Mailing It In

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It's Monday, so I am putting all of you to work on the blog. Friday seems so far away that I don't recall if we had any "near misses" and luckily have forgotten my own mistakes from the show so can't report them here. The weekends fly by and often we work weekends so the weeks are seamless ... can't tell a Saturday from a Monday. This is true of all of cable news business — it is a 24/7 operation. As you might have guessed, the work is very challenging and thus we are grateful to be part of it — even on weekends. Many (most?) volunteer for big news events that fall on a weekend.

Here is a clue about an upcoming segment in mid-April: After the show Friday night, we went out and taped something special for you. It meant that each of us involved did not get home until after 3 a.m. ET. My husband, when he heard about the plan, thought we would all get shot! He said we were crazy to go out all night and do this. We did not get shot and the segment will air mid-April.

Here are some e-mails:

E-mail No. 1

Why in the world was the interview with that wonderful soldier so short? You spent so little time interviewing him and could have asked him so much more.
Joanne Porter
Hudson, FL

ANSWER: Sometimes I just don't get it. We do something like profile a hero and then someone — this e-mailer — gripes that we did not do enough. Why not just celebrate him? Why look to criticize, whether it be us, or something else? My staff worked really hard to arrange that interview and air it. They had to do it mid-day which meant that they all had to do extra work getting a studio, camera crew, set arranged, etc. They did it because they wanted to show you how impressive this young man is and you have a gripe. I don't care if you criticize me, but when my staff works extra hard on interviews and you complain, I am going to defend the staff. Remember the adage: half empty or half full? P.S. What are you doing for the troops?

To watch the interview, click the link in the video box above.

E-mail No. 2

Hi Greta,
You had a terribly wounded soldier on your show on April 8th. I was blown away by his courage and attitude and wanted to send him an e-mail. I wrote down the e-mail address you had on the screen, but I must have written it down incorrectly. Could you send it to me? I think his name was Brian Kolfage?
Thanks so much,
Scott Logan
New York, NY

ANSWER: I need to get it from someone at work and will post Tuesday.

E-mail No. 3

I am writing to complement you on the interview you did with Brian. You handled it so very well. The best I have ever seen with a severely injured soldier. You both were so comfortable with each other. Others in your position could never have handled it the way you did ... you know what I mean. You treated him just like a regular Joe, and that's just the way he wanted to treated. You have done a great thing for a man that has done great things and sacrificed much for us. He is quite the man and your are quite the woman, Greta. Your husband is very lucky and we, the audience, are very lucky to have you. Thanks for supporting and loving our troops like you do.
Only the best,

ANSWER: Walt, the credit really goes to Brian, our guest. He is the hero and the man who teaches us about how to deal with real adversity.

E-mail No. 4

Dear Madam:
As a fan living in the southern Philippines, you are doing a great job in keeping us informed. You have come a long way from the first show and the 'bad' comments said about you. Keep up the good job.
Patrick Callahan
Davao City, Phillippines

ANSWER: I am afraid to ask: What "bad" comments? I can "guess" since I get many sent to me!

E-mail No. 5

I read in a local newspaper that Michael Jackson's (search) flight attendant testified at the trial that she served wine to Michael in a Diet Coke can but never saw the "accuser" drink any. Also, Michael's former house manager testified that kids were served sodas and Michael drank wine. This was apparently a shock to the prosecution. Why aren't you and your colleagues at FOX reporting this instead of the hearsay from 15 years ago that is making Michael look guilty?

E-mail No. 6 — e-mail from Laura Ingle at the Michael Jackson trial:

Subject: Laura note

Today at Michael Jackson's trial ... the butler, the French fries, and the joystick.

Phillip LeMarque (search), a former chef and personal butler to Jackson during the early 90s, told jurors he saw something quite shady late one night when he went to deliver French fries to the "King of Pop." LeMarque said he got the call from security to bring the fries to Jackson with the special codename Neverland employees had for Jackson: "The Silver Fox" wants fries....
LeMarque, who is French and has a heavy accent, said when he went to deliver the fries to the arcade of Neverland, he found Jackson with child star Macaulay Culkin. LeMarque says Jackson was holding the then little boy up to the video game "Thriller" so he could reach the controls and Jackson had his hands down Culkin's pants. He says Jackson's left hand was inside the boy's shorts while Jackson's right hand was mid-waist holding him up. LeMarque says he was so upset when he happened upon this he almost dropped the fries. Instead, he went back out the door ... made a lot of noise, re-entered the arcade so Jackson would hear him coming (it was loud with the noise of video games) and came back in. He said, "Mr. Jackson, your fries are here." Jackson told him to set them down and go.

Jurors seemed very interested: taking notes, raising eyebrows while they wrote. Jackson fidgeted in his chair and messed with his hair. Tom Mesereau challenged the butler, asking him if he had changed his story over the years to make it more damning to sell to tabloids. He said absolutely false! (Imagine this in French accent). Mesereau also pointed out a note LeMarque wrote in Sept. 1993 stating the facts of what he says he saw: It had been changed to have Jackson's hands down Culkin's pants instead of outside. LeMarque said he just added more detail because the cops said they needed more.

Jury was reinstructed by the judge Friday, to remind them to not discuss testimony or the case at all. Also said, "People are watching you, and reporting what you are doing and what you are saying, so be careful, OK?" Some reporters overheard the jurors possibly discussing testimony at break. The incident was reported to D.A. and judge this week.

Jackson left court today holding onto the shoulder of his bodyguard. Court is back in session Monday.

E-mail No. 7 — e-mail from Jim Hammer at the Michael Jackson trial:

Friday saw more witnesses testifying about Jackson inappropriately touching young boys, this time reportedly with his had up the shorts of a young child actor back in the early 1990s.
Court ended early. The delay seems to have been caused by a discovery issue, with the D.A. turning over a witness statement right before he was to testify. It might be that the statement was just taken the night before and therefore no fault of the D.A.

At the end of court, the lawyers and the judge, without the jury present, discussed a few matters, one of the items dealt with computers seized from Brad Miller and another defense investigator. The court needs to go through the computers on its own to rule on and redact any attorney client privileged material.

This means that there still might be more evidence that the D.A. himself has not even seen.
Probably the most revealing comment of the day came after the jury had left when D.A. Tom Sneddon told the judge, "We're not 'close' but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel." It seems we are nearing the end of the D.A.'s case in chief in the next few weeks and then Jackson's defense team has some big decisions about what kind of a defense to put on.

Stay tuned...

Jim Hammer
Santa Maria Courthouse

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