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Nancy Grace for June 13, 2005, CNNHN

Aired June 13, 2005 - 20:00:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news. It is a clean sweep in a California courtroom. The Michael Jackson jury handing down a verdict that stunned the nation: Not guilty on all counts.
Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. And I want to thank you for being with us tonight.

Breaking news: Not guilty.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The people of the state of California, plaintiff, versus Michael Joe Jackson, defendant, count one, verdict, not guilty. Count two, verdict, not guilty. Not, not, not, not, not, not, not guilty.


GRACE: It was a 13-year-old Hispanic boy who took on Michael Jackson in court. And tonight, it`s not guilty, by reason of celebrity. The jury acquits Jackson of molesting a 13-year-old boy. Michael Jackson, free.

Tonight, in Neverland, California, CNN correspondent Brooke Anderson; in Santa Maria, California, "Inside Edition`s" senior correspondent Jim Moret; also there, Seattle trial attorney Anne Bremner; in San Francisco, defense lawyer, Daniel Horowitz; in New York, former prosecutor John Q. Kelley and psychoanalyst Bethany Marshall. Boy, I do need a shrink.

But first, to "Celebrity Justice" correspondent Jane Velez-Mitchell. Jane, describe what happened when the verdict came down.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, "CELEBRITY JUSTICE": It was an absolute stunner, Nancy. First of all, Michael Jackson walked into court today, looking more terrified than I have ever seen him in this entire trial. He literally walked with hesitation, as if he was afraid to go into court.

Then the jurors file in. And they look grim and serious, and they don`t make eye contact with him. Normally not a good sign. But then, the counts start being read and boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, not guilty on all counts, a clean sweep, a total victory for Michael Jackson. The tears start flowing.

One of his attorneys, Susan Yu, starts weeping. One of the jurors starts weeping. His mother, Katherine, starts weeping. He appears to be weeping because tissues are going up to his eyes. But, as he turns around, he is not smiling. He looks sad as he walks out of court. He does not hold a news conference. He really blows kisses to his fans, gets in his SUV caravan, and zips away, a moon-walking, you might say, metaphorically, back to Neverland.

But the jurors did hold a news conference. The 12 jurors, plus the alternates, and they all said pretty much the same thing, that this all boils down to two words, reasonable doubt, reasonable doubt, exactly what defense attorney Tom Mesereau said in his closing arguments, "If you have reasonable doubt about this family accusing Jackson, you must acquit," and they did.

And one other thing they made very, very clear today, their intense dislike for the mother of the boy who accused Michael Jackson. In fact, this mother who took the stand amid a lot of controversy and snapped her fingers quite often, three of the jurors said they intensely disliked that, and one of them said, "I thought, `Don`t snap your fingers at me.`"

GRACE: Take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We actually challenged one another in the deliberation room. I mean, it wasn`t -- I don`t want to give the impression that this was a really slam-dunk deal where you just go into a room and 12 people agree. I don`t think 12 people can agree on anything except that the sun might come up tomorrow morning. And beyond that, you`ve got to talk about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What mother in her right mind would allow that to happen, you know, just freely voluntary her child, you know, to sleep with someone, and not just so much Michael Jackson, but any person for that matter?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I disliked it intensely when she snapped her fingers at us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every time that we came up to a stopping point, we all had to remind ourselves that we have a closet full of evidence that really made us always come back to the same thing. It was just not enough.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I felt that there was enough reasonable doubt there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We expected probably better evidence, you know, something that was a little more convincing. And it just wasn`t there. You know, it just wasn`t there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I got acquainted with Rolaids, Pepto Bismol, you name it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyday routine, that`s going to be a little different, but, it`s worth it.

QUESTION: ... read and see about the Jackson case. And I`m wondering, after this many months, if you have any intention of doing that or if you`re completely Jacksoned out at this point?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am so proud to live here, because, in leaving here on Friday, I knew, whatever the answer was, it was going to be the right decision. But these people here are all good people.


GRACE: Well, I`m glad the jurors made friends with each other. Michael Jackson walked free, though.

Very quickly, let`s go Brooke Anderson, CNN correspondent, standing by at Neverland. Brooke, describe.

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nancy, it is a scene of elation, of celebration here. And I`m looking down the road here outside of Michael Jackson`s Neverland Ranch about half a mile, a mile before the first bend, cars on both sides. Every minute that passes, more and more fans are arriving here.

We have got around 250 fans here. Now, behind me, you can`t really see around the gate there, there are several Santa Barbara County fire trucks here. They said they got a request to come out here, check things out.

But earlier, when Michael Jackson did arrive here at Neverland, the fans were out, Nancy. Even part of his staff was out. I saw chefs, I saw housekeepers cheering him on, showing their support. So it is a scene of celebration, of elation. One woman told me this is the happiest day of her life.

GRACE: The happiest day of her life, OK. How many people have made it there to Neverland to celebrate the not guilty?

ANDERSON: I would estimate between 200, 275 people. And as I say, every minute, every hour that passes, more and more people have arrived.

And what`s interesting, Nancy, about a week and a half ago, Jackson`s main security guy, I was here when he walked outside to the front of the gate, made an impromptu speech to the fans and he said, "When the time is appropriate, we will celebrate."

Now, at the time, of course, he had no idea that Jackson would be acquitted on all ten charges. But the fans are certainly celebrating here now. I don`t know if they have anything formal planned for the future. If we do hear anything on that, we will certainly bring that to you.

GRACE: Brooke Anderson, did Jackson or anyone else in his camp wave to the fans, speak to the fans, make any gesture toward them?

ANDERSON: As the motorcade entered, I saw windows were rolled down. I saw some hands, you know, waving to the crowd a victory sign. I don`t know if Michael Jackson was one of those fans.

Tom Mesereau actually arrived here a little while ago, as well. The crowd surrounded his car, shouted, "Mesereau," chanted, "Thank you, thank you." So everyone here is very excited, very thrilled.

Michael`s brother Randy, actually, left a few moments ago. And I asked him, you know, "How is he feeling?" He said, "Very, very happy." So the scene here is elation and jubilation.

GRACE: I think I saw a Michael Jackson look-alike just go behind you, Brooke. Brooke, have they been camping out there throughout the trial or did they all just show up now?

ANDERSON: You know, they have been camping out here. And as I`ve seen every day -- I`ve been here about a week and a half since closing arguments began -- early in the morning, when Jackson would leave, when he was going to court for the closing arguments, there would be fans here to see him leave at 7:45 in the morning.

You know, they would taper off throughout the day. A lot of them would head to the courthouse. But after the jury -- after everyone would head home at the end of the day, the fans would come here in droves. And by the end of the evening, they were holding prayer vigils, they were chanting, they`re singing, they`re dancing to his music. I`ve seen many Michael Jackson impersonators out here, as a matter of fact.

GRACE: Brooke, do you expect Jackson to speak to all of his fans there at Neverland?

ANDERSON: I`m not sure if he will, Nancy. I know that`s what the fans are hoping. At times, they surrounded the front of the gate and chanted, "Michael, Michael, Michael," in the hopes that maybe he will come to the front of the gate and maybe wave at them, maybe speak to them.

As a matter of fact, we just saw -- I believe that was Michael`s brother Tito just exit, as well. So family members have left. We are seeing people leave, but no signs of Michael just yet.

GRACE: Brooke Anderson joining us from Neverland, Michael Jackson`s ranch to which he retired.

Here in the studio with me -- and boy, do I need a shrink tonight -- Bethany Marshall. Did you hear that one of the jurors said this is the happiest day of her life? Isn`t that reserved for when you, like, have your first baby, or you get married, or you graduate from college, something?

BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST: This is a woman who has no life.

GRACE: Whoa.

MARSHALL: She has no life other than Michael Jackson`s. In a way, she`s kind of like a stalker. She lives her whole life through him, and his victories are her victory, and his failures are her failures.

GRACE: Reaction to the verdict?

MARSHALL: I was shocked, shocked and upset, because, in my mind, Michael Jackson does fit the pattern of a pedophile. And though it`s not a crime to be a pedophile, it is a crime to molest a child. Most pedophiles do molest children. So I worry that we`ll be seeing Michael Jackson in court again.

GRACE: Joining us now, CNN correspondent Ted Rowlands. Hello, friend. Bring me up-to-date.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, outside the courthouse now, Nancy, not much going on. All the fans have left here and have headed to where Brooke Anderson is, at Neverland Ranch, for the party which will undoubtedly go throughout the night.

When the court verdicts were read, there was a live audio feed coming from the courtroom. And you could hear a pin drop for blocks outside here. Every time a not guilty verdict was read, they`d cheer, and then they`d be quiet and wait for next one.

And this went on. And then when the tenth verdict, and the tenth lesser was read, that`s when the party started and has continued. Michael Jackson, not a lot of emotion exiting the courtroom, waving to the fans. But not the big smile or the sense of jubilation you might think would happen.

Family members, the same way. It was kind of a business-like attitude towards this verdict, almost sort of a relief more than a celebration. Thomas Mesereau didn`t say anything publicly, in terms of getting up to the mike. He did make a quick comment leaving court, saying that Jackson is an innocent man and always has been.

And that is all we have heard, really, from the defense side. They are presumably going to speak in the days to come. But not tonight, at least not yet.

GRACE: Joining us now, Ted Rowlands, CNN correspondent. He`s been on the case since the get-go. As psychoanalyst Bethany Marshall stated, so many, many people, not jubilant tonight, feeling like, if you want to win in an American courtroom, you`ve got to have a deep pocket, and you have to be fighting a little boy.

Here in the studio, a man that knows this scenario very well, John Quilligan (ph) Kelley. He civilly prosecuted O.J. Simpson and won a $30 million-plus verdict against him for the victims in that case.

OK, John Kelley, response?

JOHN KELLEY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: The day he was indicted, I didn`t think they had a case then. I thought Sneddon was too personally invested. I think it was clear money was a motive from the start. And I think the acquittal was not a surprise.

GRACE: Do you think he was -- do you to think he molested the boy?


GRACE: You`ve never thought he molested the boy?


GRACE: OK, you know what? You have said that from the get-go.

Joining me now, Seattle lawyer Anne Bremner. Anne Bremner, reaction?

ANNE BREMNER, SEATTLE LAWYER: Nancy, I wasn`t surprised, because either a guilty or not guilty verdict would be rationally based on the evidence. I thought that, though, the prosecution had gained momentum at the end of the case.

And I have said that oftentimes on your show, Nancy, that with the videotape of the accuser at the end, unscripted, not an actor, not a con artist, and, of course, the brilliant closing of Zonen, I thought that they really had the momentum at the end of the day.

However, you know, you used to call me kind of the flip-flop lawyer here, because I thought, you know, that Michael Jackson, during the state`s case, with so many misfires in their case, had momentum for an acquittal or a hung jury, and it looks like that`s what carried the day.

You know, 80 percent of jurors make up their minds in opening statement. And they never change their opinion. Maybe that was done in the beginning of the case and it couldn`t be overcome by evidence in this case.

GRACE: Right. To Ted Rowlands, how are the prosecutors taking the acquittal?

ROWLANDS: Oh, very well. Tom Sneddon got up and spoke, answered questions for an extended period of time with Ron Zonen to one side and Gerald Auchincloss (sic) to the other. You know, he answered questions and he was forthright.

And I think that -- you know, he has a lot critics out there, that`s for sure, people saying that he`s personally vested in this. I think that Tom Sneddon`s a guy that sees things black-and-white, a straight shooter, if you will. And I think honestly believes that this child was molested. He evaluated the child. He dealt with the mother. And he brought charges, and he lost.

GRACE: Yes, you know what? I think you put it in a nutshell, Ted Rowlands. All this business about him being personally invested, total B.S. As a prosecutor, when a child comes to you and says, "I was molested," what do you do, throw the case out because they`re poor, throw the case out because they`re Hispanic, throw the case out because the mother is a little crazy?

I mean, do you turn away from a difficult case? No. You go in there, you try the case. You take your lumps, and maybe you lose. And for everybody that has been watching the case, as we go break, I`m having a little crow sandwich on the set tonight, and it`s not going to taste good. Be right back.



JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": If Michael is found guilty, Tito will do the time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Set Michael free.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His fate lies in the hands of 12 people.

JESSE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON ADVISER: The jury has the faith. Michael has the faith. And God has the power.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hoping a unanimous verdict will come through.


LENO: He may leave the country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s looking forward to being vindicated.

LENO: He wants to go to a little-known country called Boylivia. Do you know that where that is?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Michael Jackson will be proven not guilty of all charges.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s going through a lot of emotions right now.

JACKSON: ... and will acquit him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it`s in God`s hands.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They will find him innocent of all of the charges.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know that`s going to be all right. You got the victory.


GRACE: Well, they called it right.

Straight back out to the courthouse, standing by, CNN correspondent Ted Rowlands. Ted, when the verdict came down today, were you surprised? You`ve been in the courtroom from the get-go.

ROWLANDS: No. You know, to be honest, you can`t really be surprised one way or another. I just try to report the facts. And after this jury got the case, I didn`t know where this was going to go. I didn`t know if it would come back either way.

A lot of times at a trial you have a gut feeling, well, you know, a person is going to be found guilty or no way, there is no case. I think it could have gone either way. When the verdicts came down, though, I wouldn`t say that I was surprised necessarily.

If you`ve been in the courtroom every day, you can see exactly where this jury was going. It`s tough to put a guy away when you have some reservations, and they clearly had reservations about the accuser, and the accuser`s family. And I think the prosecutors knew that. And they knew it could go either way as long as -- and so did the defense.

GRACE: So Jane Velez-Mitchell. Jane, what did the jurors say had the biggest impact on them, regarding the verdict?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think that they basically said that the case wasn`t there. Juror number one, an elderly man, says he has strong feelings about some of the issues surrounding the case. But he said Michael Jackson wasn`t charged with sleeping with boys. Michael Jackson wasn`t charged with having porn in his home, that Michael Jackson was charged with ten specific counts, and they couldn`t find the evidence on that.

GRACE: Let me go to Anne Bremner. Anne, I was very surprised when I heard the lady juror say, "What mother in her right mind would allow this?" Now if she -- allow what? If she thinks Jackson didn`t do anything, then what`s the problem?

BREMNER: Nancy, you`re exactly right. And what we saw with June Chandler, where she tried to bond with the jurors, remember the mother of the `93 accuser? And when she tried, they gave her such a look of disdain, it seemed that the presumption would be that Michael Jackson was guilty, they thought that. Because otherwise why would you say, "What mother would let this happen?"

So that was surprising, given, you know, the verdict, that they, you know, they seem to have those kinds of feelings about this mother and a prior mother. But, again, beyond a reasonable doubt, they didn`t find it.

GRACE: You know, Jane Velez-Mitchell, we talked a lot about Jackson`s appearance in the courtroom, him coming late, him showing up in pajamas, him not taking the stand, not subjecting himself to cross. None of that seemed to matter to this jury.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, the prosecution said that they had underestimated the celebrity factor. But the jurors insisted in their news conference that celebrity was not a factor.

In fact, one of the women said that she decided at the end of this case that Michael Jackson was, quote, "normal just like anybody else." So now he`s even been acquitted of being abnormal and strange.

But getting back to some of the problem that they had with the case, I think it was sort of a potpourri of problems. I mean, they problems with the timeline. I asked one juror about that. She said that they finally figured it out and actually got it on a blackboard and were able to understand it, but that it was so convoluted and, of course, the alleged molestations were about 19 days after the alleged conspiracy began.

So there was a problem with the whole timeline. And I think that got to them. And obviously the mother, not just her demeanor on the stand, but on that rebuttal tape where she gushes about Michael Jackson endlessly.

GRACE: Well, I was concerned when one of the jurors in their press statement today said, "Well, you know, we had to consider him not just as a big celebrity, but as a regular person, just like everybody else." So clearly celebrity entered the jury deliberation room. Did we ever think it wouldn`t? I guess I was naive, thinking lady justice would remain blind.

Stay with us


THOMAS SNEDDON, D.A. WHO PROSECUTED JACKSON: We review it like any other case we review in our office, just like we reviewed this one.

QUESTION: You wouldn`t shy from it now?

SNEDDON: Well, the answer to the question truthfully is, I probably wouldn`t, if it was a good case. But I think we all learned some lessons here and that we thought we had a good case this time. And we thought we did a conscientious job, and the sheriff`s office did a remarkable job of investigating. But no, the people in this county elected me to do a job. And I`ve tried to do that conscientiously, and I`ll continue to do that.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No jail time. Got a problem, Michael. Every kid that has a little bit of a beef that you did this and that, give them a million bucks and give his mother a million bucks. You cannot have any more boys under 18 over at your house for the rest of your life.


GRACE: Welcome back. We are joined now by the jury foreperson, Paul Rodriguez. Welcome, sir. Thank you for being with us.


GRACE: Mr. Rodriguez, did you believe the boy that came in that is now a youth minister that stated Jackson molested him in the past?

RODRIGUEZ: Well, we got a little problem with that because he had no idea where some of his money came from, and he didn`t want to talk to his mother. And so those kind of things that we kind of didn`t focus on, but it did keep -- we kept that in the back of our minds.

GRACE: So would it be safe to say you did not believe him?

RODRIGUEZ: Yes, we had a hard time believing him.

GRACE: OK. Why do you think Michael Jackson paid out over $20 million to get rid of the 1993 accuser? Was that a stumbling block for the jury?

RODRIGUEZ: We took that just for the fact of matter back when. We didn`t want to use that for the case now. And we took that for what it was worth, and we thought that what we have to concentrate on is what`s happening now. What happened in between the time that this whole thing started in February of 2003 to the end of March, those are the two months that we had to focus on.

GRACE: Right.

With me is the jury foreperson in the Michael Jackson trial. As you know, a full acquittal. We`ll be right back with Paul Rodriguez. Please stay with us.



TOM SNEDDON, DA WHO PROSECUTED JACKSON: When a victim comes in and the victim tells you they`ve been victimized and you believe that and you believe that the evidence supports that, you don`t look at their pedigree. We look at what we think is what`s right. You do the right things for the right reasons, and if it doesn`t work out, that`s why we have a jury system. But we did the right thing for the right reasons.


GRACE: We saw Lady Justice play out a jury verdict today in a California courtroom. A 13-year-old boy and his family thought he had a shot in a case against Michael Jackson. He was wrong. The jury -- clean sweep, all not guilty with Michael Jackson.

Let`s go straight back out to the jury foreperson, Paul Rodriguez. Welcome, sir. You`re the foreperson on the jury. One of the other jurors said right at the get-go they didn`t want it to look like a slam dunk, so they continued deliberations. Did you guys take a straw vote at the get- go?

RODRIGUEZ: No. I didn`t agree with that statement. We didn`t do that at all. I didn`t like that statement. And I`m not sure who said it, now that I`m thinking about it, but no, we didn`t do that. We started out with a conspiracy. We talked about that. We read the instructions that we were given for that, 98 page of instructions, and there was, I don`t know, maybe 10 pages or so of the conspiracy. We had a lot of discussion about it, some -- not heated arguments, but at least it was a little warm in there. And we decided to table it, read instructions on something else. And so that was the first thing we started with, and that was the last thing we ended with, was conspiracy.

GRACE: Mr. Rodriguez, what do you think was the main reason the jury voted against conspiracy to hold that family there on Neverland?

RODRIGUEZ: Just because of the testimony, from the way they were talking about getting -- there was three times they supposedly escaped from the ranch, and it was hard to believe the story that each time, they kept coming back and nobody really forced them to come back. You know, they just kept coming back on their own.

GRACE: You know what, Paul, I had the same...

RODRIGUEZ: So when someone goes out...

GRACE: I had the same problem with the mom leaving to get a bikini wax and then going back. I had a problem with that. I agree with you. But what -- I`m hung up with the jury on this. When you have so many little boys coming in and saying, This happened to me," you got a $20 million settlement to make one kid go away, a $2 million settlement to make another kid go away, you got a grown man sleeping with little boys -- hello!

RODRIGUEZ: Yes, but...

GRACE: How do you explain this guy`s sleeping with a 13-year-old boy 365 nights in their underwear?

RODRIGUEZ: The thing is, we didn`t have the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that he did anything with these children. And when some of these children came into in to testify, none of them said that anything happened. So it was really hard to go in the direction that he was molesting them.

GRACE: Yes. What about the one kid that became a youth minister, who stated plainly Jackson molested his -- fondled his genitals?

RODRIGUEZ: Again, like you said earlier, you know, about his scenario or his testimony, it was hard to buy the whole story, when he acted like he knew nothing about it. I mean, he acted so much like the mother of the other accuser, you know, he just didn`t seem that credible. He didn`t seem to convince us, like we wanted to be convinced. And he just -- he was leaving too many little loopholes in his statements.

GRACE: What did you think about the boy`s mother?

RODRIGUEZ: We thought that she was -- from the get-go, that she was not telling the truth, that she was in it for whatever she could get out of it. You know, going back to the J.C. Penney case and so many other things that came along, she just wasn`t a credible witness.

GRACE: What did you think about the boy -- Paul, what did you think about the boy accuser?

RODRIGUEZ: The boy accuser -- he was also -- sounded a lot like he had been programmed. he sounded a lot like his mother`s testimony, and it was really hard to be convinced by him. And that -- that`s one of the things we were really hung up on. We had to listen to his testimony and discuss it, stop it, discuss it, stop it, you know, just -- and going over and over and over it, just to see if we left anything out, if there was something there that we could have used. But again, the evidence was not there beyond a reasonable doubt. It just wasn`t there.

GRACE: Mr. Rodriguez? Can I ask you a question? What do you think a grown man up in his 40s is doing sleeping with one little boy after the next, all by himself, locked up in his bedroom, every night? That doesn`t bother you? It bothers me.

RODRIGUEZ: Yes, it does. It bothers us a lot. It bothers us a lot. But again, like I said, we discussed our feelings, our beliefs and our thoughts, and we cannot base a judgment on anyone that`s up there as a defendant. We had to go with what we had as evidence. And if some of the evidence would have been presented or looked into a little more and given us a little bit more to work with, then this whole thing might have been turned around.

GRACE: Mr. Rodriguez, what do you think it would have taken to convince this jury that Jackson had molested this boy?

RODRIGUEZ: Like I said, better evidence, and it just wasn`t there, or deeper evidence or more evidence. But there was still a lot of things that came out that didn`t -- they didn`t follow up on by giving us more information. You know, they would get our attention, they would go so far with the information, and then they`d say, Thank you for your testimony. And we`re thinking, OK, wait a minute. Take this a step further. Give us a little bit more to work with. But they didn`t do that.

GRACE: You know...

RODRIGUEZ: So that`s what really...

GRACE: Hey, Paul, I heard one of the lady jurors in your press conference state, What mother in her right mind would allow this? So my question is, if nothing wrong happened, then what was this lady juror talking about? Allow what?

RODRIGUEZ: I think it was her personal views. And I don`t want to speak for her because I`m really not sure what she was thinking about. I could guess, but I don`t want to do that. You know, you have to talk to her. That`s one thing we did decide on, that we would not speak for each other. We`d speak what we think happened and the way we think individually, the direction this whole thing could have gone or should have gone or didn`t go. But the thing is, again, we had to base our whole decision on the testimony that was presented to us, all the evidence.

GRACE: Paul what did you think about the counts alleging Jackson fed wine to the children?

RODRIGUEZ: Say that again?

GRACE: What was your take on those counts that charged Michael Jackson with giving alcohol to a minor?

RODRIGUEZ: Well, again, it was only hearsay, from the information we gathered, that nobody really came across -- Ann Kite (ph), one of the stewardesses -- no, not -- excuse me, that wasn`t Ann Kite, it was Cynthia Bell (ph), I think, was one of the stewardesses on one of the flights, and even she said that she never seen Michael Jackson give any child anything to drink. So it`s hard to base it on anything else other than the hearsay, maybe from the mother, and the mother didn`t seem to be that credible, like I said.


RODRIGUEZ: From the get-go, we kind of wondered about her testimony.

GRACE: Paul Rodriguez is with us. He`s the Jackson jury foreperson. Mr. Rodriguez, there were the witnesses that say they saw the boys drinking at Neverland. Did you think the boys just got into the wine on their own?

RODRIGUEZ: That`s the way it came across with the testimony that was given to us again and the witnesses that we heard. And,again, we went through all that testimony. I think that`s what that`s taken us so long, just to make sure we`re not leaving any rock unturned, leaf unturned, however you want to put it. We just didn`t think it was there, that it was credible.

GRACE: Yes. Mr. Rodriguez, I understand the theory of reasonable doubt. I was a prosecutor many years. But before I let you go, I got a question for you. What do you think Jackson, Michael Jackson, a 40-year- old man, was doing with these little boys all those nights in bed alone?

RODRIGUEZ: Well, that`s a personal view that I don`t want to talk about right now.

GRACE: No, sir!

RODRIGUEZ: We all have our thoughts...

GRACE: You tried him -- you tried him for that. He was tried. You were on his jury. That`s what he was accused of. What do you think he was doing?

RODRIGUEZ: I know. And that`s why I say we -- we had to just rely on the -- I`m not going stick my neck out there on this. We`re just -- I`m going to base it again on the testimony that was presented to us...

GRACE: Well, what do you mean, stick your neck out?

RODRIGUEZ: ... and there was too much reasonable doubt.

GRACE: What do you mean, stick your neck out?


GRACE: You don`t want to say what you thought Jackson was doing with those little boys every night?

RODRIGUEZ: Because it`s our -- it`s our own personal beliefs and our own thoughts, and that`s not what we have to work with. We had to work with the testimony of the witnesses and the credibility of the witnesses, and that`s all we can base it on.

GRACE: So what you believe -- you`re telling me what you believe doesn`t matter.

RODRIGUEZ: Yes. It does matter, but I`m not going to go any further with that.

GRACE: Yes, sir. I think you`ve gone far enough. With me...

RODRIGUEZ: All right. Thank you.

GRACE: ... the jury foreperson, Paul Rodriguez. Please stay with us.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people of the state of California, plaintiff versus Michael Joe Jackson, defendant, count one, verdict, not guilty. Count two, verdict, not guilty. Not -- not -- not -- not -- not -- not -- not -- not guilty.


GRACE: That`s right, you heard it correctly, not guilty all counts, clean sweep for the defense in the state versus Michael Jackson. Very quickly out to Jim Moret. Jim, I don`t know if you could hear what the jury foreperson was just telling me on the air. Could you?


GRACE: I was very stunned to hear a juror refuse to state what he thought Jackson does in bed with all of his line of little boys, say he didn`t want to stick his nick out by telling what he believed. I mean, isn`t that the point of the justice system, to do what you believe in, what you think is right, for Pete`s sake?

MORET: Yes, of course, it is, Nancy. But I think that also, what they were talking about -- you know, when you look at this case, what we were talking for weeks and weeks and weeks about how this mom and the conspiracy counts may have tainted this case -- and you know what? That taint may have just gone so deep that even if they thought Michael Jackson was weird and was doing things that they didn`t like, they didn`t feel that the case was really proven.

And maybe it was hurt so badly by that conspiracy count and by the reliance on the mom and by bringing in all the financial records -- that I think were really brought in just to humiliate Michael Jackson -- that maybe that came back and hurt the prosecution. I can`t read these people`s minds, but it was clear that these folks did not like the mom, did not believe her and perhaps thought that she influenced her kids to lie.

GRACE: Yes. From what I`m hearing from all of them, Jim Moret, it does go back to the mom.

Jane Velez-Mitchell, you told us that when the mom took the stand. Maybe a lot of us didn`t want to hear it, but I really did not think that a jury would make a decision about the boy based on their dislike for the mom. But you told us at the beginning she was a very bizarre witness -- Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, she was. And she wasn`t likable. And you spoke about the fact that the jury foreperson is Hispanic. Well, she`s Hispanic, as well. And I have to tell you that that foreperson you just interviewed, in the news conference said, When I heard her snap her fingers and say, That`s our culture, I thought to myself, No, that`s not our culture. So he was deeply offended by her, didn`t think that she was a very good representative of his culture. So I think that worked against her, as well.

GRACE: Actually, I have not commented regarding the jury foreperson being Hispanic. I said the alleged victim was a young Hispanic boy.

To John Q. Kelley, here in the studio, who brought the civil case successfully against O.J. Simpson. So much more and varied types of evidence can come in a civil trial. Do you think there`ll be a civil trial in this?

KELLEY: Well, in this particular case, no because the key core part of the case was the testimony that the boy, his younger brother and the mother. And clearly the jurors, all 12 of them, rejected the testimony. Like you said, in a civil case, you only need 9 out of 12 jurors, lower burden of proof. You can make Jackson testify under oath. But none of that`s going to make a difference here. They didn`t believe the key evidence that they need to have a finding against him.

GRACE: Elizabeth, do I have Daniel Horowitz? Daniel, weigh in.

DANIEL HOROWITZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Nancy, I think that it was not the mother that sunk this ship, it really was the J.C. Penney case because in that case, it came out unequivocally at the trial that the mother made up a sexual assault allegation against two security guards who were just doing their job. And this kid was part of that fraud perpetrated for money on J.C. Penney. Nancy, once the jury heard that and established that, how could they believe this same kid, beyond a reasonable doubt, when there was no corroborating evidence?

And I think that`s what you heard from the foreperson. Nancy, you pretty much got him to admit that he thought something funny went on in the bedroom. You did your job in your examination of this foreperson. But beyond a reasonable doubt just was not there.

GRACE: To Debra Opri, response?

DEBRA OPRI, ATTORNEY FOR JACKSON`S PARENTS: Well, this is the bitter pill you`re going to have to swallow, Nancy. This is the reality, not the reality you have created for the last year. Michael Jackson is not guilty. Let him live his life in peace and stop trying to retry the case, and that`s what you`re doing.

GRACE: You know what? You`re right. So I guess I don`t need to hear from the defense, either, and that would be you! What are you doing? Don`t you think you`re doing a little rehash yourself, Miss Opri?

OPRI: No. I just want the world to know that our system works. We have a trial. We had a jury acquit him, and he is innocent. He walked out of that courtroom. To use Mesereau`s words, justice was served...


GRACE: Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Wait a minute! We know what happened. Why are you rehashing it?


OPRI: Sneddon, said, I accept the jury verdict. Why don`t you, Nancy?

GRACE: To Bethany Marshall. Do you think we`ll see Mr. Jackson again?

MARSHALL: We will definitely see him again, especially if the prior bad acts were true and he molested children back then, because pedophiles offend again and again and again. And as time goes on, the possibility for reoffense goes way, way up.

GRACE: To Jane Velez-Mitchell. You`ve been at the courthouse since the get-go. Has everybody finally cleared out, or are they there still celebrating.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, they`ve pretty much cleared out. I think the celebration has switched over to Neverland. I have to tell you that the fans inside the courtroom -- and there were approximately 45 of them -- as the verdict was read were sobbing, many of them. I mean, openly sobbing, gasping. I turned around because I was wondering what the commotion was as the verdict was being read, and I saw the tears just flowing down. And so this is such an emotional, emotional issue.

And I have to say, I think the jury did a very good job, in terms of taking this very seriously, taking a lot of notes, evaluating the evidence, leaving nothing stone unturned. Like or not like their decision, these were honorable people who did the very best they could under extraordinarily tough circumstances, with the whole world watching them. And I think they acquitted themselves.

GRACE: We are now showing you a live shot of Neverland. Elizabeth, can you get that up for me? Thank you. As you see, tons and tons of fans crowding in at the gates, responding to the not guilty verdict handed down by this jury, packed together. That is Joe Jackson at the gate, Michael Jackson`s father, speaking to the fans, obviously thanking them for their support.

I wonder where the alleged victim and his family is tonight.



RODRIGUEZ: One of the stewardesses, she said that she never seen Michael Jackson give any child anything to drink. So it`s hard to base it on anything else, other than the hearsay, maybe, from the mother, and the mother didn`t seem to be that credible.


GRACE: Paul Rodriguez, jury foreperson, saying he couldn`t say on air what he really thought Michael Jackson was doing in bed with all those little boys. Whatever he may say now doesn`t matter. The jury has handed down a not guilty on all counts.

Very quickly to BBC correspondent Peter Bowes. Final thoughts, Peter?

PETER BOWES, BBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, there here was a jury that took its job extremely seriously. There was no smoking gun, said one of jurors at the news conference. And I really think it summed it up, that yes, the mother was a huge problem for them. And they did their job because they looked at the law and they considered that there was reasonable doubt on all of these 10 charges. And that`s why they found Michael Jackson not guilty. I think much respect to every single member of this jury.

GRACE: Bethany, final thought.

MARSHALL: I know we can`t overlook reasonable doubt, but I think in the minds of the jury, it was very hard to convict somebody of privilege.

GRACE: John?

KELLEY: No civil case. It`s over for Michael. I think this is the end of the road, and we move on.

GRACE: I think you may be right. And finally, to Jane Velez- Mitchell. Final thoughts, friend?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what is that old saying, It`s better to let a thousand guilty men go free than to convict an innocent man. And I think that was the spirit behind their decision.

GRACE: And Jane, before we sign off for the night, I want to ask you, when you heard that not guilty come down, did you believe it? Were you surprised? And do you feel good about the verdict?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I was nervous. I was in there, and I -- it was almost like this was all happening to me, even though I didn`t really get emotionally invested in either side. I did say a prayer. And I said a prayer, Let justice be done, however this turns out.

GRACE: Well put. Well put, Jane Velez-Mitchell. Good night, friend.


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