been very outspoken about this “case” as have a number of people who simply find the prosecution’s version of events to be incredulous. He has previously said he thinks the prosecution is railroading Jackson and he’s called leaks, like the one to ABC, a “legal lynching.” Appearing on Fox News Live with the “slimy” and some say “condescending and arrogant” Greg Jarret, Rivera talked about his feelings. He said, during that Jan 15 2005 show:

RIVERA: It’s worse than that Greg, I think that aside from the horrendous leaking of the secret Grand Jury transcripts, just the latest in the legal lynching going on out here of Michael Jackson. Even in the questions that you suggest, you mentioned in passing to the audience that there is no judge present in a Grand Jury. No defense attorney to cross-examine him. So you just have the prosecutor, the witness, and the grand jurors. (see Fox News Live: Rivera sounds off on legal lyching of Jackson (Jan 15 2005))

Remember, this is someone with no incentive to disagree with what some have called the general consensus of the network. Thus, for Rivera to even go through the trouble of actually reading the motions, analyzing the allegations, and looking at the other side of the issue as of now is an illustration of something more than just “a talk show host” saying something positive about Jackson. Rivera wasn’t always this way. He has said some of the most incredibly harsh things about Jackson in the past without incident. So now when his gut instincts are telling him that this is a sham of “case”– overriding whatever sensationalistic biased media attitudes he once held — he’s no longer a “reporter” but simply “pro-Jackson”? That seems to be one of the more ludicrous implications from Avila. And some say they wouldn’t be surprised if Rivera addresses the issue during his next shows which air this weekend, Jan 22 and 23 2005. Yesterday (Jan 19 2005), Dan Abrams at MSNBC, flanked by “Apprentice” rejects, got into the act; making the suggestion or implication that Rivera is somehow simply “pro-Jackson” without a valid reason. They also reportedly have no idea what the nature of Rivera’s contact with Jackson will be. It’s also obvious that they simply took a snippet from the ABC News report without reading the entire details. They, all 4, talked about this latest development as if Jackson was giving some primetime, full-blown interview about the “case”. ABC News has already said this won’t be a full blown “interview” about the specifics of the “case”. Avila specifically reported on GMA that “Michael makes a personal statement about the case and then Geraldo Rivera asks him about the Tsunami and about his music. Those types of things. No questions about the case itself.” Now what part of that does Abrams and his chorus of Apprentice castoffs not understand? Or, like so many other things, did they simply not know this before the ‘Jackson-will-screw-up-because-he’s-Jackson’ whining? This is another example of where legal pundits don’t have a full grasp of the information before going on TV – with the platform of a cable network to boot – to talk about things of which they know nothing. Abrams also appeared to be a bit jealous that Jackson spoke with Rivera instead of him. At one point, he extended an offer to Jackson to do an interview with him. As if. Abrams claims Rivera, a lawyer himself, is “pro-Jackson”; implying that if Rivera somehow isn’t asking him any accusatory questions, he’s not really doing his job. Of course, the hypocrisy is astonishing. Abrams can believe that Jackson is guilty and he wants to be considered “objective”. But Rivera can believe this “case” is a pile of garbage, and he’s written-off as somehow “pro-Jackson” or not objective. This obnoxious double-standard isn’t the first time Abrams has touched off the annoyance of a number of observers –some of which have asked just how many cases has Abrams actually tried in court. And by all indications, it won’t be the last time Abram’s lack of the full understanding of events around the “case” will draw objections from some observers. Today (Jan 20 2005) tabloid reporter Diane Dimond and Catherine Crier both had the nerve to call into question Rivera’s “objectivity” and skills as a reporter. To hear the two talk on Court TV, one would think they were two very jealous and hypocritical whiners. They both complained about the Rivera interview. Of course neither one of them have seen it yet. In what can only be described as one of the most disgustingly asinine views I’ve ever heard about this issue, Dimond actually had the audacity to talk about what she implied was Rivera’s lack of objectivity. She claimed Rivera has a long friendship with the Jackson family and that he held some kind of rally for Jackson, alluding to the fan-initiated protest in Time Square last year. For the record, Rivera has said some incredibly false things about Jackson before he got a whiff of the prosecution’s claims and started to question their motives. And no, Rivera has never thrown a rally for Jackson. That’s simply a lie. What’s incredible about it is that Dimond is the very LAST person that should be questioning ANYONE’S objectivity. She seems to have no objectivity in her coverage of this “case” whatsoever. Some say the tabloid reporter has built a career on the back of speculation, unfounded rumors, or outright lies about Michael Jackson. She is also shopping around a book about the “case”; sure to be “filled with inaccuracies, lies and one-sided coverage”, one “case” observer expressed to MJEOL. She and her old bosses at Hard Copy were sued by Jackson. They got off because they gave up the source of a defamatory story on Jackson. Jackson sued her “source” and won a $2million+ judgment against him. Someone who has been sued by Jackson, writing what may be a defamatory book about him and has been a prosecution cheerleader in her own right can hardly be “objective”. Her “law enforcement sources”, for which she has been beating the drum since 1993, made sure to tip off the tabloid reporter in enough time to allow her to fly from New York to Santa Barbara county before the Jackson raid. She and her 2 camera crews – one was at the local police station according to published reports – were waiting outside Jackson’s Neverland Ranch for the police to arrive and search the property. Also remember these snide and totally asinine remarks about Rivera’s objectivity are coming from someone who, herself, did a sit-down interview with the current DA Tom Sneddon. She has defended him repeatedly against allegations of vindictiveness and misconduct. And Crier has been there to lap up ever piece of unconfirmed, unfounded or flat-out untrue story that she has passed on to the public. So, it’s highly laughable that the two of them could even get the words out of their mouths to criticize Rivera for getting the Jackson interview. Jealousy is a very ugly color on people. And the both of them looked terrible today. Again, there goes that juvenile reasoning: If you think Jackson’s innocent, you’re not objective; if you think he’s guilty you’re a ‘fair’ reporter. Disgusting. __Hypocrisy in leaks__ Maybe certain people feel that Jackson shouldn’t have the right to fight against this railroading. If that’s the case, then it’s truly disgusting to think that these are the types of people in charge of the dissemination of “facts” about this “case.” The leaking of this info also drew the ire of Joe Jackson, Michael Jackson’s father, who appeared on The Big Story with Rita Cosby on Jan 15 2005 to talk about them. Joe Jackson was very angry at the fact that someone or some entity took it upon themselves to try to poison the jury pool with this unchallenged information. Jackson family spokesperson Angel Howansky (Howansky is not Jackson’s spokesperson) says she has received thousands of letters and emails about this, and the main concern is why this information has been leaking out despite a court order sealing it. From the show:

ANGEL HOWANSY: …The biggest concern that most people have is if this information is supposed to be sealed, how come it’s leaking and how come there hasn’t been an investigation as to why it’s being leaked? Now, the public is not stupid. They recognize that there is a big attempt to slander Michael Jackson before he gets into trial. (The Big Story w/ Cosby (Jan 15 2005))

Howansky says she’s not only getting letters from fans but from other people who are following the “case”. She says their concerns revolve around someone almost trying to sabotage the “case” before trial:

HOWANSKY: …And I didn’t just get letters from Michael Jackson fans. I’ve gotten letters from people that are watching the case. And they’re trying to keep an open mind. But there are concerns that this is being leaked to try to sabotage his trial.

Sabotage indeed. At the very least, it’s unbelievable that the prosecution or their sympathizers would have the audacity to leak this info in the first place. There wasn’t a whole lot of worry about protecting the jury pool from the sealed grand jury transcripts. So why now are there ‘holier-than-thou’ questions about Jackson being allowed to respond to ABC’s tainting special? Why such hypocrisy from the likes of those involved? And why the whining over something even before it’s aired from the likes of Abrams? These events are perfect illustrations of just what Jackson has been complaining about for at least the last 15 years concerning his media coverage. I guess the theme is if you think he’s guilty, you’re objective and if you think he’s innocent or that the prosecution’s “case” is garbage, you’re “pro-Jackson” and biased. I wonder if that’s actually taught in journalism/law school or if that’s the kind of nonsensical trash that you can only learn through on-the-job experience? Jeez. Stay tuned. (Info in italics is updated material) -MJEOL

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