On September 24th 2015, Judge Beckloff denied MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures demurrer to have Wade Robson’s civil case thrown out. On the 9th of October 2015 the companies filed their response – DEFENDANTS MJJ PRODUCTIONS, INC.’S, AND MJJ VENTURES, INC.’S ANSWER TO THE THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT OF WADE ROBSON – and included a demand for a trial by jury. It’s early days yet, but a trial by jury would favor Wade’s case. More on that later, but a trial is not a foregone conclusion. There are possible motions for summary judgment by either side to consider, and Judge Beckloff is reportedly keen to see both sides negotiate a settlement to avoid a long and costly trial*.
Let’s crack in to the response to Wade’s third amended complaint by the MJJ company lawyers. This is how it was prefaced.
PRELIMINARY STATEMENT AND GENERAL DENIAL This case has no merit in fact or law. Wade Robson's allegations are directly contrary to his sworn testimony in a 2005 criminal trial where Michael Jackson was vindicated of all wrongdoing by a unanimous jury of twelve. Robson was twenty-three years-old when he testified in 2005. He was subjected to vigorous and repeated cross-examination by a very zealous prosecutor handling the case, but Robson's testimony never wavered. In his complaint for money damages, Robson does not claim that he made a mistake when he testified in 2005 or that he suffered from a "repressed memory." Rather, Robson simply claims that he chose to lie to a criminal jury in 2005. Yet, a decade later, and almost four years after Michael Jackson's tragic death, Robson changed his story knowing that Michael Jackson is no longer here to defend himself. Robson recanted his testimony in a criminal trial for the sole and express purpose of taking money from Michael Jackson's heirs and beneficiaries. After all, Robson's complaint does not, an cannot, seek anything other than money. There is no just or equitable way for a Court in this State to allow Robson to recover here - either he is perjuring himself today in an effort to obtain money, or he perjured himself and obstructed justice in a criminal proceeding a decade ago. There is no middle ground between those two positions - a recovery here would make a mockery of California's system of justice. All of the above being said, the Corporate Defendants are one hundred percent confident that Robson did tell the truth in 2005, when his sole motivation was to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Accordingly, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 431.30(d), the Corporate Defendants generally and specifically deny each of the allegations contained in the Third Amended Complaint, generally and specifically deny that Robson has sustained any injury or loss by reason of any act or omission of the Cor rate Defendants, and generally and specifically deny that Robson has been damaged in any amount whatsoever.
First of all I was struck by the appeal to emotion in these statements. There are quite a few hot button phrases in there which will appeal to fans, but have little relevance to the case as I believe it will be argued by Wade’s lawyers. A few of those phrases are:
- “Michael Jackson was vindicated of all wrongdoing by a unanimous jury of twelve”
- “He was subjected to vigorous and repeated cross-examination by a very zealous prosecutor handling the case”
- “he chose to lie to a criminal jury”
- “Robson changed his story”
- “Michael Jackson is no longer here to defend himself”
- “Robson recanted his testimony”
- “sole and express purpose of taking money from Michael Jackson’s heirs and beneficiaries”
- “Corporate Defendants are one hundred percent confident that Robson did tell the truth in 2005”
That Michael Jackson was found not guilty in 2005 is undisputed. What is also undisputed about the 2005 trial is that it was proven Michael Jackson behaved exactly as an acquaintance molester would, as was underscored in an ABC news story which stated the jurors “suspected the singer had molested other children” and they “all felt that he was guilty of something”. Wade’s team of lawyers has access to the transcripts, witness statements as well as other pieces of evidence from the 2005 trial. Although Jackson was acquitted, there is a wealth of information in regards to his behavior with boys.
In a 2011 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, it was outlined why acquaintance molesters get away with what they do for so long and why they are rarely caught.
Those who study these kinds of offenders [acquaintance molesters] say they typically get away with abusing children for a long time because of a confluence of elements:
First, the molester is good at what he does because he’s had years of practice, typically dating to his own adolescence.
Second, his victims — usually boys — are often compliant.
And third, the adults around him either aren’t paying attention to the signals or don’t want to believe the truth.
That “Michael Jackson was vindicated of all wrongdoing by a unanimous jury of twelve” is clearly untrue. He was vindicated legally in that he was found not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the 2005 charges, but far more questions were raised about his behavior with boys in the years prior than were answered by his acquittal.
The statements directed at Wade for lying come from a place of total misunderstanding by the Jackson company lawyers. Wade, in his complaints, has made it absolutely crystal clear that he was a compliant child victim.
Compliant child victims make catching and convicting an acquaintance molester very difficult. A compliant child victim will return willingly to, and even initiate sex with, their abuser. They see the abuser as a “friend”, even as part of their family. They may be getting things from their abuser they don’t get anywhere else: affection, love, even gifts or money. They don’t want to see their “friend” get into trouble so will keep quiet about the abuse.
That Jackson and Wade had a close bond is undisputed. Wade idolized Jackson from a very young age; at age two his mother played a video tape of Jackson’s The Making of Thriller. Wade was instantly fascinated with the video and watched it every day. He quickly began to emulate Jackson’s dance moves. Over the next few years, even before they had met, his fascination with Jackson and dancing and being like him grew into an obsession.
For Wade, winning a dance competition at age five and gaining the opportunity to meet Jackson backstage after his Brisbane, Australia concert as part of the Bad tour would have seemed like a dream come true. That Jackson invited him to dance on stage at a subsequent concert, as well as spend hours with Jackson in his hotel room afterwards (Wade’s mother was present on that occasion), not only would have cemented Jackson into Wade’s psyche but also allowed Jackson to further groom the boy. From that moment on Wade only wanted to emulate his hero even more.
When seven-year-old Wade and his family traveled to the United States in 1990, they took up Jackson’s offer to contact him if they were ever in the country. Norma Staikos obligingly organized for the family to meet Jackson at a Van Nuys recording studio where Jackson was working.
Norma Staikos, Jackson’s gatekeeper, would have received dozens, if not hundreds, of requests every week from people wanting to meet with Jackson. Due to Jackson’s hectic schedule, most would have been rejected outright, many of the requests that passed Staikos’s eagle eye and made it to Jackson would have also been rejected. That Staikos passed on a request from a young boy’s family to Jackson, and that he, a busy recording artist and businessman agreed to the meeting, is testament to Jackson’s intentions towards the Australian boy he remembered from two years previously. Jackson could have easily declined, citing work commitments as a reason for disappointing the family, yet he dropped everything and made time for the entourage.
Jackson invited the family to Neverland, where without delay Wade was in the bed with his idol, albeit with his sister there too, while the rest of the family were in the guest cottages on another part of the grounds. The next night, when Wade’s sister had decamped from the bed the thirty-two-year old man and seven-year-old boy shared, Jackson began his abuse. Wade didn’t complain to anybody during or after the abuse, in fact it can be concluded that he was a willing participant, wanting to keep his “friend” happy, when Jackson implored Wade afterwards “We can never tell anyone what we are doing. People are ignorant and they would never understand that we love each other and this is how we show it.”
Jackson, knowing what he did was wrong, cunningly used Wade’s desire to be a dance professional as leverage to keep the boy quiet about the abuse, telling the boy: “If anyone were to ever find out, our lives and and careers would be over.”
Using the word “our” also had significance; instilling in Wade that if he ever spoke about the abuse his big “friend” would be in trouble, something Wade would clearly want to avoid. Jackson cemented Wade’s loyalty by reminding him frequently of the danger of either of them speaking out.
Wade didn’t have a problem complying, swearing to Jackson that he would “never tell a soul”.
Thus, a covenant was formed between Jackson and Wade at that very first visit. Wade returned to Jackson many times over the years, and every time he did Jackson abused him. Wade didn’t mind. In one court document Wade said he enjoyed the sex with Jackson and looked forward to it. For many people, that sentence was hard to take, but the truth is that compliant child victims can, and do, enjoy the pleasurable feelings they experience. This would particularly apply for a “gentle, loving” abuser like Jackson.
Jackson continued to cultivate Wade’s adulation by keeping in constant contact with the boy and his family when they returned to Australia. This was underscored in an article on the Robsons which appeared in a 1991 edition of the Australian entertainment magazine Variety Today:
The family have scores of facsimiles with messages and drawings from Michael. Wade has also covered his wardrobe door with photographs of himself with the superstar, one of which bears the following message: “I’ve found a new inspiration. God has a special plan for your Wade. Just fulfill it. I love you. Michael Jackson.”
Ken Lanning, a (now retired) FBI expert in acquaintance molesters, has written about compliant child victims in the chapter he authored for the 2005 book Viewing Child Pornography on the Internet titled Compliant Child Victims: Confronting an Uncomfortable Reality.
In this chapter, Lanning describes why children who have been abused remain silent.
In theory, the law recognizes the developmental limitations of children and affords them with special protection. The repeated use, however, of terms such as rape, sexual violence, assault, attack, sexually violent predator, and unwanted sexual activity, when discussing or inquiring about the sexual exploitation of children assumes or implies in the minds of many that all child victims resist sexual advances by adults and are then overpowered by coercion, trickery, threats, weapons, or physical force. Although cases with these elements certainly exist, when adults and children have sex, lack of “consent” can exist simply because the child is legally incapable of giving it. Whether or not the child resisted, said no, and was overpowered are, therefore, not necessarily elements in determining if a crime has occurred. Understanding this is especially problematic for the public (i.e., potential jurors) and professionals (i.e., physicians, therapists) who lack specialized training in criminal law and may not rely on strict legal analysis.
The sad reality is, nonetheless, that such victim behavior does have significance in the perception of society and in the “real world” of the criminal justice system. Society’s lack of understanding and acceptance of the reality of compliant child victims often results in the following:
• Victims failing to disclose and even denying their sexual victimization.
• Incomplete, inaccurate, distorted, even contradictory victim disclosures when they do happen.
• Lifetime of victim shame, embarrassment, and guilt.
• Offenders being able to have numerous victims over an extended period of time.
• Ineffective prevention programs that not only do not prevent victimization, but also make the first four problems worse.
Wade’s experience as a compliant child victim is quite difficult for many people to take in. Why would Wade keep quiet, and even deny, the abuse took place? Why would Wade get on the stand and support his abuser? Why would Wade continue to support his abuser even as an adult? For most people, this seems as though he is now lying for money, but that’s not the case. Lanning writes:
Because victims of acquaintance exploitation usually have been carefully seduced and often do not realize or believe they are victims, they repeatedly and voluntarily return to the offender. Society and the criminal-justice system have a difficult time understanding this. If a neighbor, teacher, or clergy member molests a boy, why does he “allow” it to continue and not immediately report it? Most likely he may not initially realize or believe he is a victim. Some victims are simply willing to trade sex for attention, affection, and gifts and do not believe they are victims. The sex itself might even be enjoyable, and the offender may be treating them better than anyone else ever has. Many of these victims never disclose their victimization. Younger children may believe they did something “wrong” or “bad” and are afraid of getting into trouble. Older children may be more ashamed and embarrassed.
Victims not only do not disclose, but they often strongly deny it happened when confronted. In one case, several boys took the stand and testified concerning the high moral character of the accused molester. When the accused molester changed his plea to guilty, he admitted that the boys who testified on his behalf were also among his victims.
In my experience, some of the more common reasons that compliant victims do not disclose are:
• The stigma of homosexuality.
• Lack of societal understanding.
• Failure to tell when they should have.
• Presence of positive feelings for the offender.
• Embarrassment or fear over their victimization.
• The belief they are not really victims.
This puts Wade’s denials on the witness stand at the 2005 molestation trial into perspective. The two strongest motives that would apply to Wade, based on his complaints, would be the presence of positive feelings for the offender (Jackson) – Wade obviously had a deep love for Michael, that cannot be denied; and the belief that he wasn’t a victim – Jackson brainwashed Wade into thinking that the molestation was his idea and that it was how they expressed their “love”.
Lanning goes on to say:
If necessary, an education expert witness can explain the dynamics of these “consenting” victim patterns of behavior to the court. I have personally done so in several cases in the United States with the admissibility of my testimony upheld by appellate courts.
If the Jackson company lawyers are relying on a jury to also be “one hundred percent confident that Robson did tell the truth in 2005”, after Wade’s lawyers have put an expert such as Lanning on the stand to explain Wade’s seemingly contradictory behavior between his disclosure in 2013 and his testimony in 2005, they will be in for a shock.
Wade’s disclosure can also be explained not for the love of money, but by typical victim behavior as outlined by Lanning:
Some compliant victims eventually disclose due to significant changes later in their lives such as marriage or the birth of a child.
The birth of Wade’s son was a strong factor in him finally coming forward, as he explained in his complaint.
The reply’s notion that Wade’s complaint has the “sole and express purpose of taking money from Michael Jackson’s heirs and beneficiaries” is also therefore incorrect. Wade made a complaint about Jackson, Jackson’s companies and Jackson’s employees failing to keep him safe from a child molester. If the case is proven, Wade is entitled to compensatory and punitive damages. Compensation for the abuse he has suffered at the hands of Jackson, and punitive to send a message to those who would facilitate the abuse of children through their employment and companies for permitting the culture in which that is acceptable.
Anybody who suggests Wade would not be entitled to compensation would need to argue for the abolition of the entire civil damages system in the United States, an absurd position to take. It matters not that Jackson’s “heirs and beneficiaries” would be left with less money from the Estate, that is a matter Jackson should have considered before he molested Wade (assuming Wade’s allegations are proven). The court won’t even consider that Jackson’s “heirs and beneficiaries” will be out of pocket.
As for the fact that “Michael Jackson is no longer here to defend himself”, that is also irrelevant. This is an action against his companies, which are still registered and active. Again, more emotive language from the Jackson company lawyers.
The reply also includes the defenses that long time Jackson lawyer Howard Weitzman plans to use should the claim go to trial. I’m not a lawyer, so I stand to be corrected on any comments I’ve made here, but I have carefully researched legal definitions and I believe I have them right. Let’s look at each one closely.
FIRST AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE (Failure to State a Cause of Action) 1. The Third Amended Complaint fails to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action against the Corporate Defendants because, among other things, the Third Amended Complaint does not explain what duty the Corporate Defendants supposedly owed to Wade Robson and how that duty was supposedly breached.
As we don’t have access to Wade’s Third Amended Complaint we can’t be certain of what he claimed, however from other documents in the case we have learnt that several employees seemingly had knowledge of Jackson’s proclivity for sexual activities with boys, yet still organised for Wade to be brought to Jackson and spend time alone with him. That is a clear breach of a duty of care owed to Wade by Jackson’s employees.
In other court documents Wade’s lawyers refer to Californian Penal Code 266(j), which states:
266j. Any person who intentionally gives, transports, provides, or makes available, or who offers to give, transport, provide, or make available to another person, a child under the age of 16 for the purpose of any lewd or lascivious act as defined in Section 288, or who causes, induces, or persuades a child under the age of 16 to engage in such an act with another person, is guilty of a felony and shall be imprisoned in the state prison for a term of three, six, or eight years, and by a fine not to exceed fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Section 288 is extensively detailed here, but part (a) would be the applicable section:
288. (a) Except as provided in subdivision (i), any person who willfully and lewdly commits any lewd or lascivious act, including any of the acts constituting other crimes provided for in Part 1, upon or with the body, or any part or member thereof, of a child who is under the age of 14 years, with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of that person or the child, is guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for three, six, or eight years.
It’s quite clear that if any of Jackson’s employees had knowledge that Jackson’s young companions were being abused, and subsequently arranged transport or accommodation for those companions, they were committing a felony. That they might have done so is only relevant at this stage for the purposes of this lawsuit to show liability, and any such charge against any of Jackson’s employees is barred by the statute of limitations.
SECOND AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE (Statutes of Limitations) 2. Robson's claims are barred entirely by applicable statutes of limitations. Specifically, and without limitation, Robson cannot prove that his claims are within the scope of the expanded statute of limitations of Code of Civil Procedure section 340.1.
Section 340.1 of the Californian Code of Civil Procedure states:
In an action for recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse, the time for commencement of the action shall be within eight years of the date the plaintiff attains the age of majority or within three years of the date the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that psychological injury or illness occurring after the age of majority was caused by the sexual abuse, whichever period expires later.
Eight years after the plaintiff (Wade) reached the age of majority (18) was on September 17, 2008. On the face of it, Wade doesn’t meet the first part of the requirements for filing a civil lawsuit for sexual abuse as he was thirty one years old when he filed.
For the second part, after Wade had a nervous breakdown at the end of April 2011, he started seeing a cognitive psychologist on May 16, 2011. After a month of treatment, where Wade discussed Michael Jackson but not the sexual aspect of their relationship, Wade felt well enough to work again.
A month after a second breakdown in March 2012, Wade began insight-oriented psychotherapy to try and find out why he was psychologically distressed. Insight-oriented psychotherapy, also known as psychodynamic therapy, is where there are conversations between the therapist and the client which helps people through understanding and expressing feelings, motivations, beliefs, fears and desires (think of the traditional psychologist’s couch).
On May 8, 2012 Wade first revealed to his therapist the sexual component of his relationship with Michael Jackson. Wade filed well within that time limit imposed by section 340.1; “within three years of the date the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that psychological injury or illness occurring after the age of majority was caused by the sexual abuse”.
THIRD AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE (Violation of Due Process and Other Constitutional Principles of Fundamental Fairness) 3. Under the specific and unique circumstances of this case, any recovery by Robson would violate the Corporate Defendants' rights under the due process clauses of the state and federal Constitutions and by other principles of fundamental fairness embodied in those charter documents. In particular, and by way of example only, Robson waited almost four years after Michael Jackson had died before he made his scurrilous and frivolous allegations. The nature of these false allegations necessarily makes it impossible for the Corporate Defendants to fully defend themselves without the assistance of Michael Jackson himself. The impossibility of fully and completely defending against Robson's false allegations is further magnified by the fact that Robson himself steadfastly denied these allegations during the entirety of Michael Jackson's life. Indeed, Robson and his family denied the allegations under oath on multiple occasions, including in a 2005 criminal trial where Michael Jackson was frivolously accused of misconduct and then exonerated by a unanimous jury of twelve. Accordingly, the Corporate Defendants could not possibly have been on notice, prior to Michael Jackson's death, that Robson would bring claims like those here and that they should have been prepared to defend against such claims.
It’s true that the time that has elapsed has made it more difficult for the MJJ companies to mount a defense against Wade’s allegations, however because Wade was a compliant child victim, he could not bring a claim any earlier. His denial to himself of the abuse, his feelings for Jackson, and his lack of understanding of the way he felt prevented him from bringing this suit any earlier.
There needs to be fairness on both sides, Wade had no knowledge of what was behind his nervous breakdowns and why he had them until he began to discuss what happened with a trusted professional. When Michael Jackson was alive, and for years after he died, Wade had those feelings and secrets well hidden away deep in his psyche so they had no effect on him. Wade, only after therapy, gradually came to understand and admit that he was sexually abused as a child and that this childhood sexual abuse caused psychological injury, illness and damage. When they did, he began his process of finding out why he felt the way he did; and it was Michael Jackson’s sexual abuse of him.
To say that the MJJ lawyers had no idea that there may be another molestation allegation against Jackson (or his companies) is far fetched. Even without the Arvizo allegations, there is the matter of the Chandler and Francia allegations. Weitzman was certainly involved in and had an intimate knowledge of the Chandler accusations. That those cases were settled by Jackson would have been an indication that similar cases would arise.
FOURTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE (Unclean Hands, Bad Faith, and Inequitable Conduct) 4. As a result of Robson's own affirmative claims that he perjured himself and obstructed justice in prior judicial proceedings, and other inequitable conduct by him and his associates, all claims in the Third Amended Complaint are barred in whole or in part by unclean hands, bad faith, and inequitable conduct.
Wade has a powerful reply to the accusation that he perjured himself on the stand. Many people would say “how could Wade not know he was being abused?”
Tom Mesereau asked Wade on the witness stand:
Q. You’re aware of the allegations in this case, are you not?
Q. And are you aware, as you sit here today, that there’s been allegations that Mr. Jackson molested you?
Q. Mr. Robson, did Michael Jackson ever molest you at any time?
A. Absolutely not.
Q. Mr. Robson, did Michael Jackson ever touch you in a sexual way?
A. Never, no.
Q. Mr. Robson, has Mr. Jackson ever inappropriately touched any part of your body at any time?
Later during questioning, Mesereau asked again:
Q. And at no time has any sexual contact ever occurred between you and Mr. Jackson, right?
To reiterate, Mesereau wanted to make sure Wade was being honest:
Q. Is everything you’ve said the complete and honest truth?
Q. Did Mr. Jackson ever do anything wrong with you?
The argument could be made that Wade was being totally honest on the stand when Mesereau asked “Did Mr. Jackson ever do anything wrong with you?” and Wade answers “No.” – for the simple fact that Wade didn’t consider the abuse “wrong”. Wade was a willing participant and thought it was an expression of “love”!
Ron Zonen cross examined Wade for the prosecution, and referred to an incident that security guard Charli Michaels witnessed:
Q. Was there ever an occasion where you were on the dance floor with Mr. Jackson and he was showing you a routine and he grabbed your crotch in a manner similar to how he would grab his own crotch while doing those performances?
A. No, that’s not true.
Q. You have no recollection of that?
Q. That didn’t happen?
Wade also denied during the cross examination that sexual abuse ever happened on his first visit to Neverland when he was seven years old. He also denied they so much as touched when they shared a bed:
Q. On the occasions that you stayed in bed with Mr. Jackson, would you ever cuddle in bed?
Q. Would you lie next to one another?
Q. Would you touch?
Wade was again questioned by Jackson lawyer Tom Mesereau, and again denied any inappropriate touching or sexual abuse occurred with him or any other child. Mesereau asked about Wade being shown sexually explicit material:
Q. When you were a young child, did Michael Jackson ever show you any sexually explicit material?
Q. Did you ever see Michael Jackson show sexually explicit material to any child?
Wade lied on the stand because he had been so expertly trained to do so. Remember Jackson’s admonition to a young Wade; “If anyone were to ever find out, our lives and and careers would be over.”
At the time of the Chandler allegations Jackson had been in constant contact with then 11-year-old Wade, saying that if he ever told anyone about what they did, it would ruin both of them “and we would go to jail for the rest of our lives. Our lives and careers would be over. We’ve got to fight this. We’ve got to beat them together.”
Wade loved Jackson unconditionally as a father and mentor and did not want anything harmful to happen to him. When finally brought in for questioning, Wade denied any sexual abuse.
Jackson repeated his technique to brainwash Wade before Wade’s appearance as a witness at the 2005 trial. The pop star continued to call his erstwhile young companion constantly to perform similar role playing as he did during the Chandler investigation, making statements such as “They are making up all these lies about you and I, saying that we did all this disgusting sexual stuff. They are just trying to take us down, take away my power and my money, take away our careers. We can’t let them do this. We have to fight them together.”
Note Jackson’s careful use of words. He uses the phrase “we did” rather than “I did” and the words “we” “us” and “our”, a technique often used in sales to build loyalty.
Remember at this point Wade was a highly successful choreographer with a lot to lose, Jackson was a mentor who Wade didn’t want to see hurt or damaged in any way (and certainly not be sent to prison). This ensured the abuse was compartmentalized and well hidden from Wade’s conscious self. Wade answered many of the questions he was asked truthfully.
“..did Michael Jackson ever molest you at any time?”
“…has Mr. Jackson ever inappropriately touched any part of your body at any time?”
“Did Mr. Jackson ever do anything wrong with you?”
Wade could truthfully answer no to these questions; Wade didn’t think he had been molested or inappropriately touched, and he certainly didn’t think that Jackson did anything wrong.
Wade’s performance on the stand was based on an unconscious necessity – to protect himself and his “friend”.
FIFTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE (No Causation) 5. Robson cannot show that any acts or omissions of the Corporate Defendants caused him any damages. In particular, and by way of example only, when Michael Jackson was frivolously accused of wrongdoing in 1993 and investigated by authorities regarding such wrongdoing, both Robson and Robson's family, including his mother Joy Robson, publicly and prominently defended Michael Jackson and rejected the allegations of wrongdoing out of hand, including false allegations that Michael Jackson had engaged in wrongdoing with Wade Robson himself. Given that Joy Robson necessarily knew more than the Corporate Defendants about the relationship between Wade Robson and Michael Jackson, and given that Joy Robson did not take any steps to "protect" Robson (because no such steps were necessary), Wade Robson cannot possibly prove his absurd allegations that the Corporate Defendants' supposed failure to take "reasonable steps" to prevent the alleged abuse is what caused him damage.
While it can be suspected by some that Joy Robson “pimped her son” to Jackson, it has not been proven that she knew anything about Jackson’s sexual attraction to boys in the same way that Jackson’s employees were. This may be a valid defense depending on the depositions, as well as witness statements, that the MJJ lawyers collect.
SIXTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE (Failure to File a Creditor's Claim and Code of Civil Procedure§ 366.2) 6. Wade Robson already petitioned to file a claim against the Estate of Michael Jackson based on these exact same false allegations. The Court dismissed that petition with prejudice on May 26, 2015, and held that Robson could file no such claim against the Estate as a matter of law. This lawsuit against the Corporate Defendants is simply an attempt to end-run the law (as set out in the Court's May 26, 2015 ruling dismissing Robson's petition against the Estate which clearly precludes Robson from recovering based on his false allegations. 7. In light of the above, and given the specific allegations of the Third Amended Complaint and prior complaints, this action against the Corporate Defendants is truly an action based on the alleged personal liability of Michael Jackson himself, and not an action based on any alleged "corporate" conduct of the Corporate Defendants. This is a disguised action for money damages against the Estate of Michael Jackson, deceased (the Corporate Defendants are a substantial part of the res of the Estate of Michael J. Jackson, deceased, under administration of the Superior Court, Case No. BP117321) and is precluded for all the same reasons that the prior petition to file a claim against the Estate of Michael J. Jackson, deceased, was precluded as a matter of law.
Wade Robson’s case against Michael Jackson’s Estate failed due to the statute of limitations in probate law, this is a civil case with a different set of statute of limitations. This is comparing apples to oranges.
SEVENTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE (Waiver) 8. As a result of Robson's knowledge, conduct, words and actions, Robson has waived any and all of the alleged rights asserted in the Third Amended Complaint and in each and every claim therein.
I believe the MJJ lawyers are saying here that Wade had knowledge of the sexual abuse for so long, and even perjured himself on the stand in the 2005 molestation trial, so he has waived his right to compensation for the abuse suffered at the hands of Jackson and his companies.
In other words, “Robson lied!”, and as such, he shouldn’t be allowed to bring this action.
The reasons Robson perjured himself are very clear. As outlined in the section under the fourth affirmative defense (unclean hands, bad faith, and inequitable conduct), Wade was psychologically incapable of admitting that Jackson sexually abused him. Wade had compartmentalized the sexual aspect of his relationship with Jackson, reinforced by Jackson’s admonition that “their lives would be over” if it was ever revealed. This helped to keep those memories buried deep in his psyche.
It was not until May 8, 2012 that Wade came to realize that what Jackson did was sexual abuse. Before that date, any and all “lies” regarding their sexual contact were only to protect himself and his “friend”. As a compliant child victim, the guilt and shame from his participation in the sex, combined with the prevented
EIGHTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE (Failure to Join Indispensable Parties) Robson's claims are barred because he has failed to join indispensable parties who are responsible for his alleged harm.
Section 389 of the Californian Civil Code outlines that indispensible parties need to be joined to a civil suit.
(a) A person who is subject to service of process and whose joinder will not deprive the court of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action shall be joined as a party in the action if
(1) in his absence complete relief cannot be accorded among those already parties or
(2) he claims an interest relating to the subject of the action and is so situated that the disposition of the action in his absence may
(i) as a practical matter impair or impede his ability to
protect that interest or
(ii) leave any of the persons already parties subject to a substantial risk of incurring double, multiple, or otherwise inconsistent obligations by reason of his claimed interest. If he has not been so joined, the court shall order that he be made a party.
(b) If a person as described in paragraph (1) or (2) of
subdivision (a) cannot be made a party, the court shall determine whether in equity and good conscience the action should proceed among the parties before it, or should be dismissed without prejudice, the absent person being thus regarded as indispensable. The factors to be considered by the court include:
(1) to what extent a judgment rendered in the person’s absence might be prejudicial to him or those already parties;
(2) the extent to which, by protective provisions in the judgment, by the shaping of relief, or other measures, the prejudice can be lessened or avoided;
(3) whether a judgment rendered in the person’s absence will be adequate;
(4) whether the plaintiff or cross-complainant will have an adequate remedy if the action is dismissed for nonjoinder.
(c) A complaint or cross-complaint shall state the names, if known to the pleader, of any persons as described in paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (a) who are not joined, and the reasons why they are not joined.
(d) Nothing in this section affects the law applicable to class actions.
I’m not sure what the MJJ lawyers are trying to say here. Wade has included Does 3-50 in his complaint, are they saying he needs to name them? This appears to be a “just in case” defense, in that if the Doe’s names are revealed and Wade’s team misses someone who should have been in there the MJJ lawyers will have a Gotcha.
NINTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE (Laches) 10. Robson's claims are barred entirely by the doctrine of laches.
This is an interesting defense. The doctrine of laches says that a claim must be filed in a timely manner. This is true, and Wade’s claim was filed 17 years after the abuse ceased, and 4 years after Jackson himself died. However, as mentioned above Wade’s response will once again be covered by his status as a compliant child victim who was held back from disclosing his abuse through Jackson’s brainwashing.
TENTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE (Estoppel) 11.Robson's actions are barred entirely by the doctrine of equitable estoppel.
The doctrine of equitable estoppal is based on principles of fair play and essential justice and arises when one party lures another party into a disadvantageous legal position. This may be due to an action, silence, or concealment of material facts. Wade once again can reply to his apparent “silence, action or concealment of material facts” as being a consequence of his being a compliant child victim as well as Jackson’s brainwashing.
ELEVENTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE (Lack of Damages) 12. Robson's claims in the Third Amended Complaint are barred in whole or in part, because Robson suffered neither damages nor injury; any damages or injuries alleged are attributable to causes other than any asserted acts or omissions of the Corporate Defendants.
Here the MJJ lawyers are saying that even if Wade suffered any damages or injury, they weren’t caused by anything he alleges in his complaint against the MJJ companies, and if there was no damages or injury caused by the MJJ companies the claims should be disallowed.
As I understand it, Wade’s whole case is based around the fact that Jackson’s private and corporate life was so tightly intertwined. Jackson was MJJ Productions Inc, and MJJ Productions Inc was Jackson, and one could not exist without the other. MJJ Productions was responsible for even the most intimate parts of Jackson’s life; organizing even the minutiae of his existence. In that regard, Jackson could not have done what he did without the help of MJJ Productions and it’s employees.
In Wade’s second amended complaint, as he did in his original complaint, it is alleged that Jackson partook in actions as defined in Sections 286(b)(1), 286(b)(2), 286(c)(2)(A), 286(c)(2)(C), 288(a), 288(b)(1), 288a(b)(2), 288a(c)(1), 288a(c)(2)(A), 288a(c)(2)(B), 288a(c)(2)(C), 288a(c)(3), 289(h), 289(i), 289(j) and 647.6(a)(1).
Each allegation is prefaced with the words “DECEDENT, together with his co-conspirators, alter egos, aiders and abettors and agents Defendants MJJ PRODUCTIONS and MJJ VENTURES, intentionally committed the following act against Plaintiff that occurred when Plaintiff was under the age of eighteen (18)…”
These allegations in turn are sodomy with a person under 18 – 286(b)(1), sodomy by a person over 21 with a person under 16 – 286(b)(2), act of sodomy when act is accomplished against the victim’s will by means of duress – 286(c)(2)(A), act of sodomy where the victim is 14 years of age or older and the act is accomplished against the victim’s will by duress – 286(c)(2)(C), lewd or lascivious act on a victim under the age of 14 years – 288(a), lewd or lascivious act on a victim under the age of 14 years by use of duress – 288(b)(1), oral copulation of a person under 16 by a person over 21 – 288a(b)(2), a person who performs oral copulation with another person who is under 14 years of age and more than 10 years younger than he – 288a(c)(1), oral copulation on a person accompanied by duress – 288a(c)(2)(A), oral copulation on a person under 14 accompanied by duress – 288a(c)(2)(B), oral copulation on a minor over 14 accompanied by duress – 288a(c)(2)(C), act of oral copulation where the act is accomplished against the victim’s will by threatening to retaliate in the future against the victim or any other person, and there is a reasonable possibility that the perpetrator will execute the threat – 288a(c)(3), an act of sexual penetration with another person who is under 18 years of age – 289(h), sexual penetration by a person over 21 with another person who is under 16 years of age – 289(i), sexual penetration with another person who is under 14 years of age and who is more than 10 years younger than he – 289(j), and molesting a child under 18 years of age – 647.6(a)(1).
Michael Jackson allegedly performed oral sex, anal sex, masturbation and penetration on Wade. As Wade states in his complaint; “Defendants’ conduct alleged above would cause a reasonable person to suffer severe mental and emotional distress.”
It was only possible for Jackson to perpetrate these alleged crimes with the help of his companies. To say that Wade would suffer no damages or injury is absurd. In any case, Wade sought treatment and counseling for the emotional distress that he claimed to suffer and his doctor has verified that there is indeed damages and injury.
TWELFTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE (Speculative Damages) 13. Robson cannot recover any of the damages alleged in the Third Amended Complaint because such damages, if any, are to speculative to be recoverable.
What the MJJ lawyers are saying here is that Wade’s claims – for emotional distress, negligence, future lost earnings etc can’t be calculated so he shouldn’t receive anything.
THIRTEENTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE (Res Judicata and Collateral Estoppal) 14. This action is barred by the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppal.
Literally “a matter judged”, res judicata is the principle that a matter may not, generally, be relitigated once it has been judged on the merits. The MJJ lawyers are trying to say that this claim has already been litigated in probate court, when clearly it hasn’t (the only thing that happened was that the claim didn’t meet the statute of limitations for probate law and was not allowed to proceed).
Collateral estoppal is similar, once an issue of fact has been determined in a proceeding between two parties, the parties may not relitigate that issue even in a proceeding on a different cause of action. The “issue of fact” however was the timeliness of the claim in a probate court, which has no relevance to a claim in a civil court.
FOURTEENTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE (Reservation of Rights) 15. The Corporate Defendants have insufficient information upon which to form a belief as to whether it has additional, unstated affirmative defenses. The Corporate Defendants reserve the right to assert additional defenses in the event they are appropriate.
This is a catch-all to ensure the MJJ lawyers can add further defenses at a later time.
The lawyers for the MJJ companies conclude with:
WHEREFORE, the Corporate Defendants respectfully pray for judgment against Wade Robson as follows: 1. That Wade Robson take nothing by way of his Complaint and that judgment be rendered in favor of the Corporate Defendants and against Wade Robson; 2. For costs of suit incurred herein, including reasonable attorneys' fees due to the frivolous nature of the case; and 3. For such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.
In other words, this is what they hope will happen. Only time will tell. Overall, the MJJ lawyers need to get past the certain inclusion of an acquaintance molester expert who will tell the jury that Wade behaved exactly in line with a how a compliant child victim, who has been brainwashed by his abuser, would behave. How a compliant child victim will defend his “friend”, to not want to see his “friend” go to jail, to deny the abuse by his “friend”, and how a major life event such as having a child will help them see that the “love” from their “friend” was actually abuse.
If the MJJ lawyers think they have the “magic bullet” which will win them case with a slam dunk by saying “Wade lied then, or now”, they are sorely mistaken. If Ken Lanning or any other competent expert testifies, they are certainly going to struggle to convince a jury that Wade is lying for money. Far from being “a mockery of justice” as the reply contends, Wade’s position is completely in keeping with how a child can be so thoroughly indoctrinated that, even as adults, they deny abuse to themselves and others and allow their molester to escape justice while alive. Now that Jackson is dead, his victims should be allowed the peace, closure and healing they deserve.
The irony here is that the MJJ lawyers harp about Wade seeking money, yet we know any damages awarded would have a negligible effect on the income of Jackson’s heirs. The real issues here are twofold. The first is that Jackson’s reputation is directly tied to the earning power of his likeness. If it is shown, without doubt (for most people) that Jackson was a child molester then a lot of people’s incomes from fees and commissions will be adversely affected. The other factor is that there are more victims out there, and if Wade prevails they may be emboldened to come forward. If Wade can be squashed like a bug, other victims will be discouraged. It’s obvious why the Jackson machine wants this all to go away.
*It has been reported to us by sources close to both sides that a settlement won’t happen, with it being described “as likely as the Jacksons coming out and saying Michael’s death was a hoax”.