Since his acquittal over ten years ago, along with his untimely death, the Michael Jackson trial of 2005 has become irrelevant, and it stayed that way for a long time. Until last year, when tabloid news site radaronline decided to dig up this long dead horse, and proceeded to beat the rotting remains senseless. They story they decided to publish proclaimed that gruesome child and animal torture porn had been found during the police raid of Neverland Ranch back in 2003. And, of course, Breitbart and The Huffington Post jumped on the bandwagon and reported the story as fact. Last June, when this "story" broke, many simply believed it without question, and probably still believe that Michael Jackson did own gruesome pornography because they saw it on the internet. And this is why I feel the need to defend Michael Jackson, not as a "fan", but because those who actually knew and loved him, friends, siblings, as well as his children, shouldn't have to deal with this blatant slander nearly a decade after losing a loved one. And make no mistake, the allegations of child molestation against Michael Jackson are fictitious slander, and nothing more.
As for the recent "discovery" reported by radaronline, simple logic and basic knowledge should dictate that something is wrong here. Had any gruesome kiddie-animal torture porn had been found in Neverland Ranch, there would have been no need for a trial, because owning child pornography is a federal offense on it's own. Not to mention the fact that none of this supposed gruesome pornography was entered into evidence or used in court. And to make it worse, shortly after the online frenzy, the Santa Barbara county sheriff came forward and stated emphatically that no kiddie porn was found in Michael Jackson's mansion. Michael Jackson DID own porn, he had multiple issues of Playboy and Hustler magazine, as well as a Pornhub account, which are not uncommon for a heterosexual male to have. Already the levels of incompetence on the part of the press are dangerously high, and I haven't even gotten into the trial yet.
Michael Jackson with Jordan Chandler, 1993
However, before going on to the trial, I would like to briefly address the allegations made in 1993, which were settled out of court for roughly 20 million dollars. In all fairness, it is easy to understand someone seeing this as Michael Jackson paying off a victim, however, a little context changes all of that. The settlement was actually requested by the boys father, Evan Chandler, who threatened to go public with the allegations unless Michael Jackson paid him. Jackson initially refused, and so the frenzy began. When the allegations became public, Michael Jackson was on tour for his album, Dangerous. During this period, he was being pressured by his peers and record company to settle so that the rest of the second leg of the tour wouldn't have to be cancelled, and he wouldn't have to let down millions of fans. During the frenzy, Michael Jackson was forced to undergo a humiliating strip-search, where he had his penis photographed by police for signs of discoloration due to vitiligo(a skin disorder which caused his skin to become lighter over time). The media perpetuated the myth that the description that Jordy Chandler, the accuser, provided was accurate. Jordy Chandler's description did not match, as the Chandlers personally withheld the description from evidence in their civil case against Jackson. Along with this, it is a FACT that Jordy only "confessed" about the abuse after being drugged by his father, who was a dentist. To make it worse, a leaked phone call shows Evan Chandler as a cold, calculating individual rather than a concerned parent, stating "This man is going to be humiliated beyond belief... He will not sell one more record... If I go through with this I will win big time... I will get everything I want." It was only under the pressure from his peers and record company, as well as a worsening painkiller addiction, that Michael Jackson gave the Chandler family what they wanted. While others ask why would an innocent man settle, I ask this: what kind of father puts a price on the well being of his own child, while letting the molester go free to molest other children? It simply doesn't make sense. These allegations are necessary to talk about, because had they not been made, the trial in 2005 might not have happened.
The trial wasn't simply a case of lack of evidence, as others would like you to believe. Instead, the actual trial was a complete circus, with a prosecution that was grasping at straws for anything they could use as evidence against Jackson. The prosecution stumbled trying to pinpoint Jackson to the crime, going so far as to change the time period of the alleged molestation of the accuser, Gavin Arvizo, after learning that Jackson had an alibi. To make it even worse, the prosecution blatantly tampered with evidence, with Santa Barbara district attorney Tom Sneddon taking an adult magazine out of a bag, handing it to Gavin, who was not wearing gloves at the time, and then sending it off for fingerprint analysis. As for the accusers claims against Jackson, the case had no legs to stand on, with Gavin and his brother, Starr(who had apparently witnessed two acts of molestation) having inconsistent testimony, and being completely discredited during cross examination by defense attorney Tom Mesereau. When the judge allowed the prosecution to submit evidence of prior bad acts after it became clear that the Arvizo's allegations would get them nowhere, the prosecution became even more discredited. During this period, the prosecution brought in witnesses who told outrageous stories about how they had witnessed certain children, including Macaulay Culkin and Brett Barnes, being molested by Michael Jackson while they worked at Neverland. They did this all without bringing in Jackson's supposed victims. Why? Because nearly all of the victims, besides Jordy Chandler, had previously came in as witnesses for the defense and adamantly stated that Michael Jackson never touched them. The prosecution attempted to get Jordy Chandler to testify, but he chose to flee the country rather than testify against Jackson. His mother stated that they had not spoken in eleven years. On top of that, the defense had individuals who knew Jordy, who were apparently told by him that he would "never forgive his parents" for what they made him say. Along with this, the Arvizo family was found to have made extortion attempts against J.C. Penny, Jay Leno, and Chris Tucker, who were all nothing compared to how much colder hard cash Michael Jackson, a man who owned half of Sony, the Beatles and Elvis catalogues, was worth. Those not guilty verdicts are starting to make more sense now, aren't they?
Unfortunately, the trial the media reported was far from what really happened in the courtroom. Not just American tabloids, not just the vultures that are the British press, but major news stations ran non-stop coverage of the trial. A terrorist attack in Turkey went almost entirely unnoticed my the media, with only CNN broadcasting the White House press conference on the attack, because apparently what Michael Jackson has in his mansion is more important than people's lives. During this time, the only things that were made known to the public were the details of the allegations, with the subsequent cross examinations being ignored almost entirely in favor of making fun of Jackson for appearing in pajamas in court after having to be rushed there from the hospital after slipping in the shower. But when those 14 consecutive not guilty verdicts were delivered, the media was embarrassed. Chances of months, perhaps years of headlines about Jackos time in prison, how he was doing, who he was cellmates with, were destroyed. They instead chose to ignore the not guilty verdicts and continue to vilify Jackson as a child molester who only got off because of fame. The media's coverage of the trial was disgraceful. Journalistic integrity means nothing as long as it increases ratings or sales.
When those not guilty verdicts were delivered, Michael Jackson should have felt vindicated. The trial was largely one sided in his favor, his family was there with him. His friends, Macaulay Culkin, Chris Tucker, and Brett Barnes had defended him. He would be able to continue raising his own children. But he didn't. Besides a planned and heavily rehearsed comeback tour, he remained reclusive.
As we all know, Michael Jackson is long dead. He died on June 25, 2009. The weeks following his death were filled with tributes and mourning, normal things when an important figure passes away. Towards the end of his funeral, someone came to the stand. For years, Michael Jackson had his children wear masks when they were in public with him, so that they wouldn't be followed or harassed by the press, so that they could have the normal childhood he felt he was deprived of. For the first time, no masks, his daughter Paris, spoke. "I just wanted to say, ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you can imagine. And I just want to say, I love him."
Had the trial been covered differently, perhaps Michael Jackson would still be with us. These kids would have a father. His mother would have her child. The rest of the Jacksons would have their brother. Perhaps if we had put journalistic integrity over celebrity sensationalism, this could have turned out differently.