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Jury Finds Both For and Against Michael Jackson in Lawsuit

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In a curious verdict reflecting disdain for the character and lifestyles of both plaintiff and defendant, jurors awarded former gay porn producer F. Marc Schaffel $900,000 and Michael Jackson $200,000 in competing lawsuits over unpaid royalties, loans, and expenses stemming from the production of two videos, a charity single, and various other services Schaffel performed for Jackson.

As is his wont, in yet another trial, Jackson — this time via his lawyer and two videotaped depositions — sought to portray himself to jurors and the world as an innocent and delicate artist-naif adrift in a cold, cruel, uncomprehending world. Thomas C. Mundell, Jackson trial attorney, called his client “a gentle, trusting artist who is lonely and insulated from the world.”

It didn’t work this time.

“The plaintiff was not the most upstanding character and neither was the defendant,” said juror Irma Beard.

“From the very beginning we were saying, ‘He’s a sleazeball’,” said juror Cathleen Yancy. Asked which party she was describing, Yancy answered: “Both. I have issues with adult entertainment, but I also have issues with child molestation.”

In Schaffel attorney Howard E. King’s closing arguments, he showed deposition video clips of Jackson saying over and over again he couldn’t remember details of his financial deals and transactions, contrasted with audio from a voice mail message Jackson left for Schaffel with detailed specifics for a project.

Schaffel originally sued for $3.8 million, later reduced to $1.6 million, with his attorney ultimately asked the jury for $1.4 million before deliberations began Thursday. Jackson’s attorney said Schaffel owed the King of Pop $660,000 in funds removed from an expense account for unreleased charity single, “What More Can I Give,” before Schaffel was fired in November 2001 in response to Jackson being shown a video of Schaffel directing gay porn.

JackoJapanMay06 “I was shown a videotape by the lawyer and I was shocked by what I saw. … [Schaffel] was directing two guys. They were naked from head to toe … and he was telling one what to do with the other and he grabbed their penis or something,” said Jackson in a taped deposition.

Jurors indicated they reached the $900,000 figure by accepting Schaffel’s claims that he was owed commissions from the two videos — which were made to counter bad publicity from the Living With Michael Jackson documentary and were aired on Fox — and Schaffel’s claim that he spent $300,000 of his own money on a secret mission to South America for Jackson in November 2003, even though he didn’t record the transaction in his business ledger.

Schaffel, who had obviously been rehired for some reason by the Jackson camp, claimed he gave the money to a “Mr. X” in Argentina in “a very private transaction of a very sensitive nature for Mr. Jackson.”

“SOMETHING unpleasant was involved,” said one juror who refused to give his name.

“This is just the beginning of Michael fighting back,” said showbiz attorney L. Londell McMillan, Jackson’s new business manager. “It’s a new day for Michael Jackson. It should be something for people to think about in the future.”

Perhaps, but was the dredging up the tawdry events and accusations of the last five years once again in court — including the possibility that the $300K South American payment was to the family of yet another boy who claimed abuse by Jackson — worth the effort?

“Obviously, I’m very happy,” Schaffel told reporters outside court. “We got less than I asked for but considering all the factors on what we were able to present, I’m pleased.”

Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Connor will hold a separate specific accounting phase of the trial to look at the claims, which could lead to an adjustment of the awards. Schaffel turned down a settlement of $500,000 a month before trial – he may not wind up with even that.

“When the accounting phase is over, the judgment will be in Michael’s favor,” Mundell, said. King countered that that “is never going to happen.”

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About Eric Olsen

  • Dawn

    “Something unpleasant was involved” is an understatment when it comes to dealing with Michael Jackson.

    As always Eric, you have captured the essence of “ewww” and the facts involved with aplomb!

  • Eric Olsen

    thanks Dawn, the facts sort of speak for themselves

  • http://www.anne-guentert.de Anne

    One thing to add about those videos….These “Private Home Movies” were also produced by Schaffel and aimed to show Jackson in a better light and brush up his image. They are accepted by the Jackson camp and fans;-) although they were produced by Schaffel whom both the fans and the Jackson camp officially despise….talk about oxymorons;-)

    Anyone in doubt just needs to check http://www.imdb.com under “Private Home Movies” starring Michael Jackson.

  • http://jasman.bounceme.net James

    Just to be really pedantic the use of oxymoron is not correct. It is just gross hypocrisy.

    Definitions of Oxymoron :

    A paradox reduced to two words, usually in an adjective-noun (“eloquent silence”) or adverb-adjective (“inertly strong”) relationship, and is used for effect, to emphasize contrasts, incongruities, hypocrisy, or simply the complex nature of reality.

  • Eric Olsen

    perhaps it is a “conceptual oxymoron”?

  • http://www.anne-guentert.de Anne

    ok, how about simple contradiction? LOL. Fact is that neither Jackson nor Schaffel show real integrity…the difference is that Jackson’s fans simply ignore this fact whereas Schaffel’s fans do not exist!

  • http://blogcritics.org/mt/tb/50439 Kai

    I personally don’t know why they were both dealing with each other anyway. I mean, there are lots of other producers in the industry. and at least ONE must have been better than Schaffel.

    and totally true, Schaffel’s fans are completely non-existant.
    I personally don’t see Jackson as a sleazeball…but his lawyer saying “It’s a new day for Michael Jackson. It should be something for people to think about in the future.” is a bit weird..

    either way. I don’t know why people always have to make a big deal out of Jackson’s dealings. It’s a pity that people crave distraction so much that they’ll jump on any trial with just a bit of life in it. pity.

  • E

    Jackson is a major sleezeball and should be behind bars. I am sick and tired of all these panty waste fans who keep giving him second chances. He is a child molester and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

  • http://www.anne-guentert.de Anne

    IMHO not paying any bills for years and constantly lying and bragging about alleged music deals qualifies enough for being a “sleazeball”. Not a very nice expression, but if you have been looking at Jackson’s musical and business output in the last few years (less than zero) you get the impression that a real music producer such as Quincy Jones or Guy Holmes is simply fed up with Jackson’s antics. So it is logical that somebody like Schaffel thinks he can do it! Well, Guy Holmes was fired by Jackson after just 2 months work for him and we have not heard him doing anything for Jackson since…..Guy Holmes certainly is an able music producer with a good record and reputation – just why did Jackson fire him? Bad Karma? LOL. It makes, like nearly everything in Jackson’s life, no sense at all.

    As for McMillan saying that quote..I am not so sure about this because Jackson’s spokeswoman used the same quote from 2 weeks ago in her press release again and there is no proof whether McMillan would be so stupid and claim a win over the other party if the trial has not ended officially. McMillan’s firm is certainly too clever to do something that stupid!

  • Eric Olsen

    high sleaze factor all the way around – and as Kai says, the fact that Jackson — once the King of Pop — was dealing with such a debased figure as Schaffel in the first place, let alone bringing him back in ’03, is pretty telling about the state of Jacko’s affairs

  • Abi

    Michael Jackson,
    There aren’t enough words to describe you. You are an inspiration to me and my family. You are magnificent, outstanding and unique and I love and admire you immensely. I always disregard all the nasty comments being made about you because with those who like to condemn you, there are several of those who praise you and support you unfailingly. I hope things work out for you in Ireland and I’m praying for you. You are a man who I adore very much and I’m praying for you. There is nobody else like you… I can’t think of another being who has managed to capture the eyes and attention of many many people for over 4 decades. I can’t think of anybody who has sold as many records as you and broke the barriers with the Thriller album. NOBODY.

  • http://a Nikki

    Hi Micheal, You bless my life,heart and my soul. I wish you would come to North Carilina to see me and your other fans. I wish you had a better life. I wish people understand you and your fellings.I wish you meet me and never leave me. I love you deep down inside. My heart pounds so hard when I see you. I hope someday you will want to meet me and never leave.I hope you have the best life. You are the best singer in the whole wide world.God bless you i wish the best life for you. With all my love to Micheal Jackson

  • Nikki

    Micheal I is me again All I want to say is to stay stong and belie,n yourself because I belive in you allways. I love you

  • Nikki

    I am allways crying for you. I want you here with me forever. I love you all my life.

  • Nikki

    Micheal Don,t pay atetion to those who hate you . I never seen any body like you before. You are the reson why I like to sing Because I want to be just like you in every way. I allways will support you. Those people that hates you don,t understand what is It,s like to be you.I adore you. I think people that knows you real well will understand you forever.I will never hurt you I will allway,s Please you and welcome you forever.You be true to yorself and stay strong forever. I love you Micheal Jackson. Your biggest fan Nikki

  • http://www.songwritingtipsonline.com Calvin

    Its a shame we have come to a world where all we do is judge by what we read in the newspapers.

    It’s as if anything that is posted in The Sun (UK newspaper) is gospel…lol. And people actually buy it, believe in it, and express their opinions on it as if it’s all correct.

    Anybody who makes up their mind without knowing the facts is a FOOL. I don’t care who you are.

    Anyone who has done the slightest bit of research would know that the molestation case was all cock and bull.

    Of course, those reading The Sun will believe anything. lol.

  • http://googoo bob

    jackson is fucking gay and i would do him any time

  • Guy

    and of the statement, “Something unpleasant was involved”? turns out, Michael Jackson was working on the Latin version of the charity single, “What More Can I Give”. i’ve read of how incredibly harsh the media had been toward MJ during the era of this article, but wow…the extent is incredible. shame on you. one could read court documents on this case today for a broader picture than the lies that the media had been spinning for attention/money. shame on you.