May 27 2005 Trial

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MAY 27 2005 — Both the prosecution and the defense rested their cases today. The prosecution played a videotape of the accuser’s first police interview in July 2003. Already some pro-prosecution pundits (Dimond, Hammer, Gallagher, etc) are trying to publicly bolster the police interview with the accuser because reportedly it simply didn’t live up the expectations. Remember, this is the same group of talking heads who were downplaying Chris Tucker’s explosive testimony. The opinions on Gavin Arvizo’s demeanor were quite mixed; not at all like the pre-video chatter and hype. But the general consensus is that this tape was by no means the knock-out video they were led to believe. Some observers have actually publicly said it may have raised a lot more questions in the end because of the way Arvizo was questioned by police. Prosecutor Susan Filan (msnbc) actually reported that she thought jurors would be “riveted”, but they weren’t. She reported that some jurors were looking around as if to say ‘yeah, yeah, we know, we know’. They may have been a little impatient with the prosecution as well. Also on the tape during questioning, the police would reportedly say things to Arvizo like “Michael Jackson is the bad one here, you are the good one. You and your family are the good ones”. Other reports say police told Arvizo that what he was doing by making an allegation “could stop a lot of other people from getting hurt”. According to some analysts on MSNBC, Arvizo “mumbled a lot, looked down a lot, sighed a lot” and police practically had to coax an allegation out of him on the tape. Apparently Arvizo was also caught telling somewhat of a different story than what he would later tell the grand jury. The accuser’s story also varied from one of the versions his brother told. No word just yet on whether or not the strong emphasis of “porn” and “booze” was a part of Arvizo’s original police tape, or whether that became an issue afterwards. Although no independent witness for the prosecution or defense confirmed that Jackson gave this accuser or his brother alcohol or adult material. The only independent witnesses relating to those two issues always set both Gavin and his younger brother with alcohol and adult material when Jackson was no where around. Rijo Jackson testified about being freaked out when he saw the accuser and his brother masterbating under the covers in one of the guest suites while watching adult material on a TV screen. One of them even tried to get the then-ten year old to actually engage in that sex act with him. Shane Meridith testified that during his routine check of the property, he actually caught the Arvizo brothers in Jackson’s wine cellar with an open bottle of wine. Again, no Jackson anywhere around. Former Neverland chef Angel Vivanco testified that the accuser threatened to get him fired if Vivanco didn’t spike his milkshake with liquor. Vivanco was, at the time, seeing the underaged older sister of Arvizo unbeknownst to Jackson. What’s more, according to his previous testimony under cross-examination, Arvizo admitted he went to two lawyers and a psychologist before he told this story to the police. And he admitted to also talking to “other people, other attorneys before”. The jury will have to assess the final police tape played in court. Although the judge claimed to let the prosecution play the tape so jurors can assess Arvizo’s demeanor only, it’s quite clear this would be just another thing to add to the stack of reversible decisions some legal analysts say he has already made. Attorney Mickey Sherman called it “absurd” to allow prosecutors to play the tape under this “demeanor” theory. Also, jurors saw another tape: the rebuttal interview with the family where they are very convincingly praising Jackson; appearing quite sincere. When Jackson attorney Tom Mesereau asked the accuser if he was telling the truth on that tape, Arvizo responded by saying he was acting. Jurors are sure to think about that admission when trying to decide whether to believe this accuser in this police interview. According to Mike Taibbi’s sources, the defense wasn’t worried about this tape to the point where they felt like they absolutely had no choice but to call the accuser back to the stand to try to blunt his testimony. They had already made the threat that if prosecutors play the tape, they were going to call Gavin and Janet Arvizo back to the stand, whereby the defense could have really gotten heavily into the timeline issue. An issue now which possibly will be spotlighted during the defense’s closing argument. Since the media generally doesn’t care about reporting specific details that came out in court when they are favorable to Jackson, through the next few days we’ll be taking a look back through some of the specific testimony given by a number of witnesses. MJEOL

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