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Interview With Maria Shriver; Latest Developments in Michael Jackson Case

Aired April 12, 2005 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Maria Shriver, the first lady of California, tells all about her life with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, her father, Sargent Shriver's heartbreaking battle with Alzheimer's, and a lot more. We'll take some calls, too.
And then, will Michael Jackson's accuser's mom take the stand this week in that sensational trial, and if not, why not? And what's the fallout for the latest week's sensational testimony by former Jackson employees who say they say him performing sex acts on his 1980 -- '93, rather -- accuser. We'll get into all that with Court TV's Diane Dimond, in the courtroom today.

CNN Headline primes Nancy Grace, the former prosecutor; CNN's Ted Rowlands also in court today. High-profile defense attorney Michael Cardoza. Cynthia McFadden, ABC News senior legal correspondent and "PrimeTime Live" co-anchor. And Raymone Bain, Michael Jackson's spokesperson. All next, on LARRY KING LIVE.

KING: Fast read, what's funny?

MARIA SHRIVER, CALIFORNIA FIRST LADY: You said tells all. Tells all what?

KING: What are you going to tell all?

SHRIVER: I have nothing to tell.

KING: You have nothing to tell.

SHRIVER: I have nothing to tell.

KING: Well, thanks for coming.

Maria Shriver is the first lady of California. Her new book is "And One More Thing Before You Go." So, the obvious, before you go where?

SHRIVER: Before you go from high school to college, before you leave your childhood behind and become a young woman. It's a very defining moment in a young girl's life and in the life of her parents, particularly in her mother's life. This stems from a graduation address that I gave at a mother/daughter event, and all the mothers called and asked me for it and people called. I decided to turn it into a little book, because it's one of those moments that -- where mothers and daughters have trouble communicating. A mother is dealing with an empty nest, of letting the little girl go, the daughter is scared, but she's exhilarated at the same time. And it's a kind of 10 little life lessons as you embark on a whole new you.

KING: All your books have been big sellers.

SHRIVER: Uh-huh. Yes. Thanks to you.

KING: Does it surprise you -- you've been here for every one.

SHRIVER: That's right. I have. Good luck -- you're my good luck charm.

KING: Does it surprise you?

SHRIVER: Well, yes and no. You always are nervous that -- you think -- you hope other people like it or other people are interested in the same subject. I've tried to write books about issues. All my children's books deal with issues like death and heaven or disability or the book last year "Alzheimer's." Then the other book I wrote, "10 Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Went Out Into the Real World" was really for kids graduating from college as they went out to make their way in the real world. There are things I wish I had had before I started my career in journalism. This is a book I wish I had when I graduated from high school.

KING: Speaking of Alzheimer's, how is your dad doing?

SHRIVER: He's doing okay. I mean, I think anybody who has a parent or loved one with Alzheimer's knows that it's one day at a time, and it's tough.

KING: It doesn't get better, right?

SHRIVER: It doesn't get better. It actually gets tougher. It is tough on different people in the family in different ways. You can have the utmost respect for the spouse, in this case, my mom, and my father is an elegant, you know, extraordinary man.

KING: Classy.

SHRIVER: Classy, that's a great word. Charming.

KING: How is your mom doing with it?

SHRIVER: Well, I think it's a challenge, and I think anybody who has dealt with it will tell you the same thing. And you do the best you can. You're as patient as you can be, and you just put all your love out there and you hope that your family comes together because I think in any -- whether it's Alzheimer's or cancer, it is really a time for a family to come together, not judge who is there, who is not, who is carrying most of the burden, but to really step in and step up.

KING: Before we talk about the book and how to let go, one of the hardest things to do by the way is letting go. Not one more thing before you go but letting go. You knew this pope, did you not? SHRIVER: Yes. Well, I met this pope. I wasn't like friendly with him or anything. I met him about 15 years ago. My parents brought us to Rome. We had the honor of meeting him. When he walked into the room, it was one of those moments -- he walked in and I almost burst into tears. I could feel my eyes well up at just the sight of him. You couldn't really explain why. He walked in with his white vestments on, and he spoke to each one of us and he talked about prayer. And my father kept asking him about, what should we be praying for? Because my father's a deeply -- both my parents are deeply religious people, go to mass every single day. And are strong believers in the power of prayer. And the pope talked to my dad and to us about praying to Mary because he was obviously a huge fan of the blessed Mary.

KING: Mary was his -- they put M on the casket.

SHRIVER: Right. Oh, really? Yes. And my mother has always been fascinated by Mary, thinks she's the first kind of great woman. And so they talked about that. And I mainly stood silent and just kind of looked. I didn't say much.

KING: Very bright and very funny, too.

SHRIVER: Bright. And he transcended the job, I think he understood the medium of television. He understood the power of his presence, traveling all over the world. And I think he lived a life that so many people wish they had the ability to be that kind of a good person.

KING: As a journalist and a Catholic, what did you make of that whole scene?

SHRIVER: I wished I was there.

KING: I'll bet you did.

SHRIVER: I wished -- I was like, ooohhh, like that. Now, that's the kind of thing you live to cover. And I couldn't take my eyes off it. I thought it was fascinating. I was fascinated by the people that stood 10, 12, 15 hours with children. I made my kids come in and look at the kids standing in line because they complain when they're in line at the movies or in Disneyland. And they're like, ugh, it's 20 minutes. These are people waiting 15 hours to have that moment of going by and paying their respects. I think that was an outpouring of gratitude for a life lived at the highest level.

KING: What's first lady like?

SHRIVER: It's challenging, it's interesting, it's humbling, it's exhilarating, it's exciting, it's creative. It's all of those things.

KING: What's bad about it?

SHRIVER: It's all of those things. Well, you know, nothing -- I mean, it's really nothing to complain about given what people have to complain about. I wouldn't ever sit here and complain about being first lady of California. It's a great honor. It's great challenge. There's 36 million people, 16 million women. Very diverse. Very challenging. And it's not the role I set out to have for my life. But now that I'm in it, I try to make the best of it. I try to treat it as a job. I try to treat it with a sense of journalism. I see myself as a storyteller. I go out and try to meet as many people as possible and tell their stories and shine light on the issues.

KING: Especially women, right?

SHRIVER: Women. I've spent a lot of time shining the spotlight on the California woman, who in truth is very different than the stereotype of the California woman. I mean, we have an incredible legacy as California women, so I've championed a museum in Sacramento that got me into a little bit of trouble.

KING: Because?

SHRIVER: Well, because it was a history museum. I wanted to have it originally focus on women. And people were -- didn't like that idea. So now it's focusing a little bit on women and history and the arts. But there wasn't any focus on women. And that's what I thought was an omission.

KING: When you grew up a Kennedy, though, that goes with the territory, doesn't it?


KING: You are used to criticism.


KING: Public eye.

SHRIVER: Yes, yes, struggle. I'm a big believer -- one of the things -- I listened when I was watching the pope's funeral was somebody said they'd asked him when he had Parkinson's and he was struggling, did he think of resigning and how much was he suffering. And he said, suffering is a gift from God. And I thought that, so often people talk about their struggles and woe me or people expect to be happy. And I write about that in the book. You can't expect to be happy all the time.

And I think, you know, you gained courage and you gain wisdom from struggle. And that all the people we admire are those who have struggled, who have been criticized, who have pushed through and come out the other end. Anything you get easy isn't something I think in the end you appreciate. So I tell my kids all the time when they're saying, it's not fair. It's not fair. I'm like, no one said this was going to be fair. And you gain incredible strength and lessons from struggle.

KING: We had fun with them in Hawaii, with my little ones and yours. How old are yours now?

SHRIVER: I have a 15-year-old girl Katherine, a 13-year-old girl Christina, an 11-year-old boy Patrick and a 7-year-old boy Christopher.

KING: And they like Hawaii.

SHRIVER: And they like Hawaii. Yes, anything that takes them out of school they like. They're great kids so far.

KING: We'll be back with Maria Shriver. The book is "And One More Thing Before You Go." Don't go away.


GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: Even though I can't sing like the Beach Boys, I'm glad that my daughters are California girls. Because when they grow up, they will be California women, the best of all the rest. And when they grow up, they will be just like my favorite California woman, their mother, my partner, my best friend, our role model, California's first lady, Maria Shriver. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome my wife, Maria Shriver.



KING: We're back with Maria Shriver. "And One More Thing Before You," is her newest book.

What's the most important thing at that crucial age when the parent is letting go?

SHRIVER: I think to understand that fear is normal, fear is common. And that it can be a great motivator. And that you shouldn't be afraid of fear. I think everybody I talked to that's graduating from high school has gone through a really stressful year. Their parents have been putting pressure on them. They put pressure on themselves. They're scared. They're scared that they're scared. And I included in the book there a quote that I have above my computer from Eleanor Roosevelt that says "Do one thing every day that scares you."

And because you gain, I think, so much courage from going through things that scare you. And I think fear can be paralyzing. And I think so often, particularly young girls, think they have to be perfect and they don't do things that scare them. Because they're afraid of failing, they're afraid of making a mistake. So I really urge young women to understand that everybody's scared. I get scared. I'm sure you get scared doing things.

KING: Sure.

SHRIVER: And that that's common. And that once they know that it's something that everybody feels, and that everybody finds a way of walking through and that you do come out the other side all the time, it's OK.

KING: How do you deal with the desire to want to put them where you want them to go? SHRIVER: Well, I think that's one of the great lesson is learned from my mother.

KING: You will go to this college.

SHRIVER: Well, yes, I think my mother was a great role model, is a great role model to me. And that she always let me be who I was instead of who she, maybe, wanted me to be. Both of my parents were great that way. And I think that's a great lesson in parenting, to allow your child to do what's right for them, as opposed to what you want them to do. So every parent wants your kid to go to Harvard, Yale and Stanford. But maybe have a child wants to go to a design school or dance school or wants to take a year off and join the Peace Corps or join Americorps. And I think, that kids today are pretty savvy about what's in their gut. And if they go off and do that what's the worst thing that's going to happen, they change their mind in a year or two, and they have had that experience and they come back and do something different.

KING: Is it tougher in 2005 for a girl at 19 than it was for you?

SHRIVER: Well, I think so. I mean, I think there are a lot of choices. And there seem to be an incredible amount of pressure on young people today. I was talking to somebody today, and they were saying, I went to Georgetown, and I don't think I could probably get into Georgetown today, it's so tough and competitive. But I always try to tell, certainly my daughters, because they're older and there's a lot more pressure in high school, that I don't care if they get As or Business. I don't care if they go to Stanford or Yale. I just want them to be happy. I want them to find a passion, something that they feel passionate about. I want them to understand a world that is bigger than them, and that they have certain responsibility to that.

But, I don't -- I try not to say to them, you've got go to Stanford or Yale, because you're grandfather went to Yale. I think that's, you know, really tough.

KING: But it's hard, isn't it?

SHRIVER: It's hard. And I asked some girls at the back of the book to write what they were going through. And one of the young girls said to me, I wish that people hadn't started talking to me about college in ninth grade. that they just left me alone and let me work out the process.

KING: Girls different from boys?

SHRIVER: I don't think so. I think each have their own struggle.

KING: But this is aimed at girls.

SHRIVER: This aimed at girls, because I'm a girl.

KING: But you have a son. SHRIVER: I do. I have two sons. But I'll write for them when they get a little bit older. But I think that it's -- it's a defining moment for a boy and a girl. And I'm sure it feels different to a man when his sons graduates vs. to a women when her daughter graduates.

But I think that, I write about taking a moment to stop and have a little gratitude to your parents or the adult in your life which really made your life their business.

KING: At your level, will it be more difficult with two famous parents, and one of whom is a major political leader?

SHRIVER: Well, there's nothing we can do about it. So, I mean -- as I say to my kids, that is what it is. And you have to make your own way. And I try to kind of not ask -- you know, I try not to have them kind of involved in comparing themselves or carrying anything about their parents. I grew up with kind of feeling like, oh, there's a lot of pressure on me because of who my uncles were and my parents were. And I've tried not to do that with my kids.

KING: Our guest is Maria Shriver. The book is "And One More Thing Before You Go." We'll get in a few phone calls with Maria before she leaves us tonight, and heads back to the sunny shores of California, where she is the -- I was going to say the second most important person. Might be the first. We'll be right back.


KING: Our guest is Maria Shriver. The book is "And One More Thing Before You Go."

Some of the chapters from your book is "Keep a Childlike Quality."

SHRIVER: Curiosity.

KING: How do you tell them to keep that?

SHRIVER: Well, I think that to encourage them to ask questions. To encourage them to be child-like as they grow older. I quote my dad in there, who always kept a child-like quality about him all the way through his public life. Asking questions, learning, gaining wisdom, not making preconceived impressions of people, not labeling people. And I think that was one of my dad's greatest gifts. People always found him charming, curious. And he made people feel wonderful, because he was curious about them. So I think that that's a great quality -- just because you're going off to college doesn't mean you have to get all serious and you can't act curious and young and have fun.

KING: Your father also never had great airs about him. He was irreverent...

SHRIVER: No. He was a humble man. Because I think he has and had great faith. He was always a deeply spiritual person. And he always looked at his life as a way of doing God's work, truly, here on Earth. I mean, through his work, whether it's in the Peace Corps, Head Start. All of his...

KING: Because he made the Peace Corps.

SHRIVER: He made the Peace Corps, Head Start, Job Corps, legal services for the poor. These are all programs that had goals far bigger than himself. They were about changing the world, about changing people's lives. They were never about self -- you know, ego.

KING: Has Arnold changed?

SHRIVER: I think he's working harder probably and more continuously than he ever has. But I don't think he's changed. I think he's still the same kind of person. You know, it hasn't been that long.

KING: Is this harder than making movies?

SHRIVER: Well, I think movies, you make three months and then you go off. So it's I think definitely harder, but I think he's intellectually engaged in it. I think he's happier than when he was making movies.

KING: Really?

SHRIVER: I think he's challenged in a way he wasn't challenged before. And I think he, when you talk about having a goal that's bigger than yourself, he has a very specific goal, which is to reform California so that he can rebuild California. And in order to reform it, you have to go through a lot of difficulties, clearly. And you have to right the ship in order that you can build California for the amount of people that now live in California. This is a state that was really dealing with roads that when we had 15 million people in it; we now have 36 million people. It's a state busting at the seams.

KING: When he -- you miss broadcasting?

SHRIVER: Yeah, I do.

KING: Does he miss movies? Does he...

SHRIVER: I don't -- no, he doesn't.

KING: He never says, I wish -- no?

SHRIVER: No, but he's not a, like, looking-back kind of person. I'm much more like oh, I miss my career. And, you know, he's just focused on where he's going. As I said, he has an idea of where he wants to end up. So he doesn't worry about, like, what he's missing or what was. You know, even, the kids will say, when are you going to go back and make movies again? And we miss that. And you know, he's like, I'm doing what I want to do and I have my eye on the ball. And he doesn't go backwards.

KING: Still take the kids to school?

SHRIVER: Yeah, I do. You know, he's in Sacramento. If he's in L.A., definitely he does. And he's a great dad. He's very involved. And he checks in with them. But I think, you know, public service is certainly all-consuming. It's a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week job. And particularly in a state of California's size. So he has a lot on his plate.

KING: Another chapter you deal with is don't worry about us, we'll just sit here in the dark all alone. Explain that.

SHRIVER: That's from the parent point of view. I mean, all of -- I have so many friends who have kids who have graduated, who are graduating, and they're very much in a, I would say, crisis mode. Most of the women I know, they're crying, if the daughter is -- like it's the last time I'm going to drive here February 10th, it's the last time we'll have the spring break together. There's a lot of lasts in the last year of high school.

And I think, you know, so many of the women I know are trying to hold on to that little girl. And they're trying to kind of figure out what the relationship will become as she moves off, as she leaves home. And there is a little bit of a, like, what's going to happen to me? And particularly if it's a first and also very much so if it's the last child.

So there is -- this was really a book to make daughters, I think, stop and express a moment of gratitude to their mothers in particular.

KING: What do you remember about your first year away?

SHRIVER: I had a lot of fun.

KING: Oh, you did, huh?

SHRIVER: I had a lot of fun. But I found out that I wasn't in the college that I wanted to be at, so I transferred to Georgetown. But you know, I had a great time in college.

KING: Did you finish the first year at the other college?

SHRIVER: Yeah, I finished two years, and then I transferred to Georgetown because I wanted to study American studies, and Georgetown had a great...

KING: Was that difficult, moving?

SHRIVER: You know, I didn't think so at the time. When I look back at it, I think, gee, that must have been a little bit difficult. But you know, I didn't think so at the time. I think, you know, you're 17, 18, you're having fun, you know. I had a great time in college.

KING: Did your parents support the move?

SHRIVER: Yes, they did. My parents have supported everything I have ever done. They supported when I went into journalism, they supported me moving around the country, they supported me moving 3,000 miles away. They supported me working all the holidays when my family would get together and go away. They have been truly extraordinary human beings in my life. They are, you know, my heroes, as a man and as a woman in terms of their marriage, in terms of what they've done with their lives, in terms of their values and what they've stressed to us.

KING: Before you leave us, we have a special guest on the phone. Are you there, sir?


SHRIVER: Oh, my God.

SCHWARZENEGGER: This is Arnold. How are you, Larry?

KING: Arnold, I am fine. What -- do you have a question of the guest?

SHRIVER: Did you organize this?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I don't have a question. I just wanted to call in and to just say that Maria, you look absolutely gorgeous on television, as you always do.

SHRIVER: Thank you.

SCHWARZENEGGER: And I'm so glad that you had so much fun in college, through your college years. Because I had a good time, too.

SHRIVER: Good for you.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I just wanted to tell you, Larry, when I see my wife up there, and every day when I -- you know, as we go through our lives, I'm so proud to have married the greatest wife in the world. She's the greatest woman, the greatest mother. And now she's the greatest first lady in the history of California. So I just tell you, I'm proud of her. She's incredible, and she looks absolutely fantastic on your show. You guys are doing a great job.

KING: Governor, do you handle it well when she's criticized?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, I mean, you know, I think there is absolutely no reason that anyone should criticize her for anything, because she's perfect.

KING: Oh, you're doing good. You miss her, Arnold?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I miss her, yes, and I hope she comes home soon, because...

SHRIVER: This is so embarrassing.

SCHWARZENEGGER: ... because it's tough to be a Mr. Mom. I can tell you that. Today, I took the kids to school this morning. I had to drop all four of them off, and it was a real scramble to get their shoes together and to get their homework material together, and to drop them off like that. I can -- I understand what Maria has to go through every morning.

KING: Thank you for calling. When will you see him?

SHRIVER: I don't know.

SCHWARZENEGGER: We'll see each other tomorrow night.


SCHWARZENEGGER: OK, terrific. Well, honey, have a good time.

SHRIVER: OK, thank you.




SHRIVER: That's so embarrassing. I can't believe you did that to me.

KING: I didn't do anything. They came in and said he might call. He called. I don't -- you think I called him to set this up?

SHRIVER: I don't know. Maybe. Knowing you, you could have.

KING: I don't have an agenda like that.

SHRIVER: Oh, you are tricky.

KING: Come on, that ought to make you feel proud to have a husband extol virtues like that.

SHRIVER: This is true. Yes. I'm very proud.

KING: Does he support the book?

SHRIVER: Of course he supports the book. Yeah. He better support the book.

KING: Thank you.

SHRIVER: Thank you very much. Nice to see you, Larry.

KING: Maria Shriver and Arnold. "And One More Thing Before You Go" is the book.

The unbelievable goings-on in the Jackson case, that's next. Don't go away.


KING: Can't say it ain't interesting, what's going on in California. We welcome Diane Dimond. She's in Santa Maria, executive investigative editor of Court TV. She's been covering Michael Jackson for 12 years. In Atlanta is Nancy Grace, the host of "NANCY GRACE" on CNN HEADLINE NEWS. She's an anchor on Court TV, former prosecutor, and author of an upcoming book, "Objection." In Santa Maria is Ted Rowlands, the CNN correspondent covering the trial. In San Francisco is Michael Cardoza, the defense attorney, former Alameda County prosecutor. He's attended some of the sessions. And in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida tonight is Raymone Bain, Michael Jackson's spokesperson.

All right, Ted Rowlands, what happened today?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we heard from the alleged victim's stepfather today. And it seems as though this is just a prelude to the alleged victim's mother, who we assume is coming in the next few days if some issues can be ironed out.

Today on the stand, the stepfather for the prosecution helped with their conspiracy charges against Jackson, by saying that during the time the prosecutors say the family was being held against their will at Neverland, he received phone calls from the accuser's mother. And he said that she was upset during those phone calls and agitated. And he was brought on basically to help out with this theory, that this family was being held against their will.

This is a charge, obviously, Michael Jackson denies.

On cross-examination, Jackson's lawyer, Thomas Mesereau, concentrated on the fact that this father seemed to be -- this is what the defense is trying to portray -- that this father was looking for money, like a lot of other witnesses, because he negotiated with a tabloid, a British tabloid. He was never paid anything, but he did negotiate to sell his family's story with the tabloid.

And then when Michael Jackson went to him, to this family to help with this rebuttal video after the Bashir documentary aired, this father, stepfather, said, well, wait a minute, what's in it for the family? And he negotiated a deal or tried to with the Jackson camp. At one point, he said that they offered to pay for the kid's college education and a new house, but he said he turned it down. So Thomas Mesereau obviously concentrated on that. We are expecting the mother to testify possibly tomorrow.

KING: Cynthia, there were reports at ABC saying that she may not testify? Will she testify?

CYNTHIA MCFADDEN, ABC NEWS: My colleague, Jim Avila, this morning, Larry, reported on "Good Morning America" that there were problems with her testimony. I mean, if you ask me whether I bet they worked those problems out, I think that most of us would say they're probably going to work those out.

KING: Problems like?

MCFADDEN: Well, there are allegations that she, in fact, committed welfare fraud in a previous time. And the defense...

KING: Will bring that up. MCFADDEN: Wants to question her about that. Now, Mr. Sneddon has put a motion in front of the judge saying let's restrain the defense from asking those questions. The judge is going to rule on that tomorrow.

KING: You're entitled to ask the witness questions, aren't you?

MCFADDEN: Well, only questions that are relevant.

KING: Diane, of course we're all in a guessing game, since only 12 people are going to decide this. So in your own opinion, how is this trial going?

DIANE DIMOND, COURT TV: Well, I think it's going the state's way right now, but that's because we're in the state's case. People who try to make a prediction now -- we really haven't heard Tom Mesereau's case yet. He's got an awful lot of celebrities on the list. He's got an awful lot of people who have been very close to Michael Jackson for a lot of years. And they could be just as compelling as this part of the case. I really think it's way too early. I'm looking at the end of June at least until this case is over.

KING: Nancy Grace, is this a tough prognostication?

NANCY GRACE, HOST, "NANCY GRACE": Well, I think that it's going to be tough on both sides, Larry. And I also think that it's too soon to call the case. It is all going to boil down to a credibility contest, and this mother was a lynchpin for the state.

Now, here's the kicker. In California, if you're going to try to impeach someone's credibility, she does not have a conviction for welfare fraud. So Mesereau would have to go on a fishing expedition with questions in themselves that would be irrelevant. So it's going to be very difficult for Mesereau to do this without a conviction on the mother.

KING: Michael Cardoza, is the prosecution, in your opinion, doing a good job to this point?

MICHAEL CARDOZA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think they're doing a very good job to this point. I'll tell you what, you compare it to the Peterson case, these district attorneys are professional, they're well prepared, and they're putting on the case as any good professional prosecutor would do.

I know Sneddon has taken a lot of tough cases to trial. I was a DA in Los Angeles for two years. And I had a friend out there who moved up to Santa Maria, and he's told me a lot of cases that Sneddon takes to trial are very difficult cases, but he gets convictions. Here's another one, and he may well get a conviction in this one.

KING: Raymone Bain, as spokesperson for Michael, are you very concerned?

RAYMONE BAIN, MICHAEL JACKSON SPOKESPERSON: Larry, I can't say that we're very concerned. In fact, I spoke to Michael just before coming on. He sends his regards. I asked him just how he was doing. He's mentally and spiritually very strong. Physically, he's a bit tired now, because of the rigors of getting up in the morning. But he feels that things are going very, very well. Tom Mesereau is doing an excellent job. There's been a string of witnesses coming in and out, who lack a lot of credibility. There are also concerns on our end, Larry, that we kind of hope that many of the pundits and journalists who are out here reporting be a little bit more fair and balanced.

I mean, we have all of these salacious headlines, like Mrs. Jackson not being able to sit in court because of the lurid details, when she only went to the bathroom and because the jury had been seated she couldn't get back in court.

A lot of that wears on you, because when you hear it and you're sitting there, and you wonder, well, am I in the same courtroom as some of these journalists who are reporting this? So there are a couple of things that you know, we wish would get better. But for the most part, Michael is doing OK. He's tremendously pleased with Tom Mesereau and his defense team right now.

KING: Cynthia, does that optimism surprise you?

MCFADDEN: No, I think it's appropriate. I mean, this is a midpoint. But Larry, I have to say -- and I'd be interested to know if other panelists know anything other than this. I've never covered a case, I'm not familiar with any case where allegations of past bad acts have been introduced against a defendant, and the defendant has been able to prevail in a case of child sex molestation. The stakes have changed...

KING: You know of no history where...

MCFADDEN: Well, I'm sure there's a case somewhere, and maybe we'll get a call from a viewer who knows about it. But I have to tell you, it changes the playing field in the courtroom significantly. When you're not just defending this one case, suddenly there all are these other allegations out there.

KING: And again, you're guessing for 12 people, though.

MCFADDEN: It's tough.

KING: They may look at it completely differently than -- but...

MCFADDEN: We know it's tougher. This much we do know, it's tougher. Now, whether or not it's impossible, we don't know. But it's much tougher.

KING: We'll get the other panelists' opinion right after this break. Don't go away.


ROWLANDS: The mother said Michael Jackson convinced her to allow her son to share his bed on a trip to Las Vegas, after she said Jackson cried and asked her, quote, "don't you trust me, we're family."

The woman said Jackson ended up sleeping at her house, spending more than 30 nights. Each time she said Jackson slept with her son in his room.



KING: Let's go around the horn. Ted Rowlands, do you agree with Cynthia's analysis, that it's very hard with these prior acts coming in, for the defense to prevail?

ROWLANDS: Oh, yeah. I think it's night and day, Larry. Because what is happening, as Cynthia pointed out, Thomas Mesereau is now defending allegations from six different alleged accusers. And they're coming from all sides. You have a cook, you have a maid, you have a security guard, all claiming that they saw Michael Jackson doing this, that and the other thing to all of these different children. And Mesereau has been very effective at attacking each one of these witnesses, and breaking down their credibility on a case by case basis. But when you have an avalanche of this coming at you, it is awfully difficult to defend.

KING: Diane, does it begin to be, looks like a duck, acts like a duck, walks like duck, might be a duck? Diane, do you hear me?

DIMOND: Oh, I hear you, Larry. The sound did drop out. Yes, you know, Ted's absolutely right. Not only has his jury heard from this now 15-year-old survivor of cancer, they also heard from the maid's son, 24-years-old, a youth pastor, a real good looking kid. In fact, the two kind of look alike. Then they heard from the mother of the 1993 accuser. And there's a thread going on here, a pattern of behavior, which is why this 1108 -- it's called 1108 evidence -- is allowed in, to show a pattern of behavior. And as all your panelists are cautioning, it's up to the jury to decide if they believe this thread. But there's an awful lot of similarities.

KING: Now, Nancy, if you were the defense -- how is a defense attorney overcome this kind of thing?

GRACE: Now, Larry, you know you're asking the wrong person.

KING: No, come on. I'll tell you why, it's always good to know what the other side will do, right? Well, what would you do?

GRACE: In this case Mesereau has done it all right. He tried to keep out the similar transactions. He's trying to shred the credibility of each of the witnesses they are putting up. But back to Cynthia's original claim that it's so much harder, she's right, it is harder. But this is not unusual, Larry. In many, many child molestations you dig and you don't have to dig deep, you will find other allegations in the past. And also this is not an ambush. They knew this was coming. These are cases that Michael Jackson settled for millions of dollars. He knew this would happen. I think his biggest problem regarding the similar transactions or past bad acts, is that 24-year-old young man who was a religious youth worker and claims molestation in the past. That kid -- I call him a kid, he's 24-years-old now. But that kid was barely touched. Couldn't lay a glove on him on cross-exam. And if they should be careful of any of the witnesses, it's him.

KING: Michael Cardoza?


KING: Is we at a point where he's almost going to have to take the stand?

CARDOZA: Michael Jackson -- I think we are, Larry. Mesereau already promised he's going to take the stand, so I don't think he can go back on that promise or it's going to be handed to him by the jury when they go back and deliberate. Even though they're not supposed to talk about it, you know it's going to be in their mind. And everybody's really right about these past incidents in Michael Jackson's life. And that's why it's really the art of the defense. Mesereau's doing a wonderful job here. He's certainly up to this task. And what he has to do is push all these prior incidents aside, and somehow address those and maybe admit perhaps they didn't happen. But we're not trying that case. We're trying this particular case.

And remember what happened in this case. The victim in this case loved Michael Jackson up until the Bashir video. The family loved Jackson up until then. And then right after the Bashir video, when Jackson reaches out to them, and says, please help me here, I want to make a rebuttal video, help me. What do they say? What are you going to give us? How much money? They're not able to get money. So what do they do, and this is what the defense will argue, they go to the defense attorney or plaintiff's attorney Feldman, and they say, he molested our child, get us a quick $20 million. That will be the defense in the case. And that's what Mesereau has to do here, is focus the jury on this case and not let the D.A. bolster it with all these other incidents.

KING: Raymone, do you believe he'll take the stand?

BAIN: I think he'll do whatever his team tells him to, Larry. I think that...

KING: Does he want to?

BAIN: Well, the times that I have spoken to him, he has indicated to me that he will follow the lead of his defense team. He feels that he is innocent here. He feels that at the end of the day he will be vindicated of false charges. And I think, Larry, what Michael will do is listen to what Tom Mesereau, Brian Oxmonfeger (ph), Susan Yu will advise. And if they tell him he should take the stand, then he will take the stand. Because he's not running from anything. Michael Jackson doesn't feel like he has anything to hide. He is going to be very honest. And frankly, I don't think he'll be worried about taking the stand, because all he can do is tell the truth.

And I think that at the end of the day, that's what matters here in this case. And we haven't been seeing a lot of that. And I'm sure that some of our pundits here tonight will let you know that throughout the last several weeks, there is a big credibility issue here.

KING: On all these people? All these people have a credibility problem?

BAIN: Yes, indeed. And I think that what a lot of the people in America don't know is, everybody who has been in there owes Michael Jackson money, Larry. Michael Jackson has a judgment against him. That's true.

GRACE: That's just not true.


KING: One at a time.

BAIN: They owe him $1.6. million.

DIMOND: And the more witnesses that have come forward...

BAIN: They owe him $1.6 million.

DIMOND: The more the witnesses come forward, the more the defense has to go down to everybody else's line except Michael Jackson. There were people on the stand, Larry, that lost a lawsuit to Michael Jackson. And now they owe him $1.6 or .7 million. That was in 1996.

BAIN: Larry, everybody that's coming into court is on the 1108 motion.

DIMOND: Not everyone owes Michael Jackson money. You can not say that.

KING: I've got to get a break guys. Hold up. Let me get a break and let Cynthia (UNINTELLIGIBLE) let the other panel members get in too. Don't go away.


KING: OK, Cynthia, where do you stand on this? Does he have to take the stand?

MCFADDEN: Well, you know, after what we've seen in the last few days, Larry. I think that the defense which promised originally with the sort of a wink and a nod that Mr. Jackson was going to testify in opening statements to the jury...

KING: Raymone says, he'll do whatever they tell him.

MCFADDEN: I suspect that the defense is leaning at this point towards putting him on the stand, but it's a long way before the defense has to make that decision. And I suspect that if he does testify, everything else goes out the window. It then becomes does the jury believe him or not.

KING: Nancy, do you agree with that. If he testifies, it comes down to a matter of belief?

GRACE: It always happens that way, Larry. Once the defendant takes the stand, the whole question in the jury's mind is, was he telling the truth or not? Do we like him or not? Do we believe him or not? It shifts everything once the defendant takes the stand. And I would like to point out that just because Tom Mesereau said it in opening statements does not make it so. Four things already he promised in openings have been disproved by state's witnesses. I take great issue with saying that everybody that has testified for the state owes Jackson money. That is not true.

BAIN: That's not what I said. I said the majority of them that are coming into court under the 1108 motion owes Michael Jackson money. That's what I said.


GRACE: You know what?

BAIN: That is true.

GRACE: It's just not true. It's just not true.

BAIN: I also want to point out...


KING: One at a time.

GRACE: ... regarding whether he'll take the stand. Here is the toss of the coin. Jackson is incredibly charismatic, but he'll have to live down the Bashir documentary. And think about it, Larry, the man came to court in his pajamas.


GRACE: He's not going to take the stand. He can't take the stand.

BAIN: And there was a bench warrant issued for his arrest.

KING: All right, one at a time. Michael.

CARDOZA: Larry, I can just imagine right now that in making this decision -- and one thing that Nancy's right about is they don't have to make up their mind whether they're going to put him on right now or not. Mesereau did indicate they were going to, which I think was a mistake, but notwithstanding that, they've got to be running through many mock cross-examinations with him.

And I'll tell you, if I were defending him, I would be on the edge of my chair the entire time Jackson was on that witness stand. I can just imagine Sneddon is going to go after him. It's going to be unbelievable. He'll keep him on there for days. And we all know Jackson is spoiled. So when he gets up there, if he doesn't like something, he doesn't get to walk off that witness stand.

GRACE: He'll never make it, Michael.

CARDOZA: I don't think...

GRACE: They'll never let him (ph).

CARDOZA: I agree with you. I don't think he'll make it either. And that's why I'm saying I'd be on the edge of the chair.

BAIN: Well, I disagree with all of you. Because if Michael Jackson has to take the stand -- Michael Jackson has been in this business for 41 years. He's no idiot. He's very articulate. He's very brilliant. He's very bright. And I think maybe you all will be surprised, because I don't know what impression -- well, yes, I do...

GRACE: Well, I agree...


BAIN: I do know what impression a few of you have of Michael. But I think that if Michael Jackson, the decision is for Michael Jackson to take the stand, I think you will all be surprised. I don't think -- I think like any other defense witness, Larry, OK, it will be give-and-take between the prosecutor and the defendant, but Michael Jackson is no slouch. And I think that at the end of the day, they're going to be very surprised at Michael Jackson.

KING: Let me get a break. When we come back, we've got more to come. Don't go away.


KING: Let's get one call to get into this. Port Richey, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Yeah, hi, good evening, Larry. This is for anyone to ask -- answer. With all these allegations against Mr. Jackson, will this jeopardize the custody of his children being with him?

KING: Diane, do you know?

DIMOND: Well, it could. Very obviously, there's a custody case going down in Los Angeles now because his ex-wife, Debby Row, apparently wants his two oldest children back. I can't think that this helps in any way, especially if he is, in fact, convicted.

KING: Michael?

CARDOZA: Well, if he's convicted, he's going to go to state prison. He'll be there for 20 plus years. Of course, it is going to affect the custody of the children, and they probably will be given back to Debby Row, the mother.

KING: Nancy, is prison automatic in a pedophile case?

GRACE: Well, a lot of times, no, but in this case, if he's convicted, he's going to jail. And the issue, Larry, as to whether he will take the stand, I can tell you right now, Jackson can never hold up. His spokesperson is correct. He's articulate, he's talented, he's brilliant in the music world. But his behavior and demeanor in court, he's not even on the stand yet. He would be destroyed on cross, Larry.

KING: As a popular person, Cynthia, don't you think most people want these charges to not be true? He's entertained so many millions for so many people for so many years, don't you think the gut feeling is I hope this is all going away?

MCFADDEN: Nobody could want this to be true. I mean, if these allegations are true...

KING: You'd have to be sadistic to want them to be true.

MCFADDEN: It's horrific. But you know, I think your point is that I think maybe some of the jurors are sort of rooting for him secretly.

KING: It might well happen, right?

MCFADDEN: It might well happen, and I think that's a fair point. I mean, you know, you hate to think that Michael Jackson may have in fact committed these crimes.

KING: Ted, is this jury very attentive?

ROWLANDS: Oh, clearly, yeah. They are following along very attentively. And they're taking notes most of the time. I think this is a jury that is very well aware of what they are charged with, and that is to make a very difficult decision at the end of the day, and they are concentrating and doing a very good job of staying awake.

The schedule is very difficult, because there are no long breaks, but they're doing a very good job, it looks like, from my vantage point.

KING: Raymone, do you have faith in the system? Do you think the jury will out?

BAIN: Oh, I do have faith in the system. And I think Michael does as well, and I know Tom Mesereau and his defense team do, Larry. And we just think that at the end of the day -- I keep saying that -- we'll prevail, because I do know that Michael Jackson is innocent. And I can say this. I am under the gag order. But the judge has allowed Michael Jackson to say that he is innocent. So therefore, I'm not violating any gag orders by saying that. And the judge has given him permission to do so.

KING: But no, we don't know anything, Raymone. You weren't there, I wasn't there.


KING: We don't -- you think you know, you don't know.

BAIN: I don't know. But I do believe when Michael Jackson says he is innocent, he is, Larry. And I think that his defense team is going to prove that. They haven't even started their own case yet.

KING: Cynthia, do you expect some surprises from the defense?

MCFADDEN: Oh, nothing would surprise me at this point really, Larry. Only a no surprise would be surprising. But I would just point out to viewers, to keep an eye on the strategy of the prosecution, which I think has been quite interesting in having two mothers already testify in advance of having the accuser's mother in this case take the stand.

KING: Why?

MCFADDEN: Because I mean, I think one of the normal things as a regular person, you think is how could any mother let this happen to her kid? If she thought things were so desperately bad at Neverland, why would she allow him to go into Michael Jackson's room? Why would she allow him to sleep there night after night? And now the jury has heard from two other mothers, who allowed the same thing to happen. And I think that will help the prosecution in this case.

KING: Nancy, how much longer will this trial take?

GRACE: Oh, well over a month. Everything in California takes longer than anywhere else in the country. And I think Mesereau, you know, a lot of times defense attorneys promise a lot in the opening and it never happens. I think Mesereau is going to mount a serious defense.

KING: Do you agree with that, Diane?

DIMOND: Oh, absolutely.

KING: Vigorous defense?

DIMOND: A vigorous defense. He's vigorous in cross-examination. He's really interesting to watch. And this jury watches everything. I tell you what, tomorrow, when I believe the mother will -- the mother of the accuser will take the stand, I'm going to be watching juror No. 12. She's a welfare eligibility officer, and if this mother, if any of that testimony comes in about welfare fraud and what she did with some of these checks, putting them through her boyfriend's account, I'm going to be watching juror No. 12 in the front row, because she's going to have a definite opinion about someone who would do that.

KING: Thank you all very much. Diane Dimond, Nancy Grace, Ted Rowlands, Michael Cardoza, Cynthia McFadden and Raymone Bain. Earlier, of course, Maria Shriver Schwarzenegger, the first lady of California.

Tomorrow night, another former first lady. Queen Noor of Jordan.

You know, we have a queen -- I may be named King, but at CNN, we have royalty. And royalty is next. It's "NEWSNIGHT" time with Aaron Brown somewhere down the hall.

AARON BROWN, HOST, "NEWSNIGHT": Yes, it is down the hall.

KING: Mr. Brown.

BROWN: And yet, you didn't come to see me again today.

KING: I'll see you next week in California, won't it?

BROWN: Right. I have to come all the way to California. Thank you, Mr. King. I'll talk to you tomorrow.


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