The Michael Jackson Case
Archived by - The Michael Jackson Repository


Read about their credibility

Jackson investigated

The mother attempts to cash in on her connection to Jackson

The family gets involved with the civil lawyer from the first case

Charges brought

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The relationship between Michael Jackson and his second accuser began innocently enough. Two years ago, the recovering cancer patient made a request through the Make a Wish Foundation to meet the pop superstar. Jackson obliged and eventually formed a friendship with the boy and his family. The boy's mother characterized her children's relationship with the singer as a “loving father, sons and daughters one,” even crediting Jackson with helping her son overcome his bout with cancer.

Court documents reveal that this was not the first time the family had used the boy's cancer as a way to get close to celebrities. According to a report filed by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services: "Mom said that they met the celebrities due to her son’s illness and that the celebrities are very supportive of her son and their family.” The mother told a caseworker that through her connection to celebrities, she had “found ways to get things for her kids."

Rush Hour director Brett Ratner was one of the many celebrities who had met and befriended the boy. "[He] would sit in my director's chair. When I told him to get up, he'd tell me to go to hell... He's more street smart than I was at that age," Ratner recalled. “I always had a weird feeling that the mother would set Michael up. I always liked the father. But the mother was an opportunist.”

Adding credence to Ratner's suspicion was the fact that the family had a history of making unsubstantiated abuse claims. In 1998, they accused security guards from JCPenney and Tower Records of physically assaulting them after pulling them over for shoplifting. Two years after filing a $3 million lawsuit against the companies, the mother also accused the guards of sexually assaulting her during the altercation. She alleged that one of them had fondled her breasts and pelvic area for approximately seven minutes, a detail that had never come up in her initial depositions. The companies settled out of court for $152,500 without admitting guilt.

Tom Griffin, the attorney who represented JCPenney in the case, told NBC's Mike Taibbi that the family had no evidence to substantiate their claims. "[The mother] just came up with this fairy tale, not a fairy tale, it’s a horror story, and just ran with it," Griffin said.

A psychiatrist hired by JCPenney during the investigation said that the children's testimonies sounded scripted and rehearsed, a suspicion that was confirmed by the boy's father. In an affidavit, he admitted that the kids were coached by their mother to lie. According to Russell Halpern, an attorney for the father, "[The mother] wrote all of their testimony. I actually saw the script."

Halpern was hired when a bitter custody dispute arose between the parents following their divorce in 2001. The battle took an unexpected turn when the mother accused her ex-husband of spousal abuse, an allegation that was initially denied by the couple's three children. In October 2001, social workers were called to investigate the family following an altercation that took place in their home. When questioned on their own, the children did not allude to any abuse on the father's part. The social workers left but were called back when the mother returned. In the presence of their mother, the children all changed their story, alleging that their father was indeed abusive.

The father pleaded no-contest to the charges and was barred from seeing his children as a result. During an interview on Larry King Live, Halpern, who is currently trying to obtain visitation rights for his client, discussed documents from the JCPenney case that suggest the abuse allegations against the father were false. "[The mother] was specifically asked, ‘did he ever hit you?’ and she said ‘no’ and then she elaborated by saying he was a wonderful husband, he had never touched her, he didn't have it in him to touch a woman and he had never touched the children, never as far as even spanking the kids."

In court papers that were later filed during the custody proceedings, the mother painted a startlingly different picture of her ex-husband, claiming that her children were terrified of him. "Every single night, one of my sons barricades the front door by putting two chairs in front of the door," she alleged. "He also puts a boogie board and an archery arrow against the front door... Both boys sleep with baseball bats."

With their biological father out of the picture, the children were reportedly encouraged by their mother to refer to various other men in their lives as “daddy,” a title that was eventually given to Michael Jackson. The mother told a British newspaper last year that it was Jackson who encouraged the children to refer to him as their father. Sources close to the family, however, suggest that it was the other way around.

Whatever the case may be, Jackson formed a relationship with the family; the eldest son was even featured on the now infamous Living with Michael Jackson documentary. The 12-year-old raised eyebrows when he told journalist Martin Bashir that he had once spent the night in Jackson's bedroom. The boy’s comments led to two separate investigations into possible sexual abuse on Jackson’s part, investigations that would later help Jackson’s defense.

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Prompted by what was shown on the Living with Michael Jackson documentary, a school official contacted the Department of Children and Family Services and requested that they investigate Jackson. From February 14th to February 27th, social workers interviewed the family, who all maintained that Jackson had never acted inappropriately around them. The mother stated that her children had never been left alone with Jackson and they had never slept in a bed with him. According to the report: "The investigation by the Sensitive Case Unit concluded the allegations of neglect and sexual abuse to be unfounded."

Another investigation was launched when media psychiatrist Carole Lieberman filed a complaint with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department in February 2003. She asked for Jackson to be investigated and also demanded that his children be removed from his custody. “Bubbles the Chimp [Jackson’s former pet] is reportedly now living in an animal sanctuary. One would wonder how and why that came about. If Mr. Jackson is unable to take good enough care of his pet chimpanzee, shouldn't you be concerned about his children?”

About the boy in the documentary, Lieberman noted: “There was an unmistakable sense that something sexual had occurred with [the boy], as evidenced by his body language and his submissive demeanour towards Michael.”

The SBCSD investigated and closed the case on April 16th with “no further action required.” The SBCSD report cites interviews with the family that were conducted by three Los Angeles social workers. According to the alleged victim: “Michael is like a father to me, he’s never done anything to me sexually.” He added that he had “never slept in bed with Michael,” and that his mother was “always aware of what goes on in Neverland.”

The boy's mother told social workers that: “Michael is like a father to my children, he loves them and I trust my children with him.” Of Jackson, she said he had “never been anything but wonderful. My children have never felt uncomfortable in his presence. Michael has been a blessing.” The boy’s older sister also defended Jackson saying, “Michael is so kind and loving.”

Despite the fact that the family had nothing but praise for the singer, people within the Jackson camp were already wary of their motives. In early February, Jackson hired criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos to protect him from what seemed to be an opportunistic family. Geragos said in an interview, “I was brought in this February when somebody wisely, in retrospect, felt that there was something wrong here with this particular family.”

On the investigations that were conducted, Geragos commented, “You’re talking about a situation where the sensitive case unit of the L.A bureau… investigated this case. Their most qualified people interviewed all of the participants and they came back… with [an unfounded ruling].”

With two government agencies concluding that no abuse had taken place, Geragos assumed the case was over. “There wasn’t anything more that could have been done at that point.” The mother's behaviour, however, would soon raise more red flags within the Jackson camp.

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After the airing of the Bashir interview, the mother of the boy who appeared on the documentary made several attempts to cash in on her relationship with Michael Jackson. She sold her story to a British tabloid but, at that point, only had positive things to say about the pop star. She seemed outraged by people’s reaction to Bashir’s documentary and filed an official complaint with the Broadcasting Standards Commission.

The mother also planned to file a lawsuit against the company that aired the documentary and, in February 2003, hired civil lawyer Bill Dickerman to represent her in the case. Dickerman told ABC News: “[The boy] had been on camera, there had been no consent given and when she found out about it, she was absolutely livid.”

Michael Jackson seemed equally angered by the tone of the documentary and began compiling footage for a rebuttal video. To counter the negative publicity surrounding Jackson's relationships with children, the boy and his family filmed interviews where they made statements in Jackson's defense. The footage was supposed to be included in the rebuttal video but the mother's boyfriend Major Jay Jackson (no relation to Michael) demanded financial compensation in return.

During a pre-trial hearing, Major Jackson recalled saying to one of Michael Jackson's associates: "This family has nothing and you're making millions from [the rebuttal video] and what are you going to do for this little family?" To appease Major Jackson, the associate offered the family a house and the children a college education in return for their permission to use the footage. Major Jackson refused the offer, instead making a demand for money. While Major Jackson never confirmed whether or not he received any money from the Jackson camp, the footage of the family was not included in the televised version of the rebuttal video, indicating that his demand for financial compensation was not met.

Jay Jackson also testified that in February he was approached by two British journalists who were interested in paying for the family's story. According to one of the journalists who got in contact with the family, "The starting figure was $500 from myself, and that's supposedly when [Major Jackson] consulted with the mother." Major Jackson came back with a demand for $15,000 and was turned away.

When their attempts to cash in on the post-Bashir controversy failed, the family filed for emergency help on March 3, 2003. Court documents reveal that a week later, the mother filed for an increase in alimony from her ex-husband and asked for her child support to be doubled.

Shortly after, she returned to Dickerman with plans to sue Michael Jackson for an issue unrelated to child molestation.

Dickerman began a letter-writing campaign to Mark Geragos, claiming that Jackson was in possession of some of the family’s belongings including furniture and passports. Dickerman demanded the return of these items and also alleged that the family was being “harassed” and “terrorized” by Geragos' Private Investigator Bradley Miller. It would be months before the family would take these claims to the police.

While the relationship between Michael Jackson and the family had obviously become contentious after the airing of the Bashir documentary, they maintained all along that Jackson had never sexually abused the boy. That all changed in June 2003, when Larry Feldman - the civil lawyer who brokered a $15 million settlement for Jackson's first accuser - entered the picture.

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After meeting with civil lawyer Larry Feldman, the boy finally came forward with the sexual abuse allegations against Michael Jackson. Feldman sent the boy and his family to see psychiatrist Stan Katz, who had also been involved in the 1993 case. According to documents obtained by NBC, Dr. Katz told the boy, “Look, if you go ahead with this civil lawsuit, your family will get money if they win.”

Suddenly, lurid details about the alleged abuse began to materialize. The boy claimed that while at Neverland he “drank alcohol every night and got buzzed.” When he told Jackson his head hurt, he was supposedly told to: “keep drinking, it will make it feel better.”

The boy's younger brother alleged that he and his brother “constantly sleep in Michael's room with Michael… in Michael's bed.” He claimed to have witnessed Jackson touch his brother inappropriately on at least two separate occasions.

These were the same kids who, less than four months earlier, had vehemently defended Jackson to social workers. For some reason, after all of their previous denials of abuse on Jackson's part, the family drastically changed their story after getting involved with Feldman and Katz.

Feldman took the family back to the Department of Children and Family Services and asked them to overturn their “unfounded” ruling. The DCFS refused, saying that because the boy was not in immediate danger, there was nothing else they could do. Dr. Katz then reported the alleged abuse to the Santa Barbara Police Department who subsequently launched an investigation in June 2003.

In addition to being involved with both of Jackson's accusers, Dr. Katz had another connection to the Jackson case - one of his patients included Bradley Miller, the Private Investigator who had been hired by Mark Geragos to keep an eye on the family.

Katz told authorities about Miller's involvement in the case and also informed them about a tape that Miller had made of the family defending Jackson in mid-February. In what appears to be a highly unusual move, Santa Barbara authorities then asked the accuser's stepfather Jay Jackson to help them investigate Miller. Working as a "confidential agent," Major Jackson was sent to scope out the location of Miller's office and report his findings back to the SBPD.

After five months of investigating, the Santa Barbara Police Department was ready to go forward with its case. But first, the family would have to agree to put their civil lawsuit on hold and go forward with the criminal case against Jackson.

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In June 2003, Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon began to personally investigate the accusing family's claims against Michael Jackson. Notes from the boy's therapist reveal that the family was also planning to file a lawsuit against Jackson with the help of civil attorney Larry Feldman. Their plans to sue the pop star, however, would have to wait; after 1993, Sneddon amended California laws so that if civil and criminal proceedings arose over the same allegation, the civil proceedings would be stayed until after the criminal case was resolved. Consequently, if the family chose to go forward with their lawsuit, the proceedings would remain inactive until the statute of limitations in the criminal case expired.

While it would be years before the family could seek monetary damages from Jackson in court, they were informed by Sneddon of a state victim's fund that would provide them with financial compensation if they persisted with the allegations. In November, Sneddon met with the accuser's mother in an empty parking lot to provide her with the necessary paperwork to apply for the fund. Less than a month later, the family went forward with the case.

The accuser and his family provided authorities with a fifty-page affidavit detailing their allegations. In addition to the child molestation accusations, the family also claimed that they were held hostage at Jackson's Neverland ranch for several days in February 2003. Using this affidavit, Sneddon obtained a warrant for Michael Jackson's arrest as well as a warrant to search Neverland Ranch.

Later that day, authorities also searched the office of Bradley Miller, Mark Geragos' Private Investigator. During the raid, Sneddon confiscated a tape that featured footage of the accusing family praising Jackson. The contents of the tape would present a problem for the prosecution: the interview with the family was conducted in February 2003 but according to the family's affidavit, Jackson had molested the boy and kidnapped the family that very same month. Having access to this tape gave Sneddon an opportunity to familiarize himself with Jackson's defense strategy, which would most likely center around the family's inconsistent statements.

In spite of this evidence, Sneddon continued with the case. On November 19, he held a press conference where his behaviour led many to believe that he had a grudge against Michael Jackson stemming from the 1993 case. Despite the serious nature of the allegations, Sneddon and Sheriff Jim Anderson created a jovial atmosphere by making several jokes at Jackson’s expense.

After Jackson was arrested, Sneddon gave an exclusive interview to Diane Dimond where he referred to the pop star as “Jacko Wacko” but strongly denied having a vendetta against him. He later apologized for his comments, saying, “If my mom was still alive she would take me to task for not being a good person.”

In early December, news that Jackson had already been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Department of Children and Family Services in February was leaked to the press. Sneddon dismissed the DCFS investigation as an "interview," failing to point out that his own department had also investigated Jackson in February and had come back with the same conclusion as the DCFS. Regardless, Jackson was charged on December 18th with 7 counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child under the age of 14 and 2 counts of administering an intoxicating agent. These alleged acts took place between February 7th and March 10th.

Many were taken aback by the questionable timeline. Jackson knew this boy for two years and only started to molest him while in the midst of a huge scandal involving him and past accusations of sexual abuse? How could Jackson have molested the boy while simultaneously being investigated for sexual abuse by two separate sets of authorities? Why did the entire family continually deny any wrongdoing on Jackson's part until they got in contact with a civil lawyer? Furthermore, it seemed highly suspicious that Jackson hired his defense attorney before any alleged crime was committed.

In the months following the filing of the charges, much of Jackson's defense strategy was leaked to the press. The public learned of the family's litigious past, their previous denials of abuse on Jackson's part and their involvement with Larry Feldman, the civil lawyer who represented Jackson's first accuser. Mark Geragos also informed the media that Jackson had an "iron-clad alibi" for all of the dates of the timeline. How could Sneddon's case proceed when he had an accuser who lacked credibility and a Defendant with an alibi? Keep reading to find out...

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