In 2004, Michael Jackson was arraigned on seven counts of child molestation and two counts of administering an “intoxicating agent with intent to commit a felony” in 2003 at his ranch, Neverland, which he had converted into a mini Disneyland for kids. Jackson’s accuser was Gavin Arvitzio, a 13-year-old boy he befriended while the child was recovering from cancer in 2003.
The People v. Jackson trial began on January 31, 2005, in California, and immediately became a media circus. Among the shocking allegations that came out at the trial was the fact that Jackson allegedly gave Arvitzio wine in Coke cans on a flight from Florida in February 2003, which the singer reportedly nicknamed “Jesus juice.”
On June 13, 2005, Jackson was acquitted on all counts.
Here’s what the jury didn’t see:
The naked photographs
Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville ruled off-limits two photographs of naked boys that were seized at Neverland during the child-molestation investigation of Jackson in 1993. The boys, who apparently were in suggestive positions, were unidentified.
The penis portraits
Jordie Chandler, the 13-year-old who had accused Jackson of child molestation back in 1993, gave police a description of Jackson’s private parts, and a strip search reportedly revealed that Jordan had correctly described markings on Jackson’s penis and testicles. Jordan had also allegedly drawn accurate pictures of Jackson’s intimate areas that were collected by police during their investigation into Jackson and Chandler’s allegedly inappropriate relationship. This reportedly gave the boy’s lawyers the ammunition they needed to negotiate a $22 million out of court settlement with Chandler’s family.
Jurors learned that Jackson settled with Chandler and a 1994 accuser, a housekeeper’s son who told jurors Jackson groped him during tickle games over a span of several years. He also testified that Jackson gave him $100 on the first two incidents, and nothing the third time. But the judge ruled that the dollar amounts — $22 million to Chandler’s family and $2.4 million to the housekeeper’s son — would not be revealed to the jury.
The Vaseline delivery
Former Jackson security guard Kassim Abdool told jurors that he and fellow security guard Ralph Chacon were working the graveyard shift one night, and they witnessed Jackson and Jordan Chandler going into the Jacuzzi, wearing their swimming trunks. Later that night, he said he observed Jackson carrying Chandler on his back into the main house and then — when Abdool went back to the bathroom area — he claimed to have noticed that both Jackson’s and Jordan’s swimming trunks were on the floor. But jurors were not allowed to hear Abdool’s account of an evening when he delivered a jar of Vaseline to the sweaty, naked pop star, who was entertaining Chandler in his bedroom.
The bodyguard who said he saw a boy drink booze from a soda can
Chris Carter worked as a bodyguard for Jackson from August 2002 to August 2003. Before the trial, he testified to a grand jury that he saw Jackson and a boy drinking alcohol from a soda can on a flight from Miami to Santa Barbara in early 2003, according to transcripts. But Carter, who was facing armed-robbery and bank-robbing charges in Nevada, promised to plead the Fifth. Prosecutors did not call him.
Melville concluded that the testimony from Ian Drew, an editor for Us Weekly, would have been of dubious value. The journalist had told investigators that Ronald Konitzer, formerly one of Jackson’s top assistants and one of five uncharged alleged coconspirators, told him in February 2003 that a scheduled interview with the alleged victim’s family was off. “I was told they had disappeared,” Drew said in court. “I believe the word ‘escaped’ was used.” But the judge determined that Drew could legitimately refuse to answer almost every question by citing California’s shield law. Also, Drew told the judge that he may not have heard Konitzer say “escaped.”
“I was on deadline trying to get a story done,” he said. “I remember the tone of the conversation more than his exact words.”
Battle of the books
The defense wanted to call librarian Mary Minow to analyze the singer’s book shelves and testify about the artistic merits of such books as Boys Will Be Boys and The Boy: A Photographic Essay. In response, prosecutors wanted to put FBI Special Agent Ken Lanning, who specializes in pedophile profiling, on the stand to testify that the reading materials could also be used to arouse young boys. Both sides agreed to pull their experts.
Princess Diana’s cousin
Michael Jackson’s “hide and seek” games with the five-year-old son of a duke did not come into play when the judge denied testimony from Alexander Charles David Francis George Edward William Kimble Drogo Montagu, who also goes by Alexander Montagu Manchester — the 13th Duke of Manchester and cousin of Princess Diana. The duke claims that after a family visit to Neverland, Jackson would call his Newport Beach, California, home at all hours, crying and asking to see his “hide and seek” partner.
Celebrity character witnesses
The defense wanted to put Jackson pals on the stand, including Elizabeth Taylor, Stevie Wonder, and Deepak Chopra. But the judge warned that this could open the door to testimony that the prosecution wanted to bring in about other young boys purportedly molested by Jackson, which had been excluded earlier in the trial, becoming admissible.
Prosecutors wanted to let jurors hear about an incident during which Jackson dangled his own son, Prince Michael II, from a hotel balcony in Germany in 2002, arguing that it showed he had been “reckless in his care and treatment of his own children,” as well as a television interview in which Jackson’s sister LaToya said she saw a payment of $1 million made to the family of a boy “for purposes of buying silence,” according to the motion.
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Main photo: Michael Jackson [Santa Barbara Police Department]