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Rumors are flying that Jennifer Wilbanks (search) is getting offered lots of money for interviews, or for movie rights. I have heard numbers as high as $100,000. I want to emphasize these are just rumors and I can’t verify that it is true or that the number of $100,000 is accurate.

I often get asked if we — cable news (search) — pay for interviews. Cable news organizations — including our competitors — don’t pay for guests for shows (unless they are hired contributors with contracts.) At most, we pay for or provide transportation, hotel and food. Transportation usually is just a hired car to a local studio since it is rare that we bring someone to DC where our show’s main studio is. As for the food, I will give you some advice — either eat at home or at a restaurant on the network’s tab before the show rather than wait to eat the food in the greenroom. The food in the greenroom can look suspect — especially as late as our show (10 p.m. Eastern) after the food has sat out, and been picked through all day long.

Cable news is fun, but it is not Hollywood glamour. It is quite ordinary. (Speaking of ordinary, where do you think I was last night at midnight? At the vet ER picking of my cat who had been there all day. She is 18 and not doing well. I could not stand the thought of her in a cage all night long so I went and got her. I figured she would prefer to spend her last moments at home. My husband met me there with a cat carrier since I drove directly from the show and I don’t think he wanted me parking the car and walking in the dark in DC at that hour. He thought the vet ER was one of the saddest places he had ever been. It had very sad owners sitting around waiting for word about pets who had all ended up there for emergency reasons. People sure love their pets!)

I am told that the broadcast/entertainment television DOES from time to time pay people to appear on their shows. I don’t know which shows do this, how often or how much...I only know that I hear that some broadcast television shows pay for interviews. Since network TV is a business, and since people often want to appear on TV — only the most sensational shows and in the most competitive situations are checkbooks taken out.

We are taking the show back "on the road" on Friday. This time we are going to Ohio.... any guesses to what we are doing???? (My guess is that you won’t guess right since the reason seems so ‘random.’)

Here are your e-mails:

E-mail No. 1: [Note below is the e-mail we received from Jennifer Wilbanks’ spokesperson. It was sent to everyone in the media who had asked to be on the e-mail list. I thought you might want to know how we learned about today’s presser. Well, here is the inside scoop how we did... by e-mail!!]

Media advisory; released by Rainmaker & Associates for Lakewood Baptist Church of Gainesville, GA. Wilbanks to release comprehensive statement Jennifer C. Wilbanks will release a comprehensive statement with respect to her circumstances during the past week. Her family’s pastor, Dr. Tom Smiley of Lakewood Baptist Church and her attorney, Lydia Sartain, will host a media conference Thursday, May 5 at 4:00pm EST on the campus of Lakewood Baptist Church. {Directions - 85/985 from Atlanta; US 129 north then GA 60 north, three miles north of the downtown business district, on the left}

E-mail No. 2:

Before one feels too sorry for this 32-year-old child, remember the anguish she put her parents, siblings and fiancé through. I can understand and sympathize with her getting cold feet, but on the other hand, what would have prevented her from saying so in the first place. Barring that, she could have called the first night from wherever she was to let them know she was OK. Instead, she chose to wait four days until she ran out of money, and then concoct a ridiculous story blaming a fictitious Hispanic male and white female for allegedly abducting her. There was premeditation in all this as she bought her ticket several days before she ran away and cut her hair so she would not be recognized. So there was some awareness, in spite of her denials, that people would be looking for her. At the very least, she should be made to pay back as much of the extra taxpayer money it took to search for her and do community service as well. She’s 32 not 16. She only thought of herself and what she wanted or didn’t want.
Dolores Teus

E-mail No. 3:

I think Ms. Wilbanks needs her butt kicked back behind the barn!!! She seems to be a very, very spoiled brat. She has probably gotten her way all of her life based on her looks and phonyness [sic.]. This is not the action of a responsible person. She apparently is a poor little rich girl and needs to taught a very big lesson for her behavior.
Thanks,
D. L. Priest
Seattle, Washington

E-mail No. 4:

Dear Greta,
I am an Internist in private practice here in Biloxi, Mississippi. After seeing Jennifer Wilbanks’ picture on TV her eyes got my attention. Her eyes (especially the right eye) are highly suggests hyper thyroidism (Grave’s disease). This is a condition that can make a person act hyper. It is possible that it was playing a part in her odd behavior. Another far fetched possibility is a brain tumor as an explanation for her strange behavior. Before we pass the judgment on Jennifer legally and publicly she deserves the benefit of the doubt of an underlying medical condition.
Sd Thomas M.Poothullil, M.D.

E-mail No. 5:

Heads up to you Greta. Gloria Gomez, the Sacramento reporter who covered the Peterson case and that you had on your show a few times, is in Tampa, Florida now. I hear she took a job with a Fox affiliate there.
Trap Benedict

ANSWER: Is this true? I did not know this. Has anyone seen her on TV in Tampa? Gloria is the reporter who got the sit-down interview with Scott Peterson while the "search" was going on.

E-mail No. 6: From Laura Ingle at the Jackson trial

There was tangible tension around the courthouse today, as the prosecution team rested its case. Michael Jackson’s defense team will take the floor and start presenting its case in the morning.... That is, if the judge doesn’t throw out the case due to lack of evidence. Many of us thought prosecutors were going to rest by the afternoon... But their last witnesses ended up being on the stand all day.

Michael Jackson seemed to be in a festive mood, he was wearing the “marching band pants” that have the gold stripe down the side.

The prosecution’s closer was quite the energetic witness. At the morning break, he stood at the witness stand and smiled at the jurors as they walked back to their seats in the box. Almost like a host would greet guests at a party. His testimony didn’t quite connect the dots of Michael Jackson’s alleged involvement in the conspiracy portion of this case. Rudy Provencio (search) was a record producer for Jackson, and told jurors he overheard a lot of business meetings with Jackson and Marc Schaffel (search). He’s one of the un-indicted co conspirators in the case. Provencio heard Schaffel call the teenage accuser and his family “stupid Mexicans”, and said Schaffel used the word “escape” when he said the family had left the Neverland property.

Provencio also told jurors that the Debbie Rowe (search) rebuttal video was pretty well scripted and she was instructed to “cry better” by Mark Schaffel. He says he overheard Schaffel “direct” her to say Michael was a good father, if she did, she could see her kids.

When Provencio was asked to go over some of the credits of the “invisible” CD of Jackson’s, he read aloud what Jackson had written to many of his associates. Much of it read “thank you for all your help, you are my true family” to some of the unindicted co-conspirators. I was sitting in the row behind MJ’s parents. I looked to Joe Jackson for his reaction to that. He seemed unfazed, but I couldn’t help but notice his watch on his left wrist.... It was BLINDING bright with diamonds and shiny gold. The entire face of the watch was filled with diamonds; the band had 6 diamonds to every link. We call that a lot of “bling” here in the L.A. area. When I looked at it, I wondered if jurors notice those things. Seems like these hard working middle class jurors probably don’t have a lot of people know in town with that kind of hardware. It just seems like another stark contrast of the world Michael Jackson and his family lives in to the rest of the world.

E-mail No. 7: From Jim Hammer at the Michael Jackson trial; Trial Note: May 4

I’m sitting at my hotel after the DA rested their case just 2 hours ago. Sitting in court as the DA finished up, I felt the anxiety that I remember I felt whenever I rested in a case I prosecuted. A prosecutor is part professional worrier, always aware that his job is to build up, while all the while the defense attacks, fires away and looks for weaknesses. A good prosecutor is always on guard, looking for weaknesses in his own case and trying to address them.

In the Jackson case, there are a lot of weaknesses, holes, lines of attack that the defense has exploited. Today, the DA’s last witness imploded before our eyes. Last night we ended court thinking Rudy might tie Jackson to the alleged conspiracy to falsely imprison the young boy’s family, but by the time the DA finished his direct exam of Rudy Provencio, it was clear that he never heard Jackson say anything regarding the conspiracy, beyond Jackson agreeing that the victim’s family should be recorded on tape as part of the rebuttal video.

Rudy did give damaging testimony against Marc Schafell and some of the other alleged co-conspirators. He testified that they used the word “escape” when referring to the family leaving Neverland in early March and that there was a state of panic around that. He testified that the mockingly referred to the accuser’s fear of the “killers” after her. Both of these confirmed the accuser’s mother’s version of what happened.

But Mesereau ate Rudy for lunch on cross-examination. Some of the jurors covered their faces as they laughed at the witness, when he said he had forgotten he kept a detailed diary of these events in a storage locker and “found” them only 3 weeks ago when he turned them over to the DA. Meserau asked Rudy if intended to write a book about this case and if that was his motive for writing this journal after the fact. Rudy denied ever wanting to write a book.

In one of the memorable moments of the trial, Mesereau confronted Rudy with the transcript of a secretly recorded call sometime in 2004. In that call Rudy said, “I’m going to give my lawyer bullet points about what I saw. I’m not giving him my notes. That’s for my book honey!” With that, Rudy’s credibility was all but gone. And so rested the prosecution’s case today. Tomorrow the defense begins. This case is not over. Anything can happen once the defense starts to try proving its case. And if Jackson himself testifies, all bets are off. Stay tuned…
Jim Hammer
Santa Maria courthouse

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