[Jackson] Trial Mysteries Remain
Friday, May 27, 2005
By Roger Friedman
[Jackson]: Evidence of Scandal?
The Michael Jackson case gets weirder and ever more full of holes.
This morning, as we wait to hear Jackson's teen accuser's statement to police in the summer of 2003, there are still-unanswered questions about the so-called "conspiracy" charges looming over the singer.
I now have in my possession a letter written by Mark Geragos' private investigator Brad Miller and faxed to Janet Arvizo's lawyer, William Dickerman, on June 12, 2003.
It's carbon-copied to Geragos, and essentially turns over to Arvizo – the mother of Jackson's accuser – two storage vaults filled with the family's stuff.
Arvizo and her boyfriend (now husband), U.S. Army Major Jay Jackson, didn't exactly run to gain possession of the vaults.
According to the paperwork in my hands, they waited until Oct. 1, four months later, to collect their stuff. That was after Dickerman sent a dozen or so letters to Geragos demanding an inventory of the vaults.
The copy of the June 12 letter that I have is supposed to have been made at the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's office. That's because that office received a copy of this letter on Sept. 26, 2003, about two months before it raided Neverland and, among other places, Brad Miller's office.
And how did the Santa Barbara DA's office get this letter from Geragos to Dickerman?
Right across the top of the letter is a fax stamp marked "311th Coscom G1." That would be Jay Jackson's place of business with the U.S. Army. The fax number printed in the same line also comes from 311th Coscom.
That means that on Sept. 26, 2003, the Santa Barbara District Attorney's office had at least one piece of paper suggesting that Miller was Geragos' employee.
Nevertheless, Miller's offices were raided on Nov. 18 because District Attorney Tom Sneddon insisted that he thought Miller worked instead for Michael Jackson.
The raid on Miller's office brought evidence into the trial that likely would have been excluded otherwise because of attorney-client privilege. I wonder why Jackson's defense team didn't use this letter (and I'm told there may be one more) when it was fighting the use of that evidence.
Also still missing is a videotape an associate of Miller's made of the Arvizos' apartment being packed up. No one seems to know where it is. The mystery deepens.
Jackson: District Attorney Witnesses Get Defensive
Several prosecution witnesses blew through the Santa Maria courthouse yesterday, and pretty much blew up in the state's face. It was not a pretty sight.
Chief among them was a woman named Christie Klausner who wrote an article about the Arvizo family in a weekly newspaper in 2001.
Tom Sneddon must have thought she'd demolish the defense. But she wound up confirming everyone's worst fears about Janet Arvizo after succumbing to defense attorney Tom Mesereau's artful cross-examination.
The defense made good points yesterday in the trial, but somehow they still failed to hit a couple of marks. And, yet, that videotape of the Arvizo family being moved out of their apartment is still missing, and may never be found at this point.
The move was at the center of much arguing yesterday. George Erwin , the owner of Dino's Moving and Storage, appeared as a witness for the prosecution yesterday.
But what defense attorney Robert Sanger didn't ask him was more important than what he did. For example: If you're erasing a family from the face of the Earth, do you hire a licensed, bonded mover to do the job in broad daylight? Or do you hire thugs and leave in the middle of the night? Do you keep receipts and bills of lading? Or shred all the evidence?
Of course, Mesereau's examination of Arvizo lawyer Dickerman, which came later in the day, was a brutal episode that resembled a scene from "Gladiator." It didn't help that Dickerman, a benign and pleasant fellow, had brought along his twin 13-year-old boys to watch the proceedings.
Mesereau chopped his way through a series of letters between Dickerman and Geragos concerning the Arvizos' stored possessions. It was obvious that during the correspondence, the two lawyers were playing games. They just didn't count on their little spitting contest ever becoming public.
But in the end, I offer, it's meaningless, and Mesereau should have pointed it out.
Dickerman started representing Arvizo on Feb. 21, 2003. But he didn't write one letter to Geragos complaining about anything on behalf of the family until March 26 – two weeks after the Arvizos were out of Neverland and Jackson's life. So what's the difference if two lawyers were quibbling over a storage vault and the return of the family's passports, visas and birth certificates?
Mesereau should have pointed out that those passports, visas, and birth certificates the prosecution is so hot about were obtained during the exact period – Feb. 21-25 – when Janet Arvizo was first meeting with Dickerman.
She might have mentioned to her lawyer that when they were finished with their meeting on the 25th, she was off next to get those passports for a trip to Brazil. It's just a thought.
The prosecution claimed yesterday that the moving and storage episode resulted in Arvizo not being able to get to her things. But the vaults at Dino's were turned over to her June 12, 2003.
So why did it take until Oct. 1 for her to bother visiting them, as indicated by the Dino's records? And why did Dickerman insist that Geragos tried to deliver a "massive amount" of furniture at his office, when the Dino's bill of lading indicates a very sparse inventory of belongings?
Something doesn't add up there.