Prosecution Expert May be Blind-Alley, No ‘Blow’ to Defense? – MB#239

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Prosecution Expert May be Blind-Alley, No ‘Blow’ to Defense? The judge allows prosecutors to get their “expert” in, his/her testimony could prove to be a blind alley for prosecutors. Despite media exaggerations, the judge’s decision may not be a ‘blow’ to the defense at all JAN 23 2005 — More whining came Jan 21 2005 from TV lawyer Dan Abrams and Anderson Cooper as they talked about what they considered to be a major “blow” for the defense. What amounted to a standard issue in the Michael Jackson “case” was elevated to a significant enough level to warrant about a two-segment discussion on Abrams and an overly-dramatic statement of events from Cooper. The defense did not want the prosecution to try to introduce “expert” testimony to attempt to explain away why the accuser gave numerous inconsistent statements and why the accuser didn’t act as if he were threatened or molested. This testimony, some analysts say, could turn into a blind alley for prosecutions and backfire under cross-examination. It seems prosecutors and defense attorneys will get to call their own experts and it is in the defense’s best interest to fight any attempts by prosecutors to stack the deck in this “case”. Of course, this isn’t what Abrams and the like see when they process this information. There does seem to be a disconnect with the way print journalists–who provide more detail–reported this latest development, and the way ratings-conscious broadcast media reported it. What is reported by print journalists as just one more of many rulings handed by down the judge since its inception, suddenly transformed into a “Setback for Jackson” headline or a “major blow to the defense” once it hopped onto certain cable news shows. In an Associated Press article dated Jan 21 2005 titled “Jackson judge to allow testimony by expert on molest cases,” they report Jackson’s attorneys will use this general, non-specific expert’s testimony to “buttress” contradictory and inconsistencies in the family’s story. From that report:

Jackson’s attorneys argued against such testimony, telling Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville that it could be used to buttress unreliable testimony from the alleged victim and his family. Defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. said the expert testimony should not be allowed if the defense can prove the alleged victim and his family “aren’t victims at all, they’re flat-out liars.” (see Defense to Show Accusing Family are “flat-out liars” (Jan 21 2005))

“Flat-out liars” could be a fair term to use based on the sheer number of different stories they’ve told. What is a fact is that all of them told at least two different stories, maybe more, while under oath at different times. By all accounts, the defense plans to attack the family’s credibility; something not even this molestation expert may be able to salvage. What prosecutors want to do is call this expert to speak generally about why an accuser may identify with the accused or may love the accused after being “abused.” No word yet as to whether this expert has actually spoken to the accuser and/or family in-depth about their allegations. Some legal analysts have pointed out this is not an issue of ‘identifying’ with or loving Jackson; things about which the expert may testify. But rather, this is a situation where the accuser has totally and repeatedly denied any untoward behavior, touching or molestation, period. A number of legal analysts have commented that prosecutors do not need to bring in an “expert” to explain the their theory because these types of experts sometimes backfire on prosecutors under cross-examination. Since what they offer is not specific information about the accuser, analysts say it gives the defense a lot of room. Observers say the defense may be able to ask questions about the specific behavior of the accuser in relation to the general comments from this expert. And if that behavior–as presented within the defense’s evidence–does not match up with what the expert will testify to, the expert testimony may not amount to much if anything at all. Even with the expert’s testimony, it does not explain why the brother (who prosecutors are claiming is a witness to the alleged “abuse”), the mother (who claims to have seen Jackson doing untoward things to the accuser on the plane), nor the sister (who claims to have been given alcohol) said anything at all. Attorney Yale Galanter appeared on Fox’s On The Record Jan 21 2005 and spoke about the expert’s use. He says the judge made a lax decision to even allow this expert in, and that the prosecution could be asking for trouble by even going down that road. From the show:

GRETA VAN SUSTREN, HOST: …Good ruling or bad ruling? YALE GALANTER: It’s a little hokey. You know I think the science in that area isn’t good. I think people react differently. I think the judge is being very lax in that type of ruling. He’s being very liberal to let that type of evidence in. There’s nothing that’s been scientifically proven about after-fact behavior. They’ve done a lot of studies on it and they’ve determined that people really do react differently. Quite frankly, I think the defense is gonna have a field-day with that, especially in this type of case where everybody comes to the table with a lot of baggage anyway. I think that the prosecution [is] making a mistake even trying to get that in. SUSTREN: You know, I do too Yale because anytime you try to predict future behavior, there is no sort of blueprint of how people act in a certain way… (see Greta van Sustren: Using the word “victim” and expert testimony Weintraub + Galanter (Jan 21 2005))

Galanter isn’t the only legal analyst to offer such advice. Jayne Weintraub, as well, echoed his sentiments. She says if she were the judge she would not allow such an expert to testify because “there isn’t a scientific base to make a determination”. Ted Williams, also appearing on Sustren’s show, agreed with this stance. He even took it a step further by saying the defense should now try to get their own independent medical examination of the accuser so that their expert could testify about what the accuser specifically did. He says the prosecution’s general expert isn’t good enough. From the transcript:

WILLIAMS: You know if I were them, there’s two things. If I were the defense, I would try — and it probably may not work — I would try to get an independent medical examination just because of what you’ve said… SUSTREN: Of who? Of the complainant? WILLIAMS: Of the complainant. Reason being is because different people act differently. So you got an expert on. He’s gonna testify in a blanket manner about how people act after they’ve been molested and well t hat’s not good enough. How did this victim act? We wanna know that. SUSTREN: But the defense attorney gets that chance when the accuser takes the witness stand and cross-examines the person. WILLIAMS: But I would want my own expert, Greta, to examine that accuser so my expert can come forward and give some testimony that would counter that expert testimony. (see Greta van Sustren: Using the word “victim” and expert testimony Weintraub + Galanter (Jan 21 2005))

But, again, this could cause more problems than it solves for prosecutors. How will they or this expert explain why neither one of the family members contacted the police and pressed charges once they finally…. “escaped”… from Neverland? This expert will supposedly talk about how the alleged “molestation” stops that person from speaking out. But what stopped the rest of them from speaking out after they “escaped”?? The mother, as mentioned previously, claims she saw the accuser being “abused” on a plane by Jackson. Nothing’s done. The sister claims all three of them, herself included, were given alcohol by Jackson. Nothing is reported even after they “escaped” from Neverland…the first time….before they went back after the prosecution-alleged conspiracy was over. The brother of the accuser actually claims to have seen the alleged “abuse” and he tells no one and does nothing. What will happen if the expert is asked on cross-examination about such behavior? Even Celebrity Justice’s Harvey Levin says he wouldn’t advise prosecutors to bring in this sort of expert. He told Abrams during that Jan 21 2005 show:

HARVEY LEVIN: …Again, I gotta tell you something, I think it’s always dangerous to bring an expert on to try and explain a child’s actions because you start wondering why do they need so many experts to explain this kid? (see Abrams Report: Jayne Weintraub + Levin talk about expert being allowed to testify )

There is even an exchange between Levin and Weintraub on that show where Weintraub specifies what the accuser has said and implying how that could short circuit the expert’s testimony. From the show:

LEVIN: … In some ways, less is more when you just basically say look, you know, ‘the kid was scared’, ‘the kid was confused’, ‘he was ashamed’. And I think that’s more relatable… WEINTRAUB: Harvey this is not a kid that was confused or ashamed. He gave sworn statements under oath that Michael Jackson never touched him… LEVIN: Right, but… WEINTRAUB: This is not ‘I love him’. This is ‘he never touched me’, ‘he never did anything wrong.’ Mother takes him to a lawyer for $20 million dollars, [and then it’s] ‘oops I made a mistake’? LEVIN: You’re missing my point. I’m not saying this kid is lying or telling the truth. What I’m saying is that I think if I were the prosecutor, I would just basically say look ‘jury you can understand that kids are scared, confused, ashamed,’ and not start calling experts. I think it actually hurts prosecutors to try to justify all of this.

As Weintraub has said on both Abram’s show and CNN’s Anderson 360, this expert is going to be used by prosecutors to try to clean up their highly problematic “case” and bolster the different stories already told by this family. When Weintraub appeared on Anderson 360 Jan 21 2005, she talked partly about this issue. She says prosecutors want to use this expert to help the accuser’s testimony:

[The accuser] is a liar, I think. And you do call him that. And the reason I say that is because he’s given so many statements under oath, you don’t know what to believe. You don’t know what the truth is. Either way, he’s lied in certain circumstances… However, this isn’t a case where the prosecutor needs an excuse to call up a witness to say why the child didn’t report this ‘horrible abuse’. No, no, no. The prosecutor needs an excuse to clean up this kid, because it’s not like the kid had went back and said, ‘I love Michael Jackson. He’s a nice guy.” [The accuser] said “he never did anything inappropriate. I didn’t sleep in the same bed, he didn’t touch me.” (see Anderson 360: Weintraub about case (Jan 21 2005) )

Weintruab is correct. These were very specific denials. They also told the same thing to the Los Angeles Department of Child and Family Services. The children talked about having fun at Neverland. The mother said the accuser’s older sister always accompanies her brothers. They said the accuser has never slept in the same bed as Jackson. These are all unambiguous denials. __Battered what?__ Prosecutors also want to bring in an expert related to Battered Women’s Syndrome concerning the mother. And, again, this expert doesn’t appear to be called for his/her specific insight about the accusing family, but rather more for general purposes. Uh, ok. From the prosecution’s Motion: “…this testimony will not be offered to prove that the specific charged offenses in fact occurred but rather to help the jury understand the victim’s behavior in the context of the stressful and threatening environment…” ( Plaintiff’s Limine Motion for Admission of “Battered Women’s Syndrome testimony pg 2-3). They want to argue that the accusing mother is suffering from this “stress disorder” because she’s a “long term victim of domestic violence.” Some observers question the logic of this argument too. This could be a blind alley as well. Battered Woman’s Syndrome won’t fly as an excuse partly because of the conspiracy allegation. None of the prosecution-alleged “co-conspirators” are experts in battered women’s syndrome, nor are they accused of beating the mother repeatedly. Regardless of her prosecution-alleged mental traumas, it still does not explain why her “kidnappers”/“abductors” would ALLOW her to leave and return….leave and return….leave and return to Neverland. Nor does it explain why they would take her on numerous shopping trips, or fly across the country to be with other celebrities, or drive the family to a doctor’s appointment, or drive the mother to court to get her husband’s child support payments increased, etc. It is not an excuse for why the people around Jackson would allow the family to be in and out of Neverland on their on volition even after the prosecution-alleged “conspiracy” was supposed to be over. She and her parrots…uh, I mean children WOULDN’T have been allowed to leave in the first place if they were really being kidnapped, despite whatever mental condition she may (or may not) be suffering from. What’s worse for prosecutors is that the entire family repeatedly denied Jackson had done anything to the accuser and never made an allegation of threats/abduction, even after saying good things about Jackson as late as “April or May” of 2003, according to early public comments from the mother’s divorce attorney, Michael Manning. Manning’s comments were reported in a Fox news article dated November 25 2003 titled “Lawyer: Jackson Accuser Never Mentioned Abuse”. From the article:

LOS ANGELES — A divorce attorney who represented the mother of Michael Jackson’s accuser said the family until recently never alleged Jackson sexually abused the boy. Attorney Michael Manning said Monday he remembers the mother saying positive things about Jackson as recently as April or May. ” ‘He was really good to us’ — that’s what she said at the time,” Manning said. Asked if she had said anything else about Jackson, Manning added, “Nothing bad. … If it turned sour, I don’t know how.” (see Lawyer: Jackson Accuser Never Mentioned Abuse)

This makes yet another person she was in contact with around April or May of 2003 and she didn’t say one word about anything untoward happening to her or her kids. She didn’t tell him to call the police, she didn’t tell him her story of abduction, nor did she say anything else bad about her experience with Jackson. Remember, by this time, it’s now long after the prosecution-alleged “conspiracy” is over. Another dead-end that prosecutors may run into could be the actions of the mother after they first “escaped”. The first person the family reportedly ran to was Jamie Masada, according to him. He says he then took them to civil attorney William Bill Dickerman. Neither one of them – not Dickerman, not Masada and not the family – contacted the police to press charges against Jackson or any of his prosecution-alleged “co-conspirators.” What? Were Masada and Dickerman also suffering from battered women’s syndrome? Hell no. The mother, through Dickerman, really went after Jackson in relation to their property she claimed his people stole. The property was put in storage for the family as the mother looked for a new house, sources reportedly told reporters at Fox news. She claimed there were threats and they were being followed by Jackson’s people. Apparently her alleged syndrome wasn’t crippling enough to keep her from directing her lawyer at the time to send threatening letters to Jackson’s attorney. Based on the redacted letters between Jackson’s then-attorney Mark Geragos and Bill Dickerman, not once did Dickerman so much as mention that she saw Jackson abusing her kid on a plane, or the brother seeing the accuser allegedly “being molested.” Battered women’s syndrome didn’t stop her from “escaping” reportedly with the help of the teenaged sister of one of the prosecution-alleged “co-conspirators”. The family of the sister are said to be livid that they were brought into these ridiculous allegations, by the way. Is this syndrome like a 24-hour bug? Does it come and go in spells?? So, again, their own actions will be what gets them into trouble. __I’ll take a real discussion with a side order of fries to go, please__ Why aren’t these points the topics of conversation on show like Abrams’s? Instead, we get chicken-little ‘the sky if falling’, “major blows for the defense” drama from the broadcast media. Another point about Abrams’s coverage: it does seem as if he himself has made a big deal out of claiming the defense made a big deal out of fighting against the prosecution’s motion to bring in this general expert. He, at one point, asked why the defense wanted to fight this. I’m not sure when the last time Abrams has tried a case in court, but normally the defense always fights against prosecution motions. It’s their thing. It’s what they do. Period. Jeez. What’s the use in having defense attorneys who don’t fight prosecution motions, whatever they may be? Especially when the view is that prosecutors will use said expert to try to give false credibility to a false allegation? So the public wonders where the panel discussions are about the large changes between the initial charges and the indictment. The public waits for a substantial discussion of why Sneddon wants to introduce non-specific “expert” testimony. The public has yet to get a full comprehensive breakdown of the accusing family’s behavior in comparison to what they claimed happened. Hey, they even long for an in-depth discussion of why Bashir—with his numerous contradictory statements about Jackson—is fighting like hell to stay off the stand. More on that later. Fat chance seeing any of these discussions in detail from people who know what they’re talking about on any of these shows. Stay tuned. -MJEOL

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