Now for the shortly awaited second part. I’ve added emphasis on this part in bolded italics with a following “[e.a.]” for “emphasis added.” Part two starts off with Barry Rothman and ends with The Media Gets the Story.
To give the reader an idea of the personalities involved in bringing these allegations against Michael Jackson, we need to include a bit of background about Barry Rothman, the attorney Evan Chandler hired. Much material is available on this man and his reputation, but Mary A. Fischer did an exceptional job of painting a vivid picture of Rothman in her 1994 GQ article, “Was Michael Jackson Framed?” Fischer gathered much of her information from Geraldine Hughes, Barry Rothman’s legal secretary during the time of the Chandler allegations. Here is just a portion of what Fischer reported:
Former employees say they sometimes had to beg for their paychecks. And sometimes the checks that they did get would bounce. He couldn’t keep legal secretaries. “He’d demean and humiliate them,” says one. Temporary workers fared the worst. “He would work them for two weeks,” adds the legal secretary, “then run them off by yelling at them and saying they were stupid. Then he’d tell the agency he was dissatisfied with the temp and wouldn’t pay.
The [California] state bar’s 1992 disciplining of Rothman grew out of a conflict-of-interest matter. A year earlier, a client, Muriel Metcalf, whom he’d been representing in child-support and custody proceedings, had kicked Rothman off a case; Metcalf later accused him of padding her bill. Four months after Metcalf fired him, Rothman, without notifying her, began representing the company of her estranged companion, Bob Brutzman.Jackson scandal. Metcalf, while Rothman was still representing her, had accused Brutzman of molesting their child (which Brutzman denied). Rothman’s knowledge of Metcalf’s charges didn’t prevent him from going to work for Brutzman’s company—a move for which he was disciplined.
The case is revealing for another reason: It shows that Rothman had some experience dealing with child-molestation allegations before the
Evan Chandler was recorded saying about his attorney:
“[t]here 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.”
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 smart and he’s hungry for publicity[e.a.].
Prior to July 15, 1993, Barry Rothman contacted psychiatrist Mathis Abrams, M.D. and described—in his own words and hypothetically—the relationship between Michael and Jordie. Note that Dr. Abrams did not examine Jordie or Michael and did not speak with Evan Chandler in rendering an opinion[e.a.]. Dr. Abrams did, however, state that if the hypothetical were real, he would be required to report the matter. But based solely upon the attorney’s description to Dr. Abrams, the psychiatrist produced a letter indicating that a “reasonable suspicion exists that sexual abuse may have occurred.”[i]
Evan Implements His Plan
Shortly after learning of June’s plans to join Michael on the tour—and after having had the revealing telephone conversation with David Schwartz cited earlier—Evan asked June if he could keep Jordie for a few days. Even though June had been granted sole custody of Jordie years earlier, the couple had had an amicable visitation schedule up to this point. Evan took possession of Jordie on July 11, 1993, and Rothman made a professional promise to return Jordie a week later. This promise may help to explain why June would have allowed her son to join Evan, given Evan’s increasingly threatening behavior prior to his request. Not surprisingly, given both Mr. Rothman’s reputation and the obvious malicious intent that Evan had expressed in the telephone call, Evan refused to return Jordie after one week as agreed.
While it is unclear exactly when Evan Chandler made his initial demand for $20 million from Michael Jackson, it is implied in his phone conversation with David Schwartz that Evan was planning on making the demand as early as July 9, 1993. Specifically, during the conversation, Chandler said:
Let me put it to you this way: I have a set routine of words that I’m going to go in there that have been rehearsed and I’m going to say. Okay? Because I don’t want to say anything that could be used against me. So I know exactly what I can say. That’s why I’m bringing the tape recorder. I have some things on paper to show a few people — and that’s it. My whole part is going to take two or three minutes, and I’m going to turn around [tape irregularity], and that’s it. There’s not going to be anything said, other than what I’ve been told to say – and I’m going to turn around and leave, and they’re going to have a decision to make. And based on that decision, I’ll decide whether or not we’re going to talk again or whether it’s going to go further. I have to make a phone call. As soon as I leave the house, I get on the telephone. I make a phone call. Say “Go” or I say, “Don’t go yet,” and that’s – the way it’s gonna to be. I’ve been told what to do, and I have to do it. I’m not — I happen to know what’s going to be going on, see? They don’t have to say anything to me. [Tape irregularity “you have refused to listen to me. Now you’re going to have to listen to me. This is my position. Give it a thought.” “Think it over.” I’m not saying anything bad about anybody, okay? I’ve got it all on paper. I’m going to hand out the paper so that I don’t inadvertently [tape irregularity], handing out the paper, “Michael, here’s your paper. June, here’s your paper.” [e.a.]
Rothman had previously warned Evan about the allegations: “[y]ou open your mouth and you blow it, just don’t come back to me.”[ii]
In attempting to explain his actions Evan stated:
All I can think about is, I only have one goal, and the goal is to get their attention – so that [tape irregularity] concerns are, and as long as they don’t want to talk to me, I can’t tell them what my concerns are, so I have to go step by step, each time escalating the attention-getting mechanism, and that’s all I regard him as, as an attention-getting mechanism. Unfortunately, after that, it’s totally out of [tape irregularity]. It’ll take on so much momentum of its own that it’s going to be out of all our control. It’s going to be monumentally huge, and I’m not going to have any way to stop it. No one else is either at that point. . . . To go beyond tomorrow, that would mean I have done every possible thing in my individual power to tell them to sit down and talk to me; and if they still [tape irregularity], I got to escalate the attention-getting mechanism. He’s the next one. I can’t go to somebody nice [tape irregularity]. It doesn’t work with them. I already found that out. Get some niceness and just go fuck yourself [e.a.].
In an apparent attempt to present a fair and balanced approach to the evidence, Diane Dimond was constrained to admit that, before any allegations were made public, Evan’s diary recorded a demand of $20,000,000 [e.a.] .[iii]
Geraldine Hughes speculates that the discussions between Rothman/Chandler and Pellicano/Jackson at this time focused upon the amount of time Michael was spending with Jordie [e.a.]. It’s feasible that Michael may have felt guilt that the time he spent with Jordie was causing a rift in the family.[iv] Financing a film would presumably allow Jordie and Evan to spend time together as they had on Robin Hood: Men in Tights.
By his own words, Evan intimated as much. In the taped conversation referenced earlier,[v] Evan was recorded saying:
MR. CHANDLER: Let me put it to you this way, Dave. Nobody in this world was allowed to come between this family of June, me and Jordy. That was the hard [tape irregularity] be the opposite. That’s evil. That’s one reason why he’s evil. I spoke to him about it, Dave. I even told him that [tape irregularity] the family [e.a.].
MR. SCHWARTZ: When did you talk to him?
MR. CHANDLER: About that?
MR. SCHWARTZ: Yeah.
MR. CHANDLER: Months ago. When I first met him I told him that.
MR. SCHWARTZ: Yeah.
MR. CHANDLER: That’s the law. That’s the first thing he knew. Nobody’s allowed to do that. Now there’s no family anymore [e.a.].
Dave Schwartz continued to press Evan about his opinions and the following exchange took place:
MR. SCHWARTZ: So why do you think he’s not nice?
MR. CHANDLER: Why? Because he broke up the family, that’s why [e.a.].
Getting to the heart of the matter, David Schwartz asked, “I mean, do you think that he’s fucking him?” Evan responded, “I don’t know. I have no idea.”[vi]
As previously stated, Evan Chandler had been able to procure a report from Mathis Abrams on July 15 1993 through a single discussion between Dr. Abrams and Barry Rothman.[vii] However, Jordie had not confirmed that there was anything unusual about his friendship with Michael. That all changed on August 2, 1993.
Almost a year after the Chandlers made their allegations, on May 3, 1994, an investigative reporter from KCBS-TV, in L.A., reported that Chandler had used the drug sodium amytal on his son to pull Jordie’s tooth on August 2, 1993. The reporter stated that while under the drug’s influence, the boy first voiced allegations of molestation.[viii] Mark Torbiner was the dental anesthesiologist who assisted Evan Chandler with the procedure. Torbiner introduced Chandler to Rothman in 1991, when Rothman needed dental work.[ix] When asked whether he had used the drug on Jordie, he replied: “[i]f I used it, it was for dental purposes.”[x] Evan Chandler has since confirmed that he used the drug, but claimed that it was used solely for dental purposes.[xi]
Again, Mary A. Fischer’s GQ article provides some valuable background about the drug:
‘It’s a psychiatric medication that cannot be relied on to produce fact,’ says Dr. Resnick, the Cleveland psychiatrist. ‘People are very suggestible under it. People will say things under sodium Amytal that are blatantly untrue.’ Sodium Amytal is a barbiturate, an invasive drug that puts people in a hypnotic state when it’s injected intravenously.
Primarily administered for the treatment of amnesia, it first came into use during World War II, on soldiers traumatized—some into catatonic states—by the horrors of war. Scientific studies done in 1952 debunked the drug as a truth serum and instead demonstrated its risks: False memories can be easily implanted in those under its influence. ‘It is quite possible to implant an idea through the mere asking of a question,’ says Resnick. But its effects are apparently even more insidious: ‘The idea can become their memory, and studies have shown that even when you tell them the truth, they will swear on a stack of Bibles that it happened,’ says Resnick [e.a.].
In an example of sodium amytal use gone awry, in 1990, 19-year-old Holly Ramona sought therapy for depression and bulimia. In the course of psychiatric treatment using sodium amytal, she recovered memories of being sexually abused by her father, a top executive at Robert Mondavi Winery, from age 5 to 16.[xii] Her psychiatrist, Dr. Richard Rose, wrote in his notes that the sodium amytal helped Holly “remember specific details of sexual molestation.”[xiii]
Gary Ramona was charged with repeated rape and sexual abuse of his daughter—including anal intercourse and forced copulation with the family dog. In 1991, he filed his own lawsuit against his daughter’s therapists for planting false memories in his daughter’s mind. In the ensuing trial, Martin Orne, a University of Pennsylvania psychiatrist who pioneered research of hypnosis and sodium amytal, wrote in a court brief that:
the drug is ‘not useful in ascertaining ‘truth’ [e.a.] . . . The patient becomes sensitive and receptive to suggestions due to the context and to the comments of the interviewers.’ Dr. Lenore Terr, a prominent defender of recovered memories and a chief witness for the defense, admitted under questioning that at least one of Holly’s ‘flashbacks’—of being forced to perform oral sex on the family dog—was dubious.
Mr. Ramona’s civil suit was successful. Criminal charges were withdrawn.
During a later interview with psychiatrist Richard Gardner, Jordie Chandler recalled the first time that he told his father about the alleged sexual abuse. His story corroborates the use of sodium amytal by his father. “[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 all right—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.”[xiv]
Evan’s Negotiations Begin
On August 4, 1993, Evan Chandler and his son met with Jackson and Pellicano in a suite at the Westwood Marquis Hotel. In greeting Michael, Chandler gave the singer an affectionate hug, an odd gesture, given that only two days before, Evan had extracted not only Jordie’s tooth, but also a claim that Jordie had been molested by Michael Jackson [e.a.]. Evan then reached into his pocket, pulled out Abrams’s letter (written back in July, based on Rothman’s description of a hypothetical relationship between Michael and Jordie), and began reading passages from it.[xv] .[xvi] Mr.The meeting lasted less than five minutes and ended with Evan threatening that he would ruin Michael [e.a.].[xvii] Such an arrangement would have made Michael Jackson and Evan Chandler business partners. Again, an odd proposition if Jordie had been molested [e.a.].
According to Anthony Pellicano, it was at this time that Evan voiced his demand for $20 million Chandler wanted Michael to set him up as a screenwriter or would accuse him of molestation. The $20 million demand would finance four movies with $5 million for each movie.
Critics have suggested that given Pellicano’s reputation, it was odd that he did not record this conversation. However, the more relevant question here is why, if he was pursuing claims of child molestation, did Evan Chandler’s counsel or the police not attend the meeting? And of course, why would he have hugged his son’s alleged molester? Pellicano later remarked, “[i]f I believed somebody molested my kid and I got that close to him, I’d be on death row right now.”[xviii]
After Michael’s refusal of Evan’s demand, on August 5, 1993, Evan wrote a retroactive letter to Barry Rothman justifying the pre-suit demand for a financial settlement rather than a trial and “outlining his intention if Michael decided not to pay the $20 million” demand.[xix] In the letter, Evan wrote, “I believed that Michael was a kind, sensitive, compassionate person who made a mistake in judgment born out of an honest love for Jordie.”[xx] He claimed that he subsequently realized that he was wrong. Interesting that he would place this in a note to his attorney after his personal negotiations failed [e.a.]. Regarding the settlement negotiation attended by Michael, Jordie, Evan, and Anthony Pellicano, Evan wrote that if there was a criminal trial and Jordie were called as a witness, he would eagerly testify.[xxi]
On August 7, 1993, Evan Chandler brought an action in the family Court seeking a modification of the custody agreement. Evan wanted full custody of Jordie with June Chandler limited to visitation. Further, Evan wanted Michael Jackson’s access to Jordie to be limited [e.a.] (If your child is in a suspected dangerous situation you want access limited, but not banned?). Anthony Pellicano later said that Evan Chandler and Barry Rothman threatened to assert the child molestation claims in the custody action.[xxii] While access to records in family proceedings is limited to the parties or their attorneys, had such criminal conduct been alleged in the custody matter, the presiding judge would have been forced to report the matter to authorities.
On August 12, 1993, Evan Chandler told June Chandler about his discussions with Jordie and the allegations of molestation.[xxiii] June called Evan that evening to say that she believed Evan had “coerced” Jordie into making these allegations.[xxiv]
In 1992, using U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data on reports of abuse, the Center For Child Abuse/Neglect, National Center For Child Abuse and Neglect determined that of more than 500,000 reported cases, only 128,000 were substantiated. The remaining were unsubstantiated or false.[xxv] The rate of false claims was exponentially higher in divided families where the child was exposed to influence by a parent in a position of authority.[xxvi] The Los Angeles Times reported, “[i]n 1992, the Orange County Child Abuse Registry received 9,191 suspected cases of child sexual abuse. It is estimated that as many as one-third of these cases arise out of child custody disputes. When the registry receives these types of allegations, it proceeds cautiously, knowing full well that even if the allegation were untrue, the person’s reputation could be irreparably damaged and the life of the child and his or her family could be significantly disrupted.”[xxvii]
According to Anthony Pellicano and as detailed in Diane Dimond’s book, the counter-offer on the $20 million demand that Rothman and Chandler made of Michael Jackson was three movies to be financed by Fox Entertainment.[xxviii] One would wonder about the nature of the claims at this time. That is, why would Michael make an offer involving a reputable company like Fox Entertainment if Evan had already made a threat involving child molestation [e.a.]?
On August 13, 1993, Pellicano met with Barry Rothman for another attempt at settlement. After the meeting, Pellicano stormed out and was overhead to say, “[n]o way” . . . “that’s extortion.”[xxix] However, negotiations continued—with Michael offering three film scripts at $350,000 each—with a promise that major studios would review them.[xxx] The next day, Barry Rothman made a counter-demand seeking $15 million for a three-movie deal.[xxxi] Through investigator Anthony Pellicano, Michael counter-offered a one-movie deal with financing of $350,000. Anthony Pellicano did record an August 17, 1993 conversation with Barry Rothman. However, neither man mentioned molestation or extortion [e.a.].[xxxii]
In that discussion, Pellicano says:
Pellicano: If I were his lawyer right now in your position I would say here’s what you should do, ‘look, you should take this deal, get the money, put together a dynamite screenplay, show them that you can do it’ and then say look, ‘if I deliver and this thing is going to make money, I want another deal.’
Rothman: Well that’s a put, I mean it’s an option. . . . But it’s not a guarantee, it’s an option.
It is unknown whether the conversations before the actual August 4, 1993 demand involved any claim of molestation. Rather, as suggested earlier, it may have been that Evan blamed Michael for the breaking up of his family, something Michael may have felt warranted an opportunity for father and son to share time together by co-writing another screenplay. According to Geraldine Hughes, the counteroffer was based upon such concerns and expressly sought to resolve the custody issues and allow Evan Chandler time with his son.[xxxiii] Evan Chandler’s comments during the July 7, 1993 telephone conversation certainly imply that he was concerned about the breaking up of his family and less concerned about Jordie. In either case, the initial discussions were clearly not for compensatory damages for causing personal injuries to Jordie Chandler (in other words, for molesting him), but rather for the financing of future screenplays to be authored by Evan and presumably Jordie Chandler. That certainly changed on August 4, 1993, when Evan Chandler disclosed the Mathis Abrams letter [e.a.].
Since Evan continued his refusal to return Jordie to his mother—as he had agreed to do a month earlier—June Chandler, through her attorney Michael Freeman, brought a motion to have the child returned to her. The motion was done by an emergency application, which is an order to show cause and required an appearance before the Court on August 17, 1993. When a motion is made by this method, the court will typically require the opposing party to demonstrate why an order should not be issued granting the relief sought by the moving party; in this case, Evan Chandler would need to demonstrate why Jordie shouldn’t be returned to his legal home with his mother.
In his opposing papers, Evan did not claim that there was any child sexual abuse, a fact that would certainly have demonstrated good cause for not returning Jordie.[xxxvi] Therefore, the Court ordered that Evan return Jordie to his mother by the evening of August 17, 1993, and refused Evan’s request that June be prevented from allowing Jordie to spend time with Michael Jackson.
Evan then pulled the trigger and implemented the plan he alluded to.
On August 17, 1993, instead of returning Jordie to his mother, Evan took his son to psychiatrist Mathis Abrams where Evan (not Jordie) is said to have re-counted acts of molestation that allegedly occurred to his son at the hands of Michael Jackson [e.a.]. It’s important to remember that these allegations were not placed in the court records in opposition to June Chandler’s motion for the return of her son. Upon hearing the claims, the psychiatrist reported the allegations to the Department of Children and Family Services (“DCFS”), which he was required by law to do. The DCFS reported the claim to police who began an investigation.[xxxvii]
The Media Gets the Story
Since events reported to the DCFS may be criminal in nature, the two agencies have a close working relationship; the police are at the disposal of the DCFS. Within days of the interview, the DFCS reports were leaked to tabloid reporter, Diane Dimond of Hard Copy. In 1993, Hard Copy was considered, “one of the most aggressively shoddy and dishonest programs on the air.”[xxxviii] At the time, Ms. Dimond stated, “[i]t was either going to be a superstar being falsely accused or it was going to be a superstar perhaps guilty of one of the most heinous crimes we know. So either way I couldn’t lose.”[xxxix]
After the 1993 leak, a high-profile unit was created to ensure confidentiality for high-profile persons such as celebrities and politicians.
On August 23-24, 1993, Los Angeles police conducted a search of Neverland ranch and Michael’s Century City condominium.[xl] Local news affiliate, K-NBC ran the story noting only that Neverland had been searched. On August 24, 1993, Anthony Pellicano stepped forward to release the details and publicly announce that the complaint arose from an extortion attempt gone awry.[xli] According to Barry Rothman’s legal secretary’s August 24, 1993 diary entry, Geraldine Hughes overheard Evan Chandler say, “I almost had a $20 million deal” [e.a.].[xlii]
During the search, the sheriffs seized two photographic essay books. The first, called The Boy: A Photographic Essay, was an art book depicting photos taken in 1963 during the shooting of the movie Lord of the Flies. In the book, Michael inscribed, “[l]ook at the true spirit and happiness on the faces of these boys. This is the spirit of boyhood, the childhood I never had. This is the life I want for my children. MJ.” A second book, Boys Will Be Boys, contained the inscription: “To Michael: From your fan, Rhonda. Love XXXOOO ♥ Rhonda – 1983, Chicago.” There was no evidence that Michael had ever opened this book [e.a.].
It is significant to mention that the mere possession of child pornography is a federal crime.[xliii] Many states also have criminal statutes for the possession and distribution of child pornography. If the books had been pornographic in nature or substance, prosecution would have been inevitable [e.a].
The police also seized videotapes. However, as early as August 26, 1993, the Los Angeles Times was reporting that the videotapes did not demonstrate criminality.[xliv]
On August 25, 1993, young friends such as Wade Robson were coming to the aid of Michael. Similarly, Michael’s representatives reported the extortion attempts by the accuser’s father.[xlv] (It’s interesting to note that major media outlets didn’t cover the reports of the people defending Michael Jackson.) Also on August 26, 1993, Geraldine Hughes wrote in her diary that she overheard Evan Chandler state, “[i]t’s my ass that’s on the line and in danger of going to prison” [e.a.].
At some point, June decided to join Evan Chandler’s efforts against Michael. Michael had ceased speaking to June due to his concerns about Evan’s behavior [e.a.] (So Michael breaks it off and June is so bitter, she feels the need to join Evan in the demonic attempt to destroy Michael. Well it seems like he got June out of the clutches of Michael, so why the drive to still go after him?). Diane Dimond suggests that the change of heart may have been the result of fear that Evan could target her as well if she did not agree with him.[xlvi]
Once the DCFS became involved, Jordie’s parents retained attorney Gloria Allred to protect his interests. On September 3, 1993, she stated that Jordie “is ready. He is willing. He is able to testify. He is looking forward to his day in court.”[xlvii] However, on September 10, 1993,[xlviii] she “suddenly left the case without explanation. Some pundits took that to mean Allred saw no case.”[xlix] June Chandler recalled that Ms. Allred was the attorney of record for “two seconds.”[l]
Gloria Allred “always was a publicity-seeker, but she also was tough and passionate and smart.”[li] Smart is the operative word here. Allred is not known for walking away from a case that shows real potential; with that in mind, it’s interesting that she chose to walk away from the Jordie Chandler case in 1993 [e.a.].
On September 7, 1993, the LA Police Department contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for its assistance in their investigation of Michael Jackson.[lii] Pursuant to a request under the Freedom of Information Act, the FBI released its files to the public on December 22, 2009. The FBI files consist of fifty-six (56) pages of materials reflecting their involvement from September 16, 1993 to August 8, 1994, nine (9) pages from September 2, 1993 to October 22, 1993 and eight (8) pages from October 30, 1995 through January 24, 1997.[liii] A thorough review of the FBI file revealed that other than the accuser in 1993 and 2005, both of which shared the same lawyer and psychiatrist, none of the other claims were taken seriously.
On September 14, 1993, attorney Larry Feldman commenced a lawsuit on behalf of Jordan Chandler through his guardian ad litem.[liv] The Complaint alleged that Michael Jackson had committed sexual battery upon Jordan Chandler within and without the State of California. The Complaint also made claims against John Does 1-100. [Generally, you may bring a claim against a “John Doe” when you know that someone should be named in a lawsuit, but you don’t have information to identify that person by name. It is unclear to whom the John Does referred in this suit.]
The Complaint sought relief on seven separate causes of action: Sexual Battery, Battery, Seduction, Willful Misconduct, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Fraud and Negligence. In response, Michael’s attorneys asserted a counterclaim of extortion against Evan Chandler. After the civil lawsuit was commenced, the District Attorney opened its own criminal file. Enter Tom Sneddon…(To be continued)