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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Analysis of Jackson's Arraignment
Aired January 16, 2004 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Michael Jackson in a circus-like atmosphere today after pleading not guilty to 7 counts of child molestation. And before inviting those fans to a post-arraignment reception at his Neverland Ranch.
Here to try to make sense of all of this, Cynthia McFadden, ABC News senior legal correspondent, Jane Velez-Mitchell, of "Celebrity Justice." She was inside the court room today. So was Matt Cota, of KSBY Santa Barbara. Also with us, Bob Goen, "Entertainment Tonight" co-anchor, he was there too.
Plus later, Court TV's Nancy Grace, the former prosecutor, Johnnie Cochran, a one time defense attorney for Michael Jackson, and defense attorney Chris Pixley and they're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: Let's start with Bob Goen of "Entertainment Tonight." You were there today.
BOB GOEN, "ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT": Yes.
KING: What was this?
GOEN: It was a madhouse. It was -- everybody anticipated a circus-like atmosphere and that's exactly what we got. And in no small thanks to Michael himself.
KING: He caused it?
GOEN: Michael contributed to it, certainly. He got out of the car, stopped and shook hands along the way from the car into the courtroom, despite the fact he was 20 minutes late. He spent a lot of time greeting his fans. He had a camera crew that he had brought with him.
KING: By the way, what were they doing?
GOEN: They were shoot apparently a documentary, we have to assume. Michael was directing as he went.
KING: You know what they're doing?
CYNTHIA MCFADDEN, ABC NEWS SR. LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: They're in- house videographers.
KING: For what purpose?
MCFADDEN: Mr. Jackson's personal use that follow him wherever he wants them to.
GOEN: He's been doing this for years.
MCFADDEN: He has thousands.
KING: He's a reality show?
GOEN: Basically, yes.
KING: They said the reason he was late was there were too many fans. You're saying he stopped to greet them.
GOEN: He stopped to greet them. He pulled up in the car. He pulled up late and sat in the car for a good five minutes before he got out and got onto the sidewalk to spend the time greeting his fans.
KING: Can you explain something, Cynthia? Why was -- an arraignment is merely here is the charge. How do you plead.
MCFADDEN: You got it.
KING: Why was the circus today? Nothing important could have happened today, except as it effects the media, they issued a gag order. But nothing affecting Michael Jackson important could have happened today.
MCFADDEN: Listen, this is going to be all this the way until this ends,. Larry. Michael Jackson is one of the most famous men in the world. He's been charged with a really horrendous crime. And there's a lot of interest.
Now, some of the interest today, some of the, shall we say, exitement around this, was caused because there were an awful lot of people there. And a lot of the people were brought there by the Michael Jackson camp. The fan clubs, he arranged for buses to come up and be present. People were flown in from around the country.
KING: This was not spontaneous.
MCFADDEN: I'm sure some people spontaneously came, but the fan clubs arranged the show of love and support for Michael Jackson. There's nothing wrong with that except I think it contributed to a sense that Michael Jackson is not taking these charges very seriously.
KING: Wouldn't a show business person then, and that's what he is Bob, be wanting to greet his fans? Wanting to -- I mean, lawyers say be reserved, but you want to jump up on a car if that's what you're used to doing.
GOEN: Yes, but this is a case his own attorney, Mark Geragos, has come out and said Tom Sneddon, the D.A. made a mockery at his first press conference, where he was a little too jovial. And so if they're trying to reverse that trend, that's not the way to do it.
KING: Matt Cota of KSBY TV in Santa Barbara was in the court for today's arraignment. What did you make of it, Matt? MATT COTA, KSBY TV SANTA BARBARA: Well, here at KSBY in Santa Barbara, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) we've been covering the civil trial as well a year ago of Jackson. Different Michael Jackson in the courtroom today, sitting upright, paying attention. In the civil trial he was often goofing off for better words, often look at a magnifying glass, look disinterested. This case, he was signature upright, getting ready.
The only one caveat, he did ask to go to the bathroom before the hearing was over, very unusual request, which led to a few awkward moments inside the courtroom, Larry.
KING: Did they let him go?
COTA: They did let him go.
MCFADDEN: The judge, Larry, said to the lawyers, next time instruct your client to consume less fluids.
KING: This judge was -- and he was angry at the lateness too, right?
GOEN: He's no nonsense. The first words out of his mouth in the courtroom were, Mr. Jackson you have gotten off on the wrong foot here.
MCFADDEN: It's disrespectful. There was no excuse for Michael Jackson being 21 minutes late to this arraignment.
KING: What about media access, Matt? We understand -- I understand there's been opposition to the judge's sealing of the search warrant and underlying materials. CNN is a member of a group of media organizations party to litigating these issues. What can and cannot the media get?
COTA: I'm sorry, Larry, say that again?
KING: What can the media get and what they can't get?
COTA: Well, we certainly can't get the evidence, we can't get any of the information seized at the Neverland ranch, any of the evidence, the videotapes, the documents, anything that the district attorney, Tom Sneddon seized. That, I'm afraid, is part of the gag order, part of the evidence, part of the sealing of the evidence that we won't be able to receive.
KING: What is the gag order say, Bob?
GOEN: I don't know. Can't speak to that.
KING: Do you know?
MCFADDEN: Well, at this point, essentially everybody's gagged. The judge says he's going to review it and maybe he'll change the circumstances a little bit next week but essentially...
KING: What do you mean, everyone?
MCFADDEN: Everybody, the lawyers, any potential witness, certainly Mr. Jackson, anybody who might actually play a participatory in the trial is forbidden from speaking about the evidence or anything.
KING: How then can Larry Feldman be on your show tonight at 10:00?
MCFADDEN: Larry Feldman did an interview two nights ago or actually less...
KING: But if you play it, it's in violation of the gag.
MCFADDEN: No, it's only that they couldn't talk, anything that's been recorded before the gag order goes into effect is okay.
KING: Is he a potential witness?
MCFADDEN: That's an interesting question. I think he doesn't know the answer to this yet. I think there will be a lot of problems with calling him as a witness, but I wouldn't be surprised if one side or another might want to call him.
KING: How do you know if you're a potential witness?
MCFADDEN: In fact, the prosecutor will form a list.
KING: Right now, you don't know if you're on it, so you don't know if you're covered.
MCFADDEN: Some people know they're on it. I suspect the boy who made the allegation in 1993, Larry...
KING: Is under the gag order.
MCFADDEN: And knows it, and he knows that he's a potential witness, and I suspect, sources tell us, that he's prepared to testify.
KING: Is his mother a witness?
MCFADDEN: Not that I know of.
KING: Jane Velez Mitchell, correspondent for "Celebrity Justice," in court for the arraignment, what's your overview of what happened today?
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, "CELEBRITY JUSTICE": Well, my overview is that whatever happened in court was completely overshadowed by what happened outside court. I was stuck in the melee and I don't want to imitate Michael Jackson, but I have sprained arm, no kidding, as a result of it.
It was a madhouse. I was giving him really high marks for what he did in the courtroom. Because last night I was surrounded by a bunch of heckelers, who were supporters of Michael Jackson and were yelling obscenities at the media.
I took it to heart. I said, there's a lot of anger. I want to be hypersenitive to being absolutely fair. I went into that courtroom determined to look for every positive sign that I could. And I was giving him high marks for how he comported himself in that courtroom.
And then he went out, and he jumped on the van, and there were children in the crowd, and it was chaos. And it was this close to a stampede. I've got to tell you, it was scary out there.
And that's the kind of thing that is very dramatic, is very exciting. It takes away from the issues of the case, and it's like smoke and mirrors. It might as well be a Las Vegas performance. It was dangerous. And I have to say I feel in my humble opinion that was irresponsible.
KING: Jane, isn't it something though, we asked Bob this, someone in show business, especially someone as close to the fans as he is, is likely to do? He's not trained in court procedures.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but you know, he's been subject to 1,000 lawsuits, so, he knows about courtroom procedures. And let's face it, the man is a genius. He's a musical genius, he's a smart man. He has to know that that is not the kind of behavior that the court's going to want especially when they just issued a gag order and they just sealed the search warrants to try to calm everything down.
And then he goes out there and he revs it up. And he's a genius at revving it up. He knows how to do it. And I was in the middle of it and I got caught up in the excitement. And all of the sudden I realized, for the next hour I wasn't talking about gag orders and search warrants and the facts of the case. We were all talking about this wild scene out there.
And then he has a party at Neverland. And I went there, And I went out to Neverland, because I am a fan of his music, and I said well, I'm going to go. It was a beautiful party, it's a beautiful place. It's spectacular, happy people walking around, it's easy to get seduced by it all. But, once again, it distracts from the facts of this case, serious charges of alleged molestation against a young boy.
KING: Let me get a break. And we'll be right back. Lots more to come, your phone calls will be included. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK GERAGOS, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL JACKSON: I'm extremely pleased at the the team that we've assembled. Ben has agreed to come on, Steve Cochran has agreed to come on, Bob Sanger, who isn't here, has agreed to come on. And we could be more pleased with this group.
We work well together. We like each other. And I think ultimately, the results will show that .
(END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KING: Matt Cota of KSBY-TV, Ben Brafman, the new lawyer from New York, is now in this case. Was he not allowed to speak in court today? What was the position vis-a-vis him and whether he can practice in California?
COTA: Well, the problem with Ben Brafman, he doesn't have a license to practice law in California. As a result when he stood up to speak the judge Rodney Melville put him in his place and said he could not speak because he does not have a license to practice law. One of the many things the judge Rodney Melville did today to show that he is in charge, first chastising Jackson for showing up 20 minutes late and then telling him later on when Jackson asked to go to the bathroom to, in so many words, hold it.
KING: You get a waiver, though, don't you, Bob?
GOEN: Brafman will get a waiver. Probably so. I know that happens all the time. I would think so, yes.
KING: Why didn't they allow him today then?
MCFADDEN: This judge is going to establish who is boss. He's going to control the courtroom. He was not amused by the fact that Mr. Jackson kept the court waiting for 21 minutes. It's disrespectful, Larry. This court system runs on a sort of basic understanding of respect. I understand that Mr. Jackson wants to communicate that he didn't commit this crime and I understand it's a difficult position. It must be horrible to have all eyes on you but to act disrespectful, and I don't know how else to describe it, it isn't helping things.
KING: Jane, if this happened aft arraignment, what's going to happen at the trial?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and it's kind of interesting, because there was also some sort of waiver given where Michael Jackson doesn't have to show up at every single court appearance but somebody told me in the know they think he might show up because he enjoys this kind of publicity in the sense that he's really controlling the publicity.
He may show up on Friday the 13th, February 13, and say, I want to be here and watch what's going on, which is certainly his right. When he goes out he'll be perhaps surrounded by fans and another distracting episode where it all becomes about Michael Jackson and his fans, and again, the issues of the case become secondary to that.
KING: What is happening on February 13, Bob?
GOEN: That will be the preliminary hearing.
KING: The hearing of motions filed, et cetera?
KING: There was a printed invitation, Jane, to this party?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: There was, and it was handed to a lot of people out here. It was kind of just distributed and somebody gave one to me and I looked at it and thought, well, I'm the media. Am I allowed to go, am I not?
And then it said supporters and fans. And I feel I am a fan of Michael Jackson's music. I love Michael Jackson's music. And I said, I'm going to go and I got in my car and went up there.
The Nation of Islam had people organizing who got in and how they got in. We had to turn over our cameras. We had to turn over cell phones. I actually tried to go in with my purse. They did a whole search on me. They said your purse has to go back into your car and I finally got in, walked around and it really is a beautiful and spectacular place. I can't take that away from Michael Jackson nor do I want to. I mean, it's beautiful.
There were a lot of fans there. I spoke to a woman from Tokyo who was sobbing and I went up to her and I said why are you crying? She said I'm just so sad about this. I said you came all the way from Tokyo to be here? She said yes and she was sobbing. I was just, sort of, astounded by the passion that she felt toward this.
KING: Bob, you flew over last night.
KING: You were all prepared for this.
GOEN: Absolutely. I think it's naive, ever since Monday when Jermaine Jackson held his press conference in front of the Jackson compound in Encino, California, saying that there would be a show of support today, busloads meeting at the A.M.E. Church and this Najee Ali, who was sort of fronting this effort, he was the one saying that, you know, we're doing this independently to show our support of Michael, but to think it is not orchestrated by Michael is naive because he's handing out these invitations and the party was set. I flew over Neverland last night. Chairs and tables were all in place already.
KING: Cynthia, in essence, what does Larry Feldman, I don't want to take away from it but in essence, what does he say tonight when he's on with you on "20/20?"
MCFADDEN: I'm not going to tell you all of that, Larry. Essentially, what he talks about is the time line. He responds to charges that Michael Jackson was shaken down by him. You know, Mr. Geragos has been right out there swinging, suggesting that Larry Feldman shook him down in 1993, that is Mr. Jackson, and trying to do it again.
KING: Is he angry?
MCFADDEN: He's not happy. He's kept his mouth shut ever since these news charges are filed. He hasn't spoken publicly.
KING: Geragos has never mentioned Larry Feldman by name. Has he? I've never seen him mention...
MCFADDEN: He does in my interview on Monday. On "Good Morning America."
KING: This coming Monday.
MCFADDEN: This coming Monday.
KING: Isn't he covered by the gag order?
MCFADDEN: Well, he did the interview a couple of days ago in Modesto. So it's OK. They just can't talk from henceforth. Anything they said prior to that can, of course, continue to air.
KING: Matt, what are the people of Santa Barbara, how are they handling all of, the every day citizen, not the visitor to the party. The Santa Barbara regular guy?
COTA: You know, being here in Santa Barbara, in Santa Maria, it's shocking to see how many outsiders are here. I talked to people from Georgia, Michigan. The people in Santa Barbara, in Santa Maria, the people we saw today, a lot of Lookie Lous that we caught, just here to check out the scene, see all of the media that are here gathering, this enormous amount of media, electronic media that's gathered to televise this, see all of the fans.
It's a bit of a carnival-like atmosphere, also a freak show. We saw a lot of impersonators, we saw a lot of vendors, we saw people trying to cash in on it, we saw people selling burritos and coffee, quite a scene here to be sure.
KING: Do the citizens like this, though, the regular citizens of the area?
COTA: Well, sure. In Santa Barbara county, it's a funny county in that in the south. It's very -- there are a lot of celebrities there. It's known as the American Riviera. Here in the north it's a bit more conservative, people are more in awe of celebrities like Michael Jackson.
Certainly during his civil trial, they showed up every day to see him come and go from the very same courthouse, but I think people are a little sick of all the media and all the fans certainly miller street, which is right in front of the county courthouse, it was blocked off for three hours during this whole ordeal. When Jackson popped up on his limousine, no one was getting through at all.
KING: Thank you, Matt. We'll be calling on you again, Matt Cota of Santa Barbara. Bureau chief for KSBY-TV, Cynthia, Jane Velez and Bob Goen will remain with us and then we'll be by Nancy Grace, Johnnie Cochran and Chris Pixley. That's all next. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BENJAMIN BRAFMAN, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL JACKSON: I think today suggests we have a long haul. We're not permitted to comment on the substance of anything that happened. So we're not going to get off on the wrong foot and violate the court's gag order.
I think the outpouring of love for Mr. Jackson is sort of extraordinary and there are people out there from all over the world, so I think it's quite a spontaneous outpouring of support, that is nice to see. We look forward to being part of this defense team, and I think today on balance was a good day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Quick reminder, Monday night there will be two live editions of LARRY KING LIVE, at 9:00 and midnight Eastern time as we cover the Iowa caucuses. Bob Woodward is our special analyst. Senator Robert Dole will be there, a bunch of other guests, and Wolf Blitzer and the entire CNN political team. That's two LARRY KING LIVE lives on Monday night.
Let's meet the entire panel. Cynthia McFadden remains, senior legal correspondent, ABC News. Her interview with Larry Feldman who represented the alleged Jackson molestation victim back in 1993 will air tonight on ABC's "20/20" at 10:00 Eastern. In Santa Maria courthouse is Jane Velez-Mitchell, correspondent for "Celebrity Justice." She was in court for today's arraignment. In Los Angeles with us is Bob Goen, the co-anchor for "Entertainment Tonight" inside the auxiliary room at the courthouse, the overflow...
GOEN: The overflow room. Thanks for rubbing it in, Larry.
KING: In New York, Nancy Grace, the Court TV anchor and former prosecutor. In Chicago, Johnnie Cochran, former attorney for Michael Jackson. He represented him in connection with that '93 lawsuit. And in Atlanta, Chris Pixley, the well-known defense attorney.
We'll start with Johnnie. There were reports, Johnnie, that you had something to do with the bringing into this case of Mr. Brafman. Will you give us the lowdown?
JOHNNIE COCHRAN, ATTORNEY: What I can say is that I was asked by people in the Jackson camp about Mr. Brafman, and I gave him very, very high marks. As you may remember, Larry, we tried, he and I tried the P. Diddy or Puffy Combs case in New York I guess back in 2001. So I have seen him up close a personal. I have a lot of respect for him, probably one of the best criminal lawyers in America, and I think that he brings a lot to the team. He works well with other lawyers, and I think also, I suggested also that Steve Cochran, who's been there -- no relation -- has been there representing Michael since 1993, and Bob Sanger (ph), a local lawyer, also would be a fine addition. I think they need a team up there. This is a serious matter, and I think they need to work together as a team.
KING: But you didn't say to them, "you should hire Brafman." They asked you about a Brafman recommendation, is that correct?
COCHRAN: I think that's probably closer to what took place.
KING: And it is Geragos's team, is it not?
COCHRAN: It's Geragos's team at this point? Yes, it is.
KING: And Chris Pixley, Brafman, I know you tried cases in other states. Why didn't the judge let Brafman speak today?
CHRIS PIXLEY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, that's right, I handle a lot of cases out of state, Larry. I've been admitted pro hoc in over 40 cases around the country. And so I know the process is not all that burdensome to be admitted. Brafman, though, today did not have an order in his back pocket that said that he's admitted as a visiting attorney. And what that meant was he actually technically cannot address the court, and the court made that clear.
I think the reality is that Ben Brafman and the judge, for that matter, recognized that it is a formality. I understand the paperwork's been filed, and so at some point this judge recognized Ben Brafman came here prepared to give and play a speaking role in all of this. And he ultimately allowed him to do it. But you know, you don't go into a state where you are not licensed and present yourself to the court without first having a sponsoring attorney, and without having that order, it was so -- a minor setback, but he was allowed to speak.
KING: Nancy Grace, what do you make of all of this?
NANCY GRACE, COURT TV: Well, Larry, several things. Number one, the process for Brafman to get into court and speak is called pro hoc vice. You need a local counsel, who would be Geragos, to basically get you in before this judge and allow you to make a cameo appearance. That's another instance in this case of us seeing this judge sticking to formality.
And a lot of people may ask, what was wrong with Jackson being 20 minutes late? Well, in the end, there was no jury waiting. There was no expert witness flying in from out of town, but this is why it is important. Sure, we all get irritated, furious sometimes with judges. They're only human, but they represent something very important, our justice system, and being late and running out of the courtroom for a bathroom break -- this is a grown man. The court expects more of litigants before it.
So Geragos, Brafman and Jackson must adhere to his expectations. And don't forget, Brafman has a lot of cases under his belt, not just Puffy Combs but Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, Vincent Gigante "The Chin," he was a mobster, Jay-Z. He's a streetfighter and he will cut you off at the knees in a court of law.
KING: Johnnie Cochran, by the way, what do you do when you have to go to the bathroom?
GRACE: Hold it. COCHRAN: What you do, Larry...
KING: You hold it?
COCHRAN: Larry, what you try to do is you build a rapport with the court. And I think what happened, and you know, basically, there's usually judges -- like there's one lawyer who generally speaks and he likes to like -- what happened they got off on the wrong foot by being late. This is a strict judge. And normally you do raise your hand, say, your honor, may we have a break, my client has a personal problem. The judges will accommodate.
KING: OK, I am going to take a break, come in, bring everybody in on the action. We'll also include your phone calls. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GERAGOS: We were in the court at 8:28. It was a very good day. As you've seen from around here, the traffic and the gridlock is amazing. I don't know, but my estimate is there's got to be at least 5,000 to 10,000 people that are in the surrounding area.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) to him, that is, his family showed up?
GERAGOS: I don't think you ever could have kept his family away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Nancy Grace, we asked this of you last night in another matter. Does this look like a very tough case for the prosecution?
GRACE: Larry, I've got to tell you, it's going to be a tough case for the prosecution, and I say that after having tried similar cases, when you don't have physical evidence from the victim, such as tearing or sperm or bruises. It's a credibility contest.
And what was disturbing to me, Larry, today, I'm all for Michael Jackson being in a good mood and relaying to the crowds that he is upbeat and confident. A, it's going to be very tough for them to get a change of venue when spectacles like that are caused by the defendant himself. But what I kept thinking about over and over today is this alleged victim, my sources tell me he is in line for a new kidney, that he is not doing well, that part of his face is swollen up badly on the left side because of his kidney problems. He may very well not make it to a trial or not be able to testify. So when I'm seeing all of this joviality and people selling popcorn and coffee, I don't know, it just strikes me as wrong.
KING: Cynthia, if that's true there wouldn't be a trial if something happened to the kid, right?
MCFADDEN: Well, you know, the criminal trial, as I understand it, maybe one of the real lawyers will correct me on this, could still go forward, although it would be unlikely, because without the...
MCFADDEN: And the civil trial, if there were to be any, would be extinguished at his death as well. But you know, Larry, what I was going to say is, I talked yesterday with two people very close to this little boy, who said -- I mean, the family's in hiding. This is one of the reasons this sort of party atmosphere is so unseemly. Even if these charges are not true, there is still one very sick, very disturbed little boy.
KING: Johnnie Cochran, if you were advising in this matter, would you advise them not to hold these parties, not to jump on cars, not to act the way they acted today?
COCHRAN: Yes, I would, Larry. I think that you celebrate when you win the case and when it's over at that point. This is a very serious matter. And I think they really have to understand it. I think that, you know, Michael is an entertainer, but I think he has to understand, this is the first time he's ever been arraigned in a criminal court, and maybe not understanding fully about being late, as everybody talks about, it's disrespectful to the court.
Somebody needs to sit him down, and I think Ben is the person who's strong enough to do that and say, "look, this is a serious proceeding. Your life's going to change over the course of the next year or so. You've got to be very serious in this thing. There will be plenty of time for celebrating if you win." It's very serious, because there's a victim, everybody points out, who is sick, an alleged victim. The court is very serious. Everybody -- the jurors are going to be serious about this. And so you've got to -- everybody has to get the grip. This is a new time. This is not entertainment. This is real. Your life is at stake.
KING: And Chris Pixley, before we go, I ask Jane and Bob a question, Chris Pixley, do you agree with what Johnnie just said?
PIXLEY: Absolutely. You know, Ben Brafman may be saying publicly that Michael is Michael and he's an entertainer. Behind the scenes, I promise you that he has laid out for Michael exactly the parameters, as has Mark Geragos, of what he expects of him and just what kind of conduct might potentially cause them to walk away from the case at this early a stage. So they have a PR problem. They have a PR problem with the party today. They have a PR problem with what Michael did before and after the hearing. And I couldn't agree more with Johnnie. Michael may not care much about what the public thinks, but his attorneys are very concerned and should be concerned that he's going to send the message that he doesn't take the charges seriously. Cynthia is right about that as well.
KING: Jane, how about the family? I think except for Janet, everyone's assembled, right?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Janet showed up today, and it was a big shock...
KING: Oh, she was there too?
GRACE: She was there.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... and surprise in the courtroom, and she walked in and she looked stunning. And it was stunning to see her, because nobody really expected her to show. She didn't show at the party after the charges were filed. And she walked in. LaToya had a broken toe, and that's why she couldn't attend, but apparently she wanted to.
KING: Oh, so it was LaToya that didn't come. LaToya is the sister that didn't come.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: LaToya didn't come, because she had a broken toe. Something fell on her foot when she was rehearsing.
KING: Janet came.
Bob, is that important, do you think, the family ties?
GOEN: Yeah, I would think so. I mean, they need to show that this is a strongly united group of people, and you know, he's got -- he's surrounded by people all the time, but being surrounded by the Nation of Islam may not be sending the message to the public that he needs to send. So to have the family there, certainly.
KING: Nancy, when someone is this popular, how does the prosecution deal with it? When you're popular to the point of someone coming from Tokyo and crying?
GRACE: Not just popular, Larry. I agree with you, he's a mega star. It's more than that. He has a charisma. When he walks into a room, all eyes on him. He has a magnetism about him that will speak to a jury.
So not only does the prosecution have to prove the case, where you don't have any physical evidence from the boy's body, but you're going to have an additional hurdle of a mega star with charisma like Michael Jackson. The only way the state can win this case is if they have corroboration of this boy's word. In other words, if they found pornography where the boy says it was, if they found love letters, if they find, let me be blunt, semen on that mattress to corroborate the boy's story, that's the only way they're going to win, and they may have it.
KING: Long Beach, California. We're starting to include phone calls, hello.
CALLER: Hi, I just wanted to ask a question to Bob Goen.
CALLER: Don't you think that part of this big hoopla and stuff is brought on by the media? Because you guys were there, you guys added to the hysteria. If this is a serious case, where either that little boy is hurt or Michael Jackson is defending his life, why you guys made it a festive attitude, too?
KING: Good question, chicken or the egg?
GOEN: I don't think it's a fair question at all. I don't think that we added to this situation. We were there to document what was going on. It wasn't anybody in the media jumping up on that car. It wasn't anybody in the media who was, who was, you know, shaking hands with the crowd and waving and all of that.
KING: Mobile, Alabama, hello. Go ahead.
KING: Yeah, go ahead.
CALLER: This is a question for Nancy Grace.
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: Why didn't Michael Jackson have open parties and at receptions prior to being arrested for these charges?
GRACE: Very interesting. In my mind, two and two equals four. He has parties, for instance, the day his formal charges come out. Now the day of the arraignment, and I think it is to project nonverbally that he is confident, he thinks he's going to win this case. But to other people it may suggest that he's in a party mood and that he does not take this seriously. And I think the potential jurors that see it are going to be turned off. I agree with the viewer.
KING: Jane, were the people partying or somber?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: They were happy, and they were just enjoying the day. I spoke to one family. I said, why are you here? He said, well, you know, I'm a carpenter, I've lived in Santa Maria 30 years, I've never been able to get inside Neverland, and I got an invitation and I went, and I brought my family because I want my kids to see it.
So a lot of the people from this area. They are very curious. Imagine living in Santa Maria and never having been inside Neverland. It's mysterious, it's intriguing. You get an invitation, you go, you take advantage of it.
KING: Denver, Colorado, hello.
CALLER: Yes, hello, Larry, and thank you for taking my call. I have two questions regarding his shoulder. He looked to have no pain at all today jumping up onto the SUV, he helped the cameraman up onto the SUV. And I'd like to know, has he ever seen a doctor? Does anybody know was he really diagnosed with a dislocated shoulder? Thank you, Larry.
KING: Johnnie, do you know? Johnnie, the shoulder, he looked OK today. COCHRAN: Well, it seemed to be OK to me. I don't know. I think the viewer was asking whether or not he saw a doctor. I don't know. I know there were allegations made with regard to his treatment by the police. Perhaps he's healed. I don't know.
But again, all those kinds of things are distractions. I mean, this is a serious case. And everybody has to get serious and focus. And you know, I think you can count on the fact that Sneddon's learned his lesson and hopefully now the defense will, you know, understand this is very serious and move forward, you know, in a professional matter on this point.
KING: Johnnie, I know you've told us you're never going to do a criminal matter again. Have you spoken to Jackson at all?
COCHRAN: I spoke to him about a week or so ago. I did, just in passing. I spoke to him, and I think it was a Saturday or so ago, and he was in good spirits at that time, and I talked to him just briefly.
KING: Reading, Pennsylvania, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry.
CALLER: I have a question for Jane. Has Mrs. Jackson said anything about how really she feels about this whole situation, and about the arraignment today? It was like he made a mockery of the justice system, and the mockery of the little boy and his family. I thought it was horrible.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, well, that's a statement, not a question, and I don't want to weigh in, to take sides.
But you know, I'd like to say something about something Nancy Grace said a second ago, about evidence, and is this a he said, she said. You know, "Celebrity Justice" has learned that they seized the mattress where these alleged molestations took place. They're analyzing it, they're trying to find DNA. I don't want to get too graphic, but if they find bodily fluids from -- well, Michael Jackson lives there, so that wouldn't be that significant, but from the young accuser, that could be very, very damaging evidence.
So it's not necessarily that we don't have corroborating evidence. We just don't know, because of those sealed search warrants and the supporting affidavits and the inventory of what they took. But a little bit is seeping out and we're learning that at least.
KING: Hold on a second. Hold on, Nancy. Cynthia wants to say something.
MCFADDEN: You know, I think there's ultimately it's going to boil down to this -- do they believe the boy or do they believe Michael Jackson? It's going to be up to a jury to decide. Now, all of this other evidence is going to play a role in that, in the credibility, but you know, Larry, in having covered an awful lot of trials now, it boils down at the end of the day, I think in a case like this one, who has the credibility and that's going to be about a lot of things that don't have anything to do with semen on sheets.
GOEN: Larry, I'd like to ask our legal experts if there's any chance that this boy, if he is in a dire situation, if he could be interviewed on tape before the whole thing comes to court.
KING: Chris Pixley, is that possible?
PIXLEY: It is, Larry. With the exception, there's something known as the confrontation clause. And the defendant has a right to confront the witness against him.
Ultimately, if this child isn't able to testify, I have to agree with Cynthia's earlier comment, the case is likely not to make it to trial, in the absence of other corroborating evidence. There are all kinds of different circumstances that could arise that might allow the prosecutor to go forward.
For example, if any other family member of this child was witness to anything that went on between Michael Jackson and the child that has made its way into the charges. There are a lot of different ways it could go forward, but I don't think that it will.
GRACE: Larry, I'd like to respond quickly to that, and plus what Jane said. Jane, that's what I was saying earlier about corroboration of the boy's statement, that the mattress has been seized and they're looking for sperm, semen from either Jackson or the boy.
And, you're right Jane, it has been leaked by none other than Michael Jackson himself. He stated that his employees told him his mattress had been torn up and he refused to go back in his bedroom. That's why his mattress was torn up, getting those samples. So, that's another leak corroborating what Jane said.
And as to what Cynthia said, she's right, it is a credibility contest and it's very tough, but you've got Jackson, a megastar. So the state, in order to prove the boy's credibility, has got to do their homework and bring in corroboration, like that mattress, like pornography, like love letters. It is essential in this case.
COCHRAN: And Larry, one other fact we should keep in mind.
KING: Go ahead, Johnnie.
COCHRAN: One other fact to keep in mind, remember, there is a -- the lawyer for the husband of this lady of the mother of the child, Mr. Halpern, I think, will probably be a witness in this case. And he says, of course, that there's been a pattern of coaching the children and giving them scripts to read and that sort of thing.
Now that goes directly to Cynthia's point of credibility, of whether you're going to believe it or not. Did they lie and stuff like that. And further, the statement made on tape, there's going to be a taped statement, which the jury don't have in most cases. And remember, there's a statement when they said nothing happened with regard to relations with Michael.
So, that's got to be a difficult thing to overcome. And at what point are they telling the truth.
KING: Let me get a break. And we'll be back with more calls. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRAFMAN: We're lawyers. We're going to be lawyers. He is Michael Jackson. He is an entertainer. He is not by profession a defendant in a criminal case. There is no rule for how a Michael Jackson entertainer performs. And these people came thousands of miles to see Michael Jackson. And I think, spontaneously he wanted those not close enough to see him.
KING: We're back. St. Louis, hello.
CALLER: Yes, thank you. I have a question for Cynthia and for Nancy. I'm interested in this new introduction of Brafman, the attorney. What exactly do they feel that Brafman's role will be, No. 1, and No. 2, could it possibly be a sign that the Jackson camp is much more worried than they say they are?
KING: Cynthia first then Nancy.
MCFADDEN: We should ask, Larry -- we should probably ask Johnnie Cochran this. But I suspect this is serious. Parties or no parties, they understand if Michael Jackson is convicted of this he could go to prison for over 20 years. This is no laughing matter.
KING: So, bring in all the troops?
MCFADDEN: You know, someone on this panel created the notion of a dream team not so long ago.
KING: I'll ask him in a minute. Nancy, you want to comment, and then Johnnie -- Nancy.
GRACE: Yes, Larry, I think of my grandfather on this. And only one person can drive a bus. There is -- I don't care what they say, there is no such thing as co-lead counsel. There's a No. 1, two, three and four.
Right now, Geragos is the lead counsel, but look at Brafman's record, he's come out on top in a lot of very hard-fought cases and I think the caller's right. I think that they are assembling a dream team to back up Geragos. No doubt in my mind that Brafman is the one to do it.
KING: And Mr. Cochran?
COCHRAN: Well, I think this is a recognition this is a serious matter, despite what we saw in court today. There are people who understand this is very serious. And you know, you have to assemble the best team to try and make sure your client gets a fair trial.
KING: Does the team have to have a captain?
COCHRAN: Well, most teams do, Larry, and sometimes captains change. We know other cases where one person starts out as the captain and sometimes that changes. You've have you to see how things -- there are a lot of events that are going to take place in the next year and we'll have to see.
They're working well together. But Nancy's right, when you ultimately get to trial, there will be one person probably, in charge at that point and we'll see who that is.
KING: Enio, Oklahoma, hello.
CALLER: Hi. I was wondering, with all of this that's going on, the way Michael Jackson is directing the cameras and everything, could that be nothing but a publicity stunt on his behalf, because he's acting like it's some kind of big joke, like the little boy's life don't mean a hill of a beans?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I mean, that's what we've sort of been saying in terms of his decorum. He's hired this team, this dream team as somebody called it, this new dream team for this new case, to try to assemble a ferocious defense, but you're only as good as whether you listen to the lawyers. You can have the best lawyers in the world, and he does, but he has to listen to them.
I was at the summit in Beverly Hills, at the Beverly Hills Hotel where you had teams of advisers streaming in and out all day. And it was like a giant game of "Survivor" organized by Michael Jackson. And they all said Michael Jackson's in charge, but what's he doing? He's sort of creating chaos, he's creating confusion, and he's creating all this stuff that's going on.
And I don't think that's really the best way to approach a very, very serious case like this. It happened at the Beverly Hills Hotel, it happened here, it's going to continue to happen probably.
MCFADDEN: Jane and I were sharing the hallway at the Beverly Hills Hotel the other day. Mr. Jackson can afford to hire apparently the very best and brightest. But, you got to listen to them. If you don't listen to them it doesn't do you any good.
KING: Bob, do you know what the arm band he's wearing?
GOEN: He's worn those kind of insignias. He had a crest on his breast pocket.
KING: He wears thing.
GOEN: He wears things...
GRACE: And, Larry.
KING: We'll be -- Nancy quickly?
GRACE: He also had on diamond encrusted buttons. And if you want to know who is running this team, Leonard Mohammed was at the counsel table. He's not a lawyer, from the Nation of Islam throughout today. So, best bet is, he is running, he's steering this team.
KING: No, but he can't run it legally.
GRACE: He doesn't have to be a lawyer to be calling the shots, and it's very unusual to have a nonlawyer seated at the desk, very unusual.
KING: We'll be back with some more moments right after these words.
KING: Chicago, hello.
KING: Yeah, go ahead.
CALLER: Yeah, thank you for taking my call. I love your show.
KING: Thank you.
CALLER: My question is, what is the disposition of Michael Jackson's children right now?
KING: Chris, you know?
PIXLEY: No, we don't know where they are. I think that we're hearing a number of different reports, that they are out of state, some that they are in-state, some that they are still in Las Vegas. You know, again, there has been no action taken to date by the Department of Child and Family Services, and until there is action taken, it's mere speculation to say what's going to happen to the children.
KING: How about the mother, Cynthia?
MCFADDEN: Well, Debbie Rowe was very public this week, meeting with one of Mr. Jackson's closest advisers. There have been reports, confirmed reports that she is very concerned about the welfare of the children, particularly, she says in light of the Nation of Islam's involvement. Now, that's been officially denied, but sources close to her have confirmed it to us.
KING: Palm Coast, Florida, hello. CALLER: Hello. Michael Jackson rented a jet a few months back not knowing there was a hidden bug on board recording his private conversations with his lawyers. It's reported that the FBI confiscated those tapes. Why is the FBI involved and how -- has anything come out yet about who put that bug on Michael's jet?
GRACE: The FBI would likely be involved because it involves an airline and airline safety. That airline, XtraJet, had had some problems in the past, and there is a suit going on right now filed by Geragos, instigated by Geragos, against them for invasion of privacy. We will never know what was on those tapes. Geragos has quashed that.
KING: Hayden, Idaho, hello.
CALLER: Yes, hi, Larry.
CALLER: I have a question for Nancy or Chris.
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: And I was just wondering, I think it was Cynthia that said earlier that the little boy from the '93 case might testify in this case. How will that affect Michael's case?
GRACE: It would devastate his case. It is called a similar transaction, and a judge must rule on it. It will be up to the judge's discretion. It's got to be similar to these facts and probative, that it proves something in this case.
KING: Btu Chris, don't they have an agreement from that case 10 years ago not to speak about it?
PIXLEY: They do. There are so many problems in trying to get the prior accuser into the case. First of all, Nancy's right, you're talking about an allegation that was made 10 years ago. It is going to be difficult to demonstrate that that's a pattern of conduct when there's no intervening act, and there's no intervening conduct or charges.
GRACE: That's not true.
PIXLEY: It wasn't a criminal case, there wasn't a criminal charge filed, there was no criminal conviction. There's also, as you mentioned, Larry, a settlement agreement that has a confidentiality clause in it.
KING: Cynthia said no.
PIXLEY: That's the reason that Johnnie can't even talk about this issue. So Michael Jackson can be questioned on it, Larry. Nancy's right, it's a prior bad act. But whether this child can actually be brought -- or this adult now can be brought before a court to testify in this new case, you know, it's questionable.
KING: Cynthia, while you're waiting...
MCFADDEN: Listen, it's totally possible the judge won't permit it. But I can tell you this, Larry Feldman was a lawyer, as you know, for the young man at the time who is now 23, and he told me categorically that the civil settlement did not preclude him from testifying in a criminal trial. That in fact...
KING: Did not?
MCFADDEN: Did not. So.
GRACE: It can't.
MCFADDEN: Absolutely correct. The law wouldn't permit it. So he's permitted to testify, and the big question is about would he testify, because it's very unlikely a judge is going to throw him into jail.
PIXLEY: He can still be subpoenaed.
PIXLEY: He can still be subpoenaed, but you're going to -- for all practical purposes, you're going to have an uncooperative witness...
MCFADDEN: That's not true. That's not the situation. Apparently, he is ready to come forward at this point.
KING: We've only got a minute left. The reputation is going to count a lot, Bob. What is Michael Jackson's reputation?
GOEN: His reputation is -- what -- is his history, that he has had to deal with these kinds of charges for at least the last 10 years.
KING: And on the other hand, he's also a very well-known and liked performer.
GOEN: Very well, universally well-liked.
KING: So it's a crisscross reputation.
GOEN: It's a very difficult balance he's walking right now.
KING: Would you agree, Johnnie?
COCHRAN: I would agree that they merit their perceptions, different perceptions out there. And I think that overall, though, you know, he's pretty much beloved. Remember one thing, Larry, when the sheriff of Santa Barbara County said look, anybody else who has any charges, come forward. They thought there would be other people coming forward. No one ever came forward. And I think that probably speaks volumes about this whole thing. KING: Jane, this is going to get a lot more -- we only have 30 seconds. It's going to get more and more bizarre, isn't it, Jane?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, he's a genius entertainer, but the fact is that what he should be doing now is not entertaining. Sometimes the best thing you should do when you're a defendant in this case like this is nothing, and that appears to be the hardest thing for Michael Jackson to do.
KING: Thank you all very much. Cynthia McFadden, Jane Velez- Mitchell, Bob Goen, Nancy Grace, Johnnie Cochran and Chris Pixley. And I'll be back in a minute to tell you about the weekend. Don't go away.
KING: Tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE, the cast of "8 Simple Rules." Kim Novak, we'll repeat that on Sunday night. And two shows Monday night with Bob Woodward covering the Iowa caucuses and the CNN political team.
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