Those who are inclined to see Michael Jackson as an innocent lover of children using his hard-earned millions to create a dream world where they can roam free of the world’s stultifying rules and restrictions have had plenty of succor to cling to in trial testimony thus far.
Ralph Chacon said he watched Jackson perform a sex act on a young boy. He didn’t interrupt or report this alleged crime at the time. Philip LeMarque, Jackson’s former butler and cook, testified he saw Jackson’s hand down Macaulay Culkin’s pants. Adrian McManus, a former maid, said she saw Jackson molesting another boy. Former housekeeper Kiki Fournier said she saw boys running drunk and wild. None of these witnesses did anything about these appalling allegations. Surely this calls into question their motives and veracity now.
The mothers of Jordy Chandler — the ’94 accuser who received a $20+ million settlement from Jackson — and Gavin Arviso, Jackson’s current accuser, were even more negligent and despicable if what they said they saw or suspected actually happened between their sons and Jackson.
The kidnapping-related charges appear to have been a pointless, even vindictive stretch by the prosecution. And on Friday, the judge’s rulings on various motions generally went Jackson’s way: he denied a request by the prosecution to allow testimony from a domestic violence expert to explain why loopy Janet Arviso lied under oath; the judge excluded salacious details that were to be offered by former Jackson employee Kassim Abdool about bringing Vaseline to an “aroused” and “sweaty” Jackson who was in the presence of Chandler at the time.
So Jackson should be happy at this point in the trial, right? I wouldn’t be if I were him. There is a numbing similarity to the testimony many of the prosecution’s witnesses regarding Jackson’s relationships with boys – can they ALL be lying about EVERYTHING?
I also sense a pattern developing among some of the trial’s closest observers. The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson wrote an extraordinarily thoughtful and sensible column yesterday looking at the accumulated testimony and why these enablers would behave that way:
- Even if you’re a loyal fan … you’ve got to wonder whether all these people can be making all this stuff up. Some witnesses may have a credibility problem, and some may have a pecuniary reason to lie
…But they’re all telling basically the same story, and airtight conspiracies are rare outside spy novels and high school cliques.
…There’s not a chance, I’ll bet, that the parents of the boy who is the subject of the current allegations, or the parents of the boy who accused Jackson of molesting him in 1993 (before Jackson paid the family more than $20 million and the boy clammed up), or any of the other parents would have let their boys romp and cuddle with Jackson if he had been, say, just an obscure bachelor living alone in a suburban split-level on an insurance adjuster’s salary.
Money was a part of it, but only a part. Even if it had been an obscure bachelor who owned the insurance company, I doubt the parents would have gone along so readily. The mother of the boy at the heart of the current case was intoxicated with all the attention she received when the boy got cancer and celebrities began paying him the mercy visits they routinely perform as a kind of community service. The woman’s “ready for my close-up” histrionics on the witness stand speak for themselves.
…The people around Michael Jackson — the members of his paid retinue as well as the families he invited to the ranch — had in common the overwhelming desire to be a part of his life.
…Elizabeth Taylor is a part of Jackson’s life. The salaried enablers who worked for him and the starry-eyed fools who gave him their young sons could never be.
Steve Corbett, who has been in the courtroom everyday as a columnist for the hometown Santa Maria Times wrote this on Thursday:
- After eight weeks of listening to prosecution witnesses, most members of the press and people who digest their reports, seem to be harshly critical of the prosecution’s case.
If jurors are getting the same vibe, Jackson might one day take off from Neverland for that magic hot air balloon ride to wherever his heart desires – without worrying about sheriff’s department choppers threatening to shoot him over the rainbow.
Personally, though, I wouldn’t want to be Michael.
And I wouldn’t bet on the trial outcome even if I were a betting man.
Call me delusional – the way some of my associates ruthlessly label the mother of Jackson’s alleged victim – but I believe that the prosecution has made a significant case against the 46-year-old celebrity superstar defendant.
Even the worst witnesses brought a little something to a case that is built on legitimate circumstantial arguments that point to a pattern of molestation that highlights Jackson’s guilt.
For that reason, I won’t be surprised if Jackson is convicted on at least one of the 10 felonies with which he is charged. But a hung jury on all or most counts won’t surprise me, either. Neither will a total acquittal.
…Pro-defense apologists, of which a grand array is obvious in and out of the courtroom, expect Mesereau to quickly destroy what’s left of a crumbled prosecution.
But how much can aging movie idol Elizabeth Taylor do to help friend Michael by appearing as a creaky character witness? Michael’s own brothers and sisters don’t even show up for the trial anymore.
Mesereau failed to trash the prosecution, anyway.
Most of Sneddon’s most significant witnesses are believable, even when they admit to lying in the past. And although Mesereau has done a dandy job of planting seeds of doubt, he never landed any knockout punch.
Even the mother of the alleged victim – kooky as she came across – never backed down and refused to allow Mesereau to put words in her mouth.
And Peter Bowes wrote this last Tuesday for the BBC:
- therein lies the great tragedy of the trial. It is the sick product of a celebrity-obsessed world and we all carry some guilt for just being here.
No one was laughing the day Gavin Arvizo talked about the abuse he believes he suffered at the hands of Michael Jackson.
Some of the jurors dabbed their eyes as the teenager recounted the story of his miraculous recovery from cancer.
The most heart-wrenching moment came when another alleged victim, Jason Francia, almost broke down on the witness stand.
He appeared to be genuinely haunted by the memory of something awful happening. It is, of course, for the jury to decide whether he was just acting.
Of course, but Bowes made it pretty clear how he feels about the key testimony. If Gavin Arviso and Jason Francia are believable, then the rest of the testimony is just there to support their claims. And there is an awful lot of it. Jackson may well still get off, but he also may well not.