Michael Jackson's Supporters Cry Foul

This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, January 30, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.

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TONY SNOW, GUEST HOST:  In the "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight, the family of Michael Jackson sends out a spokesman outraged by brand new reports of how the king of pop allegedly plied young boys with wine.


FIRPO CARR, JACKSON FAMILY SPOKESPERSON:  We find it curious that this article appears when Michael's legal team cannot because of a gag order respond to this irresponsible yellow journalism.


SNOW:  Now here's what they're so upset about.  In next month's "Vanity Fair" magazine, Maureen Orth (search) reports the following.  "The young man who made the allegations said he was given wine in soda pop cans...White wine was called 'Jesus Juice' and red wine was 'Jesus Blood.'  Allegedly, Michael said 'if Jesus drank it, it ought to be good.'"

As you may know, Jackson is charged with seven counts of child molestation and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent for the purpose of committing a felony.

Joining us now from Los Angeles, Jane Velez-Mitchell, a correspondent for "Celebrity Justice."  And she was at the Jackson news conference today.

Jane, first tell us about the news conference.  Set the scene.  Give us a full report.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, CELEBRITY JUSTICE:  Well, it was very emotional.  The massive gates of the Jackson family home in Encino opened wide.  And Firpo Carr (search), a family spokesperson, comes out and says the family's just outraged.  Calls it yellow journalism, really almost quivering with emotion, saying this isn't fair because this gag order has just been put in place.

So [Michael Jackson's defense attorney, Mark] Geragos and others cannot respond to the allegations.  But what was really interesting is, he then goes on to actually confirm one of the allegations in the article.  I mean, Maureen Orth has said that Jackson has been in and out of  detox.

And so I asked him, I said, "Is Michael Jackson -- does he have a drug problem?"  Now he said he would not answer that question in terms of does he have a drug problem right now, but he acknowledged that Jackson did have a drug problem which he said developed back in 1984.

Remember, 20 years ago, he did that Pepsi commercial.  His hair caught on fire.  He had a very serious burn.  He was rushed to the hospital with scalp injuries.  And at that point, he was put on painkillers.  And Firpo Carr acknowledged today that he did become addicted to painkillers at that time and did struggle to get off of them.

And I asked him repeatedly, I said is he off them now?  Is he clean and sober?  And he said that's a very personal question and I am not going to answer  that at this point.

SNOW:  Well, it may be a very personal question, but it also may get to  the core of things.  Apparently, he had been addicted and there were reports that as late as 1999, he was at a detox place in Seoul, South Korea.  Any confirmation of that report?

VELEZ-MITCHELL:  Well, the interesting thing is that Firpo Carr, in  essence, confirmed at least that there had been a problem.  But the fact is that the problem was 20 years ago.  And it's 20 years later.  And the big question is, is the problem continuing today?  Was that problem in existence at the time of  these allegations less than a year ago?  And he refused to answer that question.

And I said, well you know, people who are sober have sobriety dates.  If he's sober, why not say he's been sober for five years or six years?  And he simply said I'm not going to answer that.

SNOW:  All right.  Well sooner or later, Michael Jackson will have to.  Now let's turn to the prospect that a young man who cut a deal 11 years ago, got $25 million in order to draw up child molestation charges against Michael Jackson, there's word now the prosecutors may bring him in to testify.  What would be the  impact if he showed up?

VELEZ-MITCHELL:  Oh, if that young man showed up, that would absolutely be a blockbuster.  And there's been various reports and various debate back and forth as to whether he's going to do that.

Now certainly, I don't think anybody realistically could force him to do it if he didn't want to.  I mean, you can't throw somebody in jail for not wanting to testify about alleged abuse.  But if he came forward, obviously, it wouldn't be so much this child today versus Michael Jackson, but it would be two people with  remarkably similar stories, according to various reports, talking before a jury.

SNOW:  Now a lot of the stuff we're reading about in this Maureen Orth article, we have seen and heard of before, at least similar allegations.  Is there anything new in this piece that you would really get under the skin of team Jackson?

VELEZ-MITCHELL:  You know, that was something that was very interesting.  It was sort of a potpourri or a combination of a lot of reports.  In fact, it corroborated a lot of the reports that we broke here first on "Celebrity Justice."

We were the first to report that this child said he was plied with alcohol, specifically wine and shown pictures of naked women before Michael Jackson allegedly touched his private parts.  So in that sense, it really was just taking reports that have surfaced from various sources and combining them.

But it was the cumulative effect I think that has -- is such a stunner when you read this long article that is just one damaging allegation after the other.  And in that sense, I can certainly understand the family feeling their hands are tied  because of this gag order that they can't respond to any of it.

SNOW:  But on the other hand...

VELEZ-MITCHELL:  Or they feel they can.

SNOW:  ...when they don't respond, or they don't say ah, we've heard this stuff before, don't they raise further questions?

VELEZ-MITCHELL:  Well, you know, I asked him, why don't you sue? Because Maureen Orth had another article recently, less than a year ago, in which she also made some very damning allegations that Michael Jackson engaged in voodoo, took ritual baths in blood, had a hit list, and they didn't sue for that either.  So that raises a big question.  Why not sue if it's all wrong? SNOW:  All right, Jane.  Thanks so much.

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