Jackson juror now wants out of book deal
9/10/05

By SCOTT HADLY
NEWS-PRESS SENIOR WRITER

"It sounds like he’s flip-flopping again," publisher says

One of the jurors in the Michael Jackson child molestation case who had second thoughts about voting to acquit the pop star now has second thoughts about signing a contract to write a book, filing a lawsuit this week in Santa Maria to get out of the deal.

Ray Hultman, 62, and another juror, Eleanor Cook, 79, have both publicly stated that they believe Mr. Jackson was guilty despite voting with the rest of the jury in June to acquit the star. They made the statements during an interview on MSNBC in which both also announced they were working on separate books about their experiences on the case.

But in court papers filed this week in Santa Maria, Mr. Hultman alleged that he and his wife, Darlene, were taken in by publisher Larry Garrison. Mr. Garrison "impressed and dazzled (the Hultmans) with his purported fame and achievements so that they would trust him so completely that they would believe virtually anything he said or promoted to them."

The lawsuit says the handwritten contract signed by Mrs. Hultman on behalf of her husband just two weeks after the verdict violated the intent of a state law and an order from Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville that prohibited jurors from profiting from their service on the trial for at least 90 days.

Because their agreement was signed before Sept. 12 — the end of the 90 days — the contract is "illegal and unenforceable," the lawsuit says.

Mr. Garrison had gotten a similar agreement from Ms. Cook, through the woman’s granddaughter, even before signing with the Hultmans, the lawsuit said.

Neither the Hultmans nor their Santa Barbara attorney, James R. Nichols, would comment on the case.

Mr. Garrison told The Associated Press that he had not heard of the suit.

"As far as I know, I’m doing a book with him on the Jackson trial," he said, adding, "All I can say is that he is a character. If there is a suit, it sounds like he’s flip-flopping again."

Along with Mr. Garrison and his Silvercreek Entertainment, the suit names {tag Bill Gladstone} and author {tag Stacy Brown}, who was to have helped write the book.

In the lawsuit, Mr. Hultman alleges that whoever prepared the book proposal on his behalf included plagiarized portions of a Vanity Fair article by Maureen Orth.

Mr. Brown was dropped from the book deal after saying in a New York Daily News story that he didn’t feel Mr. Hultman and Ms. Cook’s belief in Mr. Jackson’s guilt was credible considering their votes to acquit the star.

In the suit, Mr. Hultman claims both the plagiarized portion of the book proposal and Mr. Brown’s statements damaged his reputation and the marketability of any book he could write on the subject.

The suit asks for unspecified damages and termination of the contract.

Source: http://news.newspress.com/topsports/091005jackson.htm

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