Trial Review: King and Viner tell Judge about Feldman’s Confession – MB#316

AUGUST 1 2006 – It has been over a year since Michael Jackson was acquitted on all false charges of child molestation by a conservative Santa Maria jury on June 13 2005.  Believe it or not, there are still members of the public who are and have been completely in the dark concerning details of and around the trial.

The day before yesterday, I received an email asking “Hey didn’t Larry King have something to do with the trial?” The requester wanted more information. And apparently, he isn’t the only one. 

With that in mind, MJEOL will pick up its Trial Review series because there is just so much information that was shallowly covered by the mainstream media or not covered at all.

This trial review deals with the non-jury testimonies of CNN talkshow host Larry King and Michael Viner, both of whom were present when civil attorney Larry Feldman (yeah, that Larry Feldman), made some startling comments about the accuser’s mother, Janet Arvizo. At last check, Arvizo was scheduled to go on trial for perjury and welfare fraud. {tag Larry King} and {tag Michael Viner} were called in to testify about derogatory comments they heard {tag Larry Feldman} make about the accuser’s mother – in front of Judge {tag Rodney Melville} only – to determine if their testimony would be allowed to be presented to the jury. Melville disallowed it, of course.  

Some observers were baffled at the time by Melville’s decision not to let King nor Viner testify before the jury because Feldman had previously testified, making his credibility an issue in the trial.

As it turns out, their lack of jury face-time didn’t matter to the court of public opinion because the damage was already done.  According to King, Feldman called the mother a “whacko” and revealed to the talkshow host that he thought she was only after Jackson’s money. Ouch.

Feldman is not a popular figure in the mix of the 2005 trial. Just like with the Arvizos, Feldman stepped into the role as the attorney who pursued allegations against Jackson the first time back in 1993.

After the accuser’s father got rid of Barry Rothman and Gloria Allred, Feldman took on the role of playing the media in 1993 to force Jackson’s attorneys to the settlement table, according to reports from that time.

Feldman is also the attorney who brought in Stan Katz to test the veracity of the allegations made by the Arvizos against Jackson in 2003.  To continue the circle of involvement, Katz is the same shrink who told sheriff’s that he was involved in the 1993 case as well.  

Neither Feldman nor Katz went to the police after hearing the allegations.  Then again, the family didn’t go to the police either.  They sought out attorneys instead.

Larry King was called to testify by defense attorney Thomas Mesereau.  King testified that he’s known Feldman for about ten years, meets with him occasionally, and has interviewed him before.

The talk show host says he actually discussed the Jackson case with Feldman sometime before the trial started at Nate ‘n Al’s restaurant in California.

According to King, other people were also present during that conversation where Feldman made the telling remarks about Janet Arvizo.  King was trying to secure an interview with Feldman on his show which airs nightly on CNN.  From his testimony:
<blockquote><div class=newsquote><b>MESEREAU: Who else was present?

KING: One of my producers, Nancy Baker, and three friends, Sid Young, Asher Dan and Michael Viner.

MESEREAU: And who arranged the meeting?

KING:  We contacted him — I contacted Larry Feldman in order to try to convince him to come on our show.</b>
(p 11114 lines 6-12)</div></blockquote>

The approximately 45 minute meeting with Feldman included the attorney calling the mother “wacko” and saying that he thought she wanted money.

Feldman also made a delusional statement to King, claiming the 93 case was “a definite good case”. I’m sure the information Jackson’s defense team dug up on the 93 accuser’s allegation in preparation for the 2005 trial was contrary to Feldman’s belief.

As the public has learned from attorney Mesereau during a Nov 2005 panel discussion at Harvard Law School, the defense found witnesses (plural) who were set to testify that the 1993 accuser said Jackson never molested him.  

According to Mesereau, these people also reported that the 1993 accuser was furious about what his parents made him say.  If that weren’t enough, they also found out the accuser filed for legal emancipation from his parents back then.

As if that weren’t telling enough, the 1993 accuser also refused to cooperate with prosecutors during the 2005 trial. Hum…I wonder why?

But getting back to Feldman, his flip-flop – from bashing the mother to being her attorney –  was obvious.  I guess she wasn’t wacko enough to pass up what he may have hoped would be a pay day in the end?  More from the transcript:
<blockquote><div class=newsquote><b> MESEREAU:  What did he say?

KING: He said that — that the case of ten years ago, when he represented the other person when there was a settlement, that was a definite good case.  But he thought the woman in this case, the mother, was a whacko, was the term he used, and he thought she was in it for just the money. He had met with her. He didn’t want to represent her. He advised her to see someone else and he informed the authorities. He didn’t tell me which authorities.

MESEREAU: Did he say that this woman told him she wanted money?

KING: No, I think he said he thinks she wants money.</b>
(p 11115 lines 4-17)</div></blockquote>

Ouch.  This was a very different Feldman than the one who appeared on NBC’s The Today Show to rally public support for his side about the Arvizo “case”.

The defense further explored Feldman’s telling remarks about the mother, asking the talkshow host if Feldman revealed the reason why he thought the other was wacko.  More from the testimony:
<blockquote><div class=newsquote><b> MESEREAU: Did he say what he based that opinion on?

KING: No.

MESEREAU:  Did you ask him?

KING: No. He just said she was a whacko. That — he said “whacko” a couple of times, and he said, “She’s in this for the money.”

MESEREAU: When he said she was a whacko, did you ask Mr. Feldman what he meant?

KING:  No, I think that’s self-explanatory.

MESEREAU: Okay. Did he say anything else about Janet Arvizo?

KING:  Other than he refused to take her case.

MESEREAU:  Okay. Did he give any other reasons why he refused to take her case?

KING: He thought that it was — she was just in it for the money, and she was a little erratic, or whacko, as he said, and he didn’t want to represent her.</b>
(p 11115 lines 18-28, p 11116 lines 1-7)</div></blockquote>

“Erratic”, “whacko”, and out for money are certainly words and phrases used by many case observers to describe the mother in the “case”.  But to hear such words coming from the attorney, through 3rd party witnesses not affiliated with Jackson or the accusing family, was certainly explosive to many people.

King said Feldman admitted to wanting to be a regular guest on his show discussing the Jackson “case”.  I’m shocked! Not.  

He certainly wouldn’t have been the first. Many people sought out the platform of being an “analyst” in the media in order to push their own agendas. For example, former Sheriff Jim Thomas was an “analyst” for MSNBC during the trial. He was the sheriff in charge when the first ransacking of Neverland happened in 1993.

King testified that after the meeting with Feldman, he and his producers were planning to call him to pick a date for him to come on the show, and that Feldman was to become a regular guest panelist during the course of the trial.

According to King, Feldman never responded.  The talk show host testified to later running into Feldman at a restaurant where be asked him what was going on with his promised appearance on the show.

King told the judge that Feldman replied “Something came up”. I bet it did.  More from the testimony:
<blockquote><div class=newsquote><b> KING:…And then we called him a week later. He didn’t respond. And then a couple weeks later, I saw him at another restaurant at lunch, and I said, “What’s going on?” And he said, “Well, there’s — something came up.” And that’s the last — last we heard of it. He never came on.

MESEREAU: And at some point you learned he had decided to represent Janet Arvizo, correct?

KING: I learned that just through reading it in the paper.</b>
(p 11117 lines 16-25)</div></blockquote>

I bet something came up. But what?  Did he see a chance to position himself as the one to benefit from a previously planned civil suit against Jackson (before the mother’s legal problems)?  

Did he understand that if he helped get Jackson convicted, he stood a far better chance of walking away from “wacko” and her family with millions of dollars in fees for representing her against Jackson?  Feldman’s true motivations remain unknown for now.

The judge didn’t even allow prosecutors to question King before he dismissed King as a witness.  Remember, this is the same judge who allowed just about everyone and their cross-eyed grandmother to testify for the prosecution.  

Apparently the testimony of a 3rd party witness to Feldman – the attorney for the mother at one point — calling the mother a “wacko” simply wasn’t important enough to warrant the jury hearing it.

What some observers noticed at the time was the judge made the defense question King outside of the presence of the jury to determine the worthiness of the allegation.  

However, anyone with a half-assed allegation or speculation about Jackson from as far back as 13 years ago was allowed to waltz up to the witness stand and spew their crap in front of the jury.  Ironically, these allowances ended up helping the defense instead of the prosecution. Woops!

<font color=red><i>__Their own mouths betrayed them__</i></font>
Although King didn’t get to tell the jury what Feldman said, the damage was already done. Feldman had, essentially, been outed.

He wasn’t the first one, though.  The police taped wanna-be comedian Louise Palanker making disparaging remarks about the accusing family as well (see <a href=https://site2.mjeol.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=1538>Palanker Caught on Tape Bad-mouthing Accusing Family – MiniBullet #16</a>).

Palanker’s mouth, in the form of police interviews, was the worst enemy to her own credibility.  After talking about the family in glowing terms on the stand, the defense hit her with her previous words.

Palanker told police the family would latch onto anyone with money or celebrity, that the brother and sister seemed coached to lie, called the mother “bipolar”, and said that the family was <b>“as whacky as they want to be.”</b>  

She also claimed the mother had <b>“hostage syndrome”</b> according to reports like this one from Savannah Guthrie (court tv):
<blockquote><div class=newsquote><b><embed src="http://www.mjeol.com/flash/CourtTV_Guthrie-PolankerCross2_3-22-05.swf" quality="high" bgcolor="#ffffff" width="185" height="172" name="CourtTV_Guthrie-PolankerCross2_3-22-05" align="right" allowScriptAccess="sameDomain" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" />SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: …Well now she’s on cross-examination and we’re hearing about some of the statements that she made to police initially. Some of which were she said to the cops that this family is ‘as wacky as they want to be’.

She told the police officers that the mother was bipolar; completely unstable. She made a statement to police evidently that she thought the family was teaching the kids to lie. When asked about that statement, she said ‘well, no, I think I was referring to somebody else who thought that’. She tried to backtrack on that. </b>
(see <a href=https://site2.mjeol.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=1538>Court TV: Guthrie Rpt About Palanker (march 22 2005)</a>)</div></blockquote>

Like Feldman, her previous words came back to bite her in the a$s. The only difference was that Palanker was still on the stand when the defense questioned her. Feldman had already testified.

<font color=red><i>__Another witness confirms Feldman’s words__</i></font>
After King, the defense called Michael Viner to the witness stand to testify before the judge.  

Viner was there when Feldman made the damaging comments about Janet Arvizo.  He confirmed what King had to say about Feldman’s comments with the addition of a bombshell concerning the accuser.

According to Viner’s testimony, Feldman also said the “case” didn’t hold up to scrutiny.  From the testimony:
<blockquote><div class=newsquote><b>VINER:  To paraphrase, that he had met with them and felt that their statements, their case didn’t hold up to scrutiny, and he didn’t believe them.

MESEREAU: Did he say anything about the mother?

VINER: Yes.

MESEREAU: What did he say about the mother?

VINER: That — again, paraphrasing, not remembering verbatim, that she was out for money.</b>
(p 11121 lines 23-28, p 11122 lines 1-2)</div></blockquote>

From Viner also came a bombshell about the accuser himself.  Viner told the court that both Feldman and someone else talked to the accuser, and neither one believed his story.  More from the testimony:
<blockquote><div class=newsquote><b> MESEREAU: And did Mr. Feldman say anything about Janet Arvizo’s children?

VINER: Again, only referring, to my recollection, to the accuser, that — that he had talked and I believe had someone else talk to the accuser, and he didn’t believe the story.</b>
(p 11122 lines 19-24)</div></blockquote>

First, this directly refutes previous reports that the accuser only ‘confessed” to being allegedly “molested” to shrink Stan Katz.  Second, this makes me wonder who the other person was that talked to the accuser and found him non-credible.

Was Katz the first psychologist to come in to determine the veracity of allegations made by Gavin Arvizo?  Did Feldman call in someone else to talk to this kid, who then told him what he didn’t want to hear regarding the allegations?  Did he go “shrink shopping” until he finally called up his favorite shrink, Stan Katz?  

Assuming that Katz isn’t totally incompetent, was he a sort of “ringer” to help further the Arvizos’ allegation in the same manner the 1993 allegation was further until they got a settlement back then?

No mater the case, Viner told the Court he went away from that meeting definitely thinking that Feldman <b>“did not believe the allegations,”</b> (p 11123 lines 26-27).

In a way, Viner’s testimony was even more devastating than King’s was because it clearly established that Feldman didn’t believe the allegations of molestations.  And, apparently, neither did at least one other person whom Feldman allowed to speak to the accuser at the time.

But Melville wouldn’t allow Viner to testify in front of the jury as an impeaching witness to Feldman’s testimony.  Surprise, surprise.

I have to wonder what jurors would have thought knowing that the attorney who once represented the mother didn’t believe her or her son’s allegations against Jackson, according to two 3rd party witnesses not previously affiliated with Jackson at all.

Would it have been more obvious to alleged money-chasing jurors like {tag Eleanor Cook} and {tag Ray Hultman} hearing about Feldman’s admissions?  Who knows.  But you have to wonder what role, if any, Feldman will play in any of the family’s future plans.

Maybe he’s been snake-bitten by the 2005 trial and now has sense enough not to put his head that close to the chopping block again? Time will tell.  But for now, neither he nor the family can file a lawsuit against Jackson because the accuser’s mother is facing felony charges of welfare fraud and perjury.

I doubt Feldman would like to be the one trying to convince a civil jury to believe the words of a kid who had previously admitted to lying, previously denied on tape the allegations he later made against Jackson, and whose allegations don’t hold up to the slightest bit of scrutiny.

As for Larry King, his testimony added another dimension to understanding the players involved.

-MJEOL

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