The following entry was written by Desiree of the website Desiree speaks…so listen… and is kindly on loan to MJ Facts. It was composed several years ago, but because it is a significant part of Jackson’s story, it is pasted here in its entirety.
[Desiree’s note: Important new information about Michael Jackson’s settlement saga has been added below.]
What had to have been a truly nightmarish five months for Michael Jackson came to a close on January 25, 1994. The full-stop on his ‘bad dream’ was a massive payment made to Jordie Chandler and his parents that left Jackson’s pockets about $25 million lighter.
The sum was staggering: at the time of the deal, it amounted to roughly one-tenth of Jackson’s net worth; in today’s money, Jordie’s settlement is valued at just above $39 million.
Certainly not chump change.
The boy’s claims against the supposedly asexual and child-like Michael Jackson were lurid tabloid fodder: Jordie claimed that, within the four month stint of their physical relationship, he and Jackson tongue-kissed and lied on top of and rubbed against each other with erections; he would suck and twist Jackson’s nipples while Jackson would masturbate; and numerous sessions of masturbation and oral sex occurred at Jackson’s Hideout apartment, at Neverland Ranch in Jackson’s bed, and under the roofs of his parents’ homes. Jordie even stated Jackson would consume his ejaculate.
In the context of such ugly alleged abuses against Jordie Chandler’s boyhood, Michael Jackson’s large payout to his young boy accuser — a payout that effectively ended the case against him — seemed to underscore the idea that Jackson had something to hide, and money tossed at the problem would make that ‘something’ go away in a hurry.
Intelligent observers typically expound upon the previous, and those still defending Jackson reluctantly agree: settling allegations of child sex abuse, instead of fighting against them, is not conducive to a position of innocence. Fair or not, paying a settlement over any charge comes off as a passive admission of guilt, a cynical maneuver to dampen the tide of further public or even legal scrutiny.
Because Jackson apologists know that to be true, they steadfastly cling to the belief, against all evidence suggesting otherwise, as we will soon see, that two things occurred:
- Michael Jackson had been forced against his will by his insurance carrier to settle the Chandler civil suit, and;
- Jackson was not the payer of the settlement.
The official sycophant position is as such: “Michael would’ve fought the Chandlers in court had the insurance company not settled against his wishes!”
For Michael Jackson’s defenders, if it can be proven he never paid Jordie Chandler any money, they can safely maintain their belief Jackson was not a pedophile in spite of the boy’s substantial monetary award. As for the misgivings reasonably aroused by Jackson’s behaviors with other people’s young sons? That’s just ignorant gossip: Michael Jackson never had a childhood! — that’s why he shared his bed with unrelated boys.
While Jordie Chandler is the most famous Jackson ‘hush money’ recipient, it should be noted that Michael Jackson paid off at least two other boys and/or families. (“Paid off” is a differentiation, albeit a small one, from Jackson’s giving parents and ‘special friends’ extravagant gifts during the so-called “wooing” process, even if the gifts are obscene million-dollar checks, according to one account by La Toya Jackson.)
One such recipient was a Latino youth named Jason Francia, the son of former Jackson personal chamber maid, Blanca Francia. Blanca worked for Michael Jackson from 1986 to 1991, following her employer from the Jackson Family’s Hayvenhurst home to Neverland Ranch. While she cleaned Jackson’s secret Hideout apartment, she often brought over her young son. According to Blanca, even though she knew, in some part of her, that Jackson’s ‘special friend’ rituals were far from kosher, she admitted that she continued to allow Jackson access to her son — as a playmate for for the eccentric man-child — when she discovered Jason would come home with cash.
In spite of Jackson’s alleged ‘playmate’ ruse, Jason accused Jackson of molestation. His claims consisted of Jackson touching his crotch area and testicles, “tickling” his genital region surreptitiously during an ‘innocent’ tickling session and then, more overtly, as they shared a sleeping bag while watching TV at his Hideout apartment in Century City. Jason was approximately eight-years-old at the time, and the second incident was said to have been the duration of “two cartoons” — at least five to ten minutes worth of Jackson’s hand down between the boy’s legs. Jason stated that after each of the fondling incidents Jackson gave him $100 bills. The final straw for Jason was when Jackson reached beneath his shorts and touched his testicles at Neverland Ranch, according to his April 4, 2005 testimony in Jackson’s molestation trial:
20 Q. On what part of the arcade were you at the
21 time this happened?
22 A. I was in the loft.
23 Q. Upstairs?
24 A. Yeah.
25 Q. Was anybody else up there with you?
26 A. No.
27 Q. Was Mr. Jackson there?
28 A. Yeah.
1 Q. By “other people,” I mean other people than
2 you and Mr. Jackson.
3 A. It was just him and I.
4 Q. Do you recall approximately what time of day
5 or evening it was?
6 A. No. Nighttime.
Further on in the testimony, Jason describes the event of his molestation by Jackson:
3 Q. Okay. And what happened when you were in
4 the arcade.
5 A. In the loft?
6 Q. Yes, please.
7 A. I think I was playing Sega Genesis.
8 Q. Tell us what that is, please.
9 A. It’s — it’s a video game. I was just a
10 video-game-playing kid.
11 Q. Okay.
12 A. There was a video game. There was a T.V. up
13 there, I believe. It was a really big T.V., and I
14 was playing, and then he started tickling me, and I
15 think there was — there was a couch up there,
16 because we somehow managed to end up on the couch.
17 It took a lot of counseling to get over,
18 just to let you know.
19 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Move to strike;
21 THE WITNESS: I’m sorry.
22 Q. BY MR. ZONEN: Let’s see if we can restrict
23 our answers just to the questions, if we can. I’ll
24 ask you some questions about that later.
25 You were on the couch. Do you know if both
26 of you were sitting on the couch?
27 A. Hold on.
28 We were laying down on the couch.
1 Q. Okay. How were you laying down? How were
2 you positioned relative to Mr. Jackson?
3 A. Probably about — no, it was in the spooning
4 position again.
5 Q. Okay. Was he behind you or in front of you?
6 A. Behind me.
7 Q. And then what happened?
8 A. We were tickling — well, he was tickling
9 and I was laughing. And — and — and we — it
10 was — he was — he was tickling me in the….
11 So much happening right now. Can we take a
12 break or something?
13 MR. ZONEN: Can we take just a moment, Your
15 THE COURT: Okay. Sure.
16 MR. ZONEN: Just a break for a moment or
18 Q. Okay.
19 A. All right.
20 Q. You were on the couch, and you said in the
21 spooning position?
22 A. Yeah.
23 Q. Tell us what happened, please, the best you
25 A. He was tickling me. And then I was wearing
26 shorts again, I’m pretty sure, and, yeah, because he
27 had to have reached under. We were tickling; I was
28 laughing. He reached on my leg, and I’m still
1 laughing, and he’s tickling. And then he reached up
2 and — and to my privates, yeah.
3 Q. Did he actually touch your —
4 A. Yeah.
5 Q. Touch you?
6 A. Yeah.
7 Q. Did he touch your penis or your testicles?
8 A. I think option two, yeah.
9 Q. Your testicles?
10 A. Yeah, that one.
11 Q. For what period of time?
12 A. I don’t remember. Three minutes, two
14 Q. Was it tickling?
15 A. Probably, because I think I was still
16 laughing. But, you know, it may have been the other
18 Q. Were you mindful of it at the time? Were
19 you aware at the time he was doing it?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. What were you thinking at the time? You’re
22 now ten and a half years old. What were you
24 A. “I should probably go.”
25 Q. How did it end; do you know?
26 A. Either my mom — I don’t — I don’t remember
27 how it ended.
28 Q. Do you have a sense of it?
1 A. Huh-uh.
2 Q. Do you remember getting up?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Did you think about it afterward?
5 A. Yeah. No, well, not instantly right
6 afterwards. You’re ten. You don’t want to think
7 about that stuff.
8 Q. Was Mr. Jackson still giving you money at
9 that time?
10 A. That time I didn’t get any money.
11 Q. Did you tell anybody about that right
13 A. No.
14 Q. Did you tell your mother, ever?
15 A. No. I don’t even think to this day she
Jackson apologists often minimize Jason’s allegations of abuse, citing that he’d only been ‘tickled’ — Jason could’ve misconstrued innocent play for something sinister. Even the jurors who eventually acquitted Jackson had laughed at him during a break, his apologists insist, the suggestion being he was unbelievable as he’d cried from the witness box. From Maureen Orth’s July 2005 Vanity Fair article “C.S.I. Neverland”:
During a break the judge took for a conference at the bench in the middle of Francia’s testimony, I was alarmed by the indifference of the jurors. The young man sitting in the witness-box before them had just gone through one of the most humiliating ordeals of his life, but they did not exhibit the slightest sign of empathy. They ignored him as they laughed and talked together. I suddenly wondered if we have not all watched so much Dr. Phil and Oprah that we can no longer distinguish between real pain and entertainment.
At the extreme end of this, they call Jason’s molestation a complete scam because of the fact Jason finally revealed it to police after what Jackson’s defenders characterize as a ‘bullying’ and overzealous interrogation of the then-teen; some fans even go as far as believing the unverifiable claims of marginal characters who’d stated Jason Francia had ‘lied’ about the entire thing. Unfortunately, what Jason revealed to detectives was too mild to criminally prosecute Jackson, but it would’ve served as corroborating testimony in support of Jordie’s abuse claims.
Regardless if Jason’s revelations were deemed by authorities as not ‘actionable’ on their own, Michael Jackson deemed Jason’s claims significant enough to pay he and his mother a whopping $2.4 million over so-called ‘innocent tickling’.
Also noteworthy is the fact that Jason Francia never exactly had a lawsuit filed on his behalf against Jackson. According to the April 5, 2005 testimony of his attorney Kris Kallman, Jackson’s attorneys Johnnie Cochran and Carl Douglas were contacted sometime between late 1994 and mid-1995 (Jason was around fourteen-years-old) and told that another boy accuser had an abuse complaint against their client; what followed was a settlement, now known to be a seven-figure sum.
19 Q. And who did you make contact with?
20 A. Initially our contacts were with Johnnie
21 Cochran and his associate, Carl Douglas.
22 Q. Do you recall approximately when it was when
23 you first made contact with Mr. — or when contact
24 was made between you and Mr. Cochran and Mr.
26 A. It was either late ‘94 or early ‘95.
27 Q. Did you, after your conversations with those
28 individuals, file the civil lawsuit?
1 A. No.
2 Q. At some point in time later, were you then
3 dealing with other lawyers with regard to the
4 proposed filing of that civil lawsuit?
5 A. Yes. At some point, Mr. Jackson’s
6 representation was assumed by a lawyer named Zia
7 Modabber, and a lawyer named Howard Weitzman.
8 Q. And do you recall approximately when it was
9 that you then began contact with those particular
11 A. I believe it was in mid 1995.
12 Q. And the purpose of those contacts?
13 A. Well, the —
14 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Vague;
16 THE COURT: Overruled.
17 You may answer.
18 THE WITNESS: The purpose of the contacts
19 was that they knew that we had a Complaint that we
20 were about to file in Santa Barbara County Superior
21 Court, and they didn’t want us to do that.
22 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Hearsay;
24 THE COURT: The answer is stricken.
26 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: As a result of the
27 conversations between these individuals, did you
28 pursue your lawsuit?
1 A. Well, we never filed the lawsuit.
2 Q. Did you reach an agreement, a settlement
4 A. Yes, we did.
The other boy receiving a settlement — or some other mysterious payment — was David Martinez.
Not much is known about David, or his mother Ruby Martinez, only that they’d received $300,000 from Jackson around the time Santa Barbara County police were investigating him for allegedly molesting Gavin Arvizo; the details of the payment to the Martinezes emerged during Jackson’s financial trial against former business associate and close friend, F. Marc Schaffel, a man with a history in the gay pornography business of which Jackson had been keenly aware.
As the story goes, the hush money was paid to the Martinezes about ten days following Jackson’s arrest from funds within one of Schaffel’s personal accounts and Schaffel fully expected to be reimbursed.
In fact, the payment to the family had been corroborated by three of Jackson’s associates: friend and business adviser attorney Al Malnik and Jackson’s accountant Alan Whitman testified under oath in the trial that the payment had indeed occurred; additionally, emails from former Jackson defense attorney Mark Geragos also verified the payment: he’d approved travel expenses for Schaffel “related to that transaction”, even though he was not familiar with the details of the matter itself. Furthermore, the judge presiding over the case restricted discussion of the payment and ordered it to be referred to as simply a “private matter” in front of the jury:
. . . . To avoid prejudicing the jury, the judge has barred witnesses and lawyers from revealing any details of the top-secret transaction, ruling they may refer to it only as “payment for a personal matter.”
“I discussed it with Michael. It was a personal matter. Michael indicated that Mr. Schaffel should take care of it for him,” Jackson’s former business adviser Alvin Malnik testified. Malnik said Jackson told him to have Schaffel front his own money for the payment and later get reimbursed by Jackson’s accounting firm. Schaffel testified he transferred $300,000 from his own bank account in Budapest to a bank in Brazil, then jetted to South America and “delivered” the payment to an unidentified person on Jackson’s behalf . . . .
Schaffel and Whitman both testified that Jackson’s criminal attorney at the time, Mark Geragos, was aware of the South American payment and had to sign off on Schaffel’s reimbursement.
Whatever the payment was for (it was allegedly ‘relocation money’ for this family, who’d supposedly had information about Jackson abusing another child or that David was abused by Jackson, and were the recipients of payments over some time), the jury believed it had occurred, according to one member’s anonymous interview following the verdict:
But the jurors were never told during the trial what the top-secret payment was for and didn’t speculate about it during deliberations, they said.
“We didn’t discuss that. We just believed he’d paid someone because Mr. Malnik and the accountant corroborated it,” said Juror No. 1, a 38-year-old man who did not want to give his name.
But neither the multimillion-dollar settlement to Jason Francia nor the six-figure payment given to the Martinezes — both of which are fully recognized as having been made — matter to Jackson’s defenders, despite the fact that they suggest a pattern of Jackson’s paying people to be quiet about his criminal behavior which would corroborate a willful settlement with the Chandlers.
The only settlement deemed to be of pertinent discussion is the one with Jordie.
What follows as a part of this entry is a page from the website, MJ Facts (http://www.mjfacts.com), discussing, at length, details of that 1994 settlement Michael Jackson undertook with the Chandlers and how there is no evidence supporting the claim that Jackson was forced to settle by his insurance carrier.
The article was re-posted with permission.
To note: additional info and discussion from me will be interspersed into the MJ Facts article.
Was Michael Jackson Forced to Settle by an Insurance Company? How Jackson’s lawyers lied and got away with it
Written by MJ Facts
When Michael Jackson was sued by the Chandler family for molestation, some people will have you believe that Jackson, even though he would have liked to have fought the case in court, was somehow forced by his insurance company to settle – thereby implying that Jackson was totally innocent. These people include fans, some sections of the media and even his own lawyers.
This is a complete fabrication.
First and foremost, let’s look at the main evidence that these people put forward – the motions presented in court during Jackson’s 2005 molestation trial.
First is “Mr Jackson’s Motion in Limine to Exclude Reference to Civil Settlement Amounts and Accompanying Documents”, filed by the defense on January 18, 2005. Upon reading the motion, you will notice that the defence were eager to keep the information about the settlements out of the trial.
[Desiree’s note: Specifically, Jackson’s defense lawyers wanted all mentioning of the amounts of his previous settlements to Jordie and Jason Francia — by the Prosecution or any witnesses — to be disallowed. Their fear was palpable and quite legitimate: had jurors heard the staggering amounts both boys received over so-called ‘false’ accusations of sex abuse — claims similar to the ones made by alleged molestation victim Gavin Arvizo — they could have reasonably assumed Jackson was guilty, as it had ‘happened before’. After all, most people readily accept the notion of an individual being guilty of allegations lodged against them if they settle those claims, especially if the settlement comes at the heels of the individual’s public vows to ‘fight’ the ‘false charges’ in court.]
Insurance is mentioned on page 5 of the document where it is stated (in a footnote):
In addition, settlements are often involuntary and dictated by insurance companies [quoting precedent]. Unless the plaintiff (i.e. Prosecution) is prepared to prove Mr. Jackson paid every dime of these settlements and that no insurance company was involved, plaintiff’s claim of conscious state or proof of criminality lacks foundation and is irrelevant.
OK, what do we have here? Certainly not any claim by Jackson’s lawyers that an insurance company forced Jackson to pay, just a vague statement that “settlements are often involuntary and dictated by insurance companies”. So, we can’t use that to prove Jackson’s insurance company forced him to settle, can we? One has to remember that it would have been easy for the prosecution to subpoena Jackson’s insurance company for the relevant documents, but the Prosecution knew that it was merely a ploy by the defence, and it was ridiculous to assert that Jackson was “forced” to pay by his insurance company.
The prosecution replied [“Plaintiff’s Response to Defendant’s Motion in Limine to Exclude Reference to Civil Settlement Amounts and Accompanying Documents”], quite rightly, that on the Confidential Agreement and Mutual General Release, it was Jackson’s name and not an insurance company’s. It is clearly Jackson’s signature on the document, not the signature of a representative of Jackson’s (or any) insurance company. It is an agreement between Jackson and the Chandlers only.
[Desiree’s note: In addition to what I’d previously mentioned, the Prosecution’s argument for introduction of the amounts of Jackson’s settlement with Jordie Chandler was pure common sense. They noted that any previous settlements entered into and/or made by Jackson with alleged victims would reasonably corroborate the idea that Jackson had a propensity to molest young boys.
As stated in the prosecution’s motion, page 3: “If that lawsuit [the Chandler civil suit] alleged sexual misconduct by defendant that is substantially similar to the sexual misconduct alleged in Counts Two through Six of the pending indictment, and if that lawsuit was settled by defendant for in excess of $20,000,000 less than five months later [following the filing of the lawsuit], a reasonable person would conclude that the settlement was at least a tacit admission that there was merit to the lawsuit. Evidence of that settlement could not be “inflammatory” unless it was reasonably perceived as defendant’s admission of wrongdoing.”]
Secondly we have “Mr Jackson’s Reply in Support of Motion in Limine to Exclude Reference to Civil Settlement Amounts and Accompanying Documents”, filed by the defense on January 26, 2005. The reply states that
“…insurance carriers rarely if ever sign civil settlements involving their insured because their only interest is to get a release from the claimant, and the issue here is not who signed the settlement, but who paid for the settlement.”
Very crafty lawyer speak, don’t you agree? Once again, there is no claim that Jackson was forced to settle, just a general claim about insurers. Even that general claim could not apply to Jackson’s signature being on the document because insurance companies do sign releases and what was the document in question? A Confidential Agreement and Mutual General Release.
[Desiree’s note: For more clarity, if the Defense’s reply claims that insurance companies are interested in releases but not settlements (the argument being used as an ‘out’ to explain why there was no attorney for or representative of an insurance company as a signee of the settlement documents), and if the document in question was a release, it would be expected that some signature from the insurance company that had allegedly muscled Jackson into settling would be on that release. Taking the Defense’s argument, without the signature on the ‘release’ denoting the insurance company, it is reasonable to say that Jackson was the payer of the settlement, not the insurance company, thus validating the Prosecution’s desire to use the settlement — in the event that it is provable that Jackson willfully entered into that agreement and paid the Chandlers — as proof of Jackson having molested Jordie Chandler.]
Let’s go back to the main point about the settlement – “Unless the prosecution is prepared to prove Mr. Jackson paid every dime of these settlements and that no insurance company was involved, plaintiff’s claim of conscious state or proof of criminality lacks foundation and is irrelevant”. This is the defence’s point, not the prosecution’s, and the defence is implying (not coming straight out and saying so) that Jackson was forced to settle by his insurance company and thus cannot be held accountable. What the prosecution says is that no insurance company can force anybody to sign something they don’t want to sign (and especially if they are a celebrity worth hundreds of millions of dollars at the time). Who is right? Use common sense based on the facts.
What is underlined in red is an interesting admission by Jackson’s Defense team. They say quite plainly that if, and only if, the Prosecution can prove Michael Jackson paid the settlement amount (an amount, let’s recall, that the Defense specifically wanted barred from being mentioned in front of the jury by the Prosecution and/or any of their witnesses) and paid it of his own volition with no pressure from any insurance company, then their claim that an eight-figure settlement is, in fact, proof of guilt would be both foundational (prudent, reasonable, not baseless) and relevant to their case. Recall, too, that the Prosecution sought to establish evidence of prior pedophilic behavior on Jackson’s part with an 1108 ruling as a way to corroborate Gavin Arvizo’s sex abuse claims.
Simpler still, had the DAs been able to show to the jury by way of a tangible exhibit (i.e., the document which details the “by whom” and “how” of the payment) that Jackson paid money to a boy accusing him of sexual abuse, the Defense believed it would not only be reasonable but also acceptable for the Prosecution to state, in open court, that Jackson’s payment to Jordie Chandler was proof of his molestation of the boy!
Essentially, the Defense was in full agreement with the Prosecution (as well as most intelligent observers) that had Jackson paid out using his own money (and of his own decision) it would provide more than enough reasonable suspicion that Jackson was guilty in that 1993 case.
Now, let’s further discuss the notion of ‘forced settling’. Given Jackson’s financial resources, it is highly unlikely that Jackson could be muscled into signing off on a settlement against his will by his insurance carrier, especially if said settlement makes it reasonable and prudent to assume he’d had something to hide and was an admission of guilt; after all, Jackson had at stake his career and his legacy — he could have easily sued his insurance company for ruining his image (as we know, Jackson’s career following the scandal and the settlement, even when he’d still maintained his innocence, never recovered).
Jackson apologists will often state settling was more wise on Jackson’s part than fighting for his reputation and proving his innocence, despite the fact settling makes one look ‘guilty’ of the settled claim. This argument, of course, is inexplicably maintained alongside the belief that Jackson was forced to settle with the Chandlers and did not pay that settlement, the contradictions being a silent admission by Jackson defenders that settling for and paying out $25 million, in fact, made Jackson look guilty of the crimes of which he’d been accused.
In other words, Jackson’s Defense and his apologists fully accept the argument that it is reasonable to maintain the belief that settling molestation claims is an admission of having molested. It seems that this is a FACT with which most intelligent people are in agreement.]
So far we have no evidence that Jackson was forced to settle, and there is no evidence that anybody lied, but we have one more document to look at. This is “Mr Jackson’s Memorandum in Support of Objection to Subpoena to Larry Feldman for Settlement Documents”, filed on March 22nd, 2005, and it is where we come to the lie. This memorandum was authored by Brian Oxman, who after writing this memorandum was fired from the trial by the lead lawyers (although not directly over this document, they say). The relevant sections read [note the underlined portions from pages 3 and 4]:
Incredibly, Mr Oxman failed to check any press reports from that time, where no mention or inference of any pressure from any third party, especially any insurance company, was stated or inferred. Oxman was taking the court, and later the public and the media when this motion was unsealed, for a ride. Fans take this document seriously enough to build an entire case that Jackson had no control over this suit and was railroaded. That suits their purposes as once again, it makes Jackson out to be a victim – a common theme for those who want to whitewash Jackson’s past behaviour – but it is built on a lie.
[Desiree’s note: Jackson apologists use the Oxman memo as their coup de grace when arguing the obviously unsound position that Jackson was forced by his insurance carrier into the 1994 settlement agreement that had the effect, when all payments were completed, of ending the actionability of all of Jordie Chandler’s claims of sexual abuse; both the boy and his parents would be quieted. After all, they contend, if it appeared in a court motion written by Jackson’s Defense team and if it was especially signed off on by Tom Mesereau, it must be true, despite the fact no evidence exists to support Oxman’s position that Jackson was forced to settle by anyone.
But let’s note the timing of Oxman’s memo.
Interestingly, this motion followed those earlier arguments that the payers of Jordie Chandler’s settlement were nebulous, unknowable, and speculative and could have been made by anyone other than Jackson himself, be it an insurance company or third party. And, recall, they’d also stated that had the Prosecution been able to prove Jackson paid “every dime” of that settlement — a sure sign no force was involved in his agreement to the contract with the Chandlers — it would have been legitimate, foundational, and relevant for them to state that Jackson’s agreement to the terms in that document was reasonable proof of his guilt. All of this, of course, disregards the fact that Michael Jackson owned a copy of the settlement papers himself (he’d signed off on them) and could easily provide the answer to “who” paid and “how” it was paid; perhaps Jackson already knew, and knew full well how it looked, hence the repetitive motions from his Defense which tried to bar the document from being entered into the Prosecution’s case.
Simply, had Jackson been forced into anything with regard to settling with Jordie Chandler for an enormous eight-figure sum, he could have presented the settlement documents — or any piece of evidence — demonstrating this fact. Jackson had the keys to proving himself to be a victim by showing that, despite the fact the settlement amount with Jordie Chandler (which they’d wanted barred) was large, it was not of his own decision nor was it from his own pocket.
Surely, Jackson would have had evidence showing this, correct? After all, his Defense team apparently must have had something on which to base their memorandum?
None of this can be known; the Defense fought hard to prevent discovery of those settlement documents that they claimed had no bearing on his guilt in that 1993 case.
But noteworthy is the title of the Oxman memo. Filed March 22, it came almost at the Eleventh Hour before former Chandler attorney and signee of that settlement agreement Larry Feldman would take the stand on April 1, 2005. So, not only did they want to bar discussion of the amounts, they’d also wanted to prevent the Prosecution from subpoenaing the agreement from Feldman — certainly he owned a copy, and one that was unredacted (note: the 22-page redacted copy, instead of the 31-page original which detailed for nine pages the pay-off plan, had been available in the media for the Prosecution to see since June 2004).
Let’s look at this closely because it is quite significant: the Defense jostles to keep the details of the settlement out because they believe it to be inflammatory, among other things; however, they agreed with the Prosecution’s stance that, if provable in terms of the “how” and the “who paid” aspects of the settlement, the settlement was a foundational and relevant part of their claim that Michael Jackson was guilty of molesting Jordie Chandler, as agreeing to such terms of his own accord — the opposite of force — would show he’d had something to hide.
By blocking the discovery of and the subpoenaing of Larry Feldman for the unredacted 31-page settlement papers, Jackson’s team would have been successful in preventing the Prosecution from reasonably pointing out that Michael Jackson had molested Jordie (which tended to corroborate the allegation by Gavin Arvizo that he, too, had been sexually abused by the self-anointed King of Pop) as virtually confessed to by subscribing to the terms of and pay-off plan elucidated within the agreement.
The Defense knew that the unredacted settlement proved Jackson was not forced to pay but willingly paid off his young boy accuser. That was provable from the documents and synonymous with a confession of guilt!
All of the above should be crystal clear by just looking at the sequence and timing of these motions and the positions held within them.]
Let’s look at what Jackson’s lawyer at the time, Johnnie Cochran, said at the press conference announcing the settlement:
“In the past 10 days the rumors and speculation surrounding this case have reached a fever pitch and, by and large, have been false and outrageous. As Mr. (Larry R.) Feldman (the boy’s lawyer) has correctly indicated, Michael Jackson has maintained his innocence from the beginning of this matter and now as this matter will soon be concluded, he still maintains that innocence.
“The resolution of this case is in no way an admission of guilt by Michael Jackson. In short, he is an innocent man who does not intend to have his career and his life destroyed by rumors and innuendoes. Throughout this ordeal, he has been subjected to an unprecedented media feeding frenzy, especially by the tabloid press. The tabloid press has shown an insatiable thirst for anything negative and has paid huge sums of money to people who have little or no information and who barely knew Michael Jackson.
“So today, the time has come for Michael Jackson to move on to new business, to get on with his life, to start the healing process and to move his career forward to even greater heights. This he intends to do. At the appropriate time, Michael Jackson will speak out publicly as to the agony, torture and pain he has had to suffer during the past six months.”
[Desiree’s note: Interestingly, as part of the settlement agreement, Jackson’s and Chandler’s attorneys agreed to make a joint statement, part of which is listed above, and there was no mention of Jackson being muscled into any agreement against his will (paragraph 11.e.).
Notice the final line from Cochran’s public statement: “At the appropriate time, Michael Jackson will speak out publicly as to the agony, torture and pain he has had to suffer during the past six months.” Even though Jackson had also been bound by the confidentiality clause within the settlement agreement, he flagrantly planned to violate his part of the contract. He did just that when he’d sat down for his roundly criticized (and unintentionally revealing) Primetime Live interview with Diane Sawyer, which precipitated Evan Chandler’s breach of contract lawsuit against him. This is hugely demonstrative of the arrogance of this accused child molester and that he’d fully intended to disregard his part of the deal all the while his settlement quieted Jordie Chandler and ensured the boy’s lack of cooperation with those investigating his abuse.]
No mention of any mysterious insurance company! Just an admission that Jackson wanted to “move on” and “get on with his life”. How Jackson thought that he could “move his career forward to even greater heights” after settling a claim of child molestation, instead of fighting in court for his reputation, shows the hubris and total lack of remorse he had over his behaviour with boys. In this interview with Cochran in People Magazine, published in June 1994, Cochran said it was he and Larry Feldman who negotiated the settlement, not an insurance company:
[Cochran] was negotiating with Larry Feldman, the 13-year-old boy’s attorney, a courthouse colleague. In the end, he and Feldman hammered out a settlement in which the boy received an undisclosed sum and Jackson did not admit any guilt. “It was the only way to get the case off the front pages,” says Cochran. “I wanted Michael to be able to go on with his career.”
Larry Feldman, attorney for Jordan Chandler, described signing the settlement:
“We signed off on the deal; that was it,” said Mr. Feldman, after a private afternoon meeting in the chambers of Judge David Rothman of Santa Monica Superior Court. Mr. Jackson’s two lawyers, Howard Weitzman and Johnnie Cochran Jr., were also at the meeting.
No insurance company representatives mentioned, of course. Michael Jackson was not at that meeting as he had signed the documents earlier in Las Vegas (as we will read later).
Mark Geragos, Jackson’s attorney in late 2003, had this to say when Jackson was interviewed on 60 Minutes by Ed Bradley:
I mean remember what happened to him ten years ago. He was humiliated. He was – he went through where somebody – was examining him. Was photographing him. Was having him – humiliating him in the worst way in terms of looking at his private parts and photographing his private parts. And – and he was subjected to some of the most, just intrusive kinds of things that you could ever imagine. I can only try to put myself into that situation and – and say look, if money could make that situation go away, maybe that – that was the calculus then.
Luckily for us, the 1993 case was discussed at some length by participants in a seminar hosted by the Los Angeles County Bar Association in 2010, where one of Jackson’s defence attorneys spoke about the negotiations.
Carl Douglas: “I remember sitting in private negotiations with Larry and three judges trying to work out some resolution to this case. I remember the sage words of one of the judges “It’s not about how much this case is worth; it’s about what it’s worth to Michael Jackson!” And ultimately that was an argument that had resonance as we bandied about some extraordinary numbers in 1993. The numbers were extraordinary for even 2010, but in 1993 they were really some fabulous numbers that were being bandied about.”
The opposing lawyer, Carl Douglas and three judges? It’s worth to Michael Jackson? Where is the insurance company representative?
Larry Feldman was “also correct that the decision that was hotly contested, in terms of having a trial in that case, set in 120 days was a devastating tactical loss for our team, and it was significantly powering efforts in trying to resolve the case.”
The insurance company wasn’t “powering efforts in trying to resolve the case”?
“I was able to find some statements in my records of both a version of the facts that Larry was going to read, that all parties signed off on. And there was a version that Johnnie was going to read that all parties signed off on.”
Where was the insurance company’s version of the facts that all parties signed off on? Of course, there were none. There was no insurance company involved.
Let’s not forget Carl’s strongest statement as to why a settlement needed to be reached:
“…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”
[Desiree’s note: It cannot be understated that there was a direct correlation between the photographs of Jackson’s spotty penis and blotched testicles and buttocks and the settlement agreement with Jordie Chandler. Douglas — Johnnie Cochran’s right hand man and an attorney privy to the Jackson case — stated unequivocally that the resultant pictures from the body search caused significant worry for Jackson’s team in terms of the impending criminal case, and the only way to effectively de-emphasize the weight of those photographs was to make sure Jordie Chandler would not testify against Jackson in court.
Douglas’ account not only proves that Jackson and his lawyers were in full control (the opposite of force as alleged in the Oxman memo) of the “mediation” of Jordie’s claims with Chandler attorney and Cochran friend Larry Feldman, but also that the photos matched to such a significant degree as to be corroborative of Jordie’s allegations that he’d been sexually abused by Michael Jackson, a crime that would lead to Jackson’s incarceration.
Noteworthy is Douglas’ use of the word obviate, meaning “to do away with; to prevent the occurrence of; to prevent from happening”. Douglas admitted that the goal of Jackson’s lawyers at the time was ‘silencing’ the boy, and when that was achieved, through whatever capacity, it would, at the very least, lessen and, at the most, completely eliminate the fear of Jackson having to face any criminal charges in relation to Jordie’s claims of abuse.
Taking Jordie Chandler out of the equation by paying him a substantial settlement and getting him to sign, via his Guardian ad Litem, an agreement to be silent about the molestation (i.e. there would be no complaining witness and no cooperation with the criminal investigation) would render the cases of the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara county district attorneys moot.]
Carl also said “I remember travelling to Las Vegas, and the Mirage hotel in January 1994, because I was the one that presented the settlement agreement to Michael.”
[Desiree’s note: Carl Douglas’ account — and we shall note that he was directly involved in the defense of Jackson back in 1993-1994 — stands in stark contrast to the account given in ‘special friend’ and nebulous business associate Frank Cascio’s book My Friend Michael, who recycles the stock “the insurance company did it!”-type explanation of the settlement with Jordie Chandler; from pages 72-73:
Because the legal fees of a trial would cost far more than any settlement, his insurance company, who would bear those losses [to profit and income], was determined to settle. …. And so Michael agreed to settle for what I believe was something in the range of $30 million. As I would later understand, he didn’t have much choice in the matter. At the end of the day, the decision to fight it out in court or to settle out of court was in the insurance company’s hands. The settlement was in the works before we arrived in England, and it was finalized while we were there. Michael was now free to return to the United States, and he was eager to return home.
Cascio’s recollection is patently false.
According to Douglas, as well as testified to by the date of January 20, 1994 near Jackson’s signature on the settlement papers, Jackson was presented with the documents in January of 1994, not while he was in England during his ‘rehab’ stay, which Cascio described as being around the Thanksgiving holiday in November 1993.
Let’s also note these lines by Cascio specifically, “…and it was finalized while we were there. Michael was now free to return to the United States, and he was eager to return home.” This is chronologically impossible. It is also in direct disagreement with Douglas’ admission that the Jackson defense team considered the body search photos to be a “part of the 300-lb gorilla in the mediation room,” and the body search that captured the images of Jackson’s two-toned penis and blotchy testicles and buttocks had not been undergone until December 20, 1993.
Michael Jackson was not ‘free’ to return home — he’d fled under the guise of ‘drug addiction’ — because a settlement deal had been made, as no such deal had been made. Jackson was ‘free’ to return home December 10, 1993 after authorities from both counties agreed not to arrest him on the condition that he’d agree to submit to a body search.
Simply, Frank Cascio wrote a complete fabrication about the case. He was not privy to any information about the settlement, as he was only a 13- or 14-year-old at the time.]
What? The settlement agreement had to be presented to Jackson personally by one of his lawyers? Weren’t we told by Brian Oxman that it was out of Michael’s control and was being negotiated by an insurance company?
Of course, let’s not forget what Jackson himself said. In his interview with Diane Sawyer in 1995 he gave his reason for settling:
So what I said…I have got to do something to get out from under this nightmare. All these lies and all these people coming forth to get paid and all these tabloid shows, just lies, lies, lies. So what I did – we got together again with my advisers and they advised me, it was hands down, a unanimous decision – resolve the case. This could be something that could go on for seven years.
When the settlement documents were leaked in June 2004, he released a statement:
Jackson did not deny the amount that he reportedly paid, and said he settled the case only so he could move on with his life.
“I have always maintained my innocence, and vehemently denied that these events ever took place. I reluctantly chose to settle the false claims only to end the terrible publicity and to continue with my life and career.“
Larry Feldman, the boy’s lawyer also spoke at the seminar:
So at some point, Johnnie and Carl came into the case. Johnnie and I go back a long way. I had the distinct privilege of representing Johnnie a lot of times in his life, and we were able to trust one another along with the help of three judges who sat in on a very secretive settlement, and we were ultimately able to get the case settled, and work with all of the problems, and all of the details for their benefit. And they trusted me, and I trusted them, and it was able to get settled.
Seth Hufstedler, the seminar’s host, chimed in:
I thought that the two of them did a fabulous job establishing one other thing: that first Jackson one was settled, and the settlement did both sides a great deal of good, and it illustrates one of the important principles that we all have to deal with as lawyers, and that is: if the lawyers can trust each other, and work together, it works out very much better for their clients. They come out with some sensible answers, they have less hassle, and that’s one way to get things done.
As you can see, everyone who was involved is in agreeance that the settlement was negotiated by the two parties and there was no other influence on the decision to settle! Brian Oxman lied about an insurance company negotiating the settlement.
Then again, perhaps Oxman was confused by press reports from January of 1994 that negotiations were taking place between Jackson’s insurance company, Transamerica, and Jackson’s lawyers to pay the settlement? This story, published by Associated Press, referred to an article which originally appeared in the now defunct British newspaper Today [see right].
As you can see, the article references letters sent by Jackson’s attorney Johnnie Cochran to Transamerica, Jackson’s insurers, requesting they cover the settlement amount. It also details Transamerica’s replies, including, even though Jackson wasn’t covered, a one time offer by Transamerica’s lawyer Jordan Harriman on January 13 1994 (which was rejected by Jackson). The article states that negotiations were continuing, however the same day the one time offer was made, Transamerica’s claims analyst also wrote a letter to Jackson’s lawyer Howard Weitzman to inform him that Jackson’s policy only covered Jackson for “accidental bodily injury”, but according to the settlement document the settlement was ostensibly paid for claims of bodily injury due to negligence, so it would not be covered.
[Desiree’s note: The Today article clearly states that it would have been legally difficult for Jackson’s insurance company to settle the claims leveled in the Chandler civil suit. That legal difficulty is underscored by a California insurance code section 533, which states, quite plainly, that no coverage will be granted by the insurer to the insured over claims of a criminal nature:
An insurer is not liable for a loss caused by the willful act of the insured; but he is not exonerated by the negligence of the insured, or of the insured’s agents or others.
As stated by the claims analyst for Transamerica, Russ Wardrip, to Howard Weitzman, from page 387 of Christopher Andersen’s Michael Jackson Unauthorized,
That same day, claims analyst Russ Wardrip fired off a letter to Howard Weitzman, informing him that Michael’s policy covered him only in the event that he was injured in an accident. “Acts of sexual activity,” Wardrip stated, “do not constitute an accident.” The letter went on to point out that “Transamerica declines coverage for any damages flowing from the allegations of sexual conduct in the complaint. Further, acts of sexual activity, especially those committed against a minor, are inherently intentional, wrongful, and harmful. Coverage for such acts is precluded from California Insurance Code Section 533. On that basis, as well, coverage is denied under the Transamerica policy for the allegations in the [Chandler] lawsuit.”
That letter was precipitated by an angry one sent to the company by Johnnie Cochran which read, in part, according to pages 386-387 of Andersen’s book, “I believe it is imperative that the matter be resolved immediately…. Transamerica has thus fallen woefully short of its obligation to cooperate in the defense of this matter…. In the event that this matter is settled without any participation by Transamerica, please be advised Mr. Jackson will pursue all civil remedies available to him against Transamerica for a host of claims, including failure to pay defense costs, failure to contribute towards settlement costs…” The insurance statute further delineates:
(a) No policy of insurance shall provide, or be construed to provide, any coverage or indemnity for the payment of any fine, penalty, or restitution in any criminal action or proceeding or in any action or proceeding brought pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 17200) of Part 2 of, or Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 17500) of Part 3 of, Division 7 of the Business and Professions Code by the Attorney General, any district attorney, any city prosecutor, or any county counsel, notwithstanding whether the exclusion or exception regarding this type of coverage or indemnity is expressly stated in the policy.
(b) No policy of insurance shall provide, or be construed to provide, any duty to defend, as defined in subdivision (c), any claim in any criminal action or proceeding or in any action or proceeding brought pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 17200) of Part 2 of, or Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 17500) of Part 3 of, Division 7 of the Business and Professions Code in which the recovery of a fine, penalty, or restitution is sought by the Attorney General, any district attorney, any city prosecutor, or any county counsel, notwithstanding whether the exclusion or exception regarding the duty to defend this type of claim is expressly stated in the policy.
(c) For the purpose of this section, “duty to defend” means the insurer’s right or obligation to investigate, contest, defend, control the defense of, compromise, settle, negotiate the compromise or settlement of, or indemnify for the cost of any aspect of defending any claim in any criminal action or proceeding or in any action or proceeding brought pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 17200) of Part 2 of, or Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 17500) of Part 3 of, Division 7 of the Business and Professions Code in which the insured expects or contends that (1) the insurer is liable or is potentially liable to make any payment on behalf of the insured or (2) the insurer will provide a defense for a claim even though the insurer is precluded by law from indemnifying that claim.
(d) Any provision in a policy of insurance which is in violation of subdivision (a) or (b) is contrary to public policy and void.
(To clarify, what is detailed in subdivison (c) of the statute regarding the meaning of “duty to defend” is what the insurer is not supposed to do, as well as what the insured cannot expect the insurer to do or what the insured cannot claim or contend that the insurer can do, as had been outlined in the previous subdivisions. Specifically, no insurance company practicing in California state and dealing with a client restricted to the laws governing the state of California can “settle, negotiate the compromise or settlement of” anything that is criminal because that would be a violation of California law; Jackson was accused of crimes that were both wrongful and intentional, inherently not covered by any insurance policy.)
Because of the statutes, there is no possible way Transamerica would have ever initiated or offered any settlement to resolve the claims within the Chandler civil suit, let alone veto the protestations of Michael Jackson in the event he’d wanted nothing more than to fight it out in the courtroom. The Transamerica claims analyst, as mentioned in the article, specifically stated that Jackson’s policy only covered him for bodily injuries resulting from an accident. Although claim seven in the Chandler suit dealt with bodily injuries resulting from negligence — “both explicitly sexual and otherwise” — the claims analyst was referring to the entire suit when coverage was denied; claims one through six (sexual battery, battery, seduction of a minor, willful misconduct, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and fraud) clearly specify acts that are intentional, not acts that are negligent or accidental. They would have been breaking the law.
Let’s remember the attempt by Johnnie Cochran to strong-arm the Transamerica insurance company into footing the bill for the settlement. Not only does this indicate, when taking into account Jackson’s rejection of Transamerica’s one-time only settlement offer, that no insurance company was involved in any of the negotiations up until that point, it also is highly suggestive of the dynamic between Jackson, his lawyers, and his insurance carrier: Jackson was in full control. From pages 387-388 of Christopher Andersen’s Michael Jackson Unauthorized:
…a meeting was hastily arranged at Feldman’s Santa Monica office before the three retired judges. In addition to Feldman, Transamerica attorney Lane Ashley attended the meeting, as did three Jackson attorneys — Cochran, Weitzman, and Allan Goldman. As [Chandler]’s lawyer, Feldman was committed to seeing that there was hard cash behind any settlement offer. The Transamerica lawyer reported back in a memo: “At the outset (and as is typical) counsel for Jackson ‘beat up’ on Transamerica for its denial of coverage.” Incredibly…Transamerica, without acknowledging any legal obligation to do so, agreed to pay a certain amount. Even more incredibly, the Jackson team turned it down. “An offer was made on behalf of Transamerica on a one-time only basis to resolve the claim,” the memo stated. “This offer was rejected by the insured.” Evidently, Michael wanted his insurance company the whole cost and nothing less.]
So there we have it. Jackson was not forced by any insurance company to settle, it was the lawyers for both parties which negotiated the settlement. Perhaps the insurance company paid the settlement, however the obvious conclusion is that if they did, it is likely that the prosecution would have discovered that during the trial as it was an important point for them.
That concludes the discussion as it appeared on MJ Facts but my discussion is not yet finished.
It should be obvious by now that Michael Jackson entered into the settlement contract of his own conscious mind and free will. It was resolved in the nick of time before Jackson was scheduled to give a court-sworn deposition to the boy’s attorney Larry Feldman. Let’s note that Jackson would have had to tell the truth to Feldman, or stand the risk of perjury charges or having to invoke the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, thereby making himself look as though he’d had something to hide. To most intelligent people, Jackson’s willful payment of the settlement can be reasonably perceived as an admission of guilt.
In fact, that is the point of contention: did Jackson agree to the settlement and sign off on it without any external force? As the Prosecution stated and as the Defense agreed, Jackson’s defenders also recognize that a dispute of the Oxman memo, whereby Jackson’s Defense claimed Jackson’s “insurance carrier negotiated and paid the settlement, over the protests of Mr. Jackson and his personal legal counsel”, would represent a more than reasonable implication that Jackson had molested Jordie Chandler.
For Jackson apologists, there should be no question that Jackson used the settlement to end the progress of the Chandler civil suit, as well as stymie the efforts of criminal investigators to get Jordie Chandler’s allegations before a jury (as confirmed by Carl Douglas).
That is what the evidence says, and all of it contradicts that widely praised Oxman memo.
All of the lawyers themselves were both the negotiators and writers of that settlement agreement (as per the statements of Feldman, Cochran, and Douglas illuminated above), and there is no evidence of any involvement of any insurance reps or companies by anyone as being either present or being a part of the negotiations; the only mention of an insurance company is the one-time offer — most likely to pay his legal fees or something else not deemed illegal under California law — that Jackson rejected. Jackson’s rejection of the offer suggests it failed to sufficiently cover the payments decided upon in negotiations.
Most importantly, Jackson was never forced against his will to settle. Had he wanted to fight, he could have freely chosen to do so. He did not choose to fight.
His actions and the actions of his attorneys are in complete contradiction with the Oxman memo.
Tom Mesereau, lead counsel for Jackson’s 2005 Defense team, has also contradicted the Oxman memorandum more than once. In September 2004, Mesereau made the following statement to the media (months before any of the aforementioned documents used by Jackson apologists to suggest that Jackson was forced to settle had been filed in court):
Note underlined portions.
Mesereau did not mention any insurance company; he mentioned that Jackson himself settled, albeit it with the advice of his attorneys, and “hoped to buy peace” — all of this contradicts the claim in that March 22, 2005 memorandum that asserted, as a reason for keeping out the settlement papers as well as barring any discussion of the details within them, that “[t]he insurance carrier negotiated and paid the settlement, over the protests of Mr. Jackson and his personal legal counsel.” Interestingly, Mesereau characterized the amounts given to both Jordie Chandler and Jason Francia as “very small sums”; it is a wonder, then, why Jackson’s team fought so vigorously (and resorted to fabrications) to keep the amounts of these settlements from being mentioned before a jury if they had been so small and inconsequential.
Additionally, Mesereau gave another explanation about why Jackson settled with Jordie and Jason that mentioned no insurance carriers and, more importantly, no force, as stated in his June 2, 2005 closing argument:
17 And he has been a target for years,
18 particularly after he settled with Chandler and
19 Francia, because he doesn’t like courtrooms, he
20 doesn’t like lawyers particularly, he doesn’t like
21 litigation. He’s known to be childlike, and
22 different, and creative, and offbeat. He’s known
23 not to trust adults.
Nothing in that part of Mesereau’s arguments, either, uphold the brazen make believe within the Oxman memo, just the point that Jackson disliked the process that he could have used to vindicate himself.
Paragraph 12.b. and the final lines of the Jordie Chandler settlement itself confirm all that has been written above and dispute the claims by Jackson’s 2005 Defense team that the insurance company wanted to settle against the wishes of Jackson and his attorneys.
Michael Jackson was never forced into anything, and everyone, except his Defense team when it appeared expedient, agrees with that fact. Again, had Jackson wanted to clear his name, he was fully capable of doing so. Had he wanted to expose the Chandlers as ‘liars’, he could have done it. But he chose not to do it; instead, he chose to settle the claims.
Jackson chose to silence Jordie Chandler, and not to show a judge and jury why the boy’s accusations were baseless and flimsy.
As previously noted, Jackson’s defenders have maintained the contradictory positions of a (now-disproved) forced settlement and that Jackson’s settlement was no admission of guilt. Since that first part of their dual talking points has been dismantled, let’s discuss what that multimillion-dollar agreement really revealed.
Firstly, let’s recall the seven ‘Causes of Action’ leveled against Jackson from that original Chandler civil suit:
- Sexual battery;
- Seduction (of a minor);
- Willful misconduct;
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress;
Although the final agreement contained several paragraphs (¶2 and ¶3.g., specifically) which allowed Jackson to ‘deny’ any guilt stemming from the allegations he’d molested Jordie Chandler, Michael Jackson did admit to being responsible for the ‘negligence’ claims in that civil suit. Specifically, Jackson admitted to being responsible for negligence involving “offensive contacts” that were “explicitly sexual and otherwise”. It is an interesting acceptance on Jackson’s part: ‘negligence’, legally speaking, denotes behavior and/or actions a reasonably prudent person would not have displayed and/or undertaken, respectively, in an identical circumstance.
In other words, Jackson accepted the charge that while in ambiguous situations with Jordie Chandler — be they in the bed watching The Exorcist or finding themselves in a bath together — he, without being careful, attentive to Jordie’s age, or reasonably prudent, engaged in “explicitly sexual” “offensive contacts” with the boy. Noting that the reason for the filing of the Chandler civil suit was because of actions emerging from Jordie’s sexual abuse, Jackson agreed to incur that guilt which implicated him in sexual acts.
The negligence that Jackson displayed and agreed to have displayed which led to those “offensive contacts” of an “explicitly sexual” nature occurred because Jackson failed in his duty to Jordie. The duty Jackson had to Jordie was expectedly incurred due to the fact Jordie was a minor and, as a minor (and, additionally, as a ‘special friend’), Jordie had a blind, child-like faith and trust in Jackson, who was an adult, regardless of his own self-proclamations of being Peter Pan.
Because Jackson was an adult, it was Jackson’s duty to Jordie Chandler not to behave in any way (the suit specifies “offensive contacts” that were “explicitly sexual and otherwise”) that could have brought harm to Jordie. Jackson’s negligent “offensive contacts” that were of an “explicitly sexual” nature caused Jordie harm.
All of the above was what Jackson expressly admitted to having done to the boy by his willful signing and paying of the settlement.
According to the documents, Jackson’s payment to Jordie was over “alleged compensatory damages for alleged injuries arising out of claims of negligence and not for intentional or wrongful acts of sexual molestation” (emphasis is mine). Michael Jackson apologists often point out Jackson’s overt disclamation of having violated Jordie ‘intentionally’ or ‘wrongfully’ as if either were meaningful or significant.
Intentional and wrongful do differ from negligent; however, Jackson’s admission only to the latter does not absolve him from the “explicitly sexual” “offensive contacts” as mentioned in the Seventh Cause of Action to which he’d subscribed. Intentional and wrongful simply mean that Jackson was explicitly disclaiming the acts that would have required and, indeed, implied a ‘complete consciousness’ to do them; Jackson would’ve, thus, been admitting (‘tacitly’) to crimes actionable in a criminal court — it was easier for him to simply admit to the negligence.
Michael Jackson’s overt admission to the negligence claim but not the “intentional and wrongful acts of molestation” does not mean the negligence was neither wrong nor harmful nor exceedingly foul in the eyes of the public. It does not mean he was not guilty of pedophilic behaviors with that young boy. What Jackson did admit to, however, was having had contact with Jordie that was damaging to Jordie because of its very nature of being negligent, offensive, and explicitly sexual.
But was that really all Jackson admitted to?
According to paragraph 4 of the settlement, “[t]he Settlement Payment shall constitute full and complete satisfaction and settlement of any and all claims” (emphasis is mine). So, although Jackson had overtly accepted liability for the claims of “explicitly sexual” negligence, it is reasonable to assume that by settling for any and all claims made by Jordie or his parents, Jackson also, but implicitly, admitted liability for Counts One through Six of the Chandler lawsuit.
We will return to this point later.
Beyond Michael Jackson’s overt admission to the “explicitly sexual” negligence in the Chandler lawsuit, more telling than that is the very nature of the settlement agreement itself. Although merely thought to be as Jackson had described it (he’d wanted to get out from “under the nightmare” of the scandal and paying the Chandlers to ‘go away’ was not an admission of guilt but something of a payment towards his own emancipation), the agreement took the form of a confession of judgement.
Larry Feldman, former Chandler attorney and signee of that confidential settlement, explained, in his April 1, 2005 testimony, the type of agreement Jackson had with his clients.
20 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: All right. I’m — you’re
21 far more capable than I am of delineating the
22 differences, but is there a difference between a
23 civil settlement that results from a contract and
24 one that results from a confession of judgment?
25 A. Yes.
26 Q. All right. Would you explain to the jury
27 what the difference is and what the legal effect is?
28 A. Yes. In a confession of judgment, it is as
1 though we went to trial and had a lawsuit and the
2 jury came back with a verdict and we had a judgment,
3 or the Judge came back with a finding.
4 And when the Judge says somebody’s at fault,
5 and “Here’s your damages,” you put it into a
6 judgment. And when you have a judgment, you can
7 file that judgment in the county and then you can
8 execute on that judgment, so that if — and just as
9 an example, and I’ll just make this number up, let’s
10 say you had it for one dollar, a judgment for a
11 dollar. Well, if you have a judgment, you could
12 just go and take somebody’s house or take somebody’s
13 car, or go to their bank account and literally take
14 that dollar out to satisfy the judgment.
15 If you just have a release or a contract,
16 then you — all you get left with, if the person
17 doesn’t pay you the dollar, is a something that
18 says, “I promise to pay you a dollar.” And then you
19 got to start all over and prove that person breached
20 that contract.
21 So in the Michael Jackson case, because
22 there were payments going to take place –
23 Q. Let’s stay away from all that area, okay?
24 Just tell us about –
25 A. All right. Well, that’s the best I can tell
26 you the difference.
27 Q. All right. So — but in the Michael Jackson
28 case, you got a confession of judgment?
1 A. I got a confession of judgment.
Moments later in Feldman’s testimony, he remarked that the consummation of the scandal was a win for his client, not for Jackson.
19 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: Now, I guess the last
20 question I have, and I’m probably taking it too much
21 for granted, but with regard to the lawsuit
22 involving Chandler versus Jackson, was that resolved
23 in Chandler’s favor?
24 MR. MESEREAU: Objection.
25 THE WITNESS: It was — oop.
26 MR. MESEREAU: Move to strike. Vague; no
27 foundation; calls for speculation.
28 THE COURT: Overruled.
1 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: You may answer.
2 A. It was absolutely resolved in Mr. — in
3 Jordie Chandler’s favor.
For the sake of clarification, let’s expand on Feldman’s explanation of Jackson’s confession of judgment and how it is meaningful. It was a significant and telling aspect of Jackson’s settlement with Jordie Chandler and one that completely stifled the criminal investigation into the molestation claims.
In law, a “confession of judgment” is an agreement whereby the defendant in a lawsuit submits to the factuality of the plaintiff’s claims. With regard to Michael Jackson, he agreed to the validity of (‘confessed to’) the seventh Cause of Action as noted in J. Chandler v. Jackson, which was that he “negligently had offensive contacts with plaintiff which were both explicitly sexual and otherwise.” With a confession of judgment, a defendant agrees that he is liable for the claims against him and, notably, agrees to this liability without any legal protestations otherwise.
Simply, Jackson entering a confession of judgment means he acknowledged the truthfulness of and did not dispute the accuracy of facts regarding the Chandler allegations over which he’d settled. A “confession of judgment” is the same as if Jackson had been taken to court by the Chandlers and the jury found him liable (or guilty).
A confession of judgment is a written agreement in which the defendant in a lawsuit admits liability and accepts the amount of agreed-upon damages that must be paid to the plaintiff. A confession of judgment may be filed as a court judgment against the defendant who does not pay or perform as agreed. Such an agreement attempts to minimize the need to resort to legal proceedings to resolve a dispute. Careful consideration needs to be given to signing an agreement for confession of judgment, since doing so signs away rights to contest a claim in a future dispute. (source)
The most significant aspect of Jackson’s agreement to the confession of judgment is the inviolability of his payment to Jordie Chandler; according to paragraph 3.f., “Jackson’s obligation to make the Settlement Payment as provided in this paragraph when due is absolute” (emphasis is mine).
This meant that Jackson, because he’d agreed to a confession of judgement, was totally and irrevocably bound to paying the boy that total sum of $15,331,250. An absolute obligation to pay, according to the laws surrounding confessions of judgment, signified that had Jackson, in any way, shape, or form, failed in paying Jordie Chandler the payments agreed to in the settlement and in a timely manner as provided, Jordie Chandler had the absolute authority, as Jackson himself authorized, to seize Jackson’s assets to assuage the debt.
It should be noted that this confession of judgment agreed to by Michael Jackson is contradictory to his own protestations of innocence.
It is disregarding the fact Jackson virtually admitted to the offensive, explicitly sexual negligent contacts with Jordie Chandler by signing a confession of judgment (he had no objections to Cause of Action seven of the lawsuit); rather, it is purely taking into account Jackson’s allowance of the seizure of his property, assets, or anything else that could have gone to relieve any debt accrued from a missed or late payment.
Jackson’s defenders maintain Michael Jackson was innocent and that his settlement with Jordie Chandler and his parents was never an admission of guilt. Though they maintain the position that Jackson was forced (which has since been completely discredited), it is hard to imagine Michael Jackson would have allowed himself to be pushed against his will into a confession of judgment which would have not only prevented him from ever legally objecting to the monies designated to Jordie Chandler in the agreement, but also gave so-called ‘liars’ and ‘extortionists’ an absolute right to seize his assets in the event he failed to pay in accordance to the schedule!
But Jackson was not forced; astoundingly, Jackson himself agreed to waive his due process rights (which hold that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without the ability to have a legal say or protection from such seizure) and his ability to defend himself against any such sequestration of his assets in the event Jordie did not receive his settlement rewards.
The question that now becomes prominent is why would Michael Jackson have agreed to such extreme and absolute measures that appear to be in accordance with the goal of ending the Chandler civil suit and, as stated by Carl Douglas, obviating the fear of a criminal investigation into Jordie’s claims if he was innocent of the claims against him?
In Feldman’s testimony during his cross-examination by Jackson defense attorney, Tom Mesereau, the notion of a “confession of judgment” is further clarified.
3 Q. Okay. And typically, in a settlement like
4 the one described by Prosecutor Sneddon, if someone
5 agrees to pay money to the other side, the other
6 side would like the payment of that money secured by
7 what is called a confession of judgment, correct?
8 A. That’s right. When it’s paid over time,
9 that’s correct.
10 Q. Okay. And the purpose of a confession of
11 judgment is that if the paying party stops paying,
12 you can run into civil court and obtain what is
13 called a certified judgment so you can then collect
14 on their assets?
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. Right?
17 A. That’s right.
18 Q. And if you didn’t have that confession of
19 judgment, your only remedy would be to then file
20 another lawsuit for breach of contract, correct?
21 A. That’s right.
22 Q. So what Mr. Sneddon was talking to you about
23 was ways that you have to collect money that you’re
24 owed in a settlement, true?
25 A. I don’t know what he was talking to me
26 about. He asked me questions, and I answered the
27 best I could. What you’ve said is true, and that’s
28 what I thought I just said.
1 Q. And typically in a civil settlement, and
2 you’ve done many of them, obviously, there is a
3 provision in the settlement agreement which says
4 that neither side admits liability, or words to that
5 effect, correct?
6 A. Generally. Not every one, but generally
7 that’s true.
8 Q. And essentially what that means is neither
9 side admits wrongdoing, correct?
10 A. Correct.
11 Q. And the confession of judgment has nothing
12 to do with an admission of wrongdoing or liability?
13 A. Well, it would have the same impact if you
14 had to file it. It would be a judgment for that
15 amount. I don’t know what impact it’s going to
16 later be. I’ve never handled a case where you filed
17 a confession of judgment, and then somebody tried to
18 use that in another case to say you admitted
19 something. I frankly don’t know the answer.
20 Q. It’s never used to say someone admitted
21 something. It’s simply used to collect the money
22 you’re owed, right?
23 A. Sir, I just told you, I’ve never researched
24 that issue, and — so you can’t — you got the wrong
25 person. I’ve never had someone where I had to go
26 use it.
27 I didn’t have to use it with Mr. Jackson, so
28 I can’t tell you the answer. I know it’s — it
1 is — my concern was the making sure, if the money
2 wasn’t paid by Mr. Jackson, we could go into court
3 and start seizing his assets. That didn’t happen.
4 He paid. It never happened.
5 Q. Would you agree that in many civil
6 settlements of civil cases, you will have both the
7 provision that says neither side admits wrongdoing
8 or liability as well as a confession of judgment?
9 A. It’s rare you get a confession of judgment.
A confession of judgment is, in fact, rare due to the controversy surrounding the defendant’s agreement to waive any and all rights they have protecting their assets, property, or anything of value so that a creditor may have the absolute right to take what is the defendant’s.
But Mesereau’s tactics in the cross-examination of Feldman ought to be noted.
In direct contradiction to the absoluteness of a confession of judgment and the voluntary relinquishing of due process rights by the defendant, Mesereau attempts to suggest that the provisions within the settlement agreement allowing for Jackson to admit no wrongdoing with regard to Counts One through Six of the Chandler lawsuit (acts of an intentional and wrongful nature) means that Jackson was innocent and that, despite signing a confession of judgment to Jordie Chandler, he could continue to maintain his innocence. This, again, is disregarding the nature of confessions of judgment.
A defendant’s signature on a confession of judgment, which, and it bears repeating, means that he cannot object to any immediate seizure of his assets by the plaintiff, provides more than enough reasonable suspicion that the defendant was guilty of the claims over which he’d settled, so much so that he’d go to the lengths of allowing the plaintiff to be able to take from him anything of value in order to not only satisfy a debt in the event he defaults on a payment but also keep any legal proceeding with regard to the plaintiff’s claims from occurring.
Worth remembering is the basis of the Prosecution’s argument for wanting the unredacted settlement documents to be allowed into trial as a corroboration of Gavin Arvizo’s allegations of abuse against Jackson: they believed that Jackson’s settlement with Jordie Chandler so soon after the file date of the lawsuit was reasonable evidence of the lawsuit being meritorious; because the lawsuit was meritorious, the enormous settlement of that lawsuit could be seen as Jackson’s admission of guilt over molesting Jordie Chandler.
Jackson’s entering into a settlement agreement that is expressly understood to be absolutely binding does appear to conform to that previous reasoning: Jackson’s settlement with Jordie Chandler, and the Jackson-approved drama that could’ve ensued had he missed a payment, was, at least, a tacit admission on Jackson’s part that he’d molested the boy.
That was the reality beyond a standard and expected provision between the parties enabling defendant Jackson to absolve himself of liability. Simply, Jackson’s disclaiming of liability for sexual abuse means very little in the face of giving Jordie Chandler a confession of judgment.
Also revealing from Larry Feldman’s testimony was his confession of “who paid”; according to Feldman, “my concern was the making sure, if the money wasn’t paid by Mr. Jackson, we could go into court and start seizing his assets. That didn’t happen. He paid. It never happened.” (Emphasis added.)
Larry Feldman, an attorney privy to and a signee of the settlement agreement, stated Michael Jackson paid.
Like all previous assertions by attorneys handling the case in 1993-1994, who stated no insurance company was involved in the mediation and settlement of the Chandler lawsuit, Feldman mentioned nothing about any third party or insurance carrier footing the bill of those payments to Jordie Chandler, which had been stated in the Oxman memo. And this, in fact, makes perfect sense when it is taken into account that the nature of the agreement between Jackson and Jordie was such that any default on payment would have been to the detriment of Jackson, not anyone else.
It is a reasonable assumption to make that if Jackson hadn’t been the person funding the settlement to the Chandlers, he would also not be at risk of asset sequestration. But since that is not the case, one must assume that Jackson was the one paying that enormous Settlement Payment.
The publicly available version of Jackson’s Confidential Settlement and Mutual General Release has been redacted from the original 31 pages; missing are nine pages describing how the multimillion-dollar payment would be divvied to Jordie Chandler. Because of the redaction, the finer points of the schedule are left unknown.
However, paragraph 5.b. — part of the settlement agreement detailing the “Dismissal of the Action” (the Chandler’s lawsuit) — does reveal much.
Paragraph 5.b. seems to specify a total of four payments to Jordie Chandler, which suggested that Jackson’s settlement with the boy was a structured one. Perhaps it spanned the entire statute of limitations of the charge of child molestation (Jordie’s claims of abuse would have expired in the year 2000), which would mean that Jordie could have feasibly received five payments from Michael Jackson of roughly $3 million every year until the total $15,331,250 was acquired.
In essence, the ‘extended release’ of the monies would’ve had the effect of quieting the boy until the expiration date of the criminal allegation.
As it followed the previous paragraphs of the settlement, Jackson would have been the payer of these five payments.
The Oxman memorandum contained the suggestion that “[t]he insurance carrier negotiated and paid the settlement”. We know now that Jackson’s insurance company was never involved in the negotiation of Jackson’s settlement with the Chandlers. Also, Larry Feldman stated it was Jackson who paid.
One of the two possible payment options detailed in paragraph 5.b. deserves mention, as it also confirms that Jackson, not someone else, funded the multimillion-dollar settlement payments to Jordie Chandler.
It is easy to become confused by the mentioning of “Qualified Assignments” and “Qualified Funding Asset Premiums”; both sound manifestly like insurance company language. However, neither has anything to do with what was claimed by Jackson’s defense in the Oxman memorandum that Jackson’s insurance carrier footed the bill of the settlement.
Had Jackson opted to make use of a qualified assignment, instead of organizing and divvying out the settlement payments himself, it would have simply meant that Jackson had handed over to a third-party the obligation to orchestrate and keep track of the payments to the Chandlers. To note, obligation does not mean “funding”. In Jackson’s case, had he chose this process, he would have purchased an annuity — a fancy word for a device stipulating a series of payments — for the amount he owed to the Chandlers as ordained in the settlement agreement. That annuity would then be used by an agreed-upon third-party (the qualified assignee) to fund the payments to the Chandlers, freeing Jackson of the ‘bookkeeping’ involved with that settlement. The “Qualified Funding Asset Premiums” mentioned in the settlement agreement would be the fee charged to Jackson for turning his lump sum (which he’d used to purchase the ‘qualified funding asset’) into the annuity that would go to fund the Chandlers’ settlement payments.
Simply, this other option would’ve been the hiring of a middleman to control and monitor the process of payments.
A Qualified Assignment can, in fact, be to a life insurance company, but, as it relates to Jackson’s settlement, it has nothing to do with an insurance company paying out a settlement to Jordie Chandler under a liability policy. The insurance company would only be there to hand out the payments using the qualified funding asset purchased by Jackson.
There is no evidence that Jackson used a qualified assignment to manage the nitty-gritty of his settlement with the Chandlers. But had he done so, it would be understandable: given that Jackson gave Jordie Chandler a confession of judgment with the penalty being a risk of asset seizure if payments to the boy or his parents were missed, late, or otherwise compromised, as well as coupling that with Michael Jackson’s notorious propensity to incur debts and stiff people of money, a third-party handling the fine details of the affair would have greatly reduced Jackson’s risk of losing his assets to the Chandlers.
In other words, it was Jackson who paid; it was his money going to the Chandlers in the settlement of Jordie’s lawsuit, not his insurance company’s.
[ETA 11-23-2014: In the original iteration of this entry, I failed to underscore a significant part of paragraph 3.e. (confer to above images) of the Settlement Agreement, which reads, in part, that Jackson will pay Jordie Chandler’s $15,331,250 sum prior to the execution of the Settlement “…in forms to be approved by the attorneys of record for the Minor.” In other words, in addition to the binding confession of judgment which empowered the Chandlers over Jackson, Michael Jackson further empowered his boy accuser by allowing him to decide how he’d receive the money.]
Jackson defenders maintain that a settlement does not equal guilt, or, rather, it would be inappropriate to assume guilt on the basis of a settlement alone. However, we know that, according to Jackson Defense filings, his Defense team did, in fact, agree that had Michael Jackson himself paid the settlement to Jordie Chandler, and evidence thereof tangibly existed, it would then have been a relevant and foundational piece of evidence to use to suggest that Michael Jackson was guilty of molesting the boy.
Jackson’s Defense, of course, wanted to prevent the ‘discovery’ of the nine redacted pages of the settlement agreement describing the payments to the Chandlers because it not only revealed that the Confidential Agreement and Mutual General Release was a telling confession of judgment, but also because it, undoubtedly, showed that Michael Jackson was the payer of his settlement to Jordie.
In his testimony, Feldman revealed more than just the fact Michael Jackson had funded his own settlement; he added to the reasonable suspicion that that 1994 settlement was, for lack of a better term, a ‘silencer’:
20 Q. Well, without going into the amount of any
21 settlement, isn’t it true that both parents wanted
22 money for themselves as well?
23 A. They didn’t want it. The defense wanted
24 them to have it, and they accepted it, because the
25 defendant — that was the defendant’s idea.
26 Q. Did the parents — without going into the
27 amounts –
28 A. Sure.
1 Q. — did the parents for Mr. Chandler accept
2 money in the settlement?
3 A. They did accept money. That’s a fair
Jackson’s attorney, Tom Mesereau, wanted people to note how Evan and June Chandler also received money in the settlement of their son’s lawsuit in the quest to convince jurors and courtroom observers that the Chandler parents were grifters, like the Arvizo family, looking to swindle a child-like pop icon. However, what should be underscored is the fact that it had been Jackson and his attorneys who’d offered money to these alleged ‘extortionists’.
Oxman’s claim was that neither Jackson nor his attorneys were considered when Jackson’s insurance company settled with the Chandlers; but, according to Feldman, a party to the negotiations of that settlement agreement, Jackson also insisted on fattening Evan and June’s pockets, as well.
But why give money to ‘extortionists’?
Feldman continues on with District Attorney Sneddon:
21 Q. Let me just ask you a couple other
22 questions, or at least one other question about the
23 Chandler versus Jackson lawsuit.
24 You indicated in response to one of Mr.
25 Mesereau’s questions that the defendant in that
26 case, which would have been Mr. Jackson, were the
27 ones who wanted the parents to share in the
28 financial or monetary settlement of the case?
1 A. That’s right.
2 Q. Now, that seems counterintuitive. Can you
3 explain to us why that happened?
4 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Relevance;
5 foundation; move to strike.
6 THE COURT: Overruled.
7 THE WITNESS: The reason it happened was
8 because Mr. Jackson’s legal team wanted
9 confidentiality. They didn’t want anybody ever
10 talking about this. And they were concerned if, in
11 fact, the parents weren’t getting money –
12 MR. MESEREAU: I’m going to object, this is
13 nonresponsive. And move to strike.
14 THE WITNESS: They said this, Your Honor.
15 MR. MESEREAU: And calls for speculation and
16 it’s hearsay.
17 THE COURT: No, the question was, “Can you
18 explain why that happened,” and that’s what he’s
19 explaining. So –
20 THE WITNESS: They told us that they wanted
21 the parents to get the money so that the parents
22 would be bound by the settlement agreement, so that
23 the parents couldn’t talk, that the parents couldn’t
24 write a book, the parents couldn’t go — I mean, we
25 weren’t precluded from talking to the police. We
26 were just — they weren’t able to write a book.
27 They weren’t able to go on television. They weren’t
28 able to do anything. And they wanted the parents
2 And it’s because of that that I brought in a
3 retired Court of Appeal Judge to become the new
4 guardian ad litems, because I didn’t want the
5 parents taking anything away from the child.
Larry Feldman stated under oath that Jackson included Evan and June Chandler as parties to the settlement agreement because Jackson did not want them to talk to anyone about the alleged sexual abuse of their son, the alleged seduction process that led up to the alleged repeated molestations around the globe, and the pop star’s alleged acute interest — “cosmic” interest — in the pre-teen that had set everything into motion.
Mesereau’s objection to the topic he’d himself brought up is amusing. Understandably, if his objective had been to paint the Chandler adults as grifters, details of Jackson’s own desire to ensure Jordie’s parents had slices of the Settlement pie would be the antithesis of that goal!
It seems strange that Jackson would worry about “confidentiality” if he claimed he’d had nothing to hide and, as Oxman insisted in his memo, that Jackson’s wanting to vindicate himself in a court of law was vetoed by his insurance company.
Because Jackson wanted confidentiality — ‘silence’ — and bought it from Jordie’s parents (the amount was said to be at least $1 million each), it tends to corroborate the idea that the entire settlement agreement — all $25 million of it — was about ‘silencing’ the claims of sexual abuse that posed a threat to his livelihood and his freedom instead of wanting to ‘vindicate’ himself.
And the aforementioned adds up well when it is considered, once again, that Jackson’s settlement was preceded by the photographing of his spotty penis and blotched testicles, pictures that Carl Douglas viewed as a “part of the 300 pound gorilla in the mediation room” and stated ‘silencing’ Jordie Chandler would have ‘obviated’ any fear of the looming criminal trial.
This ‘silencing’ is well corroborated by many details within the settlement agreement.
As a tangent to the payments, let’s note the “Dismissal of the Action”:
According to the dismissal schedule, upon signing the documents, Jordie Chandler and his parents agreed to dismiss all of the causes of action in the suit that explicitly implicated Jackson in the molestation of the boy, leaving only the negligence charge pending. Counts one through six would be dismissed without prejudice, meaning that the Chandlers did have the opportunity to re-file the case at a later date if they decided to, which was unlikely: paragraph 12.c. contained a provision in which Evan and June Chandler would agree, upon signing, that a settlement, but not a trial, was in the “best interest” of Jordie.
Perhaps choosing to settle was in the best interest of Jordie because, during the scandal, Jordie’s therapist reported in a November 11 court declaration that she worried about the “extremely harmful” effects prolonged legal proceedings would have had on the boy; Jordie also reportedly drew a picture of himself committing suicide and handed it to his father. Even a year following the settlement, Larry Feldman stated Jordie Chandler was having a hard time adjusting.
The child’s suffering notwithstanding, undoubtedly a settlement was in the best interest of Michael Jackson, too.
But even more is that upon a completion of all payments, there was the agreement that J. Chandler v. Jackson would be dismissed with prejudice. In other words, Jackson would never have to worry about any of the Chandlers suing him over Jordie Chandler’s 1993 allegations of abuse. Because the settlement payments were spaced so that they would be at lengthy enough intervals as to span the entire criminal statute of limitations, Jackson thereby guaranteed himself that the Chandlers would never become witnesses in a civil or criminal trial against him.
All of this is underscored by paragraph 11.f.
The settlement agreement specifically barred any of the Chandlers from cooperating with anyone, save law enforcement. Theoretically, according to the settlement, even if the Chandlers had changed their minds about staying mum regarding Jordie Chandler’s allegations, they would have had their hands tied: the agreement on which they’d signed off forbade them from discussing any information with regard to those allegations with anyone.
Furthermore, if any other member of the Chandler clan wanted to take Jackson to court for sexual abuse on behalf of Jordie, for example, that person’s case would essentially be ‘dead on arrival’: they’d be unable to get any information from the victim or his parents.
Jackson’s attorneys had drafted an agreement that crushed any possibility of their client facing courtroom scrutiny.
But a civil route was not the only one blocked by the settlement. Jackson apologists often bring up the fact that Jackson never prevented the Chandlers from talking to police about the criminal investigation into Jordie’s claims. It is true: it would have been against the law for Jackson to forbid the Chandlers or their attorneys from talking to police about the allegations. However, just because it was illegal did not mean Jackson couldn’t make cooperating with police so tedious and stifling as to discourage the process.
Note the underlined portions of paragraph 11.g. above, specifically, “…they agree to give notice in writing to Jackson’s attorneys regarding the nature and scope of any such subpoena request for information…. notice shall be given before responding to the request in any manner other than objections or a refusal to respond…”
So while Jackson could not preclude anyone from talking to law enforcement, Jackson did want to keep a close eye on them to the point that if any of his accusers did agree to speak about the allegations to anyone, including law enforcement, he’d be able to plan a defense even before they themselves were questioned.
It is noteworthy that Jason Francia — Jackson’s other boy accuser who went on to receive a multimillion dollar settlement — also had a similar clause in his agreement with Jackson, according to the testimony of his attorney, Kris Kallman:
23 Q. Now, at some point in time was Jason
24 required to sign some kind of documents in
25 conjunction with the settlement?
26 A. Yes. When he turned 18, part of the
27 condition was that he sign a confidentiality
1 Q. Now, with regard to the confidentiality –
2 and to your knowledge, did he sign that?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And with regard to the confidentiality
5 agreement, did it have a provision that required
6 notice to Mr. Jackson in the event that Jason
7 Francia talked to anybody?
8 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Leading; move to
10 THE COURT: Overruled.
11 You may answer.
12 THE WITNESS: I believe so, yes.
13 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: And what was the
14 requirement notice in the confidentiality agreement
15 with regard to notice to the defense?
16 A. I believe it’s five days.
17 Q. And were you at some point contacted by Mr.
18 Zonen of our department with regard to interviewing
19 your — Jason Francia?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And in that particular case, did you
22 indicate to Mr. Zonen that you would have to do
23 something before you could agree with that?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And what was that?
26 A. Well, I’d have to notify somebody on Mr.
27 Jackson’s legal staff that they wanted to talk to
1 Q. And did you do that?
2 A. Yeah. Yes. Excuse me.
3 Q. And did you then grant permission for Mr.
4 Zonen to have a conversation with your — with Jason
6 A. Yes.
Kallman referred to it as a “notice requirement” in later testimony, and it relates to confidentiality; given the similarity, the “notice requirement” in the Chandler settlement can reasonably be considered as the same provision as the one required of the Francias.
All of the previous clauses understandably had the effect of explicitly and implicitly ‘silencing’ the Chandlers along a broad spectrum — paragraph 11.b. also forbade any of them from speaking in a public forum as well — regardless if Jackson was unable to prevent them from talking to police.
And if the settlement agreement between all parties does not yet seem an apparent ‘quieting’ of Jordie Chandler, note paragraph 12.e. toward the very end of the document:
It is interesting that Jackson wanted all discovery that led up to and/or validated J. Chandler v. Jackson (the “Action”) to be kept completely sealed and hidden, especially when, not long following the September 13, 1993 file date of the Chandler suit, Jackson’s attorneys also wanted to prevent all discovery (encompassing evidence gathering and witness statements) for seven years, essentially stagnating the progress of that civil suit.
Notice, too, that ‘hiding’ discovery is not illegal nor is it an obstruction of justice; it would be as simple as not assisting any entity — be it media, civil, or criminal — in finding information about Jordie’s claims or telling them where to look. It would be as easy as feigning a lost memory! It should be noted that the sharing of evidence between Chandler civil attorneys and prosecutors was a major hurdle for Jackson’s side:
Cochran and Howard Weitzman, two of Jackson’s lawyers, fought vigorously to prevent information obtained during the discovery process in the boy’s lawsuit from being turned over to prosecutors. They argued that investigators were trying to use the suit to advance their criminal investigation, a technique that Jackson’s lawyers said should not be allowed.
But Lauren Weis, who heads the sex crimes unit of the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, said investigators should be able to review that material to assist them in deciding whether criminal charges are warranted against Jackson. Although law enforcement sources previously said a decision about whether to file charges could be reached by January, Cochran said he was recently notified that it will not be concluded before February.
“We have a right to know if these witnesses made contrary statements at other times,” Weis said, in arguing for access to the civil discovery material, which includes sworn statements by possible witnesses.
But why hide discovery from anyone if Jackson himself had nothing to hide and was innocent? Wouldn’t whatever was seized, obtained, or learned in discovery be so superfluous as to not impact Jackson’s freedom at all?
Or, perhaps, because the discovery that was the basis of and supported Jordie Chandler’s lawsuit led to the need of a settlement — a settlement which ‘obviated’ the fear of a criminal proceeding — could have, in fact, strengthened the prosecutors’ cases, as Jackson’s lawyers very well knew.
Jackson’s confidential settlement with the Chandler family, given the clauses within and the enormous sum resulting from it, was nothing more than a ‘nod and wink’ for the boy’s claims of sexual abuse to disappear into thin air.
Furthermore, as evidence to that, the Oxman memo itself helpfully revealed the aftermath of the settlement by showing that police could obtain nothing of substance from Jordie Chandler during an interview after the settlement agreement was made and no charges were filed as a result; from pages 9 and 10, lines 25-28, 1-4:
Although Jordan Chandler was interviewed “thereafter” by detectives seeking evidence to offer in a child molestation prosecution of Michael Jackson, “no criminal charges were filed as a result of that interview.” This interview took place prior to the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Stogner v. California, 539 U.S. 607.613 (2003), holding California’s retroactive extension of the statute of limitations to be unconstitutional. In other words, Jordan Chandler’s statements were not sufficient even at that earlier time, to support molestation charges against Michael Jackson, to now permit the suggestion of a settlement agreement for some improper act is not only irrelevant, but also a speculative violation of the statute of limitations.
By “thereafter”, Oxman means that following the signing of the settlement, Jordie Chandler, who had beforehand been interviewed by countless therapists, social workers, detectives, a false child abuse claims expert — all of whom found him credible — as well as supplied investigators with a drawn description of what he knew of Jackson’s discolored genitalia, was no longer as helpful.
One would have to be dense not to consider it a reasonable conclusion that the settlement, with its multitude of clauses designating silence, was what fostered that lack of cooperation.
But it is no surprise because that was the goal of the document.
It’s noteworthy to mention the continued assertions by Michael Jackson and his attorneys that, following the resolution of the Chandler lawsuit with the $25 million settlement, Jackson would now be able to move on with his life and get back to making music — in a nutshell, return to his role as the King of Pop.
These assertions, strangely, disregard the fact that prosecutors and police were still continuing on in their criminal investigations into the claims! How would that allow for Jackson to truly sleep easy?
Jackson’s brazen confidence can only be best and fully described as the result of totally securing with a multimillion dollar check Jordie Chandler’s complete and binding silence.
The March 22, 2005 Oxman memorandum — upheld by Jackson’s defenders as some proof of Jackson’s ‘innocence’ in the face of his own contradictory behavior — was complete lies, nothing more than his Defense team’s best effort to keep out the 31-paged, unredacted Settlement document. They knew it provided tacit proof their client had a history of sexually abusing young boys.
Most importantly, the Oxman memo’s claim that Jackson was somehow an innocent Peter Pan left spinning over his insurance company’s inconsiderate settling over his protests to fight has been utterly dismantled. Who was Oxman kidding? Michael Jackson, the showman, the Grammy winner, the seasoned musician, could never be told what to do. That settlement was under Jackson’s control.
Settlements are telling little documents, drafted in the nick of time to act as blockades to legal progress or to prevent career-ending revelations from seeing the light of day. It is no surprise, then, that they are considered reasonable proofs of guilt. In Michael Jackson’s case, his guilt was entirely obvious.
1. Frozen in Time seminar held on 15th of September 2010, featured a panel of those most closely involved with the Michael Jackson molestation 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.
Available on Youtube, parts one and two, as of September 2014.
2. Of course, this wasn’t the only time the defence lied. They also lied, for instance, about the blood spot in Jackson’s underpants being due to injections for his “vitiligo” when of course no such injections existed; and Mesereau’s patently false claim that Jimmy Safechuck had got married at Neverland.
3. In terms of stymieing the efforts of law enforcement (again, as confirmed by Johnnie Cochran cohort Carl Douglas), there is a such thing as “The Cochran Defense”, as described in the book The Proper Criticism of Some Decent People by Dr. Theophilus Green, pages 199-200:
The Cochran Defense was a practice that the late Johnnie Cochran developed to have third party entities financially compensate victims of his entertainment and pro sport clients to persuade them not to cooperate with criminal prosecutors… most of Cochrans’s high profile trials ended with witnesses changing their testimony or victims refusing to cooperate to document criminal charges they originally filed.
The so-called “Cochran Defense” is also amplified by a 2009 interview with a veteran private investigator, David Corbett. Corbett worked for Palladino & Sutherland, the PI firm hired by Feldman during the 1993 investigation into Jordie Chandler’s abuse claims; he had the following to say:
We worked for the fourteen-year-old boy and his family in the child molestation case, and we tried the best we could to help the police, but we kept finding out from the sergeant who was out liaison at LAPD that they would assemble a witness list from our reports, pass it up the chain of command, and it would inevitably come back with certain key witnesses cross off. The suspicion was that, with Johnny Cochran at the helm of Jackson’s defense, he was pulling strings with old contacts in the DA’s office or with cops he knew. We could never prove this, and it was just a suspicion. But it all became moot when Cochran, fearing his investigators has been taped trying to tamper with witnesses — they’d been instructed by Cochran to go out and find ex-employees, tell them, “Michael loves you,” and offer them their jobs back at salaries they could hardly refuse — Cochran had a high-power conclave with his client and promptly pitched almost $20 million at the kid and his family. 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.
My analysis of the 1994 Settlement underscores the point that if Jackson willingly paid millions of dollars to Jordie Chandler over claims of sexual abuse, a reasonable person could conclude he was guilty of said crimes. The above entry homes in on this conclusion by using the actual Settlement Agreement documents and statements made by the parties involved.
The [liability] crimes the Settlement Agreement resolved were claims of negligence that Jackson agreed were “offensive” and “explicitly sexual or otherwise”. Jackson even agreed to a “confession of judgment,” an absolutely binding stipulation that promised there would be no complications in his paying Jordie the millions the boy was due; if complications did arise, Jackson agreed to have his assets seized without complaint.
In spite of what the documents actually stated, contrarian arguments by Jackson supporters surrounded the idea that if it could be proven Jackson not only did not agree to the Settlement but also did not pay it, it was ‘proof’ of his innocence. As proof of this, fans held up the Oxman memo, an argumentative legal document filed prior to the start of Jackson’s 2005 molestation trial that sought to preclude any Prosecution discussion of Jackson’s settlement with the Chandlers in front of the jury.
The Oxman memo was the first of its kind to suggest Jackson was forced to pay the Chandlers, that force acted upon him by his insurance company. More specifically, Brian Oxman argued that unless the Prosecution could prove Jackson paid “every dime” of the Settlement Agreement without the nudge of an insurance carrier seeking to override his desire for a trial, it would be dangerously prejudicial for them to introduce the theory of it being proof Jackson had abused Jordie Chandler.
I noted above that that was interesting language on Oxman’s part: again, Oxman agreed that if some kind of evidence did exist to prove had Jackson paid the Settlement Agreement on his own accord (the Prosecution believed the unredacted copy in Larry Feldman’s possession would provide those details), it would be relevant for the Prosecution to use it to advance the theory that Jackson paid because he was guilty of child molestation.
The Prosecution never did get the unredacted document with the payment schedule intact, nor were they permitted a detailed discussion of its implications. In that way, the allegations levied against Jackson’s insurance company within the Oxman memo — that they were looking for a quick resolution in spite of Jackson’s proclamations of innocence and the damage a tacit guilty plea could do to his reputation — had yet to be challenged.
However, roughly two months ago, Jackson defense attorney Tom Mesereau gave a Blogtalkradio interview with Jackson sympathizer King Jordan, in which he clarified the Settlement Agreement. The pertinent portion begins at 1:04:45 and a transcription of Mesereau’s exchange with a caller says the following:
CALLER: Hi. Hello? Hi. My name is Lynette, and I’m calling from Minnesota. I spoke with Tom in May about Wade, and, um, I’m a psychiatric nurse. I have a couple of questions about the ’93 settlement. Um, was there ever any evidence that it was settled by an insurance company, or paid by them?
TOM MESEREAU: Ah, my understanding was that an insurance company did not pay. Now, the settlement agreement was written, in my opinion — and again, I was not involved in that settlement, ah, you should ask Cap Weitzman about the settlement, or John Branca about it — I was not involved in it. I didn’t even know Michael at the time, I wasn’t, I didn’t meet him until eleven years later, um, but…
TOM MESEREAU: My understanding was that the settlement agreement was written to, um, permit the possibility that an insurance company would step in and pay, but I was also told that an insurance company did not pay.
TOM MESEREAU: And that’s why there were some people running around saying an insurance company paid it, and that’s why it was settled, and uh, my understanding is that’s not correct.
CALLER: Well, I think they base that on, um, one of the motions that were filed by Brian Oxman…
TOM MESEREAU: I’m well aware of that.
CALLER: Mmmm. And so they’re under the impression that it was paid by an insurance company, and if that’s the wrong impression, that’s the wrong impression.
TOM MESEREAU: I understand.
Mesereau, as we heard, dismantled the fan argument of Michael Jackson’s innocence being proven by his not paying the Settlement Agreement. Jackson did pay the Settlement, especially since California has an insurance code that prohibits insurance companies — even if they wanted to (and there is no evidence of that in this case) — from settling criminal conduct.
It is a mystery why Michael Jackson’s famed defense attorney remained mum on the reality of Jackson’s settlement when he apparently knew, since at least 2007, that Jackson’s fans continued to wrongly claim Jackson had been railroaded by his insurance carrier into a contract that made him look guilty. Nevertheless, Mesereau should be commended for admitting he was not involved whatsoever in the 1993 case and, therefore, would know very little of the goings-on during the affair. This was underscored during his pitiful cross-examinations of June Chandler and Larry Feldman.
As I stated before and I shall state again, the 1994 Settlement Agreement — and the chronology of events leading to it — provides more than enough reasonable suspicion that Michael Jackson was guilty of sexually abusing Jordie Chandler.