Vital Jacko Video Tapes May Be Missing

Michael Jackson | Disney | Bob Colacello

Vital Jacko Video Tapes May Be Missing

Something's wrong in the world of Michael Jackson evidence.

It has to do with the 40-minute video, shown to the jury last week, in which the accuser and his family defend Jackson.

My sources say the version the jury saw was incomplete, with 30 to 50 minutes of material missing. They also insist that the original footage was shot on Betamax tape; the jury was shown a DVD.

The entire video was shot overnight on Feb. 19 to 20, 2003 by Jackson's videographers, Hamid Moslehi and Christian Robinson. They used two cameras and three or four 30-minute tapes. One camera was always kept running as other camera's tape was being changed, creating a "B-roll" that the jury did not see.

The supposition is either that Moslehi had already removed some tapes before his office was raided by Santa Barbara County investigators, or that the prosecution showed the jury an edited version without explanation.

No mention was made in court of a motion to show an edited video, however.

Additionally, I am told that Moslehi tried to sell videotape of the family to various networks and half-hour syndicated entertainment shows after the raid.

According to my source, "[one of the major networks] was about to pay a lot of money for them." The deal fell through when Judge Rodney Melville stopped Moslehi from doing so.

The missing tapes would have shown more footage of the family, my source says, "fooling around and having a good time."

This would be in stark contrast to the family's claim that it was coerced into making statements it didn't believe.

What's missing from the original footage, my sources believe, is everything shot between the questions that were asked and lots of "backstage" material, all of which would be positive for the defense. Some of the footage could show the mother's then-boyfriend, now husband, U.S. Army Major Jay Jackson.

"If they play the rest of the tapes, wherever they are, you'll see the mother coaching the kids telling them what to say, not the filmmakers telling them. But [defense attorney] Tom Mesereau may not know this," a source said.

The tapes also would show videographer Robinson asking the family, "If Michael's a bad guy, tell me."

The family members respond that they know they can say this if they wish to, but decline in favor of extolling the singer's virtues.

The Divorce of Miramax and Disney

By the end of this week, Miramax and Disney should be divorced.

Or rather, Disney's Michael Eisner will have forced out the founders and creative spirits who made Miramax a legendarily successful film studio.

A story in the New York Times tipped that the end was near yesterday. The piece was mostly excellent, although I did find one thing misunderstood.

If Talk Magazine, as the Times says, lost $54 million, and Miramax was responsible for assuming half that loss, then what was the problem?

Most of Disney's film releases last year lost $27 million each, and had no redeeming features whatsoever.

Talk Magazine at least left a legacy — a successful book company and movies in development that began as magazine articles.

Can the same be said of "Hidalgo," "The Alamo," "The Last Shot" or "King Arthur?" I think not.

The Times' Laura Holson, one of my favorite reporters, also misses a few points regarding "Fahrenheit 9/11." Some of these I've pointed out in previous columns.

But for the record, and once again, the Weinsteins, Miramax and Michael Moore severely misjudged the effect the film's subject matter would have on in Disney's decisions.

For one thing, the company had strong ties to Halliburton and to the Carlyle Group, two companies that were criticized and lampooned in "Fahrenheit."

The fact that all the parties behind the movie didn't know that such ties existed means they didn't do their homework. Eisner would never have put the company's name on that film under those circumstances.

Second, Moore simply blasts the Saudi royal family in the film. Yet no one took into account that Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was Eisner's main partner in EuroDisney when it launched, and that Prince Alwaleed subsequently bailed Eisner out.

After the U.S. presidential elections in early 2005, the Prince once again stepped in and saved EuroDisney from financial ruin. The prince's close personal and financial integral relationship to Eisner could certainly only have made the Weinsteins' situation that much worse.

A Fashionista's 'Disgusting' Story

I nearly gagged reading Bob Colacello's long and entertaining article in the latest issue of Vanity Fair about New York fashion freak and social X-ray Nan Kempner.

I was flattered that Colacello acknowledged the piece I wrote regarding Kempner in New York magazine some 11 years ago, but was nevertheless dismayed to read Kempner's comments.

The story I wrote was about a brilliant, fascinating and accomplished businesswoman named Iris Sawyer. A Bard graduate and co-developer of a major public-relations business, Sawyer also had the misfortune to have an eight-year affair with Nan's husband, Tom.

Sawyer was also married at the time. Toward the end of the affair, the lovers even lived together in a Park Avenue townhouse, a residence into which Sawyer had sunk all her life savings without benefit of a deed. She let her heart lead her head, and lost.

When Nan Kempner summoned her husband home, Sawyer was destroyed financially lest Tom Kempner lose everything in a nasty public divorce.

The Byzantine details of how the Kempners proceeded to wreck Sawyer's life with a vengeance were all included in my New York story, "The Woman Who Would Not Get Lost."

Suffice it to say that the Kempners' damage to Sawyer has not abated in the 11 years since. Now nearly 75, Sawyer — who was immediately shunned by all her former friends under threat of being dropped by Kempner — is New York society's self-created tragedy.

Interestingly, Sawyer has survived mostly due to the goodwill of members of Kempner's extended family. Two such individuals, quite prominent citizens, have expressed to me their outrage over the vendetta against Sawyer. One of them has consistently helped her financially, even when he himself is short of funds.

In Colacello's story, Nan Kempner blithely dismisses all her husband's affairs and refers to Sawyer as "disgusting."

Frankly, all the people who bow to Nan Kempner's manicured, well-shod feet should find what she's done "disgusting" and unforgivable as well.

Every one of her friends who lunch at Swifty's should give long and hard thought to who became a pariah in that episode and what their conscience tells them now.