Palanker Caught on Tape Bad-mouthing Accusing Family – MiniBullet #16

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Palanker Caught on Tape Bad-mouthing Accusing Family – MiniBullet #16 MARCH 23 2005 – What a difference cross-examination makes. In court, Louise Palanker quickly became backtracker of the day, as she was the only witness giving testimony. As reported in yesterday’s (March 22) updates page, it was a tale of two testimonies. Palanker’s mouth – in statements to police and testimony on the stand – was the worst enemy to her credibility. Palanker, under direct questioning by the prosecution, talked about the accusing family in what some called “glowing terms”. She admitted she was still in contact with the accusing family and considered them friends. Palanker testified under prosecution questioning that it was the accuser’s father always asking for money. This has quickly become the excuse as to the felonious behavior by the accusing family: blame the biological father. She talked about an alleged disturbing phone call she received from the accuser’s mother, Janet Arvizo, in which the mother allegedly sounded like she was in distress. She also reportedly told Palanker “these people are evil”. Palanker testified she thought the family was being held against their will based on that phone call. Palanker, however, didn’t call the police. She called an attorney. What is it with these people? Do they all have lawyers on speed dial? But I digress. Palanker didn’t explain why the mother would call her instead of calling the police. And look at the logic here. If she’s being held hostage: (1) How in the world did she get access to a phone? and (2) She gets access to a phone and calls….Palanker, an alleged comedian… instead of calling the police?? This is beyond ridiculous. Reportedly, the mother never identified from where she was calling nor did she explain to Palanker whom she was calling “evil.” What’s worse is that Palanker made some incredibly damaging taped statements previously to police that the defense brought out under cross-examination. It was during one of these interviews with police that she said there were occasions when the accuser, his brother and sister seemed coached to lie, according to a report by Savannah Guthrie (Court TV). Palanker also told police the family would latch onto anyone with money or celebrity who could help the family, according to a report from Jennifer London (MSNBC). And that’s just the start of it. Palanker’s previous interviews with police were thrown back into her face by the defense to show that she was singing a very different tune than what she said on the witness stand. Palanker told police that she thought Janet Arvizo was “bipolar”, had “hostage syndrome”, needed psychological help, and that the family was “as whacky as they want to be.” One of the $10,000 checks Palanker gave to Janet Arvizo was made out in Arvizo’s mother’s name, allegedly for “tax purposes”. But we all know why that was probably was done: to hide this information from the welfare agency and other people she was getting money from. Mike Taibbi reported about Palanker’s testimony both under direct and cross-examination on March 22. Here’s an excerpt about what she told police in previous statements:

MIKE TAIBBI: …On cross-examination, some interesting things happened. As always does with a very effective cross-examination — this is due process at work. Jackson’s chief attorney Tom Mesereau got her to admit that in a conversation with sheriff’s investigators, which she did not know was being recorded, she said a lot of other different things. She said for example, about the family — the accuser’s family : “This family can be as whacky as they want to be. They always were kind of strange.” And about the mother whom she defended in her direct testimony as never asking for money, never being a problem, she said of the mother: “[She] is unbalanced. I think she is totally bipolar. And the behavior of the children were so over the top all of the time.” (see Abrams Report: Mike Taibbi Rpt about Louise Palanker testimony (March 22 2005))

Guthrie seems a bit worn down by the Court TV mantra to focus more on the prosecution’s allegation (direct testimony) yesterday. However, she did report some of what came out under cross-examination:

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: …Well now she’s on cross-examination and we’re hearing about some of the statements that she made to police initially. Some of which were she said to the cops that this family is ‘as wacky as they want to be’. She told the police officers that the mother was bipolar; completely unstable. She made a statement to police evidently that she thought the family was teaching the kids to lie. When asked about that statement, she said ‘well, no, I think I was referring to somebody else who thought that’. She tried to backtrack on that. (see Court TV: Guthrie Rpt. about Palanker (March 22 2005))

This is in stark contrast to what she tried to sell the jury when the prosecution was questioning her. The defense also made the point, as mentioned earlier, that Palanker still considers herself a friend of the family. Thus, the implication is that she may be coloring her testimony to favor the mother. The same mother who she called “bipolar” and “whacky” before, was all of a sudden a wonderful person under prosecution questioning. So you better believe Mesereau hit her on the stand with what turned out to be incredibly contradictory statements; much like the accuser, his brother, and sister have all given. Jennifer London gave a short report about the goings-on in court yesterday (March 22):

JENNIFER LONDON: …Under cross-examination, however, Louise Palanker said she did think that the mother at one time might have suffered from “hostage syndrome”. She also said that she thought the family would latch onto anyone with money or perhaps a celebrity who could help better their situation. The defense hoping that testimony supports their claim that the accuser’s mother made up all of the claims against Michael Jackson because she was out to get his money. (see MSNBC Live: Jennifer London Rpt about Palanker testimony (March 22 2005))

This “hostage syndrome” comment is highly interesting because one of the ridiculous allegations is that they were held hostage at Neverland….at a plush Calabasas hotel…at stores and restaurants while spending Jackson’s money, etc. Thus, if she has some kind of mental disorder, she may have gotten her kids to back up her tall tale about being held hostage. Some think it may not be Stockholm syndrome, but rather paranoia or an outright lie. Palanker was also asked by Mesereau under cross-examination concerning a previous statement she made about Jamie Masada. At one point, she told police that Masada was a “pathological liar” in an interview she didn’t know was being taped. Taibbi reports:

TAIBBI: …Additionally, Louise Palanker was forced to admit that a comment she made about Jamie Masada, the comedy club owner who allegedly introduced the accuser to Michael Jackson — that he (Masada) was a pathological liar — was an exaggeration. And yes she said it, but she didn’t really mean that. It was an exaggeration. So this effective prosecution witness was, as often is the case on cross-examination, revealed to be something a little bit different. (see Abrams Report: Mike Taibbi Rpt about Louise Palanker testimony (March 22 2005))

Jamie Masada, a pathological liar? Oh say it ain’t so! This would go a long way to explain why Masada went all over the place giving interviews and claiming that the accuser was gravely ill. He said the accuser needed “blood and a kidney” because his kidney was failing. He told a tale of the accuser sleeping on the floor with a swollen face on one side, while the mother read the bible and prayed…………..stop laughing. That’s really what he said! The accuser, he said in one interview, wanted him to go out and find him a new kidney at what turned out to be a time when the accuser was a healthy, robust teenager in the Sea Cadets program. It wasn’t until a tabloid published pictures of the accuser hoping fences and handling a rifle that Masada disappeared from TV. He vanished, but not before being outed as, what seemed to be, a manipulator by Fox’s Geraldo Rivera (see Rivera: Armstrong Williams; Rivera outs Jamie Masada 2-7-04). Couldn’t help thinking of Masada’s media blitz in light of Palanker’s comments, regardless of whether she’s now trying to downplay them or change them. But what may be worse is that she admitted she exaggerated to police before. “Exaggerated” may be another term for outright lying. Is that something she does all the time? Was she exaggerating when testifying on the stand? Was she exaggerating when talking about that allegedly disturbing phone call she received from the mother? Certain reporters and pundits can only hide information about the defense’s cross-examination for so long. As well, they can only make excuses for the prosecution for so long. Already, some prosecutors, former district attorneys and former prosecutors have expressed concern over the way the prosecution is handling this “case”. Appearing on Studio B March 22 2005, former prosecutor Sam Goldberg lays into the way this testimony – like Louise Palanker’s – is being introduced. He says the order of introduction makes no sense and the prosecution is running the risk of looking like they’re trying to hide things. From that report:

SAM GOLDBERG, former prosecutor: Yeah I do [think the prosecution is ‘messing this up’]. I think that in the order that they’re putting in the witnesses, the order makes no sense first of all. Second of all, the way they’ve prepared the witnesses, they seem to be surprised by half the testimony they get. Plus, with the previous inconsistent statements, any trial attorney who’s tried a number of cases know that if you have problems like that, you bring it out in direct testimony during direct examination. This prosecutor waits for the defense attorney to bring it out on cross-examination which puts the sting back into it, number one. Number two, it makes it look like the prosecutor is trying to hide things. This — I handled these types of cases now on both sides: as defense here in Boston, as a prosecutor in New York. This is not the order in which to put in the testimony in this case. (see Studio B: Prosecutor blasts the prosecution (March 22 2005))

Hum….maybe they are trying to hide things? The accuser’s mother hasn’t testified yet. Neither have Stan Katz or Larry Feldman. Anyway, it does appear, say some observers, that prosecutors tried to hide or downplay prior inconsistent/contradictory statements from Palanker. Stay tuned. -MJEOL

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