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Saturday, May 28, 2005
Both Sides Finally Rest Their Cases

Jurors saw Gavin Arvizo provide his first interview to police in a tape that was shown in court yesterday. Both sides also rested their cases once it had been shown.

Judge Melville instructed jurors that they not listen to what was being said by Arvizo in the tape, but to witness his demeanour. Once the tape finished the Prosecution announced they rested their rebuttal case, for then lead Defence attorney Thomas Mesereau to abruptly announce that the Defence was to rest too, despite threatening to put on a rebuttal case of their own.

The Accuser did not say anything he hadn't already said while on the stand at the start of the trial. At one point, Sgt. Steve Robel said to Arvizo, "I'm very proud of you," he said. "What (Michael Jackson) has done to you. He's the bad person, not you. You and your mother and brother and sister are the good people." The Defence argued that the detectives were biased but the Judge admitted the tape for limited purposes according to the Associated Press.

Attorneys are set to argue over what instructions will be provided to the jury for when they start deliberations on Tuesday, with Monday being an American holiday.

Official News from MJNI

Friday, May 27, 2005
Accuser's Interview Tape Allowed To Be Shown

Judge Rodney Melville allowed Prosecutors to enter an edited taped police interview with Gavin Arvizo into evidence yesterday, but denied a late motion to enter photographs of Michael Jackson's genitalia that were taken during a search on Neverland Valley ranch in 1993.

"The court will allow the playing of the tape," the Judge said. "It's awful long. It seems to me that playing a half hour of it would be enough." Defence attorneys suggested they might call the Accuser back to the stand, as well as his Mother, the family's former civil attorney Larry Feldman and psychologist Stan Katz.

Melville denied the motion to admit the 1993 photographs into evidence after Defence attorney Robert Sanger argued Prosecutors were simply trying to shock the jury with it being the end of the trial, therefore being prejudicial, according to the Associated Press.

The motions were heard in the middle of what is the Prosecution's rebuttal case, which continued with another of the family's ex-civil attorneys William Dickerman returning to the stand. He testified that he worked for the Arvizos to try and get back passports, visas and possessions put in storage by Michael's employees. Lead Defence attorney Thomas Mesereau challenged the witness during cross-examination, "You and your client were trying to set up Mr. Jackson for a lawsuit." The Judge admonished Dickerman after he replied, "If we want to get to the truth Mr. Mesereau, instead of playing games, we can have a reasonable trial where the facts come out." Melville stated, "Counsel you are not an advocate here, you are a witness."

Jurors were expected to start deliberations next week, however it is unknown how long witnesses will be re-questioned for during the rebuttal cases.

Official News from MJNI

Thursday, May 26, 2005
Defence Rests Its Case

"Your honour, the Defence rests," were the words of lead Defence attorney Thomas Mesereau yesterday as the case of Michael Jackson's Defence came to its conclusion.

Before the Defence finished, comedian Chris Tucker resumed his testimony from Tuesday. Tucker testified that the Arvizo family requested he arrange the flight to Miami in February 2003, which the family claimed during their testimony they were forced to do. "Everybody was excited to go down there and see Michael," the witness said. Tucker said he eventually warned Michael that the family were acting suspiciously after the Mother kept interrupting him, "I pulled Michael into a room and said, 'You need to watch out. Be careful."

The witness stated he became suspicious after Janet Arvizo became very emotional at the prospect of receiving a truck from him to get around, "I got a little suspicious. I thought I was doing too much (by giving the vehicle), so I said no." She was said to have been crying and shaken, "Like she was possessed." Tucker also said he was suspicious of the family regarding him as a brother and Michael as a Father.

Tucker described events concerning a trip he invited the family on to Las Vegas where he was filming a movie. The plan was for them to stay a few days, but they ended up staying for a few weeks at his expense according to the Santa Maria Times. The Accuser and his brother were said to have been misbehaving on set, "Everybody had to say, 'Chris, we have a job here to do.'" The witness said.

The Accuser was described as cunning and unusually sophisticated by the comedian, who stated at one point "Gavin is cunning and smart. If he doesn't want to do something, he doesn't do it." The comment was stricken from the record. Tucker went on, "He was really smart and he was cunning at times, and his brother Star was definitely cunning." The witness said he was quite na´ve when giving the family gifts because he felt sorry for Gavin Arvizo because of his cancer, "He would always say, 'Chris, let me have this ... I'm not feeling too good,'" Tucker said according to the Associated Press.

When asked by Mesereau, Tucker stated he is still good friends with Michael but hasn't talked to any of the Arvizo family for a year. He recalled a short phone conversation he had with Gavin Arvizo after he hadn't spoken with him for a while in which he only got to say hello before Janet Arvizo shouted for her son to get off the phone.

Once the Defence rested its case, the Prosecution immediately started their rebuttal case with former Neverland Valley ranch manager Jesus Salas returning to the stand. He testified about the frequency in which the Accuser and his brother would sleep in Michael's bedroom as well as the amount he saw Michael drink around children.

Today is expected to see the Prosecution's rebuttal case continue with former Neverland employee Charli Michaels testifying, as well as Blanca Francia return to the stand. Prosecutors also want to call former lead Defence attorney Mark Geragos back to the stand.

Official News from MJNI

Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Defence Calls Its Last Witness

Comedians Jay Leno and Chris Tucker took the stand in court yesterday to testify for the Defence.

Jay Leno testified about phone conversations he had with Gavin Arvizo. The witness said Arvizo sounded, "a little scripted" on the phone or in answer messages that were left. Leno stated he found it off that a child liked a comic in his 50's and that Arvizo talked like an adult. When answering questions from lead Defence attorney Thomas Mesereau the witness said that although he was never outright asked for money by the Accuser it did sound like the family were looking, "It sounded suspicious when a young person got overly effusive," Leno said. "It just didn't click with me."

Leno also testified that during one conversation there was a female voice in the background that sounded like she was coaching Arvizo, but the witness could not identify whom it was according to the Associated Press. The Defence contend it was Janet Arvizo using her cancer-stricken son as a means of financial gain. Before leaving the stand, Leno made the courtroom laugh when he promoted his Tonight Show, "We have Renee Zellweger on the show tonight."

Paralegal Mary Holzer also took the stand. Holzer worked at the law firm that dealt with the Arvizo's civil lawsuit against store chain JC Penney, the Arvizo's won a $152,000 settlement. The witness testified that Janet Arvizo had told her that her injuries that the lawsuit claimed were inflicted by store security guards were actually inflicted by her then husband on the night of the incident. When Holzer told Arvizo she could not lie, her life was threatened, "(Arvizo) told me that (her husband's) brother ... is in the Mexican mafia ... and that she knows where I live and they would come and kill me and my 9-year-old daughter." The witness stated she never reported the lie because she was scared.

Holzer described another incident when she accompanied Arvizo to the doctor's, "She threw herself down on the ground, starting kicking and screaming, carrying on that the doctors were the devil and the nurse was the devil and they were all out to get her," the witness said. Holzer also stated Arvizo enrolled her children in acting classes so that they could become better liars according to the Santa Maria Times. "She said she wanted them to become good actors so she could tell them what to say," the witness said.

Actor Chris Tucker was the day's final witness, and Mesereau announced he was the Defence's final witness of their case. The witness testified that he met Michael Jackson through the Accuser, as they were both in touch with him during his cancer treatment. Tucker said he gave the Arvizo's $1,500 when Gavin Arvizo had told him that a fundraiser in his benefit made no money.

The Defence questioned several witnesses yesterday, including the nine-year-old granddaughter of late actor Malron Brando. Prudence Brando testified that Arvizo children behaved badly while at Neverland Valley ranch while her Mother labelled Janet Arvizo as untrustworthy.

Tucker is expected to continue his testimony today before the Defence rest their case. District Attorney Tom Sneddon is expected to then start his rebuttal, which he claims should be finished by Thursday.

Official News from MJNI

Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Neverland Maid Testifies About Bedroom Alarm

Jurors heard from a Neverland Valley ranch maid yesterday as she testified about an alarm that sounds each time someone enters Michael Jackson's bedroom suite. An accountant also testified about financial records of the Arvizo family.

At the beginning of the trial, Prosecution witness Star Arvizo testified he witnessed Michael molesting his brother after sneaking into the bedroom unannounced. However, the Defence contend an alarm installed for Michael's protection would have alerted him that someone was entering the suite. Neverland maid Maria Gomez took the stand and told jurors how a test conducted on the alarm this year had shown it is as loud now as it has ever been.

Prosecutors claimed the alarm was louder now than it would have been when Star Arvizo witnessed what he says he did, but Gomez testified that the volume has not changed for years according to the Associated Press. The witness also appeared in a videotape shown by the Defence of an alarm testing, the audio cleary showed the alarm could be heard in the upstairs section of the suite.

Another witness to take the stand was forensic accountant Mike Radakovich, who testified about financial records concerning the Arvizo family. The witness testified that the family received $152,000 in a civil lawsuit against store chain JC Penney, and that $32,308 of that was deposited into the account of the Accuser's Mother, Janet Arvizo. Radakovich then testified that $29,000 was withdrawn from the account in a cashier's cheque to a Hollywood Ford car dealership, according to the Santa Maria Times.

The witness also testified how the Arvizo family spent $7,000 in one week shopping and dining temselves, all at Michael's expense, and in a week they claim they were being held captive by Michael's employees. For one two day period the spending amounted to $4,800 by the family, who were staying at a San Fernando Valley hotel, on luggage and items from several clothing stores.

The witness also stated Arvizo deposited welfare cheques into her then boyfriend's account that were then withdrawn to pay her rent. Radakovich stated that $760 cheques were deposited monthly into the account of Major Jay Jackson (no relation to Michael) who is now her husband.

When asked questions about the welfare cheques by Defence attorney Robert Sanger, another witness, Mercy Manriquez, stated in front of the jury that Janet Arvizo had committed welfare fraud. Arvizo pleaded the Fifth Amendment before testifying previously to not incriminate herself, however Judge Melville allowed the Defence to ask the accountant questions as well as to use it in their final arguments. Manriquez works for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services, and testified that she was the intake worker who dealt with the Mother's application for assistance in November 2001. Arvizo stated in the application she had no other source of income, despite only ten days earlier winning the financial settlement from JC Penney. Arvizo filed another application in October 2002 in which she stated her situation had not changed.

An editor of the Mid-Valley News in El Monte took the stand to testify about an article that appeared in her publication in 2000 about Gavin Arvizo's cancer. Connie Keenan said she felt "duped" by Janet Arvizo after she found out the family were covered medically with insurance and that the money raised through the article was used for every day expenses, however she did acknowledge under cross-examination by District Attorney Tom Sneddon that the article never stated specifically where the donations would go. The witness also said that the article stated the family needed $12,000 for chemotherapy treatment when it was actually only $1,200, Arvizo stated in her previous testimony that it was a mistake, but the witness said she was never approached to correct it, "I had some bad feelings about the whole incident and the whole story," Keenan said.

Janet Arvizo's ex-sister-in-law Marian Arvizo also testified. She told the court how she learned about Gavin Arvizo's illness through a report on the local news, so she started blood drives to find more blood of the Accuser's type. Instead of appreciating the effort, Arvizo demanded more according to the witness, "She told me that she didn't need my (expletive) blood, that she needed money."

Today is expected to see comedian Jay Leno take the stand to testify about a phone conversation he had with Gavin Arvizo in which it was his belief the Mother was in the background coaching her son to ask for money.

Official News from MJNI

Saturday, May 21, 2005
Defence Could Rest Case Early Next Week

Prosecutors indicated to Judge Rodney Melville in court on Friday that the case could be nearing its end early next week, a claim the Defence did not deny. "We're approaching the end of trial," Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen said. "The Defence has indicated they may be resting as early as next Tuesday."

The statement came on a day in which former lead Defence attorney Mark Geragos returned to the stand after testifying on May 13th. The Judge and Prosecutors were confused on that occasion when Geragos refused to answer a question because he hadn't signed a complete waiver of attorney-client privilege, which current lead Defence attorney Thomas Mesereau failed to make clear to the court and which Melville is considering sanctions for the attorney according to the Santa Maria Times.

When Geragos took the stand, during cross-examination by Zonen, he described how he asked his private investigator to "Find out who (the Arvizo's are) meeting with and what they're doing." In earlier testimony the attorney said he became "gravely concerned" about the family following the PR backlash concerning Living with Michael Jackson, fearing they would try to "shake (Michael Jackson) down." Zonen continued his routine of quick fire questioning of Defence witnesses but did not appear to faze Geragos resulting on one occasion with testimony going off-topic. During questioning concerning claims that the attorney's private investigator Brad Miller had paid the Arvizo's rent for a few months the Prosecutor asked, "Would Mr. Miller be willing to pay my next month's mortgage?" To which Geragos quipped, "How big is your house?"

Before court ended the Judge ruled that un-indicted alleged co-conspirator Vinnie Amen could not testify under immunity for the Defence. Amen was granted immunity by the Prosecution, but was not used as a Prosecution witness after what was said during his interview actually favoured the Defence's case according to Defence attorney Robert Sanger. An audiotape of Amen's interview with authorities was going to be played in court by the Defence, however Melville denied the request.

With the case apparently coming to an end, next week is expected to see its final witnesses, which should include comedian Jay Leno and actor Chris Tucker.

Official News from MJNI

Friday, May 20, 2005
Larry King Barred From Testifying

Talk show host Larry King appeared in court yesterday and testified outside the presence of jurors before Judge Rodney Melville ruled his testimony inadmissible. The ex-girlfriend of actor Chris Tucker then took the stand.

King was brought in by the Defence to testify about a conversation he had with civil attorney Larry Feldman when he was representing the Arvizo family. Feldman was the same attorney who reached a financial settlement for Jordan Chandler after the 1993 accusations. "(Feldman) thought the (Mother) in this case was a wacko," King said. "He just thought she was in it for the money." The witness could not remember the time of the conversation, although he remembered it took place in a Beverly Hills deli according to the Santa Maria Times. Publisher Michael Viner was also at the deli when that conversation took place and testified to similar claims. The Judge concluded that the testimony provided by King and Viner wasn't enough to impeach Feldman's previous testimony and barred them from testifying in front of jurors.

Azja Pryor, a Hollywood casting assistant and ex-girlfriend of Chris Tucker, testified that during her conversations with the Accuser's Mother in early March 2003 Janet Arvizo complained that un-indicted alleged co-conspirators Dieter Weisner and Ronald Konitzer were keeping her family away from Michael Jackson. "I asked, 'Does Michael know anything about this?' Pryor testified, 'They won't let us around him because they know the children tug at his heart strings,'" she said. Prosecutors allege that Michael abused Gavin Arvizo between February 20th and March 12th of 2003, Pryor's testimony suggests the family couldn't even speak to Michael during that time period.

When asked by lead Defence attorney Thomas Mesereau if Janet Arvizo ever discussed "escaping" from Neverland Valley ranch, Pryor smiled and said she had not according to the Associated Press. "Why are you smiling?" asked Mesereau. "It's Neverland," said the witness. "I don't know who would ever want to escape Neverland."

Pryor did speak with affection for the Arvizo children, especially Davellin Arvizo, but admitted the boys "were a little rough." The witness said she once gave the family $600 as a Christmas gift but she was never asked for money. She also testified she did not know about the $152,000 settlement the family received in a civil lawsuit against store chain JC Penney and said she was told the broken arm that the Accuser had had occurred during a baseball game, and not at the hands of mall security guards as the lawsuit claimed.

Today is expected to see former lead Defence attorney Mark Geragos resume his testimony from last week after prior engagements would not allow for him to testify earlier in the week.

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Thursday, May 19, 2005
Another Jackson Cousin Takes The Stand

Michael Jackson's 12-year-old cousin, Rijo Jackson, took the stand yesterday to tell the court about an incident where Gavin Arvizo and his younger brother masturbated in the same room as him. The Defence intended to show that the Accuser engaged in sexual activity on his own.

The incident was said to have taken place in early 2003. Rijo Jackson said that he was in the same room as the Accuser and his brother when they started watching naked women on the television and started to fondle themselves under their bed sheets. When they suggested he do the same, the witness refused, "I said I didn't want to 'cause it was nasty." Jackson would have been 10-years-old at the time.

When cross-examining the witness, Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen asked if he had ever told Michael about what the boys were watching on TV, "He didn't believe it. He thought they were cool and they wouldn't do that." He never told his cousin about the masturbation either, "I didn't wanna like tell him 'cause I was scared," Rijo Jackson testified.

The witness also said he witnessed the boys taking wine that was delivered to Michael's bedroom according to the Associated Press. He testified that chef's assistant Angel Vivanco delivered the wine to the downstairs section of the bedroom and then the boys took it upstairs, while Michael was in the bathroom. The witness testified when he next saw the bottle it was un-corked with some wine missing, he told Zonen that he never told his cousin as he never witnessed the boys actually drinking the wine.

The Arvizo boys also stole money from Neverland employees according to Rijo Jackson. The witness testifies to witnessing two incidents in which they stole money from a chef's drawer and the office of Jesus Salas. Although he tried telling a maid about the stealing, Jackson testified he did not tell his cousin as he was away.

Also taking the stand was Michael's aunt, Michelle Jackson, who testified that she met Gavin Arvizo, who told her about the trip to Brazil according to the Santa Maria Times. The Accuser apparently told her that he did not want to go, but his Mother did. This corroborated testimony provided by Simone Jackson, another of Michael's cousins, who told the courtroom that the Accuser's sister had said the same thing.

Christian Robinson, the videographer who interviewed Michael's ex-wife Debbie Rowe and the Arvizo family for the rebuttal documentary to Living with Michael Jackson, was next on the stand. He testified that although questions were scripted, the answers were not.

Talk show host Larry King is expected in court today to testify about a conversation he had with the Arvizo's civil attorney, as Judge Rodney Melville will rule whether or not his testimony can be admitted. Also expected is actor Chris Tucker ex-girlfriend Azja Pryor, who became friendly with the Arvizo family.

Official News from MJNI

Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Social Worker Takes Stand

The jury yesterday heard testimony from social worker Irene Peters, who told the court that Gavin Arvizo and his family had denied any abuse or wrong doing had happened.

First however, Angel Vivanco, a former Neverland Valley ranch chef's assistant returned to the stand to conclude his testimony from the previous day. He told the court that Davellin Arvizo (whom he had spent some time with during her stay at Neverland) had kept in touch with him via phone calls for about two weeks after the her family had left the ranch for the final time according to the Associated Press. He testified that not once in any of these phone calls did the she ever complain of being mistreated or that the family had been held against their will.

Next came Irene Peters, who has thirty years experience with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. She told the court that she had met with and interviewed the Arvizo family on 20th February 2003, after the broadcast of Living With Michael Jackson had raised concerns.

Peters testified that she asked the Accuser directly about his relationship with Michael Jackson: "I asked him if he had ever been sexually abused by Michael and he became upset. He said, 'Everybody thinks Michael Jackson sexually abused me. He never touched me.'" In reference to the Accuser, Peters said: "I asked him point-blankly if he ever slept in bed with Michael Jackson and he said no." The Accuser also told Peters that Michael "was very kind to him" and that he "treated him like a Father".

During her interview with the Janet Arvizo (who remained present during each of her children's individual interviews), Peters testified that, "she denied all allegations of general neglect". Peters then said of the Mother: "I asked her about the relationship with Michael Jackson. She went on to say he was like a Father to her children and she felt he was responsible for helping (the Accuser) to survive his cancer, for his cancer to go into remission."

During her questioning by lead Defence Attorney Thomas Mesereau, Peters said that at no point during her interviews with the family did they ever mention that they were being held against their will. This is despite the fact that the interviews took place the day after the family filmed the rebuttal video, which the Prosecution allege they were forced to make. The only thing that the Mother was unhappy about was the fact that her family was used in the Bashir documentary without her consent.

When asked about the demeanour of the family during the interviews, Peters replied that they seemed "spontaneous". At the start of the interviews the family themselves actually asked Peters to watch a video (also shown to the jury) that had been made at Neverland, which shows Michael with the Accuser, during the time in which he was undergoing chemotherapy, and shows a caring relationship between them.

Mesereau then asked her if it was true that her report (based on the interviews) concluded that, "the allegations of neglect and allegations of sexual abuse by Michael were unfounded". Peters confirmed that this was correct. The witness also testified that she had bumped into the Mother again on the 1st April 2003 at a burger restaurant. Arvizo told her then that Michael wanted to send the family to Brazil and that she didn't want to go.

Under cross-examination, District Attorney Tom Sneddon tried to suggest that she should have called the police in since the case dealt with sexual abuse, however Peters replied that the police are only called in if the allegations are deemed to be true. When asked if she was aware that children who have been abused "don't always disclose on the first interview", Peters replied that she was aware of this.

The final witness of the day was a sixteen-year-old cousin of Michael, Simone Jackson. She testified that whilst playing a video game in Michael's kitchen during the early hours of the morning, she heard the Accuser and his younger brother enter the room and saw them help themselves to a bottle of wine each, according to the Santa Maria Times. "I saw them take wine," she told the court. "Both of them, they each had a bottle."

The witness also testified that during a conversation that she had with the Accuser's sister, she was told that the family were leaving the country. The sister claimed that she didn't want to make the move but that her Mother did.

Testimony from Simone Jackson is expected to continue today.

Official News from MJNI

Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Witnesses Refute Conspiracy Claims

The Defence brought in witnesses yesterday to counter claims made by the Prosecution that Michael Jackson conspired to hold the Arvizo family captive as well as ply the children with alcohol.

The Accuser's Mother Janet Arvizo previously claimed that a trip she took to a spa on the day she claimed her family "escaped" from Neverland Valley ranch was engineered as something that could be filmed by Michael's "positive PR film crew." However a worker at that spa, Carol McCoy, testified for the Defence that Arvizo was on her own when she performed her full body wax and was free to leave at any time she wished. "Did she say anything or do anything that suggested she was being restrained in her liberty?" asked Defence attorney Robert Sanger. "No," McCoy replied. The witness also confirmed the procedure Arvizo received was a full body wax and not a simple leg wax as she had claimed.

Also refuting claims that the Arvizo were being forced against their will were orthodontist Dr. Jean Lorraine Seamount and her assistant Tiffany Haynes. Arvizo had previously described the dental visit as an excuse to get away from Neverland and possibly escape, however Seamount testified that there was no signs the family were being held against their will and, like other witnesses, Haynes criticised the behaviour of Gavin Arvizo, "The older boy was kind of rude," she said according to the Associated Press. Seamount also said that the Accuser behaved badly and went through her drawers, forcing her to throw out sterilised items. The witness told the court that Arvizo wanted her children's braces removed and she advised against it, however the Mother said she wanted to send the old braces to her last orthodontist. "She claimed that once the orthodontist found out who she was he wanted more money," Seamount testified.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen cross-examined the witness and asked her why the Arvizo children were designated "VIP patients." Seamount testified that the term included patients who have special needs that might require special treatment for scheduling. The witness said that Neverland manager Joe Marcus told them the children were "high profile" so they allowed them to be VIP, however she stated she did not recognise them when they were there.

Another Defence witness to take the stand was Shane Meredith, a former security guard at Neverland, who testified he caught Gavin and Star Arvizo in the wine cellar with an open wine bottle. "They were with an open bottle of alcohol" Meridith said. "I took a closer look at the bottle and some of the contents were missing." The witness stated Michael was on the property, but not in the cellar. After telling the children off for being there without permission, Meredith said they were "pretty shaken." Under cross-examination the witness admitted that although they were near the bottle he never actually witnessed the children drinking according to the Santa Maria Times.

Maria Gomez, a housekeeper at Neverland, took the stand to testify about conversations she had with the Mother. Through an interpreter, she told the court that Arvizo had spoken to her about being held captive, but not by Michael. The witness claimed Arvizo said that un-indicted alleged co-conspirator Dieter Weisner and two others were "interfering" with her relationship with Michael and she wanted to leave. Gomez also testified that when cleaning the guest unit of the Acusser's brother and sister she found pornographic magazines in the brother's open backpack.

A former assistant chef at the ranch, Angel Vivanco, was next to take the stand. He testified that Star Arvizo demanded Vivanco mix liquor into his milkshake or he would have him fired, and that the Accuser made rude demands like "Give me the (expletive) Cheetos." The witness is also said to have had a romantic relationship with the Accuser's sister Davellin Arvizo.

Vivanco is expected to resume his testimony tomorrow with Michael's spokesperson Raymone Bain saying talk show host Larry King may testify as early as Thursday about comments made about Janet Arvizo by their civil attorney Larry Feldman.

Official News from MJNI

Saturday, May 14, 2005
Mark Geragos Takes The Stand

After being ordered to appear in court by Judge Rodney Melville, former lead Defence attorney Mark Geragos took the stand yesterday to testify about his role in the case.

Geragos stated he was hired in February 2003 following the airing of Living with Michael Jackson and decided to have the Arvizo family investigated. He became "gravely concerned" at his findings. The witness told jurors how he discovered the Arvizo's "litigious history" of civil claims for financial settlements and came to the conclusion that "Michael should have nothing to do with them." He continued, "It was a pending disaster."

When questioned by current lead Defence attorney Thomas Mesereau, Geragos explained his worry for Michael Jackson, "I was trying to prevent a crime against my client," he said. "I thought that they were going to shake him down." The witness talked about his former client with praise, "he said nothing happened," Geragos testified. "He said he didn't do anything untoward or sexual and if anyone spent the night in his room it was unconditional love." He went on, "When I was there, what I saw was a gentleman who was almost childlike in his love for kids. I didn't see anyone doing anything nefarious or criminal. I saw someone who was ripe as a target," he said according to the Associated Press.

When Prosecutors attempted to question the witness, confusion about what could and could not be asked became apparent when Geragos refused to answer questions citing attorney-client privilege. The witness had signed a waiver so that he could testify, but only about events leading up to Michael's arrest in November 2003, which surprised the Judge and Prosecutors who believed the it was a complete waiver. Melville sent jurors out of the courtroom to discuss "the misrepresentation Mr. Mesereau has made to the court and counsel." Mesereau apologised for misleading the court stating he didn't feel events following November 2003 were relevant.

Due to prior commitments, Geragos will not be able to take the stand again until Friday 20th May. However, the Defence will call more witnesses in the meantime.

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