“Look at the true spirit of happiness and
joy in these boys’ faces. This is the spirit of boyhood, a life
I never had and will always dream of. This is the life I want
for my children.”
This inscription by Michael Jackson was found inside a book
presented as evidence in Jackson’s child molestation trial.
It was a very small piece in a larger puzzle that enabled jurors
a glimpse inside the mind of one of entertainment’s most enigmatic
The book I just finished, Michael Jackson Conspiracy by Aphrodite
Jones, revealed much about this trial and icon that was never
reported in the mainstream media. In fact, she was working as
a professional analyst on the trial, often reporting on CNN
and Fox News, and was initially convinced that Michael Jackson
deserved to go to jail. After sitting in the courtroom and hearing
daily evidence, she soon decided that Jackson was being falsely
She spoke of the obvious bias in the media towards Michael,
how they would use camera angles and lighting effects to accentuate
his facial features or alter his skin tone. Jones revealed that
all the hours and money that the media pumped into covering
the trial was a gamble that would only pay off if Michael Jackson
went to jail. There were over 2,000 reporters in Santa Barbara
and plans were already in place for insider reports from the
jail where he would be housed. When he was acquitted, the media
was dumbfounded and quickly left Santa Barbara.
It should surprise no one that very few Americans had the opportunity
to hear any of the evidence or testimony that supported Michael’s
innocence. In fact, when the author decided to write this book,
she said that no publisher would touch it. She wound up publishing
it herself, because she was convinced that this man was innocent
and that people should hear the truth.
Here are a few of the things that were rarely (if ever) reported:
- The family of the accuser, the Arvizos, had a track record
of accusing people of sexual and physical abuse. The mother,
Janet, had made similar charges against her estranged ex-husband.
She had also accused guards at a J.C. Penney’s store of accosting
her in the parking lot, where she said that one guard removed
her bra and pinched her nipple 25 times. She testified that
her son, Gavin (Jackson’s accuser), had to put her breast back
into her bra after the assault.
- Janet Arvizo claimed that Michael Jackson was holding her
prisoner at Neverland in order to prevent her from talking to
the media. In fact, receipts and security logs proved that she
often left the ranch for full-body waxes, manicures, shopping,
and dental visits – all on Michael’s dime. She also testified
that she “escaped” from Neverland three different times, only
to return again in a few days.
- Gavin’s taped testimony to police and his testimony in court
contradicted each other. He changed the amount of times that
he claimed to be fondled. He claimed he couldn’t remember important
events. He did not appear to be emotionally upset when detailing
his alleged molestation to the jury.
- Almost every single witness that the prosecution called to
the stand wound up enraging the DA when they corroborated evidence
presented by the defense. Many of them praised Michael Jackson
as a wonderful human being. That included most of his staff
and his ex-wife, Debbie Rowe, who was in the middle of a custody
battle with him over their two children.
- Witnesses who took the stand to report unsubstantiated claims
of inappropriate conduct by Michael Jackson were proven to have
a financial motive. Some had already sold their stories to tabloids
or previously sued Mr. Jackson for wrongful termination. One
maid and two security guards who testified against Michael had
already lost their civil case against him and had been ordered
to pay Jackson’s court costs.
- Several celebrities had been victims of the Arvizo family
before Michael Jackson ever encountered them. They included
Chris Tucker and George Lopez. Both testified that the family
had pressured them for money and claimed they couldn’t afford
Gavin’s cancer treatments. It was later discovered that he had
been covered by his father’s insurance the entire time. Larry
King and Jay Leno also testified for the defense. - Previous
allegations were allowed into evidence in an attempt to show
a pattern of conduct by Mr. Jackson. The prosecution claimed
that five boys were molested by Michael Jackson in the past.
Three of those five boys testified in Michael Jackson’s defense,
claiming that nothing sexual had ever happened. Macauly Culkin,
one of the so-called victims, testified that the prosecution
had never even contacted him prior to publicly declaring him
a “victim”. The two remaining young men had both received multi-million
dollar settlements and one refused to testify in this trial.
- Michael’s lead attorney, Thomas Mesereau, revealed that the
only reason that Michael had paid out settlements in the past
was because his business associates had advised him to “pay
to make it go away”. They had money invested in Jackson and
wanted him to focus on making a return on that investment instead
of spending time and money defending himself in court.
- Janet Arvizo, who many observers felt had played a large role
in creating the accusations, admitted on the stand to lying
under oath in a separate case. She also invoked the Fifth Amendment
to avoid answering questions about welfare fraud, which she
was later convicted of.
- Of the scores of pornographic magazines admitted into evidence,
none of them depicted children. In fact, they bolstered Michael’s
assertions that he is a heterosexual male.
- The time-line was considered quite strange, as the family
claimed that Michael molested the boy after an interview on
ABC had aired showing Michael Jackson holding hands with Gavin
and after a public firestorm of controversy about his relationship
with the boy had erupted. According to the prosecutor, Michael
molested Gavin during a time that he was so worried about his
image that he was holding the Arvizos hostage and planning to
fly them out of Neverland in a hot-air balloon.
I make no apologies for being a Michael Jackson fan or for being
profoundly happy that he was found innocent of these charges.
However, I believe I have been able to look at the available
evidence and make an unbiased decision on his guilt or innocence.
Having read this book, I am thoroughly convinced that the jury
made the right decision. I’m glad that Ms. Jones had the courage
to set the record straight.
Michael Jackson left the courtroom a broken man, one who may
never reclaim the youthful innocence that catapulted him to
the top of the charts and made him a household name, and whose
career has probably suffered irreparable harm. He may have avoided
years behind metal bars, but his world is another kind of prison
– one where he is entrapped by a hungry media and the innuendo
of a misinformed public.