Abrams Report: Joe Tacopina (Dec 31 2005)

Important Statements from the Jackson camp and pertinent transcripts from various TV shows about Michael.

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Abrams Report: Joe Tacopina (Dec 31 2005)

Post by whisper » Mon Jan 03, 2005 8:26 pm

If you can wade through Abrams's nonsense, you'll find some interesting comments from Joe Tacopina

'The Abrams Report' for Dec. 31
Read the transcript to the 6 p.m. ET showUpdated: 1:33 p.m. ET Jan. 3, 2005Guest: Jeanine Pirro, Joe Tacopina, Paul Pfingst, Robert McNeil

DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Coming up, if you think this year was chock full of big legal stories just wait until you see what‘s on the docket for 2005.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS (voice-over): After the judge refuses to delay Michael Jackson‘s case, he‘s scheduled to go to trial on January 31, accused of molesting a young boy and supplying him with alcohol. Is there really a chance Michael Jackson could be heading to prison in the year to come?

ABRAMS: Hi everyone. And on this New Year‘s Eve, we‘re taking a special look ahead to the big legal stories we‘ll be covering in 2005. First up on the docket, The People v. Michael Joseph Jackson. You know we talk about this case in a vacuum, but Michael Jackson behind bars? It is difficult to picture. This round of trouble for Jackson began almost two years ago after he appeared in a now infamous documentary. He‘s holding hands with a 12-year-old boy, defending in part his practice of sleeping in the same room, same bed with children.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL JACKSON, ENTERTAINER: Why can‘t you share your bed? It‘s the most loving thing to do is to share you bed with someone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS: Eight months later authorities raided Jackson‘s Neverland Ranch. He was arrested for molesting that very same 12-year-old boy who was sitting with him in the video. We quickly learned even that wouldn‘t take the dance out of Michael, as he proved right after his arraignment. Then in April, the authorities up the ante. A grand jury returned an indictment, not just on child molestation for allegedly -- also for allegedly giving alcohol to a child, but conspiracy to kidnap the boy and his family as well.

Early this month, investigators swarmed Jackson‘s Neverland Ranch again searching for more evidence, even swabbing Jackson‘s mouth for a DNA sample. The trial now set to begin a month from today on January 31. It could last as long as five months.

“My Take”–if the prosecutors are allowed to call in other now men who will say they were abused by Jackson, particularly those Jackson paid as part of a settlement, that could be big trouble for Jackson. But the ultimate issue in this case will be the credibility of the boy and the other eyewitness–I generally hate eyewitness testimony, but in this case it will be crucial.

We are joined by an all-star holiday legal team–Westchester County New York district attorney and former judge, Jeanine Pirro, former San Diego D.A. and MSNBC legal analyst, Paul Pfingst, criminal defense attorney Joe Tacopina, who actually represents one of Jackson‘s former employees, an un-indicted co-conspirator in this case, and California defense attorney Bob McNeil.

All right Jeanine...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS: ... as we look forward to this case, what do you think is the most important thing for the prosecutors?

JEANINE PIRRO, WESTCHESTER COUNTY D.A.: Well, I think the credibility of the young boy in this case, Dan, is extremely important and all the prior bad acts that the prosecution will bring out regarding other possible victims of sex offenses are certainly relevant and will set the frame work and the context with in which this happened, but there is no question that this 12-year-old cancer survivor is the most important element of the case. And it is interesting, Dan, to hear you say you don‘t like eyewitness testimony and that really is because circumstantial evidence is so much stronger. But in a child sexual assault case, that testimony must be believed or the case doesn‘t move.

ABRAMS: You know, we talk about conspiracy here and that is really important because that involves not just the boy himself but other people who are going to say, oh, Jackson‘s team were responsible for effectively planning to keep them there, et cetera.

Here is what Tom Mesereau, Jackson‘s attorney, had to say about sort of false imprisonment and the conspiracy–there it is. The idea that they were imprisoned and force to fly on private jets to Florida to socialize with celebrities such as Chris Tucker is absurd on its face. It would be laughed out of court by a jury. Joe, laughed out of court?

JOE TACOPINA, ATTORNEY FOR JACKSON‘S FORMER EMPLOYEE: Well based on what I know about the conspiracy accusations, yes, laughed out of court, Dan. I mean you know, you mentioned my involvement in the case and my representation of Frank Tyson who according to the mother in that hearing that she did about two months ago, you know, was Michael‘s lead henchman.

Frank, you know, standing about five feet tall, weighing 110 pounds, you know, by all accounts and there‘s documentation–I‘ll back up what I‘m going to say–by all accounts was a good friend to this mother, someone she really relied on. And you know, the notion that like when she was on Rodeo Drive, you know, going shopping at the cost of Michael Jackson, you know, going into (UNINTELLIGIBLE) or something like that, if she felt kidnapped or held against her will, she could have told the store manager on Rodeo Drive, help me, help me, my family is being held against my will.

But she, you know, had the purchase made, went back home–the receipts back it up. The conspiracy charge, Dan, to me, you know, is–I think it‘s telling that the district attorney, Sneddon, did not actually charge with Michael Jackson, the un-indicted co-conspirators because what it allows him to do strategically is get into evidence that otherwise would not be admissible, because of the conspiracy laws, but he doesn‘t have to prove it. He can let it go un-rebutted...


ABRAMS: Paul...

TACOPINA: ... and that sort of backs up...

ABRAMS: ... what about that? What about the fact that these other co-conspirators–and if we can put them up–the fact that they haven‘t been charged in this case. Some would say that that demonstrates a vendetta on the part of the prosecutors here to get Michael Jackson, the fact they are not indicting all these other people who are supposedly co-conspirators with him.

PAUL PFINGST, FORMER SAN DIEGO COUNTY D.A.: You know, the idea that you need to have a vendetta in order to get someone who has been accused in the past and accused now of child sexual abuse just blows my mind. The fact of the matter is there is good reason before this case to suspect Michael Jackson of child sexual abuse and those cases were settled for monumental dollars.

And when Michael Jackson himself goes on television and says he‘s sleeping with children, what is a prosecutor supposed to do in that jurisdiction except do an investigation and find out whether he‘s molesting those children. If he did not do that, Tom Sneddon would not be doing his job. To claim a vendetta is just totally out of balance. We all saw the victim you just played, Dan, with Michael Jackson talking about sleeping with kids. This is what Tom Sneddon has to do.

TACOPINA: That‘s not what he‘s charged with, though, Paul. And the vendetta claims don‘t come from the fact that he charged Michael Jackson. It comes from the fact that he‘s done personal surveillance. No district attorney that I‘ve ever come across including...

PIRRO: Joe...

TACOPINA: ... the great one on the set...

PIRRO: ... not true.

TACOPINA: ... you have not done personal...

PIRRO: Let me tell you something Joe...

TACOPINA: ... do not go with the...

PIRRO: ... there are a lot of D.A.s who are hands on...

TACOPINA: Yes.

PIRRO: ... and to claim that because Tom Sneddon is doing his job...

(CROSSTALK)

PIRRO: ... job is ridiculous.

TACOPINA: Police do personal surveillance...

(CROSSTALK)

TACOPINA: Police do surveillance, not district attorneys.


ABRAMS: All right. Let me ask Bob McNeil–Bob, let me play you this piece of sound, all right, because this I think the defense could say suggests that, you know, this wasn‘t Jackson‘s team forcing this woman, the mother to do anything, to say anything. This is when DCFS, the Department of Child and Family Services came over to the mother in this case, the mother of the young boy‘s house to talk to them about was there anything wrong, were there any problems, she is working with it seems a Jackson representative to tape record this entire conversation that they have. Listen.

(BEGIN AUDIOTAPE)

JACKSON INVESTIGATOR: This is the tape recorder.

MOTHER: OK.

JACKSON INVESTIGATOR: All right, so it won‘t be suspicious, I‘m just going to put it here.

MOTHER: OK.

JACKSON INVESTIGATOR: Just need a place to put it when they are interviewing you. You don‘t have to do nothing. It‘s working. You just need a place–I don‘t know what you want to do.

MOTHER: OK, I‘m going to put it right here.

(END AUDIOTAPE)

ABRAMS: How big a deal, Bob, when it comes to the conspiracy charge?

ROBERT MCNEIL, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you know, this really goes to the credibility of bringing those kind of charges if, in fact, there is some hard evidence that will show that the alleged victims were not really kidnapped, that there was no conspiracy to do this, and you‘re going to have to look at the mother‘s credibility, you can look at the boy‘s credibility and his brother‘s credibility. You know, this case ultimately, not withstanding the fact they may successfully get in some other crimes of evidence, the case really has to stand on it own because, you know, he‘s not charged with these other crimes and there can be no conviction in those cases. Only in the present case whether it‘s conspiracy or child molestation.

ABRAMS: Well here‘s what I want to do–I want to take a break because I want to talk about those past allegations of sexual abuse, because I think they‘re going to become crucial. Some of the kids settled for millions of dollars and they‘re going to be coming in and saying, yes, here‘s what happened to me or not.

And he may be free of the criminal charges, but will Kobe Bryant still face his accuser in a civil court? It sure looks that way as of now. And both of their sex lives could become a front and center issue.

And in less than two months, Scott Peterson will face the judge possibly, probably for the final time to receive his sentence. The judge not legally obligated to follow the jury‘s recommendation of death. Could he change it to life in prison? It wouldn‘t be the first time it‘s happened.

Your e-mails to abramsreport@msnbc.com. Please include your name and where you‘re writing from. I‘ll respond at the end of the show.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS: Coming up, they‘ve raided Michael Jackson‘s Neverland Ranch not once but twice. Our look forward to the cases we‘ll see in 2005 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS MESEREAU, JACKSON‘S ATTORNEY: Many years ago he did pay money rather than litigate two false allegations that he had harmed children. People who intended to earn millions of dollars from his record and music promotions did not want negative publicity from these lawsuits interfering with their profits.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS: That was the music companies and not Michael Jackson who settled those cases. That‘s Jackson‘s attorney, Tom Mesereau, on his client‘s past out-of-court settlements. It‘ll be the focus of a hearing actually in early January. Prosecutors hope to introduce information about other incidents where Jackson allegedly molested boys. They are hoping to show a pattern of behavior.

We continue with our coverage of the trials of 2005. You know, Paul Pfingst, I hear that kind of excuse, and that‘s what it is. And I‘m not saying this makes Michael Jackson guilty in this case, but to suggest that you settled for $20-plus million because a record company told you to do it and because they didn‘t want their profits hurt, you know, to me that‘s–of course it‘s insulting to the record companies, but who cares about that. It just sounds so dishonest.

PFINGST: It doesn‘t pass the smell test for anybody in the country and it won‘t pass the smell test if it comes down in front of a jury. The single most important motion that is going to happen before the start of Michael Jackson‘s trial is whether and how much of these prior incidents the D.A. can introduce. If the D.A. can introduce the whole episodes and have those victims up on the stand talking about what happened to them, then Michael Jackson is in a lot of hurt. If the D.A. is not allowed to enter those...

ABRAMS: Yes.

PFINGST: ... and there‘s no certainty that they will. A judge could say these are not coming in. Then Michael Jackson‘s chances of beating this improve drastically.

ABRAMS: You know, Tom Mesereau–I‘ve got to tell you, Tom Mesereau is one of my favorite attorneys to watch. I think what he did in the Robert Blake case is one of these things that deserves an enormous amount of credit before Blake foolishly fell out of favor with Mesereau, but here‘s Mesereau talking again about this issue about Jackson and explaining away why he paid at least two boys off.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MESEREAU: Michael Jackson now regrets making these payments. Nevertheless, these efforts to settle are now being used against him regardless of the merits or the truth behind them. These settlements were entered into with one primary condition. That condition was that Mr. Jackson never admitted any wrongdoing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS: All right. So Bob McNeil, he entered into them and the legal, technical agreement was, we don‘t agree to any wrongdoing. We‘re not admitting any wrongdoing. But, I‘m sorry, when you pay $20-plus million to someone to come out and suggest oh it was the record companies, oh, it was this, oh it was that, I mean is the claim from the defense here Michael Jackson was completely innocent of–there was nothing even arguable about these claims and yet, you know what, he decided to pay $20-something million just to make it go away.

MCNEIL: Well, I really believe Dan that you have got a very good point, but please look at it from the other side, from the defense side just for a moment. And that is when a complaining victim, an alleged victim, accepts money in lieu of prosecuting, there‘s a question about the credibility and motivation of that complaining victim...

ABRAMS: But what motivation do they have now to lie?

MCNEIL: Well...

(CROSSTALK)

MCNEIL: ... you know, the thing of it is–no, the thing of it is, is when they come out now–excuse me–and come into court, and now want to tell their story...

ABRAMS: Yes.

MCNEIL: ... you still–you‘re dealt with–you know, you‘re still dealing with a situation where they may have made inconsistent statements earlier. Why didn‘t they prosecute 20 years ago? Their memories are also faulty now. I mean there are going to be some real problems with this...

ABRAMS: But...

MCNEIL: ... in addition to the fact that they took the money.

ABRAMS: It seems to me, Jeanine, they had a lot more credibility to lie a long time ago–they have already gotten the money.

PIRRO: That‘s exactly right. They‘ve gotten the money. They‘ve got no reason to lie right now. And to talk about their memory being lapsed because of the passage of time, no one remembers a sexual assault event more than the victim himself. And make no mistake–this 1108 evidence application that Tom Sneddon is making reflects not just the allegations of prior sexual abuse, but the fact that pedophiles or people who want to have sex with children are repeat offenders.

These are recidivists. They‘re going to do it over and over again. So the history of prior bad acts is more relevant than it‘s ever been. And to tell you, Dan, I don‘t care if they paid $20 million. It doesn‘t look good for him, we all know that, but we‘re in the best of both worlds because right now these victims have no reason to come forward...

ABRAMS: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS: But Joe, they could turn this, could they not, and say let‘s assume for a minute that he did something that led him to pay these two cases and there he is sitting with the very boy on television that the prosecutors are going to say that he abused later. In a way, the defense could say, you know, come on. You think Michael Jackson is going to abuse the very boy he goes on television with to demonstrate that he‘s not abusing children?

TACOPINA: Exactly right. And the timing of these charges, I think, are going to be so relevant because of the timing of the investigation and don‘t forget there was initially a point in time where, Dan, where some of the charges are alleged to have occurred after an investigation was done and after an investigation occurred, which is...

ABRAMS: Yes.

TACOPINA: ... I mean makes it more asinine even to consider that. But let me just say this. As far as those other charges, those past acts, and that hearing comes on January 12, Dan. That is a crucial hearing in this trial. It will determine if this is a...

ABRAMS: Yes.

TACOPINA: ... you know a conglomerate trial or you know a narrow trial. And I‘ve got to say this–the one thing that‘s common about these two victims, alleged victims is they have the same sort of team that the current set of victims have. Same psychologist, same plaintiff‘s lawyer and you know what? It could–the defense could find a little silver lining in that and showing that this is–it‘s like the same package of people that are coming forth with the same sort of claims...

ABRAMS: Yes...

TACOPINA: ... the same lawyer, same psychiatrist...


PIRRO: Dan...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS: I got to wrap this up. But you know, yes, I think that will come up, but I don‘t know if that‘s going to necessarily–I mean they‘ve got to be able to show they were the only ones who were responsible for this coming to trial. It will be interesting.

Source: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6781602/

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