Jackson Schemers Have Legal Problems of Their Own – MB#284

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Jackson Schemers Have Legal Problems of Their Own – MB#284 September 25 2005 – The months after Michael Jackson’s acquittal have brought many interesting developments concerning those who schemed against him, tried to benefit career-wise from his legal trouble, or sought to falsely imprison him around this past trial. People including Tom Sneddon, the flip-flopping Ray Hultman, former “Jackson family friend” Stacy Brown, Janet Arvizo, Chris Carter, Ron Zonen and the XtraJet owners have all had legal problems of their own. And tabloid Diane Dimond, apparently hired specifically for the Jackson story, has been driven from Court TV and had to settle a lawsuit based on a harassment allegation which she started. All of the aforementioned people seemed to have plotted, schemed and/or taken advantage of their positions for the betterment of their own bank accounts and public notoriety. Some have brought situations on themselves that are mildly amusing given that they all participated, in their own ways, in attempts to either profit from Jackson or tried to convict Jackson. Sneddon is caught up in a $10 million prosecutorial misconduct lawsuit. Carter was allegedly involved in a robbery where he was caught on tape. The XtraJet owners are in major trouble with the feds. Arvizo’s in trouble with Los Angeles County. Brown’s caught up in a plagiarism allegation from the flip-flopping Ray Hultman. And Zonen has apparently broken the law in a non-Jackson related case. __Sneddon and his misconduct__ Sneddon could be in a world of trouble related to a $10 million federal lawsuit filed against him and his office by attorney Gary Dunlap. Dunlap was prosecuted by Sneddon and was acquitted on all felony charges. Dunlap and his attorneys documented incidences involving prosecutorial misconduct on the part of Sneddon and the Santa Barbara D.A.’s office in his case both before and during his trial. He is suing the Santa Barbara DA’s office for engaging in outrageous misconduct, including “conspiracy, illegal taping, deceiving a court” and “illegally assisting the defense of a case” (see Lawyers press for investigation of DA, staff ). They, according to Dunlap, violated “several felony and misdemeanor statutes”. Sneddon was actually deposed in relation to the Dunlap lawsuit on June 16 2005 – just days after a humiliating defeat in the Jackson trial. Assistant DA Christie Stanley was “interviewed” July 14 2005 and Deputy DA Jerry McBeth was scheduled to be deposed August 19 2005 (see Dunlap lawsuit continues with depositions of top prosecutors). Months before Sneddon’s deposition, Dunlap’s attorneys sent letters to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, the California Attorney General’s Office, the California State Bar, and the Santa Barbara County Counsel and grand jury asking them to investigate Sneddon’s office. A report from the Santa Maria Times dated August 13 2005 titled “Dunlap lawsuit continues with depositions of top prosecutors” quotes Dunlap. From the report:

Dunlap maintains that prosecutors went to extraordinary and unconstitutional lengths to gather evidence against him. “An injustice was done and the district attorney’s office refuses to acknowledge, investigate, or refer it for investigation because their employees were involved in committing it,” Dunlap said. A Santa Maria jury on June 4, 2003 acquitted Dunlap of six felony counts, including suborning perjury, witness intimidation, filing false documents and preparing false documents. (see Dunlap lawsuit continues with depositions of top prosecutors)

In an explosive radio interview given by Dunlap Jan 2004, he let loose much information concerning how the D.A.’s office prosecutes people and how close the relationship really is between the DA’s office and the Santa Barbara sheriff’s department. He says that they do engage in vindictive prosecutions. Of his specific experience, Dunlap told the radio host:

They got a complaint, which they had to investigate. However, rather than looking at that complaint and doing a straightforward and honest investigation, they saw it as an opportunity to prosecute me. And what they did, is they tried to add legitimacy to an illegitimate charge. (see Dunlap radio interview)

Sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it? Dunlap says in one instance, the DA’s office went to talk privately with the judge in a case he (Dunlap) was trying. This is “against the law and in violation of the rules of professional conduct” (see Dunlap radio interview). They told this female judge that they were investigating Dunlap for criminal activities and apparently tried to get Dunlap’s client released from custody. But this judge had already made her decision and the DA’s office tried to get her to illegally change it. Once a judge makes a decision, he/she loses jurisdiction of the case. She could have gotten into trouble herself had she done what the DA’s office wanted. Who was that female judge? Judge Diana Hall. Her name should be familiar to most regular readers at MJEOL because Hall was then prosecuted by this same DA’s office in an unrelated charge. A vindictive prosecution? Maybe. In her first battle with Sneddon’s office, she was only convicted of a misdemeanor — which doesn’t remove her from her position as a judge. Hall is currently in her second battle with this DA’s office. Only this time, the DA’s office had to be kicked off the prosecution of her case because of bias. You see, this second battle seemed to mysteriously materialize after Sneddon and company found out that she would be testifying FOR Gary Dunlap in that $10 million lawsuit against Sneddon’s DA’s office. The Attorney General has taken over the prosecution of Hall’s case in this 2nd battle initiated by Sneddon’s office. As it turns out, there may be even more of a reason for these agencies to investigate Sneddon’s office considering how prosecutor Ron Zonen has recently admitted to breaking the law in an unrelated case. More on this later. __Opportunistic juror turns on opportunistic publisher__ We are all now familiar with the flip-flopping juror Ray Hultman. He signed a book deal with Larry Garrison. In post trial interviews, he claimed he didn’t believe the accuser, Gavin Arvizo. When that book deal with Garrison was signed, he suddenly flip-flopped – along with Elenor Cook – to level all sorts of unfounded allegations against their fellow jurors. The only media personality to give them a platform was Rita “NOI” Cosby. Hultman is currently suing Garrison to get out of that book deal. He claims he was unsophisticated and was taken advantage of by Garrison. Yeah, right. He alleges in court papers that he was so “impressed and dazzled” by Garrison and “would trust him so completely” that he and his wife “would believe virtually anything he said or promoted to them,” (see Jackson juror now wants out of book deal). Hultman also made allegations against Stacy “Mouth Almight” Brown. He alleges Brown – who was supposed to write the book at first – plagiarized garbage….uh, I mean… plagiarized “material” from a defamatory Vanity Fair article written by “Wacko Orth” (Maureen Orth). He is suing both Garrison and Brown for ruining his reputation (HA!) and hopes to collect monetary damages from his suit. __Welfare fraud charges for Arvizo__ Janet Arvizo has been charged with defrauding the welfare system in Los Angeles County. She had received over a hundred thousand dollars from a JC Penney settlement — as well as receiving money from other celebrities – all while claiming to be destitute. She renewed her welfare application repeatedly and never mentioned the extra money she was getting from other sources. She’s now charged with 5 felony counts of perjury and fraud, and could face prison time. Arvizo actually had the gall to plead not guilty. As reported in MJEOL Bullet #282, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Bureau of Fraud and Corruption Prosecution filed felony charges August 23 saying that the felonious fraud hid hundreds of thousands of dollars from the welfare system while claiming she was indigent. When the news broke of Arvizo’s charges, there wasn’t even half the amount of attention the broadcast media devoted to Jackson when police invaded his Neverland Ranch looking for evidence which never existed. During the 2005 trial, Jackson’s defense team presented uncontested evidence that Arvizo committed fraud to receive almost $19,000 in welfare and proof that she was cashing these checks through Jay Jackson’s bank account, which some say appears to be money laundering. In his opening argument, current Santa Barbara D.A. Tom Sneddon himself said Arvizo would admit she had committed welfare fraud. No such thing occurred. Arvizo refused to take responsibility and only testified because Judge Melville allowed her to plead the 5th Amendment concerning questions involving her welfare fraud. Arvizo is due back in court October 28 2005 to answer to the 5 felony charges. __Crooked is as crooked does?__ Prosecutor Ron Zonen, one of Sneddon’s minions, is also in boiling water with the law concerning the Jesse James Hollywood murder case. Zonen is one of the prosecutors whose disgustingly ridiculous characterizations of Jackson were lapped up and distributed by the media. According to reports, Zonen broke the law; committing a misdemeanor by sharing confidential information about Hollywood with the creators of a movie about Hollywood. The next scheduled hearing about Zonen’s misconduct is Nov. 1 2005. The attorney representing Hollywood called Zonen’s actions “unprecedented misconduct”. More from an article titled “Defense blasts links between Santa Barbara prosecutor, filmmaker” dated September 21 2005:

Hollywood’s attorney, James Blatt, called Zonen’s work with filmmaker Nick Cassavetes “unprecedented misconduct” in a motion filed last week. He said the movie reflects prosecutors’ version of events and depicts his client as “extremely manipulative, vicious, selfish and without any redeeming character traits whatsoever.” (see Defense blasts link between Santa Barbara prosecutor, filmmaker)

It’s important to note that prosecutors have a special duty to ethical conduct. Anything which falls under the umbrella of committing a crime — Zonen’s misdemeanor conduct – is cause for concern. Some are already wondering what made Zonen think he was in the position to be handing over information of this sort with any movie creator in the first place, especially given the fact that Hollywood hasn’t yet been convicted. Blatt also said that Zonen told a researcher for Nick Cassavetes that he (Zonen) wanted the Hollywood case to be his legacy. From a Santa Barbara News Press article dated September 21 2005 titled “Hollywood prosecutor admits to misdemeanor”:

In a motion filed last week, Mr. Blatt called the cooperation between Mr. Zonen and the filmmaker, Nick Cassavetes, “unprecedented misconduct.” Mr. Blatt said Mr. Zonen told Mr. Cassavetes’ researcher that the case against Mr. Hollywood and his four co-defendants would be his “legacy” and that he planned to write a book. (see Hollywood prosecutor admits to misdemeanor)

In response to that particular point, the prosecution gave a lame explanation, saying that talking about writing a book and actually writing one are two different things. Well, of course they are two different things. But you can’t write a book without planning to write one first. And, again, what the hell is he doing talking to the creator of a movie about writing a book? Talking about this being his “legacy”? Talking about this case at all?? This is the kind of conduct, or misconduct, some insiders say these prosecutors are use to committing. Jackson’s “case” wasn’t the first time they had been accused of misconduct, and it certainly looks like it wasn’t the last time either. __’Jack in the Box’ Carter__ Ex-bodyguard Chris Carter is also in deep, deep trouble with the law. He was snatched up so early by law enforcement that he didn’t even get a chance to testiLIE in Jackson’s trial. Carter is currently awaiting trial for committing a number of robberies in the Las Vegas area. According to an Associated Press (AP) article titled “Former Jackson bodyguard pleads not guilty to Vegas robbery spree” dated March 30 2005, Carter himself is an ex-felon. From that report:

Carter is accused of robbing several businesses, including a toy store in January. He also is being investigated for a series of bank robberies, according to Deputy Clark County District Attorney Susan Krisko, who argued against reducing his bail. Krisko told the judge that Carter has confessed to the robberies and a “conviction is likely.” … If forced to testify in California, Carter will take the Fifth Amendment, his lawyer Lloyd Baker said outside court. “Saying anything (there) could affect his case here,” Baker said. …Baker argued that being compelled to testify in Jackson’s case would affect Carter’s ability to prepare for his own trial. (see Former Jackson bodyguard pleads not guilty to Vegas robbery spree)

Carter was, according to the prosecution in Jackson’s trial, suppose to claim that Gavin Arvizo told him Jackson said it was okay to drink wine…or some nonsense like that. Besides Carter’s allegations being suspect, the allegation itself is beyond weak to begin with. It doesn’t make any different what Gavin Arvizo told Carter; it doesn’t make what Arvizo said true. But there may be an even deeper reason for Carter not testifying. He may have been lying about Jackson completely. Santa Barbara prosecutors fought to get Carter to be able to testify and to plead the 5th Amendment when asked about his criminal conduct in Las Vegas; like they allowed Janet Arvizo to testify without answering questions about her welfare fraud. They were going to make Carter testify in the Jackson trial, but something happened. When he got pinched by Las Vegas authorities for committing robbery and kidnapping, he may have told Santa Barbara prosecutors where to stick it when asked to testify against Jackson. Why Carter was dropped from the prosecution’s witness list has been cause for speculation since it happened. Did Carter tell prosecutors that he lied about Jackson, causing them to scrap plans to force him to testify? Who knows. __Dumb and Dumber__ When Jackson flew to Santa Barbara County to answer the arrest warrant Sneddon obtained back in November 2003, the private jet he flew on was bugged with recording equipment. As of now, there is no allegation that Sneddon’s office was involved in the bugging of that flight……that we know of. Now, two men have been indicted on federal charges of recording Jackson and then-attorney Mark Geragos on that flight. According to an AP report titled “Two indicted in Jackson recording case” dated September 22 2005, the pair used two digital camcorders and remote microphones to break the law. Jeffrey Borer and Arvel Jett Reeves are charged with “conspiracy, endeavoring to intercept oral communication and witness tampering in an alleged scheme between Nov. 19 2003 and Nov. 21 2003” (see Two Indicted in Jackson Recording Case). Borer was the owner of XtraJet and, according to unconfirmed sources, may have had a connection to Marc Schaffel. Reeves owned a maintenance company, Executive Aviation Logistics, which serviced XtraJet’s fleet of jets. After they taped Jackson’s plane ride, they shopped the tape around to various networks. Back during when this story first broke, some networks confirmed they had been offered the tape for sale. Both Geragos and Jackson sued XtraJet in federal court. According to the AP, XtraJet officials gave the tape to the FBI and claimed not to know who had bugged the plane. More from that report:

According to the indictment, Reeves purchased the video and audio equipment from three electronics stores in San Bernardino County and, with another suspect, secretly installed the equipment in a concealed part of the airplane’s cabin. The microphones were allegedly installed between passenger seat cushions. Borer, who instructed Reeves to obtain and install the equipment, later contacted news companies and offered to sell the recordings, the indictment said. (see Two Indicted in Jackson Recording Case)

The witness tampering charge involves Reeves telling a suspect to lie to the FBI about why the recording equipment was on the private jet. According to reports, Reeves told an “unindicted co-conspirator” to tell FBI officials that the plane was bugged in order to catch a thief. Apparently Reeves didn’t think this lie through. I guess the FBI was supposed to believe that the company wanted to catch a thief on the day Jackson surrendered to Santa Barbara authorities. Further, how in hell would he have explained the fact that Borer was trying to broker deals for the sale of that tape? Their plan and the cover-up was seemingly destined to fail. If you remember, prosecutors in the Jackson trial called a witness to the stand, Cynthia Montgomery, who is also being investigated in relation to the XtraJet set up. She was supposed to speak to the ridiculous conspiracy charges leveled by the prosecution and the Arvizos. As he did with Janet Arvizo, Judge Melville allowed Montgomery to testify without answering questions about her alleged involvement in illegal activity involving XtraJet. She was allowed to plead the 5th to questions about her FBI investigation, and was given immunity by Sneddon. There were also reports that Jackson wanted to use another private jet company to take him and his lawyer to Santa Barbara on that day, but Montgomery – in charge of booking the flight – insisted that he use XtraJet for a reason unknown at the time. I think we now know the reason. Montgomery, by the way, was reportedly also a friend of Marc Schaffel’s. Small world, isn’t it? On the stand Montgomery claimed Schaffel ordered her to book “one-way tickets” to Brazil for the members of the Arvizo family. This was one of the Arvizo allegations. One thing she apparently couldn’t explain was why Schaffel would have asked her to book one-way tickets to Brazil when – according to reports — he spends a lot of time in Brazil. International law prevents anyone from booking one-way tickets to Brazil anyway. Not to mention that, under cross-examination, Mesereau established that there were no tickets to Brazil. They, in fact, never existed. None were purchased by Jackson or Schaffel for that matter. And she had never spoken to Jackson about booking tickets to Brazil (see April 26 2005 Trial Update #1.5 ). Did I mention that Montgomery is suing Jackson? She’s another prosecution witness who had a huge motive to try to shade her testimony in the prosecution’s favor. At the time of her testimony, Jackson and Geragos were also suing her reportedly for invasion of privacy involving the XtraJet taping. Everything seems to come full circle, doesn’t it? There is no word yet on whether Montgomery dropped a dime on Borer and Reeves, or if she’s still under investigation for her part. __Diane Dimond Gets Sued, then Gets Booted__ Then there’s tabloid reporter Diane Dimond. I don’t think she has seen the full brunt of her karma just yet, but she and her “investigative unit” was seemingly booted from Court TV. As reported in a special two-part MJEOL Bullet #283, Court TV “dismantled Diane Dimond’s investigative unit.” As I said then, the unbelievably biased and pro-prosecution slant Dimond gave to her reporting caused scores of people to become alarmed. And more, still, to be put-off by Court TV altogether. She seemed to have been hired solely for the Jackson story. And, I speculate since it didn’t work out like some hoped it would, they could no longer spare the expense of her Jackson-baggage either (see Part 1 | Part 2). Dimond accused Jackson fan B.J. Hickman of harassing her and obtained a restaining order to keep Hickman from her. She wanted it to be 100ft, but the judge ordered 20ft. Hickman then sued Dimond for his legal fees to fight against her harassment allegation. He says he was not harassing her at all, and was exercising his free speech. Dimond ended up settling the lawsuit against Hickman, to which Hickman’s attorney says he is very satisfied with the settlement terms. It was a fight she started with an allegation. Could it be that she didn’t think he would defend himself? All of these people in some way or another profited, schemed, plotted or benefited career-wise from Jackson’s legal troubles. And all currently find or found themselves in legal entanglements of their own. -MJEOL

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