No swift riches for jurors turned would-be authors

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No swift riches for jurors turned would-be authors
By Quintin Cushner/Senior Staff Writer (Santa Maria Times)

Almost a year after they were selected to serve on the high-profile Michael Jackson child-molestation trial, none of the three jurors who announced plans to write books on the case has a deal.

Juror {tag Raymond Hultman} is now without representation after suing to break a contract signed with two publishing figures. The lawsuit settled last year.

Hultman and his wife, Darlene Hultman, had filed suit Sept. 8 in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, claiming they were novices suckered into signing a book pact with Larry Garrison, owner of the Lake Sherwood-based SilverCreek Entertainment.

No money changed hands in the settlement, Hultman said, although he was freed from any obligation to either Garrison or agent Bill Gladstone of Waterside Productions.

“It was kind of a bad experience for me,” said Hultman, who claimed he was pressured to sensationalize his story. “If there is a book eventually, it will be on my terms.”

The 62-year-old plans examiner with the Santa Barbara County Building and Safety Division, agreed to write a book following the June 13 acquittal of Jackson on child-molestation, conspiracy and alcohol-related charges.

Hultman, who later raised eyebrows when he claimed Jackson probably was guilty, was to collaborate on a book with another juror in the case, {tag Eleanor Cook} of Santa Maria. Cook, a 79-year-old retiree, has also said she believes Jackson was guilty.

Cook is still set to write “Free as a Bird, Guilty as Sin: The True Story of the Michael Jackson Trial,” provided a deal is made, according to agent Gladstone.

Gladstone, who has offices in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, said shopping the book has been difficult.

“When we went out (to sell it), we thought it was a pretty big deal,” Gladstone said. “But it’s not a big deal. It’s not going to a major house with a major advance. Now we’re starting with minor publishers … We have talked about repositioning the book as an indictment of the American justice system.”

Gladstone said he placed the chances of the book ever selling at “less than 50-50.”

Cook could not be reached for comment.

The other juror who pursued a book deal after the Jackson trial was foreman {tag Paul Rodriguez}, 63. A retiree who signed with New York book agent Vigliano and Associates, Rodriguez also apparently has no book pending.

A spokeswoman at Vigliano and Associates refused to comment on the prospects of a deal. Rodriguez could not be reached for comment.

The only book so far published on the trial is Diane Dimond’s “Be Care Careful Who You Love: Inside the Michael Jackson Case.”

The former Court TV anchor, who said her book has sold about 10,000 copies for publisher Simon & Schuster since it was released in November, expressed concern that anyone would want to profit from jury service.

“I don’t think it does anybody any good to have potential jurors with dollar signs and a big book deal in their minds during jury selection,” she said.


NOTE: Diane Dimond quotes her books sales to be 10,000. Her word of "10,000" in book sales may be inflated. By Thanksgiving 2005, according to Matt Drudge’s book sales report, her book only sold 1,880 since it’s release. So unless she unloaded a truckload of books in 2 months, which is highly unlikely, she has not sold 10,000 books.)

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