Can Jackson's Attorney Save Him from Jail?

This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, November 21, 2003.

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MARK GERAGOS, MICHAEL JACKSON'S ATTORNEY:  Michael is here.  He's come back specifically to confront these charges head on.  He is greatly outraged by the bringing of these charges.  He considers this to be a big lie.


VAN SUSTEREN:  Mark Geragos (search) is one of the most recognizable attorneys in America tonight.  Can he keep Jackson out of jail?  Joining us is a long-time associate of Mark Geragos and former defense attorney for Robert Blake, Harland Braun.

Welcome, Harland.


VAN SUSTEREN:  Harland, before we talk about Mark Geragos, I just want to ask you a quick question on how in the state of California you can arrest someone without having what's called a complaint or an information and require them to post bail, if you don't have any charges.

BRAUN:  Yes, it's a somewhat ridiculous situation.  If they had a case, they would have normally filed the case and got an arrest warrant.  The reason...

VAN SUSTEREN:  But how is even a judge allowing this?  I mean, I don't even understand how that's permitted.

BRAUN:  Well, you have to have a warrant to break into someone's house, and it's called a Ramy (ph) warrant.  So what they did was they got a Ramy warrant at $3 million, where a regular arrest would have required a bail of $70,000.  So it obviously was an attempt to humiliate Jackson with a high bail, assuming that he couldn't get $3 million within 24 or 48 hours.  That was the purpose.

VAN SUSTEREN:  But they can actually -- I mean, they can actually require a man or a woman to post bond and have restrictions on his whereabouts, surrender a passport, without having any charges filed?

BRAUN:  That's right.  But normally, you would go before a magistrate right away.  And what they did was, they were -- they expected to find Michael at his house, probably.  And the $3 million would take a few days to gather.  So they were hoping to keep him in for a few days.  They could have arrested him without an arrest warrant by going into the house with a search warrant and arresting him.  But then he would have been released on the standard bail of $70,000.  So this was attempt to basically keep him in jail without bail.

VAN SUSTEREN:  All right, let me switch gears.  Let's talk about Mark Geragos, who's a fellow member of the bar in California to you.  You've known Mark Geragos for a while.  There has been some discussion about whether he can do the Scott Peterson case and this case simultaneously.  Do you see a problem with this?  Is he up to the challenge?

BRAUN:  Oh, there's no problem.  I mean, most criminal defense lawyers have 10 to 20 cases pending at any time.  The fact is here that people here know about two of the major cases.  Usually, they're anonymous cases.  So he can certainly handle them both.  They're very unlikely to go to trial at the same time.  And he has a regular law firm to assist him.  So I don't see any problem.

The only possible problem may be is these cases are being tried in the press, obviously.  And to the extent that he is a spokesman for two people who have a lot of people who dislike them, I'm sure he's concerned about a bleed-over effect, where if you don't like Scott Peterson, he's talking on behalf of Michael Jackson, you don't want to bring that type of dislike on either client.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Without any doubt, this is getting a tremendous amount of coverage.  We're doing it here every night.  I've done an awful lot on Scott Peterson.  And you say it's being tried in the press.  Harland, when it really gets down to picking the jury, I mean, do you still feel it's being tried in the press when you get those 12 people in the box who say, either, No. 1, they've never heard about the case -- believe it or not, not everybody watches cable.  I hate to hear that, but that's true.  And No. 2, even if they have, that they can be fair.

BRAUN:  Yes, it's very difficult to get a fair trial under these circumstances because even though the jurors say they could be fair, remember, Los Angeles is this city where we had the O.J. jury and the Rodney King jury.  In both cases, the jurors were condemned by the public at large.  So if you're a member of a jury in a high-publicity case and the public has made up its mind, do you really want to go home to your neighborhood and be regarded as a fool?  So it's a very difficult task to try a jury trial when the public has already tried your client, like in both of these cases.  You know, Mark is very courageous because he's basically taking on public opinion in both major cases.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Harland, what advice tonight do you have for both Mark Geragos, as a lawyer in two high-profile cases, and for his client?

BRAUN:  Well, I would think that his client has already been tried and convicted in the press, so there's really not much sense in fighting it in the press anymore.  He's going to have to fight it in the courtroom and present his side to a jury and hope a jury has the courage -- if the evidence there is to vindicate Mr. Jackson, if they have the courage to come back and say not guilty, despite the fact that he's already been convicted in the public's mind.

VAN SUSTEREN:  And in terms of -- for Mark Geragos, should he talk to the press or should he duck us?

BRAUN:  I would think that, pretty much in this case, you may just want to throw the towel in in the trial in the press because from what I can see in Michael Jackson's case, the public has seemed to make up its mind.  And there's very little information.  I mean, they don't focus on the prosecution.  For example, why hasn't the case been filed, if they have a case?  Why are they searching such an extensive search?  What are they looking for?  You know, Mr. Sneddon denied that he was obsessed with Michael Jackson, but he's been making statements for seven, eight years, saying that he's still stalking Mr. Jackson.  So there's something very fishy about this prosecution.  But I think Mark is going to have to wait to the jury trial to present that to a jury.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Well, if it's any indication of my viewer e-mail, it's almost -- it's interesting.  It's almost evenly split, you know, for the prosecution and for Michael Jackson.  Of course, no one's even seen the evidence, but it's sort of interesting so far.  Harland, thank you.  Nice to see you.

BRAUN:  Thank you for having me.

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