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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Michael Jackson Verdict

Aired June 13, 2005 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Candy. About 30 minutes or so from now, give or take a few minutes, the verdict will be in. Michael Jackson, guilty or not guilty? The various options before this jury. They've been deliberating now for the past couple of weeks.
Jeffrey Toobin is with us here with us in our Washington studio. You've been watching this trial very closely. Jeffrey, give our viewers a sense right now of the enormity of what is about to happen in the life of Michael Jackson.

TOOBIN: Well, I mean, it's really simple, Wolf. You have one of the top, I would say, dozen most famous people in the world who, perhaps a half hour from now, may be in criminal custody, may be going to prison. I mean, as Ted Rowlands just said earlier, for several of these crimes, if he is convicted, it is very likely that his bail will be revoked, if he is convicted and he will receive a sentence of many years in prison. So Michael Jackson's freedom is not only at stake in some abstract sense, but concretely, you know, he may be in custody before the hour is out.

BLITZER: And so if he is convicted on some of the more serious charges -- the felony charges against him -- he could be sent to jail right away. He wouldn't necessarily be released on bail as the appeal process begins?

TOOBIN: Absolutely not. He will not be released pending appeal. However, it -- his lawyer will argue for him to be released pending an appeal, and I expect a lengthy and passionate argument by Tom Mesereau if Jackson is convicted, for granting him bail. But based on the way California law usually operates, given the seriousness of this crime, he will almost certainly be put in custody right away.

BLITZER: Which would be a dramatic change in the lifestyle of this pop star, clearly something he is not necessarily going to be able to accept easily, given his lifestyle, given his mentality, given what he's gone through over these years.

TOOBIN: And given his physical condition. You know, one of the things that was striking to me, having seen him at the beginning of the trial and at the end of the trial, is how Michael Jackson has physically deteriorated over the course of this trial. Remember, last January was the time that he hopped up on top that SUV and did a little dance for his fans. Now, whatever you think of that little incident, it took a physically fit man to do it.

He is a shell of that man a year and a half later. He walks with difficulty, he seems medicated, his skin is a terrible gray pallor. The deterioration in Michael Jackson has been considerable, and if you think about the possibility of prison, you know, that could accelerate.

BLITZER: Stand by for a moment, Jeff. Brooke Anderson's over at Neverland Ranch in California. We see some aerial shots of some cars. I assume, Brooke, he's getting ready to leave to Neverland, to head over to the courthouse in Santa Maria. Is that what we're seeing right now?

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Wolf.

I believe you were asking me if we're getting ready to see Michael Jackson leaving Neverland, and indeed we are. We are looking at aerial pictures of Jackson's motorcade. We see the black SUVs, which we have seen so often coming in and out of this gate during the trial and in and out during deliberations this past week, and a half.

It has been more than 30 minutes. It has been more than 30 minutes since the judge let everyone know that a verdict has come down. It's about a 30-mile drive from here to the courthouse, so it's about a 30 to 40 minute drive, so he needs to leave pretty soon to make that deadline of one hour. We are waiting. There aren't too many fans out here. A couple fans are here. A lot of photographers are here, everyone just waiting for the gates to open and for that motorcade to exit and head to Santa Maria.

BLITZER: Well, I think it's clear to say that they're not going to read the verdict until he is inside that courthouse in Santa Maria. They're going to wait for him to show. Clearly, that could take at least half an hour, Jeffrey Toobin, for him to make that drive from Neverland to Santa Maria.

TOOBIN: Well, but I think this is an example of how Michael Jackson's life may be about to change. You know, throughout this whole trial, there's been a lot of waiting for Michael and the trial starts when Michael arrives, and, you know, he's getting ready.

And you know what? Once you're in custody, you don't have the luxury of people waiting around for you. know, I know, I've been out there, I know the distances. There is no way he's going to get there by 4:30 Eastern time. But they will not read the verdict, as you point out, until he returns. So I think this is just an example of, perhaps, diva-like behavior that when you're in the custody of the California prison system, is no longer an option.

BLITZER: I had heard, Jeffrey, that they were going to give the news media, the public, a 60 to 90-minute advance notification. After the jury had reached the verdict, they would have 60 to 90 minutes to get everyone in place in order for the verdict to be read in front of the defendant in this particular case, Michael Jackson. So he might make that 90-minute deadline, if, in fact, there is a 90-minute deadline.

TOOBIN: He might make that 90, but, given the way the tension surrounding these sorts of events, things tend to slow down a little bit, and I would be surprised if they make the 90. Certainly they won't make the 60.

BLITZER: 4:30 Eastern was the 60-minute deadline. 5:00 p.m. Eastern, 2:00 p.m. on the West Coast, the 90-minute deadline, if, in fact, there is a 90-minute deadline. There have been some conflicting reports I've seen, whether they would have 60 to 90 minutes to get going. The judge was irritated early on -- I believe the first appearance by Michael Jackson, when she showed up late. Presumably, the judge would be irritated this time, but it's -- I don't know if it would be much of a deal at this late stage in the process.

TOOBIN: If Michael Jackson is convicted, the least of his problems is being a little late to court.

BLITZER: The whole nature. Let's review -- let's review some of these charges against him. Count one is a felony violation of conspiracy involving 28 individual overt acts of child abduction, false imprisonment, and extortion. Those are very serious charges. As we watch these pictures from Neverland, the black vehicles, the SUVs, the motorcade that's about to leave to head over to the courthouse. What -- that first count is potentially the end, as far as Michael Jackson's freedom is concerned.

TOOBIN: All of the felony counts put him in great jeopardy. Count one, as people listen, I think it is safe to say, it was the weakest count against Michael Jackson. The charge, in layman's terms, was that Jackson and the people who worked for him, conspired to keep the accuser and his family, essentially, prisoner in Neverland, around Neverland, in the period after the Martin Bashir documentary ran in 2003, to control them, to control the response to the Michael -- to this documentary.

The evidence against Jackson, I think it's safe to say, was very thin. There were other people involved in perhaps controlling the movements of the accuser's family, but there was precious little evidence that Jackson himself participated in that. And I think Jackson had a -- you know, has the best chance of acquittal on that count.

BLITZER: The counts two through five involve lewd and lascivious acts upon a minor under 14 years of age, counts two through five.

TOOBIN: That's the heart of the case. Those four counts are child molestation. The first two counts are based on the testimony of the accuser himself. The second two counts are based on the testimony of the accuser's brother, who claimed to see the accuser being molested by Jackson. But child molestation, counts two through five, that's the heart of the case. If he's convicted of those, carry the likely longest prison sentences. And I think, you know, that's Jackson's greatest jeopardy.

BLITZER: We see the motorcade -- some cars beginning to move. I think that's what we're seeing. The gates of Neverland Ranch have now opened. I suspect we're going to see some of those cars bringing Michael Jackson and his entourage from the Neverland Ranch about 30 miles or so to Santa maria. that's where the courthouse is for the reading of the verdict in all of these counts. We'll see, as this motorcade -- I suspect, yes, there it is. Those are the black SUVs. We assume Michael Jackson is inside one of those vehicles. They'll be driving out. In the past, do they get police escorts, do you know, Jeff, when you've been out there?

TOOBIN: They have not had police escorts for most of the journey, for -- when they get into Santa Maria, there's sometimes police cars that have escorted them. But one thing that's interesting to remember, as we see this, you know, highly dramatic conclusion to the trial is that during the trial, there were many days when there were very few spectators and not a lot of attention. So there was really no need for a police escort. Here, of course, you have hundreds more people present around the courtroom than were there during the 16 weeks of the trial.

BLITZER: Count six involves an attempt to conduct a lewd act against a minor.

TOOBIN: That's attempted child molestation. That is a -- basically, related to counts two, three, four and five. Part of the child molestation counts that are the heart of the case.

BLITZER: And then counts seven through ten are felony charges of administering an intoxicating agent to a minor in order to facilitate a felony. That's basically giving some -- giving a minor an alcoholic beverage.

TOOBIN: Right, giving a minor an alcoholic beverage in order to commit a felony. And what's interesting about counts seven through 10 is that there is the possibility of what's called a lesser-included offense. The jury could acquit Michael Jackson of the felony versions of providing alcohol to a minor, but convict him of misdemeanors. And if Michael Jackson is only convicted of misdemeanors, I don't think he will have his bail revoked and I think he will count this trial as a win.

BLITZER: The court is now suggesting the verdict will be read at 4:45 Eastern, 1:45 p.m. on the West Coast. But we see this motorcade beginning, slowly, to move -- I see two vehicles, three vehicles, in this motorcade. I don't know how many vehicles altogether there will be. But it doesn't look like they have yet gone through the main gate at Neverland Ranch.

On the left part of the screen, we see the ranch itself, the motorcade, winding through -- and here they come. These are vehicles going through the gate, the main gate at Neverland. Now they'll have, what, about 30 miles or so 'til to the courthouse in Santa Maria.

TOOBIN: About 30 miles and you notice that that shot just before they came through the gates. The scale of Neverland is just really hard to describe. It is approximately 3,000 acres, this estate, you know, complete with an amusement park and a zoo and many buildings. You know, this is the vast, unbelievable lifestyle that Michael Jackson is leaving behind and, of course we need -- you know, it may well be for the last time.

BLITZER: I see four vehicles now. Maybe there are more, but at least in this picture, this aerial shot that we're getting, we see four vehicles moving. They don't look like they're going 60 miles an hour, which would give them about a half-an-hour drive, if they're going 30 miles, so this could be delayed.

Right now we're being told about 4:45, that's when the court has set the verdict to be read, 4:45 p.m. Eastern, 1:45 on the West Coast. We'll see if that actually happens. It looks like there are four vehicles; that's being chased by a motorcycle at the very end of that motorcade. We don't know if that motorcycle is part of the formal motorcade that's taking Michael Jackson to the courthouse, or that could be a paparazzi chasing them as well, having seen how they operate on the motorcycles over the years. That's very possible as well.

As we take a look at this motorcade winding its way from Neverland, from the Neverland ranch, over to the -- over to the courthouse, we have to get a sense of who is going to be joining Michael Jackson once that verdict is read, Jeffrey. You've spent some time inside that courtroom. Give us a little favor -- besides his lead defense attorney, who else is going to be there?

TOOBIN: Well, you know, I don't know who will be there today. There has been a rotating cast of family members. The people there most often are his mother and father. Katherine and Joe Jackson have been there often. Three of his brothers, Randy, Tito, and Jermaine, have often been in court. So four of the Jackson Five have often been in court, and his sister La Toya and his sister Janet have been in court occasionally. More of them have been present in court for the big moments of the trial, so I suspect some or all of that group will be there today.

BLITZER: Ted Rowlands is outside the courthouse in Santa Maria. Ted, I suspect there must be an enormous amount of anticipation and excitement that has developed over this past half hour as we watch these live pictures of Michael Jackson's motorcade making its way from the Neverland ranch to Santa Maria and the courthouse.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, clearly the fans that are gathered out here, Wolf, are in sort of a frenzy. They're chanting, and there's a bit of worrisome faces, too, you know. This is a big deal for them, of course, and a big deal for Michael Jackson. You can feel the anticipation, and the nervousness, if you will too, surrounding the outside of this courthouse.

Folks have been outside basically holding vigil since the jury got this case a week ago Friday, and they have been out here day and night, through deliberations, waiting and chanting and taking turns leading the troops, and now this is it. You can definitely feel it outside the courthouse.

You know, Michael Jackson has a lot of people that have vocally stood up and supported him. I noticed that when we were showing the shots of the motorcade leaving Neverland, early on in the shot, you saw a string of employees that were all lined up arm-in-arm as the four SUVs drove by near the main house, heading towards the gate. One thing is for sure, they're not going to make it here by 1:30. The court has obviously changed the reading to 1:45, and if it takes it long -- takes them longer to get here, they'll change it again. The court has tried to get this verdict read as soon as possible so that it does not allow more people to come here to the courthouse, but clearly they are going to wait for Michael Jackson.

BLITZER: You know that territory quite well, and as we see this motorcade driving -- we just lost the picture briefly -- from these aerial shots that they're getting, is there any way they can make it there in an half an hour? They literally only -- past couple -- three minutes (ph) -- they left the main gate at Neverland. How realistic -- how long will it take them, do you suspect, Ted?

ROWLANDS: It should take them 40 to 45 minutes. That's assuming that they're not stopped for any reason. It is -- they're on sort of an off-road right now. It's an off-freeway, which, you know, you're lucky to do about 50 miles an hour, especially when you have four SUVs trailing each other. Clearly it's going to take them 40, 45 minutes at best, and it may take them a little bit longer depending on what they encounter once they get close to Santa Maria.

Each day as the motorcade approaches the city, a group of motorcycle cops here in Santa Maria go meet the motorcade and escort them through traffic lights around the courthouse. As I say, they do it for security, and I think mainly they do it for Santa Maria residents, not necessarily for Michael Jackson, so that they can get him in and out with -- as quickly as possible so he doesn't hold up traffic. So I think that it'll take 40 to 45 minutes at best, and I think that the court knows that and they will wait patiently for him to arrive.

BLITZER: Do you know, Ted, if that lead vehicle, that white vehicle we're seeing these pictures now, is a police car, or is it just an average person who's driving along on this two-lane highway and just happens to be leading this Michael Jackson motorcade?

ROWLANDS: I don't know, and clearly it could be either one. If it is law enforcement, it is an unmarked car. It could be a news organization or just a fan wanting to get into the middle of it, and it looks like they're leading the group at this point. No way of knowing until we get a ground shot of that vehicle.

BLITZER: It looks like it's -- they're not moving very quickly, either. I suspect, if they're saying 4:45 Eastern, 1:45 Pacific, it'll probably will go back to 5:00 Eastern, 2:00 on the West Coast. There you see the whole motorcade stopped as it's about to make a right turn -- as it's about to make a right turn onto another highway, heading towards Santa Maria, the motorcade continuing along this way.

The makeup of the jury, Jeffrey Toobin, what if anything -- if anything -- can we surmise from the makeup of the jury?

TOOBIN: It's eight women, four men, largely middle-class, no African-Americans on the jury, which has drawn some -- which has drawn some notice, but Santa Barbara county has very few African-Americans, so it's not all that unusual to an all African -- a non -- having no African-Americans on the jury.

One interesting thing about this jury was that even though there were I believe six or eight alternates, throughout this long trial, not one juror left the trial -- left the jury, which, certainly in my experience, is very unusual. All these jurors came every day. They obviously had a stake in the outcome, were very serious, were very meticulous. Many of the jurors took extensive notes, filling several notebooks, but as for, you know, drawing any conclusion about the verdict from the makeup of the jury, that's more predicting than I believe in doing.

BLITZER: Ted, do you want to weigh in on the jury? Any thoughts that -- you've been speaking to a lot of legal analysts out there on the scene -- the makeup of the jury and any inclinations they may or may not have?

ROWLANDS: One of the things that is very noticeable, watching this jury is that they get along. They seem to joke around at the appropriate times. They're serious at the appropriate times and they all seem to be together when there is some inside joke that was half told in the jury room and the rest of it in the courtroom, they're all in on it. A lot of times in juries you see factions, and you see one individual who's doing his own thing, or her thing. Not in this case. It really -- they seemed as though they were getting along, and I think that we'll find, if and when they talk about their experience, that that was the case, and I'm sure it would've helped the deliberative process a great deal.

Obviously, they have come to a verdict; it is not a hung jury. We haven't seen any hints of any problems with this jury, and I think that was evident day in and day out watching these men and women work together. And some of it was very, very tedious, some of it very, very emotional. Through it all, they all seemed to be one group.

BLITZER: Jeffrey Toobin, in terms of the amount of hours, the amount of days this jury has considered this verdict, what, if anything, goes through your mind. Because early on when we spoke, we knew it was going to take several, several days given how long the actual trial lasted.

TOOBIN: Well, you know, I think this is about what you would think of as an average length of deliberation for a case of this duration. This was a complicated case involving lots of different charges. And, you know, one thing, I think, the Jackson camp was hoping was for an instant verdict. Because given the complexity of this case, if they had come back after a day, or even two days, that would have shown that they simply rejected the government's theory. Because there was no way you could work your way through 16 weeks of testimony, ten different charges in a day or two.

Now having gone on for about six days, it is enough time to go through all the evidence. This is, sort of, a reasonable amount of time, and I think that has got to be cause for concern in the Jackson camp. Because there is enough time to have gone through all the evidence, and said there's enough here to convict him. BLITZER: And Ted Rowlands, as you well remember since you were inside the courtroom for much of this, including the end of this trial, that videotape of the accuser, the young boy accusing Michael Jackson, that was a powerful way for the prosecution to end it's case.

ROWLANDS: Yes, it was, in that the jury got to hear the accuser and the accusations, again. It had been months since the accuser took the stand, and when the prosecution was allowed by this judge to play this first interview that the accuser had with sheriff deputies, it brought it all back. It sort of washed out the conspiracy, which was a very difficult charge to try to prove, and it brought it back to: This is a case about a man who is accused of molesting a boy.

That said, Thomas Mesereau in his close, used that tape as well, and encouraged jurors to go and watch the tape, and look for inconsistencies in the tape. Saying that the tape is exactly what you would expect if a young man was lying, and that is exactly the route that Mersereau took from the beginning. He pulled no punches.

He said this family and child is making it up. They're trying to extort Michael Jackson. So, jurors could look at the tape both ways once they're in the jury room. That said, in the courtroom, yes, I think it was effective for the prosecution.

TOOBIN: Well, I was in the courtroom when Ron Zonen, the prosecutor, played that final videotape. And the thing that hit me is, that this was a trial with more than 100 witnesses, you know, four months long, but the simplicity of that closing was very effective and very powerful. Because what he said to the jury was, "If you believe this boy, if you believe what this child is saying" -- he was a child then. He's not exactly a child now, he's 16 -- he -- "this case is over."

All the jury needs to believe is one witness, and that was the witness that they closed with, and it was powerful stuff.

Robert Shapiro is the famed criminal defense attorney who represented O.J. Simpson, and knows what is going through the minds of a criminal defense attorney in this particular case.

What, about 30 minutes or so, we're estimating, Bob, before the verdict is read. Give us a little flavor of what must be going through the defense team's mind right now.

ROBERT SHAPIRO, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I'll tell you what's going through my mind right now is a high anxiety, anxious, palpitations, because I followed the case. And I'm interested in the case, and I can put my place -- myself in the same chair as some of the lawyers. What this is, Wolf, is this is: going to the doctor for to get the results of a biopsy; this is the Kentucky Derby, when you have a photo finish; it's the Super Bowl when there's an instant replay of with the winning touchdown. There's just no way to describe it.

BLITZER: Do you have a sense, based on the seven days, 32 hours that the jury deliberated, the makeup of the jury: eight women, four men, the length of the trial, what we might anticipate right now, Bob? You know California law. You know California juries. You're one of the best in the business.

SHAPIRO: You know, not my personal opinion, but what I think the jury will do in this case is render a verdict that will not have Michael Jackson singing "Beat It" today. I think he's going to be convicted.

BLITZER: On the basis of one specific piece of evidence, or the whole nature of the whole trial?

SHAPIRO: Well, first, the little boy was the first witness to testify, and as Jeff Toobin has told us, the last witness to testify. He testified without cross-examination, which is unheard of in closing a case, because he was allowed to testify by videotape.

And his testimony is controverted. Nobody got up and said "He's lying, it didn't happen that way." The defense, rather, is: the mother put pressure on the son to make it up. And I think that's a real tenuous argument to make, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, let me let Jeff Toobin weigh in on that point --Jeff?

TOOBIN: Well, it's just -- I mean, I think Bob is right, that the accuser is the whole case. And it is a difficult position for Michael Jackson to argue. That, well, it is true, as he said on videotape in the Martin Bashir documentary, "I sleep in the same bed as this boy," and the boy and he were together in that documentary, "but there was no sexual relationship between us." Now, of course, the jury has heard both Michael Jackson's admission they slept in the same bed, and the boy testifying that there was, in fact, sexual contact between them.

That's a tough charge to defend against, and it's -- if Michael Jackson is convicted, that's the reason he's going to be convicted.

BLITZER: But Jeff -- and I want to bring Bob back in a second, but when you say there's -- that's the case right there, what about all the other evidence that was brought in, that the judge allowed to bring in, of earlier accusations against Michael Jackson?

TOOBIN: Well that's why this case will be vigorously argued on appeal if Michael Jackson is convicted, is because what Judge Melville did, is he allowed the jury to hear about five prior allegations of child molestation that Michael Jackson was never criminally charged with.

And three of those five boys, who were allegedly the victims, testified that it never happened, but the jury was -- had this evidence put in front of it, and even though the courts have, so far, always upheld this provision of California law, section 1108 of the evidence code, I think that's going to be a possibly successful grounds for appeal here. Because this was so much part of the prosecution's case, not the allegation against this boy, but the allegations against Michael Jackson and other boys. BLITZER: These are live pictures outside the courthouse in Santa Maria, California. They're awaiting the arrival of Michael Jackson and his party, four vehicles driving from the Neverland ranch. We expect, in the next 15 to 30 minutes, for that motorcade to make its way to the courthouse in Santa Maria. Michael Jackson will walk inside, as he has so many days over the course of this trial, and he will hear the verdict against or in favor of him, and the ramifications of all of that.

Robert Shapiro is helping us better understand this process. What about that point that Jeffrey Toobin just made, Bob, that the earlier accusations were admissible and this could be an element for a possible appeal if he is convicted?

SHAPIRO: Well, the first point Jeffrey is right on the money, and that is that the prior acts have such a compelling weight with jurors. I Wolf, gave a lecture to California Judges Association about six weeks ago, and there was a poll of judges, and 36 judges had tried cases where prior acts were admitted. Of those 36, 35 resulted in convictions.

As far as an appeal, you know, in my mind, the appellate lawyers which I call, "the god-forbid lawyers," are almost irrelevant in this case. If Michael Jackson is convicted, he's going to be in jail for six months to two years pending the appeal. And from my perspective, it seems that one day in jail for Michael Jackson will be more than he can manage.

BLITZER: Well, on that point, Bob, since he is as physically sick individual; has been in the hospital on several days over the course of this trial alone, would the judge -- would the system allow some sort of hospitalization pending -- in lieu of actual jail time, in order to accommodate his health?

SHAPIRO: No, the judge -- once he is remanded, the judge has absolutely no authority over the sheriff's department, who will be in charge of his welfare until the date of sentencing, and at the date of sentencing, if he's sentenced to county jail, it will then go back to the sheriff's department. If he's sentenced to prison, which is the most likely outcome if he is convicted, it will be in the hands of what we call the adult authority, which run the prisons themselves. So they will make all determinations after the judge issues his sentence.

BLITZER: Stand by, Bob. I want you to stay with us as we await the verdict of Michael Jackson. We may be as quick as 15 minutes away, maybe 30 minutes away. We're waiting for the motorcade bringing Michael Jackson and his entourage to the Santa Maria courthouse.

I want to bring Ted Rowlands in. Walk us through the process, how we will learn -- when I say we, I mean, those of us in the news media and the the viewers, the listeners, watching right now, Ted -- how will we get that information as it unfolds?

ROWLANDS: Well, the judge has allowed for an audio feed of the reading of the verdict, so the court clerk, Lorna Fry (ph) will read count by count, starting with the conspiracy charges, and then moving through the molestation charges, the attempted molestation, and the alcohol charges. And we will hear that in real time, assuming the audio feed works. We have contingency plans in case the audio feed does not work for any reason. We have another way to get the information as soon as we can on the air, but we're hoping and we assume that the audio feed will work and everybody will hear it at the same time as it's happening.

BLITZER: So, in other words, the judge will convene the session and then we will be able to hear just the audio of what happens as the foreman is questioned and the judge gets all of the various verdicts. Is that right?

ROWLANDS: Right, we're not sure when the audio feed will start, whether it will be when the judge walks into court or when the judge asks the foreman in this case if they've reached a verdict. Maybe we'll get to listen in as they transfer the verdict over to the court clerk, but we will be able to hear from the moment of court clerk starts to read, count-by-count, the jury's decisions.

TOOBIN: Ted, it's Jeff Toobin here. Can I ask you another sort of technical question that I'm curious about? Is there a plan -- if Jackson is convicted, of course, then they will move to the question of bail. Will the microphones still be on while they argue bail, or is the plan only to broadcast the announcement of the verdict itself?

ROWLANDS: We believe that the plan will be for the verdict and only the verdict, and as soon as the verdict has been read, whether we'll be able to hear the judge thank the jury or maybe hear a bit of the next phase of the proceedings before it is shut off -- we'll have to wait and see -- but our understanding is that we will hear the verdict read and that will be it.

BLITZER: Ah, Bob Shapiro, Judge Rodney Melville who's presiding judge in this case, has been very strict in moving it along and preventing television cameras from being inside, in contrast to the big case that you handled, the O.J. Simpson case.

What kind of grades -- what do you sense of how this judge has handled this Michael Jackson case?

SHAPIRO: Well, I think in the last 10 years, Wolf, judges in California, and across the United States, have learned a big lesson from what happened in the Simpson case. They are much more circumspect. They are trying as much as they can to keep things outside the media, to keep these cases in the courtroom, and to try to not have the jury influenced in any way, shape or form. It's exceedingly difficult for a judge, a lawyer, or anybody participating in a case that's on camera to say that they don't change their demeanor, they don't change their actions, they don't change the way they speak. It affects everyone. So even though I am in favor of cameras in the courtroom, I'm in favor of cameras that do not editorialize, that just show what the jury is looking at, and that is the witness on the witness stand.

BLITZER: Would the lawyers have been -- behaved any differently, significantly differently, do you believe, Bob, had there been television cameras allowed inside?

SHAPIRO: I wouldn't say significantly different, Wolf, because there does come a point where your job comes before anything, but there are always going to be moments where a lawyer may try to send a message in the event there's a hung jury, may try to do other things that may influence future activities. As far as the questions they're going to ask, no, that wouldn't change at all, but it might change some of the arguments and might change some of the positions they say in open court.

END

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