The 300lb Gorilla

What is the 300lb gorilla?

It’s that thing that just can’t be ignored – and in this case it was Jordan Chandler’s description of Jackson’s genitals. This, more than anything else, propelled Jackson’s side towards a settlement with the Chandlers, as was admitted by a member of Jackson’s legal team – lawyer Carl Douglas.

Jordan gave his description to police and to Jackson’s defense lawyers to support his claim of molestation filed on September 14 1993. It is worth noting here that nobody, apart from a handful of people, have ever read Jordan’s description.

Naturally law enforcement wanted to test the veracity of Jordan’s description, and when Jackson returned to the United States in December 1993, the District Attorney’s office had negotiated with Jackson’s lawyer Johnnie Cochran to have Jackson strip searched and photographs taken of his naked body. Below is a description of what eventuated at that strip search, based on a deposition from Santa Barbara sheriff’s office photographer Gary Spiegel, who was tasked with taking pictures of Jackson’s genitals to see if they matched Jordan Chandler’s description

I entered the room. In the room, I saw Mr. Jackson sitting on a sofa against the far wall. I carried with me a Canon AE-1 Program 35mm camera with a Vivitar Series 1, 28-90mm zoom lens attached to the camera and a Vivitar model 283 flash unit detached with a remote sensor cord. I carried with me a second lens, which was a Vivitar Series 1, 70-210mm zoom lens, which I intended to use for close-up photography. Loaded into the camera was a fresh 36-exposure roll of Kodak color negative film rated at 200 ASA. I took two photographs of Jackson sitting on the sofa. Mr. Swayne was to my right and when I began to take photographs so did he. Dr. Klein made a statement that we were interested in photographing Jackson’s genital area and directed Jackson to stand and remove the robe he had on.

Jackson protested, saying things like “What do I have to do that for?” and “Why are they doing this?”

In my opinion, Jackson’s demeanor was a combination of hostility and anger. Jackson complied with Dr. Klein’s request to remove the robe and to lower the pair of gray swimming trunks he was wearing. As Mr. Jackson was complying with Dr. Klein’s request, Dr. Klein made the statement that others in the room should turn their heads so as not to view Jackson’s genital area.

At the time, I found this peculiar because the only persons in the room at the time were Mr. Jackson, the two doctors, me, and the other photographer. Dr. Klein also made the statement that he was not going to look. He said he had never seen Mr. Jackson’s genital area and he was not going to do so at this time. As Mr. Jackson lowered his trunks, he said something to the effect of, “I don’t know why they are making me do this” or “Why are they making me do this?” Mr. Jackson’s attitude was, in my opinion, still one of hostility and anger. The thought occurred to me that although he was somewhat cooperative, his cooperation could end abruptly. I took several photographs of Jackson’s genitals from his right side first and moved to his left side. The other photographer switched positions from Mr. Jackson’s right side to his left side as I shifted positions.

While I was on Mr. Jackson’s left side, Dr. Strick asked Mr. Jackson to lift his penis. Mr. Jackson questioned why he had to do that, but he did comply with the request. When Mr. Jackson complied with Dr. Strick’s request to lift his penis, I observed a dark spot on the lower left side of Mr. Jackson’s penis.
Excerpt from ‘Be Careful Who You Love’ by Diane Dimond

Soon after the strip search, within one month, Jackson had settled his civil suit with the the Chandlers. Quite a strange thing to do if Jackson and his lawyers were confident that Jordan Chandler was lying and the strip search had proven that his description of Jackson’s genitals didn’t match.

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Jackson defenders have always insisted that the photos and description unequivocally didn’t match, and have offered various scenarios as to why Jackson settled ranging from mildly plausible to wildly bizarre. Since then, they have failed to take in to consideration the information supplied by two people who were closely involved in the case showing that Jackson desperately did not want the case to proceed to a criminal trial, and that was because of Jordan’s description. In 2009 Investigator David Corbett, who worked for the Chandlers, insisted the settlement was paid to keep Jordan Chandler quiet.

“An unwritten part of the agreement was that the boy would not testify before the grand jury. This is illegal, but who was going to prove it happened? Anyhoo, Michael slipped out of that one, as we all know.” – Chandler Case Insider Talks

Granted, some may dismiss this evidence because it comes from someone involved in the Chandler camp, and rightly so. Journalistic integrity means we need two sources to collaborate a story.

Incredibly, a member of Jackson’s legal team corroborated David’s story at a seminar held in Los Angeles on September 15th, 2010, hosted by  the Los Angeles County Bar Association, titled FROZEN IN TIME: A Riveting Behind-the-Scenes View of the Michael Jackson Cases. Featuring those most closely involved with these cases: the judge, Honorable Rodney Melville (Retired); the prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Ronald Zonen; defense attorney Thomas A. Mesereau, Jr. who represented Jackson in the Santa Barbara County criminal trial; attorney Larry Feldman who represented the alleged victim in the civil case; and attorney Carl E. Douglas who represented Jackson in the criminal investigation of the civil case, it was a fascinating behind the scenes look at both the 1993 Chandler case and Jackson’s 2005 molestation trial (you can order a DVD copy of the entire seminar here, or check out the Youtube links below).

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Carl Douglas was very honest (much to the chagrin of Jackson defenders!) and provided a very insightful view about why Jackson settled with the Chandlers.

“…in our [Jackson’s defence lawyers] perspective, you have to remember that there was a companion criminal investigation case going on by both the District Attorney’s office in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. There had been an occasion where Michael Jackson was examined, and his genitalia was recorded, which was part of an investigation. And that was part of the 300 pound gorilla in the mediation room. We wanted to do all that we could to avoid the possibility that there would be a criminal filing against Michael Jackson, and the reality was we were hopeful that if we were able to “silence” the accuser, that would obviate the need for any concern about the criminal side, so from our perspective there was a great deal of trust, not only with Johnnie and Larry because they had a twenty year prior friendship, there was a tremendous trust with Johnnie and the three judges being recommended. And we were facing the purple gorilla in the room of “If we don’t get this case settled before March, there is a criminal investigation looming, and no one wanted to consider the implications of that as it affected Michael Jackson”…

As Carl says, Jordan had be “silenced” because his description accurately described Jackson’s genitals. It was gratifying to hear this confirmed from the Jackson side, proving once again that Realists have a better handle on the issues than Jackson defenders.

While some insist that Jordan’s description was incorrect because it included a reference to Jackson being circumcised, whilst Jackson’s autopsy in 2009 revealed he was uncircumcised, this is just a non issue. The fact that Jordan’s description alarmed Jackson and his legal team enough to proffer a settlement means that either it included no reference to circumcision or it included a reference that Jackson was uncircumcised. It is not a point worth arguing over because Jackson paid. If Jordan’s description was inaccurate, we wouldn’t have Carl Douglas’s comment above nor would there have been a multi-million dollar settlement. Jackson and his lawyers would have quite happily taken both the civil and the criminal cases in their stride and fought them easily.

There is no getting away from that 300lb gorilla.