Outrage over Decision Not to Cite Bashir for Contempt MiniBullet #6 FEB 24 2005 The judge in the Michael Jackson case has allowed accused blackmailer Martin Bashir to both report on the case AND be a witness in it at the same time. This ridiculous decision has drawn blistering criticism from a number of both pro-defense and pro-prosecution case watchers. The judge refused to cite Bashir, whose two programs for ABC were rife with everything from speculative nonsense to defamatory, malicious remarks. The two programs failed to pull in the ratings ABC was hoping for, and caused a number of people to criticize ABC/Bashir even on their own public message boards (see Tempest in a Thimble | and | Jackson Bash-fest a Ratings Loser). Some say Judge Rodney Melville has allowed the glorified tabloid reporter get away with breaking the gag order in a way that he certainly wouldnt have allowed any pro-defense witness to do. Long time Jackson friend and former manager Frank Dileo talked to Carol Davis of thejusticesystem.net about Bashirs total lack of being held accountable for his role in this case. Needless to say, Dileo was outraged. He says inane commentary about Jacksons wardrobe draws media attention when what they should really be investigating are the decisions being made or the things being allowed to happen by the current judge. From a transcript of the Feb 22 2005 show:
FRANK DILEO: This offends every person’s rights. If the press doesn’t pick up on this, or if somebody doesn’t stand up like Al Sharpton or Alan Dershowitz or somebody like that, who knows where this country could be heading. I mean, those reporters out there — there’s gangs of them — standing around reporting on every move: ‘he showed up in an SUV’, ‘he had on a black jacket’, ‘he had on white pants.’ Who cares what Michael’s wearing! You wanna report on that stuff? Go to Joan Rivers on the red carpet. What they should be saying is ‘hey this jury pool might be tainted.’ How did the judge allow Martin Bashir — let that program air? How come he didn’t stop that? How come he didn’t stop Corey Feldman? (see Frank Dileo blasts decision not to cite Bashir for contempt thejusticesystem.net)
thejusticesystem.net will be doing a 5 part series about this issue airing at the website. The host as well seemed disgusted with the judges decision to allow the subpoenaed Bashir to continue to report the case like any other reporter would. She also asked where the civil rights activists were. From the transcript:
CAROL DAVIS: We asked the same questions Frank is asking: Where are the civil rights activists now? Where are you? Where are you and how can you stand by and allow this to happen to all Americans regardless of race, creed or color.
Some think these civil rights leaders wont jump in until it becomes clear in their mind that Jackson is innocent, and that theyll jump in just in time to latch their cause around an innocent Jackson–who some didnt support from the onset of this process. They also may materialize after the fact proclaiming that they knew it all along. Yeah sure. Quite frankly, Jacksons innocence wont hinge on whether or not a civil rights group is supporting him. Davis also questioned Bashirs motives for doing these types of reports and for ABC looking the other way. More from that Feb 22 2005 show:
DAVIS: We are all under siege if a witness in a case can become a journalist for a global news organization, be paid reportedly a million dollars to do his job, so he darn well better deliver, and turn around and report on the very case he’s a witness in? There’s something wrong here. Does anyone see it? You’ve got to be outraged over this.
A great number of people do feel that f this was a pro-defense witness, he almost certainly would have been shutdown and threatened with jail time had he not complied. Just in the interest of justice, he should be made to follow the rules bounding every other witness. There should be no journalist exception; especially considering the full role this particular journalist played in this case. Davis continued to lay into the baffling decision. More from the show:
The judge has ruled that Bashir could report on the case just like any other reporter. Hey judge, guess what? He’s not like any other reporter. Do you get this?
Indeed. Daviss comments drew a lot of agreement from both pro-prosecution and pro-defense case observers. They all agreed that this process should be as fair as possible regardless of how they feel individually about Jackson. And the vast majority of court watchers in contact with MJEOL think allowing Bashir to propagandize about this case is an affront to this process precisely because he isnt like any other reporter. No doubt some will be keeping a very close eye on this situation and will be bringing analysis and commentary as this issue plays out. Stay tuned. -MJEOL :nav Your comments?