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Update 1 p.m. ET: Here is an interesting little piece of information: Do you wonder why Time Magazine is not devoting lots of space to the Michael Jackson trial? Just learned that Time Magazine did focus groups on the reader interest in the Michael Jackson case. Based on the focus group results, they did not send a staffer but rather are using a stringer.
Today we posted pictures taken of our interview with Senator Bob Dole (search) — click on the links in the photo box above. If you come to Washington, D.C., the monument you should NOT miss is the World War II Memorial where we conducted the interview with Senator Dole. It is my favorite (but I do love the Jefferson Memorial...)
If you re-checked the blog after 5 p.m. ET on Thursday night, you will know that I posted that John Mason (search) is expected to sign a book deal very soon. He hopes Jennifer will participate in the book and the plan now, subject to change I suppose, is that it will be about forgiveness and redemption. John was flown to New York City last weekend to discuss the book with the publisher. John is anxious to do the book but I assume he is waiting for the right contract. More than one publisher has shown strong interest.
After learning about the book early last evening, I exchanged e-mails with an FOX News producer about John Mason. The producer was one of many who spent many days in Duluth, Georgia covering the story. The producer had just spoken to John Mason and had asked him whether the marriage is "on" or "off." Here is the producer's e-mail to me:
E-mail No. 1 — producer's e-mail to me:
Also asked him whether she still had the ring on her finger... "Well, I gave it to her... Dunno about being on her finger now... If she's wearing it."
Last night Jim Brazelton, the Stanislaus County D.A. was in our bureau early to appear on our show. I had seen him so many times in the courthouse first in Modesto and then Redwood City, but never spoke to him because of the gag order. It is always fun to finally get to talk to someone who you have covered — and covered from afar because of a gag order.
E-mail No. 2
I think she is a "poor little rich" girl. Her parents are the people who should stop bailing her out. She should be punished in some way to discourage others that might think it is OK. Athletes seem to think they can get away with anything because they are well paid and only a few can compete in their sports. Everyone, I mean everyone should be held accountable for their wrongdoings. Crime of any color is not a mistake it is an "on purpose!"
E-mail No. 3
Subject: Laura note
The prosecution in the Michael Jackson (search) case wants jurors to see the pop star's privates. The judge rejected the request to introduce photos of Jackson's penis to jurors, saying it would be too prejudicial. The photos were taken in the '93 child molestation investigation. That accuser had described Jackson's "blemished" genitalia to police (he claims to have vitiligo, a skin disease) The boy's description matched the photos, according to police.
There was a big score for the prosecution that could dramatically change the timeline of this case. The judge ruled to allow the showing of a videotaped police interview with this current accuser. It's a way to get the focus right back onto the core charges in the case and a piece of evidence that the D.A. hopes will show the boy was not coached by his mother to talk about child abuse allegations, as the defense has argued. Defense attorneys said if the tape is played, then they want to be able to recall the accuser, his mother, the boy's former lawyer and psychologist. The judge said yes. That means we could be here a while... or the defense is putting up a good bluff.
While the videotape of the accuser is being prepared, there are more rebuttal witnesses being called by prosecutors. A moving company employee testified about the request by Mark Geragos's private investigator to move the belongings of the accuser and his family into storage. As jurors looked up at the big screen to look at the moving request form, I couldn't help but notice a bit of a glazed look in some of their eyes. Fatigue seems to be setting in on all fronts. I overheard two reporters getting into a scrap while we were waiting for the morning break to end so we could go back into the courtroom this morning.... it was pretty snarly. I've heard these little flare ups have happened a couple of times lately, especially when it comes to getting into the courtroom (see yesterday's "Laura Note"). The jurors may be tired, but they seem to be getting along. I heard them listening to more tunes from The Eagles today while walking past the break area: "Take It to the Limit" was today's choice. I wonder if the deputies need to run to the store to get some new music? They seem to be stuck on The Eagles!
And finally, a Jackson look-a-like appeared to be grooving to his own tune in the courtroom today. A man who won a seat in the public lottery was all dudded up like "The King of Pop": rock star sunglasses, curly long hair with a lot of gel (think M.J. in his Thriller days). He was movin' and groovin' his head like he was humming a tune in his head. While I can "name that tune" in the jury break area, I won't attempt to guess what he had going on…
E-mail No. 4
Trial Note — May 26, 2005
This was supposed to be the point where the case is winding down, but instead is shaping up to be one of the real cliffhangers of the trial. This morning the judge ruled that the D.A. can play a tape of the accuser’s initial interview with sheriff’s deputies where he first accused Jackson of molesting him. The defense fought very hard to keep it out, but lost. Part of the defense argument was that the D.A. could have and should have played it earlier, when the boy was on the stand.
Generally, past statements of a witness are hearsay and not admissible. But where a witness’s credibility is attacked, like the defense has done with the accuser here, his prior statements come in to buttress his credibility. The defense argued that this was a sort of "sucker punch," but they lost that argument. I’m not sure why the D.A. waited to play this tape. Did they intentionally hold it back until now, or is the taped more mixed and not entirely helpful to the D.A.?
The defense has very effectively attacked the accuser’s mother’s testimony. In fact, she is really the center of the defense case. So far, the accuser has not been attacked as effectively by the defense, at least directly.
This taped police interview is probably now the key to the D.A.'s chance of winning a conviction against Jackson. If on this tape, the young boy looks reluctant, if he comes across as emotional, embarrassed and not anxious to point the finger at Jackson, it would could powerfully undercut the idea that the boy in this case was coached and anxious to go in and accuse Jackson. The defense team looks clearly worried about it and has threatened to re-call the young boy, his mother and the lawyer and psych who first interviewed. All of this could be an empty threat and each of those witnesses could backfire on the defense. This is not where the defense wanted to be at this stage of the trial. Tomorrow and Monday may hold the key to this whole trial. Stay tuned…
Santa Maria Courthouse
E-mail No. 5
Pay attention, Greta! Important! The White House needs a different type of protection to protect it against small planes flying in protected airspace.
Recently a small aircraft flying at around 115 miles per hour in airspace near the White House, alerted 500 mile per hour fighter jets from a nearby airbase. The jets had little alternative if they couldn't reach the small plane by radio, which they couldn't. Through a fluke they were able to divert the small plane away from the White House just seconds away from shooting it down.
A major improvement would be to have an Attack Helicopter stationed on the Whitehouse grounds. In an alert, the helicopter could be airborne in 30 seconds and could approach the small plane at a speed similar to the small plane and could fly side by side with the small plane and could easily divert it away from the protected area where as a 500 mile per hour jet is useless other than to shoot it down! If the small plane is hostile, the helicopter has the ability to destroy it.
In the past, I have owned a number of small planes and have over a 1,000 hours of flying time.
In my opinion, the above should be employed immediately!
Robert E. Olson
ANSWER: This is out of my league....
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