Jacko Booked for Child Molestation

This is a partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, November 21, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: I'm Sean Hannity, reporting tonight from Phoenix.

Now that superstar Michael Jackson (search) has turned himself in on child molestation charges, what happens next?

Trace Gallagher, he joins us live tonight from Jackson's Neverland Ranch (search). He has the very latest -- Trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Sean, I'll tell you. We're learning a lot more about the evidence police are collecting.

On the same day they had the raid here at the Neverland Ranch, they raided the studio of a Los Angeles videographer. He used to work for Michael Jackson. He compiled hours of footage and apparently, a lot of that footage is Michael Jackson and the alleged victim, the 12-year-old boy.

On one of the tapes, the boy and his mother are reportedly saying nothing untoward happened between him and Michael Jackson, but that same tape reportedly was taped before the alleged abuse.

The Las Vegas Sun is reporting that Michael Jackson and his brother Jermaine are back in the CMX studios, working on that music video they had been working on now for the past three weeks.

They are also reporting that tonight the Jackson family will meet to decide what to do with Michael's children. They say they -- apparently, it will turn out Michael Jackson will send his kids back here to Neverland Ranch and Michael will stay in Vegas.

On that note, Gloria Allred (search) held a press conference today, saying again that she wants child services to take Michael Jackson's children away.

The arraignment date is set for January 9. Legal experts are saying that attorney Mark Geragos (search), Jackson's new attorney, he will now spend time trying to pick apart the prosecution's case by attacking the credibility of not only the alleged victim, the 12-year-old boy, but also the mother, as well as the mother's character and the mother's motivation.

The hope, say legal experts, is to dissuade them from testifying.

And finally tonight, Sean, some of Michael Jackson fans will be holding candlelight vigils here at the Neverland Ranch as well as in New York, in London and in Las Vegas, where Michael Jackson remains tonight -- Sean.

HANNITY: Trace Gallagher, joining us from the Neverland Ranch tonight.

Joining us now is the host of The Big Story Weekend Edition, our own Rita Cosby, and also joining us, FoxNews.com columnist Roger Friedman.

Rita, let me begin with you.

You were there. You spent time with Michael Jackson at this particular ranch. You saw this child. Bring us inside there one more time. Give us an insider's view, what it is that you saw there.

RITA COSBY, THE BIG STORY, WEEKEND EDITION HOST: It really is a fantasyland. I mean, Sean, it is every child's dream. When you walk in, candy everywhere, sort of hidden compartments, hidden areas.

Also this movie theater. I cannot get away from seeing this movie theater. I remember it very vividly. Walking in, there are about 30 or 40 seats or in this movie theater. And behind it there are two sort of glass- encased bedrooms. So if you want to lay in bed and watch the movie theater, it's sort of his private bed area, which looked very sort of interesting.

In addition, I've been told today that there's sort of a secret room on top of the bedroom. Sort of a private area where maybe it's about 10 feet by about six feet, where, it's a two-way glass. It's a glass that you can look out and look at the movie theater, but they can't look in.

So a lot of sort of interesting, sort of hidden rooms and really, a child's paradise, if you will.

HANNITY: But you had limited contact with Michael Jackson himself?

COSBY: I had limited contact with him. I did not speak with him at Neverland Ranch. I did do an interview with him several months before.

And in my interview with him, he was very guarded but also very sensitive to the press. Very sensitive to issues.

And in fact, I asked him at that point because I had heard that they were extremely in debt. I'd heard it from numerous sources close to Michael Jackson. But he denied it. He said, "Look, I wrote a $500 million check today. All of these rumors about me being broke, those are untrue. Any rumors about any other thing, those are untrue."

He was very, very protective.

HANNITY: Yes. Roger Friedman, let me bring you in here.

You broke some interesting news today as it relates to his finances and the relationship he had with, "reputed mobster" was the headline in your piece.


HANNITY: Tell us a little bit more about the finances.

FRIEDMAN: Well, it's funny. I was listening to Rita. And you say he said he wrote a $500 million check.

COSBY: He doesn't have $500 million. I know.

FRIEDMAN: This is the part where he's not in reality. And it's very strange. Because you know, we started writing about his finances on FoxNews.com, I think, in July of 2002, where we laid out the whole thing about how completely in debt he was.

And even though he has $750 million on paper, because of you know, assets, his cash situation has really been terrible, especially the last three years. I mean, at one point, he actually had to get a loan so that he could pay off a diamond watch that he wanted that he found on Rodeo Drive (search) and wouldn't give back. It was a $2 million watch they had given to him on consignment.

And when he wouldn't give it back and then finally gave it back all messed up, they said, "You have to pay us the money." And they sued him for it, the jeweler. And he had to get a loan for the watch. So getting $2 million is like a big deal for Michael.

Just last month he had a fund-raiser in September. He had a fund- raiser at Neverland just to raise $1 million.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: But does he have a benefactor?

FRIEDMAN: So now he has this benefactor, Al Melnick.

COLMES: Who is he?

FRIEDMAN: Al Melnick, who is 69 years old. He's a lawyer from Miami who made his name being Myra Lansky's lawyer, when he was starting out as a lawyer. And he's always been, whenever you read about him, he is called, you know, "reputed mobster."

COLMES: Are you suggesting that Michael Jackson is getting mob money?

FRIEDMAN: No. I would never suggest that. I would never suggest such a thing.

Al Melnick on his own has made quite a career, because he is the loan king of America. He owns -- Maybe people out there have loans through his company. It's called Title Loans of America. And they're all over the country, and they loan people -- they loan money to people who are very poor at very high interest rates.

And now he's -- But I don't think he's loaned Michael the money. I think he's given to it him.

Michael met him -- Michael's been down in Florida trying to become a homesteader.

COSBY: In Boca Raton.

FRIEDMAN: In Boca Raton. Because he's been knowing -- See, we didn't know this, but all year long, Michael knew this was coming, this was chugging along. And that maybe a civil suit was attached to it.

COLMES: You reported earlier today he hired Geragos last January.

COSBY: The end of January. And in fact, a number of people anticipating. I'll have some more details, in fact, tonight.

But she apparently -- and we reported a little bit about this last night, but she apparently, the mother of this 12-year-old boy said, and I'm told to a number of people in the Jackson camp -- it's not clear if she said to it Michael Jackson directly or not -- but "I'm going to cause trouble. I want money. I want this." They hired a whole team.

And I'm told two people specifically were flown out just to keep an eye on this mother at Neverland Ranch and her son, knowing that this woman was going to be trouble.

One thing I wanted to accent also. What we just went over with Roger in terms of the finances, Michael Jackson did a special not too long ago, about a year or so ago. He was paid $3 million, I'm told, for that special.

I am told immediately he had to pay $90,000 to the electricity company to pay for electricity that he owed on Neverland Ranch. Just to show how tight they are with the cash.

FRIEDMAN: Yes. But he's out of touch with reality about the cost of Neverland. I mean, just looking at the ledgers from, you know, a month in his life, it's outrageous.

COSBY: $5 million a year is what...

COLMES: Yet he's telling people he's writing checks of outrageous amounts of money that can't be true. He has no concept of reality.

FRIEDMAN: He has no concept of it. So Melnick has stepped in. And he's restructured the finances. So actually, Michael does now have the money to pay lawyers for this case.

COLMES: But this guy is giving him money is what you're saying?

FRIEDMAN: I don't think that he's being charged the interest fee that the regular customers of Title One America are. Maybe he is.

But you know, but Melnick is down there in Miami. And the whole point of this is that Michael has been trying to get to Miami. He was trying to sell Neverland and get down there, because he could lose his house if he lost everything else.

COLMES: And are you, Rita, saying, are you saying the mother, do we have her on tape saying she wants money? Is that something that she has recorded as having said?

COSBY: No. And I do know what is on tape. It's her saying, "I love Michael Jackson." And I'm told the son's also...

FRIEDMAN: They praise him. Over and over.

COSBY: And this is interesting. This has not been reported before. I'm also told there is a written statement to the effect, as well, that she apparently -- Mark Geragos I'm told has a written statement from her and also the son saying, "I love Michael Jackson. He's wonderful. He's a great guy."

This is, of course, I'm told, just slightly before these allegations. But in the midst of her saying all these horrible things about him, as well.

COLMES: But you made a statement a little bit ago about her wanting money or making some kind of statement alluding to her desire for money?

COSBY: We know for a fact, I'm told, from a number of people close to Michael Jackson, that they were told personally by this mother, "I'm looking at money. I want a bigger" -- She apparently was given an apartment from Michael Jackson, the kid. And apparently she said, "I want a house instead. I want this; I want this." Was making a lot of demands.

COLMES: She got a car.

COSBY: She got a car and got a number of things.

COLMES: This is definitely going to hurt their case, if this is the case.

FRIEDMAN: Well, this is going to be part of the defense.


COSBY: What is your financial situation?

MICHAEL JACKSON, ENTERTAINER: I'm in incredible financial situation. I just wrote somebody a check for $500 million. Good news doesn't sell. If it's something negative and that's a rumor, that's when it's blasted. I don't expect the press to say anything good.


COLMES: That was an exclusive interview our own Rita Cosby had with Michael Jackson just last year.

There he was saying, "I just wrote a check for $500 million."

COSBY: I remember it to this day...

COLMES: Is that most money, walking around money?

COSBY: I remember saying, come on. You've got to be -- And as we know, I know back in February when all these incidents, all this issue of her fleeing and the whole Bashir -- I know for a fact that at that point he was $240 million in debt.

So you're saying now all of a sudden, you know, things are fine?

COLMES: But the amazing thing, this thing. If there is a story, Rita Cosby has been on the phone with that person. You just got off the phone before tonight's show, before tonight's HANNITY & COLMES, with Jermaine Jackson.

COSBY: Just spoke with him.

COLMES: You just spoke to him. What did he tell you?

COSBY: He was describing a little bit of, first of all, the atmosphere. This is the first time we sort of heard what was going on with Michael Jackson before he turned himself in, before he was arrested.

And he told me that Michael was actually relaxed. Was angry. He kept saying, "I'm innocent. I'm going to fight this to the bitter end."

COLMES: Jermaine believes that, too?

COSBY: Jermaine believes that, too. He said that he is defiant, much more defiant than fearful.

I said, "Is he worried."

And he said, you know, he's obviously nervous and upset about the allegations, but he said he is absolutely going to fight this to the end.

The other thing, this is interesting, he was saying that night before he turned himself in -- you kind of wonder what people are doing in this moment, especially anticipating it. Remember, they got warning. They made the deal that he was going to surrender?

He was watching Pinocchio on DVD with his three kids, finished the movie and then said, "OK. I'm ready. Let's go."

COLMES: That was it?

FRIEDMAN: Michael Jackson's seen Pinocchio.

COSBY: I guess about 300 times.

FRIEDMAN: ... since he was 5 years old.

COLMES: You're working on a story here about the changing team around Michael Jackson?

FRIEDMAN: Yes. I think for Monday we're going to have a story about what's going on in the inner circle. Because there's a lot of changes.

Well, this has been a strange year anyway, because of course, he knew things that we didn't know. He knew this was coming back in February, March.

But during the year, you know, he dropped his main lawyer, John Branca, which was a huge mistake. Because John Branca had been his regular lawyer for about 20 years, and that saved him from a lot of catastrophes.

And he went through a lot of management changes. The whole year has been very peculiar.

So when this happened now, bringing in Geragos, apparently, was the idea of an adviser who everyone doesn't like, who is very close to Michael. So the whole jockeying for position is going to take place over the next 45 days. And it will be interesting on January 9 to see who walks into the courtroom for the arraignment with Michael. Because it's not actually clear that Mark Geragos is going to be that person.

HANNITY: Roger, I want you to go a little bit deeper to this story you broke, that you're referring to here. They've been preparing for months...


HANNITY: ... for this defense and they knew a lot of this was coming here. Because I think this is very key. Because especially as it relates to the investigation and the search warrant that was issued, and what evidence they might have been able to take out of the Neverland Ranch.

FRIEDMAN: Well, it's a peculiar situation. Rita and I were talking about it, and we can't even explain to you for various reasons right now why we know that this has been going on since February, but we do know that it's been going on since February.

And that's when -- Interestingly enough, you know, as Geragos was hired by the Jackson camp back in February, at the same time, you know, the family of the child had their own lawyer. And that lawyer contacted Larry Feldman who was the lawyer for the family from 10 years ago.

So these people have been sort of getting into position. It's like a football game or a chess match, where they've been getting into position for months, knowing that this was coming.

HANNITY: And Rita, let me go to you. And I guess that makes it just all the more bizarre, considering that he was still allowing himself to be put in these compromising positions and sleeping with these kids.

There was one report also, I know you've been investigating, Rita, about these three missing kids from Norway. Do you have any update on that?

And in light of what Roger is pointing out here, about they've known about this for a long time. The fact that he continued this lifestyle is just -- one can only imagine why.

COSBY: Well, I think two things are happening. One is I think nobody is around Michael Jackson saying, "This is weird; what are you doing?" He's got -- And this is typical for a lot of these sort of amazing celebrities.

FRIEDMAN: It's not that no one's around him, it's that the people who are around him are afraid to say it.

COSBY: Absolutely. And this is typical with that kind of superstar.

FRIEDMAN: But this was in the O.J. situation, it was the kind of thing...

COSBY: Absolutely.

FRIEDMAN: In Whitney Houston it's the same thing.

COSBY: No one is saying, what are you doing with these kids? And they're saying, "This is OK. We totally agree."

FRIEDMAN: Because they're on the payroll.

COSBY: They're on the payroll.

FRIEDMAN: And also, and not necessarily Michael Jackson, but there have been other sort of celebrities who, as you know, when you hear something like you don't want to -- something you don't want to hear, they cut him off.

COLMES: We're going to get into that. Where are the other celebrities?

Roger, we thank you for the breaking news...

FRIEDMAN: Thank you.

COLMES: ... and new information you brought to light.

You, as well.

COSBY: Thank you.

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