[Jackson]: Accuser Has Serial Mom
I hope the defense team in Michael Jackson's trial will get serious about those detailed graphic charts for the summation. Yesterday's testimony begged for something like that.
The witnesses who came through yesterday echoed Vernee Watson-Johnson from last week – yet more people, who didn't know of each other beforehand, who felt ripped off by the accuser's mother, Janet Arvizo.
The most memorable witness yesterday was her former sister-in-law, Marian Arvizo, who recalled Janet's reaction when Marian held a blood drive for the accusing boy's cancer treatment. (He's Marian's nephew and Janet's son, if you need a scorecard.)
"We don't need your [expletive] blood," Janet reportedly told Marian. "We just need money."
It was one of those startling moments in a trial, one made worse by others who've said similar things – all strangers.
Connie Keenan, editor of the weekly Mid Valley News, based in El Monte, east of Los Angeles, told about how Janet Arvizo pestered her to run stories on her cancer-stricken son.
"She said she wanted us to a second story because the first one didn't raise enough money," Keenan said. "I felt duped."
And so on and so forth.
A representative for the California Department of Social Services detailed Janet Arvizo's welfare fraud. It turns out that just as she was receiving a check for $32,000 from her J.C. Penney lawsuit settlement, Arvizo was at the local welfare office claiming to be broke.
She was also getting gifts from friends and participating in other fundraisers for her son.
A few days after the $32,000 from J.C. Penney came in, she turned it into a $29,000 cashier's check made out to Hollywood Ford, an auto dealership.
The car was never purchased, and no one else knows what happened to the money, but Arvizo's plastic surgery – which she's admitted to – could have cost that much.
Also unaccounted for: $20,000 given to the family by Premiere Radio exec Louise Palanker, who also helped with fundraisers.
If the defense team is smart, it will produce simple, clean graphics that show dates and amounts. Janet Arvizo's activities are too hard to keep track of without them.