Part of being an advocate for Michael is ensuring I am always fully informed in order to separate fact from fiction. That's why this evening; I decided to watch the program "Rich and Acquitted - Michael Jackson."
From the outset; this program absolutely reeked of bias against Michael. It was clearly yet another attempt to smear him and it is of course no coincidence that the Wade Robson civil suit was brought up towards the end of the program. I'd even go so far as to suggest that Robson's team had a hand in this; such was the tone throughout.
The program began with suggesting that the ONLY reason Michael was acquitted in 2005 was because he was rich and therefore could "make his problems go away." They cite this in the fact that "Michael paid off his alleged victim" in 1993. In fact; Prosecutor Ron Zonen repeatedly references the fact that Michael settled the suit, in his attempt to suggest Michael was guilty.
This is the first lie I'm going to debunk. Michael himself DID NOT pay off Jordan Chandler. Michael's INSURERS settled the civil case against Michael. Michael had no say in the matter as detailed in the document below. And the settlement had nothing to do with Michael being guilty. It is a fact that insurance companies will routinely settle such cases in order to protect their interests. To suggest that the settlement was an indication of Michael's guilt is completely unjust; especially since such settlement was beyond his control:
Throughout the program; Legal Analyst and former Prosecutor Robin Saxs repeatedly makes claims that Michael's friendships with young boys are part of a "grooming process" and in particular the case with Jordan Chandler; thus profiling Michael as a paedophile - yet several other analysts who provided reports about Michael during the trial and all allegations expressed an opinion that Michael didn't "fit the profile" of a paedophile. This leads me to believe that Ms Saxs' narrative is completely biased, having not seen the evidence in Michael's favour.
Rather laughingly; they cover the fact that Evan Chandler was able to get an outcry from Jordan as a result administering a hypnotic drug or a "truth serum" if you will. While Evan may have chosen this method in order to obtain information from his son, various studies have shown that those under the influence of such drugs are also highly open to suggestion (see link below). All Evan had to do was feed Jordan the loaded question in order to get the response he desired. Therefore; it would be fair to say that such an "allegation" under the influence of drugs would be inadmissable in a court of law.
It is during that same segment of the program that they talk about statements from other young friends of Michael including Brett Barnes and Wade Robson - BOTH deny any molestation took place. Also visited are the allegations made by LaToya Jackson in which she claims she has seen countless checks paid out to Michael's victims. Of course we all know that her statement was later retracted; having been bullied into saying such things by her then husband, Jack Gordon.
What the program failed to address however; was the fact that Evan Chandler had demanded money from Michael BEFORE any civil action was made against him and BEFORE any allegations made their way to the authorities. They also failed to mention the annexe Evan Chandler wanted Michael to build and wasn't happy when Michael refused. They also failed to play the damning evidence against Evan Chandler in which he reveals his plans to extort Michael.
After covering the 1993 allegations, the program talks about the next 8 years; with Ms Saxs adding more venom by suggesting Michael's continued friendships with young boys was more "evidence of grooming" I will point out here that yes; Ms Saxs has had dealings with the Wade Robson case - as you can see from the link below:
As they move on to Michael's marriage to Debbie Rowe; Debbie is described as a "besotted fan" who was in love with him. Incorrect. While yes; Debbie was indeed fond of Michael; she was his friend and nothing more. She met him through Arnold Klein's office and provided him with plenty of much-needed support after Michael was diagnosed with vitiligo. This enabled them to forge a friendship outside of Dr Klein's office which would lead to their eventual marriage. Debbie agreed to have Michael's children NOT because she was in love with him. She agreed because she saw how desperate Michael was to be a father. His failing marriage to Lisa signalled he would not be having a child with his wife; so Debbie offered to be his surrogate.
Let's be honest about this. That is what Debbie Rowe was - a surrogate. It is only because she was betrayed by a "friend" that the truth was revealed about her identity. Had that not have been the case; it is likely Debbie would have remained as unknown as BiGi's mother is.
Yes Michael married Debbie - purely to give his child a name - after the sins of his father; he was not about to have a child out of wedlock; neither would his mother allow that to happen.
Of course the documentary HAD to visit the "baby dangling" incident as it led up to the Martin Bashir documentary. That's when the real trash started...
First of all; it was suggested that because Michael was rich, he was able to "get his team of fixers" to provide his own documentary - "Living With Michael Jackson - The Footage You Were Never Meant To See." If it was indeed a case of him getting his "fixers" to sort the problem; why then did Michael have his own team filming as well as Martin Bashir? Quite imply; it was to safe-guard against any clever editing and untruths as we saw in Martin Bashir's version of events - and insurance policy. He's letting a journalist in his life so of course he's going to ensure he's fully prepared in case he isn't shown in a favourable light. His business advisers and legal team are going to ensure that is the case.
Then comes the ridiculous claim by Ron Zonen that during the time of the second documentary and before any allegations were made by the Gavin Arvizo's; the Arvizo family were to be shipped off to Brazil in an attempt to "shut them up". Why then were the Arvizo's in the documentary defending Michael if they were about to be "shipped off" to Brazil? At the same time; there's a claim that Michael was "holding the Arvizo's captive." Obviously this is where the infamous Janet Arvizo claim of them going to be "kidnapped in a hot air balloon came about." Like Tom Mesereau asked in the 2005 trial; if the Arvizo's were being held captive; why then did they escape Neverland only to go back again of their own free will?
Following the Arvizo's sudden change in their story and the subsequent allegations; the program covered the events that led up to Michael's arrest. During this section; they pointed out that a recent change in the law allowed them to force a child molestation witness to testify despite an out of court settlement. In short; Sneddon wanted Jordy Chandler on the stand. They failed to mention a) Jordy refused and b) at the time of the trial, Jordy was legally emancipated from his parents as a result of what transpired in 1993.
Also during this section; we also have the claims by Jason Francia; yet no mention of the fact that the Francias had sold their story to tabloids BEFORE their testimony. How interesting that the documentary should leave that detail out....
When Michael's home was raided in 2003; some 70 law enforcement personnel were present. This is VERY unusual and Tom Mesereau touched on this. Even high profile murder cases don't have that many officers raiding the premises. Not even Charles Manson had that many officers investigating! So why so many investigating Michael? As Tom Mesereau explained - because it's Michael Jackson. Rather like the bail set after Michael's arrest - $3 million - excessive in real terms. To put it into perspective; Phil Spector, who was convicted of the murder of Lana Carson, was bailed at $1 million. Michael was bailed at $3 million purely because he's Michael Jackson.
Following Michael's arrest and indictment; the program then suggests Michael was able to hire Tom Mesereau because he was "rich and could make his problems go away." While the program covered the gag order imposed on both parties to prevent them speaking to the media; what they failed mention was that Michael's previous legal team were focusing less on their client and more on the media spotlight. Michael fired his previous legal team simply because they would not shut up when it came to standing in front of the camera and talking about the case. It was already painfully obvious Michael was enduring a "trial by media". Spotlight-hungry lawyers were the last thing he needed!
In addition and at the time of Michael's trial, Mark Geragos was heavily involved in the Scott Peterson case and therefore was stretching himself too thin. It is only natural that Michael would want somebody giving his case their full attention - this is his life, his liberty and his reputation at stake!
As the program covers the trial; it covers various other inflammatory remarks from Ron Zonen - for example when they talk about the allegations of Michael plying Gavin Arvizo with alcohol before molesting him; Zonen suggests Michael also drugged the youngster. If that was the case; why did Zonen not order toxicology reports in order to prove that case? Indeed; hair strand drug tests can go back as far as 360 days in some cases. Surely if Zonen wanted to demonstrate Gavin had been drugged; he would have chosen to go down this route? Or did he save that little "omission" specifically for this program? My thoughts are with the latter.
Also out of the mouth of Zonen is the accusation that Chris Tucker's testimony for the defence was "false," Why has this not been brought up before? And indeed; why did the prosecution not question that? Again - another claim Zonen has saved for this documentary.
Perhaps the most ridiculous claim by Zonen is that "the jury wouldn't have convicted if they saw Michael doing it on video." No; the jury weren't swayed by any "opinion" of Michael. They considered their verdict based on the evidence presented before them, and in particular the lack of evidence presented by the prosecution. To suggest they "didn't want to convict" Michael, simply demonstrates Zonen's continued contempt at the fact that the case he believed he would win; was completed obliterated by Tom Mesereau. Mr Zonen cannot hide from that fact. Neither can he hide from the fact that his star witness; Janet Arvizo proved to be more of a favour for the defence than the prosecution. Janet Arvizo took that stand and made ridiculous claims about Michael - and allowed her mouth to run away with her in the process. All Tom Mesereau had to do was let her keep talking - despite Zonen trying to go for an adjournment. Demonstrating her complete lack of credibility, was probably the only honest thing Janet Arvizo managed to accomplish since the outset of the allegations against Michael.
The whole program was geared up to scandalise Michael, rather than to portray an accurate account of events. It attempted to deliver the message that Michael was able to buy his innocence by employing hard-nosed lawyers; acquiring "evidence" against this accusers and "paying of victims". What the program failed to deliver were the full facts and certainly NONE of the well documented facts in Michael's favour.
We have already talked about the facts surrounding the 1993 settlement. But there are even more facts to consider.
It is a fact that there was not one scrap of evidence in the case against Michael. Let's not forget that 70 law enforcement personnel were involved. Tom Sneddon was a man who was determined to nail Michael and even set up a website to invite further allegations against the man he had relentlessly pursued since 1993. He employed the best forensic experts, the best private investigators, the best criminology teams and yet still found absolutely NOTHING to prove Michael's guilt.
In addition; he attempted to falsify evidence by allowing Gavin Arvizo to handle a piece of evidence AFTER the allegations had been made - this particularly was the case with a pornographic magazine found at the Neverland raid. The magazine was heterosexual porn and NOT anything to suggest child porn.
Then there is the fact that the photos the investigators took in 1993 DID NOT match the description made by Jordy Chandler. Of course; that wasn't mentioned in the program either - rather just skated over in the suggestion that Michael was "lucky to have such a forensic photo examination in his own home" rather than in a police cell.
Despite what the program tries to convey; you cannot deny the facts. A man determined to nail Michael; many years of investigations by various officers; lack of credible witness testimonies, lack of concrete evidence and an acquittal on ALL charges by unanimous verdict.
Michael wasn't acquitted because he was rich. He was acquitted for one reason and one reason only. He truly was innocent - and always will be.
But why bring about this documentary now? As I've already touched on; there is certainly a connection to the Wade Robson case. At the end of the program; they talk about Robson's allegations yet take it no further due to the impending civil suit.
Look at the evidence however. We have a very biased documentary AGAINST Michael; with one of Robson's legal team appearing in a very large portion of it. Is this simple something which "just happened?" Nope - this is the Robson camp stepping up their smear campaign; as predicted by many other advocates. And I guarantee this is just the beginning. More stories will come out both on TV and in the media - and tabloids like Radar Online already have their pens poised over the paper.
This is yet another demonstration of the huge fight we have on our hands in order to protect Michael. Be vigilant, be informed and above all; be strong in supporting Michael. He's about to need us more than he's ever needed us before.