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Saturday, April 30, 2005
Journalist's Testimony Barred
Most of the day in court yesterday was spent outside the presence of jurors as Judge Rodney Melville gave decisions in favour of both the Prosecution and the Defence.
Melville allowed two artistic and legally available books that were seized in a raid on Neverland Valley ranch in 1993 in a previous investigation to be admitted as evidence. The Defence argued against the evidence stating that the items were 12-years-old and legally available material not relevant to this case, but the Prosecution request was granted.
The Judge denied a Prosecution request to have a journalist testify, however. Ian Drew testified outside the presence of jurors that he received a call from one of Michael Jackson's employees in 2003 saying that the Arvizo family "had disappeared from the ranch in the middle of the night." Because Drew was unsure whether or not the term "escape" was used, as well as the fact he was going to site California's Shield Law to prevent cross-examination questioning, Melville barred his testimony from being given in front of the jury according to the Associated Press.
When the jury entered the courtroom, Detective Rosibel Smith took the stand. Smith was the one who found the books that had just been admitted into evidence. A book titled Boys Will Be Boys was shown to jurors, as well as inscription on the inside written by Michael, "Look at the true spirit of happiness and joy in these boys' faces, this is the spirit of boyhood, a life I've never had and will always dream of. This is the life I want for my children." The other book was titled The Boy: A Photographic Essay and also had an inscription, "To Michael from your (heart symbol) fan, XXXOOO, 'Rhonda,'" and was dated 1983. The jury were not shown the pictures inside the books, but Smith testified that they showed boys "playing, swimming, jumping."
The Prosecution expects to rest their case by Tuesday with the Defence starting theirs immediately.
Friday, April 29, 2005
Debbie Rowe Praises Michael Jackson"
In yet another setback for the Prosecution, Michael Jackson's ex-wife Debbie Rowe gave startling testimony in defence of her ex-husband in court yesterday.
Before testimony began, Judge Melville met privately with attorneys to discuss a request by the Defence to have Rowe's testimony stricken, as it did not corroborate claims made by the Accuser's Mother Janet Arvizo as the Prosecution had promised. By the end of Rowe's favourable testimony for the Defence, the request was withdrawn.
The witness testified that she felt people working for Michael were "opportunistic vultures," that were making money off of him according to the Associated Press. Rowe claimed that the rebuttal video she gave her interview for was sold for millions and the employees kept the money, she had particular harsh words for un-indicted alleged co-conspirator Marc Schaffel, (who's home was used for the filming of the interview) saying that he bragged about the money he was making. "He just bragged about how he had taken advantage of an opportunity," she said. "He said he was going to make sure Michael's career was saved." She continued, "He's like everybody else around Mr. Jackson," Rowe said. "He wouldn't tell him everything. Obviously he's full of ****," the witness then apologised to the Judge for her swearing. "He was out to hurt Michael and in addition would hurt my children," Rowe said.
Two other men that Rowe described as "vultures" were Dieter Weisner and Ronald Konitzer, who are also un-indicted alleged co-conspirators. She also described the three as liars, and described an incident where she claims she was set-up. On January 12th 2004, Michael's advisers met in a Beverley Hills hotel and Rowe claimed she was invited to a Beverley Hills restaurant for lunch with Schaffel and Weisner on the same day, and that tabloid photographers were invited. The witness claimed it was a way of Schaffel getting even for not being invited to the meeting of advisers and that she had know knowledge of what was going on.
Rowe continued her harsh words for the three men, "There's a number of times they don't consult him," she continyed, "Michael's very easily manipulated, especially when he is scared," she said according to the news-press. She also had harsh words for ex-lead Defence attorney Mark Geragos, when asked if it was one of the un-indicted alleged co-conspirators who had hired him, "I don't know who picked him," she testified. "But whoever did made a huge mistake. Come on. He either pleads out or loses."
During direct questioning, Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen asked the witness how she felt about doing the interview for the rebuttal video, "I was excited to do it. I would get to see the children and could renew a relationship with Mr. Jackson." When asked why that interested her, she responded, "They're my family." Rowe also stated her motivation for doing the interview was to see her children.
When questioned during cross-examination by lead Defence attorney Tom Mesereau about her conversation with law enforcement being taped, Rowe became sarcastic. She turned to the Prosecutors table and said, "Damn you guys. You don't share anything." It later became clear she knew the conversations were being recorded according to the Santa Maria Times.
The attorney asked Rowe during cross-examination how she now feels about Michael, "I've always considered him my friend," she answered. And you still do?" asked Mesereau. Rowe answered she did, adding, "If he'd talk to me." The witness acknowledged that she had been kept away from her children, but did not blame Michael for this, but rather his advisers and lawyers dealing with the subject. At one point Rowe asked Mesereau if she ever met the attorney representing Michael in his custody case, before Mesereau could answer the witness quipped, "You don't want to."
Mesereau asked Rowe to describe her ex-husband in her own words, after taking a breath she responded, "Generous to a fault, good father, great with kids, puts other people ahead of him. Brilliant businessman." She became tearful, "There's different Michaels. There's like my Michael and the Michael that everyone else sees," she said. "That would be Michael the entertainer?" Mesereau asked. "Michael the entertainer, yeah," Rowe said. Michael became tearful himself as he dabbed his eyes while the Mother of his two eldest children described him in such a good light.
The witness once addressed Michael when trying to clarify a concert tour of his that she went on with him. "What was the tour after 'Bad?' Was it the 'HIStory' tour or 'Dangerous?' Oh, it was 'Dangerous.'"
Once Rowe had finished her testimony, her attorney Iris Finsilver took the stand. She testified that Schaffel could be heard twice during the recording of the interview saying, "Michael will be very pleased about this. You'll go to the ranch and see your kids."
Prosecutors announced to the court they expect to finish their case on Tuesday as more witnesses prepare to take the stand today.
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Mesereau To Mother: "You're a good (actor)"
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Rowe: Interview Was NOT Scripted
Michael Jackson's ex-wife Debbie Rowe took the stand at the end of court yesterday and provided testimony contradicting to what the Prosecution had promised jurors she would give.
Before Rowe took the stand, outside the presence of jurors, Defence attorney Robert Sanger requested Judge Rodney Melville grant a mistrial. Sanger argued that Senior Deputy District Attorney Gordon Auchincloss asked questions of videographer Hamed Moslehi that were already deemed out of bounds by the Judge, objections at the time were sustained. "As a result of the willful misconduct, a mistrial has to be granted," Sanger argued according to the Santa Maria Times. Melville denied the request for a mistrial.
The court saw Moslehi on the stand again yesterday, followed by various witnesses from phone companies and then near the end of proceedings, Rowe was questioned.
District Attorney Tom Sneddon promised jurors during his opening statement that Rowe would corroborate the story provided by the Accuser's Mother Janet Arvizo, "Debbie Rowe will tell you her interview also was completely scripted," Sneddon said. "They scripted that interview just like they scripted the Janet Arvizo's interview." However, the witness testified that although there were questions written for her interview, she did not look at them and her answers weren't scripted, according to the Associated Press. "I didn't want anyone to be able to come back to me and say my interview was rehearsed," Rowe said. "As Mr. Jackson knows, no one can tell me what to say."
When taking the stand, Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen asked the witness how she knew Michael, "We've been friends and we were married," she answered. Rowe stated that she spoke to Michael by phone about taking part in the rebuttal video to Living with Michael Jackson and that there was no indication about what she would say. "I asked him how he was. I asked him how the children were and I asked if I could see them when everything settled down," Rowe said, adding that her ex-husband agreed. The witness testified that Michael told her, "there was a video coming out and it was full of lies and would I help. I said, as always, yes." She continued, "I was excited to see Michael and the children when all this was over. I promised I would always be there for he and the children."
Rowe filmed an interview at un-indicted alleged co-conspirator Marc Schaffel's residence on February 5th 2003, two days after the Martin Bashir documentary aired in the United Kingdom and a day before it aired in the U.S. Zonen asked the witness what she expected in return for giving the interview, teary-eyed she responded, "To be reunited with the children and be reacquainted with their dad." The Prosecutor then asked "why?" to which Rowe responded, "he's my friend," as she dabbed tears away from her face.
Asked about being completely truthful during the interview, Rowe said she was not. "My personal life was my personal life and no one's business," the witness said. Rowe also testified that she lied about Michael's abilities as a parent during the interview in what was the last comment before court ended for the day.
Rowe is currently in a legal battle with Michael over visitation rights to see her son Prince and daughter Paris. She had previously given up her parental rights but has recently had them restored through a Los Angeles court. She testified that she has not seen Michael Jackson or the children since the day of their divorce in 1999.
Court is expected to resume today with more questions being directed at Rowe. It is not known whether or not she will be cross-examined today.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Travel Agent Testifies
Jurors heard from travel agent Cynthia Montgomery yesterday, after Judge Rodney Melville granted her immunity on Monday.
Montgomery's immunity means that any testimony she provides cannot be used against her in any other case. She is currently under investigation by the FBI for her part in the secret taping of a conversation between Michael Jackson and his ex-attorney Mark Geragos on an XtraJet flight from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara on November 20th 2003.
The travel agent testified that she booked a $15,092 flight to Sau Paulo for the Arvizo family on March 1st 2003 at the request of un-indicted alleged co-conspirator Marc Schaffel according to the Associated Press. Montgomery said that the trip was meant to be one-way but Visa regulations state that any American flying to Brazil must book a return flight, and that she informed Schaffel of this. The trip never happened, Prosecutors never addressed the reason why.
As he started cross-examination of the witness, lead Defence attorney Thomas Mesereau immediately made sure that jurors knew that Montgomery was granted immunity to testify. The witness claimed she only found out about the secret taping the day after and she had seen the recording in an FBI office. She denied any knowledge of Schaffel trying to sell the tape after Mesereau questioned her on the possibility. The attorney asked the witness about her dealings with Michael concerning the Brazil trip, "You never spoke to Mr. Jackson about any trip to Brazil at any time, is that correct?" Montgomery answered, "That's correct."
After finding out about the allegations Michael now faces, the witness claimed she volunteered information to authorities, and that she was even enlisted to make a phone call to a employee of Michael's that would be recorded, she never stated who she called or what it was about.
Montgomery stated that flight attendant Lauren Wallace told her that Michael asked for wine to be served in soda cans, contradicting previous testimony by another flight attendant, Cynthia Ann Bell, who claimed it was her idea because Michael was a nervous flyer.
The witness is actually suing Michael over the XtraJet lawsuit, in which Michael is suing her.
Once Montgomery finished her testimony, Michael's former videographer Hamed Moslehi then took the stand according to the Santa Maria Times. Moslehi taped an interview that was intended for the rebuttal video to counter Living with Michael Jackson, however the interview was never aired.
The witness claimed Janet Arvizo did not initially want to take part in the video. "I believe at the beginning she was not happy to do this rebuttal video," Moslehi said. "She said since the documentary of Martin Bashir, her life turned upside down because of the media ... She said the last thing she wanted to do was to expose herself to more hassle." Moslehi testified that he loaned Arvizo $2,000 after her complaints about her hectic life following the Bashir documentary, but that he never was repaid.
Arvizo was willing to co-operate with the video after what he thought was a re-negotiation of her contract according to Moslehi, who claimed that it was difficult to take the family out of Neverland Valley ranch to shoot the interview. The witness recollected what the Neverland manager Joe Marcus had said, "I believe he said, 'They're not allowed to leave the property,'" although Moslehi stated that he then took the family to his West Hills home.
The witness is actually suing Michael claiming he is owed $250,000 for his work.
Moslehi is expected to finish his testimony today with Michael's ex-wife Debbie Rowe then expected to take the stand for the Prosecution.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Judge O.K's Testimony From Ex-Wife
After a three-day weekend, court resumed with yet more rulings from Judge Rodney Melville as well as testimony from a former Neverland Valley ranch bodyguard.
The Judge ruled that Prosecutors could question Michael Jackson's ex-wife (and Mother to his two eldest children) Debbie Rowe about a rebuttal video she had made around the same time the Arvizo family had made their video. Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen argued that Rowe would tell jurors she participated in a "highly scripted interview and that the incentive was to suggest she would have visitation with her children if she did this." Defence attorney Robert Sanger opposed the arguments, stating that the Defence were willing to present the three-hour video of her interview as well as footage that Rowe had secretly taped in which she never says anything bad about Michael. After arguments, Melville made his ruling, "I will admit the testimony and will look to ways to restrict that testimony."
District Attorney Tom Sneddon announced to the court (outside the presence of jurors) that a witness they had planned to call, former Neverland security guard Chris Carter, will not be testifying according to the Associated Press. The Judge had given Prosecutors permission to question Carter, who was going to invoke the Fifth Amendment to not be questioned about his recent arrest for burglary, robbery and first-degree kidnapping, all with a deadly weapon, however Sneddon made the announcement without giving any apparent reason as to why he will no longer be testifying.
Melville allowed Prosecutors to grant witness Cynthia Montgomery immunity so that her testimony given in this case cannot be used against her in any other. Montgomery is currently under investigation by the FBI for her role in secretly taping a conversation between Michael and his former attorney Mark Geragos on the XtraJet flight that took them back to Santa Barbara in November 2003. Montgomery will testify about the flight as well as alleged plans by Michael's employees to fly the Arvizo family to Brazil.
Prosecutors were denied a request to bring in testimony from a man who claimed his son went missing at Neverland for 90 minutes and ended up in Michael's bedroom. Sanger stated the motion showed desperation on the part of the Prosecution's case.
Once jurors entered the courtroom testimony by Kassim Abdool, a former Neverland bodyguard who sued Michael for wrongful termination along with previous Prosecution witnesses Ralph Chacon and Adrian McManus and lost, resumed. The witness claimed that he saw Michael and Jordan Chandler (the '93 Accuser) leave the Jacuzzi area with their swimming trunks on the floor, and that Michael (wearing a towel) was giving Chandler (wearing a robe) a piggyback ride as they left. Abdool also claimed his life was threatened during his employment at Neverland. During cross-examination the witness admitted to selling his story to a tabloid for $15,000 but claimed that the money all went to legal costs.
Attorney Brian Oxman left the Defence team yesterday with no explanation given according to the Santa Maria Times. Oxman had been a part of pre-trial hearings and attended the proceedings since the trial began at the table behind the Defence team's position.
Friday, April 22, 2005
Judge Rules Decisions In Favour Of Defence
Once ex-Neverland security guard Brian Barron finished his testimony yesterday, attorneys argued over some key motions before court recessed until Monday.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Gordon Auchincloss argued to call a domestic violence expert to testify about the behaviour of Janet Arvizo, who claims to be a victim of her ex-husband's beatings. "I think this type of evidence is valuable in domestic violence cases," Judge Melville said when making his ruling, however, "it would be a mistake to allow it."
Prosecutors also wanted to enter testimony from Kassim Abdool that indicated Michael ordered Abdool to bring Vaseline to his bedroom when he was apparently aroused with the 1993 Accuser Jordan Chandler also in the room. However, Defence attorney Robert Sanger indicated that Abdool has since denied the story, "We understand his story had been refuted by his own words," he said. The Judge denied the request according to the Associated Press, however Prosecutors are allowed to enter testimony from Abdool concerning swimming trunks near a shower and a piggyback ride. Abdool was one of five former employees who sued Michael for millions of dollars for wrongful termination a decade ago in a trial that lasted six months and which Michael won - forcing the employees to pay him a total of $1.4 million.
Melville also granted a Defence request to introduce evidence concerning alleged incidents in which the Accuser Gavin Arvizo and his brother Star were caught masturbating. In arguing the case for the Defence, attorney Susan Yu stated, "Mr. Jackson is charged with masturbation and that they did in fact do it themselves and are trying to blame Mr. Jackson for what he never did is relevant."
One Prosecution request that was allowed was the testimony of Chris Carter, a former Neverland bodyguard who was recently arrested for burglary, robbery and first-degree kidnapping, all with a deadly weapon. Carter will plead the U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment, much like Janet Arvizo did, to not have to answer questions on his arrest as to not perjure himself. Another witness who was going to plead the Fifth was Cynthia Montgomery, a travel agent who worker for XtraJet and was on the flight on November 20th 2003 in which Michael flew to Santa Barbara to co-operate with authorities with his arrest. The Judge ruled that Montgomery is not allowed to testify at all.
The court has recessed until Monday, as Prosecutors could not get witnesses ready in time for today. They have stated their case should be rested by next week, allowing Defence attorneys to present their case on behalf of Michael.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Ex-Security Guard Takes The Stand
The Prosecution called an ex-security guard from Neverland Valley ranch to the stand yesterday to testify about procedures concerning guests who stayed at the complex.
Brian Barron, who is a Guadeloupe police officer, worked at Neverland from 1997-2003 when the ranch was raided on November 18th. He left his job at the ranch after having discussions with Guadeloupe superiors who felt that with a criminal investigation ongoing he should not remain working there. Barron was asked by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department to continue working at the ranch as a police informant but he refused.
The witness testified that a notice was posted to the ranch employees that stated Gavin Arvizo was not allowed to leave the ranch, however under cross-examination by Defence attorney Robert Sanger, Barron acknowledged that it was standard procedure to not let children leave without supervision. It is said that the Accuser's parents were not at the ranch at that time, according to the Associated Press.
Sanger also presented guest logs that employees of Michael Jackson would fill out. One log stated that the Arvizo family were at Neverland on February 6th 2003, however previous testimony from Janet Arvizo told jurors that they were in Miami on this date according to the Santa Maria Times.
Many celebrities were listed on the guest logs, including Elizabeth Taylor, Chris Tucker, the Rev. Al Sharpton and CBS's Ed Bradley. Un-indicted alleged co-conspirators Frank Tyson, Ronald Konitzer and Dieter Weisner were also listed.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Prosecution Hope To Rest Case Next Week
Janet Arvizo stepped down from the stand yesterday after what was her fifth day of testimony.
Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon also announced to Judge Rodney Melville that the Prosecution planned to rest their case as early as next week. "The good news is I think we're about to get to the endpoint," he said without the jury present according to the Santa Maria Times. Sneddon did state they may have a problem with witness availability on Friday and the Judge said he would grant a three-day weekend with no court on Friday if motions were completed.
After re-direct questioning by Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen concluded, lead Defence attorney Tom Mesereau had an opportunity to re-cross-examine the witness. The attorney questioned Arvizo about photos that Prosecutors presented as evidence during re-direct. The photos showed a bruised and battered Arvizo after an alleged incident with JC Penney security guards in 1998. Arvizo acknowledged that in a deposition for the JC Penney case she stated the bruises did not show up immediately, however her in her testimony she stated that her then husband took her to have her photos taken immediately to document the bruising, which she claims are the ones presented into evidence by the Prosecution.
"But didn't you testify that you didn't have these bruises immediately?" asked Mesereau. Fumbling, the witness then provided a confusing answer, "When the Defence attorney told us that's the time." A mug shot of Arvizo taken from that day in 1998, which featured no bruising was mentioned by Mesereau, "I was wearing makeup," she said. Concerning the pictures the Prosecution entered, Mesereau asked, "Did your attorney have these photographs taken?" "Yes," she answered. "But you didn't go to a lawyer 'til a year later," he said. Contradicting what she had just said, the witness stated, "Those pictures were taken with the criminal case," she said. "I had these photos already." Arvizo claimed a lot of her actions were by the instruction of her Defence attorney who was representing her as JC Penney charged her with assault and battery, burglary and petty theft, the charges were eventually dropped according to the Associated Press. Mesereau then asked if the witness had ever told a woman who worked at the attorney's office if the bruising was actually from beatings by her husband, "That's incorrect," she said. However Arvizo did admit she did not file a lawsuit against the store chain until a year later, the family eventually received over $150,000.
The witness stated she was unaware of fundraisers being held for her son Gavin Arvizo's cancer treatment, or that donations were being made into an account she set up for his benefit. She claimed her then husband was the one who handled everything. "You had no idea why anyone put money in it. You just withdrew it?" asked Mesereau. "I did what (my husband) told me," Arvizo said. "And you had no idea that Chris Tucker was going to wire money in to that account," he asked. "This is correct," she answered. Mesereau also asked the witness if she had used the donated money for her own cosmetic surgery, she denied it claiming she used her own credit card. Arvizo denied ever asking Louise Palanker, George Lopez or Jay Leno for money. A common theme of Arvizo's testimony is speaking to the jury, and she did so again, "He's mixing up things purposely," she said referring to Mesereau.
Once Arvizo left the stand a detective testified and then Maria Ventura, Arvizo's Mother, then took the stand. Speaking in Spanish with a translator and referring to Michael Jackson as "Miguel," Ventura's testimony was short and didn't receive a cross-examination by the Defence, the first Prosecution witness out of 55 not to do so according to the news-press. The witness testified that she received phone calls at all hours from Michael's employees, they left messages and although she could not understand English she heard her grandchildren's names and the phone display would say the calls were from "Neverland" or "Frank," referring to un-indicted alleged co-conspirator Frank Tyson. Discussing her grandchildren, Ventura stated she had witnessed a change in their demeanour, "They weren't the same kids ... and even up until now, Gavin is not the same child," she said.
Michael Davy, a Los Angeles Unified School District administrator, was next to testify. Davy stated he witnessed no change in the Accuser after February 2003, and that he was a discipline problem before and after that date.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Mother: I Never Contacted Authorities
The Accuser's Mother Janet Arvizo faced her fourth day of testimony yesterday, her second of cross-examination by lead Defence attorney Tom Mesereau.
With days of bizarre testimony behind her, the witness was more subdued as the answered the attorney's questions. One question that was asked by Mesereau was why Michael Jackson's name, as well as basketball star Kobe Bryant and weatherman Fritz Coleman, were mentioned in a police interview concerning allegations of domestic abuse against her now ex-husband. Arvizo claimed that her husband had accused her of having a sexual relationship with the three celebrities, and their names were provided so they could corroborate her story that it was not true. Mesereau then noted that the police report made no mention of the husband's allegations.
Arvizo's testimony became less subdued when she again pointed the finger at Michael proclaiming, "(he) really didn't care about children, he cared about what he was doing with children." The comment was one of many that were directed to Michael or the jury and not to Mesereau, even though they were in answer to his questions according to the Associated Press. "(Michael) managed to fool the world. Now, because of this criminal case, people know who he really is," said the witness.
Despite previous statements made before the allegations surfaced that Michael was a major factor in Gavin Arvizo getting healthier after his cancer, the Mother denied that he had anything to do with the treatment on the stand. Mesereau asked whether or not Michael arranged a blood drive for the Accuser at Neverland Valley ranch the witness answered, "I was responsible for that." "And Mr. Jackson allowed you to use the ranch for the blood drive?" asked Mesereau. "Yes, this is correct," Arvizo conceded, before adding, "He wasn't the only one. Many church groups gathered." Mesereau brought attention to the amount of money the witness received for her son's benefit, citing that she had in fact opened an account for that very purpose. "Did you withdraw thousands of dollars from that account?" Mesereau asked. "Yes," said Arvizo. "And was any of that money for medical expenses?" the attorney asked. "No," she said.
Although she made this admition, Arvizo denied that she misled a local reporter who published an article stating that the family were paying $12,000 for each chemotherapy treatment, claiming that she meant $1,200 and the figure that was published was a typo. The article published an address to send donations, however the witness admitted under cross-examination that her family were not paying anything as the payments were covered by her husband's health insurance.
It has been said that during the Arvizo's time at Neverland, Janet Arvizo became friends with Aja Pryor, the girlfriend of Chris Tucker (star of Rush Hour movies and good friend to Michael) Mesereau asked the witness questions relating to this relationship. Arvizo acknowledged that she had received a car from Tucker, but added that he only provided her with the car as he needed to make space for the new one he had bought his girlfriend. Then Mesereau addressed the witnesses' claims of being held captive at Neverland, "Did you complain to anyone in the building that crimes were being committed against you and your family?" Arvizo replied, "No, but I am now." Asking an obvious question, Mesereau wondered why the witness was able to call Louise Palanker but did not use the opportunity to call the police if she was indeed being held captive, "I couldn't. I was hoping she could," she said. "You didn't call 911?" Mesereau asked, "I have now," Arvizo answered.
The witness admitted that when she eventually spoke to police, she told them that she feared Michael had plans to send her and her family away from Neverland in a hot air balloon, although she claimed it was a comment taken out of context. "I told police that (Michael's employees) had many ways to make us disappear," she said. "And someone mentioned to you a hot air balloon?" Mesereau asked. "That was one of the ways," she said.
As questioning about the alleged captivity progressed, Mesereau moved onto the subject of the Arvizo's going to Brazil. "You thought Mr. Jackson, one of the best-known people in the whole world, was trying to kidnap you and your family, right?" Mesereau asked sarcastically. "All I know is what I saw. ... They were making me and my children leave the country," the witness said. "You were leaving the country for one week, right?" he continued. "No, until they decided when and if I did what they told me," she adamantly replied. Mesereau then presented a flight itinerary for a one-week trip to Brazil for the first week in March 2003 according to the news-press. "That doesn't matter. ... They choreographed everything," Arvizo said referring to Michael and his employees.
Arvizo's testimony was frustrating at times, with Mesereau constantly asking for her comments to be stricken from the record, with Judge Melville almost always agreeing to his requests according to the Santa Maria Times. "You need to just answer the questions," Melville told the witness. "Don't volunteer additional information." Her testimony even raised objections from Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen, who was her representative in court.
Once cross-examination had finished, Zonen took re-direct questioning. The Prosecutor presented photos and testimony from the civil case the Arvizo family brought against store chain JC Penney. The witness had already admitted to lying under oath in that particular case. The photos show Arvizo badly bruised, which she claimed was a result of the beating security guards gave her during a confrontation in which Gavin Arvizo (who was also pictured in a sling) was accused of shoplifting. The incident occurred in August 1998. "They broke my left hand, they hit, punched all over my body. They did significant muscle damage to my back," Arvizo said. The charges against the store were dismissed.
Re-direct questioning of the witness is set to resume today with Mesereau then taking the opportunity to address what had just been discussed.
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Mesereau To Mother: "You're a good (actor)"
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Mesereau To Mother: "You're a good (actor)"