Inside the Jackson Camp

This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," May 31, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Michael Jackson's father says the trial has turned Jackson into a nervous wreck. He says the "King of Pop" can't eat or sleep and may never befriend another child ever again.

Joining us live from Memphis is Michael Jackson's longtime friend, David Gest. Welcome back, David.

DAVID GEST, LONGTIME FRIEND OF MICHAEL JACKSON: Thanks, Greta. Good to speak to you.

VAN SUSTEREN: David, have you spoken recently to any of the Jackson family members?

GEST: Yes, I spoke today to Tito [Jackson] and to two of the other brothers yesterday, and they said, you know, he's praying for a not guilty verdict, but it's really taken a toll. He isn't eating a lot. And you know, it's really hard on his mother. It's been devastating on Mrs. Jackson to hear these accusations and be there each day. And it's very, very tough because she knows her son, and she knows what kind of person he is. And here he has to prove it to the world, that he did not do these things that he has been accused of.

VAN SUSTEREN: David, in sort of the private moments in the family in recent days, are they optimistic or pessimistic about the verdict?

GEST: I think they're very optimistic. I think that they feel that the prosecution has not proven their case and that all of these people had an ulterior motive. And when you look at it, when you look at the mother of the boy and the J.C. Penney incident and all of these people selling stories to The Enquirer or making money off of him, bodyguards selling stories, you have to look at what these people's ulterior motive was. And most of them so far have been to make the money off of Michael Jackson.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, many of the people who thought it was a not guilty verdict had sort of a different thought after that video was shown on Friday, which was the accuser — the police — the statement he made to the police in July, 2003, which is about three months after these incidents allegedly occurred. They said that sort of changed their mind. The Jacksons — what's their reaction to this video?

GEST: They're praying that the jury will look at what was said at the trial. It's very hard — after you see a film like that, you're wondering, what is the jury thinking? But then again, it's the evidence that was given, and that's what they're hoping they will look at as the entire case and what each person has said. There's not much more you can say about that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Any idea what Michael Jackson's doing on the evenings during this trial, or even this past weekend, as the case winds down?

GEST: Well, Tito said he's watching, you know, some movies and just, you know, trying to get as much sleep and rest as he can and you know, praying, obviously, for a not guilty verdict. But it's tough. It's tough on anybody to go through this scrutiny worldwide.

VAN SUSTEREN: David, if there's a guilty verdict, we all pretty much know what to expect. If there's a not guilty verdict, can you give us some idea of what the plans are? Is the family sort of talking about, you know, what they're going to do if the jury returns a not guilty verdict?

GEST: If it's not guilty? I think that they plan eventually, not right away, to go out on a world tour, especially Europe, with the Jackson 5 or the Jacksons reunited. But that won't be for a while. I think that Michael is going to take some time off and get some rest and start thinking about what his options are.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is he damaged by this? With a not guilty verdict, and if he goes back to Neverland, is his career damaged?

GEST: Well, it's not going to be easy at first. But it's like a Charlie Chaplin. The more you're away from the public after a not guilty verdict, the more they want you. And in America, everybody loves to take people down, and then they love to build them up. So you're never dead until you're in the grave.

VAN SUSTEREN: And one quick question. I know that you've been in New York the past week, to switch gears, with Liza Minnelli and the deposition. Care to give us an update on where that litigation stands?

GEST: We're definitely going to trial. And hopefully, maybe the judge will let us get a divorce first, but it looks like we're going to trial. I'd say definitely.

VAN SUSTEREN: Any idea when that trial will occur?

GEST: There's still more depositions to do, but I would probably think somewhere around January or February the trial will take place.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there one main issue you two can't agree on, in terms of why it's forcing this to trial?

GEST: I think there's more than one or two. I think you can count them on two hands, maybe four, if you include her hands.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, David. Well, best of luck, and maybe the two of you can work it out and avoid a trial. David, always nice to see you. Thank you for joining us.

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