So said Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen when he argued this morning for the admissibility of two books of pictorial essays containing pictures of nude boys that had been seized from Jackson’s Neverland Ranch by the Los Angeles Police Department as part of a previous investigation of earlier allegations of molestation by Jackson in 1993.
Defense lawyer Robert Sanger argued the evidence was too “remote in time,” irrelevant to the current case and would prejudice the jury with “innuendo.” “It’s just plain stale,” Sanger told Judge Rodney Melville. “At some point the court has to draw the line. This case really isn’t about 1993.” Ah, but in many ways it is since California law permits evidence of “prior bad acts” that demonstrate a “propensity” in child molestation cases.
And as such Melville allowed the books (Zonen had said that one book was about 90 percent pictures of nude boys and the other about 10 percent) to be admitted on the grounds that their “probitive value exceeds the prejudicial effect.”
With the jury returned to the courtroom, LAPD detective Rosibel Smith testified that she seized the books from a locked file cabinet in Jackson’s master-bedroom closet, but under cross examination by Sanger she said The Boy: A Photographic Essay appeared to have been a gift to Jackson from a fan, bearing the inscription, “To Michael from your (heart symbol) fan, XXXOOO, ‘Rhonda’,” and dated 1983.
The other book, Boys Will Be Boys, was inscribed by Jackson with this rhapsody, “Look at the true spirit of happiness and joy in these boys’ faces. This is the spirit of boyhood, a life I have never had and will always dream of. This is the life I want for my children.”
Meanwhile, attorney Gloria Allred, a well-known non-fan of Mr. Jackson, participated in an online chat about the Jackson trial at the Washington Post site. Here are some key quotes:
“The jury can always take into account the credibility of witnesses and in determining whether or not to believe them to think about what bias they may have when they testify. For example, Debbie Rowe clearly wants Michael Jackson to allow her to see her children. In fact, she’s in litigation and is attempting to see them but to date has not been permitted to see them. Some people speculate that she may have wanted to help Michael Jackson in order to get him to change his mind about allowing her to visit with the children. She may have been telling the truth but the jury can take into account all of the facts and circumstances in weighing whether or not to believe what she says.
Since she had not even seen or spoken the Michael Jackson since 1999 with the exception of a 2 1/2 telephone conversation with him in 2003 wherein he asked her to participate in the rebuttal video and where she told him that she would like to visit the children. She also testified that Mr. Jackson is a brilliant businessman. So I think the jury could also conclude that he willingly associated with the persons that she called vultures and that he also was profiting from rebuttal video since there was testimony that he made over $1 million from it.
Let’s remember that there was a great deal of gloom and doom at the early stages of the case against Scott Peterson but ultimately there was a conviction for double murder and the prosecution prevailed despite vigorous defense attacks on prosecution witnesses.
We don’t know what the outcome will be in this case. I think it’s too early to predict a result.
You have a defendant who admits to sleeping in bed with young children who are unrelated to him and that defendant has allegations against him of child sexual abuse by another child who sued him and reportedly received a multimillion dollar settlement. In addition there are allegations of improper conduct against another child who is now an adult and a minister and who testified in this case. With this set of facts it is no surprise that Michael Jackson is being prosecuted. The only surprise would be if he weren’t prosecuted with this set of facts.”