Trial Review: Marie Barnes Testifies to Trust in Jackson – MB#300

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Trial Review: Marie Barnes Testifies to Trust in Jackson – MB#300 JANUARY 27 2006 – MJEOL continues to review some of the details which were revealed during the Michael Jackson trial which often went under-reported or unreported. Our Trial Reviews are especially important as they continue through the midst of the James Frey (A Million Little Pieces) scandal and about it being important that the public knows how to separate truth from fiction. Being someone who had just come off of covering the Michael Jackson trial where the truth seemed to hold little value to the media and to segments of the public, I screamed at the top of our lungs to anyone who would listen after Oprah Winfrey called into Larry King’s show implying essentially that the truth didn’t matter. As her later mea culpa suggested, the truth DOES matter. There is still truth yet to be recognized concerning Jackson by an industry which concealed or outright lied about a plethora of factual information which gave context to a number of issues during the trial. With that said, we pick up with the testimony of Brett Barnes’s mother, Marie Barnes who testified on May 6 2005. The 23 year old Brett Barnes was one of the children prosecutors falsely claimed was a “victim” back in 1993. He testified for the defense and was insulted that after the many times he’s set prosecutors straight about what didn’t happen to him, they would have the gall to tell jurors otherwise; forcing him to correct the record. Prior to Marie Barnes actually meeting Jackson face to face, she talked to him via phone for years, starting as far back as 1987, she testified. She said she first met Jackson face to face in Dec 1991. The start of the family’s friendship with Jackson began with a letter. Brett Barnes’s sister, Karlee, wrote a letter to Jackson and signed Brett’s name to it. Jackson received the letter from the family by way of a dancer who passed it on to Jackson. The letter ended up in Jackson’s hands, who wanted to call and thank the family for the letter, according to the testimony. He was touring Australia at the time during the “Bad” tour in support of the album by the same name. “And he spoke to all of us, and we developed a friendship, and he continued calling us and speaking to us,” Marie Barnes testified (p 9345 lines 5-7). Their first visit to Neverland included her husband, herself and their two children, Brett and Karlee. They vacationed for about three weeks. From her testimony:

MESEREAU: Okay. And how long did you stay there? MARIE BARNES: About three weeks. Well, we stayed with Michael for that three weeks. He took us to Disneyland, to Las Vegas, and, yes, we were together for three weeks. MESEREAU: Okay. And where did you stay during those three weeks? MARIE BARNES: Sometimes at Neverland Valley. Sometimes at Disneyland, and Las Vegas, depending on the places we were visiting. And sometimes at the hotel in Los Angeles. (p 9346 lines 7-17)

By the way, it never ceases to amaze me how having access to specific details can sharpen the view on a number of situations; specifically about who slept where, when, and how it was initiated. You would have to NOT have been paying any attention to MJEOL’s previous content at all if you don’t know by now that Jackson’s “bedroom” is gigantic. It isn’t a “room” per se. It has an upstairs and downstairs, a bed on each level. His “bedroom” alone has 3 bathrooms in it. And, as revealed through the trial, there are 2 security cameras and an alarm there as well. Getting back to Marie Barnes’s testimony, she testified that during the time her son and daughter stayed in Jackson’s personal living quarters, Jackson actually wanted her to stay there as well. On the stand, she recounted one incident where Jackson asked her to stay. More from her testimony:

MESEREAU: And how about you, have you ever been in his room? MARIE BARNES: Yes, I have. And I have been invited to stay over because we were watching videos and talking, and he just suggested, “Well, why don’t you stay; stay here,” because it was raining outside. And he said, “Well, you can stay here.” And I stayed for a little while, but then I went back to my room. It was just more comfortable. (p 9347 lines 18-26)

This, like so many other assumptions, is directly contradictory to prosecution theories floated both by them and spread by the media. I don’t remember one report detailing the fact that Marie Barnes testified she was asked by Jackson to stay in his “bedroom” with her kids. It is unambiguous detail like this which kills a sensationalistic headline designed to draw attention, increase ratings, and boost traffic to specific websites. Hence, they are largely ignored. What we did get from the media is a lot of “365 nights” bullcrap which, as you will come to know if you don’t already, sort of amounted to nothing. Marie Barnes said she has been in Jackson’s personal living quarters (“bedroom”) numerous times. Specifically from her testimony:

MESEREAU: How many times do you think you’ve been in Michael Jackson’s room at Neverland? MARIE BARNES: Oh, several times. MESEREAU: Has it been all times of day? MARIE BARNES: Yes. I had pretty much free rein — just anytime I wanted to, I was allowed to. MESEREAU: Now, let me ask you about that. You’ve been in Michael Jackson’s room during the day, right? MARIE BARNES: Uh-huh. MESEREAU: You’ve been there during the evening, right? MARIE BARNES: Yes. MESEREAU: Have you been there late into the night? MARIE BARNES: Well, yes. Pretty much when we were watching videos, it would be — go pretty well late into the night. MESEREAU: How often do you think you’ve watched videos late into the night in Michael Jackson’s room? MARIE BARNES: Several times. MESEREAU: Okay. MARIE BARNES: Or times we were just talking, or — (p 9347 lines 27-28; p 9348 lines 1-18)

Again, the misconception in the media had been that Jackson hustles the mothers and daughters off to the guest suites and “sleeps with young boys”. Obviously, it has been proven numerous times not to be true. So if I hear the ignorant-ass phrase spoken by one more moron pretending they know all about this past trial, I just may scream. Unfortunately to this day, there is a subset of “hysterical” pro-prosecution oriented numbskulls which still push this theory. For example, Mary Fulginiti said it the other week on Larry King Live (Jan 13 2006). But I’m not surprised. She also thinks the latest Daniel Kapon lawsuit is a viable lawsuit as well, where he accused Jackson of molestation, forcing him to get plastic surgery, stealing song lyrics from him when he was toddler, and conspiring with Sony Music to kidnap/molest him. I’m not kidding. It just goes to show how much she and those like her know before they start publicly rambling about a specific Jackson-related topic. Their predilection is to believe the worst, even if they look foolish afterwards. And, yes, that last sentence was a direct slap at PETA. __Free reign__ Marie Barnes told the jury she always felt like she had free access to Jackson’s “bedroom”. She also recounted a conversation where she wanted to borrow some CD’s located in Jackson’s personal living quarters:

MARIE BARNES: Well, he gave me free access. He — he — I remember a particular occasion when I wanted to borrow some CDs, and he said, “Just come into my room and” — that is where they are kept and he showed me where the selection of CDs were kept, and he said, “Anytime you want to come and borrow the CDs, feel free to do so.” (p 9348 lines 24-28; p 9349 lines 1-2)

She also testified Jackson’s “door was never locked” when she tried to go in there and that she “could go in anytime” she wanted to (p 9349 19-20). She testified she was never denied access to Jackson’s “bedroom” or to her kids. Mesereau also asked her specific questions about what she saw (or didn’t see) at Neverland. More from her testimony:

MESEREAU: Have you ever seen Mr. Jackson do anything inappropriate with either of your children? MARIE BARNES: No. Never. MESEREAU: Ever seen Mr. Jackson inappropriately touch your son? MARIE BARNES: Never. MESEREAU: Ever seen Mr. Jackson inappropriately touch your daughter? MARIE BARNES: Never. (p 9350 lines 6-14)

Marie Barnes told the jury that she trusts Jackson and she let both her son and daughter crash in Jackson’s “bedroom” when they were younger. When asked why she allowed them to, she replied “Why not?” Mesereau asked, “Did you trust Mr. Jackson?” (p 9351 line 18). “Implicitly. I always trusted him and I still trust him,” Marie Barnes replied (p 9351 lines 19-20). When asked further why she trusts him, she told the jury:

MARIE BARNES: Because he’s just a very nice person. And you just feel when you can trust someone and when you can’t trust someone. And I had total trust in him. (p 9351 lines 22-25)

She and her family traveled with Jackson back in 1992 because she said it was a learning experience for him to visit other countries. She also told jurors it didn’t bother her at all and she never suspected Jackson of doing anything inappropriate with her son at that time either. Before prosecutors objected, Ms. Barnes got into the fact of her asking Brett if he was ever touched inappropriately. It washed out the prosecution inference that she didn’t care enough to ask about the welfare of her kid. __Revelations on Cross__ Under cross-examination, Marie Barnes said her son didn’t stay in Jackson’s personal living quarters (“bedroom”) continuously and sometimes he just fell asleep there, which illustrated that it wasn’t a planned event for him to sleep in Jackson’s “bedroom”. Prosecutor Zonen tried to pin down the sleeping arrangements on the family’s first visit to Neverland. Ms. Barnes testified on trips they took the first 3 week vacation with Jackson, Brett didn’t stay exclusively with Jackson. He also seemed to be getting answers which surprised him because they didn’t fit pre-defined assumptions. For example, check out this exchange from the testimony:

ZONEN: When you were at the Las Vegas hotel, did your son stay with Mr. Jackson? MARIE BARNES: We were all together. ZONEN: In Mr. Jackson’s room? MARIE BARNES: Well, we shared a villa, so there were several rooms in the villa. It’s like a — ZONEN: And in which room did your son sleep? MARIE BARNES: With my daughter. ZONEN: Your son slept with your daughter? MARIE BARNES: Yes. (p 9359 lines 12-21)

Ouch. Beforehand, some had simply assumed the kid stayed alone in Jackson’s room. During their stay at Disneyland, the family and Jackson all stayed in the same suite, according to her testimony. Also during the times they were at Neverland, the start of Brett and his sister Karlee being allowed to stay in Jackson’s “bedroom” became clearer through Ms. Barnes’s testimony. Ironically, the revelation of the innocuous event came thanks to the prosecution’s questioning, if you can believe it. From the testimony:

ZONEN: Well, explain how that happened. MARIE BARNES: He wanted — ZONEN: Your son came to you and asked you if he could stay with Mr. Jackson? MARIE BARNES: No, we just happened to be in the room, and he said he wanted to stay. He wanted to stay there for the night, because they were having fun, and he — he just said he was going to stay there and — ZONEN: Was this is at Neverland we’re talking about? MARIE BARNES: That’s correct. (p 9361 lines 4-14)

Ouch. Ouch. So she was spending time in Jackson’s “bedroom” with her kids, and they were having so much fun they didn’t want to leave. Her testimony made it clear to the jury three things: it wasn’t Jackson who invites these kids into his “bedroom”, it wasn’t a continuous set of events, nor were these idiotically labeled “sleepovers with young boys” planned events. If you remember, she previously talked about a time in her testimony where Jackson asked her to stay in his “bedroom” with them. And she did for a while until she wanted to get more comfortable and went back to the guest suite. Ms. Barnes also talked about trips the family went on with Jackson. Her whole family, Brett Barnes’s father included, traveled with Jackson when he was on tour in South America, for example. Again, it was not a fact one would think prosecution questioning should have established, but all the more important because it was. More from her testimony:

ZONEN: Now, your son traveled with him extensively in South America, did he not? MARIE BARNES: No, we were present, my family. My husband, my daughter and I were present when we toured South America. … ZONEN: Did you travel for the entirety of that tour? MARIE BARNES: Yes, I did. ZONEN: So for a couple months you traveled throughout South America? MARIE BARNES: Uh-huh. ZONEN: And your son was there as well the entire time? MARIE BARNES: That’s correct. And my daughter and my husband. ZONEN: Your daughter and your husband and you for the entire time? MARIE BARNES: Yes. (p 9374 lines 8-12, lines 16-28)

Yikes! Not exactly the picture we all were led to believe. Sometimes it is a matter of what the media chooses not to report….or to purposely ignore…that could make the difference in the public’s understanding of how to separate fact from fiction. Also under prosecution questioning, it came out Marie Barnes had a roundabout discussion as to whether or not her son should sleep in the same bed as Jackson because they didn’t want to impose on him. There was also a moment where the prosecution asked her about a letter she had written after what turned out to be an outburst she made when she was told in one of the cities — during the tour on which her family accompanied Jackson – that there weren’t enough VIP passes. It’s unclear what the prosecutor was trying to accomplish by bringing up the letter, though. Barnes told jurors she was ashamed when she later found out that Jackson felt upset about the situation. From her testimony:

MARIE BARNES: And I was informed that we — I wasn’t able to go and see the show. And I was upset over that, and that’s — I’m ashamed to be telling this to everyone, but that’s pretty much what happened. And I didn’t realize that particular outburst was going to make him feel bad. And what happened was that he explained to me that he had several things on his mind and that he wanted to make us happy, and because I was being — I was unhappy, that was causing him grief. And so I felt pretty much disgusted with myself for having — (p 9384 lines 25-28, p 9385 lines 1-8)

The prosecutor cut her off to ask which city she was in when the incident occurred. She couldn’t remember, but she remembered it was in Europe. Later on, she talked more about the incident, saying “it was very petty” of her to have such an outburst. In that letter to Jackson brought up by the prosecution, she used overly dramatic language like she felt like killing herself because she “felt so bad” about complaining over something so insignificant. “…It’s probably an overdramatic statement because of the fact that I felt so bad. I wanted to let him know how bad I felt, but I had no intention of killing myself,” she said (p. 9387, lines 4-8). She continued, “…That was just an expression to let him know that I was very, very remorseful and how bad I felt about it because of the fact that I had been selfish,” (p 9387 lines 8-11). __Lasting final impression__ When the defense had their turn to ask Ms. Barnes questions in response to prosecution cross-examination, they asked about her loving Jackson and why. Whether or not she thought of Jackson as family was brought up by the prosecution on cross, prompting Mesereau to ask her some questions about it. From the testimony:

MESEREAU: Do you love Michael Jackson? MARIE BARNES: I do, very much. MESEERAU: Why? MARIE BARNES: Because he’s a caring, a generous, considerate human being. He’s just a great person. MESEREAU: Have you ever been embarrassed about loving Michael Jackson? MARIE BARNES: No. I’m proud of it. … MESEREAU: Have you referred to Mr. Jackson as part of your family? MARIE BARNES: Yes. MESEREAU: Do you consider Mr. Jackson part of your family? MARIE BARNES: Yes. (p 9390 lines 6-13, lines 19-24)

She was asked by Mesereau a series of questions about whether or not she was ever forced to escape from Neverland as well. At one point Mesereau asked her, “Never had to escape from Neverland?” and “Ever gotten in a hot air balloon at Neverland?” Those last two questions appeared to be a direct shot at the preposterous allegations leveled by Janet Arvizo and her partners in cri….uh, I mean, her children. Under re-cross by the prosecutor, it was revealed that Marie Barnes offered to testify for the defense. She was essentially volunteering, like her son, to set the record straight by coming to court, being placed under oath and being subjected to questions about her character by the prosecution; all in an effort to set the record straight about what happened (or didn’t happen) with Jackson She didn’t have to be subpoenaed and dragged into court like some talking bobble-heads claimed these families would have to be, before they testified at trial. The defense didn’t ever appear to be in a position to be begging or forcing people to cooperate or testify on Jackson’s behalf. Therefore, it was a powerful impression she left with the jury: a mother who thinks of Jackson as family, trusts him, trusted her children around him, was involved in a fair amount of the time her children spent around Jackson, and volunteered to fly across the world to testify in response to scurrilous allegations being made about her son and Jackson. Stay tuned. -MJEOL

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