The grand jury in Santa Barbara has already successfully subpoenaed one witness: Christopher Robinson, the videographer who worked for Michael Jackson's video producer, Marc Schaffel.
But Schaffel, I am told, is nervous that the Santa Barbara County district attorney has other plans for him, like possibly an indictment for violating the rights of the family involved in the case.
The mother in the family has told the D.A. that Jackson — through Schaffel and his intermediaries — held them hostage and kept them from leaving Neverland.
In the last week, Schaffel also received some kind of mysterious visit, he has told friends, from the Internal Revenue Service.
But District Attorney Tom Sneddon's efforts to prove this part of his case may bear no fruit. Schaffel has witnesses — including actor Chris Tucker and a woman identified as Tucker's girlfriend — that the family was free to come and go and do whatever they wanted.
Schaffel will also be able to count on testimony from two Jackson aides, Frank Tyson (Cascio) and Vinnie Amen, who will recount in detail their activities concerning the "minding" of the family for Schaffel.
Both Tyson and Amen are said to have taken copious notes and kept lots of detailed records to prove that the mother of Jackson's 13-year-old accuser was an opportunist who didn't want to leave Jackson's world, rather than the other way around.
So far, subpoenas have not reached Schaffel, Tyson or Amen.
Yet another witness in this part of the case would be Jackson's former manager, Dieter Wiesner, who dealt with the family at Neverland before Schaffel, Tyson and Amen took over.
Wiesner, who is German and can't be compelled to answer a subpoena, had a contentious relationship with the mother for about 10 days after she and her family were exposed to the world on the TV special "Living with Michael Jackson." The details of their conflict — during which time Jackson was absent — could be more interesting than the rest of the case.
Meantime, one person who would testify if called is the mother of the now 23-year-old young man who was Jackson's first accuser. She, her husband and her former husband all received part of the $20 million settlement Jackson reached with her son in 1994.
Sadly, according to insiders, the mother has been denied access to her son for the last 10 years and has had no communication with him. She is said to blame her ex-husband, who's benefited the most since the settlement, with luxury homes in Manhattan and in the Hamptons.
A family friend told me: "The father has brain-washed him. Can you imagine a son not seeing his mother all this time?"
The boy, I can verify, goes to college and takes classes, ironically, in the music business. He lives a couple of blocks from his father, a former dentist and aspiring screenwriter who instigated the case a decade ago.
But even 10 years later, the question remains: What kind of witness would the young man make?
"He has everything to lose," said one source close to the case.
Grand juries have no lawyers present for cross-examination, but regular trials do.
In court, the boy and his family members could be grilled about Mary Fischer's 1994 article in GQ called "Who Framed Michael Jackson?"
In it Fischer suggests that the boy's father and stepfather conspired to shake Jackson down and concocted the accusation. Fischer wrote of the boy being drugged to elicit his complaint against Jackson, and of tape recordings between the two men in which they discussed their plans. Fischer, I suppose, could be called to testify as well.
The last time Alec Baldwin and Anne Heche were acting together I believe he was killing her in a good little forgotten movie called "The Juror." Now they're back together, except this time they're killing each other with success.
Last night they premiered in a new Broadway production of the very contemporary and topical 1930s play "Twentieth Century" by Ben Hecht and Charles McArthur.
It was such a hot ticket that even Woody Allen and wife Soon-Yi Previn made a rare appearance. During intermission Woody said, "Alec is one of my all-time favorite actors."
Baldwin, you remember, flew around with Mia Farrow in Woody's great movie, "Alice." (Woody also had a nice reunion right before the play started with Tony Roberts.)
Right away, let me tell you that Alec and Anne are superb in this play, produced by the Roundabout Theatre at the American Airlines Theatre on 42 St.
Heche has the unfortunate rep from her weird days with Ellen DeGeneres as being kind of crazy. Well, she is crazy now, like a fox.
In this 1930s comedy set aboard an art-deco cross-country train, Heche plays a movie star (obviously based on Katharine Hepburn) returning to New York after winning an Oscar. Heche manages to combine the spirit of both Hepburn and Claudette Colbert effortlessly. She is sexy, funny and cheeky, and literally inhabits the part. She will get a Tony nomination and probably even win. She makes quite a neat little tour de force out of the whole thing.
Alec Baldwin is just as good playing a Broadway director/producer, who needs Heche to star in his next production or he'll go bust.
Alec has perfected this arch character on "Saturday Night Live" and now the routine is extremely useful. He is full of bluster and cunning, sort of a comic J.R. Ewing who is so full of himself he's about to burst open.
Baldwin will also get a Tony nomination and, in another year, he might win. But as he himself told me last night, "Christopher Plummer's there for 'King Lear,' and I don't think that's much of a race."
Heche came to the after-party with husband Coley Laffoon and happily greeted Anna Stuart, who played her mother on the soap "Another World" for many years. (You can see the very young 20ish Emmy-winning Anne on "Another World" reruns on cable's SoapNet.)
There were lots of big, big Broadway names at the show and the party, including Jerry Stiller and Ann Meara, Eli Wallach and Ann Jackson, Celia Weston, Cherry Jones, Jim Dale, Chita Rivera, Amy Irving, Liev Schreiber, Roger Rees, Debra Monk, Boyd Gaines, Tony Walton, Margaret Colin and Justin Deas and Polly Bergen.
Just a footnote: You know, most urban literature of this time — by the likes of John O'Hara, Dawn Powell, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Dorothy Parker — was very, very hip. This play, with its snappy dialogue, modern thoughts about sex and adultery and cynicism about show business, could be set in 2004 instead of 1932 and no one would notice.
Particularly timely is a whole plot line which refers to Jesus Christ and the "Passion," which gets a lot of laughs and really lets the hot air out of the current controversy over the same subject. Needless to say, I don't think Mel Gibson will be making a film of "Twentieth Century" anytime soon.
Jerry Bruckheimer's favorite movie stars Tom Cruise and Will Smith met up last night for a big tête-à-tête at Jean-Georges Vongerichten's new hot, hot, hot restaurant, Spice Market in Chelsea.
Smith came in with wife Jada Pinkett and headed downstairs, while Cruise went upstairs had dinner with table of bodyguards and assistants. But it wasn't long before both groups got together and were in "heavy conversation," according to my source.
Could a Bruckheimer blockbuster follow? Summer 2006 sounds like a good time for "Mission: Impossible" meets "Men in Black."