Trial Review: Karlee Barnes Testimony – MB #304 MARCH 12 2006 – Karlee Barnes, the sister of Brett Barnes, testified May 6 during the Michael Jackson false molestation allegation trial of 2005. Ms. Barnes’s testimony was ripe with information which prosecutors would have probably preferred jurors not have heard. This is the witness with whom the media fell into a form of “group-think”. These episodes of group-think seem to be completely asinine in retrospect. During her testimony, she confirmed how her family first met Jackson. And yes, the family, including Barnes, spent a lot of time talking with Jackson over the phone for years before they ever actually met face to face. If you paid attention to the overwhelming amount of media coverage, you may remember the phrase “365 nights” in relation to how much time Jackson is alleged to have allowed her brother, Brett, to sleep in his room, wherever he was, during a world tour; implying that Jackson was shacking up with some kid for a year. It was only after the testimonies of Marie and Karlee Barnes that the public found out the entire family, including their father, also traveled with Jackson during that tour and was well aware of where their children were and where they were sleeping during that period. One of the points pro-prosecution pundits and supporters made was what would a 40-something year old man be doing hanging around “young boys” if not to molest them? First, as revealed from evidence in the trial, Jackson wasn’t around only “young boys”. The mere fact of Karlee Barnes testifying in court about spending time around Jackson – including in his bedroom as a kid — is proof of that. Second, the ill-conceived point is an incredibly ludicrous one because it assumed that an adult can’t resist molesting a kid if given the right set of circumstances. This “logic” only seems to make sense to the media or members of the public when it conveniently matches their underlying suspicion, or when the subject of such asinine criticism is leveled against Michael Jackson. Unlike the failed prosecution who did everything except outrageously defame Neverland as a whore house for young boys, the defense called witnesses to the stand who actually knew what the hell they were talking about; witnesses who could describe Jackson’s fabled land as the serene paradise in which they were thrilled to spend time. Karlee Barnes, for example, testified “every time I came back [to Nevarland] it feels like I’m coming home” (p 9400, line 6-7). Ms. Barnes spent time in Jackson’s two storey personal living quarters (“bedroom”). She also testified that Jackson never made her feel like she wasn’t welcomes into his “bedroom” at any time. Thomas Mesereau, Jackson’s defense attorney, asked Karlee Barnes if she recalled being in Jackson’s “bedroom” late at night. From her testimony:

MESEREAU: Now, do you recall ever being in Mr. Jackson’s room late at night? KARLEE BANRES: Yeah, I’ve stayed – I’ve slept in his bedroom. (p 9402 lines 17-20)

Before this trial and during the prosecution’s failed “case”, the general consensus by talking heads and know-nothing print journalists was that Jackson was “obsessed with young boys” and would banish the girls and mothers away to the guest units at Neverland. It was a preposterous notion to those who knew better. But like most things Jackson-related, the media don’t seem to get it until they’re beat over the heads with it. Karlee Barnes testified about time she spent with Jackson. She talked about walking around Neverland with Jackson, “talking, telling jokes”, “running as fast as we can, challenging each other to races,” and “stopping to look at the animals” (p 9403 lines 23-26). Barnes also confirmed that she and her family traveled with Jackson during tours he’s been on to South America, Europe, Chicago and Las Vegas. She also said that during Jackson’s HIStory tour in the 90s the family spent time traveling with him. Ms. Barnes testified that she was never suspicious of any of Jackson’s behavior, even when he was affectionate towards her and her brother. She also said she never saw Jackson do anything inappropriate to her brother. From her testimony:

MESEREAU: When you were in Mr. Jackson’s room, did you ever see Mr. Jackson do anything inappropriate to your brother? KARLEE BARNES: No, never, ever. MESEREAU: Have you ever seen Mr. Jackson touch your brother in a sexual way? KARLEE BARNES: No. MESEREAU: Have you ever seen Mr. Jackson molest your brother? KARLEE BARNES: Never. MESEREAU: When you were traveling, your family, with Mr. Jackson did you see you brother with Mr. Jackson? KARLEE BARNES: Yes, I have. MESEREAU: Have you ever been suspicious of any of Mr. Jackson’s behavior towards your brother? KARLEE BARNES: Never. (p 9406 20-28, p 9407 lines 1-7)

Ms. Barnes said, under cross-examination, that she loves Jackson with all of her heart, she’s known him since she was seven or eight years old, and that he’s one of her closest friends. Also under cross, Barnes got to tell jurors, “He’s just a normal human being like anybody else. He’s got the same organs, the same blood, the same emotions, the same feelings as anyone else,” (p 9407-9408 lines 27, 28; 1-2). One thing prosecutors didn’t want to do was to allow him to be humanized in the eyes of the jurors. They failed. She told jurors that she greatly admires Jackson for many things including but certainly not limited to his music. She also confirmed that during some of the times when the family would stay at Neverland, Jackson wasn’t there. This was reminiscent of testimony from Wade Robson who testified that a lot of the time he spent at Neverland was without Jackson. When asked by the prosecution why she didn’t spend as much time in Jackson’s personal living quarters as her brother, she said it was because she wanted her own privacy. Barnes’s rather blunt admission again contradicted prosecution theories. From the testimony:

AUCHINCLOSS: Can you tell me why you didn’t spend the night in Mr. Jackson’s room as much as your brother? KARLEE BARNES: Because I’m a girl, and I prefer to have a little bit of privacy. (p 9412 lines 2-5)

Yikes. The prosecution certainly could have done without that admission before the jury. Did Auchincloss learn his less? Nope. He continued on making what he thought was a point, before it was shot down by Ms. Barnes. Check out this exchange:

AUCHINCLOSS: Okay. So are you saying that it’s okay for a 35-year-old man who’s unrelated to sleep with a ten-year-old boy, but it’s not okay for a 35-year-old man who’s unrelated to a girl to sleep with her? KARLEE BARNES: I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying that from my personal point of view, I was developing into an adult, and I was at the stage where I wanted my own privacy. (p 9412 lines 14-22)

Ouch. She continued:

KARLEE BARNES: And there were times when I was happy to, you know, hang out with them and sleep in their room, and there were times when I wanted to have my own room. (p 9412 lines 24-27)

Ouch. Ouch. Not exactly the ‘no girls allowed’ theory sold in the media, is it? Karlee Barnes said her family toured with Jackson approximately for “about half of a year” in South America and approximately half a year in Europe. The prosecution asked her if “virtually every night” her brother stayed with Jackson. The prosecution questioning of Karlee Barnes initiated the media’s “365 nights” terminology. Max Kellerman, appeared on a June 13 2005 episode of a rather forgettable MSNBC show (The Situation) after the verdict. Whether facetious or not, Kellerman rightly referred to people’s own fears of why Jackson hangs around kids as a “pedophilic projection”. It was an issue brought up in MJEOL Bullet #274. To be frank, you would have to already think Jackson was guilty to come to the conclusion that he can’t be around children without molesting them. Anyone who makes the point of why a 40-something year old man would hang around kids already thinks he’s guilty because it assumes he can have no innocent intentions. Thus, this lame-assed “365 nights” bull is not citable proof of guilt as those pundits try to use it. Rather, it is indicative of someone trying to justify their own set opinion. What the media didn’t mention during their feigned outrage and “365 nights” chant is that both of Barnes’s parents — mother AND father — were also traveling with Jackson as well. The public also didn’t get any reports about Mesereau’s follow-up questions on the issue. Perhaps if some of these talking heads didn’t have an angle to push, the public would know more about Ms. Barnes’s testimony on the subject. More from her testimony:

MESEREAU: And you were traveling when your brother would be in Mr. Jackson’s room, right? KARLEE BARNES: Yes. MESEREAU: Did you ever suspect anything improper was going on? KARLEE BARNES: Never. MESEREAU: The prosecutor for the government asked you if — didn’t it seem odd that Michael Jackson was in a room with your brother. Did you think it was odd? KARLEE BARNES: No, I didn’t think it was odd. MESEREAU: Why? … KARLEE BARNES: He’s given us friendship and, you know, experiences that we would never get to see, you know, and… My brother really always wanted to be there. He wanted to spend every minute, and he still wants to spend all of his minute — all his time with him. (p 9416 lines 4-14, 22-27)

Yikes! So it was Brett Barnes, her brother, who chose to be around Jackson, not the other way around; just as it was Karlee Barnes’s choice to want her own privacy. The media and, consequently, some of public were trapped in numerous episodes of ‘group-think’; some of them around the testimony of Karlee Barnes. However, it was the under reporting of court testimony which may have been most at fault. Re-reading such testimonies now after the dust has cleared sure makes it easier to spot a number of ‘chicken-little’ operatives with agendas up the wazoo, who tried to put themselves in the best position to be on the winning side at the end of the day. Needless to say, some failed miserably. The rest of us were subjected to report after report from ego-tripping, hack-journalists who wanted to say ‘I told you so’ in their futile search for recognition as a “Jackson expert”. Oddly, it’s kind of like what’s going on now, isn’t it? Stay tuned. -MJEOL

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