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Jackson Found Not Guilty

Aired June 13, 2005 - 21:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the jury, in the above-entitled case, find the defendant not guilty of the...


LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Tonight, Michael Jackson walks away a free man, acquitted on all counts in his child molestation trial. We'll hear from reporters who were inside the courtroom, and outside, among the fans, for the dramatic climax to this trial. And, we'll speak with Jackson camp insiders, and more, and it's all next, on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: Momentarily, we'll be talking to a whole panel of people.

And I'm joined here in New York by Cynthia McFadden, ABC News senior legal correspondent. We spoke on the phone earlier with Jermaine Jackson, one of Michael's brothers, and we'll -- hopefully -- we'll be talking with him by phone tonight during the program.

And tomorrow night, Tom Mesereau, the defense attorney, will be our exclusive prime-time news guest. That's tomorrow night, Tom Mesereau, the defense attorney.

But let's begin in the opening segment with Paul Rodriguez, better known as juror number 80, the jury foreman, the retired high school counselor.

How tough was this for you, Paul, first, to serve on jury duty?

PAUL RODRIGUEZ, JACKSON JURY FOREMAN: It was tough because it's been at it since about the middle of January when I first got my summons to appear for jury duty. So, it's been tough. It's been a long, long haul.

KING: What was the -- was there a key to this decision?

RODRIGUEZ: Was there a key to this decision?

KING: Yes.

RODRIGUEZ: Yes. We just couldn't buy the story of the mother for one, and the corresponding stories of the children, they were too much like the mother's. Although, you know, it's almost like they rehearsed it in so many ways. And anyway, some of the timelines weren't matching up. So, yes. Those were the things we probably looked at.

KING: It -- was it difficult not to hold all the prior things against him? The film? The settlement years ago? Does that enter into the discussion?

RODRIGUEZ: Yes, it did. Entered into the discussion and we probably spent quite a bit of time referring to that case and coming back to it on various occasions, just depending on what we were talking about or deliberating about at that moment. So, yes, it did enter into it, but in the final analysis, that's not what we needed to use for determining the guilt or not guilty verdict.

KING: When you left on Friday, did you have a pretty good idea it would be over on Monday?

RODRIGUEZ: No, we did not. When we left on Friday, we all decided that we needed to into something to get away from this and just think about other things because we knew it was going to be -- we thought it was going to be another few days before we would finish up and we just didn't think it would go this quickly, especially not today, on a Monday.

KING: So what happened today?

RODRIGUEZ: Well, what happened today is that we started out with this whole thing on the conspiracy charges, and that was on day one, and we couldn't get anywhere even after reading the instructions over and over again. There's 98 pages of instructions, and so we'd refer to that. Since we couldn't -- we were just at opposite ends on too much many issues there, so we decided to go onto something else, and after we did that just a few things were left, plus the conspiracy charge. So, we went back to that and we had a clear mind and a clear focus on what we needed to do and that's how we ended the day or ended the whole scenario.

KING: Are you saying the other charges were clearer than the conspiracy?

RODRIGUEZ: No. There was some -- we had to do a time line in order to get the charges clear in our minds as far as the molestation charges. But that seemed to come together a lot faster than what we thought it would. We thought that would be one of the toughest things, but it came together a lot faster than the conspiracy.

And the conspiracy, we might've been able to get that done sooner, but we decided that, let's go see if we can get some other issues taken care of and come back to that and that's basically the way we approached it.

KING: I don't want to knock pundits, Juror 80, but most of the pundits said the conspiracy was the easiest one. That would be not guilty. The hardest would be the others. RODRIGUEZ: Yes, it was. That's why I say we came back to it and I don't know why we just tabled it, but we decided to table it, and you are right, it was one of the easier ones to do. But I think that also what balanced out was just by completing the other charges against him.

KING: What did you -- how did Michael appear to you in court? What was it like to look at this for all these days?

RODRIGUEZ: Well, there for a while, you look at him and you watch his demeanor, you watch his body language, and yes, there was days he looked awful. You know, there was days where he looked like he had plenty of sleep, but after a while, you lose concentration that he's even there. You know, you're focusing on what's being said in the courtroom, what the lawyers are saying, what witnesses are testifying to, so he became secondary to the whole thing, although that's why we were there in the first place, is because of him.

KING: When it was finally decided unanimous, not guilty, were you happy for him?

RODRIGUEZ: No, not really. I think it's just a job that we had to get done and we did the best that we could and we just felt that the job was completed, and rather -- I don't know. There were some tears from some of the jury members. I don't know if there was tears of happiness or tears it was over with. But I had, you know, really, personally, had no real feelings one way or the other. I just felt like we needed to leave there with a clear mind and saying we did the best that we could under the -- with the evidence that we had presented to us.


KING: Couple of other quick things -- I thank you for giving us the time. Did his lifestyle, which had to be uncommon to 99.5 percent of all of the people, did that throw you?

RODRIGUEZ: We did consider that a lot, you know, just him sleeping with children and so on, so forth. There's not too many grown men that we know that would do that. But, again, we had to base it on the evidence presented to us, and come out of there with -- deciding on everything with -- beyond a reasonable doubt. I can't emphasize that strongly enough. So if the evidence was there, we would have worked with it but there was a lot of things lacking, so we just didn't have anything that we needed to complete the case.

KING: One other thing before I let you go. Cynthia McFadden has a question for you. Cynthia?

CYNTHIA MCFADDEN, ABC NEWS SR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. I was wondering, the allegations of past abuse that the prosecutor presented, the so-called 1108 evidence. Did you find any of those other allegations credible?

RODRIGUEZ: Yes, we did. To a certain degree, we didn't -- again, we couldn't take that as complete evidence, to use that as information that we needed to complete this case. We could just use that as information presented to us of what a pattern could be developed to -- so on and so forth.

MCFADDEN: So, you did think there might've been a pattern, just not proof beyond a reasonable doubt in this case. Is that what you are saying?


KING: Yes, Paul, I thank you very much. Thank you for the time, man. It was terrific of you. I know it's been a tough day for you. Thank you very much and thank you for your service.

RODRIGUEZ: OK, thank you.

KING: Joining us now by phone is Tito Jackson, one of Michael Jackson's brothers. He's on a cell phone kicking in now. Are you there, Tito?


KING: How are you? Where were you? Were you in the courtroom?

T. JACKSON: Yes, I was in the courtroom.

KING: Did you drive back with Michael?

T. JACKSON: I'm sorry, Larry?

KING: Did you drive back in the car with Michael?

T. JACKSON: I was in the car behind -- of Michael's vehicle. Third car, I was in the third car.

KING: What happened when they announced the verdict in your heart? What was your feeling? Were you worried?

T. JACKSON: Of course, everyone would be worried. But they kept reading the counts. The pressure was lifting off me, and I was holding my mom tight, and we all cried through every count. We cried through every count. Justice has finally been served and Mike's a free man.

KING: What's first thing he said to you?

T. JACKSON: He told me he loved me and I told him, I love you, too.

KING: How did he hold up today?

T. JACKSON: Well, it would be hard on anyone, you know? Michael kept his strength and he hung in there. He didn't do any events and I think it was a very personal thing on Tom Sneddon's part. We want to come onto your show and we'll be able to get more into that, but Larry, you know, I also have here with me is my brother Jermaine. So, he wants to get on the phone as well.

KING: OK, put him on.

T. JACKSON: So, I'm going to pass it over to him.

KING: All right.


KING: Hi, Jermaine. I look forward sitting down you in person, but I thank you for joining us with Tito. Did you ride back with Michael or were you in a different car?

JERMAINE JACKSON: I was in the third car but we were very, very, very, very happy, and, like we always felt from the very beginning and knew that he was (INAUDIBLE) innocent. And, I'll just say this, it takes one person to tell the truth, but it takes many to concoct a lie and that's what you saw there. And I just feel that the community up there in Santa Maria is a wonderful community. They are wonderful taxpayers, but the people who are in power and who are in authority, whoa. They need some work, because what they have done to -- well, what they tried to do in the lies they put out there against my family and Michael is just ridiculous.

And, at the same time, to report -- there were reporters reporting all this stuff and going on and on and on and then, go take a poll and try to see what the poll is going to be, around the U.S. -- it's just unfair. I mean, we kept quiet because we knew all the time justice was going to be served. It was on our side, but we can't control what the media is going to say, because they weren't reporting the right thing. So they were suading all the viewers and all the public's opinion.

KING: Were you surprised, though? Therefore, in view of that, with public opinion polls and the condition of the Santa Maria power structures you cite (ph), were you surprised by any part of his verdict?

JERMAINE JACKSON: I wasn't surprised by any part of the verdict, because I always felt and always said that Michael is 1,000 percent innocent. I know why this was done, and I'll say it again, Tito and I would love to sit down with you and share with the world, because what's important is that people know who we are and really know who Michael really is, and that's what's most important. He's a wonderful, wonderful person. And Neverland was never built to do what they tried to say. Neverland was built to bring happiness to the kids who were terminally ill, and he just wanted to give them a brighter day. That's all it was built for.

KING: How -- how are his kids?

JERMAINE JACKSON: His kids are fine. They're all fine, and the family is just strong -- stronger. We were strong before, but we're stronger now. And so I dare anybody to try to stand up against us, because we're very strong, and that's what a family's supposed to be. Michael is 1,000 KING: What are you doing tonight?


KING: What are you doing tonight?

JERMAINE JACKSON: I'm going to go to sleep early. We're going to just probably rest, because we've been tired. This has been a long two years and more of just grueling and just -- just -- we're just going to just hug each other and jump up and down, and we can't wait to share this with you when we see you.

KING: Yeah, I look forward to it. And is Michael going to work again soon?

JERMAINE JACKSON: I really don't know. Right now, he's going to rest, but you know, it's in his blood. It's in his bones. And so -- but he's going to rest right now and get past all of this. But I will say, thank you to all the supporters around the world and the people who always believed and still believe in my family, in Michael, in all of us. So thank you very, very much, Larry.

KING: Thank you. Do you want to stay on or you want to come on later in the week?

JERMAINE JACKSON: I want to talk to you in person, so you can really -- because Tito and I got so much to say, because we were the ones there and just really...

KING: All right.

JERMAINE JACKSON: We got something to say. We got...

KING: We'll set it up for you...

JERMAINE JACKSON: We need to talk.

KING: ... and Tito. And thanks so much for doing this.

JERMAINE JACKSON: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Thank you, Jermaine and Tito Jackson, two of Michael's brothers.

The whole panel will assemble. Your calls later. We'll be right back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We the jury in the above-entitled case find the defendant not guilty of conspiracy, not guilty of a lewd act upon a minor child, not guilty of administering an intoxicating agent to assist in the commission of a felony as charged in count seven of the indictment.


KING: Here's your shot of Neverland.

Let's meet our panel. In Santa Maria, CNN correspondent Ted Rowlands. In Neverland -- at Neverland is Brooke Anderson of CNN. In Santa Maria, Jane Velez-Mitchell, the correspondent for "Celebrity Justice." Michael Cardoza, defense attorney and former Alameda County prosecutor. Craig Smith, the former Santa Barbara County prosecutor and Superior Court commissioner. He knows Tom Sneddon quite well. He teaches law at Santa Barbara Ventura Colleges of Law. And here in New York, you've already met her, Cynthia McFadden, ABC News senior legal correspondent, co-anchor of "Primetime Live." And broke a lot of exclusives during this Jackson case.

All right, Ted, were you surprised?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No. Because we really didn't know which way this was going. It was an amazing scene inside and outside the courthouse. I was outside when the verdicts were read. The fans, there were hundreds of them, were so quiet. You could hear a pin drop. Everybody listening to the audio feed from inside the courtroom, and with each not guilty, they would erupt, and then quickly get quiet again. Go ahead.

KING: But you weren't surprised, you yourself?

ROWLANDS: Well, I sat through this entire trial except for a few weeks, and I think that the jury did an excellent job of evaluating the case and mulling it over. And if you listened to the jurors afterwards, they were a conscientious jury and they did go through it. And you heard Mr. Rodriguez say that they just didn't feel like it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

KING: Brooke, were you surprised?

RROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Larry, you know, like Ted said, we did not know what to expect. The fans here, they were gathered as the verdict was read. And as each count was read not guilty, we heard elation and cheers.

KING: I know that, but were you surprised? I'm asking you.

ANDERSON: Honestly, you know, I guess I was a little bit surprised that all 10 counts not guilty, but then you never know what these 12 jurors are thinking, and this is what the jury found, and this is what we're going to go with.

KING: Cynthia, you're surprised?

MCFADDEN: Yes, I was surprised, Larry. I'll tell you why. Usually when the state gets to offer evidence like it did in this case, the 1108 evidence, which is really powerful evidence, these past allegations of bad acts, it's very difficult for the defense to prevail. So yeah, I was surprised. I think this was an absolute rejection of the prosecution argument. KING: It was a wipe-out, right?

MCFADDEN: It was a wipe-out. And I have to say, I was surprised that the prosecution was able to get absolutely not one vote for...

KING: Jane Velez-Mitchell, were you surprised?

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, CELEBRITY JUSTICE: I was surprised, Larry, because I was sitting in the courtroom. And when the jurors filed in, they looked grim. They looked very serious. And then they did not make eye contact with Michael Jackson, and normally that's not a good sign for the defendant. Michael Jackson, by the way, looked terrified as he walked in, almost as if it was an effort to get to the defendant's chair.

But then boom, boom, boom, not guilty across the board. So it was an absolute stunner, and the room was surrounded in sobs. I had sobs behind me. The fans sobbing. Mother Catherine, two seats in front of me, sobbing. Michael Jackson had a tissue going up to his eye, and those on the side who could see him said he was crying. His attorney, one of them, Susan Yu, was sobbing. Then I look over at one of the jurors, who's mother of four, and she was sobbing outright. So a lot of tears in that courtroom.

KING: Michael, same question as everybody, were you surprised?

MICHAEL CARDOZA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, I wasn't. But remember what happened in the beginning of this case, Larry. All the legal pundits were saying, not guilty all along. Then as this trial progressed, and that prior sexual misconduct came in, the famous 1108 evidence, as that came in, some people started to say, uh-oh, we might get a guilty verdict in this case.

And then closing arguments came. I thought Mesereau gave a very, very good closing argument. Ron Zonen, I think he really outargued him. Gave a great closing argument, brought the case even closer.

Anything could have happened. I was really expecting, either way wouldn't have surprised me. Was I surprised? No. But I'll tell you what, the jury did the right thing in this case, because they isolated out the accuser's crime in this one. They took the accuser, the accuser's family, looked at that and said, did not prove it beyond a reasonable doubt and shoved that 1108 aside.

KING: Craig Smith, what did you think?

CRAIG SMITH, FORMER SANTA BARBARA COUNTY PROSECUTOR: Well, was I surprised? Yes and no. We knew all along that it was a very close case, that it was on the fence. Certainly when the case went to the jury, people thought it could go either way. No one could call it. I really thought there was going to be some kind of split verdict, some type of compromise. I thought at the very least they would find Michael Jackson guilty of one of the lesser-included offenses of simply furnishing alcohol but they didn't even find him guilty of that. So I am surprised. KING: We'll take a break and come back, and when we come back, Angel Howansky a Jackson family spokesman and Majestic Magnificent, Michael Jackson's friend, confidante, and personal magician -- I never had one of those -- will join us. We'll be right back.


KING: We're joined now in Santa Maria, California, by one of Michael Jackson's closest friends and confidantes, Majestic Magnificent, who's called Michael's personal magician. What does a personal magician do?

MAJESTIC MAGNIFICENT, MAGICIAN, FRIEND OF JACKSON: That's something the press is labeling on me. I'm not Michael's personal magician. I just happen to be a magician from Muhammad Ali transferred to Michael.

I want to answer that question that you asked everybody else. I had no doubt whatsoever that Michael would be acquitted on all the charges. Neither did Michael. From the very beginning, he said over and over again, justice will prevail and I will be acquitted and you will see, I'm innocent.

KING: So, are you saying, Majestic, then, this morning, when you got up, you weren't worried at all?

MAJESTIC MAGNIFICENT: Not even a little bit, because I know his character. I know he would not hurt a child, and if justice is going to be fair, not like -- not unlike these tabloids shows. You're a credible journalist, but these people like Nancy Grace, Diane Dimond, all these people trying Michael in the press, that is not in courtroom. It's the normal people and the jurors that make the decision. That's how I knew he was going to be acquitted.

KING: How's the family doing?

MAJESTIC MAGNIFICENT: Great, wonderful. I just spoke to Randy, everybody enjoying the moment of happiness and they all together and having this like, hey, it's over, and Michael will be making music. He will be singing. He will be dancing. You know, can't nobody do what Michael do on a stage. So, people say, he can't make a comeback and all this. He never been nowhere. Ya'll just -- they just tied him up for a while.

KING: So you're saying he's coming back?

MAJESTIC MAGNIFICENT: Oh my god. Can you -- name somebody who can sing and dance like Michael, Larry. Of course the world want to see that.

KING: Did you talk to him today?

MAJESTIC MAGNIFICENT: No, I haven't. I just spoke to Randy today.

KING: When are you going to see him? MAJESTIC MAGNIFICENT: Probably this week some time. I'm going over there -- I am sure there's going to be something in the next couple -- coming days. I'll probably go out to the ranch sometime.

KING: Thank you, Majestic. Always good seeing you. Majestic Magnificent.

MAJESTIC MAGNIFICENT: You, too. Take care, Larry.

KING: Not a personal magician, just happens to be a magician. Thank you. Glad we cleared that up.

MAJESTIC MAGNIFICENT: Thank you for being fair. Thank you so much!

KING: Thank you. We always try to be that.

Ted Rowlands, the crowd outside, as you discussed them earlier, they were jumping, they were happy, et cetera. What was the Jackson family like when they came out?

ROWLANDS: Very subdued. Relief, I think, would be the way to characterize them. Michael Jackson waved to the crowd, but no means were they raising their fists or smiling or high-fiving, not by any stretch of the imagination. Tom Mesereau was also very business-like, almost as if, you know, they were relieved and almost angered, too, that they had to put forth so much effort, so much heartache to get to this point, but not maybe what you would think. At least not -- that surprised me.

I thought there would be more smiles and a more of a pleased aura around them. But it was, pretty -- it was just, let's get out of here. Let's get home time type of feeling you got.

KING: And Brooke Anderson, what happened when they got home?

ANDERSON: Oh, when they got home, Larry, they were greeted by hundreds of fans. I even saw part of Jackson's staff at Neverland walk to the gate. I saw housekeepers. I saw chefs waving at him, cheering him on. The mood of the fans has definitely changed today from tense and anxious to celebratory and excited. We've seen some of the family members leave. We've seen Randy and Tito and Joe leave.

We haven't seen signs of Michael Jackson yet and I estimate there are about 200 fans here right now. Some of them tell me they're waiting to see Michael, hoping that he'll invite them into Neverland.

KING: Jane Velez-Mitchell, what do you gather public opinion will be of this, generally?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, in general, I think that people are going to say, that's the way it goes with celebrities. There's a celebrity justice and then there is justice for everyone else, although I do think that they will accept the jury's decision. I think people really feel this jury did as good a job as anyone could possibly do. They weighed the evidence. They worked hard, and they really fought to be fair, and I think they acquitted themselves in how they handled this. So, I think the general public, while possibly thinking well, something fishy's going on over there, is going to accept that Michael Jackson is not guilty of these particular charges.

KING: We'll take a break and be right back. We'll meet Angel Howansky, a Jackson family spokesperson; Debra Opri, attorney for members of the family; Jesse Jackson, more of our panel. Don't go away.


TOM SNEDDON, SANTA BARBARA CTY D.A.: Obviously, we're disappointed in the verdict, but we work every day in a system of justice. We believe in the system of justice, and I've been prosecutor for 37 years, and 37 years, I have never quarreled with a jury's verdict and I'm not going to start today.



KING: We're back on what will be a historic day, June 13th. Joining us now from Santa Maria is Angel Howansky, the Jackson family spokesman. First, people have been asking this, Angel, how's Michael's health?

ANGEL HOWANSKY, JACKSON FAMILY SPOKESMAN: Michael -- this was definitely a long trial for Michael. I believe he just was a little dehydrated. But other than that, I know right now he's probably eating and having a good time. I'm not sure.

KING: Where were you when the verdict came in?

HOWANSKY: I was actually upstairs. There's a section where they have the family upstairs in the courthouse.

KING: Yes.

HOWANSKY: I was upstairs. And then when I heard that, when I -- when everybody started running, I ran downstairs so I could hear everything, too. There is only so many seats for the family in the courtroom, and family comes first. So I wasn't in there, but I was upstairs.

KING: Did you talk to Michael?

HOWANSKY: I had not spoken to him yet. I have spoken to the parents.

KING: What did they say?

HOWANSKY: And I know -- they are so happy this is behind them. They are so overwhelmed. This was a very long trial. And I really admire Mrs. Jackson. Every day she came to court, never missed a day, and that was a lot for her, and I'm so glad. And they're happy that this is over with, so they can put this behind them and move forward. And I just love that family. They are very generous people. And Michael should not have gone through this. And he was finally able to tell the world that he is innocent. And no one else can question that anymore. And I'm so proud.

KING: But they also are, as Jermaine and Tito spoke with us earlier, they're also angry. Do you understand that?

HOWANSKY: Absolutely. I understand that. He shouldn't have gone through this in the first place. And for him to have to go through all of this, publicly -- his family went through a lot as well, and there is definitely going to be a lot of anger, I understand. Because this should not have happened in the first place.

KING: Majestic says he's definitely going back to singing and performing. Do you concur?

HOWANSKY: I concur. The world would be at a loss if Michael Jackson did not get back out and sing and perform. His music -- I talked to some Koreans today, and they told me that Michael's music liberated them, liberated Hong Kong. And I'm just -- there is no one in the world like him.

KING: What happened to the other spokesperson?

HOWANSKY: Raymone?

KING: Yeah.

HOWANSKY: I wasn't involved in that. I am not sure exactly what happened. I've been with the family for 15 years. I've been a longtime family friend. Then I started representing the parents, probably since the last time, 1993. But I wasn't involved with the other spokesperson, and it wouldn't be fair to me to make a comment on that at all.

KING: What do you think the public's perception of Michael is now? Do you think they'll view this as a celebrity who got off, or a guy who got a fair trial and was judged fairly?

HOWANSKY: When I was out with the family, when I was out with the parents specifically, you would not believe the people that came out of nowhere and told the family that they support them and that Michael should have never gone through this. I don't believe he's going to be known as a celebrity that got off. From my understanding and what I know of the family, they're very generous people, they're very loving and they're very sharing. And those who really know them really know that that's how they are.

Michael loves children. He gives millions and millions of dollars to children and to charities. And people -- you know, the media made it seem like the public was anti-Michael, and we found quite the opposite. The public loves Michael Jackson. And the minute the verdicts came in, I got calls from Norway, I got calls from South Africa, all over the world with people crying, singing in their different languages for Michael, and just tears of joy. And I'm so happy for him, that he stood and he stood strong. KING: Thank you. Angel Howansky, the Jackson family spokesperson, from Santa Maria.

Back to Santa Maria and Michael Cardoza. Did the prosecution goof?

CARDOZA: No, I don't think they did goof in this case. Well, maybe a little goof. And what I mean by that is with Sneddon, back in '93, '94, he loses the Jordy Chandler prosecution because of that $20 million settlement. All right, that said; then what he does in my opinion is put Jackson in his crosshairs. He's looking to get Michael Jackson.

And I'm sure he believed Michael's a pedophile. So he's saying, I got a pedophile loose in my county, not going to happen. Then this family walks in. I think he was a little too quick to believe them and didn't really look at their background that carefully. Didn't look at the J.C. Penney case. Didn't look to the fact that they committed perjury in that case. Brought this case, and what he did, he bolstered this case with a prior misconduct, sexual misconduct. That made this case a lot stronger, but as I said, the jury did the right thing. They looked at this case and said, you didn't prove it.

KING: Cynthia, you think they were too zealous?

MCFADDEN: The prosecutors?

KING: Yeah.

MCFADDEN: Well, listen, I think they certainly appeared that way, at least to the public. You know, we didn't ask the jurors about what their opinion of the prosecutors were. But listen, I think if you're a prosecutor, and a young man comes into your office and says that he has been sexually molested by a man who you know has previously settled several other similar cases for multi millions of dollars, you have an obligation to investigate.

Now, maybe Michael is right, maybe a due investigation would have suggested that the case shouldn't go forward, because we knew from the start there were credibility problems with this accuser and his mother. But I certainly don't think the prosecutor was misguided in bringing these charges initially. Now, whether or not they should have proceeded, I don't think they tried the case very well. Listen, when you make your opening statement and say your witness is going to say one thing and then either you don't produce the witnesses or they say the direct opposite, you've got a problem, and we all know that's what happened.

KING: Craig Smith, you're a former prosecutor. Was this -- do you have questions about the way this was prosecuted?

SMITH: I really don't. And I have to disagree with what my friend Michael Cardoza had to say. Tom Sneddon has not had Michael Jackson in his crosshairs ever since 1993. He did have the rug pulled out from under him with the settlement of that earlier case for the $20 million or so. But he was not pursuing Michael Jackson all these years. This case came to him.

And so once this case came to him, and there was credible evidence to believe there was probable cause that Michael Jackson had done these things, I think Tom felt he had an obligation to follow through. And indeed, many of the things they did to try to check out and corroborate this story -- and what ultimately led to the filing of the conspiracy charge. The fact that there were these surveillance tapes found in the office of Mark Geragos' investigator, when they went out and executed the search warrant. That added strength.

Unfortunately for the prosecution, when they actually got into trial, every time there was a break, it could have been a good break for them or a bad break. It always went a bad break. For instance, they had more evidence before the grand jury on the conspiracy and the furnishing of alcohol than they had in front of the trial jury. Remember, they lost their crucial witness because their crucial witness got arrested and therefore, was unable -- or unavailable to testify at trial.

KING: Let me get a break and we'll come back with more. Don't get away.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was very uncomfortable with that. A lot of the witnesses looked over at us from time to time, but then they'd look back. But she didn't take her eyes off of us, so that was a very uncomfortable feeling.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I disliked it intensely when she snapped her fingers at us. That's when I thought, don't snap your fingers at me, lady.



KING: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE. That's the fingers of Ted Rowlands holding the latest edition of "The Santa Maria Times." Not guilty on all counts. I understand, Ted, you also have a poll result, right?

ROWLANDS: Yeah, CNN-"USA Today"-Gallup poll is out already on this. Verdict in the Michael Jackson case: 34 percent of those polled say they agree with it, 48 percent say they disagree. This is an interesting one. Outraged by the verdict in the Jackson trial is the question: Yes, 24 percent; no, 73 percent. Clearly people, maybe not agreeing with the verdict, but by no stretch of the imagination outraged, and then the question you asked everybody, are you surprised by the verdict? Yes, 47 percent; no, 52 percent. The latest.

KING: Surprised, Cynthia?

ROWLANDS: From the polling of CNN and "USA Today."

KING: Are you surprised at that poll? MCFADDEN: I think that's -- I think that's really interesting.

KING: Thirty-four percent support it and 47 don't?

MCFADDEN: Forty-eight percent disagree with the verdict. You know, it's really hard, especially when you're not in the courtroom, Larry. I mean, it's easy to have a 3,000-mile-away opinion. And I think that you know...

KING: Well, you haven't attended the trial is what you're saying.

MCFADDEN: Yeah, we haven't seen it all. I mean, one the virtues of having a camera in the courtroom is that the public actually has a much more informed opinion, because they get to evaluate the witnesses for themselves and not through the filters of those of us (INAUDIBLE).

KING: Jane Mitchell, why do you think more people aren't upset? They may disagree with it, but only 30 percent -- less than 30 percent are upset?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Because they've been hearing about this case from the beginning, and they've been hearing about the problems with this case. The timeline, the conspiracy charge that was so problematical of the cover-up, the conspiracy begins 19 days before the alleged molestation. And people, pundits have been saying what are they covering up before an alleged incident even occurs? And the jurors themselves said during their news conference that the timeline did bother them. There were a lot of things that just didn't make sense and add up about the prosecution's case, and they never fully explained them away. And you can't convict somebody because you have a gut feeling, or something doesn't seem right, when you have a 98- page jury instruction book.

KING: Chicago to Reverend Jesse Jackson, the spiritual adviser to Michael Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow/PUSH coalition. Were you surprised, really?

JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: Well, I had a queasy feeling. Really, I felt the pain, the stress. I hoped for the best, I really expected the worst. In the sense that the jury was never sequestered. And there were really two trials. There was the public media trial, and there was the courtroom trial. And then in the media trial, you had the talk show hosts, whether it was Nancy Grace or O'Reilly and a thousand others saying Michael was guilty over and over again, Court TV, Michael is guilty. And yet in the courtroom, they discern opinions and impressions from fact in evidence. And they were able to make the distinction. And I was delighted that they did, but I was not sure that they could.

KING: Did you talk to Michael?

JESSE JACKSON: This morning. He called me this morning. We did have a talk today. Michael's had the combination a of the extreme excruciating pain in his back, the fall he had in Munich, Germany, complicating that by the stress he's going under, and I suppose with that kind of pain and stress, it takes away your appetite. So he lost a lot of weight. Somebody with his own sense of his own innocence, and he felt confidence in this jury, confidence in Mesereau, and he felt that he would be, in fact, exonerated today, and in the end, that happened.

KING: Did you pray with him on the phone? What was the call about?

JESSE JACKSON: Well, he called because there was concern about the outcome of the trial today. And throughout the thing -- excuse me -- I've said to Michael, that if he declared his innocence, that if you have -- the jury has the faith, you must have the faith and God has the power. That you are a champion. And sometimes -- excuse me -- champions fall down. You get up again. The ground is no place for a champion. I tried to keep his spirits boosted.

KING: Thank you very much, Jesse. Reverend Jesse Jackson, the spiritual adviser to Michael Jackson, from his hometown of Chicago. We'll be back with more of our panel. Don't go away.


KING: Tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE, an exclusive prime-time interview with Tom Mesereau. A very happy man tonight, the very successful defense attorney in this case.

What happens to his career, Cynthia?

MCFADDEN: Home run. I mean, nothing could have been more high- profile. Tom Mesereau has a lot to applaud (ph) tonight.

KING: He's through the roof now, right?

MCFADDEN: He is. I mean, he will be getting phone calls from everybody who gets in trouble, certainly.

KING: Cardoza, are you jealous?

CARDOZA: Am I jealous? You know? On a certain level, sure, I would have loved to have tried this case, but kudos to him. He tried a heck of a case. He put it on the line. He did it all. He did it right. He won. That's great. I'm really happy for him. I think he's a great guy.

I talked to him a little bit during the trial because the bailiffs would shoe us off, you know, don't talk, you can't talk. But I think it's great for him, and I'm really happy for him.

And if I might add -- you know why people are mad, Larry? Remember that poll you just talked about? Because there are some people who by that 1108, the past prior sexual misconduct, think that Michael Jackson's a pedophile. And if they have that mind-set, they are going to say, I don't care if he did this one, I would have found him guilty and I would have kept him off the street. I am not letting him at another little boy, and those are the people who say they're outraged. KING: Craig, do you think people, the viewer at home, was thrown by the pundits? That they may have built an opinion based on what the pundits were saying that had nothing to do with what jury was thinking?

SMITH: Well, I don't know that people were really thrown. And I don't know that the pundits were uniformly predicting a verdict of guilty on the molestation charges. I think for every pundit or analyst that you could find that thought it was going well for the prosecution there were at least one or two others who thought that the defense was going to pull it out. So, I don't think people were fooled by whatever the pundits were predicting.

KING: I'm going to take a break, come back and get a final comment from all our panelists on what happens to Michael Jackson now. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We all came in with our personal beliefs, and some of those did differ. But we spent a lot of time really seriously studying the evidence and looking at the testimony, and the jury instructions, and obviously came to an agreement.



KING: Before we get some final thoughts from our panel, we're going to meet another juror. Raymond Hultman is joining us from Santa Maria.

Raymond, what did you think of the prosecution and how well -- or didn't -- not well -- they presented this case?

RAYMOND HULTMAN, JACKSON TRIAL JUROR: Larry, I think they presented the case probably as well as they could have under the circumstances. I think where the jury was left with some questions was the fact that there was not enough evidence to directly point to the accuser, and I think that was the most troublesome issue with the whole deliberation thing.

KING: Did you ever, Raymond, come close to guilty on any of the counts yourself?

HULTMAN: Well, to be quite honest, and everyone in the deliberation room was aware of this, I had some real strong feelings toward guilt after I viewed the sheriff's interview with Gavin Arviso, and I don't know if it was because of some naivete on my part, but in any event, it was quite -- it was quite compelling to me. But that's really not completely what this trial was all about, or what deliberation was all about. It had to do with other circumstances that were taking place, and just basically the credibility of the witness.

KING: Did other jurors, say, talk other jurors out of opinions? Did someone say, I think this and another juror would say, well, you ought to think this.

HULTMAN: No, I don't think anybody was really talked out of an opinion. It was more of presenting additional information about the timing of certain events. I mean, it's very conceivable that somebody can appear to be telling the truth and their demeanor would indicate that and everything else. But when you look at past history of the accuser, there's some doubt. There's room for reasonable doubt, and really, that's what it was all about.

KING: And you didn't let -- you didn't let the past record of Michael Jackson affect you with regard to this charge?

HULTMAN: No. It affected me. It affected me, certainly. There were -- there were some jurors that I think would have you believe that this was all about the accuser and all about the Arvisos in this particular case but I tried to make it quite clear that I felt it was very important to consider all of the evidence in the case including the evidence that was presented from 93-94, all of the other circumstances surrounding the actual molestation accusation.

But that evidence could only be used in the case of the 93-94 case to show a possible pattern that Michael Jackson may do this kind of crime, and -- but when it came right down to it, we were looking at 10 counts in this case that dealt with very specific items, and they were all directed at the accuser, the -- Gavin Arviso -- and we had to make a decision on that and it showed that there could be reasonable doubt.

KING: So you will sleep well tonight?

HULTMAN: I will sleep well. I mean, I don't think I lost any of my convictions. I -- I feel that Michael Jackson probably has molested boys. I cannot believe that, after some of the testimony was offered, I can't believe that this man could sleep in the same bedroom for 365 straight days and not do something more than just watch television and eat popcorn. I mean, that doesn't make sense to me, but that doesn't make him guilty of the charges that were presented in this case and that's where we had to make our decision.

KING: Thank you, Raymond. Raymond Hultman, a very honest appraisal. Thank you, Raymond, very much. Extraordinary, huh, Cynthia?

MCFADDEN: Yes, really, these two jurors have been just fascinating. Both of them suggest that they thought there was some truth to the allegations of past molestation, but there wasn't enough in this case. Very interesting.

KING: Yes, isn't it to you, Jane?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, absolutely. I think what that juror just said hits the nail on the head. Michael Jackson obviously still has huge image problems, but America is willing to forgive, as long as the individual in question admits mistakes they did make and is willing to change and grow, and I think that's the real challenge for Jackson: can he change and can he grow and learn from all of this? KING: I apologize to the rest of the panel, but they will be back as we are, as they say in the business, plumb out of time. Ted Rowlands, Brooke Anderson, Jane Velez-Mitchell, Michael Cardoza, Craig Smith, Cynthia McFadden, and all of our other guests.

Don't forget, Tom Mesereau, exclusive prime-time appearance tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE. We will include your phone calls for the very successful defense attorney. My whole family was supposed to be on the show tonight but because of this, we taped them earlier and it will air Sunday night on Father's Day night.

Speaking as one father to another, Aaron Brown joins us now to host NEWSNIGHT. Nice seeing you earlier. You were wearing a loose sports shirt before. It looked good.

AARON BROWN, HOST "NEWSNIGHT": I'm wearing the same shirt now. I just put a coat on it, Larry.

KING: Oh, I see. You faked me out.

BROWN: Thank you. Put your glasses on.

KING: Bye.

BROWN: Thank you, sir.


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