Okay, so Janet Ventura-Arviso-Jackson, the mother of Michael Jackson’s accuser, is a loon, a celebrity butt-sniffer, and probably a grifter. But does that mean Michael Jackson didn’t molest her son?
I think the conspiracy charge involving child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion is going to be rather difficult to convince the jury of, in light of the apparent fact that no one was ever abducted or imprisoned, although there does appear to have been an air of threat and perhaps coersion regarding the front the Arviso’s were expected to present to the public in respect to their relationship with the popster after the PR disaster of the Bashir film, Living With Michael Jackson, wherein Arviso’s son is shown holding hands with the singer, who defends as “innocent” his practice of sharing his bed with children. The prosecution showed video footage that was clearly members of the Arviso family being surveiled by associates of Jackson, tape found in the office of Brad Miller, a private investigator working for Jackson’s former attorney, Mark Geragos.
So there was something going on, but Roger Friedman reports on the family’s alleged imprisonment at the Country Inn & Suites in Calabasas:
- On the day they arrived in Calabasas, the Arvizos’ “kidnapping” began with dinner at the Outback Steak House ($131) [using Jackson associate Marc Schaffel’s credit card].
The next day, Feb. 26, 2003, this welfare mother, who also received food stamps, hit the Banana Republic ($415), Wilson’s House of Leather ($127), Pacific Sunwear, The Gap, Jockey, Anchor Blue ($454), Robinsons-May Company, Abercrombie & Fitch, Jeans Outlet ($430) and a Ralph’s supermarket ($127 for cosmetics and liquor). The family dined at the tony Black Angus steak restaurant in Woodland Hills ($175).
The next day Arvizo continued to eat her way through Jackson’s money at Foot Locker ($85), stopped again at Robinsons-May and made one more trip to Anchor Blue.
On Feb. 28, she had a manicure and pedicure ($51) and she and all three kids also got haircuts.
The next day was March 1, and she hit the Topanga Canyon Mall and Anchor Blue again before taking in a showing of the movie “Old School” (concessions $32, dinner at Johnny Rockets $26). The family also consumed quantities of Baskin-Robbins ice cream that day.
On March 2, she returned to Robinson-May ($71 for “night repair and lipstick”), spent $171 at Champs Sports and grabbed a Starbucks coffee.
…Arvizo told the jury yesterday that as she was “held hostage” at the Country Inn & Suites in Calabasas, she made only a few phone calls and spoke in code, quickly, “dropping clues” about her situation.
In truth, she made 12 calls on Feb. 27 from her room. Four of them were to her kids’ school, three were to her best friend, Azja Pryor — fiancée of comic Chris Tucker — two were to her parents and one was to her then-boyfriend, now her husband, U.S. Army Maj. Jay Jackson.
On Feb. 28, she called Pryor twice. She spoke to her boyfriend three times. She spoke to her parents once and called Neverland once.
On March 1, Arvizo managed to get seven calls out to the boyfriend, one call out to Pryor and two to her parents. And on March 2 there were three calls to the boyfriend, two more to the parents and one to a local skin-care specialist named Elizabeth Murray.
Alrighty then, but that still doesn’t mean Michael Jackson didn’t molest her son.
As with June Chandler, the mother of the boy to whom Jackson paid a settlement of $20+ million in ’94, there are a lot of issues clouding the waters, including unspoken complicity, greed, mutual manipulation, betrayal, and did I mention greed?
Following two days of testimony for the prosecution, Arviso sparred with lead defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr today. “Now I know that Neverland is all about booze, pornography and sex with boys,” she said. Arviso testified that associates of Jackson were not pleased with her performance on the rebuttal video. “I’m a poor actress,” she said, to which Mesereau replied, “Oh, I think you’re a good one,” for which the judge scolded Mesereau for unprofessional conduct.
Mesereau and the woman spoke over one another like a bitter married couple (ooh, there’s an idea), prompting Judge Rodney Melville to stop testimony repeatedly to instruct both to get it together. He asked the woman to stop babbling like a freak about matters unrelated to the questions she was asked.
Mesereau and Arviso disputed each other on everything, even about the treatment she received at a Los Olivos salon shortly before she claims to have escaped from Neverland. “I’m telling you there was only a leg wax.” Arviso pointed at Jackson seated at the defense table: “He has the ability to choreograph everything.”
“And how about you?” Mesereau retorted.
She later told Mesereau, “I have a lot of thoughts in my heart about you,” and I don’t think she meant kind ones.
“We will never file a claim against Michael Jackson. We want justice,” the mother said. Indeed, we’ll see. But that still doesn’t mean Michael Jackson didn’t emotionally ensnarl her son, ply him with alcohol and molest him.