Jordan’s Description – Did it Match?

The short answer? Probably. The long answer? Read on.

The Issue

Michael Jackson’s accuser in 1993 described the coloration and markings below Michael Jackson’s waistline and above his knees including his penis, and drew a picture of Michael Jackson’s erect penis. Subsequently photos were taken of Michael Jackson to corroborate or rebut the boys description. Fans are adamant that the description and photos do not match. Some critics of Jackson say it definitely matched.

It must be noted here that only a few law enforcement officers have seen both the photos and Jordan’s description, so they are the only people who can say if they matched or not. Nobody else can say with any certainty that they matched or not. Be careful of anybody who says they have the definitive answer.

The story

In 1993, the Los Angeles Police Department commenced an investigation of allegation by Jordan Chandler, a minor child, and his family that young Jordan had been sexually molested by Michael Jackson in Los Angeles and in Santa Barbara Counties. Los Angeles Police Detective Rosibel Ferrufino was one of the investigators in that investigation. The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department commenced its own investigation of the allegation, in cooperation with the Los Angeles Police Department. Sheriff’s Detective Deborah Linden was one of the investigators.

In the course of LAPD’s investigation of the allegations, Jordan Chandler was interviewed by Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Lauren Weis on September 1, 1993, during which interview Detective Ferrufino and a court reporter were present. Jordan was asked to relate information concerning his reported relationship with Michael Jackson. In the course of the interview Jordan Chandler made detailed statements concerning the physical appearance of Michael Jackson, in particular the coloration of and marks on the skin of his lower torso, buttocks and genitals, including a particular blemish on his penis. Jordan was asked to draw a picture of Mr. Jackson’s erect penis and to locate on that drawing any distinctive marks he recalled. Jordan did so. The drawing was signed and dated by Jordan Chandler and was attached as Exhibit 1 to Detective Ferrufino’s report in LAPD Case No. 930822245.

On December 13,1993, as part of the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s investigation into young Chandler’s allegations a search warrant was obtained authorizing the search of Michael Jackson’s person and for the taking of photographs of his genitals. That warrant was executed at Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara on December 20, 1993[1]. By this account of Jackson’s strip search, it was a harrowing experience for all but one person.[2]

Why wasn’t Michael Jackson arrested immediately after the photos were studied and they were found to supposedly match?

Anybody who asks this question is showing a distinct lack of knowledge on the rules of evidence. Just as testimony would be required from the photographer and law enforcement as to the authenticity and chain of custody of the photographs, they would also need testimony from the person who described Jackson’s anatomical features (i.e. Jordan Chandler) as to his description. At this stage of the investigation law enforcement were aware that settlement negotiations were taking place between the Chandlers and Jackson’s attorneys, so even though they were hopeful that Jordan would testify in a criminal trial, they couldn’t be 100% confident this would be the case. From a law enforcement perspective, arresting Jackson at that time could have been fruitless without certain corroboration from the witness.

Why did the Chandler’s lawyer request a second set of photographs to be taken?

One mustn’t forget that two things were happening here – a criminal investigation, and a civil suit. Although there were commonalities, there was no way that evidence from a criminal investigation would have been freely shared with civil lawyers. Larry Feldman, the Chandler’s lawyer, says he had requested copies of the photographs from Jackson’s attorneys and the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office without success, so he filed documents in court requesting Jackson either provide copies of the police photographs, submit to a second search, or that the court may bar the photographs from the civil trial as evidence[3]. Fans latch on to these requests as some sort of proof that the photographs and description didn’t match, which is quite puzzling. They ask “why would Feldman want to exclude the photographs from the trial if they were a match?” – yet all he is doing is following rules of discovery, that is, ensuring that the opposing side isn’t hiding relevant facts from scrutiny. When he asks “that the court may bar the photographs from the civil trial as evidence” he is merely saying that if he doesn’t have copies of the photographs as well (and can verify them), they shouldn’t be allowed as evidence. This is common practice and happens every day in courtrooms around America.

Ah, but Jordan said Michael Jackson was circumcised, yet he wasn’t

Where did the information come from? Where did Jordan say Jackson was circumcised?

Once again, I refer readers to one of the opening paragraphs – only a few law enforcement officers have seen both the photos and Jordan’s description – so we can be sure the information that Jackson was circumcised certainly didn’t come from Jordan’s actual description.

One possibility is from a story on The Smoking Gun website[4]. Now, if people would like to use a story from The Smoking Gun as a source, that’s fine, however if they choose to believe The Smoking Gun is an accurate source, then they will also have to accept that Neverland was a “House of Porn”, Jackson was a “predator”, that Jackson fondled boys and participated in “circle jerks”. These are other stories that have appeared on The Smoking Gun. Anyway, for those who insist we press on with The Smoking Gun, here is the relevant paragraph.

Chandler gave them a roadmap to Jackson’s below-the-waist geography, which, he said, includes distinctive “splotches” on his buttocks and one on his penis, “which is a light color similar to the color of his face.” The boy’s information was so precise, he even pinpointed where the splotch fell while Jackson’s penis was erect, the length of the performer’s pubic hair, and that he was circumcised..

Usually, common practice for the The Smoking Gun is to publish a story and provide a link to the relevant document or documents, as they did when they wrote about the settlement document or Jordan Chandler’s declaration. They didn’t do that in this case. It is known that Maureen Orth obtained a copy of the Linden affidavit[5] in early 2003, but it was heavily redacted. The same would apply for The Smoking Gun. They have taken the redacted affidavit and mixed it with some other publicly available material to come up with their story, because they have not seen Jordan’s actual description. It was redacted in the document, as it must have been so as not to compromise the nexus between the description and the photos. See the following paragraph for their possible source.

Another possibility is a drawing reproduced in a book by Victor Guiterrez – “Michael Jackson Was My Lover” – which purported to show Jordan’s description as dictated to his father Evan. This showed a picture of what is supposedly a penis and several comments. One version is reproduced below.

Victor Guiterrez Extract

Bear in mind that, even if genuine, this is NOT Jordan’s description – it was somebody else who drew the picture and wrote the words. We can only go by the same description that law enforcement used to say it was a match or not. The description given to law enforcement would have far more information and be completely clear in every detail.

Jordan described the “splotches” as light coloured but everyone else said they were dark coloured

Many fans have used this defence, and it even appears on the Wikipedia page[6] about the 1993 allegations, but once again, the source for this is page from The Smoking Gun. (for a group who despises tabloid sources, fans certainly use them a lot – but that’s for another time). The page states in part:

Chandler gave them a roadmap to Jackson’s below-the-waist geography, which, he said, includes distinctive “splotches” on his buttocks and one on his penis, “which is a light color similar to the color of his face.”

A simple mistake for fans looking for something (anything!) to exonorate Jackson – it is the penis “which is a light color similar to the color of his face.”, not the “splotches”. Fans are confused by simple sentence structure. That this even needs to be mentioned highlights the tiresomeness in general of responding to fans’ erroneous assertions and assumptions.

What happened to the photos?

Obviously, first and foremost, once the photos were in the possession of law enforcement, there wasn’t much of a defense for Jackson against the Chandler’s allegations – assuming they matched Jordan’s description. Because of that, (or in spite of that, depending on your level of intelligence), within a couple of weeks Jackson settled all claims with Jordan, his family and their attorneys for around 22 million dollars[7]. Michael Jackson’s lawyers were quite clear that they were worried about the results of the photo session.

Later in 1994, Jackson’s lawyers attempted to have the photos removed from the custody of law enforcement and be “returned” to him, however the court ruled that as evidence, they never belonged to Jackson so in effect, couldn’t be returned. The court did, however, rule that the photographs and negatives be placed in a safety deposit box, access to which would require signatures of two of three named public officers (and then only with judicial authorization)[8]. This level of protection for these photographs ensures that they have not been circulated.

Towards the end of Jackson’s 2005 Molestation trial, the prosecution attempted to enter the photographs and Jordan’s description into evidence, this time using the word of Thomas Sneddon and the law enforcement officers that Jordan gave his description to for corroboration. The defense successfully argued that under Californian law it is not allowed by either side to bring in sensational evidence at the end of a trial so it was not allowed.

That the Prosecution were determined to bring this evidence out into the open for the court’s and public scrutiny speaks volumes about their confidence in Jordan’s description and the photographs matching.

That the defence fought the presentation of this material that supposedly “didn’t match” also speaks volumes. If the defense had allowed it, and they weren’t a match, what a wonderful opportunity to exonorate Jackson from the 1993 allegations and bolster his case in the trial at hand.

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On the other side of the coin, why would Thomas Sneddon and the rest of the prosecution team risk ridicule, not to mention perjury, not just in that moment but also stretching back to 1994 by releasing photos and a description that didn’t match?

After Jackson’s interview with Diane Sawyer where Jackson, in answer to a question said that there were “no markings” on his penis, Sneddon was sufficiently outraged to go on the record and say “Regarding the markings, his statement on TV is untrue and incorrect and not consistent with the evidence in the case.” Sneddon was willing to risk scrutiny of this comment from 1995, too.

For thinking people, these three arguments are the strongest for supporting the belief that they did match.

After the trial, Jackson’s attorneys made an attempt to once again have the photos “returned” to Jackson[8], but as with the 1994 attempt this too was denied. Today, they still remain under lock and key, as does, presumably, Jordan’s description. Perhaps one day they will be released and we will see that Jordan was telling the truth.


[1]Information taken from “Plaintiff’s motion to admit evidence that Jordan Chandler had knowledge of, and accurately described, defendant’s distinctively-blemished lower torso and penis in 1994; declaration of Thomas W. Sneddon, Jr; Memorandum of Points and Authorities” PDF Document

[2]That one person being, of course, Michael Jackson. In spite of his protestations, this experience was a direct and concrete result of his inappropriate behaviour with boys – yet even after the supposed “humiliation” he suffered, he continued to befriend, and sleep with, boys on a constant basis, so we can conclude being strip searched and having his genitals photographed had no effect whatsoever on him.

[3]Boy’s Lawyer Seeks Photos of Michael Jackson’s Body – Los Angeles Times, January 5 1994

[4] “The Case Against Michael Jackson: The Telltale “Splotch” – The Smoking Gun. 2005-01-06

[5]Losing His Grip by Maureen Orth – Vanity Fair magazine, April 2003 issue

[6]The very subjective and emotional paragraph on Wikipedia states:

  • …a 1993 affidavit from Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department deputy Deborah Linden (filed to secure court permission to photograph Jackson’s genitalia) also reported that Jordan claimed there was splotch on Jackson’s penis, “which is a light color similar to the color of his face” (citing Smoking Gun). According to Sneddon in a 2005 memorandum in People v. Jackson, “The photographs reveal a mark on the right side of Defendant’s penis at about the same relative location as the dark blemish located by Jordan Chandler on his drawing of Defendant’s erect penis” and “Chandler’s graphic representation of the discolored area on Defendant’s penis is substantially corroborated by the photographs.”[1] According to Diane Dimond of Hard Copy, Sergeant Gary Spiegel, the sheriff’s photographer, claims he observed a dark spot on the lower left side of Jackson’s penis. None of them explained how Jordan’s description of a mark lighter than the surrounding skin matched the pictures of a mark that was darker than the surrounding skin. (my italics)

Note how the author/s of the paragraph have taken a simple mistake and run with it, trying to exonorate Jackson but instead showing themselves to be mildly illiterate. Never mind that the Linden affidavit is not even publicly available, so they would have no idea what was actually in it.

[7]The Settlement

[8]Plaintiff’s response to defendent’s motion for an order “that property be returned” – PDF Document

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It was unclear why Jackson was trying so violently to leave the couch, and for a moment, Birchim was unsure if his intention was to attack him or to flee the room. "Mr. Jackson, I am going to ask your attorneys to confer with you to explain -- " Birchim began. "You assholes!" Jackson screamed as the detective stepped out into the hallway to consult with Howard Weitzman. Telling the criminal attorney that his client was "out of control," Birchim explained that police would be unable to perform the search given Jackson's present state of hysteria. He then followed Weitzman back into the room and watched as the lawyer tried to assist the still-struggling Dr. Forecast to calm Jackson down. "Can you go downstairs and summon Johnnie Cochran to the room?" Weitzman asked Birchim. "Tell him he is needed immediately." The detective found Cochran downstairs speaking with the district attorney. Explaining that the lawyer was needed immediately, Birchim trailed the lawyer as he raced up the stairs. Once in the room with Jackson, Cochran took over, attempting to soothe the star and get the examination back on track. Birchim returned downstairs to speak with the district attorney. Minutes later, Johnnie Cochran rejoined the officials downstairs. Jackson, he explained, was refusing to have the procedure commence with the two officers in the room. He asked the district attorney if it would be possible to have the genital examination and photos done without the detectives present. Cochran said it was the only way to accomplish the examination. It was agreed that Drs. Strick and Klein, as well as photographers Spiegel and Swayne, would initiate the procedure on their own. The two detectives, Sneddon agreed, would leave the room. At 6:04 P.M., according to Birchim's sworn declaration, the examination finally began behind closed doors as the rest of the group waited in the hall. Even Dr. Forecast had been asked to leave. But just four minutes into the session, Birchim reported that there was another outburst.
At approximately 1808 hours the door suddenly burst open and I saw Jackson in the doorway struggling to leave the room and being physically restrained by Dr. Klein. Dr. Klein was pleading with Jackson to settle down and he told him, "Michael, you can wear your shorts." Jackson, struggling with Dr. Klein several feet from me and Detective Sicard, pointed at me and yelled, "I want pictures of you two next." Dr. Klein was successful in pulling Jackson back into the room and the door was once again closed.
Sergeant Gary Spiegel, the sheriff's photographer, had made it clear to his superiors that he would require assistance from the two detectives in order to carry out his photographic duties. In a sworn declaration, he later explained that he "anticipated taking several [photographs] using close-up equipment":
In using close-up equipment, I would need assistance in having one person position the flash attachment to the camera where I directed, and have another person position the scale into the area to be photographed at my direction. My assignment was to take full-body overall photographs and then numerous close-up photographs of specific areas.
Spiegel's assignment also required extra hands to hold his lighting equipment as well as a measuring device to record the length and width of any discoloration found on Jackson's body. Without the two detectives in the room to help him, the photographer's job would be almost impossible. Spiegel wrote in a declaration to the court:
I entered the room. In the room, I saw Mr. Jackson sitting on a sofa against the far wall. I carried with me a Canon AE-1 Program 35mm camera with a Vivitar Series 1, 28-90mm zoom lens attached to the camera and a Vivitar model 283 flash unit detached with a remote sensor cord. I carried with me a second lens, which was a Vivitar Series 1, 70-210mm zoom lens, which I intended to use for close-up photography. Loaded into the camera was a fresh 36-exposure roll of Kodak color negative film rated at 200 ASA. I took two photographs of Jackson sitting on the sofa. Mr. Swayne was to my right and when I began to take photographs so did he. Dr. Klein made a statement that we were interested in photographing Jackson's genital area and directed Jackson to stand and remove the robe he had on. Jackson protested, saying things like "What do I have to do that for?" and "Why are they doing this?" In my opinion, Jackson's demeanor was a combination of hostility and anger. Jackson complied with Dr. Klein's request to remove the robe and to lower the pair of gray swimming trunks he was wearing. As Mr. Jackson was complying with Dr. Klein's request, Dr. Klein made the statement that others in the room should turn their heads so as not to view Jackson's genital area. At the time, I found this peculiar because the only persons in the room at the time were Mr. Jackson, the two doctors, me, and the other photographer. Dr. Klein also made the statement that he was not going to look. He said he had never seen Mr. Jackson's genital area and he was not going to do so at this time. As Mr. Jackson lowered his trunks, he said something to the effect of, "I don't know why they are making me do this" or "Why are they making me do this?" Mr. Jackson's attitude was, in my opinion, still one of hostility and anger. The thought occurred to me that although he was somewhat cooperative, his cooperation could end abruptly. I took several photographs of Jackson's genitals from his right side first and moved to his left side. The other photographer switched positions from Mr. Jackson's right side to his left side as I shifted positions. While I was on Mr. Jackson's left side, Dr. Strick asked Mr. Jackson to lift his penis. Mr. Jackson questioned why he had to do that, but he did comply with the request. When Mr. Jackson complied with Dr. Strick's request to lift his penis, I observed a dark spot on the lower left side of Mr. Jackson's penis.
It's unclear whether Sergeant Spiegel actually had time to snap a photograph of the mark he saw. But law enforcement sources, as well as Chandler family sources, said that the dark patch on Jackson's genitals was found exactly where young Jordan Chandler said they could find such a mark. It's important to note that the dark spot was only visible when the penis was lifted -- as during sexual arousal. Spiegel's narrative continued.
Mr. Jackson [then] started moving quickly in my direction. I was not sure if he was coming after me or headed to the door, which was directly behind me, but as he came at me I took a step to the side and out of his path, if he was headed to the door. He went past me toward the closed door with Dr. Klein right behind him. When he got to the door he apparently opened it and yelled at someone on the other side of the door that he wanted "pictures of them too." I did not see who he was pointing to, but it seemed obvious to me at the time that it must have been Detectives Birchim and Sicard. At Dr. Klein's insistence Mr. Jackson returned to the position he had been at by the sofa, prior to going to the door. As he did, he pointed at me and told me he wanted pictures of me too. Mr. Jackson was making statements to Dr. Klein that he did not want to continue to be photographed Dr. Klein's request Mr. Jackson turned his back to us [the photographers] and lowered his trunks so we could see and photograph his buttocks area. In my opinion Mr. Jackson's attitude had changed from one of hostility and anger to one of rage. Dr. Klein directed Mr. Jackson to remove his shirt and show us his chest area, his back area, and his legs. During the session and after or during every couple of photographs Mr. Jackson and Dr. Klein would keep asking, "Are you done?" "Don't you have enough?" "How many more?" and other statements and questions of this nature. At one point Mr. Jackson asked me directly, "Who are you?" I ignored the question and kept photographing. Mr. Jackson then asked Dr. Klein, "Who is he?" and either Dr. Klein or Dr. Strick told him I was just a photographer doing my job. I was under the distinct impression that if Mr. Jackson knew I was a law enforcement officer the session would have ended. I attempted to be as unobtrusive as I possibly could and take the photographs as Dr. Klein directed Mr. Jackson to move from position to position. I was aware that they were not exactly the photographs I would have taken had I had a completely cooperative subject, but it was my intent to take what they were allowing me to take before I insisted on something different. Dr. Klein was, in my opinion, rushing Mr. Jackson through this session. After I exposed twenty-three frames of film Dr. Klein asked me in a strong tone of voice if I was done. It was asked in such a manner that it was more like a demand than a question. I told Dr. Klein that I was not done yet and that I wanted to talk to the lawyers before proceeding.
Sergeant Spiegel left the room to confer with the district attorney, who in turn tried to negotiate again with Jackson's attorney Howard Weitzman for more time to shoot the pictures. But it was already too late. Unbeknownst to Spiegel and Sneddon, Jackson had already departed through another door. It was Detective Birchim, outside for a smoke, who suddenly spotted the star leaving from the second-floor stairway. Birchim recalled in his declaration:
He was fully dressed, including a black fedora hat and red jacket. Jackson walked from the stairway, turned right, and entered an open doorway leading to a large open-air ground-floor parking structure. I contacted Mr. Cochran and advised him his client had just exited the building. Cochran joined Mr. Jackson in the parking area and put his hands on Jackson's shoulders. Several seconds later Jackson reappeared in the doorway and with great gusto, slammed the door leading into the parking area. At approximately 1900 hours we departed Neverland Ranch and returned to Santa Barbara.
Copyright © 2005 by Diane Dimond -->