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Legal Analysis of Michael Jackson Trial

Aired May 9, 2005 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Michael Jackson's defense has began in his molestation trial and continues on with his friend, Macaulay Culkin, expected to testify this week. Will Jackson himself also take the stand?
We'll have the latest with Jane Velez-Mitchell of "Celebrity Justice," inside that courtroom today, as was defense attorney Michael Cardoza. Also with us is Stacey Honowitz, assistant Florida state attorney who specializes in sex crime and child abuse cases. Defense attorney Trent Copeland. Former prosecutor Chuck Smith. And Michael Jackson's spokesperson, Raymone Bain. All next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Before we start, the usual quick disclosure. Yes, I've been subpoenaed by the defense in the Michael Jackson case, and no, I cannot talk about it, covered by the judge's gag order in the trial.

Let's get on with the show. Jane Mitchell, what happened today?

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, CELEBRITY JUSTICE: Well, Larry, a parade of Neverland employees took the stand and scored some big points for Michael Jackson. First of all, they said they never saw any inappropriate activity between the superstar and young boys. They also said that this accusing family had many, many opportunities to leave Neverland despite the fact that they said they were being held against their will. They used examples like shopping trips and a trip to the dentist's office. And finally, they painted a very, very unflattering portrait of this accusing family, saying the boys were very, very disruptive, did graffiti and things of that nature at Neverland. And they also said the mother tried to get a job as a housekeeper at Neverland, saying she needed money.

KING: Stacey Honowitz, how damaging to the prosecution all of this?

STACEY HONOWITZ, ASSISTANT FLORIDA STATE ATTORNEY, SPECIALIZES IN SEX-CRIME AND CHILD-ABUSE: Well, Larry, let me tell you something, I mean, what else could you possibly expect from Michael Jackson's people but to now come into court and say all these horrible, nasty things about the accuser and the family? The prosecution was able to cross-examine these witnesses and was able to figure out what kind of motive or bias that they might have. I mean, that's really the basis of -- that's why you call a witness. You investigate the other side to find out what kind of dirt you have on them. And that's what the prosecution did.

There was some dirt on these people. One had been fired by Michael Jackson, one had been trespassing. And it's interesting to me that one of the biggest witnesses to come forward was someone who said that these kids ran wild, they were destructive. But Jackson himself is the first one to tell you, come to my ranch, do whatever you want, you have carte blanche, and then he's upset when they're destructive and they act like boys. So I don't think the defense had such a great day in court.

KING: Michael Cardoza, it's really up to what 12 people think. Right? So we're just surmising from our own viewpoints.

MICHAEL CARDOZA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I'll tell you, yeah, it is up to the 12 people. And remember who has the burden of proof here. It's the prosecution.

Today was an interesting day. I'll tell you, it was one of the most boring days I spent in this trial. The defense is very tediously going through their evidence. And you know, it's their case to lose right now from what happened in the prosecution's side of the case. And I'll tell you, it took almost all day to get to maybe three points.

I think one of the salient points was when the manager of Neverland got on the stand and he said, remember that note in the book up front that said, don't let the accuser off Neverland? Well, they said, look, the reason that note was up front was because he was messing around with the golf carts and we didn't want him to go off the property. And that actually came from the head of the security there.

But in fairness to the district attorney, the head of security, when asked, would you bring your children to Neverland and let her partake of this? She said, no, I wouldn't bring my children here, not to let them do what was going on at Neverland. That hurt the defense today.

KING: Chuck Smith, what do you do with the dilemma -- and there will be judge's instructions -- what if, as a member of the jury, you think Michael Jackson has harmed children, but you're not sure they've proven this case?

CHUCK SMITH, FORMER PROSECUTOR: You know, Larry, that's always a copout when I hear jurors say, well, I think he did it, but it just wasn't proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

The truth is, and what the prosecutor has to hone in on with the jury is, if you think he did it, that's because he did do it. And you must have the courage to say those words "guilty." And that's the way it must happen.

If I can make also this point about this trash-the-victim testimony we heard today. The prosecution can turn that around on the defense. The prosecution can say, you know, in some ways Michael Jackson chose his victims well. He chose his victims because they are flawed people, because they are not the normal, well-adjusted children with the normal, well-adjusted mother who would never put her child in that situation. So you can defuse the attacks on her, the attacks on her children in that fashion by arguing that they are, in some ways, the perfect victims.

KING: Trent Copeland, what do you do if you sincerely as a juror believe that Michael Jackson is a threat to children, but they haven't proven this case. What do you do?

TRENT COPELAND, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you know, look, I disagree with Chuck. I don't think it's a copout to say the prosecution hasn't proven the case beyond a reasonable doubt. I think that's honoring our judicial system.

I mean, look, they may think that Michael Jackson might have molested this young -- this young victim. They may think that Michael Jackson has engaged in inappropriate behavior and conduct with these other alleged victims. But if the prosecution doesn't prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, then you honor the justice system by saying...

KING: What if in your mind, they've proven it with regard to the previous cases, but not this one?

COPELAND: That's an excellent question. I think, again, you've got to really listen to the judge's instructions. He's going to tell this jury, listen, the fact that you may believe that the prosecution proved their case by way of the 1108 evidence, that is those previously alleged victims, the fact that you may believe that he committed molestation against those doesn't necessarily mean that he committed it against these boys. It makes it easier for you to believe that, but it isn't solid evidence that he committed this crime against this particular victim. So again, I think the prosecution -- they're going to have a tough time with this. I think it continues to be a defense case, as Mike Cardoza indicated a moment ago. It is still the prosecution's case to lose. I think the defense can win this case.

KING: Jane Velez-Mitchell, when do we expect Macaulay Culkin to testify?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, first reports were that he was going to testify today. And of course, he did not show up today.

Our sources are telling us that it's still possibly up in the air. With this case, nobody can predict what's going to happen from moment to moment. And some sources are saying that he may be getting cold feet because he saw what happened with the two other young men who testified, kicking off the defense case last week. And yes, they said nothing happened inappropriate between me and Michael Jackson, but in the process they had to talk about how many times they slept with Michael Jackson. And it was many, many times, too many times to count.

And that in itself was disturbing enough. And then they were grilled by prosecutors, shown adult material that was seized from Neverland and asked questions like, would you allow an adult man to sleep with a young boy who possessed these kinds of material? And so it was extremely uncomfortable. Why would Macaulay Culkin want to put himself through that? That is a question he may be asking himself tonight. So we'll have to see. He may show up Wednesday -- then again, he may not.

KING: Michael Cardoza, is he under subpoena, or is he just a voluntary witness?

CARDOZA: I understand he's under subpoena. And if he's under subpoena, he has to be there. But you've got to be careful with that, especially on the defense side. Because if you tell someone, all right, I've got you under subpoena, be here -- boy, they can turn on you like a snake in that courtroom, and it could come to bite them. So they've got to be very, very careful.

Now, getting back to what Chuck was talking about -- you know, Larry, and I've said this time and again, therein is the problem with this case. Because you know there have got to be some jurors that look at that 1108 testimony -- and remember how that works, the jury looks at that and decides by the preponderance of the evidence -- not beyond a reasonable doubt, but by a preponderance -- do they believe that. If they believe that 1108 evidence, then they have to ask themselves from that, can they draw an inference that Michael Jackson has a proclivity to commit child molestation? If they draw that inference, then they take that inference and put it with all the other evidence in the case, and then they decide beyond a reasonable doubt.

But I'll tell you, when I prosecuted and talked to jurors after, and through my life as an attorney, there are people out there that might come to the conclusion Michael Jackson's a child molester, because they believe the 1108 evidence, and they'll be darned if they're going to put him back on the street to molest another child. They will to themselves think, you know, they didn't prove it here, but I don't care about that, and that is the dilemma that the defense faces in this case. And it's a tough one.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with more. We'll also be including your phone calls. Don't go away.



KING: We're back. Raymone Bain, we've now made connections with her, Michael Jackson's spokesperson in Santa Maria. The defense is under way. She told us many times, once this started, we will see the other side. How's it going from your point of view, Raymone?

RAYMONE BAIN, MICHAEL JACKSON'S SPOKESPERSON: Well, I think it's going as expected, Larry. Several people have indicated how boring it was today, and I think Tom Mesereau is strategically putting his witnesses together. In fact, I told him, I said, I'm sure I'm going to be asked, tonight, a long list of questions. And he said, well, Raymone, tell them I appreciate that, but just let me have this case in the courtroom, and I don't want to give all of my strategy out to the whole world.

But I think, Larry, that things are going well. Michael feels good about where things are right now, and we're just looking forward to Tom presenting his entire case.

KING: Does Michael have bad days?

BAIN: Well, he had a bad one today, actually. He wasn't feeling well at all.


BAIN: He showed a lot of discomfort in court, and during the break, I asked him if he were okay, and he told me he was not. He wasn't -- this was not a good day for him, physically, at all.

KING: Stacey Honowitz, can any witness for the defense be asked if they would let their children stay over at Michael Jackson's place?

HONOWITZ: Well, sure they can. I mean, it was actually asked in court today. Well, I don't know if it was actually today. But they did ask witnesses about having people stay at Michael Jackson's house. I mean, this is really a big issue in the case. It's been brought out in court already that all these kids slept over, and really, the theory of the defense is, just because he let boys sleep in his bed, doesn't mean that he ever molested them. So, certainly you should be able to ask somebody if you would allow Michael Jackson -- or you would allow your child to sleep in a bed with Michael Jackson.

KING: Do you agree, Trent?

COPELAND: No, I disagree. I don't think it's a relevant question. I think those people that Stacey's referring to who testified to that, were people who had percipient knowledge as to the environment at Neverland Ranch. Look, you know, the mother of the two Australian boys understood what happened at Neverland Ranch. They were percipient witnesses to what went on there. The maid who testified today was also asked that same question. It's because they were there.

Look, when you testify, for example, in this case, I don't think it's a fair or relevant question to ask you whether or not you'd allow your children to testify there. It's simply an irrelevant question to...

HONOWITZ: I'm not saying that they wouldn't object.

SMITH: I disagree, Trent.

HONOWITZ: I'm not saying that they wouldn't object that it's irrelevant. I'm not saying an objection wouldn't come in. But I think, because of all the issues that surround this case, and what's come out so far, I think this judge would let that question in.

COPELAND: It is not an appropriate question.

SMITH: I agree.

COPELAND: I don't think it's an appropriate question. I don't think it's a relevant question, as to whether or not, someone who's not a percipient witness to the environment at Neverland Ranch can be asked to testify as to whether they would let their own children stay there.

KING: Chuck Smith, what do you think?

SMITH: But -- I think Trent's wrong, because if these people, like Elizabeth Taylor come in, Macaulay Culkin, you know, these other witnesses, and if they say anything at all positive about Michael Jackson's character, and, certainly, we expect them to do that, that makes it fair game for the prosecution to ask them that precise question.


COPELAND: Well, then, I agree with you. But that's a character issue, Chuck. It is not a percipient, factual issue.

SMITH: But what else are these -- what else are witnesses testifying about?

COPELAND: It's only if -- it's only if the defense opens the door to these character issues. It's not a question as to factually percipient issues. It just isn't.

SMITH: I think it's (INAUDIBLE).

KING: Michael Cardoza, where do you stand?

CARDOZA: Well, I'll tell you what, today that evidence did come in with the head of security. I don't think it should have and in fact, the defense objected. The judge sustained it. The D.A. asked the question a little bit different way, and I've seen attorneys do that a lot. You know, the judge sustains one question. Well, let me change it up a little and ask it another way. And the D.A. did, and there it went, boom, right in.

I didn't think it was relevant either. I absolutely agree with Trent. I agree with Chuck -- if character's opened up, but it wasn't opened up here, Chuck. It wasn't opened up. But, you know, right or wrong, it's before this jury now, and I don't think it will come in with any other witnesses because they're not going to open up that character evidence. Earlier I said, you know -- I'm sorry.

KING: Go ahead, Michael.

CARDOZA: What I was saying was, earlier, I said, today was really boring, and the problem with a boring day like this, for the defense is, they had about four or five really salient points to get out in front of the jury. But I'm telling you, they were putting people to sleep in the courtroom, and when they bring out those points, it slides over the head of the jurors. I was watching those jurors. They were nodding off, as was half the audience. I tell you what, the defense better step it up and get to their points a whole lot more quickly tomorrow.

HONOWITZ: Michael, that's why it's all going to come down to closing argument in this case. You know that. These testimony's gone on...

CARDOZA: I agree with that.

HONOWITZ: ...for so long, the points are so tedious, they're not going to remember things. This whole case is going to come down to how persuasive the prosecution or the defense is in closing arguments.

KING: Raymone, do you know when...

CARDOZA: I absolutely agree with you.

KING: Raymone, do you know when Macaulay Culkin's going to testify?

BAIN: I don't know, Larry. I know he is going to, but I don't know yet when. I posed that question to Tom, and he said that, right now, he is trying to bring out more information in court, but that, at the appropriate time, Mr. Macaulay Culkin would be coming in. So, I don't think it's a issue of whether or not he is, I think it just depends now on when Tom Mesereau feels it is the right time for him to come in.

KING: Jane, will that be a big media day?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, it's going to be huge. Macaulay Culkin is a big star, obviously. And also, I think he's going to be able to connect with the jury in ways that perhaps these first two young men were not able to. He's a communicator. He's charismatic. He knows how to make a point. So, I think it's going to be a huge day in a lot of ways.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with more. We'll be including your phone calls in a while. Don't go away.



KING: If you were a character witness, would you appear?

MACAULAY CULKIN, ACTOR: I guess so, but I don't -- probably not. I mean, like I said, it's crazy. And I don't really want to be a part of it, you know.

KING: But you like him.

CULKIN: I like him and he's a friend of mine. I'm not saying I wouldn't do something like that, it just hasn't been brought up, you know, brought up to me. And I don't think he would want me to either, just because, like I said, you know, if the same thing was happening to me, I wouldn't want him to do it.

KING: What reaction has happened to you from all of this?

CULKIN: What do you mean?

KING: I mean, people, how do -- do people inquire of you a lot about it?

CULKIN: Sometimes, yeah. I mean, you know, people always have like their opinions, and they always, you know, it's -- I mean, people always talk to me about him, because, you know, I'm one of these people who will tell you anything about my life, really, if you get me going, you know. And so, yeah, I mean, I freely and openly talk about him and stuff like that. But overall, he's just a good friend of mine.

KING: But you wish him well?

CULKIN: Yes, of course I do.


KING: Jane Velez-Mitchell, what's the makeup of this jury? Tell me about Santa Maria.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Santa Maria is a rural agricultural community. This is not a place where you're going to see people with a lot of purple hair and nose rings and that sort of thing. I mean, these are farmers. These are really salt-of-the-earth people, and that's the jury that we're seeing here. Most of them are parents. There are several Latinos. There is one African-American alternate juror. These are, I think, very conscientious people. They show up every day, they've been on time. Nobody has called in sick. I think they're giving it their all. And boy, they've been asked to do a lot. This is no easy task.

KING: Trent, is that a prosecution-oriented concept that she just described that group?

COPELAND: It is. And it is a prosecution-oriented panel. Look, I mean, Vandenberg Air Force base is very near there. You know, a lot of these jurors work for the military or have family that work for the military.

KING: So you've got to be correct.

COPELAND: Really -- you know, and Jane is right. I mean, you know, I've watched this jury, and they are hard-working jurors. I don't know that I've ever seen a group of jurors that take more notes than this jury. And you know, this is a prosecution-oriented panel, I think. A very, very agrarian and rural salt-of-the-earth people.

KING: Raymone, does that concern Michael and his defense team?

BAIN: You know, it does not, Larry, because Tom Mesereau has indicated that he couldn't find what he thinks is a better group of people to judge Michael. And Michael is from around these areas. And everywhere I have gone and everywhere he's gone, Larry, people have said, oh, we love you, tell Michael hello. They tell him the same thing. There are some good people here. And he and Tom Mesereau are just looking for them to look at the facts and to make a determination based on all of the facts. And he feels that when they do that, they're going to find him innocent of the charges. But no, he is not fearful at all. This is home for him. He doesn't live far from here. So he's very accustomed to being in this area.

KING: Chuck, as a prosecutor, do you like the makeup of this jury?

SMITH: Oh, I absolutely would. And everything that I've heard certainly indicates, and my experience tells me, that's a very prosecution-oriented part of our state. I've tried cases down in Santa Maria. I chuckled a bit when I listened to Raymone put the positive spin on it, and of course, she has to and the defense has to look at it that way.

But the fascinating thing about jury trials is, it's not the community. It's those 12 people. And none of us can read those 12 people. You don't get a running scoreboard in a jury trial which confounds us trial lawyers. We may think we're far ahead, and we're not. It really comes down to those 12 folks. But what Trent said, what Michael said about that jurisdiction is just very, very true. That does not bode well for Michael Jackson. Is's not Los Angeles, it's not Oakland, it's not San Francisco. It's not where he would want to be.

KING: But Michael, you cannot forecast the jury...

BAIN: Larry?

KING: Hold it. Raymone, what were you going to say?

BAIN: But it's his home, and this is his community. And he's said on several occasions, he loves the people here and he loves living around here. And I think that they'll find out at the end of the day how things are going to work out.

HONOWITZ: But Larry, he might be a member of the community, but he's different from these people. He's different from a lot of people. But especially a jury like this. It is a prosecution- oriented jury. But he's celebrity. He's worldwide. He's well-known. These people come to the courthouse, there's throngs of people outside. So Raymone can say as much as she wants this is his home, but these aren't his people. And as Chuck said before, with a jury trial, lawyers, we never know. We can be standing in front of a jury during closing argument, they're nodding their head up and down, and 15 minutes later they come back with a not guilty. So we can try to read it as much as we want and just hope that they listen to the facts, listen to the evidence, and apply the law and, you know, come out with a fair and just verdict.

KING: Every trial lawyer worth his salt, Michael Cardoza, every trial lawyer worth his salt has always told me you can never forecast a jury verdict.

CARDOZA: I tell you what, I've been doing this for 30 years. I bet I've tried over 250 jury trials. There is no way you know what a juror is thinking. I'll tell you one thing that surprised me -- and maybe it didn't surprise me. One of the jurors I've talked to -- juries I've talked to after I got a verdict, two of them were standing there, and they said, you know, I thought -- to each other -- I know I thought you were thinking this during the whole trial. We go into the jury room, and you said the exact opposite of what I thought you were thinking.

So even the jurors don't know what the other jurors are saying. You know, but what's interesting here is, I don't know if everybody knows this, they have three 20-year-olds on this panel, not -- between 20 and 30, only one 30-year-old, three 40-year-olds, and then it goes two 50-year-olds, two 60-year-olds and one 70-year-old. So certainly, they go across the board in age. And I'm wondering how all those age groups -- because remember, they all think differently, they come from different generations, especially those three that are between the 20 and 30 age group. It's going to be interesting to see if they can work together.

KING: Trent, this could be hung, couldn't it?

COPELAND: Yeah. I mean, you know, look, if there was a case that was, you know, tailor-made for a hung jury, with these jurors, you know, albeit working very hard, very diligently trying to reach a verdict, could not reach a consensus, this is that case. I mean, there are so many pieces of evidence that could cut either way. And the judge is going to tell this jury, look, I want you to work as hard as you can, but if you can't reach a decision, you cannot reach a consensus, then, you know, you let me know then. I think, you know, this could very well be that kind of case.

KING: What concerns -- Raymone, what concerns you the most?

BAIN: Well, what concerns all of us is the fact that, you know, we're hoping that people will just be patient and let all of the facts come out. The defense has been arguing its case now for about three days. And so we're confident, Larry, that when all of the facts come out...

KING: I know that. But what are you concerned about?

BAIN: ... it won't be a hung jury.

KING: What are you most concerned about?

BAIN: Well, most concerned about the physical wear and tear that it's having on Michael. It is -- his schedule is pretty vigorous. And I'm just hoping that his back and his health will hold up throughout the trial because he was not...

KING: Any danger it might not?

BAIN: Well, no. I mean, you know, back pains are excruciating sometimes, and today he was not feeling well.

KING: We'll take a break, and when we come back we'll include your phone calls. We'll re-introduce our panel as well. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE.

You know, "Everybody Loves Raymond," one of the great sitcoms in the history of this media is in its waning days, its last year. Voluntarily, by the way, not because of ratings. The cast will be on tomorrow night. We'll be right back.



KING: Reintroduce our panel. In Santa Maria, Jane Velez- Mitchell, correspondent with "Celebrity Justice." She's been covering the Jackson trial.

Also in Santa Maria is Michael Cardoza, defense attorney and former Alameda County prosecutor. Both were at the trial today.

In Miami, Stacey Honowitz, assistant fraud state attorney, sex, crimes and child abuse.

In Los Angeles is Trent Copeland defense attorney.

In San Francisco is Chuck Smith. Chuck is the former San Mateo County prosecutor and currently in private practice.

And in Santa Maria is Raymone Bain, spokesperson for Michael Jackson.

And we go to Alexandria, Virginia. Hello.

CALLER: Good evening.


CALLER: My question is if Michael Jackson is convicted of these charges, what would be the likelihood of this case being overturned due to the admittance of the 1108 evidence? And if that does happen, what do your panelists think about Michael Jackson relationship would be children if the case is overturned due to the admission of the 1108 evidence.

KING: Michael, that's far down the road, but what do you think?

CARDOZA: If he is convicted and if it does go up on appeal, there's a real good chance that it might be reversed. Because that's such fertile ground on appeal, especially with some of the appellate courts here in California. And I didn't hear the second half of his question. I'm sorry.

KING: I think the second half dealt with what would happen to him if it were reversed? What would his stature in the community be if they were convicted and then reversed?

CARDOZA: I got to tell you, you know, one of the things that I thought about all through this trial, remember, Tom Sneddon, the district attorney here, is running out. He's going to run again in this county. He's been looking and he's had Michael Jackson in his crosshairs since '93/'94 when that other case settled for what the $20 million. So here we come to 2005. And I'll tell you what, I got to think at some point and Sneddon's got to be thinking, even if I lose this case I'm certainly dirtying up Michael Jackson. I'm giving a lot of people pause to think about him. Basically he could be ruining Michael Jackson. So this has a very deleterious effect on him.

KING: Stacey, would you think that way?

HONOWITZ: Well, as to the first part of the question, I agree with Michael. This 1108 evidence is the exact reason why people -- it goes up on appeal and there's good grounds to reverse. And it's very difficult evidence for the appellate court to look at. But with regard to his stature if he gets convicted, listen the waters had already been dirtied and muddied way before this case ever got to trial.

After the '93 case and the allegations that came forward afterwards, Michael Jackson's career and his life has never been the same. So even if he's acquitted on these charges, which the likelihood, I guess, is varied. You could say it's 50-50 at this point whether he'd be acquitted. His career and his situation with children should be over, because if he is acquitted, maybe she should learn a lesson from something like this. So as far as his life, his career, his music, I don't know what that's going to be like. I think that's already a problem. But as far as him taking children on tour, finding children to bring to his house, I think it's time to put an end to that.

KING: Yes, that's over.

Trent Copeland, what would you be concerned about if you were the defense here.

COPELAND: Well, look, I know that Raymone found it difficult to say anything that she'd be concerned about. But I am a defense lawyer, I am concerned, Larry. And I'm concerned not just about the evidence that coming in the case. And lawyer here on the panel will tell you, that a defense lawyer's position is not just to be concerned about what pieces of evidence come in, but also you're concerned about the psychology in the courtroom.

You want to condition this jury to understand and to believe and to accept your version of the facts. And I'm concerned, if I'm Tom Mesereau, I am concerned about the psychology in this courtroom, particularly in as much as it has been affected by those two Australian boys who had to come into the courtroom and who had conceded -- one of whom conceded that he had slept with Michael Jackson for 365 days.

Now, whether Michael Jackson molested him or not, and the facts simply in my view have not borne out that he did. The reality is that clearly must have impacted this jury. I mean, you don't leave this courtroom having heard that, that a grown man wanted to sleep with someone 365 days. I mean, sometimes traveling salesmen don't sleep with their wives for 365 days of a year. The truth is that there's a problem here. And that is a psychological problem that this jury has to face and reconcile.

KING: Chuck Smith, the great lawyer, before we talk another call, the lawyer Edward Bennett Williams was a dear friend of mine. He told me once that the trial lawyer has only one goal -- put the jury in the client's shoes. If you can put the jury in your client's shoes, you walk. Can they do that in this case?

SMITH: Well, sure, they can. And I share with you great admiration for Edward Bennett Williams. He's one of my heroes. The book about him, "The Man to See," was one of the great books. Every lawyer should read it. But that's what they have to do. But I think and we heard earlier, a couple of our panelists will say, this case will come down to closing argument, I disagree. The case, I think, will come down to Michael Jackson, who I believe is going to testify. His attorney Tom Mesereau certainly said that in his opening statement, suggested that Michael was going to testify. Michael can win it, and obviously, Michael can lose it. That's what it's going to come down to. But Michael -- if Michael comes across well, he does precisely what you described. He allows the jury to put themselves in his shoes and see from the defense standpoint, the injustice of all of this. But if he doesn't and they dislike him, very easy to convict.

KING: We'll be right back and get right back to more calls. Don't go away.


KING: We're back. Monticello, Kentucky. Hello.

CALLER: Yes, good evening, Larry.


CALLER: Nice to hear you again. And I watch you every night. You're very informative.

KING: Thank you. What's the question?

CALLER: I would like to know what the significance of the umbrella is? And also, I would like to know if Michael has much back trouble? I have back trouble also.

KING: Yes, he has back trouble. But what's the umbrella about, Raymone?

BAIN: It's for security purposes, Larry, and I've been swarmed by his head of security that I will not say anything about that. But let me just say it's not just for the sun, but it's for security purposes.

KING: There's a gun in it or something?

BAIN: Well...

KING: That fires pellets? BAIN: Well, Michael has -- Michael has been threatened quite a bit. I don't know whether -- some has been made public, some hasn't. But the use of the umbrellas have been used as a security measure as well, Larry, but I can't get into it.

KING: Good to know. I didn't know that. Sellersburg, Indiana, hello.

CALLER: Hi. My question is for Mark Cardoza.

KING: Michael, yes, go ahead.

CALLER: The -- it was brought up in today that the maid said that the accuser's mom asked about a job. I was wondering, if they went into a time line. When was she asked about it? Was it before or after she was supposedly held against her will?

CARDOZA: It was when she first came to Neverland. She first visited Neverland with her family. She went to the head of the maid service and said, you know, I'm really looking for a job. We really need money, and the maid felt very uncomfortable. She -- the maid testified today, and said, you know, I feel real uncomfortable with this. There are really no jobs available. There's a long list. And then, the accuser's mother said, you know, I'm willing to sleep in my car. She didn't even own a car at the time.

So, I think that sort of cuts both ways. It certainly shows the accuser's mother and the family's need for money. It also shows that, you know, she's willing to work. So, you can interpret that as you will.

KING: San Diego, hello.

CALLER: Hey, how you doing?


CALLER: What is the possibility that, in the beginning, when he started Neverland, that he had good intentions, innocent intentions, and then eventually he uncovered his true feelings and what he wanted to do and maybe it is just this boy, and maybe another boy. Maybe he actually did have an innocent relationship with the other people and that's what's confusing everything in this case, and that's why he's able to hold such an innocent face and stand by his word by saying that he's innocent, because 90 percent of the time he is.

KING: Jane, you buy that? Do it with some, not with others?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, these cases, they stem way back, more than a decade. I mean, some of these earlier cases that we've been talking about. I think the fundamental question of this entire trial and, indeed of Michael Jackson's life, is why does he sleep with boys? Nobody's denying that he does that. Now, we've heard the man-child defense for wanting to play with children and run around Neverland, but we still have not gotten a good answer to that question, and that is really the big elephant in the room. And until the defense comes up with a good answer to that question, I think it's going to be dangerous territory in the courtroom for Michael Jackson, and perhaps Michael Jackson is the only one who can answer that question.

KING: You're shaking your head, Trent?

HONOWITZ: But, Jane -- seriously, Jane, what could ever be a good answer for that? I mean, you said, like, we're waiting for the good answer. What is a good answer for a man, 45 years old, sleeping with kids? I mean, you know...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Maybe there is no good answer. Maybe that's the answer. Maybe there is no answer.

BAIN: Michael Jackson has said he's not a child molester, and you ought to believe him at what he said. Michael Jackson has said he's not a child molester and his defense is going to prove that, and I think maybe we should just put some brakes on and wait for that to come out here.

KING: Trent, what did you want to talk -- hold...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But I have to interject, if he says that it's not sexual, then what is it? What's the reason?

COPELAND: Well, I, you know...

KING: Trent?

COPELAND: Larry, very quickly, what I was going to say is, with response to that question's call -- that caller's question -- no, I don't think that is possible, and that would really cut against what the prosecution's been trying to prove, and that is, you know, once a pedophile, you're always a pedophile, and it's not likely that he would have been able to sleep with these earlier boys that he slept with, and not have engaged in some inappropriate conduct because, according to the prosecution, I mean, look, pedophiles strike and they strike often.

KING: Raymone, is it a fair question to ask, why does he sleep with boys at all?

BAIN: Oh, I think it's a fair question, Larry, and I think that he has answered that. And -- Michael Jackson looks at things quite differently than we do. He looks at things far more, as I said today, with rose-colored glasses. Michael Jackson, you would have to know him to realize the innocence of Michael Jackson, and that's very humorous, I guess, to some people who don't know him.

But he doesn't look at things the way you and I might look at things sometimes. But he knows and all of us know, in his team, that he is not a child molester. Now, whether you want to question whether or not it's a proper or the ethical thing to do, with regards to him sleeping with kids, OK, that's something else. But he is not on trial for that. He is on trial for sexual molestation and he did not do that. COPELAND: You know, Raymone, even you would concede that Michael Jackson, even in that statement that he gave before the trial began, where he asked for everyone to keep an open mind, he said he'd never put himself in that position. So he's clearly, even tacitly so, acknowledged that this is probably behavior that has gotten him in pretty hot water, and he doesn't intend to engage in it again. So I don't think it's a surprise for even him that this is probably conduct that he shouldn't do.

BAIN: And you're absolutely right. In his statement that the judge approved prior to the case beginning, Michael Jackson said he would never place himself in a position like this, a vulnerable position like this. So therefore, yes, he's probably acknowledging the fact that some of the decisions that he had made in the past might not have been the wisest decisions. I don't know.

But, all I know is that we are, right now, right here, at this time, the defense is presenting its case, and whether Michael Jackson will take the stand and let the whole world know how he feels about it or answer the questions, I think we need to wait on that.

KING: All right, let me get a break in. We'll come right back with more and more calls. Don't go away.


KING: Why do you think he likes young people?

CULKIN: It's because -- because the same reason why he liked me, was the fact that I didn't care who he was. That was the thing. I talked to him like he was a normal human being, and that's what -- and kids do that to him because he's not -- I mean, he's Michael Jackson the pop singer, but he's not the god of, you know, the king of pop or anything like that. He's just, you know, a guy who is actually very kid-like himself and wants to go out there and he wants to play video games with you.

KING: Did your parents encourage it?

CULKIN: Um, they weren't against it. It wasn't like they encouraged it, or really pushing me upon it. It was just kind of like, I wanted to hang out with him, and they were fine with it.




CULKIN: Nothing happened. You know, nothing, really. I mean, we played video games, you know? We, you know, played at the amusement park.

KING: (INAUDIBLE) in the bed?

CULKIN: Well, the thing is -- the thing is, with that whole thing, is that, you know, they've -- oh, you slept in the same bedroom as him. It's like, I don't think you understand. Michael Jackson's bedroom is two stories and has, like, three bathrooms and this and that. So, when I slept in his bedroom, yes, but you have to understand the whole scenario.

And, the thing is, with Michael, is that he's not very good at explaining himself, and he never really has been, because he's not a very social person. I mean, he's -- you're talking about someone who has been sheltered and sheltering himself, also, for the last, like, 30 years, or, you know. And, so, he's not very good at communicating to people -- not very good at conveying what he's actually trying to say to you. And so, when he says something like that, you know, people -- you know, he doesn't quite understand why people react the way that they do.


KING: Alta Vista, Virginia. Hello.

CALLER: Hello. My question is...

KING: Hello?

CALLER: Hello?

KING: Yes, are you there?

CALLER: Yes, I am.

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: OK, my question is to you, Larry. When Macaulay, just the part you showed right there...

KING: Yeah.

CALLER: ...OK? He never admitted to sleeping with Jackson, and I was wondering how come you didn't challenge him. (INAUDIBLE) that Michael Jackson said...

KING: He did say -- I think he did say -- what did he say? I thought he did say that.

COPELAND: Well, he said he slept with him. He said, you know..

KING: He did.

COPELAND: ...of course, not -- you know, that's not the only thing he said. He also said that his brother and sister also slept with Michael Jackson as well, so...

KING: Yes. I don't know what the viewer was watching, but I know he did say that.

Toronto, hello.

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Toronto. Yeah, go ahead.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. My question is for Raymone. When the trial is over and if Michael Jackson is found innocent, can Michael Jackson sue members of the media for slander?

BAIN: Well, I don't know whether or not Michael has thought about any of that personally. I think what he wants to do right now, frankly, is get through this case. There have been a lot of horrible things said about Michael. He has been vilified quite a bit. But you know what? He's just looking straight ahead, wanting to get through this case, and then he'll have his options later as to what he wants to do.


KING: Stacey, if he were to sue the media, though, then he'd be open to depositions and civil -- that would be the worst thing he could do, right?

HONOWITZ: Yeah. He'd open himself up. And in order for him to prove that, he's a public figure, he'd have to show malice. He's never going to get anybody on a slander rap. Believe me, for the media coming out and talking about it. So he could try to sue, but it's never going to happen.

BAIN: (INAUDIBLE) close to it.

KING: What did you say, Raymone?

BAIN: I said there are two or three that would come very close to it, Larry.


SMITH: No way, no chance.

BAIN: I'm sorry but...

KING: You don't think anybody slandered him, Michael?

SMITH: This was Chuck speaking.

CARDOZA: Do I think anybody's...

KING: Oh, I'm sorry, Chuck. You don't think anybody, any media figures have slandered Michael?

SMITH: No. And the freedom of the press overwhelms all that. Everything that's been (INAUDIBLE) reported...

BAIN: Well, I disagree about that.

SMITH: The freedom of the press will prevail, as it should prevail. The First Amendment will prevail, as it should prevail. Michael can be acquitted and Michael would be dreaming if he thinks he has got a slander suit or defamation suit against anybody.

BAIN: Well, first of all, it was a caller to ask if Michael would consider it, and I said that Michael hasn't even thought about that. That's the first thing. So don't put words in Michael's mouth. He hasn't said he's going to sue anybody.

But what I have said is that, yes, there have been definitely some people in the media who have slandered Michael Jackson. And they've known that the facts have been incorrect. But I think that when this case is over, Michael Jackson is going to want to take time with his family, his friends, his children, and he is not going to want to look at going into another court again real soon.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with more of our panel and more phone calls. Don't go away.


KING: Ottawa, Canada, hello.

CALLER: A question for Trent Copeland or Michael Cardoza. Would they agree that children are good liars, since they don't have a developed conscience and that no judge or jury can really tell whether a witness is telling the truth or not? And also, what difference is there between Michael Jackson and Cub or Scout masters and Little League coaches and camp counselors, who all say they enjoy being with young children, and even sleep with them in camp sometimes, except that Michael Jackson is restricted to his property because he's a celebrity?

KING: Trent?

COPELAND: Well, that's loaded. Let me see if I can take them in order.

With respect to whether or not children are good liars, I tend to disagree with that. I think children for the most part do not possess the same kind of moxie that adults have. I don't think they've been scarred by time and circumstances. I think most children tend to tell the truth, particularly if it's in their best interests not to lie or fabricate.

Now, in terms of whether Michael Jackson is any different than a Scout master or any different than these other -- I think that's a reasonable argument the defense may make. I think the inference being that simply because you spend a lot of time with boys, simply because you enjoy doing youthful things with young boys doesn't necessarily make you a child molester. So I think that's a reasonable defense argument. I would think that the defense would probably hope that this jury becomes over time, after this systematic cross-examination of their witnesses, the prosecution's witnesses, I think they'll hope that the jury understands that.

KING: Stacey, you said earlier this case -- hold it. Stacey, you said earlier this case is 50-50. You feel like it absolutely could go either way? HONOWITZ: Absolutely, Larry. I really do think that it is going to come down to these closing arguments. I think on both sides, you have witnesses who have a lot of baggage. But I think -- I want to say something about what Trent just said. And he talked about what the defense has to do in this case is really just talk about just because you're sleeping with children or spending time with children doesn't make you a child molester. But I think the important issues that we have to look at in this case is we're not just talking about sleeping with children. We have to couple everything, factor everything in as evidence in this case.

The porno magazines, the -- all the magazines that came in, the 1108 evidence. The witnesses that saw things going on. All these taken together is enough to prove Michael Jackson, beyond to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt.

So right now I think it does stand 50-50. The defense has not put on their case. And I think a lot of it is going to come down to whether or not Michael Jackson takes that stand. I think he makes a big mistake, he opens himself up to a lot. And just like in your interview with Macaulay Culkin that you kept showing through the show, he said he's not a good communicator. He's not social. And I think that's going to play a very big part if he takes the stand.

He's not a good communicator. He's shy. And under Sneddon's cross-examination, he might not hold up trying to explain away all of these prior allegations.

KING: Michael Cardoza, does he come down to the fear that if it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, the jury is going to think it's a duck?

CARDOZA: You know, I got to tell you, when those 12 people walk into the jury room, which one, if not more than one says, wait a minute, he went down to Santa Monica, he spent 60 nights -- now, remember, this isn't at Jackson's Neverland. This is in a house in Santa Monica, 60 nights with Jordy Chandler in his bedroom. He spent 365 nights with one of the boys from Australia, Robson. Somebody's going to say, hey, what was he doing in the bedroom behind closed doors for all those nights? What's the answer to that?

That's a tough question. I got to think some juror is going to say, you expect me to believe nothing happened there? And there is the problem for the defense.

I analogize it to the Laci Peterson case. Remember, the body ended up in the bay where Scott Peterson went fishing. The defense did not come up with an answer to that.

The defense better come up with an answer to what's going on in that bedroom. Michael Jackson doesn't have to bring it forward. But they better have a logical, rational explanation for that, or some of those jurors are going to say, he's guilty of this.

KING: All right, thank you all very much. Jane Velez-Mitchell, Michael Cardoza, Stacey Honowitz, Trent Copeland, Chuck Smith and Raymone Bain.

A sad note before we go, retired Army Colonel David Hackworth, a frequent guest on this show, died last week of cancer. He was 74. Hack was a highly decorated military hero, a man who always spoke his mind, and he was one of a kind.

Our thoughts are with Colonel Hackworth's wife Eilhys and his children. We'll always remember David Hackworth, by the way the most decorated Vietnam veteran, and a man who later spoke out against the war. He was extraordinary.

Tomorrow night, the cast of "Everybody Loves Raymond." That great hit sitcom is going off the air by their own design, completing it this year. The whole cast will be here, and we'll take your phone calls.

Right now, the clock says 10:00 o'clock Eastern time, and that can mean only one thing: Aaron Brown and "NEWSNIGHT" is next. Good night.


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