The 1993 allegations of child molestation against Michael Jackson – The Facts
THE 1993 ALLEGATIONS
– In 1992, Michael Jackson met and befriended the Chandler family, becoming particularly close to 12-year-old Jordan, his half-sister Lily and their mother June Schwartz. Jackson often travelled with the family and they were frequent guests at his Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara.
– According to June Schwartz’s former divorce attorney Michael Freeman, the boy’s father and June’s ex-husband Evan Chandler “began to get jealous of their involvement [with Jackson] and felt left out.”
– In June 1993, Evan Chandler hired attorney Barry Rothman to represent him in his custody case against June Schwartz. Rothman was not a family lawyer but he had recently handled a custody case that involved child molestation allegations.
– At Jordan’s 8th grade graduation that month, Evan Chandler confronted his ex-wife with his alleged suspicions of sexual misconduct on Jackson’s part. Freeman says that June Schwartz “thought the whole thing was baloney” and announced that she and her children still planned to accompany Jackson on his Dangerous world tour. According to Freeman, Chandler then threatened to go to the press with his suspicions.
– Chandler’s behaviour prompted Jackson to hire lawyer Bert Fields and Private Investigator Anthony Pellicano. Taking Pellicano’s advice, Jordan Chandler’s stepfather Dave Schwartz recorded a telephone conversation that took place between him and Evan Chandler. On the tape, Chandler said:
“I had good communication with Michael. We were friends. I like him and I respect him and everything else for what he is. There was no reason why he had to stop calling me. I sat in the room one day and talked to Michael and told him exactly what I want out of this whole relationship. I’ve been rehearsed about what to say and not to say.”
“[Jackson] broke up the family. [Jordan] has been seduced by this guy’s power and money.”
“I am prepared to move against Michael Jackson. It’s already set. There are other people involved that are waiting for my phone call that are in certain positions. I’ve paid them to do it. Everything’s going according to a certain plan that isn’t just mine. Once I make that phone call, this guy is going to destroy everybody in sight in any devious, nasty, cruel way that he can do it. And I’ve given him full authority to do that.”
“And if I go through with this, I win big-time. There’s no way I lose. I’ve checked that inside out. I will get everything I want, and they will be destroyed forever. June will lose [custody of the son] and Michael’s career will be over.”
“[Jordan’s welfare is] irrelevant to me. It’s going to be bigger than all of us put together. The whole thing is going to crash down on everybody and destroy everybody in sight. It will be a massacre if I don’t get what I want.”
“This attorney I found, I picked the nastiest son of a bitch I could find. All he wants to do is get this out in the public as fast as he can, as big as he can, and humiliate as many people as he can. He’s nasty, he’s mean, he’s very smart, and he’s hungry for the publicity.”
– Upon hearing the taped phone conversation between Evan Chandler and Dave Schwartz, Pellicano immediately interviewed the boy in question. According to Pellicano, Jordan Chandler denied any wrongdoing on Jackson’s part.
– In mid-July, Evan Chandler convinced his ex-wife to allow him a one-week visitation period with their son. From that point on, the boy was isolated from his friends and family members.
– According to Rothman’s former legal secretary Geraldine Hughes, Chandler was receiving advice from Rothman on how to report child abuse without liability to the parent.
– Taking Rothman’s advice, Chandler contacted psychiatrist Mathis Abrams and presented him with a hypothetical situation (i.e- my son spent time alone with an adult male- is it possible that sexual abuse might have occurred and if so, what are the various ways that it can be reported to authorities?). In a written response to Chandler’s phone call, Abrams wrote that if a child were to come out with sexual abuse allegations during a therapy session, the therapist would be required by law to report it to the police.
– Chandler took this letter and, according to Pellicano, attempted to blackmail Jackson with it. In a meeting that took place in early August 1993, Chandler allegedly made a demand for a $20 million screenwriting deal in return for his not going forward with the child abuse allegations.
– Several days after the meeting, Pellicano tape recorded a conversation that took place between him, Barry Rothman and Evan Chandler. On the tape, Rothman and Chandler can be heard negotiating the amount of money it would take to keep Chandler from going forward with the child molestation allegations. Chandler restated his demand for $20 million and, according to Geraldine Hughes, was later told by Pellicano that Jackson would not pay him any money. Keep in mind that if Jackson had paid Chandler at that point, the entire criminal investigation would have been avoided.
– According to an investigative reporter from KCBS-TV, Evan Chandler then gave his son a controversial psychiatric drug known as sodium amytal. It has been widely documented that you can easily plant false memories into a person’s mind when they are under the influence of this drug.
– Evan Chandler claimed that he only used sodium amytal to pull Jordan’s tooth and that while under the drug’s influence, the boy came out with the allegations. According to Mark Torbiner, the anaesthesiologist who administered the drug: “If I used it, it was for dental purposes.” Numerous medical experts have agreed, however, that the use of sodium amytal to pull a tooth would be a highly questionable practice at best.
– During an interview with a psychiatrist, Jordan Chandler recalled the first time that he told his father about the alleged sexual abuse. His story corroborates the allegation that his father used sodium amytal to extract a confession from him: “[My father] had to pull my tooth out one time, like, while I was there. And I don’t like pain, so I said could you put me to sleep? And he said sure. So his friend put me to sleep; he’s an anesthesiologist. And um, when I woke up my tooth was out, and I was alright – a little out of it but conscious. And my Dad said – and his friend was gone, it was just him and me – and my dad said, ‘I just want you to let me know, did anything happen between you and Michael?’ And I said ‘Yes,’ and he gave me a big hug and that was it.” [Note: The transcript of Jordan Chandler’s interview with the psychiatrist was made public by the boy’s uncle Ray Chandler]
– On August 16th, 1993, June Schwartz’s attorney filed an ex-parte motion on her behalf to assist her in getting her son back. While in court the next day, Chandler never made any mention of child abuse allegations. If Chandler had told the judge about the supposed suspicions he’d had for the past three weeks, the judge would have immediately ordered for the boy to be taken away from his mother. But Chandler said nothing, presumably because his plan was to report the abuse using a third party (the psychiatrist). By filing the ex-parte motion, June Schwartz had thrown her ex-husband a curveball. The court ordered Evan Chandler to return Jordan to his mother immediately.
– On August 17th, 1993, the same day that Jordan Chandler was supposed to be returned to his mother, Evan Chandler took him to see Dr. Abrams. While there, the boy came out with the sexual abuse accusations against Michael Jackson and so began the police investigation into alleged misconduct on Jackson’s part.
THE CIVIL LAWSUIT
– Because of double jeopardy, anyone accused of a crime will never have to defend themselves for the same allegation twice unless one trial takes place in civil court and the other in criminal court. This was the situation with Michael Jackson in 1993.
– On September 14 1993, less than a month after the child abuse allegations against Michael Jackson had been reported to the police, the accusing family filed a $30 million lawsuit against Jackson with the help of civil attorney Larry Feldman.
– Up until that point, the alleged victim’s mother June Schwartz had maintained that Jackson was innocent of the allegations. As soon as the civil suit was filed, however, she changed her tune and joined forces with her ex-husband Evan Chandler and their son Jordan. At that point, June Schwartz’s divorce attorney Michael Freeman resigned. “The whole thing was such a mess,” he explained. “I felt uncomfortable with Evan. He isn’t a genuine person, and I sensed he wasn’t playing things straight.”
– The Chandlers sued Jackson for sexual battery, battery, seduction, willful misconduct, intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud and negligence.
– The civil suit was filed while the police investigation was still ongoing. As a result, the civil trial was scheduled to take place before the criminal trial began which would have been a violation of Jackson’s constitutional right to not self-incriminate. Typically, when there are two trials dealing with the same allegation, the criminal trial takes place before the civil trial (i.e- the O.J Simpson case). This is to ensure that the Defendant’s defense in the criminal case will not be compromised as a result of the civil proceedings.
– Jackson’s attorneys filed a motion asking for the civil trial to be delayed until after the criminal trial was over. They cited numerous cases such as Pacer, Inc. v. Superior Court to support their request. The Federal case held that, “when both criminal and civil proceedings arise out of the same or related transactions, the Defendant is entitled to a Stay of Discovery and trial in the civil action until the criminal matter has been fully resolved.” Other cases cited include Dustin W. Brown v. The Superior Court, Dwyer v. Crocker National Bank, Patterson v. White and Huot v. Gendron.
– Larry Feldman argued that if the civil trial were to be postponed, the plaintiff, being a minor, might forget certain details about what had supposedly happened to him. The judge felt that the boy’s “fragile state” was more important than Jackson’s 5th Amendment rights and ruled in the boy’s favour.
– Jackson’s attorneys filed another motion asking that District Attorney Tom Sneddon be blocked from obtaining evidence used in the civil trial. Again, the Jackson team lost the motion. The DA made it clear that he was planning to use the evidence from the civil proceedings to assist him in his criminal case against Jackson.
– If Jackson had not settled the civil lawsuit, he would have put his entire defense strategy in jeopardy by revealing it to the prosecution months before the criminal case went to trial.
– Let’s pretend for a moment that Michael Jackson had gone through with the civil trial. What would have happened? He would have presented the court with all of his evidence of extortion and Sneddon would have been watching the entire thing unfold. He could have then taken Jackson’s most critical exonerating evidence from the civil trial and found ways to discredit it so that Jackson would have nothing left to defend himself with in the criminal trial.
– During the civil trial, Jackson’s lawyers would have undoubtedly revealed any inconsistencies in the accuser’s story. This would have given Sneddon the opportunity to examine and amend the weaknesses in his own case against Jackson.
– As you can see, allowing the civil trial to proceed would have given the prosecution the upper hand in the far more important criminal trial. Although this is the primary reason behind Michael Jackson’s decision to settle the case, there were many other factors involved:
1) In a criminal trial, the burden of proof lies with the affirmative; in other words, it is up to the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Defendant is guilty of a crime. In civil trials, if the jury thinks the Defendant might be responsible for what he or she is accused of, they can still hold the Defendant liable.
2) In criminal law, if the Defendant chooses not to testify, their refusal cannot be used against them. In a civil trial, however, the Defendant must be cooperative for all depositions and testimony. If the Defendant in a civil trial invokes his or her Fifth Amendment privilege, the judge will tell the jury that they may make an inference against the party who refused to testify. If Michael Jackson had not settled the civil lawsuit, his entire personal life would have been put on display. Defendants in sex abuse crimes are often asked extremely personal questions on the stand; imagine what this process would be like for somebody like Michael Jackson who is admittedly shy and whose personal life is always subject to severe media scrutiny.
3) In civil trials the jury’s verdict does not have to be unanimous. If at least 50% of the jurors find the Defendant liable, the Plaintiff will still get money.
4) The Defendant in a civil trial has fewer rights. In criminal law, police must obtain search warrants before searching or seizing items from a person’s property. In civil law, a lawyer may demand information from the defense about any matter relevant to the case. This is known as the discovery process and it does not usually involve the court. Discovery may include: written questions to be answered under oath; oral deposition under oath; requests for pertinent documents; physical or mental examinations where injury is claimed; and requests to admit facts not in dispute. If Jackson had allowed the civil trial to proceed, Larry Feldman would have had access to Jackson’s medical and financial records without obtaining a warrant.
5) The civil trial would have taken months to resolve. Michael Jackson would have been paying millions of dollars in legal fees while at the same time limiting his source of income by putting his career on hold. There was probably also a lot of pressure from his record company to settle the lawsuit because the case was affecting his career.
6) Such a long, drawn out process would have caused Michael Jackson and his family immeasurable amounts of stress. Even after the civil trial was resolved, he would still have the criminal proceedings to contend with. Why go through all of that twice?
7) According to Jackson family attorney Brian Oxman, the negligence allegation included in the lawsuit might have prompted Jackson’s insurance company to force him to settle the case. “I have brought child molestation cases against Defendants and I always include a negligence allegation,” Oxman explained. “That means that the homeowners’ insurance policy takes over and a homeowners’ insurance policy can settle right out from under the Defendant. The Defendant can scream, ‘I will not settle that case,’ and they have no choice because the insurance company settles it.”
For the above reasons, Michael Jackson reluctantly settled the civil lawsuit that had been filed against him.
THE CIVIL SETTLEMENT
For various legal, personal, professional, financial and practical reasons, Michael Jackson settled the civil lawsuit filed against him by his accuser’s family in 1993. The recently leaked settlement document reveals several interesting facts:
1) Michael Jackson denied any wrongdoing.
2) The boy and his parents could have still testified against Jackson in the criminal trial.
3) Jackson only settled over claims of negligence and not over claims of child molestation.
Tabloid reporter Diane Dimond, who leaked the details of the settlement, tried to make it seem as if Jackson admitted to molesting the boy simply because he settled over the negligence allegation. Dimond pointed out that the original lawsuit said: “Defendant Michael Jackson negligently had offensive contacts with plaintiff which were both explicitly sexual and otherwise.” It is clear, however, from the wording of the settlement document, that the “negligence” allegation was redefined:
“Such claims include claims for bodily injuries resulting from negligence; whereas, Evan Chandler has made claims against Jackson for bodily injuries resulting from negligent infliction of emotional distress; whereas, Jordan Chandler has made claims against Jackson for bodily injuries resulting from negligent infliction of emotional distress.”
Negligence has been defined in the settlement as the “infliction of emotional distress”; there is no mention of sexual abuse. Referring to the lawsuit’s definition of “negligence” is inconclusive because each legal document intentionally defines the terms to ensure that there is no misunderstanding. Furthermore, if the negligence allegation was directly related to the child molestation allegations, why did Evan Chandler also claim to be the victim of negligence?
OTHER INTERESTING EXCEPRTS FROM THE DOCUMENT:
“This Confidential Settlement shall not be construed as an admission by Jackson that he has acted wrongfully with respect to the Minor, Evan Chandler or June Chandler, or any other person or at all, or that the Minor, Evan Chandler and June Chandler have any rights whatsoever against Jackson. Jackson specifically disclaims any liability to, and denies any wrongful acts against the Minor, Evan Chandler or June Chandler or any other persons. The Parties acknowledge that Jackson is a public figure and that his name, image and likeness have commercial value and are an important element of his earning capacity. The Parties acknowledge that Jackson claims that he has elected to settle the claims in the Action in view of the impact the Action has had and could have in the future on his earnings and potential income.”
Jackson repeatedly asserts his innocence while the accusing family does not once maintain that the boy’s allegations are true.
“The Parties recognize that the Settlement Payment set forth in this paragraph 3 are in settlement of claims by Jordan Chandler, Evan Chandler and June Chandler for alleged compensatory damages for alleged personal injuries arising out of claims of negligence and not for claims of intentional or wrongful acts of sexual molestation.”
The document states that $15,331,250 was put into a trust fund for Jordan Chandler. Both of his parents, as well as their attorney Larry Feldman, got a cut of the settlement. (Barry Rothman and Dave Schwartz, two principle players in the case who were left out of the settlement, later filed their own individual lawsuits against Jackson). Eight pages detailing the payment were allegedly missing from Dimond’s copy of the settlement but according to Jackson’s current attorney, the negligence allegation included in the lawsuit prompted Jackson’s insurance company to step in and settle the case for him. This means that Jackson might not have paid the Chandlers anything. It also means that the insurance company most likely conducted their own investigation into the allegations and concluded that Jackson did not molest the boy; insurance companies generally do not settle if they believe the Defendant is liable. They will, however, settle for negligent behaviour.
DISMISSAL OF THE ACTION:
The document also shows that the Chandlers dropped the child molestation allegations from their complaint:
“Forthwith upon the signing of this Confidential Settlement by the Parties hereto, the Minor through his Guardian ad Litem shall dismiss, without prejudice, the first through sixth causes of action of the complaint on file in the Action, leaving only the seventh cause of action pending.”
“Upon the full and complete payment of all Settlement Payments… the Minor, through his Guardian ad Litem, shall dismiss the entire action with prejduice.”
The first through sixth causes of action were the sexual abuse allegations; the seventh cause of action was negligence. Again, Jackson settled over the family’s claims of negligence and not over their claims of child molestation.
WAS IT HUSH MONEY?
Finally, the document makes it clear that the Chandlers could have still testified against Jackson in a criminal trial:
“The Minor, by and through his Guardian ad Litem, and Evan Chandler and June Chandler , and each of them individually and on behalf of their respective agents, attorneys, media representatives, partners, heirs, administrators, executors, conservators, successors and assigns, agree not to cooperate with, represent, or provide any information, to any person or entity that initiates any civil claim or action which relates in any manner to the subject matter of the Action against Jackson or any of the Jackson Releases, except as may be required by law.”
The only stipulation in the settlement is that the parties could not testify about the allegations in civil court.
“In the event the Minor, the Minor’s Legal Guardians, the Minor’s Guardian ad Litem, the Minor’s attorneys, Evan Chandler or June Chandler, or any of them individually… receive a subpoena or request for information from any person or entity who has asserted or is investigating, any claim against Jackson… they agree to give notice in writing to Jackson’s attorneys regarding the nature and scope of any such subpoena request for information, to the extent permitted by law. This notice shall be given before responding to the request.”
The above paragraph makes it clear that the Chandlers were not prohibited from testifying against Jackson in a criminal trial, as long as they notified Jackson’s attorneys beforehand. Contrary to popular belief, the settlement did NOT silence anybody. It was the family’s own decision not to testify in the criminal case; they could have gotten money and justice but they only opted to take the money.
Ask yourself this: if your child was molested, would you not do everything in your power to put the person responsible behind bars? The Chandlers did not. Instead, they dropped the claims of child abuse against Jackson, signed a document where he basically called them liars, took his money and refused to talk to authorities. I have already pointed out the numerous reasons why Jackson settled the case; what reason did the Chandlers have to not testify?
One could argue that they did not want to be put through a public trial, however, this assertion does not make sense when you consider the fact that the Chandlers were more than willing to testify in the civil trial. In fact, court documents reveal that the only reason the judge refused to stay the civil proceedings was because Feldman was allegedly worried that Jordan Chandler would forget his story when testifying. Furthermore, Evan Chandler later sued Jackson and asked the court to allow him to produce an album of songs about the allegations. The actions of the Chandlers are not indicative of a family reluctant to tell their story.
For the past ten years, the media have been referring to the settlement as a “pay off” but here is my question: what exactly did Michael Jackson “buy” when he settled the civil lawsuit? How can anyone call it “hush money” when it did not prevent the accuser from testifying against him? How can anyone call it “hush money” when the entire world already knew about the allegations? How can anyone call it “hush money” when there was still an ongoing criminal investigation that was not affected by the civil suit?
Finally, Evan Chandler asked for $20 million before the allegations were reported to authorities. Assuming Michael Jackson had actually molested Jordan Chandler, why did he not take that opportunity to avoid getting caught? He could have paid Evan Chandler and avoided the entire ordeal. Instead, he rejected Chandler’s initial demand for money. If he was guilty, why did he do that?
If it is still your contention that Jackson’s plan was to settle the civil lawsuit in order to bribe the boy into not testifying against him in the criminal trial, can you please explain to me why Michael Jackson asked for the civil trial to be postponed? He wanted the civil trial to take place after the criminal trial was resolved, which means any potential settlement would have been negotiated after Jackson was either acquitted or convicted. This would have made it impossible for him to “bribe” the boy into not testifying. Jackson’s actions contradict the notion that he wanted to buy Jordan Chandler’s silence.
A more logical explanation as to why Michael Jackson settled is that he was innocent and although he initially refused to be blackmailed by Evan Chandler, he had no choice in the end. Once the alleged abuse was brought to the attention of authorities, it suddenly became apparent to Jackson just how ugly things would get. The media went into overkill, the justice system was not working in his favor and the civil lawsuit filed by the Chandlers had backed Jackson into a corner. He could have either gone through with the civil trial and risked a weakened defense in the more important criminal trial or settled the civil lawsuit and risked people thinking he had something to hide. Obviously, Michael Jackson valued his life more than he valued the opinions of other people so he opted to settle the lawsuit.
Once the civil lawsuit was settled, Michael Jackson still had the criminal investigation to contend with.
THE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
– When the boy who accused Michael Jackson of sexual abuse in 1993 refused to cooperate with authorities, the police investigation fell apart.
– Police obtained Jackson’s telephone books and contacted about thirty children and their families. Although investigators allegedly used aggressive interrogation techniques to scare the children into making accusations against Jackson, they still could not find another accuser. All of the children questioned maintained that Jackson had never sexually abused them.
– In an attempt to find corroborating evidence, the Santa Barbara Police Department subjected Jackson to a strip search to see if the description the accuser provided of Jackson’s genitalia was accurate. According to an article from USA Today: “photos of Michael Jackson’s genitalia do not match descriptions given by the boy who accused the singer of sexual misconduct.”
– By February 1994, police still did not have a witness who was willing to testify against Jackson. Investigators consequently turned to the tabloids for leads, contacting several of Jackson’s former employees who had sold their stories to the media. For example, investigators flew to the Philippines to interview the Quindoys, a couple who had told the tabloids that they’d seen Jackson act inappropriately with a child. Police decided that their story was not credible based on the fact that the more money they received, the more salacious their story became.
– Police also got in contact with Blanca Francia, Jackson’s former maid who had sold her story to Hard Copy for $20,000. On December 15 1993, Francia told the tabloid show that she had witnessed Jackson showering with young boys and that she had also seen him act inappropriately with her own son. Francia repeated these statements in a sworn deposition for the Chandlers’ civil lawsuit. While under deposition by one of Jackson’s attorneys, however, Francia admitted that she had exaggerated details during her Hard Copy interview and that the producers had paid her for her story.
– In the mid 90s, Francia threatened to accuse Jackson of molesting her son unless she received money from the Jackson camp. To avoid the negative publicity that would have inevitably resulted from a second child abuse allegation, Jackson’s associates advised him to quietly settle the case. After receiving $2 million from Jackson, Francia did not go forward with the civil lawsuit.
– While Francia seemed more than willing to make accusations against Jackson in exchange for financial compensation, she did not have anything incriminating to reveal when authorities questioned her during the criminal investigation in 1994. Contrary to what she had previously claimed (and to what she would claim in the future), Francia told investigators that her son had repeatedly denied being sexually abused by Jackson. Here is an excerpt from a USA Today article that was published on February 7th, 1994:
Investigators from the county sheriff’s office recently arranged for the 13-year-old son of Jackson’s former maid to see a therapist. The boy was first interviewed by police after his mother told them he had spent time alone with Jackson. According to his mother, the child has repeatedly denied being abused in any way by the pop music star.
The offer of a therapist was made after the woman, an immigrant from Central America, complained about meetings and phone conversations sheriff’s deputies had with the boy while she was not present.
It made her “feel uncomfortable,” she said in a deposition, that she didn’t know what the deputies were talking about with the young boy. When she asked them “who should I talk to” about her concerns, they arranged for the woman and her son to see separate therapists at the county’s expense, she said in the sworn statement.
– In 1994, two grand juries were convened to hear evidence in the Jackson case but no charges were ever brought; in fact, evidence was so scant that prosecutors did not even ask for an indictment. According to a report from CNN that aired on May 2, 1994: “One jury member said no damaging evidence was heard.”
– If the case against Jackson was so weak, why did District Attorney Tom Sneddon spend the next ten years slandering Jackson’s name in the press?
THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY Tom Sneddon
– After having spent millions of dollars on the Michael Jackson investigation in 1993, District Attorney Tom Sneddon did not find enough evidence to bring charges against the pop star.
– Over the next few years, Sneddon and several of his employees made numerous statements to the press where they implied that there was indeed evidence to corroborate Jordan Chandler’s story. They failed to explain, however, why two grand juries did not indict Michael Jackson if such evidence actually existed.
– According to reporter Geraldo Rivera, members of the Santa Barbara Police Department were shown footage of the strip search of Jackson’s genitalia. “I’ve got a videotape that was shown to every cop in Santa Barbara of Michael Jackson’s penis,” Rivera said.
– In 1995, Jackson wrote a song about Tom Sneddon that appeared on his album HIStory: Past, Present and Future Book I. In the song, Jackson claims that he was over-targetted by the DA’s office and accuses Sneddon of being obsessed with attaining political fame.
– Many legal experts dismissed the idea that Sneddon would prosecute Jackson solely for his own self-aggrandizement but perhaps there are other motives involved. According to Thambiah Sundaram, a dentist who filed and won a lawsuit against Santa Barbara prosecutors in 1996, the commercial prospects of Neverland might be one factor influencing authorities relentless pursuit of Jackson.
– In 1994, Sundaram attended a private fundraising event where he allegedly heard Sneddon discuss a plan to run Jackson out of Santa Barbara and turn Neverland into a winery. According to Sundaram, Sneddon planned to do this by finding another child to accuse Jackson of sexual abuse. While Sundaram’s allegations are difficult to prove or disprove at this point, it is a widely known fact that winemaking is the leading agricultural industry in Santa Barbara, accounting for about $360 million of the county’s annual economy. The Santa Ynez Valley, where Jackson owns almost 3,000 acres of land, is particularly well suited for growing grapes because of its ideal climate and soil conditions. Numerous wineries located in the Santa Ynez Valley are looking to expand but there isn’t enough available land in the area to do so.
– Whether or not Sundaram’s allegations have any merit remains to be seen, but there are other facts that point to Sneddon having a vendetta against Michael Jackson. Sneddon said in a press conference that after 1993, he changed certain California laws pertaining to child molestation specifically because of the Michael Jackson case.
– In 1995, Sneddon told Vanity Fair magazine: “The state of the investigation [of Jackson] is in suspension until somebody comes forward.”
– Upon viewing the Living with Michael Jackson documentary that aired in February 2003, Sneddon saw an opportunity to re-open the case. In a press statement released on February 6, 2003, Sneddon said: “After conversations with Sheriff Jim Anderson, it was agreed that the BBC broadcast would be taped by the Sheriff’s Department. It is anticipated that it will be reviewed.”
– Regarding Jackson’s comments that there is nothing wrong with sharing a bedroom with a child, Sneddon replied by saying it was, “unusual at best. For this reason, all local departments having responsibility in this are taking the matter seriously.” He then urged any victims to come forward.
– Shortly after this statement was released, Sneddon gave an interview to tabloid reporter Diane Dimond where he discussed the 1993 case.
– Coincidentally, the boy who appeared in Living with Michael Jackson – the documentary that Sneddon taped and watched – is the same boy who ended up becoming Jackson’s second accuser. Did Sneddon have something to do with this boy coming forward?
– During his testimony at a pre-trial hearing, Sneddon admitted to having met with the second accuser’s mother in an empty parking lot to give her papers that would qualify her for a state victim’s fund. He also personally investigated the second set of allegations against Michael Jackson, a job that is supposed to be carried out by investigators.
– Linda Fairstein, a leading sex crimes prosecutor, said of Sneddon’s actions: “It’s way too personal. It’s way out of line. If he does any substantive parts of an investigation, he may become a witness in the case.” She continued: “It lets these very talented defense attorneys take him apart before the jury and explain that it’s not his place to do that. He creates trouble in and out of the courtroom for himself by taking on that role.”