Foreman: Jason Francia Not Too Credible Either, No Proof of Guilt – MB#275
Not all Jackson jurors feel the way media-touted Juror #1 feels

JUNE 16 2005 — As some of the media recover from their stunned outrage that an innocent Jackson wasn’t convicted, others are left to dissect what some of the jury members really think.

A number of the jurors don’t believe Jackson has ever molested anyone. For example, juror Susan Drake told the Santa Maria Times that she doesn’t believe Jackson ever behaved inappropriately with children (see Jurors talk about the choice made (June 15 2005) – Santa Maria Times ).

Two female jurors, both with children, appeared on the Today Show June 15 2005 to discuss the case (see  Today: 2 Female Jurors speak out June 14 2005 ).

When pressed, juror Melissa Herard actually said she would let her children visit Neverland under her supervision. If she thought he was guilty of anything, she certainly wouldn’t have said that.

Both Herard and another juror, Tammy Bolton, said there is no evidence that Jackson had ever molested anyone.

In response to Raymond Hultman and his many….many interviews saying Jackson “could be” a molester, Bolton flat out said she doesn’t agree, and that’s one of the reasons why she made the decision she made.  She told the host, “I don’t feel that was proven to me.”

Herard said she’s confident of Jackson’s innocence and made the point that there hasn’t been a trial before this one concerning any of the other allegations. 

She says, “There was no trial or any charges brought against him. So in light of that, we can only go by with what has been through this trial.”

That didn’t stop the host from questioning them repeatedly, trying to get them to call Jackson a child molester or call his friendship with children “bothersome.”

To that, Bolton said, “I don’t know that I would say ‘bothersome.’ ”

One of the more astonishing revelations came from the jury foreperson. He said, during a June 13 2005 appearance on “Nancy disGrace’s” show, that he didn’t find Jason Francia’s testimony too believable either.

Francia is the accuser who claimed to be tickle-molested as far back as 1987. Mr. “I don’t remember” has been discussed before in MJEOL Bullet #256. He’s the one the media keeps referring to as the “youth minister” or “youth pastor”.

Remember how certain media pundits ran around screaming from the rooftops about the “credible youth pastor”? As if being a ‘youth pastor’ equates to believability. How many priests and pastors have been actually convicted of child molestation again? He apparently spends most of his time working in an Auto-Parts store.

Paul Rodriguez says Francia’s testimony just didn’t seem believable. He even compared him to Janet Arvizo, the mother of the other accuser. He had the following to say about Francia’s testimony according to the CNN transcript:

GRACE: Mr. Rodriguez, did you believe the boy that came in that is now a youth minister that stated Jackson molested him in the past?
 
RODRIGUEZ: Well, we got a little problem with that because he had no idea where some of his money came from, and he didn’t want to talk to his mother. And so those kind of things that we kind of didn’t focus on, but it did keep — we kept that in the back of our minds.
 
GRACE: So would it be safe to say you did not believe him?
 
RODRIGUEZ: Yes, we had a hard time believing him. …
 
GRACE: Yes. What about the one kid that became a youth minister, who stated plainly Jackson molested his — fondled his genitals?
 
RODRIGUEZ: Again, like you said earlier, you know, about his scenario or his testimony, it was hard to buy the whole story, when he acted like he knew nothing about it. I mean, he acted so much like the mother of the other accuser, you know, he just didn`t seem that credible. He didn`t seem to convince us, like we wanted to be convinced. And he just — he was leaving too many little loopholes in his statements. (see Grace Transcript June 13 2005)

Oh, but according to the media, he was supposedly so credible…so trustworthy…so heartbroken. Yeah right. Obviously the jury didn’t buy it. The things Rodriguez didn’t buy about J. Francia’s testimony were probably some of the things Mesereau was quick to hit upon during cross-examination.

One of the first things to be brought out by Jackson attorney Thomas Mesereau was the fact that J. Francia denied any molestation occurred. Some observers didn’t realize that until it was brought out in open court.

Mesereau made real, substantial ground during the trial by getting J. Francia to admit that he first repeatedly denied these allegations to police. And he suggested that it was only after being badgered by the cops that he started to make allegations against Jackson.

For clarification purposes, there were at least 3 interviews with J. Francia and with his tabloid-story-selling mother, Blanca Francia recently in 2004: Oct 18 2004, Nov 19 2004, and apparently Dec 6 2004.

J. Francia was asked about previous interviews with police that he’d given. Mesereau brought out in court that in one of those early interviews, Francia says “they” made him come out with “a lot more stuff” he didn’t want to say. So much so that he “wanted to hit them in the head.” From the court transcript:

Q. Do you remember stating in that interview, "They made me come out with a lot more stuff I didn’t want to say. They kept pushing. I wanted to get up and hit them in the head"? Do you remember that?
A. No.
 
Q. Would it refresh your recollection if I show you the transcript of that?
A. Probably not. But you can show it to me anyway.
 
MR. MESEREAU: May I approach, Your Honor?
 
THE COURT: Yes.
 
MR. ZONEN: What page, Counsel?
 
MR. MESEREAU: 30.
 
THE WITNESS: Okay.
 
Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Have you had a chance to look at that page of the transcript?
A. I have.
 
Q. Does it refresh your recollection about what you’ve said?
A. No, it does not.
 
Q. Do you remember anything you said in that interview at the moment?
A. Not really. (4908-4909 (20-15))

Hit them in the head? Sounds more like a kid who didn’t want to make a false allegation. Another telling point was back in those early police interviews when J. Francia was asked by police if Jackson had ever told him not to tell anyone of alleged abuse.

Francia’s answer was “No but I’m working on that”. I kid you not. From the transcript:

Q. Okay. Do you remember telling the interviewers, when you were asked do you remember anything that he said, you said, "No, I’m working on that"?
A. No. …
 
Q. In the second interview — let me rephrase the question. I’ll withdraw it. In the second interview in 1994 – okay? —
A. Okay.
 
Q. — that was recorded – all right? – when asked if Mr. Jackson said anything to you about whether you should discuss what happened, do you remember telling the interviewers, "No, but I’m working on that"?
A. I do not remember that.
 
Q. Would it refresh your recollection if I show you the transcript?
A. No. But — you could bring it over.
 
Q. Well, I can’t unless you’re willing to see if it refreshes your recollection.
A. Okay. Bring it over. I’ll give it a shot. I’ll read it just to see if it refreshes my memory. (4941 (11-23|28), 4942 (1-16))

He’s “working on that”? Working on what?? Getting his story straight? Or coming up with a story that police wanted to hear? This is not a standard response to the question he was asked by police in 1994. Someone asks a supposed “victim” if he was ever told not to tell anyone about abuse, the last response would be “No, I’m working on that.”

Observers on both sides admitted that it did sound more like he was trying to tell the police what they expect to hear from him. Mesereau also got into the insults and lies the interviewing detectives leveled against Jackson back in 1993-94 when questioning J. Francia. Of course, Francia claimed not to remember. From the transcript:

Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: And at one point a sheriff actually used a curse word to get you to say something, correct?
A. I don’t remember that, but you could show me the thing.
 
Q. Okay. But as you sit here today, you don’t remember, right?
A. I don’t remember the four-letter word. Everybody in junior high cussed.
 
Q. How about the word "bullshit"?
A. What about it?
 
Q. Do you remember a sheriff telling you that?
A. I don’t, but I think I remember listening to it on the tape.
 
Q. Do you remember in that interview one sheriff telling you, "Mr. Jackson is a molester," and the other saying, "He makes great music, he’s a great guy, bullshit"? Do you remember that?
A. I don’t remember that specifically, but I think I remember hearing it on the tape, which was my voice, or his voice.
 
Q. You do remember a sheriff’s voice saying that, right?
A. I don’t remember right now of ’93, but I remember listening to the tape.
 
Q. Okay. And a sheriff said that to you, correct?
A. I believe so. (4927-4928 (2-28 | 1-13))

So we’ve got the police saying that Jackson is a child molester and cursing him in front of this scared kid. And it got worse. More from the transcript:

Q. Does it refresh your recollection about what the sheriffs said to you about Mr. Jackson in the interview?
A. I don’t remember that specifically, but reading it in the transcript, I remember reading that in the transcript when I read it on Sunday, when I reviewed the tape.
 
Q. And even after sheriffs said to you, "He’s a molester, he’s a great guy, makes great music, bullshit, he has lots of money," you still said he had never touched your genital area, right?
A. I believe so. Probably towards the beginning again. (4928-4929 (26-10))

One thing is quite clear: the police really started working on J. Francia; convincing him that something MUST have happened to him. During the course of this trial, it also came out that police officers appeared to be talking J. Francia into making an allegation. A sort of ‘oh maybe you don’t remember BECAUSE you were molested’ type of argument.

Police were telling him that Mac Culkin was being “molested” and that Corey Feldman had been “molested”. They actually told J. Francia the reason Feldman was doing drugs was because Jackson “molested” him. All of this was a complete lie. Detective Neglia said to Francia during one of these early 1993 interviews:

Okay, but what I am getting at is that maybe I am not being obvious enough. What I am saying is maybe he put his hands someplace on you where he shouldn’t have. Maybe he put his hands on you someplace that made you feel uncomfortable. And that’s why you are not remembering. …And I think of what you doing is (sic) tickling and all this stuff, is trying, forcing yourself not to remember. (see Suspicious Police Questioning of Jason Francia – Hot doc)

So by telling them the truth – that he was only tickled by Jackson – the cops basically turned that into Francia’s hiding “molestation”. This is the kind of stuff Rodriguez and a number of other jurors picked up on. They lied to J. Francia that Mac Culkin was being “molested” back then too; even though they had absolutely no proof or accusation to even base that on. From those court docs:

Det. Neglia: I realize how hard this is. I realize how painful it is to think of these things you tried so hard not to think about but you are doing dine. And you are also helping the kid that he is bothering now.
 
Jason Francia: What do you mean he’s bothering?
 
Det. Birchim: He’s doing the same thing.
 
Jason Francia: Macauly Culkin.
 
Det. Neglia: Only he’s getting a lot more into it. Like your mother pulled you out of there. Macaulay’s mother is not going to pull him out of there. They are feeding him.
 
Det. Birchim: He’s doing worse stuff.
 
Det. Neglia: It’s much worse with him. (see Suspicious Police Questioning of Jason Francia – Hot doc)

Mac Culkin testified that Jackson never molested him and he’s never made an allegation against him. And the police had absolutely no right to question Francia in this manner.

They pumped J. Francia full of lies and seems to have guilted him into thinking that if he didn’t make an allegation, he wouldn’t be helping Culkin. I’m sure more than a few of the jurors would have been more than put off by knowing these facts.

It got downright disgusting because the police also alleged Corey Feldman was a junkie because he was “exposed” to people like Jackson; seeming to infer that J. Francia could also become one if he continued to spend time with Jackson.

Feldman, himself an adult in 1993, was questioned by police and repeatedly denied that Jackson had ever done anything inappropriate or improper to him.

Celebrity Justice actually got their hands on a tape of his police interview (see Do Feldman Tapes Indicate Jackson Witch-Hunt? – CJ ). More from the court doc:

Det. Neglia: He’s a junkie now, he gets arrested, he doesn’t act or anything. He gets high. He packs his nose with cocaine and he’s going to die by the time he is 22 years old.
 
Jason Francia: How old is he?
 
Det. Neglia: About 21. But that’s the kind of life he is living, and it’s got to do with being exposed to people like this, and having nobody to protect them and to take them out.
 
Det. Birchim: Like you had your mom.
 
Det. Neglia: Like your mom pulled you out, and you’re, you’re candid, and you’re honesty with us is going to help us. To pull the next kid out, it might even be too late for Macauly already. But these kids that he’s traveling with are on tour right now. Maybe we can pull them out of it…
(see Suspicious Police Questioning of Jason Francia – Hot doc)

Setting J. Francia up as the hero who would save “the next kid” may have also contributed to him suddenly remembering himself being tickled as being “molested”.

Couple the police questioning with the fact that Francia repeatedly didn’t seem to remember key information and appeared to be evasive, it may have caused jurors like Rodriguez to completely discount his allegation.

Something that other jurors, like Bolton, Herard and Drake, also picked up on. So while the media may be focusing on a few of jurors who still want to believe Jackson is guilty of something in the past — without so much as a trial – it is by far not the consensus of most of the Jackson jurors.

-MJEOL

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