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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Analysis of Michael Jackson Indictment
Aired April 30, 2004 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, GUEST HOST: The so-called King of Pop, Michael Jackson, back in court to face the music. Stunning new charges added to Jackson's child sex abuse indictment. Tonight, exclusive, first reaction from Michael's outspoken brother, Jermaine Jackson. Also with us, Jane Velez-Mitchell of "Celebrity Justice," Mark Steines of "Entertainment Tonight." Both Jane and Mark at that Santa Maria courthouse today. Plus high-profile defense attorney Chris Pixley, former prosecutor Wendy Murphy and psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig. It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Welcome to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Nancy Grace from Court TV, in for Larry tonight, and I thank you for being with us.
Stunning new charges added to the Michael Jackson indictment in court today. Let's go out to Jane Velez-Mitchell. You were there in the courtroom today. What are the new charges? What did they mean, Jane?
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, "CELEBRITY JUSTICE": Well, this conspiracy charge that came up was a total bombshell. It was a shocker, and there was literally a gasp in the courtroom. But we at "Celebrity Justice" were not shocked because we have been reporting for months now that the prosecutors were looking into two men on the West Coast, Vinnie Amen (ph) and Frank Tyson (ph), on the East Coast. These are in their 20s. They are former Jackson associates. And prosecutors believe that they conspired to intimidate, harass and threaten the family that is accusing Michael Jackson.
Now, I have to tell you up front, they say they've done absolutely nothing wrong, but prosecutors believe they did conspire to keep tabs on this family, keep them allegedly hostage at Neverland. And there was even an investigation of moving this family all the way to Brazil, and another Jackson associate actually traveled to Brazil to check that out.
GRACE: Brazil, Jane, it would be kind of tough to deliver a subpoena to them in Brazil.
Let's go to you, Mark Steines. She's absolutely correct in this count one, which is the new and bigger charge added to the indictment today -- that's a secret grand jury proceeding unfolded and revealed today for the first time in open court. Clearly, Jackson had to conspire with someone under the theory of the prosecution. They say he conspired to abduct a child, to falsely imprison a child and to extort. Explain.
MARK STEINES, "ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT": Well, to say something that Jane -- Jane follow -- or to kind of follow up on what Jane said -- the overflow court today -- this is -- how shocking the charges were, sitting there when they were read -- they were read in the first -- within the first five or six minutes of the proceedings today, which started about 8:30 here on the West Coast. Literally, almost every single journalist within the overflow room got up immediately and ran out of the courtroom to start filing their report already with the latest news. I mean, this had such a huge impact, and I think it brought this case to a whole 'nother level, at least -- both in Michael's situation, in his eyes, because we've seen his demeanor and how it has changed, and of course, what it means to -- you know, for us covering this, in that this -- this has a lot more -- this is a lot more weighty subject than the previous nine charges.
GRACE: Wendy Murphy, weigh in on this. The reality here, in my mind, strategically speaking, is that before, on the original arrest charges, it was all about alleged conduct by Michael Jackson. Now we see a conspiracy charge, allegedly that Jackson tried to extort money or threaten the family, tried to falsely imprison this child or his family or even kidnap or move the child. That means, Wendy, somebody else, according to the prosecutors, is involved. Once you have more than one or two people involved, somebody cracks and testifies, Wendy.
WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: You're absolutely right, Nancy. And it might even be more than one person. We just don't know yet. And whether or not that person is indicted -- remember, there's such a thing as an unindicted co-conspirator. There's going to be an awful lot of pressure brought to bear on that person or persons. And Nancy, I think this makes the prosecution's case extremely strong now because it isn't just about the word of a child now.
Remember, 28 different overt acts are alleged in support of this conspiracy indictment. What that means is we're going to hear about 28 different things that were done to intimidate, or the abduction and so on. And how is that going to be explained away? You know, the reasonable jury is going to say, Hey, if this kid's making it up, the mother's out for money, it's all a big bunch of nonsense and Michael Jackson's so guilty, why did there have to be 28 separate acts of, in a sense, intimidation tactics taken against these people?
GRACE: Well, put. Chris Pixley, you want to take a crack at that, Chris. What can the defense say? Or will they portray it, Chris, like this -- say Jackson took the kid and his mom to Disneyland. What's wrong about that? That could be viewed as philanthropic. But then, when you look at these charges, suddenly, there is a nefarious stroke to even a trip to Disneyland.
CHRIS PIXLEY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That's right. That's right. And I also think, Nancy, that there's an obvious angle here. One of the problems that the DA's had from the very beginning is they have an accuser who claims that he was molested by Michael Jackson during the same period of time that the LAPD and the Department of Chile and Family Services were investigating those allegations and were finding that there was no basis for them. So the DA has to do something to rehabilitate this witness, to build the accuser and his family's testimony. And what better way than to say, Well, actually, during that period of time, they were under threat of force. They were being intimidated. They were in danger, and that's the only reason they didn't tell the truth.
The problem with that, of course, is that any adult, even if the child doesn't know, understands that if you're being interviewed by the police and you are in danger for your life or fear danger, you simply tell the police...
GRACE: Now, wait a minute. Wait a minute.
PIXLEY: ... and they protect you. So if...
GRACE: Wait a minute on that. Let me throw that at Wendy. That's a really good point, Chris. My understanding, Wendy, is that there are allegations that when this child and his mom talked to child protective services, that there was actually Jackson representative there. Could that be viewed as intimidating?
MURPHY: You know, was that a rhetorical question, Nancy?
GRACE: I'm just throwing it out there.
MURPHY: You know, look, there's so much about this case that still has yet to be proved, but what's important is, and what I think makes the prosecution's case extremely strong, is that the jury's going to hear all this. It's one thing to explain away one piece of evidence, but explaining away 28 separate overt acts...
MURPHY: And Chris thinks it's all easy to do by simply saying, Hey, you know, a reasonable child would simply tell the police the truth. Not when the person against whom you're making an allegation has made threats, has abducted you, has tried to, you know, use extortion tactics against you and is the most powerful man on the planet in terms of music!
PIXLEY: OK. But the difference is, the child...
PIXLEY: You're right, a child may not understand that they're able to make those statements to the police and they'll be protected, but the adult does. And the mother, you know, the family as a whole was interviewed here. And you can't simply say, Well, there was somebody sitting in the room and so they didn't feel safe...
GRACE: Hey, guys...
PIXLEY: ... with the police there.
GRACE: Guys, we've got a whole...
PIXLEY: It just doesn't make sense.
GRACE: We've got a whole 'nother can of worms to open up, and that is today's proceedings. Here in the studio with me, psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig. Robi, there were throngs of people there. There were hundreds of people there. In a moment, Jane and Mark are going to describe how they got there, starting at about 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 o'clock in the morning. I was shocked to see kids were there. Parents had actually taken their kids out of school and then had them at Jackson's child molestation arraignment!
DR. ROBI LUDWIG, PSY.D., PSYCHOTHERAPIST: It really is mind- boggling, but that is the power of fame and celebrity. And there are fans that are willing to idealize and have a need to idealize the fan (ph) that they are attached to. So many people want to believe in Michael Jackson's innocence, that he couldn't do this, that he really does love children.
GRACE: I mean, taking your child to a child molestation arraignment proceeding?
LUDWIG: I know. A lot of people don't have good judgment, but that's...
GRACE: Go ahead.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. A lot of these people have lived in Santa Maria their whole lives. Michael Jackson has lived up in Neverland. He has been a source of intrigue, mystery, curiosity. This is their one chance in their life to get a look at Michael Jackson, and they're going to come down here and they're going to take a look at him. You have to understand it from their perspective. They're living here in this rural community. There is this superstar so close, it's so tantalizing. I can understand why they come down here and want to take a look at it. And as to the other people...
LUDWIG: Yes, you bring up a really good point because sometimes people just want to be connected to the famous.
GRACE: Guys, guys --
GRACE: Celebrity, star-struck -- I get it! Everybody loves a celebrity. But taking your child to a child molestation arraignment? You know what? We need a team of therapists from Vienna to come in and figure that one out.
GRACE: But Jane, back to you very quickly. I understand people started lining up in the wee hours of the morning to get a lottery seat to go into the courtroom. Is that true?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: They do every time. And when they go in, they're holding hands. Some of them are near tears. You see tears welling up in their eyes. And the same thing happened this time. People have come from Japan. People come from all over the world. I got e-mails, I was flooded with e-mails on my Blackberry from people who said, I can't make it. I want to come from Scandinavia, but I want to see you this e-mail. So this is a global, global case. People are watching from all around the world, and they connect with Michael. That is his genius.
And Michael today was an absolutely transformed man, I have to tell you. I don't know whether it was a makeover or whether it was truly a life change. At every point in everyone's life, there's a moment where they have to grow up, and maybe this indictment was the moment that Michael Jackson had a moment of clarity and said, I've got to change how I'm doing this. He was a different person -- the body language, how he spoke. The tone of his voice when he spoke...
GRACE: Wait a minute.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... was a little bit lower, more mature.
GRACE: Jane, let me throw this to Mark Steines very quickly. Mark, are you buying into Jane's theory that Jackson has had a sudden epiphany at age 45 and he's totally changing his life? I think his lawyers convinced him not to wear the World War II medallion or the outfit or dance on top of the SUV. I'm not so sure that somehow he had a complete change of heart this morning.
STEINES: Well, I -- let me -- I agree with that very much, Nancy. And as far as the fans coming out -- yes, they did come out. However, there were three buses scheduled to come up this time. I understand only two made it, one from -- there were three scheduled from Los Angeles, Orange County and Nevada. I'm still uncertain which bus did not make it or fill up and come up here. Before, there were five, possibly six. The crowd was much smaller and more subdued than previously.
Now, was that because Jackson's camp didn't orchestrate as much of a fan base coming up here because they didn't want to have the spectacle that they had last time, so it wasn't -- so it appeared to be a much more changed and organized and focused Michael Jackson, more serious about what was going on? Or are the fans just kind of backing away from him at this point...
GRACE: Well, you know...
STEINES: ... and not showing as much support?
GRACE: But Mark...
STEINES: You know, that's the question.
GRACE: The reality is, if they had wanted to make this a somber event, then why did they have a post-arraignment pizza party? We'll discuss that and everything else regarding today's proceedings in court, including what happened to Mark Geragos and Ben Brafman? Why an erratic change of lawyers? What does it mean, if anything? Stay with us. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL JACKSON: I would like to thank the fans around the world for your love and your support, from every corner of the earth. My family has been very supportive, my brother, Randy, who's been incredible. I want to thank the community of Santa Maria. I want to you know that I love the community of Santa Maria very much. It's my community. I love the people. I will always love the people. My children were born in this community. My home is in this community. I will always love this community from the bottom of my heart. That's why I moved here. Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Nancy Grace from Court TV, in for Larry tonight, and I want to thank you for being with us. Today, after the so -- called King of Pop, Michael Jackson was arraigned formally on a 10-count felony indictment regarding his alleged misconduct with a little boy, Larry King caught up with his outspoken brother, Jermaine Jackson. Jermaine Jackson in Bahrain. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, exclusive with us tonight from Bahrain, Jermaine Jackson, Michael Jackson's brother -- his brother, of course, indicted this morning on 10 charges, one more than was expected.
Were you surprised by some of the things said in these charges, Jermaine?
JERMAINE JACKSON, MICHAEL'S OLDER BROTHER: Well, I wasn't quite clear of all the charges, but I was surprised, yes. Very much.
KING: Well, for example, he was charged with 28 overt acts, with child abduction, false imprisonment, extortion, offering an intoxicating agent. All this involves one boy. What do you make of that?
JACKSON: That's all bull-crap. That's bull-crap and it's crazy because how can anyone be held against their will at Neverland? And why didn't all this stuff come out from the very beginning? This is someone's malicious acts who are trying to ramroad (ph) Michael and the family. And I'm very upset at the system because, like I said before, how can someone be indicted and you don't even have all the facts? And the fact that the feds didn't get a chance to present their side, and everything that the prosecution side has put forth has been just lies. And that's -- and now it's all over the world that Michael's indicted, and it's nothing but a circus, as you can see. And I will continue to say that it's a modern-day lynching and it's a circus.
KING: Well, the grand jury, of course, is offered lots of information, as grand juries are. The accounts are held in secret, as you know, and that's the system, the way it works. A grand jury can indict based on information it receives. The other side is not presented. But it does need information.
JACKSON: Right. It does need information. But would you say it's fair to make a decision based off of one side, whether it's factual or not, which it's not? It's not factual. It's very untrue.
KING: Well, what do you do, though, if you're the investigators, Jermaine, and this boy comes forward and brings charges to you and you investigate the charges and believe the charges? Are you supposed to not go through it? I mean, what are you asking the investigators to do that they haven't done?
JACKSON: I think the investigators need to be investigated. Why? Because from the very beginning, the mother had stated that there was nothing done. She went publicly and said this on national television. And there have been findings of her misconduct, as well, so -- and I'm not here to get into details of the case, but we're dealing with things that are just untrue. And the fact that it is Michael Jackson is going to create world news.
I'm here, surrounded by supporters. This is not any political side of anything to do with war or anything. These are students and people who care about Michael and the family from Bahrain. And it is just really sad because there are fans from all over the world here in Bahrain, as well as the Gulf and the Middle East. It's just not fair. It's not fair.
KING: Does -- what does Michael say to you about this boy? What has he said to you in the past about this boy?
JACKSON: He hasn't said anything to me about the kid. But at the same time, we all saw on the Brashir (ph) special that there was nothing done. The kid stated and his mother stated that Michael was kind to them. And you tell me, how can someone be held against their will at Neverland? Is it that people doesn't want to leave there because of the joy and the fun? And it's just -- Larry, I'm very disappointed. I'm very disappointed in the system. I'm very disappointed that this thing has gotten this far, very disappointed.
KING: Let's touch some other bases before we get back to that. What did you make of the dismissal of both attorneys?
JACKSON: I was surprised, being in this part of the world. And I wasn't part of the legal strategy, but I feel that they're doing what they feel they need to do at this point in time. So I have to support it.
Do you know -- we're a family, Larry, and this doesn't just hurt Michael. It hurts my kids, my mother, friends who love us and fans around the world. And haven't we been in enough with -- not just us as a Jackson family, but just the American people, period? And to have this circus continue to go on and on -- every new thing is like a big media blitz, and this is a circus for the networks. And I would just say it's all crap. It's propaganda. This is the system in which we live. Unfortunately -- you happen to be CNN, which we all love, but at the same time, you have to report what you see. And that's why I'm here, sitting before you asking questions that are just very crazy.
KING: You said earlier, though, that you had full confidence in both Mr. Geragos and Mr. Brafman, that you had nothing to do with the appointment of the new lawyer.
KING: Do you know why they changed lawyers?
JACKSON: I really don't know why. I had heard that maybe Mark, who I feel is a very great guy, and Ben Brafman -- I had spent a little time with him at the Beverly Hills Hotel, both of them, and they seemed to be doing OK. As I said, I've been in the Middle East since -- and Bahrain since the 6th of this -- of April.
JACKSON: I think it had -- Mark may have been a bit busy, I had heard, but I'm not giving you facts, but this is things that I've heard.
KING: You haven't spoken to...
JACKSON: I haven't been part of the...
KING: ... Michael about the...
JACKSON: ... the strategy that Randy and Michael...
KING: You haven't spoke to Michael about the change?
JACKSON: No, I have not.
KING: Did Randy -- was Randy -- because he thanked -- he publicly thanked Randy this morning. Did Randy help make that decision to change the lawyers, to your knowledge?
JACKSON: Probably, but I'm not sure. I can't say yes or no. Randy's been doing a great job of working with Michael. Michael felt, when all this stuff happened, he couldn't trust anybody. So the person to trust is family. Randy was right there. And the fact that -- people were saying, Well, what about Leonard Muhammed (ph), and this and that. Well, what are they doing, and all? So again, like I've said from the very beginning, I put the Nation in there for security because during the time, Michael felt that his life was threatened, and I felt that they would do a great job. And they did do a great job during the time that their services were used.
KING: Now they have a new security team. Does that surprise you?
JACKSON: Well, it doesn't surprise me, but I guess if the Nation has been dismissed, then they would have to get a new team. Like I said, I'm not hearing the day-to-day as to what takes place, but I am watching the news here, just like everyone else is. I saw my mother and my father. I miss them, and I saw, I think, Jackie and -- you know, this is a tough time for us, Larry. It's been very, very tough because when you look at -- and I'll just say this? May I?
JACKSON: All the good that Michael has done, all the good over the years, and through the music and what he's represented from all over the world, not just in America, but the globe and bringing aid to those who are less fortunate, and what his music's about and what he's taken time to do, why is this going on? Someone doesn't want him to continue to be the person that he was put here to be.
KING: I'm going to pick right up on that in just a moment.
KING: Hold on one second. Hold it one second. I'll be right back.
KING: I'm going to pick right up on that, Jermaine. Hold it one second. I just want to pick right up on that. We'll be right back after these words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Jermaine Jackson. Are you saying that there's some sort of plot against Michael because he's so successful? I mean, can't you be successful and also have problems? Can't a person be successful and also have a thing in their life that they're embarrassed by or they're troubled with? Can't that be possible?
JACKSON: No, no, no, no. Not these kind of problems. Larry, not these kind of problems. It's, like, you do so much good, it becomes good at first, but then it becomes a weapon against you. I mean, we could go back in history from those who have done good, from Mahatma Gandhi to -- on up to modern day, and why these people become a threat, or even go back to Christ. Michael is not what they're saying he is. He's a wonderful person. And those who know him, the world who has -- who have had the moment to meet him, they know what he's all about, even -- the people in America, they know who he is. And they look at this as just -- they can't believe it's gone this far. And we're going to continue to fight and we're not going to let this happen.
KING: A few other things. I know you -- you spoke...
JACKSON: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) He will be exonerated. I really feel that.
KING: You spoke to Mark Geragos after the change. What did Mark say to you?
JACKSON: Mark said to me that he was very surprised and he felt that -- see, because what happened, Larry, I spoke up because I felt that everybody was blaming me that I got rid of the legal team. And I was here doing some lecturing at some of the universities, but at the same time, I didn't know anything about it. I found out when I was called to come talk to MSNBC about me firing the attorney. How can I do that from way out here? So when I spoke to Mark, Mark said he felt that I didn't take a hand in that. But I felt that they were doing a great job. But I'll say it again, I'm not part of the legal strategy in which -- the terms that they're going to make right now. And I think -- go ahead.
KING: Was Mark disappointed?
JACKSON: He was disappointed. Mark is a great guy. He was probably surprised. He wasn't disappointed. He didn't sound disappointed to me. But as we know, he's very busy with other cases, and we're talking about my brother's life here. And I think Michael's not upset. He just feels that at this point in time, you need to do what you need to do to show the world that you're completely innocent. Completely innocent.
KING: Michael today went out of his way to thank the community of Santa Maria. Do you feel completely that he will get a fair trial?
JACKSON: Well, I'll just say this. In the past, he -- a black man has never gotten away with anything. He's -- he -- either, whether they were guilty or not, something has always worked out where they say that he's the one, he did it, this and that. Michael is totally innocent. I feel that with all the media circus that has gone on, it could play an influence on just media speaking out and saying things. Michael will get a trial that is just only because he's innocent and he has God in his life. But at the same time, all the extra circuses that are going on and all the different things that are being said -- those are the things that sort of influence the viewers, and they say, Well, maybe he is guilty. No, Michael's not guilty.
Your question, would he get a fair trial?
JACKSON: I really don't know. I really don't know. I can't say.
KING: Why haven't you rushed...
JACKSON: I can't say.
KING: With the -- when the indictment came forth -- couple of other things -- why didn't you rush home?
JACKSON: Why didn't I rush home? Well, when the indictment was handed down, I can't say before the public, but I have some very serious matters to take care of here. But I am with my brother in spirit and heart and love, and he knows that. I spoke with him, as well as Randy, and they were a little saddened that I couldn't be there. But Larry, I'm with him right now, right this moment.
KING: Do you know why none of the other brothers or sisters were there today except Randy?
J. JACKSON: Jackie was there. I saw Jackie, I think. I really don't know. I've been -- there's time zone is very, very different here, but at the same time I was happy to see my mother and father there and Randy and Jackie and some other close friends.
KING: Are you and the Jacksons, are you going to come forward? When do you come back by the way and are you going to come forward, you and family members, before this trial to take your case to the public?
J. JACKSON: Well, to answer the first part of your question, I'll tell you off camera when I'm coming back, of course, and we'll meet in private. I'll also say that we have to follow the strategy in which the attorneys are going to take, if they want us to say certain things, we will say them, which is truth.
KING: Do you know the new lawyer?
J. JACKSON: I don't know the new lawyer, but I understand that he's very strong, and he's probably taking the time to get familiar with what has taken place so far. And Michael's happy, and that's what's most important, and I think we're going to move forward and fight this.
KING: Are you planning to meet with Mr. Mesereau, the lawyer, when you do get back?
J. JACKSON: I really don't know. I will let you know if I do.
KING: Okay, thank you so much, Jermaine. Continue to...
J. JACKSON: Only you, Larry.
KING: See you back home. Michael Jackson's brother, coming to us from Bahrain. More of LARRY KING LIVE after this.
THOMAS MESEREAU, MICHAEL JACKSON'S ATTORNEY: It is an honor and privilege to be in the wonderful community of Santa Maria, where wonderful people live, including people here with us. And I want to make clear what this case is about, this case is not about lawyers or anyone else becoming celebrities, this defense is going to be conducted with professionalism and dignity at all times. This case is about one thing only, it's about the dignity, the integrity, the decency, the honor, the charity, the innocence, and the complete vindication of a wonderful human being named Michael Jackson.
GRACE: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Nancy Grace from Court TV in for Larry tonight. And would I thank you for being with us. Let me go to you, Jane Velez Mitchell. I noticed a lot of Jermaine Jackson's comments had to do with the ousting of the last defense team Mark Geragos, Ben Brafman. And I've got to say, I thought they made quite a team. Geragos: affable, likeable, knows his way around the courtroom, charming. Ben Brafman: no nonsense street fighter, gets the job done.
What does it mean, a sudden seat change. Is it a degree of erraticism to just fire your defense team, fire your security guards, then new security guards were hired, then they were fired, then a new team brought in. What does this suggest?
MITCHELL: Well, I heard, and there have been reports there was a riff between Randy and Jermaine. Obviously, they both love their brother very much, but had very different strategies. Jermaine more pro Geragos and pro Nation of Islam, Randy more pro Mesereau and pro a new security term. There was no Nation of Islam. They had another security team.
Obviously, the Nation of Islam is a controversial group and could backfire. There's only 12 people that count at the end of the day, and that's the jurors. In if that's going to cost him a lot with the jurors, maybe it's a smart move to bring in another less controversial team. It seems quite obvious.
As for Mesereau, he was reportedly Michael Jackson's first choice. I talked to someone who flew to Orlando, Florida, to meet with Jackson. Randy was there. Randy seemed to be brokering the deal. But Jackson was the one who said, I wanted Mesereau from the beginning. He was busy with the Blake case.
Now that he and Blake have parted ways, he's available and he's done a lot of work in the African-American community. He's really made his chops there. He's involved with an African-American church in South Central, he's done a lot of pro bono work with people in the deep south. He is a man who is very, very well-respected and it was Michael Jackson's decision. He was in charge of this one, I believe.
GRACE: Well, Mark Steines, it seemed like a clear swipe by the new lawyer, Mesereau, and Mesereau is no idiot. I've watched him in court many, many times. He's a great courtroom advocate. So, when he said this is not about lawyers turning into celebrities, I don't know, it seemed to me like a swipe at the last defense team. What do you think?
STEINES: Well, absolutely. He was trying to say something without saying something. I mean, look what happened last time. Michael comes up here, and does a lot of grandstanding, he's on top of his vehicle. He is late for court, he throws a party at Neverland Ranch afterwards. Who orchestrated all of that? And look what it did for him. And I think, at some point...
GRACE: Well, wait a minute, wait a minute, orchestration, what about the fake spectacles and the Brooks Brothers tie and the post arraignment pizza party. Are you buying into all of that? STEINES: Well, look, today, you know, you get people on a bus, you bring them up here, you got to feed them. As far as a pizza party, it wasn't so much a celebration, as probably a need that these people came up and they were feeding them.
What happened at Neverland Ranch last time that was a big party, on a day that you're brought in and read charges against you for molestation. I think people step back and say wait a minute who is running this thing and whose making the decisions? Because it didn't show well for Michael.
GRACE: Yes, Chris Pixley, I do have to say he had a much more subdued appearance today, apparently everything ran smoothly in the courtroom, not so last time. Why do you think the last team was thrown out?
PIXLEY: Well, I think it's difficult to know. As far as today's appearance, Tom Mesereau and Michael Jackson clearly benefited from a little bit of hindsight. I don't think anyone would dispute that the first arraignment was a disaster for Michael Jackson.
But I also think it was difficult to anticipate what he would do that day. Having received all the negative publicity that he has now...
GRACE: You're right about that, Chris. I don't think that Geragos and Brafman asked him to get on top of the SUV and dance under an umbrella with the videographer there. I agree with you on that.
PIXLEY: And Nancy, you know from talking with witnesses and dealing with clients, you will invariably tell your client or your witnesses repeatedly what not to do. And without coaching them, tell them look, this is a solemn proceeding. It doesn't mean that they listen to anything that have you to say. And I've seen very, very good people do it. And have horrible results.
LUDWIG: But Nancy, it would have been absolutely suicidal for Michael to behave like he did the last time. He was much more appropriate this time, and if people are inclined to want to believe Michael, , then how he presents himself from here on in is going to have a very powerful impact. Even the fact that he isn't wearing sunglasses. He's showing, hey, I'm not hiding anything, I can be appropriate. I'm not somebody who needs to be in the limelight and performing all the time. I can follow the rules, which is going to be a very important message the jurors are going to be looking for.
PIXLEY: And that's very true...
GRACE: And Wendy Murphy...
PIXLEY: ... but Nancy, if I could break in...
GRACE: Go ahead.
PIXLEY: ... there is one problem, still. Aside from how Michael Jackson appeared today, there is the question of whether it makes sense to play musical chairs with your counsel. And the answer there, with all due respect to Tom Mesereau, is no, it never is. And one of the interesting things is, I didn't hear Tom Mesereau say as he stepped to the podium today that he's dropping all of his other clients to serve Michael Jackson's interests.
Mark Geragos is involved in another high profile case at the moment. That goes with the territory. The truth is, any great attorney, even any good attorney, is going to have conflicts, and the question really is, what's lost in the process. Here, you've lost the benefit of a tremendous attorney who had great insight and who had knowledge of this case from the beginning. Two tremendous attorneys, but one of whom knew this case from the very beginning, and the truth is, you never know as much as the guy that was there from the get-go.
GRACE: Yeah, he will have to play catchup.
Very quickly to Wendy Murphy. Wendy, do you get a sense that the comparison to Mahatma Gandhi and Christ could come back conceivably to haunt the Jackson defense team?
MURPHY: You know, I have to believe that Jermaine didn't mean to compare Michael Jackson to those two, but, you know, he said it. He clearly loves his brother. You know, I loved Michael Jackson, too. When I was a young teenager, I picked his famous song "Ben" to be my wedding song, and I loved it until I learned it was about a rat.
But you know, Nancy, I really think that getting rid of the first team was really a good strategy. And it has nothing to do with how good or not good Geragos and Brafman were. Look, the acquittal by frenzy approach to the defense strategy in terms of the court of public opinion, which is just as important as the real courtroom, didn't work. It worked for O.J. They tried it. It didn't work for Michael Jackson. They had to cut the cord, start fresh, and in terms of what the public is perceiving, they needed a whole new tone. And when you take in that whole new approach, you get a new lawyer, who is toned down. You start wearing your glasses and your normal suits. I think the day was good for Michael Jackson.
GRACE: We are taking a quick break. We'll be right back with all of the latest regarding the indictment of the so-called King of Pop, Michael Jackson, in court today. Stay with us.
GRACE: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Nancy Grace from Court TV in for Larry tonight, and I want to thank you for being with us.
Very quickly, back to Wendy Murphy. Wendy, still in this indictment, we still don't know specifically what are these so-called lewd and lascivious acts Jackson allegedly performed with this child. It's still very, very vague. But Wendy, I did notice that in most of these counts, the lewd and lascivious counts, it states, "substantial sexual conduct with a child under age 14."
MURPHY: You know, yeah, interesting series of charges there, Nancy. The substantial sexual conduct language, I think, and maybe Chris knows better, has to do with sort of special circumstances, that if he's convicted on all four counts would mean that he could not be sentenced to probation. We don't know what kind of touching is involved. I think it's interesting that we went from seven lewd and lascivious charges down to four, and one of them is an attempt, as well. I don't know where the other ones went to.
You know, it's interesting. And we're going to find out fairly soon exactly what the details are and how they broke them down.
GRACE: What about it, Chris? What do you make of the fact that we still don't know, even after we've seen the indictment, we don't know specifically what lewd and lascivious behavior means. I mean, is it fondling, is it masturbation, is it playing an X-rated video? We really can't tell from this formal charging tool.
PIXLEY: Yeah, and we do know that that substantial sexual conduct has to be fondling, masturbation or penetration. We also know, by the nature of the charges, the initial charges, that there's no penetration, because of the charge that was brought. So we're getting these inklings of what it is, but we just can't know, and there isn't going to be any way to know this early.
I think, you know, the truth is that the defense is facing the same problem right now. They've just today received the indictment, but they don't have the transcript of the proceedings and won't have that at least until some time after May 28, so everyone's involved in a guessing game right now.
GRACE: Yeah, definitely the grand jury testimony will be very, very revealing, and of course the defense will have to have that testimony by the time of the trial in order to cross-examine those witnesses at trial that testified at the secret grand jury proceeding.
We are taking a very quick break and we'll be right back. Stay with us.
GRACE: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Nancy Grace from Court TV. Very quickly, out to you, Jane Velez Mitchell. There have been allegations swirling against the actual district attorney in this case, Tom Sneddon. What do you make of them?
MITCHELL: Well, yes, he's been accused of being too involved, of having a vendetta, of actually going himself to do certain things that would normally be done by underlings, meeting the mother allegedly directly behind the federal building, according to reports, and having a one on one with her.
Well, why not? This is a woman who is, according to our sources, terrified, very, very intimidated by this whole thing. In fact, a "Celebrity Justice" reported she wanted to pull out. After testifying before the grand jury, she and her son were so traumatized, they didn't want anything to do with this. So, of course, he has got to show his face. He's got to say I'm committed, I'm there, I'm accountable, look at me. I don't think there's anything inappropriate with him meeting face to face with her, or even snapping a photo in the private investigator's office as he was reported to have done.
This case, obviously, has to be somewhat personal to him. He was the DA back in 1993 when another grand jury met that did not result in an indictment, but rather a settlement for many millions of dollars. That's got to be frustrating. And anybody that says he doesn't have some kind of personal connection is obviously, probably, not that psychologically aware. But that doesn't mean he can't be fair.
GRACE: Very quickly, Wendy Murphy, if I had a nickel for every time I went and met a witness and sat in a car or an office or a restaurant and talked to about the case, I would be a millionaire today, much less go and snap a Polaroid picture. Am I crazy, but what's wrong with that?
MURPHY: No, but of course, you know, look, the defense's job in this case is to take every tiny little thing that happens and blow it out of proportion. That's what you do when you really don't want to argue or talk about the facts.
And Sneddon is an easy guy to dislike. He has been attacked and accused of all sorts of wrongdoing for over ten years now. The bottom line is this is a fragile family. I have no doubt the mother of this child feels terribly victimized. The family has been threatened.
When you have such a fragile set of circumstances, a young and victim, a sick victim a mother who has been through hell, have you to get involved. You have to take responsibility, meet with her and say, I'm not assigning some underling to the case of the century. I'm with you to the end. And I have no doubt that gave her great comfort, as it should have.
GRACE: Dr. Ludwig, I'm seeing this case take on a personal tenor for all the lawyers. We've seen Geragos and Brafman kicked to the curve. We see a new lawyer brought in, and they took it on the chin many, many times during the defense of Michael Jackson, the two of them, and I now guess Mesereau will. Now we see the district attorney being attacked personally.
LUDWIG: Well, it's hard to remain objective when you're so involved in the case. I think people probably feel that the district attorney can't be objective. And that's why he's being attacked. That it seems he feels strongly about Michael Jackson's guilt and will do whatever it takes to make sure that he's convicted this time around.
GRACE: What about his behavior Robi, has made you think he can't be objective and he's taking these extraordinary steps in prosecuting Michael Jackson?
LUDWIG: Well, that's the way he's been presented, whether it's true or not. we only see snippets of how he's presented in the media and creates a caricature who have he is. We don't know what he's really thinking or feeling, but this is the way he's been presented so that's why people are taking potshots at him
GRACE: And Chris Pixley, I noticed today, that Sneddon nor anyone in the district attorney's office, gave a public statement, but yet once again, the defense was out there swinging. I'm not sure if it helps or hurts them.
PIXLEY: I would have to agree, Nancy. The statements today were so brief, and I think they may have gone a little bit overboard with the praise for the people of Santa Barbara. And again, you face so many difficulties when you have a client like Michael Jackson. He's praising the people of Santa Barbara, but of course, he's told the media recently, that he'll never move back to Santa Barbara. That's what you face when you have a client of this kind.
And I tend to agree with you, it may have been best to do as the DA did and make no statement after the case or after the...
GRACE: And very quickly, Mark Steines, after reading this indictment word for word, I still don't know the particulars, the specifics of these so-called lewd and lascivious behavior by Jackson on this boy. But I do know one thing, I realize now that other people are going to be implicated in a conspiracy, where the state is alleging child abduction, extortion and false imprisonment. What do you make of it and will the case begin to mushroom, including other defendants?
STEINES: Well, obviously, it's clear today that there will be more search warrants involved, that's there's much more to be told in this case. But my question is, and maybe Chris can answer this or anyone, is this case still on course to go on trial by year's end, or after today is this pushed and we're looking at possibly a year from now?
MURPHY: Can I make one quick comment about that?
MURPHY: I don't think the addition of these charges necessarily should be described as responsible in some way for delay. And let's be clear, even before these charges were added, Mark Geragos said months ago when he was first in court, I think I'll be ready for trial in December judge.
Well look, if he's an innocent guy, if this case is such a bunch of nonsense, if Michael Jackson is really facing entirely false charges by this vindictive mother who wants money, you don't ask for a trial date in December. You say I want my speedy trial right now.
Michael Jackson today could have asked for a trial within 60 days and said instead would you mind if I didn't come back for a hearing until September? I mean, that tells you what the defense thinks of the strength of this case, not how complicated it is, how strong it is. GRACE: That's a good point. And Jane, Jackson did enter into an agreement today, where he does not have to attend many of the court proceedings.
But, one thing I couldn't help but wonder, Jane, is when I saw the hundreds of people there, holding the banners, holding the signs, the little children there cheering Jackson on, I wondered if somewhere today the alleged victim's family was watching this and what effect it's going to have on this boy.
MITCHELL: It's a very good question, I mean, what happened here today was so surreal. I think the case did take a dramatic turn.
GRACE; Oh, oh, Jane, Jane, we're going hold that thought. Guys, we have run out of time. I want to thank all of you for being with us tonight. Sorry we've run out of time. I can't thank you individually, but my big thank you to you for being with us tonight. Good night.
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