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Abrams Report: Matsuura + Letter to Stacy Brown (Feb 16 2004)

Posted: Mon Sep 20, 2004 7:48 pm
by whisper
The Abrams Report for Feb. 16
Read the complete transcript to Monday's showBy
Updated: 1:12 p.m. ET Feb. 17, 2004
Guests: John Burris, Natasha Lapiner-Geresi, Norm Early, Tamara Lange, Michael Johnson, Kermit Hall, Paul Rothstein


DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Hi everyone. Michael Jackson goes on the offensive, appalled at something he saw on our program last week. Jackson has even sent a letter to our analyst and Jackson family friend Stacy Brown after watching an ABRAMS REPORT exclusive. And a teen who was Jackson‘s playmate as a child tells us exclusively what it was like.

And San Francisco becomes the new Las Vegas for gay couples, trying to tie the knot. With a law in place that says couples must be man and woman, why does the San Francisco mayor get to decide what is constitutional and what is not?

And college teams and their fans, so much cursing going on during the games, much of it is making its way on to television. Now some schools trying to throw some of them out. But is there a constitutional right to curse?

But first, another ABRAMS REPORT exclusive. Michael Jackson is going on the offensive, personally speaking out and writing to friends and family members who have been talking with the media without his consent. Jackson has said he was appalled by something he saw on our show last week.

In a letter apparently handtyped and certainly signed by Michael Jackson, to MSNBC analyst and Jackson family friend Stacy Brown, Jackson writes, “As if there isn‘t enough to be concerned about, the media is now being used as the appropriate venue by some for airing out personal or family disagreements. I was appalled when I read the transcript from the February 9, 2004 THE ABRAMS REPORT.”

In that show we had another exclusive, statements from Jackson‘s brother and sister calling for Michael to break off ties with the Nation of Islam. The Nation has been providing security for Jackson. But members of Jackson‘s family say it‘s more than that and that even Michael‘s own mother has had trouble contacting him. Stacy Brown was part of that show last week.


STACY BROWN, JACKSON FAMILY FRIEND: Catherine Jackson and my heart just totally bleeds for her, she wants to be able to go and see her son whenever she wants to. She wants to be able to call him on the telephone. And if that‘s not possible, then Michael, you know, everyone does love you. There‘s no doubt about that. Pick up the phone and call your mother. She‘s not doing well. This is wearing her out. She has every right in a situation like that...


BROWN: ... to be able to contact him, be able to go see him, someone she gave birth to, someone who she loves dearly like she loves all her children.


ABRAMS: Jackson went on in his letter to amend a statement he had released earlier also in response to a report on this program.

Jackson writes, “I personally issued a statement on 2/6/04, which read in part if my friends love me as much as they‘ve indicated, they‘d do me a great favor by not being so eager to air their personal concerns about me in the media, which will avoid causing me further embarrassment. I stand by the statement. However, I should edit the statement to include if my family, their friends, and - my - sorry - their friends and my friends, which will avoid causing me and them further embarrassment.”

The worlds written in bold type mirror the way that Michael Jackson typed them. Now before we go to Stacy Brown, let me formerly invite Michael Jackson to either come on this program or meet with me. I think we‘ve been very fair in this case. But I‘m always happy to listen. If you want to set the record straight, talk to me about anything we‘ve reported, whatever, wherever, I can fly.

Now, the man the letter was written to, our own Stacy Brown. So Stacy, what is your understanding about how all of this transpired with this letter from Michael Jackson to you?

BROWN: Well, first of all, as I was talking to Ramon Bain (ph) today, his publicist, I do understand his concern about airing personal things, as far as the phone call to his mother in the media. I do understand his concern about that. However, a lot–as we know, a lot has gone on. A lot has been said and it calls a response from the family.

ABRAMS: Before we get to that, let me just ask you logistics though. How - you talked to Ramon Bain (ph) about this. Apparently Michael Jackson saw the show and then went back and read the transcript of the show?

BROWN: And read the...

ABRAMS: Tell me...


ABRAMS: ... what he told you...


ABRAMS: ... about what Jackson did and why he did it.

BROWN: Yes. Ramon (ph), she said that he was just appalled as the letter said. He saw the show, read the transcript, and was livid, was very angry and he decided that he wanted to take action, that he should write me personally.

ABRAMS: And she says he literally sat there typing the note...


ABRAMS: ... himself, right?

BROWN: ... it was all Michael Jackson. She wanted to make a point to say that yes, he did it, he wrote it, he typed it himself because he‘s in control. He gives the orders. No one does this stuff for him.

ABRAMS: All right. Now you were saying about what your response, what the family‘s response has been to Jackson‘s thoughts on the issue.

BROWN: Well, the family in fact and talking to the family members this week, and now they are convinced that Michael is running the show, that he‘s making these decisions. They don‘t agree with them. However, they feel more comfortable now that he is making the decisions.

ABRAMS: Not the Nation of Islam?

BROWN: Not the Nation of Islam.

ABRAMS: So, do they still want the Nation of Islam out?

BROWN: Oh, that has not changed. That will not change until they are convinced that they are totally gone. They feel that with them around itself will prejudice a jury and eventually lead to his conviction.

ABRAMS: All right, well Stacy, I have to tell you, what this makes quite clear is that Michael Jackson is watching the program. And as I say, I think we‘ve been very fair on this story. And again, I invite Michael Jackson to either come on the program or speak with me about this in addition to writing Stacy Brown. Stacy, thanks a lot for coming on.

All right, we‘ve got another Jackson exclusive now–this time about Debbie Rowe. The “New York Post” had reported today that she, who apparently fathered Michael Jackson‘s children had reached some sort of secret deal with Michael to drop a custody battle over her two kids with Jackson in exchange for Jackson distancing himself from the Nation of Islam. But now, some sources very close to Debbie Rowe are telling KNBC that that is simply wrong.

KNBC‘s Manny Medrano joins us now on the MSNBC live line with this breaking story. Manny, tell us what happened.

MANNY MEDRANO, KNBC (via phone): Well, Dan, we‘ve also–KNBC has been following this case very, very close and as you correctly indicated right now, there is this published report with the “New York Post,” describing a quid pro quo or a deal, if you will, between Michael Jackson and the mother of two of Michael Jackson‘s kids, Debbie Rowe, and that deal essentially would call for Michael Jackson publicly distancing himself from the Nation of Islam and in return for that, Dan, Debbie Rowe would back off reportedly from any effort to gain custody of the kids.

Sources tell KNBC that that is simply and flat erroneous. That is not true at all. In fact, what we have learned is that Debbie Rowe has filed already and has pending with a judge in the Los Angeles area a rather lengthy document that has been filed by Debbie Rowe. And this document is seeking guardianship, not custody, but guardianship of the kids in question here. And according to sources that advised KNBC that the judge in this case will be deciding hopefully by this week what he‘s going to do in that matter. Evidently, according to our sources Debbie Rowe wants visitation rights with these kids. And I‘m also adding something that perhaps you know this already, Dan, and that is that of course we know now that Debbie Rowe is Jewish and has been profoundly concerned about the presence of the Nation of Islam when it comes to exposure of her children to the Nation of Islam. So that‘s what we‘ve learned...

ABRAMS: Now, Manny, guardianship would allow Debbie Rowe legally to make decisions for these children. I mean custody talks about where the children live. Guardianship is a term, as you well know, which means in effect someone who gets to make a lot of decisions about those children. So it sounds like what she‘s saying is I want to be the one making decisions about the children instead of Michael Jackson. Are you getting the sense that this is instead of Michael Jackson or in addition to Michael Jackson?

MEDRANO: Well, Dan, here are my thoughts on that because as you know, I am a lawyer and the way I analyze this, here‘s what I conclude. We have to be very careful when we look at that term guardianship because it‘s a loaded term. It can mean a lot of different things depending on the legal context in which it‘s used. One possibility, one construction is as you‘ve just described right now, Dan.

But another possibility is this, that to have Debbie Rowe named as a guardian so that in the event, hypothetically, for example, should something happen to Michael Jackson, should he die in a car accident or if hypothetically he‘s convicted and sent to prison in light of these very serious child molestation charges, that then she could come in as a guardian to take custody of the kids and make decisions as to what happens in their lives. So that‘s another possible interpretation. But I think we need to be very careful at this juncture exactly how that term is being used. Because it can mean...

ABRAMS: A fair point.

MEDRANO: ... a variety of things, again, depending on the nature of the papers that Debbie Rowe has filed with a judge and again, this is according to KNBC sources.

ABRAMS: All right, a fair point. Very quickly, Manny, final question, are you getting the sense that Debbie Rowe‘s–Debbie Rowe is essentially feeling that there is more conflict between her and Michael Jackson has been reported? The “Post” story is basically saying that they have worked this out. Are you saying that they haven‘t worked this out and there is more conflict or actually there was never this conflict to start with?

MEDRANO: Well let me answer that question this way Dan because again, I want to be very, very specific about this. This is predicated on sources, communications with KNBC. What we can state unequivocally is that Debbie Rowe challenges a key point made by that “New York Post” article, which essentially says that there‘s a deal, a hush-hush deal of some sort that‘s been worked out between Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe on the issue of custody versus, you know, if he‘ll back away publicly from any affiliation with the Nation of Islam. I mean that‘s what we can state unequivocally. Anything beyond that, I‘m just a little bit uncomfortable going into because again, I hesitate to speculate...

ABRAMS: No, I appreciate that Manny...

MEDRANO: ... or put words in any of the mouth of the sources that have been kind of enough to share information with us.

ABRAMS: And I think this is a sensitive enough and important enough issue that you know I don‘t want you speculating beyond what you know. And that‘s why we always like having Manny Medrano on the show because we can count on him to be careful and get the reporting right. Manny, thanks lot.

MEDRANO: Thank you. My pleasure.

ABRAMS: So Michael Jackson is coming out in his own defense. You know is this the beginning of a new strategy from Jackson?

Also coming up, we‘re going to have another exclusive in the case. We‘re going to talk about a boy, a little boy. He was the entertainer‘s guest when he was a child. There had been a report that Jackson had gotten him drunk. Now he‘s speaking out exclusively to us. We‘re going to hear from him next.


ABRAMS: Coming up, one of Michael Jackson‘s young guest finally speaks out about whether he was served -- quote–“Jesus juice” or wine by Jackson when he was 12. Coming up.


ABRAMS: We have another Michael Jackson exclusive. Boy, a lot of stories on Jackson today. A 12-year-old boy back in 1988 spent four days with Michael Jackson. Now Richard Matsuura is coming forward to defend Jackson and publicly dispute an article in “Vanity Fair” which said that Jackson served the boy wine.

NBC News‘ Mike Taibbi interviewed Matsuura from Japan and joins us now. Hey, Mike.


Actually, we spoke with him on Thursday night via a two - a camera hook-up. Richard Matsuura is 18 now, a college student. And he says he contacted NBC News to correct an erroneous published report, that report in “Vanity Fair” about his experience with Michael Jackson in Tokyo six years ago.


RICHARD MATSUURA, SPENT FOUR DAYS WITH JACKSON: I was taken to the hotel where my father and Michael had a meeting. And at that time, somebody escorted me to Michael‘s room and we just introduced each other. I said I was Ricky Matsuura. He said he was Michael Jackson.

TAIBBI (voice-over): Ricky Matsuura told us from Tokyo he was the then 12-year-old boy who spent four days in the presence of the pop star in 1988. The boy described in a magazine article as having been supplied by one of Jackson‘s people with three soda cans filled with wine to the point where he became sick. His father, according to the article, was so furious he immediately ended talks with Jackson about a theme park venture.

TAIBBI (on camera): How much, if any of it, is true?

MATSUURA: Absolutely zero. Besides the fact of Michael Jackson coming to Japan in ‘98 and actually giving a press conference about this theme park business, all the other allegations and statements made about his trip to Japan in ‘98 are completely false, completely false.

TAIBBI (voice-over): Matsuura said his four days with Jackson were a memorable whirlwind that gave him a window into the mind of Michael Jackson. He says what he saw as a 12-year-old boy helped him understand what so many adults can not.

MATSUURA: When he says sharing a bed, everybody is out to make it like he‘s you know going to sexually molest him and that‘s absolutely not true. He never had the chance to joke around as a kid, you know play water gun fights and that kind of thing. It was all strictly business, pressure on him as a child and that‘s what he sees in children is that worriless childhood.

TAIBBI: Matsuura says Jackson never said or did anything inappropriate over the four days he spent in his company. He says he did drink a champagne toast under his father‘s supervision and that he did later become sick. He‘s coming forward now on his own because he knows that at least one of the stories about Michael Jackson is untrue.

MATSUURA: I was there, you know. I know everything that happened.

TAIBBI (on camera): Did anybody from Michael Jackson‘s camp, I‘m talking about lawyers, public relations people, spokespeople offer to pay you anything to come forward or have they paid you anything to come forward?

MATSUURA: I could open my bank account records for everybody. No money, no, not at all.


TAIBBI: All right. I spoke earlier today with Maureen Orth, the author of that article in “Vanity Fair” and one of the recognized experts on the Jackson saga. Ms. Orth acknowledges that she was never able to actually speak with Richard Matsuura, but that she stands by her source for the story and, in fact, the magazine this afternoon, Dan, issued a statement saying that since hearing Richard Matsuura‘s account of what transpired in Japan in 1998, “Vanity Fair” has contacted its own the record source for the story, former Jackson Chief Financial Officer Myung-Ho Lee and Lee says I have read the “Vanity Fair” article and I stand by everything I said in the article.

Now I should tell you, Dan, we also spoke with Ryusaki Matsuura (ph), who is Ricky‘s father and he stands by his son‘s version. So like so many other tales from the Jackson story, this is one where someone is clearly right and someone is clearly wrong.

ABRAMS: All right. Mike Taibbi is our guy out there on the Jackson story. Thanks, Mike. Appreciate it.

TAIBBI: All right Dan.

ABRAMS: All right, so–boy, there‘s a lot of news to report in the Jackson case. Can we go to the panel now, Mark? OK, let‘s go to the panel, John Burris, Natasha Lapiner-Giresi and Norm Early. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) we have got a lot of Jackson news to talk about here.

All right, first of all, Michael Jackson writing a letter essentially to our program, saying I‘m watching your show, I‘m watching Stacy Brown. I‘m appalled at what I‘m seeing, asking Stacy Brown in essence, stop doing me a disservice. You know John, if you were Michael Jackson‘s–I have to tell you, I respect that. I respect the fact that Michael Jackson is himself not under the guise of some spokesperson who then they can say well, I‘m not sure about exactly what he meant. But coming out himself is saying certain things are not true.

JOHN BURRIS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think it‘s a good thing for him at this stage of the proceeding. There‘s a lot that‘s being said about him. But you always have to keep in mind there‘s a jury pool out there. And to the extent that people are making negative statements suggest he doesn‘t have a good relationship to his family, his mother and all and that just puts another weird kind of connotation on him. So I can see where is–would want to fight that very strongly. I also think the most important thing he‘s concerned about and has to fight is this whole question about whether or not his association with the Nation of Islam is going to be viewed in a negative way. And even though he‘s saying he‘s his own person about this issue and he makes his own decision, that is the kind of issue that I think his lawyers will have some concerns about as this case goes on in terms of jury selection and impact.

ABRAMS: Natasha, if you‘re his attorney, do you say to him please, please, please, don‘t write any letters to anybody. Don‘t respond. Because I know that‘s what attorneys generally say to someone in this situation. But I have to tell you that I think, for example, him writing to friends and family members who are out there in the media and saying look, you‘re not doing me a service by speaking for me is a good move by Michael Jackson if that‘s not what he wants.

NATASHA LAPINER-GERESI, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think–I really looked at this letter a couple of times today and it doesn‘t violate the gag order. He‘s not speaking about the case specifically and at the end of the day, it‘s Michael Jackson who would go to jail if he‘s convicted. And here he wants to tell everyone who loves him, who says they‘re doing him a service, please don‘t say anything on my behalf. And that means Jermaine. That means Rebbie. That means anyone out there. And I think it was a very good move. I mean we even know Jermaine had that party after his first appearance in court and it seemed kind of inappropriate. It didn‘t seem like Michael Jackson‘s stamp was on that. So he‘s saying I‘m in control. This is what I want done.

ABRAMS: Norm, do you have any problem with this?

NORM EARLY, FORMER DENVER DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I really don‘t have a problem with it and I think what he‘s saying is certain things are off limits. Talking about my mother, my mother‘s access to me, those kinds of things. If you‘re a personal friend of my family and you obtain that kind of information by virtue of our relationship then you should not be saying those things on television. And I think he has a right to say that.

But somewhere in that letter there was something about a media circus and that the kind of things they we‘re doing on TV was turning this into a media circus. You know unfortunately, Michael Jackson has been part of a media circus his entire life. I mean his life has been virtually a media circus. The things that he does and the things that he doesn‘t do have always caused him to be in the spotlight and sometimes in a very unfavorable light.

Dangling a kid over a banister and all sorts of other things have contributed to the media circus that we now see surrounding this case. Climbing up on to the SUV contributes to the media circus. I think what Michael is saying is enough is enough. Friends and families don‘t do me any favor by going on TV...


EARLY: ... and telling my alleged side of the story.

ABRAMS: All right. Natasha, let‘s talk about this other issue that

we heard about from Manny Medrano of KNBC saying that Debbie Rowe, the

mother of Michael Jackson‘s children is seeking guardianship, saying that a

· she has filed a document with a judge, is waiting for resolution this week. She‘s seeking guardianship, not custody of the kids and wants visitation rights. What does that mean?

LAPINER-GERESI: I think there‘s been lot of pressure on her. I anticipated that something like this was going to happen, that she needs to somehow intervene. I mean people have even said, I‘ve heard on many TV shows that someone should come in, child welfare should take his children away, even before there‘s a trial, before anything has been proven against him and I think she‘s coming in and saying you know what? I need to put my hand in there and make sure that these children are taken care of.

BURRIS: You know I don‘t know that I have a view that‘s being that kind to her at all because she got a great deal of money for this particular deal–transaction. And it‘s not to say that given all that people are suggesting, that lawyers and other people that she needs to do something as a mother, she may be very more feeling guilty about that than she is about anything else. She has no evidence that Michael has mistreated these kids. She knows that Michael loved these kids and treats these kids. I think it‘s much more a function of the social pressures that are being placed on her than anything else.


EARLY: Well social pressures are not John...

ABRAMS: Go ahead...

EARLY: ... the fact of the matter is that she is Jewish. She‘s probably concerned about the Nation of Islam being around her kids. She doesn‘t know...


EARLY: ... what kind of effect...


EARLY: ... you know...

BURRIS: ... I don‘t buy that at all.

LAPINER-GERESI: And I think she denied that today.


BURRIS: I doubt that very truly. She has no information that the Nation of Islam has any kind of presence at all...

EARLY: No she doesn‘t...

BURRIS: ... that would suggest...

EARLY: ... but I think she–John and I agree with that. But I think what she may well be trying to do is trying to protect her kids and trying to set up a barrier, making sure that she–that her kids are not being affected by something that she doesn‘t want them affected by and I think she has a right to do that...

BURRIS: Well, I don‘t agree with her having a right to do something. I think it‘s probably more appropriate that to the extent that there‘s a question about whether Michael is going to get convicted or not and she wants to get the first role in this whole dice game by putting her guardianship papers in now in the event something bad happens I think that‘s an appropriate...

ABRAMS: John...

BURRIS: ... move on her part...

ABRAMS: ... does guardianship mean–I mean if she‘s seeking guardianship now–if it‘s true that she has filed something with the court asking for guardianship, what does that mean? I mean if she‘s saying I‘m not seeking custody, I am seeking guardianship. It seems to me what she‘s saying is I want to make decision about the kids. I‘m not saying I want to keep them. I‘m saying I want to be in the decision-making process.

BURRIS: If she wants to be the guardian, she certainly can be placed in a position where she can participate in the decision-making apparatus for the children. It doesn‘t mean she wants sole guardianship or sole custody or sole decision making. She probably has no role whatsoever now and she wants to get some role, particularly in light of the fact that this is a topsy-turvy situation here. So, I don‘t see that as a move necessarily to say that she wants absolute decision-making authority here.

ABRAMS: All right. Boy, a lot of stuff to talk about in this Jackson case. And John Burris, Natasha Lapiner-Geresi, Norm Early, thank a lot, responding to, again, another ABRAMS REPORT exclusive. And Michael Jackson now, this is the letter right here–talking to the show about justice and our guy, Stacy Brown.