Published January 14, 2015
This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," June 26, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Michael Jackson was flooded with lots of legal troubles, including the most serious. He was tried for molesting a child. He was found not guilty. Mark Geragos was Jackson's lawyer for 18 months from 2003 to 2004. Mark joins us live. Nice to see you, Mark.
MARK GERAGOS, MICHAEL JACKSON'S FORMER ATTORNEY: Greta, it's always a pleasure.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mark, some clients are really easy to work with. Some are not, and some are just medium. What was Michael Jackson like?
GERAGOS: I really never had a problem with him. I always thought he was a very compliant client. He was active in his defense. And as you might remember at the time, I took great offense to anybody who was trying to take advantage of him. My biggest problem in representing him is that there were so many people who I thought were always trying to take advantage of him. Other than that, I -- you know, as anybody else will tell you, this is a creative genius for the ages.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you say -- or in what way were people trying to take advantage of him?
GERAGOS: He always seems to -- as long as I knew him and before and after, based on what I saw, there were always people around who were trying to take advantage of kind of his child-like naivete. And it's frustrating. And when you're in the middle of a criminal case, or at least initially, for the first year, when it was an investigation, that was frustrating because there's always people with competing interests pulling at various - - for their own agendas. And that's problematic. But that wasn't his fault. That was just by virtue of who he was and the nature of his celebrity, fame and talent.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did he get -- did he seem to know why some people were horrified at sort of all the attention he gave children? I think he made a statement once -- at one time about, you know, I think sleeping in the same bed with a child. Did he understand why that would send shivers up a lot of people's spines?
GERAGOS: Well, yes, he did. And I think early on, when we flew back to Santa Barbara from Las Vegas and I did a little announcement in front of the sheriff's office there, I said at the time, if these charges were true, he'd be as horrified as the next person, but they were categorically not true.
The problem is, is that he never had, as far as I could tell -- and obviously, in a court of law, as far as the jurors could tell, he didn't have those inclinations. It was just a -- Ben Brafman, who was on the case with me at the end, used to say he was a 45-year-old with a 12-year-old's outlook. And a 12-year-old's outlook -- not that he was immature necessarily, but that he just had this -- what I referred to before as a child-like naivete. He did not think of boys or girls or children in that way. He thought of them -- I mean, he thought of himself as kind of a Pied Piper.
VAN SUSTEREN: Was he scared? I mean, with those charges -- I mean, it was always hard to tell from the outside. I mean, he seemed like sort of a fearful and timid guy, unless he was on the stage, in which case he owned the stage. But was he -- was he scared?
GERAGOS: Terrified. Absolutely terrified. There's -- he understood what the magnitude of the charges were, number one. Number two, he was horrified -- you know, as you say, people are horrified by the nature of the charges and what the suggestion was. But he was horrified by the fact that people would perceive him that way because it was just so anathema to him that he would act in that way or that anybody would think that. It was just not the way he perceived himself. It absolutely was not the way that he felt that he should be perceived, nor that he should be read that way.
And so I think, yes, he was terrified. He knew that it was always a problem. He knew he was a target. Part of the initial stages of the defense, an when Tom carried it through trial and even when I testified at the trial, it was always our belief, anybody who was defending him at the time, that he was a target. And he was a -- you know, a fairly easy target and a lucrative target and a deep pocket. And unfortunately, there were people out there who were all too willing to shake him down at any one time.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mark, thank you. Nice to see you. As I said, always nice to see you.
GERAGOS: Greta, it's always good to see you, too.
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