Strange Days

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The Michael Jackson (search) trial is serious — very serious (whether it be a man getting correctly tried on extremely serious charges or falsely accused.) However the trial is a strange ... very strange. In my opinion, it makes the circus look tame! It is so easy to get "distracted" from the charges in the indictment (child molestation/conspiracy) by the rather bizarre nature of the trial.

Wednesday, I confess I was interested in hearing what Debbie Rowe (search), Jackson's ex-wife, had to say about his "parenting skills." Then I thought, what does that have to do with the charges in the indictment? In the courtroom there are rules of relevance — not rules of fascination. Of course we are watching the trial from afar (see Jim Hammer's note below and the P.S. at the end) and maybe the trial seems different if you are there, in the courtroom. I think not ... but I am willing to keep an open mind. For those of you who think this is how every trial is, think again (although trials tend to bring out the worst in the parties.)

By the way, I would post pictures in the blog that I took for you but I am having a major problem with my Mac e-mail account. I spent hours on it yesterday — so did my assistant. We finally called Apple and Apple said it was having a server problem and it would be 2 to 8 hours. It is now well beyond that point and I am still locked out of the e-mail. Go figure!

E-mail No. 1 — this e-mail relates to the missing bride to be in Georgia:

What about her computer? Are there any e-mails, IMs that point to another relationship?

E-mail No. 2 — Wednesday's poll question asked a question about smoking. This viewer apparently wanted to say more than simply pick A-E in the multiple choice.

What smokers are we talking about? Walt Disney, John Wayne, Elvis Presley, John, Paul, George, Ringo, Johnny Carson, FDR, Ike, Dean Martin … even Einstein if you consider pipes.
Just out of curiosity, how do you know there isn't a link between the great things these people did and smoking?
BTW, Hitler is quoted as saying his great success in Europe was due to the fact that he was not a smoker.
Ron Meek
Waco, TX

E-mail No. 3

The fiancé of the missing woman in GA: I found it rather strange that he was so calm when you spoke to him — really just kind of matter of fact. I did not expect him to be shedding tears like Scott Peterson, but I did expect him to at least look worried and put out a plea for anyone to of seen her or know anything to call the police.
Don't these people listen to the news and know what is going on in this country? It's open season on our kids and it open season on women. In New York City you always hear about joggers getting raped or killed and the next day there are other women alone out jogging in those same places.
Even my husband thought his demeanor was strange.
Montgomery, NY

E-mail No. 4 — note from Jim Hammer. Be sure to read his P.S. and my response. By the way, Jim and I are great friends.

Trial Notes: April 27, 2005

This was one of "the" days in the trial — you could really feel the tension in the courtroom. In fact when an earlier witness walked in — a different woman — many of us thought it might be Debbie Rowe and there was an actual sigh of disappointment when it turned out to be a phone company records witness.

By the time court broke today, the D.A. had only questioned her for 30 or so minutes and so far at least the most important thing she has done is to tie Michael Jackson directly to the alleged co-conspirators when he told his ex-wife to, "work with Ronald and Dieter" (named but uncharged co-conspirators) in preparing a rebuttal video. Thursday should be a real cliffhanger. If Debbie Rowe goes on to paint a picture of the co-conspirators coaching and scripting her performance in a way that corroborates the accuser’s mother, it could be powerful for the prosecution. But if she continues to say that everything she did was voluntary and "unscripted," it would deal a real blow to the D.A.'s case. Stay tuned…
Jim Hammer
Santa Maria Courthouse

P.S. I am going on strike on these trial notes occasionally in hopes of guilting Greta into coming out to Santa Maria and visiting Laura and me at the Jackson trial. Please encourage her to come out to the trial.

ANSWER: It will be "interesting" if Jim goes "on strike." Since his blog notes are so spotty (he goes days without writing them) how will we know he is on strike? Ha ha ha! Note to Jim: your turn!

E-mail No. 5 — e-mail from Laura Ingle at the Michael Jackson trial:

Subject: Laura note

Debbie Rowe has made it to the witness stand at her ex-husband's child molestation trial. She came into court with people craning their necks to get a glimpse at the woman who gave Jackson full rights to her two children for millions of dollars. She had a purposeful walk and swinging blonde platinum hair.

She looked right at Michael Jackson's face when asked to state her name for the record. "Deborah Rowe-Jackson," she said, and smiled at him warmly. She talked about the making of the rebuttal video and admitted she did not tell the truth when she answered some of the questions.

It felt like audience members were holding their breath with each new witness that was called today. Even Jackson himself seemed to be fidgeting around in his defense seat. He kept leaning over and adjusting the microphone at the defense table, writing Post It notes and crumpling them up and putting them in his pocket.

There was a string of phone company employees who took the stand before Rowe walked in the room. They were called to go over cell phone records of Jackson's people around the time of the alleged conspiracy. The five phone employees followed Hamid Moslehi, Jackson's videographer who made the "rebuttal video." In the middle of all this, the defense asked for a mistrial citing "prosecutorial misconduct" about the questioning of Moslehi. Judge said no.

Back to Rowe now and giving up her children:

She told jurors that she had an arrangement with Jackson with their divorce. He would have custody, she would get to see them every 45 days for 8 hours. I looked over at the mothers in the jury box to see what their reaction was to that: heads down, writing notes. Prosecutor asked her why she took part in the rebuttal video, she said, "Because I promised him I'd always be there for him and the children." Rowe said she was not scripted and refused to look at prepared questions. She said she wanted the interview to be "cold." She said she never wanted anyone to ever come back and say she had rehearsed it.

Prosecutor asked her if she answered all the questions truthfully and honestly. Pause ... pause ... pause. Rowe: "Can you rephrase that?" Then answered: "No." Ron Zonen pressed on, "Were you asked about Michael Jackson's parenting of your children?" She said she was and that was one of the things she did not answer honestly. Then we went to break for the day! What a cliffhanger! She'll be back on the stand in the morning.

And did you notice Jackson's outfit today? He was in a burgundy suit with all the normal trimmings, but the pants were a silky satin shiny number. Looked like a red version of the blue PJs he wore the day he was late.

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