September 17, 2010
Perettis film about Michael Jackson misnamed by
its author What really happened is relying
heavily on the commentaries from our two grand investigative
journalists DIANE DIMOND and VICTOR GUTIERREZ
whom she always called her best source. Both are considered
experts on Michael Jackson and both pride themselves on revealing
the whole truth about the man.
The legacy of these writers is gigantic and this makes it hard
to analyze the results of their creative activity in a single
post. This is why todays piece will be solely about the
so-called VIDEOTAPE STORY
which took place at the beginning of 1995.
It will be a simple collection of various pieces of information
about that case and I suggest that you read it as a kind of
Dimonds and Gutierrez professional
portfolio and decide for himself once and for all
whether you want to sustain any relationship with these characters
any further or whether you have already had enough of it.
(happily Ive found a working link to this project) http://mjjr.net/content/mjcase/part4.html
None of Diane Dimonds and Ray Chandlers activities
could have been possible without the help of Victor Gutierrez.
In 1997, Victor Gutierrez released Michael Jackson
was my Lover, a tell-all book that describes in detail
the alleged relationship that took place between Michael Jackson
and his accuser (that filth deserves a separate post).
Shortly after releasing the book about Michael Jackson, Gutierrez
began making the TV rounds. During an appearance on the tabloid
television show Hard Copy, Gutierrez told reporter Diane
Dimond that he had seen a videotape of Michael Jackson
molesting his nephew Jeremy.
According to Gutierrez, the alleged tape had been captured by
one of Jacksons security cameras and given to the boys
mother by an unknown source. Upon viewing the tapes contents,
Gutierrez says, the mother contacted the Los Angeles Police
Department only to have her claims ignored by investigators.
Unsure of what to do, she got in contact with Gutierrez, arranged
a meeting with him in a hotel room and showed him the alleged
And now she is scared, Gutierrez told Dimond. The
District Attorney is trying to get these tapes and I guess through
my sources, they already been in contact with the mother. So,
its up to the mother now to make the final decision.
In response to the allegations, Jackson filed a defamation of
character lawsuit against Victor Gutierrez and Hard Copy. During
the civil proceedings, the boys mother MARGARET MALDONADO
testified that, contrary to what Gutierrez had reported, neither
of her two sons had been molested by Jackson, she had not
received any money from Jackson and she had never
met Victor Gutierrez. Maldonado later discussed the case
in her book Jackson Family Values:
The story was an outrageous lie. Not one part of it was
true. Id never met the man. There was no tape. Michael
never paid me for my silence. He had never molested Jeremy.
In the book Jackson Family Values, by Jermaine Jacksons
ex-common-law wife, Margaret Maldonado. She writes that in early
I received a telephone call from a writer named Ruth Robinson.
I had known Ruth for quite a while and respected her integrity.
It made what she had to tell me all the more difficult to hear.
I wanted to warn you, Margaret, she said. Theres
a story going around that there is a videotape of Michael molesting
one of your sons, and that you have the tape.
If anyone else had said those words, I would have hung up the
phone. Given the long relationship I had with Ruth, however,
I gave her the courtesy of a response. I told her that it wasnt
true, of course, and that I wanted the story stopped in its
She had been in contact with someone who worked at the National
Enquirer who had alerted her that a story was being written
for that paper. Ruth cross-connected me with the woman, and
I vehemently denied the story. Moreover, I told her that if
the story ran, I would own the National Enquirer before the
lawsuits I brought were finished. To its credit, the National
Enquirer never ran the piece.
Hard Copy, however, decided it would. Hard
Copy correspondent Diane Dimond had reported that authorities
were reopening the child molestation case against Michael. She
had also made the allegations on L.A. radio station KABC-AM
on a morning talk show hosted by Roger Barkley and Ken Minyard.
Dimonds claims were based on the word of a freelance writer
named Victor Gutierrez. The story was an outrageous lie. Not
one part of it was true. Id never met the man. There was
no tape. Michael never paid me for my silence. He had never
molested Jeremy. Period.
Because Jacksons lawyers could find no sign of the videotape
or the origin of the tale, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge
Reginald Dunn ruled that Gutierrez was no longer protected
by the California Shield Law, and ordered him to name his source.
Gutierrez did not, instead claiming that a host of people, including
Elizabeth Taylor and Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil
Garcetti, could verify the existence of the videotape (none
of these people in fact supported him).
Consequently, on October 15, 1996, Judge Dunn ruled that
Gutierrezs story was false and that he had acted with
malice and was therefore liable for presumed and punitive
damages (the amount of which would be determined at a later
date.) The writer then fled to Mexico.
In October 1997, a legal action to assess the amount
of presumed and punitive damages to be paid to Michael
Jackson by Victor Gutierrez was delayed due to Gutierrez filing
for bankruptcy. Mr. Jacksons lawyers stated that the
assessment of such damages would be determined and that Gutierrez
would not be protected indefinitely by his action.
On April 9, 1998 Michael Jackson won the slander suit
against free-lance writer Victor Gutierrez. Superior Court Judge
Reginald Dunn ruled that Gutierrezs story was false and
the jury subsequently awarded Jackson $2.7 million in damages.
Victor Gutierrez claimed to have seen a videotape of Michael
having sex with a boy, said Jacksons attorney, Zia
Modabber. He claimed he was shown the tape by the
boys mother. But the tape never existed. The mother testified
that no such tape ever existed and that the incident
never happened. The guy made the whole thing up, and
we sued him for it.
We talked to the jurors afterwards, Modabber said.
They said they wanted to send a message that they were
tired of the tabloids telling malicious stories about celebrities
for money. They said they hope this will send a message not
to do this.
Gutierrez may appeal, said his attorney, Robert Goldman,
who maintained that the case was lost because Gutierrez refused
to identify his confidential source.
Before the trial began, the court ruled that the story
was false because Victor refused to reveal his allegedly confidential
source for the story, Goldman said. The jury was
told the story was false without being told why.
Modabber laughed at that assertion.
Gutierrez told a D.A. investigator and two witnesses who
testified at the trial that the boys mother was his source,
Modabber said. He told anyone who would listen. The only
people he would not tell were the ladies and gentlemen of his
jury thats when he became ethical. Now hes
getting on his high horse saying hes protecting his sources.
Paramount, which produces Hard Copy, was dismissed
from the suit last year. So too were former Hard Copy
correspondent Diane Dimond and producer Stephen Doran. Jackson
is appealing their dismissal from the case.
According to Ruben Rasso, a member of the Los Angeles District
Attorneys office, Gutierrez then fled from the United
States and moved to Chile in order to avoid paying Jackson the
THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF
CALIFORNIA has looked into Michael Jacksons
Here is the document dated October 28, 1998 which provides
full information about the case of Respondent Paramount Pictures
Corporation which produces Hard Copy and Respondents
Dimond and Doran who are reporters on the show.
I have this precious find thanks to Shelly (thanks a lot!).
You can read the full text here: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/californiastatecases/b114354.pd
while Ill be posting only some excerpts from the
Court of Appeal paper which is an absolute thriller:
Appellant Michael Jackson brought suit against respondents Paramount
Pictures Corporation, Diane Dimond, and Stephen Doran alleging
that he had been slandered by reports broadcast on the
television program Hard Copy and in a radio
interview with Dimond. During these broadcasts, the search
for and purported existence of a videotape showing appellant
inappropriately touching an underage boy in a sexual manner
The KABC-AM Radio Broadcast
Two over-the-air reports dealt with the alleged videotape.
The first occurred on January 9, 1995,
on the The Ken and Barkley Show broadcast by KABC-AM
radio. Respondent Diane Dimond appeared as a guest
on the program. To keep the statements made in their proper
context, we repeat the entire text of the interview as it related
to appellant rather than rely on excerpts:
Q: You are going to give us the first scoop on Michael
Jackson of 1995.
Dimond: You know, . . . just when you think the story
is going away, its not. It . . . the investigation is
red hot again and here is the deal. The District Attorneys
Office, the top investigators within the District Attorneys
Office are looking for a 27 minute video tape that they believe
shows Michael Jackson and a young boy.
Q: This is a recent video, or something
Dimond: Yes. . . . It was taken right before Christmas
as the story goes and it was recorded by one of Michael Jacksons
own security cameras. He likes, everybody knows that he likes
to bug rooms and put cameras up and the whole 9 yards.
Q: How do they know about this?
Dimond: Well, its kind of a convoluted story but
the bottom line as I understand it is: someone close to . .
Michael Jackson knew of the existence of this tape. It is an
x-rated tape, I must tell you and [--]
Q: It is an x-rated tape?
Dimond: It is . . . yes.
Q: Of Michael Jackson?
Dimond: Truly explicit.
Q: Its what? Michael Jackson and little boy. Are
you 100% sure that this tape exists?
Dimond: I am as sure as I can possibly be.
Q: You have not seen it?
Dimond: I have not seen it but one of my best sources
on the Michael Jackson story has seen it.
Q: Who .. . you have no doubts about.
Dimond: I have never had a doubt about this person,
ever. I know the District Attorneys Office is looking
for it because they are calling up reporters saying Have
you seen it. . . . Do you know where we can get it?
Q: Who had it and was showing it? His security people?
Dimond: Well, someone close to Michael Jackson found this
tape and, in deep concern for the boy involved, gave it to boys
Q: Uh oh. Should Michael not know that one of his own
security cameras was recording what he was doing?
Dimond: Oh no, he knew. He absolutely knew.
Q: He is asking for trouble. (inaudible).
Dimond: You know, I remember way back when, more than
a year ago, we interviewed the head of the pedo[ph]ile unit
at the FBI in Quantico, Virginia and he said you know the
down fall of pedo[ph]iles is that they love to keep a momento
of their victims. Or, they love to take pictures or take
videos. We dont know why, but they do this. It is for
their own self gratification later but it always comes back
to bite them.
Q: . . . It looks to me. I think old Mike had better get
his checkbook out again.. . . Thats the way this is going
to end up.
Dimond: I got to tell you, Ken, is what the DAs
office is worried about. There is like a mad scramble to get
to this tape before the Jackson camp gets to this tape.
Q: Here is what happened. . . . If that tape .. . does
exist as you say.
Q: Somebody close to Michael Jackson got a hold of it
and thought holy, baloney this is worth a lot of money. Look,
Ill split it 50/50 with you and we can get maybe $50 million.
Dimond: That could very well be.
Q: And he gave it to the mother of the boy?
Q: So she has it.
Dimond: And, I have to tell you, if my source is correct,
who has seen this tape, and again, he always has been. The acts
that are being performed on that tape are exactly what the accuser
a year ago said Michael Jackson did to him.
Q: Well, I mean you dont need to beat around the
bush. What are those acts?
Dimond: We are talking about oral sex.
Q: Um, hmm. Performed on Michael Jackson or by Michael
Dimond: By Michael Jackson. . . So, . . . You know,
it is going to unfold this week. I am trying to confirm right
now, we understand that there might . . . have been copies made
of this tape.
Q: I bet there was.
Dimond: And you know, if . . the Jackson camp gets it,
or if it is somehow hushed up or bought off or whatever.
I understand there might be a copy of it.
Q: Now, wait a minute. After all that happened during
1994 with Michael Jackson. What was a parent letting their kid
do with Michael Jackson in his house.
Q: Is this up in Santa Barbara?
Dimond: No, it was here in Los Angeles.
Q: In LA, so its our own District Attorney.
Dimond: And, I got to tell you, I know, I know many of
the investigators within the District Attorneys Office.
They got the top guys on this. They are not beating around the
bush. I got to tell you too, this mother, when she got
this tape, made an initial contact to the LAPD Sexual Exploitation
Unit and they told her unbelievably. Well, okay, you
say you have the tape, just take it to any local precinct and
turn it in. And she said to herself. This is not the kind of
protection I need, thank you very much, forget it.
Q: Well, . . . so why didnt she?
Dimond: Because she is afraid. This is a very powerful
man you are talking about. This is a man who has a lot of money
to spread around, who can make your life very miserable. He
Q: Well, but if you got
Dimond: He can make it wonderful and very miserable.
Q: It looks to me that if you got him on tape doing it,
he is going to have a pretty hard time.
Dimond: One of the DAs investigators was quoted
as saying, if we get this tape and .. . if it shows what
we think it shows, we put the handcuffs on Michael Jackson.
Q: Well, Diane. You have to keep us informed on this.
I know that Hard Copy will have it on tonight.
Dimond: And, listen, if anybody calls you with this tape,
let me know.
Q: I will let you know.
Dimond: I will let you know.
Later on in the broadcast, they briefly returned to the story:
Q: Going back to the Michael Jackson video.
Q: How did your friend see it? Who showed it to your friend?
Dimond: Oh, I just cant tell you that. That would
Q: The mother?
Q: Well, it had to be either the mother of the boy or
Q: Or the security person who gave the tape.
Dimond: You guys always have the most insightful questions.
I think I better hang up right now. That concluded The
Ken and Barkley Show interview.
After the KABC-AM broadcast and before the Hard Copy
segment was aired, appellant Michael Jacksons attorney,
Howard Weitzman, sent a letter to Paramount Pictures,
stating in part:
I learned earlier today that Diane Dimond, one of Paramounts
Hard Copy reporters, was on KABC talk radio this morning and
indicated that an untrue and defamatory story about an alleged
videotape depicting Michael Jackson engaging in sexual relations
with a minor was true, and that she believed such a tape existed.
I understand that Ms. Dimond also made claims that the Los Angeles
and/or Santa Barbara District Attorneys offices are reopening
their criminal investigation of Mr. Jackson, based on the purported
existence of this videotape. Please be informed that Ms. Dimonds
claims regarding the existence of such a videotape are untrue
and defamatory, as are her claims regarding the reopening of
any criminal investigation concerning Mr. Jackson. (as
if it could help)
The Hard Copy Broadcast
Later that evening, Hard Copy
broadcast the following report related to appellant,
which again we repeat verbatim.
The speakers on the tape include respondents Dimond and Doran;
Victor Gutierrez, the source referred to by
Dimond in the earlier broadcast; Barry Nolan, an anchorperson
for Hard Copy; and Kevin Smith, a reporter,
who was also seeking to track down the alleged videotape or
obtain information about it).
First voice [apparently Kevin Smith]: [Unintelligible].
then Michael Jackson will be in handcuffs.
Second voice: Reports that Michael and a teenage boy have
been caught on tape.
Third Voice [apparently Gutierrez]: [Unintelligible] .
. the tape, there is no doubt about it. It is very graphic.
Second voice: Now, investigators are racing to find Michaels
Barry Nolan: New trouble for Michael Jackson tonight.
This time police investigators are searching for what they believe
is an incriminating x-rated video. Diane Diamond [sic]
Dimond: If Michael Jackson thought the new year would
bring him a new lease on life Barry, it just isnt happening
that way. Hard Copy has learned that there is now a renewed
police investigation into the entertainers relationship
with young boys. This time, authorities are hot on the
trail of an explicit video tape they believe could
make their case. Michael Jacksons videos have been seen
around the world. But it is not his music videos authorities
are interested in. Nope. Hard Copy can now reveal that investigators
from the L.A. District Attorneys office have been working around
the clock lately trying to find an x-rated video of the pop
superstar which they believe shows him naked and fondling
a young boy.
Gutierrez: When you [Unintelligible] . . . the tape,
there is no doubt about it. It is very graphic.
Kevin Smith: If the D.A. gets a hold of the tape and it
shows what its supposed to show, then Michael Jackson
will be in handcuffs.
Dimond: The investigators are working for this woman.
Assistant D.A. Lauren Weiss. She was once a key player in the
Jackson child molestation investigation. Last year, police helped
question witnesses brought before a secret grand jury. Now she
has her investigators scrambling to find that video tape. Journalist
Kevin Smith was questioned by the D.A.s office.
Smith: They are scared. Yes, this is yet another
lead which is gonna be snapped up. And disappear mysteriously
before they get their hands on it. What they are concerned of
is if goes back into the Jackson camp and it will never be
Dimond: It is impossible to independently confirm the
existence of the video but several sources including some
as far away as London say that this tape is black and white,
27 minutes long, and reportedly recorded by one of Jacksons
own security cameras. Sources also tell Hard Copy the tape was
somehow turned over to the Mother of the young boy seen on
Smith: The investigator I spoke to said this is what theyve
been waiting for. If they had the tape, thats all they
needed to make an arrest.
Dimond: Victor Gutierrez has reported on Michael Jackson
for the last decade and has a book about to be published regarding
the entertainers relationship with various boys.
Gutierrez has talked with this young boys mother.
Gutierrez: And now she is scared. And now, not
only that, the District Attorney is trying to get these tapes
and I guess through my sources, they already been in contact
with the Mother. So, its up to the Mother now to make
the final decision.
Smith: Even if the original copy damages or is destroyed
or is hushed up, there has been a copy made and that
is what the D.A. is going after.
Dimond: Could there actually be such an x-rated tape.
Well, late today, Jacksons lawyer, Howard Weitzman categorically
denied the existence of such a video and he says to his knowledge
neither the D.A. in Los Angeles or Santa Barbara has reactivated
the case. We will have more on this developing story tomorrow.
Barry Nolan: Thanks Diane. . .
The suit for slander
Appellant Michael Jackson brought suit against Diane Dimond,
Stephen Doran, KABC-Radio, Inc., Paramount Pictures Corporation,
Roger Barkley, Ken Minyard, and Victor Gutierrez for slander.
Respondents Paramount Pictures, Dimond, and Doran asserted that
they had not made any false statements of fact and had not acted
with actual malice.
To demonstrate truth, respondents set forth the following facts,
established in part through the declarations of Jack S. Gonterman,
an investigator employed by the Los Angeles County District
Attorneys Office, and Thomas Sneddon, the District
Attorney of Santa Barbara County.
In December of 1994, the
Santa Barbara County District Attorneys Office received
information (1) that a videotape existed depicting appellant
engaged in sexual contact with a minor, and (2) that Gutierrez,
a freelance journalist who reports on appellants activities,
had seen such videotape.
Gonterman had been assigned to the investigation of allegations
that appellant sexually molested minor children, which investigation,
according to Gonterman, has continuously been an open
investigation, meaning that the office periodically
receives information which [they] evaluate, and where warranted,
In early January 1995, Gonterman
was instructed to interview Gutierrez regarding the possible
existence of a videotape of [appellant] molesting a minor child.
On January 5, 1995, Gonterman
had a telephone conversation with reporter Kevin Smith
in which Smith asked him (Gonterman) whether he was investigating
the existence of the alleged videotape. Gonterman told Smith
he was intending to conduct some further interviews and asked
Smith if he had any knowledge of such a videotape.
Also on January 5, 1995,
Gonterman interviewed Gutierrez concerning his knowledge
and [s]hortly thereafter .. discontinued any further
efforts in the matter.
Sneddon handled the investigation of allegations against
appellant on behalf of the Santa Barbara District Attorneys
In December of 1994, he
received information that a video tape existed depicting
[appellant] engaged in sexual contact with a minor child.
According to the reports received by Sneddon, Gutierrez had
seen the videotape.
At around the same time, Dimond contacted Sneddon to
inquire about reports that his office was looking for such videotape
or investigating new allegations of molestation against appellant.
Sneddon informed her that he was not at liberty to comment
upon such reports but stated that the investigation was
still open .. . .
Although Sneddon did not discuss this with Dimond, at the time
of their conversation, a decision had already been made to send
Gonterman to look into the existence of the tape and
procure it if possible. Gontermans investigation led to
the conclusion that no such videotape could be located or
proven to exist. According to Sneddons recollection
and belief this conclusion was reached sometime after
the Hard Copy broadcast on January 9. (sure it
was proven non-existent only after the broadcast)
To demonstrate lack of malice, respondents first set
forth facts showing Dimonds lengthy experience
as a reporter. According to Dimond, in late 1994, she heard
from fellow journalist Brian Anderson that a new and
significant story about appellant was developing. [In a declaration
submitted by appellant, Anderson conceded having this conversation
with Dimond but explained he was referring to a completely different
At around that same time, Dimond was contacted by Gutierrez
concerning the possible existence of the incriminating videotape.
Thereafter, she contacted Sneddon and his refusal to
confirm or deny that his office was attempting to locate such
videotape led her to believe that to mean she was on
the right track since, according to her understanding and experience,
he would have given an outright denial had there been no truth
to the story.
She subsequently talked to Kevin Smith, who related that
he had been interviewed by Gonterman in connection with the
videotape and had been told that Gonterman intended to conduct
On January 7, 1995, the
London Sun, a British newspaper, reported that Los
Angeles police and legal officials were in a frantic race
to obtain the alleged videotape was brought to Dimonds
[The Sun also reported that Gonterman said, I am
satisfied the tape exists.'" Gonterman denied ever
saying that he was satisfied that the tape existed. A competing
London newspaper, the Daily Mirror, reported that the Sun's
story was inaccurate. This was also brought to Dimond's attention.
Apparently, the late edition of the Sun did not contain the
story, but there is no indication that Dimond or anyone else
connected to "Hard Copy" was aware of that fact.]
(of course they were not aware of it)
After being informed of that article, Dimond again spoke to
Gutierrez, who claimed to have seen the videotape and agreed
to do an on-camera interview.
Gutierrez had provided early and accurate information on a number
of stories pertaining to appellant, such as his marriage
to and divorce from Lisa Marie Presley. During the on-camera
interview, which occurred on January
8, Gutierrez related that he had met with the
mother of the boy involved; that she had attempted to
contact the Los Angeles Police Department and was not
taken seriously; that she was told to take the tape to any
police station; that the tape was very graphic;
that the District Attorneys Office had been in contact
with the mother; that appellants people
were trying to find the tape; that the tape was recorded
three weeks before Christmas; and that the tape was in black
All this led to undisputed fact number 38, the key fact on lack
of malice: Based on Mr. Gutierrezs long track
record as a reliable source, coupled with the other reports
Ms. Dimond received from Mr. Anderson, Mr. Sneddon and Mr. Smith,
inter alia, Ms. Dimond believed Mr. Gutierrezs
information to be accurate.
Respondents in their statement of undisputed facts went on to
relate that Dorans involvement in the story was
limited to the on-camera interview of Kevin Smith, who was not
named as a defendant and who made no statements alleged in the
complaint to be false. Doran was not involved in the factual
investigation, editing, or decision to broadcast the story.
Appellant Michael Jacksons Opposition
The one significant area of dispute between the parties centered
on fact number 38 concerning Dimonds belief in Gutierrezs
accuracy. In this regard, appellants position was supported
by the testimony of Brian Andersons wife, Lisa Marlowe.
According to her testimony, sometime during the
weekend of January 7 and 8, 1995, Dimond called Anderson
from whom she had first heard rumors about a new development
concerning appellant. Anderson was not home, so Dimond spoke
Dimond asked Marlowe whether she or her husband had heard the
story about a video depicting appellant with a young boy. Marlowe
replied she had not and stated, That sounds like
B.S., to which Dimond responded, Thats
what I thought. Marlowe also said, Dont
tell me this came from Victor [Gutierrez], because he never
mentioned it to us and This sounds
like a setup, because why would this surface all of a
sudden to which Dimonds reply was Yeah,
thats what I thought.
Appellants opposition was further supported by the declaration
of Lauren Weis, Head Deputy of the Torrance Branch of
the Los Angeles District Attorneys Office, and Gontermans
Weis learned that Gutierrez was claiming to have seen a videotape
of appellant engaged in sexual conduct with a young boy, and
informed Sneddon. They jointly decided to instruct Gonterman
to interview Gutierrez.
Weis also asked Gonterman to speak to Kevin Smith, who had called
and left a message asking about the videotape. During that interview,
Smith told Gonterman he had heard that Weis believed he had
the tape which Gonterman told him was not true.(is your head
spinning already?) Smith also told Gonterman that the tape
was 27 minutes long and was recorded in black and white. After
Gonterman spoke to Gutierrez and Smith, which interviews lasted
a total of approximately one hour, nothing more was done
to search for a videotape.
The counterstatement of facts sets out a number of actions Dimond
could have taken, but did not take, to check out
the story, such as asking Gutierrez the name of the hotel
where he allegedly saw the tape or the name of the mother
whose son was supposedly involved; insisting that Gutierrez
produce a copy of the tape; talking to Gonterman about
his investigative efforts; obtaining another source for
the story; or contacting someone at the Sun about their
Concerning Doran, the counterstatement sets forth the
following facts to establish his culpability: that he failed
to ask Smith the names of his sources, that, according to
his testimony, he did not care who Smiths sources
were, that he didnt particularly care
whether the videotape existed, that his job was simply to
get a good sound bite, and that he entertained
the possibility that the videotape never existed, but he never
shared this with Dimond or others connected to the
The Trial Courts Order
The Court finds that Plaintiff has not shown the
ability to prove actual malice by clear and convincing evidence.
It is true that Dimond was merely parroting what she had heard
from sources but, as we have seen, under common
law, it is no defense to an action for defamation to say
that one is merely accurately repeating rumor or a statement
made by a third party.
The court held in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, supra,
376 U.S. 254, that constitutional guarantees require .
. . a federal rule that prohibits a public official from recovering
damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official
conduct unless he proves that the statement was made with actual
malice that is, with knowledge that it was false
or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.
Purporting to apply theNew York Times Co. v. Sullivan malice
standard, the Louisiana Supreme Court concluded that defendant
had broadcast false information about plaintiff recklessly,
though not knowingly. (St. Amant v. Thompson, supra,
390 U.S. at p. 730.)
In the present case, Dimond did more than profess her good
faith. Not only did she state that she believed Gutierrez
to be accurate, she backed up her statement with evidence of
his reliability as a source on other stories pertaining to appellant
even some that initially seemed far-fetched. In addition, she
established a palpable reason to believe the story about the
videotape due to the fact that the District Attorneys
Office was searching for a tape such as the one Gutierrez described
(as confirmed by Kevin Smith, who had spoken with Gonterman,
and the no comment reply from Sneddon), and the
story describing the videotape which appeared in the London
Sun. Moreover, the report did not come out of the blue. Appellant
had been the subject of a lengthy criminal investigation by
the District Attorneys Office which was widely reported
in the press, and had settled a lawsuit in which allegations
of sexual molestation were made.
We agree with the courts assessment. The New
York Times Co. v. Sullivan standard does not require that
the reporter hold a devout belief in the truth of the story
being reported, only that he or she refrain from either reporting
a story he or she knows to be false or acting in reckless
disregard of the truth.
The statements to Marlowe indicate that Dimond had doubts, not
that she knew Gutierrezs story to be untrue.
A healthy skepticism is a normal part of a reputable journalists
makeup and leads him or her to obtain corroborating evidence
to back up a sources story. Dimond did not act recklessly
in the face of her doubts, but instead sought out corroborating
evidence through her conversations with Smith and Sneddon, each
of whom confirmed, in their own way, that they had heard a similar
The story in the Sun provided further corroboration. It may
be that the sources for the information relayed by the District
Attorneys Office, Smith, and the Sun can be traced directly
or indirectly to Gutierrez, as appellant now claims, but there
is no evidence to suggest that Dimond had any reason to know
or suspect this at the time. The statements attributed to
Dimond by Marlowe evidence neither knowledge of falsity nor
reckless disregard of the truth.
The judgment is affirmed.
If Diane Dimond could get away with her groundless accusations
of naked MJ fondling a young boy so easily did she
at least publicly apologize to Michael Jackson for all
the harm done to him by her words?
MINDEN, NV (PRWEB)
January 13, 2004
Michael Jackson fans from around the world have expressed outrage
at the recent announcement that NBCs Today
show has signed Court TV journalist Diane Dimond as an analyst.
Dimond joins the Today show this week to provide
reports pertaining to the Michael Jackson case after signing
a contract reportedly worth several million dollars.
In a recent interview, Dimond stated, He [Jackson]
is like Jesus Christ. Ive become the vilified one, because
Ive dared to report it. I dont give my opinion.
I put things in perspective. (this
is said instead of the apology)
Sweet, Editor of www.OnlineLegalReview.com and co-host
of a Jackson-related radio show, recently wrote an open letter
to producers of Court TV and the Today show calling
for Dimonds immediate and mandatory resignation
because of her inexcusable disregard for objectivity,
integrity, and professionalism. Sweet contends that
Dimond has single handedly made a mockery of a Network
(Court TV) that built its reputation based on investigative
and factual based reporting.
Dianes experience and talents will be a tremendous
asset to our coverage, said Today Executive
Producer Tom Touchet.
Someone really should tell Mr. Touchet that he just
hired Diane Dimond, not (ABCs) Diane Sawyer,
Sweet says. Dimonds reporting has a lot
less to do with her journalistic skills and more to do with
her highly publicized connection with the D.A. Sweet
was perhaps referring to recent reports that questioned the
extent of the relationship between Dimond and Santa Barbara
District Attorney Thomas Sneddon.
Dimond and Hard Copy Producer Stephen Doran were party to a
lawsuit Jackson filed in 1997 against journalist Victor Gutierrez.
Gutierrez told Dimond he had seen a videotape of Jackson having
sex with a young boy. Jackson attorney Zia Modabber stated He
claimed he was shown the tape by the boys mother. But
the tape never existed. The mother testified that the incident
Dimond and Doran were later dismissed from the case, in which
Jackson won a $2.7 million judgement when Gutierrez failed to
produce the alleged videotape.
Shortly after the verdict, Gutierrez left the U.S. for his home
country of Chile, but has recently told several newspapers that
he has signed an exclusive 4 month contract with NBCs
Dateline. NBC Publicist Caryn Mautner refused to confirm
or deny the contractual status of either Gutierrez or Dimond
on their Network.
In November 2003, when Jackson was accused of child molestation
for a second time, Gutierrez began giving interviews
about the case to Chilean newspapers. He claimed that the new
set of allegations validated the contents of his book and as
a result, Jackson had defamed his character and now owed
him money. Gutierrez even went so far as to say that Jacksons
2,700-acre ranch would soon be his.
During an interview with La Cuarta, Gutierrez alleged that Santa
Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon had contacted him about
being a potential witness in the current case against
Jackson. A week later, a member of the District Attorneys
office contacted La Cuarta to refute those claims.
In early 2004, Gutierrez was offered $25, 000 a month
from Dateline NBC to cover the Jackson case. He accepted the
offer and became a consulting producer for the news program.
In 2005 Dateline NBC aired a report entitled Inside
the Michael Jackson Case; the credits reveal that Gutierrez
was the consulting producer for the program.
Not surprisingly, Inside the Michael Jackson Case was heavily
slanted in favour of the prosecutions version of events
and was laced with numerous falsehoods, half-truths and innuendos.
Again, Gutierrez is a proven liar, particularly when
it comes to Michael Jackson.
Was NBC intentionally trying to taint the jury pool by hiring
a man who clearly had an axe to grind with Jackson to produce
a program about his case? How this man has enough credibility
to have a job with ANY network is beyond belief.
And now it is DIANE DIMOND who is releasing
a new book about the media credibility entitled BE CAREFUL WHO
Apparently she will be teaching us on the integrity of journalistic
work and will show us how to tell a true journalist from a tabloid
Thank you Helena for your generosity
sharing your investigation!