Jacko's Receipts | Accuser's Lawyers
Jacko's Receipts Could Exonerate Him
The "captors" of Janet Arvizo's kids, whom Arvizo called "the killers" on the stand, not only bought them books, but paid to replace their lost schoolbooks as well.
And they did this during what turned out to be the Arvizo family's last week at Michael Jackson's Neverland Valley Ranch in March 2003.
I can tell you this because I have copies of the receipts. I can also tell you that on her last full day of "captivity," Arvizo sat down to lunch with her "captor," Vincent Amen, at an Outback Steak House in Los Angeles.
This was after Janet Arvizo had won a judgment in family court against her ex-husband and knew that her adventure at Neverland was only hours from being over. After six long weeks, Jackson wanted her and her kids gone.
On March 11, 2003, Arvizo hunkered down to a meal of prime rib. Amen had roast beef. The time stamp on the check was 12:53 p.m.
I have more receipts from the Arvizos' stay with Jackson, some of which I've written about, others that have just been uncovered.
The documents certainly add to the testimony given by many witnesses: The conspiracy case against Jackson is not credible. But will the jury hear about these receipts? Will they hear about the schoolbooks?
This could be a big issue, since the Arvizos' "captors" wouldn't have been buying schoolbooks for kids they were getting ready to ship off to Brazil. Few kidnappers make sure their prisoners have accelerated high school degrees.
To wit: A Barnes & Noble receipt, dated March 4, in the amount of $32.37, noted as "Books for [the accuser's sister]." Another Barnes & Noble receipt, dated March 6, for $29.79, notation "Books for [Arvizo boys]." Also on March 6, $123.50 to John Burroughs Middle School, receipt for replaced textbooks.
The boys' books? Two copies of Ernest Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea" and one "Vocabulary Workshop."
Their sister's? "Roadmap to the California High School Exit Exam" and "How to Prepare for the California High School Proficiency Exam."
Perhaps bolstered by her relationship with 22-year-old Neverland chef Angel Vivanco, the girl was planning a future even her mother didn't know about.
The receipts, entered into evidence last week, but not shown yet to the jury or public, are a detailed accounting of money spent on the Arvizos, mostly by Amen, who was reimbursed by Marc Schaffel.
Countering Janet Arvizo's testimony that she and her family were allowed "one meal a day," the receipts are a black-and-white roadmap of several meals and snacks eaten every day.
The Arvizos had quite a taste for fast food, dining frequently at Hot Dog on a Stick and similar franchises. It's enough to give the makers of "Super Size Me" indigestion.
Tomorrow: As the defense plans to rest its case, we still have a lot of questions. What about the witnesses who never showed up? Why did we never see phone records from Neverland indicating who Arvizo family members called while they stayed there?
Plus: Why well-executed graphics displays will be needed to show the jury a timeline, not only for the Arvizos' pre-Jackson activities, but a day-to-day schedule for February and March 2003.
Did Dickerman Dicker With Accuser's Mom?
So much testimony, so little time to analyze it.
But let's ask ourselves: Why didn't attorney William Dickerman tell the mother of Michael Jackson's accuser to leave Neverland right away when she went to see him on Feb. 21 and again on Feb. 25, 2003?
Maybe he didn't want her to.
On Feb. 21, Janet Arvizo told Vincent Amen, Jackson's chef, that she had to stop by the Laugh Factory in Hollywood to see comedy club owner Jamie Masada.
What Amen didn't know is that Arvizo and Masada had set it up so that Masada's lawyer, Dickerman, would be there.
It was the first of two meetings Dickerman would have with Arvizo over four days.
The second meeting, on Feb. 25, was held in Dickerman's Century City office.
Arvizo attended that meeting, even though she was on her way to a hotel in Calabasas, far out in the San Fernando Valley, for five days of shopping with her kids and Amen.
Later, she claimed in her testimony that she was held against her will in Calabasas from Feb. 25 to March 2. But she didn't mention in the second Dickerman meeting, which her boyfriend, Maj. Jay Jackson, also attended, that she was in the middle of being "kidnapped."
In other words: Arvizo would have us believe that she met with Dickerman to discuss her rights in the "Living With Michael Jackson" documentary, which had been broadcast two weeks earlier, but did not bring up Jackson about to hold her hostage at that very moment.
More importantly: Why didn't Dickerman call the police if the Arvizo family was being held hostage or feeling threatened on the 21st or the 25th?
Certainly, when Arvizo was in Dickerman's office on the 25th, en route to Calabasas, he could have put an end to her "misery."
He didn't. And that's where the head-scratching begins.
And when did Dickerman decide to call Larry Feldman, the attorney who negotiated a $20 million settlement for Jackson's 1993 accuser?
Some people theorize that Dickerman called Feldman immediately after his meeting with Arvizo on the 21st. He says he did it later.
Dickerman was never really asked any of these questions during cross-examination. He claimed that his main task after meeting Arvizo on the 21st and 25th was to determine her rights concerning her kids' appearance in the Martin Bashir documentary.
In other words: Arvizo, feeling her family was threatened and she was being held against her will, met with a lawyer, told him nothing about the situation and returned to it willingly.
Dickerman, knowing that Arvizo was meeting with him on the sly, apparently felt no duty as an officer of the court to intervene.
On March 26, two weeks after the Arvizos were ejected from Neverland, Dickerman said he wrote to attorney Mark Geragos about retrieving the Arvizos' possessions.
He didn't mention in those letters that the family had been kidnapped or that the kids had been drinking at Neverland. He only wanted their passports and inexpensive furniture returned.
It simply does not make sense.
To complicate the situation a bit more: On Feb. 16, Janet Arvizo was driven to her apartment by Amen.
There, Amen found, slipped under the door, the business card of Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon, who, according to sources, had seen the TV special in which Arvizo's son held hands with Jackson.
This column reported this little-known fact almost a year ago. Yet no one has brought this up in court.
No one has ever asked: When did Sneddon first contact Janet Arvizo? When did she first speak to him? Was it concurrent with her Dickerman meetings? And if so, why didn't Sneddon spring her from her kidnapping?
Here's a theory, and one that for some reason the defense has not tried out: Dickerman could have told Arvizo to return to Neverland and continue gathering "evidence" with an eye toward filing a civil suit.
It's the only thing that makes sense. Once the rebuttal footage had been shot and the family-services interview had taken place, Jackson's camp had no reason to keep the Arvizos around.
If the counter-argument is that Jackson's people planned to send the family to Brazil, even that doesn't make sense.
No one in court bothered to ask about the dates, but the Arvizos were in Calabasas for three days before they even applied for visas on Feb. 28, 2003.
If the Jackson camp was so keen to get the family out of the country, wouldn't it have started the paperwork immediately?
Instead, Amen and Frank Tyson took the Arvizos shopping, fed them fast food and took them to the movies — something else the defense never asked Arvizo about on the stand — before even bothering to apply for passports and visas.