Part 2: Tab Reporter Gets the Ax Amidst Criticism? – MB#283

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Part 2: Tab Reporter Gets the Ax Amidst Criticism of being Unfair and Unbalanced? – MB #283 Dimond’s 2003-2005 Jackson coverage isn’t the first time one-sided reports have hit the air SEPTEMBER 14 2005 In Part One of this special MJEOL Bullet, we discussed Dimond’s recent departure from Court TV and some of her pro-prosecution reporting on the Michael Jackson “case”. Also mentioned was the way in which she seems not to understand why some observers hold the view that she is less of a “reporter” and more of a commentator who has taken a specific side in this fight between Jackson and his detractors. And I’m not going to even get into her NY Post commentary with titles like “’93 mystery victim might emerge to sink jacko” and “Wife No. 2 will zing the King of Pop”! Remember, this is the same Dimond who publicly claimed she was distressed that Geraldo Rivera was “skirting the line” between being a reporter and being an opinion columnist when he correctly called the Jackson “case” a sham (Crier Live, Feb 4 2005 telephone interview). She chided him, claiming “This is not how a journalist acts”. Ha! She also had the audacity to ask if Rivera was trying to influence the jury selection; a question which wouldn’t be so laughable if it weren’t coming from her. Thus, when grand declarations of what is fair/balanced journalism are made from her high horse, it just irks many people who know a little bit about some of the situations/reports in which she’s been involved prior. Included among the list of discussed topics in Part One was her spreading the “love letters” lie, relaying false allegations about Karen Faye, leading the prosecution to a pair of dingy underwear which may not even have belonged to Jackson, her ridiculous reports about the 1993 settlement docs, and the one-sided reporting about an art book taken from Jackson’s house in 1993. But Dimond has apparently been a very busy girl. It would only be one part of the story if her pre-2003 reporting wasn’t discussed as well. __The world began in 1993…__ The glorified tab reporter’s seemingly pro-prosecution slant goes further back than the 2003 trial, of course. During the 1993 investigation, the media had a field day as well with damn near every piece of unconfirmed, unfounded and unsubstantiated information to cross their path. Some of which was spread by Dimond and her sources. Other false info was spread by Jackson opportunists and ex-employees who used Dimond’s platform with the defunct tabloid show Hard Copy to cash-in. Oddly enough, Dimond has somewhat of a documented history for seeking out accusers and alleged evidence against Jackson. You already know about the old dingy draws incident with Henry Vaccaro. But did you know it wasn’t the first time she has actively gone out and attempted to find or secure information/evidence of some sort against Jackson? __Oh Canada!__ As mentioned in MJEOL Bullet #54, after the 1993 investigation – and while she still worked for the defunct TV tabloid show Hard Copy – Dimond was chasing a story which completely blew up in her face. Some point after the publicity of the 1993 investigation, there were letters sent to Hard Copy from the alleged guardian of a “street kid” in Canada. The “street kid” was claiming to have been “molested” by Jackson. Dimond flew all the way to Toronto to get this street kid’s very elaborate and highly detailed story. Like the Arvizo’s in 2003, he too claimed he only wanted “justice”. Dimond took the bait, got his “confessions” on camera first, then took him to the authorities so he could make the allegations against Jackson. However, the other side to this story wouldn’t be quietly swept under the rug because the kid ended up admitting to the authorities that he had lied about Jackson. As it turned out, this “street kid” that Dimond had taken to the police to make the allegation against Jackson had gotten his information from “a Jackson obsessed nut” named Rodney Allen. Every piece of detail, right down to identifying people who worked at Neverland, was fed to this kid. Rodney Allen, the “guardian” writing the letters to Hard Copy, admitted on camera that he had given this kid the information on Jackson. After the “street kid” was questioned by someone other than the Santa Barbara authorities, his story apparently fell to pieces because he admitted lying about the entire situation from beginning to end. The reason the public knows this story is because Dimond filed a report about it. The story was too big to just ignore when it didn’t turn out the way she thought it would. The following is an excerpt from that Hard Copy report including Rodney Allen’s admission:

(begin videotape) Diane Dimond, Hard Copy: I care about this one kid who gave me all sorts of information about Neverland, about Havenhurst, about Disneyland, about Michael Jackson’s body. Where did he get all that information? Allen: He got it from me. Dimond: You planted all this stuff in this kid’s head? Allen: I didn’t plant it in his head. He was asking questions. I answered them the best I can. I told him what I could tell him about the place because I want Michael to face it. Dimond: So this kid is an A-1, number one liar? Allen: Professional. (end videotape) Dimond voiceover: The whole story was a scam. A Toronto street kid meets a man obsessed with the Michael Jackson case, and the results could have been an international scandal. Meanwhile, back at the police station the boy finally broke down. He admitted that he and Rodney Allen had made up the whole story. (begin videotape) Dimond: The young boy was lying? Det. Darryl Campbell: That’s my belief. And as a result of that, he was charged, yes. Dimond: Can you tell us what he was charged with? Campbell: Public mischief. (end videotape) Dimond: Well the boy is still in custody tonight. And police continue their investigation of Mr. Rodney Allen. (view dimondscam.rm | or |

The non-prosecution side all but figuratively jumped up and slapped her in the face with the kid’s admission of lying. There was almost no choice but to report the outcome. When some find her involvement incredibly suspicious, it seems they do have a right to their opinion based on previous and current actions: being the sole reporter to be leaked info about Jackson’s ranch being raided; being the first to know about an arrest warrant; calling the DA’s office to come pick up some dirty old draws in hopes of finding DNA “evidence”; interviewing ex-employees who had gotten paid for their stories, ETC. And now the public knows more about her history: being the one reporter to seek out personal contact with another “accuser”, getting an interview and taking him to the police herself – arm wrapped around him for comfort — to make what turned out to be false allegation against Jackson AFTER the 1993 investigation. To put it as one media observer phrased it, “Diane is a little too involved for my tastes.” One wonders what this person would say if they knew about the “street kid” story? __$100 million lawsuit and the fallout__ Dimond was once sued by Jackson for spreading a viciously false allegation from one of her many “sources”. She was party to distributing a defamatory and malicious allegation that there was a 27 minute videotape of Jackson in a “compromising position” with a kid. This alleged video never existed, by the way. Like she often does, if her sources say it, she takes it and runs with it. And she did so with her source for this lie, a man named Victor Gutierrez. He, too, was sued by Jackson for defamation. Jackson won $2.7 million in damages against him. More on that a bit later. Gutierrez tried to sell his story to the National Enquirer and to Hard Copy. The Enquirer didn’t bite, but Hard Copy (and Dimond) did. Reportedly, she told the false videotape story on Hard Copy and later repeated the allegation on an LA station. What she either didn’t know or didn’t care about was the truth (or lack thereof) of Gutierrez’s story. By the way, Gutierrez’s history was of no consequence to Dateline NBC, who used him as a Consulting Producer for a recent nonsensical, shallow and less than truthful Dateline “special” about Michael Jackson’s face. A furious Jackson sued Hard Copy, Diane Dimond, and Victor Gutierrez for $100 million dollars. Dimond was able to wiggle out of culpability with the help of DA Tom Sneddon, according to a March 16 2005 report from the NY Daily News. In the article titled, “DA helped Dimond out of a ‘Hard’ spot”, the reporter says he learned that Sneddon played a key role in getting Dimond out of that $100 million lawsuit. According to the NY Daily News article, Dimond claimed in the early 90’s that Sneddon was searching for that (non-existent) 27 minute videotape. One of the allegations Dimond spread was that the video was taken by Jackson’s own security cameras. She admitted she’d never seen the tape, though. If you’re seeing parallels between the way she reported the “videotape” story and the way she reported the “love letters” story in 2003, you’re not the only one. Sneddon sent a declaration supporting Dimond’s version of events to the civil court judge presiding over the lawsuit. As a result, the judge dismissed Dimond from the lawsuit, says the Daily News, because he claimed Jackson couldn’t prove malice or false reporting from Dimond. Dimond and Sneddon appear to be as thick as thieves, don’t they? Through another source, it was revealed that the LAPD – the main investigators of the 1993 investigation – told the Los Angeles Times “they had seen no such videotape, they were not looking for it, and there was no renewed investigation into molestation allegations” (see Who is Victor Gutierrez and why did Michael sue him? ). But who was the kid Gutierrez used in his disgusting attempt to make an allegation against Jackson? His own nephew, the son of Margaret Maldonado. Maldonado is Jermaine Jackson’s common law ex-wife. Needless to say, Maldonado was livid. Still with me? If not, let me give you the condensed version: Gutierrez concocts a story about Margaret Maldonado’s son. Gutierrez goes to Dimond (Hard Copy) with the story. Dimond spreads the story. Jackson sues Dimond and Gutierrez for a bunch of money. Sneddon helps get Dimond off the hook. Meanwhile, Maldonado is pissed because the story isn’t true. Whew! More detail to the story came by way of Margaret Maldonado’s book Jackson Family Values. She says that in 1995 she got a call from a writer named Ruth Robinson who told her about the false story. The following is an excerpt from Maldonado’s book:

I received a telephone call from a writer named Ruth Robinson. I had known Ruth for quite a while and respected her integrity. It made what she had to tell me all the more difficult to hear. “I wanted to warn you, Margaret,” she said. “There’s a story going around that there is a videotape of Michael molesting one of your sons, and that you have the tape.” If anyone else had said those words, I would have hung up the phone. Given the long relationship I had with Ruth, however, I gave her the courtesy of a response. I told her that it wasn’t true, of course, and that I wanted the story stopped in its tracks. She had been in contact with someone who worked at the National Enquirer who had alerted her that a story was being written for that paper. Ruth cross-connected me with the woman, and I vehemently denied the story. Moreover, I told her that if the story ran, I would own the National Enquirer before the lawsuits I brought were finished. To its credit, the National Enquirer never ran the piece. “Hard Copy,” however, decided it would. “Hard Copy” correspondent Diane Dimond had reported that authorities were reopening the child molestation case against Michael. She had also made the allegations on L.A. radio station KABC-AM on a morning talk show hosted by Roger Barkley and Ken Minyard. Dimond’s claims were based on the word of a freelance writer named Victor Gutierrez. The story was an outrageous lie. Not one part of it was true. I’d never met the man. There was no tape. Michael never paid me for my silence. He had never molested [my son]. Period. (see Jackson Family Values, pgs 288-289)

Woops! I guess a simple phone call to Maldonado from Dimond would have prevented the embarrassment and subsequent litigation. That is, assuming either Dimond or Hard Copy even asked Gutierrez for proof before using him as the sole source of an incendiary allegation. The story doesn’t end there, however. Although Dimond got off the hook, Gutierrez — her source — wasn’t so lucky. Jackson continued to sue Gutierrez for defamation and won a $2.7 million judgment. A report from E!Online dated April 10 1998 details Jackson’s victory. From the article titled “Michael Jackson’s Victory”:

A jury looking to “send a message,” sent it loud and clear–vindicating Michael Jackson and awarding him $2.7 million in a slander suit against an author who claimed he’d seen a video showing the pop star having sex with a boy. …”Jurors told us that they not only wanted to compensate Mr. Jackson and punish Victor Gutierrez, but to send a message that they are tired of tabloids lying about celebrities for money,” Jackson’s attorney Zia Modabber told Associated Press. (see Michael Jackson’s Victory)

This is something not often reported. Jackson winning a case is never a good story for most of the media. More from that E!Online article:

During the trial, Gutierrez said another boy’s mother had shown him the tape. But he refused to produce any evidence of the X-rated footage.… In the end, even Gutierrez’s attorney said “some of the jurors wanted to send a message to tabloids.”

According to previous Dimond reports up to that point, Gutierrez had told Hard Copy that it was surveillance video and in court he claimed somebody’s mother showed him. He evidently couldn’t explain how this alleged mother would have gotten this (non-existent) tape. Further, why would she show a tabloid reporter a tape of her kid getting molested and not have gone to the police? These are questions Gutierrez couldn’t answer and questions Hard Copy apparently didn’t ask. Gutierrez — like Martin Bashir in 2005 – tried to hide behind the California shield law. The judge back then – unlike judge Rodney Melville – didn’t let Gutierrez to get away with it, though. In another article dated Oct 16 1996 titled “Journalist must pay damages to Jackson, judge rules”, Jackson’s then-attorney Zia Modabber was quoted:

“Mr. Gutierrez and his lawyer have thumbed their noses at the court and all the parties involved in this case for two years, and it all caught up to them today,” Jackson lawyer Zia Modabber said. “The judge just said, ‘Enough.”‘ (see Journalist must pay damages to Jackson, judge rules (scroll down))

But the big picture is that she wouldn’t have been sued had it not been for her part is publicizing this false story. Further comments from Modabber can be found in a Hollywood Reporter article dated April 13 1998 titled “2.7 Million to Jackson for free-lancer’s sex-tape lie”:

“He claimed he was shown the tape by the boy’s mother. But the tape never existed. The mother testified that the incident never happened. The guy made the whole thing up, and we sued him for it.” …”Gutierrez told a D.A. Investigator and two witnesses who testified at the trial that the boy’s mother was his source,” Modabber said. “He told anyone who would listen. The only people he would not tell were the ladies and gentlemen of his jury — that’s when he became ethical. Now he’s getting on his high horse saying he’s protecting his source.” (see $2.7 million to Jackson for free-lancer’s sex-tape lie (scroll down))

Gutierrez would go on to file for bankruptcy. And when that didn’t get him off the hook for the $2.7 million, he reportedly fled the country. Remember, it was mentioned above that Gutierrez was recently a consulting producer for Dateline Jackson hit-piece? I would assume Gutierrez didn’t make a priority of telling people he had been sued into bankruptcy by Jackson, and still – reportedly, to this day – owes him $2.7 million. Talk about a motive to lie! Certainly, Dimond has yet to tell the tale of Gutierrez and her own involvement around that issue. The only mention I’ve heard from her is a claim that she “won” the lawsuit, which isn’t fully accurate. But then again, not being ‘fully accurate’ seems to be a theme in her Jackson-related reporting. __99% Sure__ Speaking of 1993, pre-trial reports from Dimond claimed that she was 99% certain that Jordan Chandler, the 1993 accuser, would testify at trial. She would later revise or back way from that contention. But this is what she announced on Crier Live March 26 2004:

CRIER:…You think he actually might testify. DIMOND: I think it’s about 99% that he will testify. (Crier Live, March 26 2004 show w/ Dimond and Joe Episcopo)

On what basis did she make that declaration? Were her sources using her to spread this or was she spreading this on her own? She also defended J. Chandler on that March 26 ’04 show saying emphatically that he hasn’t illegally revealed information to the media about the 1993 allegation despite the fact she has no basis of knowing what, if anything, J. Chandler has said to someone other than her. I guess this is her “both sides” theory at work? Please. An April 13 2004 Abrams Report had breaking news that the 1993 accuser had not testified in the grand jury nor would testify at the trial. Several trial observers… [pagebreak] …would later bring up this report when conversing about the general accuracy (or lack thereof) of her Jackson coverage on a number of public forums (and not just fansites). __Mixed reporting about Stan Katz__ Stan Katz is the psychologist who talked to the 2003 accuser, Gavin Arvizo. He is also the one who was brought into this “case” by attorney Larry Feldman. Katz also had some participation in the 1993 allegation. NBC’s Mike Taibbi got his hands on sheriff’s notes before this trial concerning Katz’s involvement. What he found out is that Stan Katz talked to the Santa Barbara sheriff’s department. Katz was quoted in the notes as saying: “I actually do know about that case…I worked on that one too” (see Abrams Report: SantaBarbaraInvestigation March 12 2004| transcript). Contradictory to Taibbi’s report, Dimond claimed on the March 22 2004 show of Crier Live that Katz basically didn’t have anything to do with the 1993 accuser. She told Crier that the first accuser never saw Katz:

DIMOND: … The first boy, the first accuser came out in 93, saw a Dr. Abramson. This accuser never saw Abramson, he only saw Katz. Katz never saw the first boy.

Well, not exactly. The first accuser’s allegation was made to the police by a Dr. Abrams, not a “Dr. Abramson” according to an October 1994 GQ article by Mary Fischer. The back-story is that Dr. Abrams reported the 1993 allegation to the authorities during a time when the accuser was still represented by civil attorney Barry Rothman. Once Rothman was dumped by Jordan Chandler’s father — and after a brief representation by Gloria Allred — in came Larry Feldman. Feldman is the one who brought Stan Katz into the 1993 allegation. Abrams himself has since admitted that he did not get to spend a lot of time with the 1993 accuser. On December 12 2003, CBS News report Abrams said:

“I think that this [children changing their stories] is a possibility in both cases, that there could be coaching, but, again, I wasn’t given the opportunity in the initial one to even try to find out,” he said. (see Jackson Kin: Michael Hurt By Cops)

Dr. Abrams’s admission was absent from Dimond’s report, by the way. Dimond had also claimed in a different report that Gavin Arvizo only made an allegation against Jackson after having it pulled out of him with “many sessions” of therapy. The public now knows that not to be the case. The accuser also reportedly used Jordan Chandler’s full name in at least one session with Katz. This information could have only been known for the most part, if he were told Chandler’s name or had he read the leaked 1993 affidavit posted at in Feb 2003. Katz was asked about how he became involved in Arvizo’s allegation during a pre-trial hearing on August 17 2004. An Associated Press (AP) report titled “Lawyer: Psychologist’s patients on both sides of Jackson case” detailed some of Katz’s testimony:

In May 2003, he said he was contacted by attorney Larry Feldman, who wanted him to meet with the boy and his family. … Katz said of Feldman, “He asked me to interview the minors (referring to the boy and two siblings) to determine the veracity of the comments they made to him.” (see Lawyer: Psychologist’s patients on both sides of Jackson case)

Katz’s own mouth got him in trouble, apparently, because he had also told police that Feldman was preparing to file a lawsuit against Jackson. He told police: “Mr. Feldman actually referred these kids to me because they had come to him in this lawsuit…Feldman’s going to file” (see Diane Dimond Misleading the Public? – MJEOL Bullet #113). Arvizo had evidently already told Feldman about allegations. Feldman brought in Katz to test the “veracity” of what the accuser was alleging. So it seems there were no “many sessions” of therapy where the allegations had to be “pulled” out of him. I guess this pertinent information slipped Dimond’s mind as she reported about Katz’s involvement. The overall tone of her reporting on the subject of Katz appeared to come off as her trying to distance both Katz and Feldman from the 1993/2003 tie-in. Clearly both the psychologist and the civil attorney are tangled up in some way with both 1993 and 2003 whether she wants to admit that or not. __Interview with Blanca Francia__ One of the issues which came up during the past trial was a maid, Blanca Francia, whose son claims he was abused by Jackson in 1987. The public learned in court, officially, that Blanca Francia sold stories to the tabloids in the 90’s and never reported any of her allegations to the police. One of the tabloids she sold her story to was Hard Copy. And who was her interviewer? Diane Dimond, of course. Oddly enough, Dimond’s fingerprints seemed to be all over the 1108 section of the prosecution’s “case” because she had often already interviewed some of the witnesses for the prosecution over 10 years ago. Coincidence? Francia made her allegations and was for the most part completely unchallenged by Dimond throughout that interview. Francia’s story didn’t hold up under cross-examination and her testimony conflicted with her son’s testimony. For example, Jason Francia (the son) claimed that there was an L-shaped couch and a chair in the apartment where he claims he was “molested”. But Francia – who cleaned the apartment for at least a year – testified that there wasn’t any furniture in the apartment (see Official Courtroom Transcript, pages 4937-4938, lines 14-28 and 1-5 | page 5058, lines 16-19). Information like this is important because if Francia is remembering things that weren’t there, he was most likely either “remembering” things he was told by police/prosecutors, or simply lying. What Francia didn’t emphasize in her interview with Dimond is that, according to Mesereau, Jackson personally gave her approximately $5,000 cash outside of her paycheck. She told Larry Feldman –the attorney for Jordan Chandler—during a deposition that Jackson would give her “$500 or $300 or $200 at a time.” Someone accustomed to this type of access and cash may be loathed to give it up. She also didn’t make sure the public knew that she had stopped working for Jackson as far back as 1991, years before she “suddenly remembered” to make allegations to Dimond of inappropriate behavior on Jackson’s part in 1993. In a deposition around the 1993 investigation and contradictory to the impression she left with some people in her early 90’s Hard Copy interview, Francia said she had never seen Jackson touch anyone in a sexual way. And in 2005, Mesereau asked her specifically about her Diane Dimond interview; the Dimond interview for which she was paid $20,000. From the courtroom transcript:

22-28 5085-5086 MESEREAU: Okay. Was it after that deposition that you were interviewed by Hard Copy? BLANCA FRANCIA: No. MESEREAU: It was before? FRANCIA: Oh, before I met with him, with — at my deposition? No, that interview was before. MESEREAU: So the interview with Hard Copy was before the deposition — FRANCIA: Yes. MESEREAU: — right? And that’s the interview you were paid $20,000 — FRANCIA: Yes. MESEREAU: — to do, right? FRANCIA: Yes. MESEREAU: And that’s the interview that you had your friend Evangeline help you arrange, right? FRANCIA: Yes. MESEREAU: And then after you were paid, you said you paid her some money, right? FRANCIA: Yeah. (Official Court Transcript, pages 5085-5086, lines 22-28 and 1-14)

But get this! In her deposition she also said, under oath, that the people from Dimond’s Hard Copy aren’t honest. More from the courtroom transcript:

MESEREAU: In your deposition, you said the people from Hard Copy are not honest, right? BLANCA FRANCIA: Yeah. MESEREAU: When did you last talk to anyone from Hard Copy? FRANCIA: When did I — recently? MESEREAU: Let me rephrase it. FRANCIA: Uh-huh. MESEREAU: After your interview with Hard Copy, did you ever talk to them again? FRANCIA: No. MESEREAU: Okay. Did you tell Attorney Larry Feldman that you were going to be interviewed by Hard Copy? FRANCIA: No. MESEREAU: And Evangeline worked at Neverland, right? FRANCIA: Yes. (Official Court transcript pages 5086-5087, lines 24-28 and 1-11)

The number of thieves, opportunists and crooks who have been around Jackson throughout his career is astonishing. However these two – Blanca Francia and ‘Evangeline’ – only sought to get their tabloid cut of the money years after they both stopped working for Jackson. Francia’s interview with Dimond was in December 1993, yet she had not been employed by Jackson since 1991. According to testimony, ‘Evangeline’ stopped working for Jackson even before Francia was fired or quit. What’s with the delay? She only made allegations to Dimond after $20,000 and years after her employment ended? ‘Suspicious’ isn’t a strong enough word for it. Later on in her testimony, she explained that she felt betrayed by Hard Copy, something we’ll get into as well. At one point, Mesereau asks Francia about her meeting Diane Dimond at the Hilton Hotel. More from the transcript:

MESEREAU: Okay. Okay. Now, Evangeline told you that she had reached Diane Dimond of Hard Copy, right; is that right? BLANCA FRANCIA: Yes. MESEREAU: And Evangeline arranged for you to meet with Diane Dimond, right? FRANCIA: Yes. MESEREAU: How many meetings did you have with Diane Dimond with Hard Copy? FRANCIA: I think it was just one. MESEREAU: Do you remember going to the Hilton Hotel? FRANCIA: My — yes. MESEREAU: Is that where you saw Diane Dimond during a meeting? FRANCIA: Yes. MESEREAU: And that’s the meeting Evangeline went with you to, right? FRANCIA: Yes. MESEREAU: You told Diane Dimond during that interview that you never told anyone that you had ever seen Michael Jackson molesting boys, right? FRANCIA: Yes, I believe so. MESEREAU: And it was Evangeline that negotiated how much money you were going to get, right? FRANCIA: Yes. (Official Court transcript pages 5094-5095, lines 7-28 and 1-3)

Francia spent 3 hours meeting with Dimond and at some point was given a contract to sign. After the interview, Dimond called Francia asking her for pictures of Michael Jackson as well according to the transcripts (pages 5098-5099, lines 6-16 and 1-4). She had even given Dimond a picture of her son, Jason Francia. Continued from the 2005 courtroom transcripts:

MESEREAU: And you said under oath during the deposition that you gave Ms. Dimond a picture of your son and Mr. Jackson, right? FRANCIA: Yes. MESEREAU: Okay. And you could — you didn’t think people would notice your son on the show, right? FRANCIA: Yeah. Probably. Probably, yes. MESEREAU: You said in the deposition you didn’t think anybody would recognize who your son was on the Hard Copy show, right? FRANCIA: Yeah. Probably I said that.

Good mothering. Dimond’s attempt to get pictures of Jackson from Francia resulted in Francia claiming to have been betrayed. The pictures she’d given to Dimond were splashed all over other tabloids as well. More from Francia’s 2005 testimony:

MESEREAU: Okay. Now, at some point, you called Diane Dimond and she didn’t return your calls, right? FRANCIA: Yeah. MESEREAU: You called her because you thought she had lied, right? FRANCIA: She had lied? MESEREAU: Yes. FRANCIA: I didn’t like — I thought that — that Hard Copy interview thing was going to be shown on Hard Copy, and then I see my pictures everywhere, and even in The National Enquirer, and that’s what I thought that it was. You know, I didn’t know that they can sell the story to someone else. That’s how I felt. (Official Court transcript page 5100, lines 2-15)

I guess there is no honor among opportunists. Poor Blanca! Not. But it is almost mind-boggling that she would hand over pictures of her own son to a tabloid reporter after making false allegations of impropriety with other kids. Coming out in court was that during Francia’s deposition with Larry Feldman, she claimed she’d gotten rid of the contract she signed with Hard Copy. According to her testimony, “Yeah, I think I destroy – I destroyed it.” And she did so before her January 1994 deposition day with Larry Feldman. But why would she chuck the Hard Copy contract? Afraid of being found out? Trying to hide the fact that she was paid $20,000? Who knows? Dimond has publicly said she didn’t handle the deal making. However, it’s difficult to fathom how she couldn’t have known about the payment or why it wasn’t much of an issue when she interviewed Francia in 1993. Only a few reports involving Dimond and allegations around Jackson have been cited. And most of them have, for the most part, been lacking in balance and full accuracy, say some observers. It is instances like the aforementioned events which cause many to scratch their head when Dimond proclaims to be unbiased and claims to always report “both sides”. Some see her as little more than a “tick” or a “leech”, feeding off of Jackson’s celebrity for her own advancement. I can’t say that I completely disagree with such a harsh assessment. Had she not have been as linked to other stories and allegations around Jackson, her bias wouldn’t be an issue because most reporters covering Jackson have a certain bias against him. But there is definitely something different about Dimond’s involvement which sends peoples’ “B.S.” meter into overdrive. And just when you would have thought she’d learned her lesson from the result of this spectacularly ridiculous trial, she only disappoints. The tab reporter is currently writing a book about Michael Jackson which some observers not only see as “pitiful”, but also “quite pathetic”. I agree. -MJEOL

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