Fox News Live: Debra Opri Sept 17 Hearing talk (Sept 19 04) - TRANSCRIPT

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

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Fox News Live: Debra Opri Sept 17 Hearing talk (Sept 19 04) - TRANSCRIPT

Post by whisper » Mon Sep 20, 2004 4:06 pm

Air date: Sept 19 2004
Show: Fox News Live
Host: Rita Cosby

(videotape of mother from “The Insider” plays)

RITA COSBY, HOST: The syndicated show The Insider, obtaining that videotape of the mother of Michael Jackson’s accuser. On the tape, she says that Jackson’s associate showed up at her apartment and told her that she and her family were in danger after her son appeared on a controversial British documentary. Now the mother testified at the entertainer’s pre-trial hearing just on Friday of last week, facing the singer for the first time in court. It was a pretty dramatic moment. Let’s talk about all of this and the latest on the case. We’re joined by former prosecutor John Kelly. Also criminal defense attorney Craig Mitnik, also a Fox news analyst. And also Jackson family attorney Deb Opri.

Deb, what do you make–it seems like the Jackson team in general is going on the offensive and basically saying ‘if you’re gonna accuse Michael Jackson of something like this, you better be able to face the fire’.

DEBRA OPRI, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Exactly. Friday was a great day. First of all, the woman who testified is the mother of the accuser. And Mesereau very pointedly showed her to have a lack of credibility. The woman was confused; disoriented. And she showed herself to be quite a smart-aleck. And it didn’t play out well. This not even during the trial. Mesereau’s skill at cross-examination will show a lack of credibility with this woman. And in the end, we will prove, the defense will prove that Michael Jackson was subject to a manipulative woman, who is participating in a shakedown. One other thing, Rita, that I’d like you to emphasize to your audience, the media is properly now turning to this woman. Their emphasizing specifically that she is a very litigious woman, she understands the system, and she knows how to manipulate a story on the witness stand. And Mesereau will properly point this out.

COSBY: And it seems she definitely has had some questionable things with the lawsuit, the JCPenney thing; some of the stories that we broke, even showing some of the things she had in her background. Craig, this tape as we’re looking at it, you know, on one hand she says ‘My son shot me, was acting strange after Michael Jackson…’ On the other hand, it does show her to be a bit unstable. Does this help or hurt her Craig?

CRAIG MITNIK: You know Rita, it’s a great question cause in one aspect you look at her on this tape and she believes what she’s telling us on the tape and what she’s telling law enforcement. True or not, she surely comes across as credible. But…

COSBY: But then she also believes some of these other things were proven to be very speculative…

MITNIK: That’s the whole thing. She has such a checkered past and now she’s checkered on the tape. And then, as Debra pointed out, she gets in a courtroom in front of Tom Mesereau, it becomes a heated testimony between one another and she’s combative. And combative witnesses do not sit well with jurors. So this is gonna be a problem for the prosecution when this thing eventually goes to trial.

COSBY: And John, fair game to bring up this woman’s credibility in the past with lawsuits. I mean if she had a very clean slate in the background, it would certainly help her case.

JOHN KELLY: Well absolutely. Mesereau’s getting a great break here. When you’re the defense team and you get to cross-examine a witness at a preliminary hearing or a pre-trial hearing of any sort, and sort of lock them in on their testimony, and then know you’re going to be facing them again at trial. It’s a real advantage to have probed them once; know what some of their answers are to key questions and he prepared for them. And I think that that’s going to be the most significant thing. They’re feeling her out and they know where she’s coming from right now.

COSBY: Deb, go ahead.

OPRI: Yeah Rita, one point. This accuser, the mother will be proven to be the weakest link in the prosecution’s case…

COSBY: And that’s gonna kill [prosecutors], don’t you thinkg?

OPRI: …and this is something Tom Sneddon and his ground better start paying attention to now…

COSBY: …And it’s gonna kill ‘em, it’s gonna kill ‘em, don’t you think?

OPRI: …This woman has a long rode ahead of her and it doesn’t look good.

COSBY: Deb, I think it’s gonna hurt them big time too in terms of the defense.

OPRI: It will hurt very much in terms of this: If this woman subjected Michael Jackson to a shakedown and we can show, the defense can show that the credibility is sincerely lacking, and that this woman is taking money regularly in lawsuits–accusing an ex-husband of molesting this same boy–this woman knows how to work the system. She knows about Victim’s Compensation Forms and how to fell them out. She knows what to say to get what she wants. And specifically, what the purpose of these motions–Mesereau specifically needed her to say, ‘Did you tell anyone that that investigator worked for Geragos?’ And her answers were so far off the, off the map! She never gave a straight answer to a straight question. And that was her pattern. It will continue to be her pattern and her case will fall fast.

[Final comments from Craig Mitnik have been redacted from this transcript]
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