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Countdown: Police Manhandling issue (Dec 11 03) - TRANSCRIPT

Posted: Mon Sep 20, 2004 10:04 pm
by whisper
Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Dec. 11
Read the complete transcript to Thursday's showUpdated: 12:36 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2003Guests: Roger Massey, Gina Marie Santore, Diane Dimond, Beth Savino, Margaret Carlson


KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over): Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?

Michael Jackson roughed up, exclusive information, his brother says that as Jackson surrendered to the authorities, they mistreated him physically.

All that and more now, on COUNTDOWN.


OLBERMANN: Good evening. The animated series “The Simpson‘s” would seem to be a strange place to find an analogy for the yielding saga that is the Michael Jackson story. Yet, it was in a Simpson‘s episode that we found Moe the bartender suddenly starring in a soap opera whose title is much more appropriate to the Jackson narrative, “It Never Ends.” Tonight Jackson‘s brother Jermaine says that as Michael Jackson surrendered to authorities on November 20, Michael Jackson was quote, “Roughed up by the police.”

Our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN: Your entertainment dollars in action, day 24 of the Michael Jackson investigation. Speaking exclusively to MSNBC‘s Dan Abrams on tonight‘s edition of the “Abrams Report.” Jermaine Jackson and Jackson family friend Stacey Brown alleged misconduct by the Santa Barbara County sheriff‘s office on that afternoon that Jackson flew from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara to be booked on charges of child molestation.


JERMAINE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON‘S BROTHER: For them to even insinuate that he was treated better than others is absolutely false. In fact, it was the complete opposite. My brother will soon talk about it. But, he has the proof and I won‘t go into the specifics, but it‘s fair to say, he was mistreated when he voluntarily turned himself in, he did not run. He came to them. And so this was no reason for them to treat him the way they did.

DAN ABRAMS, “ABRAMS REPORT”: He was physically abused.

JACKSON: He was very mistreated. I won‘t go into detail, he will come out with the proof very, very soon. He‘s in good spirits and he‘s just talking to his people and they‘re getting things together, but there‘s been so many things that have been said that are not true and in this case, this is why I‘m reacting the way I am because it‘s total opposite of what they‘ve said. My brother is innocent and this is not fair to what‘s going on and if this is the system in which we live, then we have problems. We have a lot of problems because, I‘ll say it again, if they can treat my family, my brother this way, what treatment, or what justice does the average citizen have? I mean when you think about it. Where is the system? Where‘s the justice? So, this is why we fight. And something needs to be done, it really does. This is not right. It is not right and we are going to fight.

ABRAMS: You‘re telling me that with all the cameras watching and all the world watching, the police really were foolish enough to physically abuse Michael Jackson in that environment?

JACKSON: Why would they be foolish enough to handcuff someone who turns themselves in, who come to them because turning yourself in is saying that you did something? He came to them. Why would they be foolish enough to do that?

ABRAMS: Any send of what Jermaine is talking about the physical abuse?

STACY BROWN, JACKSON FAMILY FRIEND: Well, from what I understand, they did rough him up. And what I understand, he definitely has the–as Jermaine said, the proof to show that he was physically roughed up. From what I understand, he was physically abused. He had marks on his body to prove that he was physically bruised, in fact from what I understand, he has a dislocated shoulder because of his–his arrest, and what happened inside that hangar. There was an episode where he had to go to the bathroom and from what I am told, he was locked in that bathroom. What I‘m told as well, is that he was also taunted while he was in there, it was done purposely and he knew it was done purposely because of the taunt.


OLBERMANN: The rest of those interviews on the “Abrams Report.” 9:00 Eastern, 6:00 Pacific, here on MSNBC. According now, to MSNBC‘s Jerry Nachman, the Santa Barbara County sheriff‘s office not only denies Jermaine Jackson‘s accusations, but it says it videotaped every moment from the arrival of Michael Jackson‘s plane through his booking, through his departure, and that that videotape will show no abuse, physical or otherwise.

“Court TV‘s” Diane Dimond has been on top of the Jackson story since before anybody else knew there was a Jackson story. She‘s been good enough to join us again here on COUNTDOWN.

Good evening, Diane.

DIANE DIMOND, “COURT TV”: Thank you, glad to see you.

OLBERMANN: Well, give us your read on this. Firstly, is the Jermaine Jackson story credible?

DIMOND: You notice I‘m pausing.


DIMOND: I‘m awaiting the proof. I was taking notes when I was listening to Jermaine there and he said “my brother will come out very, very soon with the proof.” I‘d like to see the proof. You watch Michael Jackson walk in to the jail with his hands handcuffed behind him, as by the way, anyone who is put under arrest for such a charge. This is not an unusual treatment; he‘s being treated like everyone else here. You put handcuffs on him. His shoulder doesn‘t look dislocated. He‘s not wincing in pain. Further, every booking department these days has a video camera going. We haven‘t heard anything about that. And afterward, what happened? After that really short quick booking, usually it takes hours and hours, they throw you in a cell for a while to have you stew a little bit. After it was all over, he came out, and what did he do, Keith? He raised his hand way up, gave a peace symbol, and–you know, kept waving his hand. It didn‘t seem like somebody who had a dislocated shoulder.

OLBERMANN: An improvised sling might have been more effective under the circumstance.

DIMOND: And don‘t you think that his very highly paid, very skilled defense attorney, Mark Geragos, would have been screaming bloody murder if something like this had really happened.

OLBERMANN: And also, it would be bad enough if the D.A.‘s office were to accuse Michael Jackson of a heinous crime like this on dubious grounds, which is, face it, a lot of–the way a lot of people outside the case certainly see it. Is it possible that on their worst day, they could be dumb enough to give Michael Jackson anything with which to argue police brutality or mistreatment?

DIMOND: Well, look. Anything can happen, of course. I know that sheriff‘s department up there. I know the district attorney‘s office, and it just doesn‘t seem to connect in my brain. If you have a pop superstar that‘s loved by millions of people all over the world, do you bring him in and rough him up? I mean, what good is that? As for being locked in a bathroom when you have to go to the bathroom, hey you know, I‘m sorry, but when you‘re under arrest, that‘s what happens. They watch you very closely.

OLBERMANN: There is, as you well know, at least 16 plates spinning around on the tops of sticks in this story.

DIMOND: Boy, you got that right.

OLBERMANN: And, the one yesterday about this attempt to bring this case back to the attention of the Child Welfare authorities in Los Angeles that suggested that when they went back in June, the accusers‘ family‘s attorney. I understand we have a little bit more on this? There‘s something breaking on that June meeting?

DIMOND: Well, I have a program these days called “Hollywood at Large” on “Court TV,” and, oh in about 25 minutes, I‘ll be breaking some new stuff on Jackson, included, the Child Welfare Department in Los Angeles talked to this child and his mother in February and everybody said nothing happened, everything was fine. They closed the book on a little 10-day investigation. In June, after this young boy, this cancer patient had gone through many sessions of therapy, his therapist came to the conclusion that they–he thought abuse had occurred and under law he has to go and report it. So, he went downtown, he went up to the top brass along with the boy‘s attorney and they told them the whole story. And the top guy in L.A.. at Child Protective Services said, “No, I‘m not going to open a case on this. We already investigated back in February.” And they said, “But, he just revealed this abuse. Sometimes it takes children years to reveal.” “No,” he said, “I‘m not going to open another case on this. I‘m just...” He ignored it entirely. That‘s when the therapist and the boy‘s attorney, Larry Feldman left the office and made a call to Tom Sneddon, the D.A. in Santa Barbara. He had jurisdiction because that‘s where Nerverland is.

OLBERMANN: As the coroner in the movie “Chinatown” says to Jack Nicholson at a similar point, “Only in L.A.”

DIMOND: Only in L.A., Keith.

OLBERMANN: Court TV‘s Diane Dimond, as always thanks for you time and your insight.

DIMOND: My pleasure.

OLBERMANN: Take care.

And, indeed it never ends, also tonight in the ceaseless battle of media punch and counterpunch, a report that is potentially damaging to Michael Jackson. That a Jackson employee had attended the February interview of the alleged victim by those same Child Welfare authorities Diane just mentioned. Yesterday, the “Santa Barbara News Press” reported that a Jackson employee had spoken to the boy just before the L.A. Department of Family and Children Services did. Now elaborates on that story. A Jackson employee, it reports, was nearby during at least part of the interview. The story quotes a blunt source, quote, “To say there was intimidation going on is an understatement.”

Joining us now to discuss the implications of that report is Beth Savino. She has served as a Child Protective Services investigator for Cherokee County in Georgia and is now a counselor in private practice.

Good evening to you.


OLBERMANN: Let me start with the ethics here, if that‘s true, that somebody from the Jackson entourage was present for that interview, who could have permitted it to happen? Were the Child Welfare people deceived or stupid or asleep or what?

SAVINO: I don‘t think they were stupid and it goes against all protocol, most states have the same protocols and it would go against all protocol for the alleged maltreater to even be aware that there was an interview occurring let alone be anywhere in the vicinity while it was occurring.

OLBERMANN: We are assuming intimidation here because of the way this has been structured, that story, but is it possible it could be standing on its head and that the family of this boy, for some reason, because of the bond supposedly between the two of them, asked a Jackson employee to attend? Is that plausible? Have you ever experienced anything that might resemble that?

SAVINO: No. And not only that, but it‘s not up to the family. When DCFS comes into a case it‘s their case. They and law enforcement investigate jointly, they set the protocol, they set the procedure, they advise the parents of what‘s going to happen next when the interviews will occur, where they will occur, and who will be doing them. It is not at all up to the parents. And on top of that, this mother was being investigated for neglect, so she surely wouldn‘t have had a say in any of it.

OLBERMANN: Miss Savino, there seem to be two basic possibilities here. This could be a false accusation with coaching and all the rest or there could be a scenario in which a parent tells a child, nothing bad happened and then a friend of the alleged perpetrator tells the same child, nothing bad happened and then finally the child unburdens himself to a therapist. Place this against the template of the cases that you‘ve dealt with. Which rings truer to you of those two scenarios?

SAVINO: What rings truer to me is that it would have been originally a false denial. What rings truer is that most boys don‘t tell when they‘ve been molested because it is so stigmatizing and embarrassing. It‘s more true that the family was getting a lot of gain from that relationship with Michael Jackson, so he would be much less likely to want to do anything or say anything that could harm Michael Jackson. And more likely for the parents, actually, or one of the parents to have some financial gain involved in not allowing something like this to come forward because that might upset the relationship. So it‘s more likely that it was a false denial than that it was a true denial that‘s now been recanted and changed to an assertion.

OLBERMANN: So, the last question, I guess, we‘ve now heard two days in a row this story about the return trip to try to reopen the case in June. Does that ring true to you that after Child Protective Services would shut down an investigation in February and say, well, there‘s nothing here and the child denies anything bad happened, that an attorney and the child and the family would go back in June and say, “look, he‘s just–he‘s just opened up to a therapist” and they‘d say “forget it, the case is already closed?”

SAVINO: Right. I mean, that‘s unbelievable to me, when I was listening to Diane Dimond‘s segment, my mouth dropped open because when a case is unfounded, and in this case, it was unfounded because the child made no statements or asserted a denial. Well, when you send a child to a therapist and he makes statements, everyone knows that takes children time to come forward, and that when they do come forward, now that‘s a whole new investigation. The old investigation is goodbye. And the new investigation needs to occur. So, it‘s unbelievable to me that given everything that‘s involved in this case, they did not reopen and do a new investigation.

OLBERMANN: Former Child Protective Services investigator Beth Savino, most insightful. Many thanks for your time tonight.

SAVINO: Thank you.