Part 3 exposing the media’s hypocrisy begins with the Francia settlement.
Analyzing The Media Hypocrisy In Reporting On The Michael Jackson Settlements vs The Settlements of Other Celebrities
By: Dave Edwards
Blanca & Jason Francia Civil Suit
Now, let’s discuss the other “victim” of MJ, Jason Francia. He is the son of Blanca Francia, who worked as a maid atNeverland until she was fired in 1991 for trying to steal a watch, rifling through MJ’s wallet, and for tardiness. After the 1993 scandal hit the airwaves, Blanca was courted by Diane Dimond to do an exclusive, “tell-all” interview about her experiences at Neverland. She lied and said that she witnessed MJ showering naked with young boys on a number of occasions, and as a result she “quit in disgust”. She was paid $20k by Hard Copy for her salacious lies, but she was forced to recant them while under deposition by MJ’s defense team. Blanca admitted she never saw Jackson shower with anyone nor had she seen him naked with boys in his Jacuzzi. They always had their swimming trunks on, she acknowledged.
Blanca’s son, Jason, often accompanied her to work at both Neverland Ranch, and at MJ’s “Hideout” condo in Century City. Oftentimes, he and MJ would engage in tickling games, and other forms of innocent horseplay. This horseplay would be exploited by aggressive police looking to force Jason into making an accusation. He was interrogated by cops after the scandal broke, and he initially denied any wrongdoing by MJ, and Blanca was very uncomfortable with the way he was being interviewed. He had been lied to by police to solicit an allegation against Jackson. They told him that Jackson was “molesting Macaulay Culkin, and that Corey Feldman was a drug-head who would probably die early because he hung out with Jackson”. They wanted Francia to “help them” help the kid who was being abused (Jordie Chandler). Here is a brief transcript of the police interview:
Det. Neglia: I realize how hard this is. I realize how painful it is to think of these things you tried so hard not to think about but you are doing fine. And you are also helping the kid that he is bothering now.
Jason Francia: What do you mean he’s bothering?
Det. Birchim: He’s doing the same thing.
Jason Francia: Macauly Culkin.
Det. Neglia: Only he’s getting a lot more into it. Like your mother pulled you out of there. Macaulay’s mother is not going to pull him out of there. They are feeding him.
Det. Birchim: He’s doing worse stuff.
Det. Neglia: It’s much worse with him.
Though he denied any abuse, he was pressured to make up allegations that he was touched inappropriately during the tickling games. Diane Dimond stayed in touch with Blanca, and when she decided to pursue a settlement just as Chandler did (after the criminal case was closed in September 1994), Dimond was there to offer her “assistance”. When MJ’s lawyers objected to any form of settlement, Diane Dimond aired a special report about the demands made by Blanca’s lawyers in December 1994 on Hard Copy in order to pressure MJ’s team with negative publicity. Sony, which was about to release MJ’s new “HIStory” album, intervened and compelled his lawyers to settle for a mere $2 million so as not to sabotage their multi-million dollar marketing campaign for “HIStory” with negative publicity, irrespective of the facts.
This settlement was not an admission of guilt, but was meant to avoid negative publicity. Period. The MJ haters who try to use this as a sign of guilt would have said “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire” if the allegations had gone public. If he had gone to civil court and was acquitted, they would have called it “celebrity justice”, so MJ took Sony’s advice and just chose the lesser of two evils.
When Mesereau cross-examined Jason in 2005, he asked him if he remembered how he initially denied to police that he had been molested. Here is a brief transcript of the cross-examination:
Q. Do you remember stating in that interview, “They made me come out with a lot more stuff I didn’t want to say. They kept pushing. I wanted to get up and hit them in the head”? Do you remember that?
Q. Would it refresh your recollection if I show you the transcript of that?
A. Probably not. But you can show it to me anyway.
Q. Do you remember anything you said in that interview at the moment?
A. Not really. (4908-4909 (20-15))
In this excerpt, Jason is asked if he remembers making up a story for the police, and of course he all of a sudden became a victim of amnesia! Even after he was given official transcripts of his interview, he refused to acknowledge what he said!
Q. — that was recorded – all right? – when asked if Mr. Jackson said anything to you about whether you should discuss what happened, do you remember telling the interviewers, “No, but I’m working on that”?
A. I do not remember that.
Q. Would it refresh your recollection if I show you the transcript?
A. No. But — you could bring it over.
Q. Well, I can’t unless you’re willing to see if it refreshes your recollection.
A. Okay. Bring it over. I’ll give it a shot. I’ll read it just to see if it refreshes my memory.
Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Have you had a chance to
23 review those pages –
24 A. I have.
25 Q. — of your transcript?
26 Do they refresh your recollection about what
27 you said on that subject?
28 A. No, it does not. 4942
1 Q. It doesn’t.
2 A. Sorry.
Jason’s testimony was so awful under cross-examination that some of the jurors actually LAUGHED at him during a break! Their laughter was overheard by some members of the media who subsequently reported their behavior to Judge Melville, hoping to get them kicked off of the jury for misconduct. Here is some analysis of the story by MSNBC’s Dan Abrams. And here is analysis of Jason’s laughable testimony by Mike Taibbi, one of the few journalists who was actually fair to MJ throughout the trial. How he was able to keep his job at MSNBC is beyond me! He must have tenure! Also, in that video they show Blanca Francia’s ugly face!
Here’s another example of finding a diamond ring in a pile of feces! This excerpt from “Unmasked” includes the interview of two former Neverland housekeepers who blasted Blanca Francia for lying, and vehemently defended MJ. Halperin’s analysis of their interview is dead on! I couldn’t have said it better myself! From pages 71-72:
Meanwhile, two other former Neverland housekeepers came forward to discredit Francia’s allegations, telling CNN that the stories were made up.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” declared Shanda Lujan, who worked at Neverland for almost a year. “I mean, there’s just no way that Michael could do that. Michael’s just not that type of person.”
Francin Orosco worked for Jackson for two years and also said Jackson was incapable of the kind of behavior he was being accused of. ”I think it’s pure lies. I think it’s just pure lies. It’s disgusting what they – what they could accuse somebody of for, and I think it’s just all for money. Michael could never do something like that. Never, ever.”
Both Orosco and Lujan claimed that Francia had actually been fired because of a bad attitude and was obsessed with the pop superstar.
“You could tell a lot that she had a little crush on him. And very jealous of the other housekeepers and didn’t want no one close to Michael. There was….there’s a lot of jealousy there,” said Orosco.
“He was great with kids,” added Lujan. ”I mean, you know, if….I think he would be a very good father. I mean, he’s just wonderful with them.” The former maids said their ranch chores involved entering Jackson’s room at times, but that they had never seen anything suspicious.
Most notable about their statements was that at the time of their interviews, each of the two women were no longer on Jackson’s payroll and were not paid for their interviews, and therefore had no incentive to lie.
Finally! There really are Neverland employees who are actually honest and have integrity! I almost thought that the term “honest Neverland employee” was an oxymoron, until I read that interview!
Here is the testimony of attorney Kris Kallman, who represented Blanca & Jason Francia during their settlement negotiations against MJ in 1995. (When you open the link, scroll down and open the link in his name to see his testimony.) He confirms that the settlement was NOT an admission of guilt, it did NOT prevent the Francias from testifying in court (obviously!), and that there was unique language added to it to reinforce MJ’s innocence.
(I know that this testimony is long and monotonous, but bear with me! I wanted to include it to give readers the complete scope of Kallman’s explanation of the Francia settlement.)
Sneddon’s Direct Examination of Kris Kallman
Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: Who was the individual that
12 the Complaint was directed towards?
13 A. Mr. Jackson.
14 Q. At some point in time, did you have contact
15 with individuals who were representing Mr. Jackson
16 over the proposed filing of the criminal — of the
17 civil complaint?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And who did you make contact with?
20 A. Initially our contacts were with Johnnie
21 Cochran and his associate, Carl Douglas.
22 Q. Do you recall approximately when it was when
23 you first made contact with Mr. — or when contact
24 was made between you and Mr. Cochran and Mr.
26 A. It was either late ‘94 or early ‘95.
27 Q. Did you, after your conversations with those
28 individuals, file the civil lawsuit? 4953
1 A. No.
2 Q. At some point in time later, were you then
3 dealing with other lawyers with regard to the
4 proposed filing of that civil lawsuit?
5 A. Yes. At some point, Mr. Jackson’s
6 representation was assumed by a lawyer named Zia
7 Modabber, and a lawyer named Howard Weitzman.
8 Q. And do you recall approximately when it was
9 that you then began contact with those particular
11 A. I believe it was in mid 1995.
12 Q. And the purpose of those contacts?
13 A. Well, the –
14 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Vague;
16 THE COURT: Overruled.
17 You may answer.
18 THE WITNESS: The purpose of the contacts
19 was that they knew that we had a Complaint that we
20 were about to file in Santa Barbara County Superior
21 Court, and they didn’t want us to do that.
22 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Hearsay;
24 THE COURT: The answer is stricken.
26 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: As a result of the
27 conversations between these individuals, did you
28 pursue your lawsuit? 4954
1 A. Well, we never filed the lawsuit.
2 Q. Did you reach an agreement, a settlement
4 A. Yes, we did.
5 Q. Did you reach a settlement agreement in
6 which Jason Francia received monetary compensation
7 from Mr. Jackson?
8 A. Yes, sir.
9 Q. Did you receive — did you reach an
10 agreement in which Blanca Francia received monetary
11 compensation from Mr. Jackson?
12 A. Yes, we did.
13 Q. During the time that you were
14 representing — during the time that you had
15 prepared a Complaint ready to be filed and you were
16 in contact with attorneys representing Mr. Jackson,
17 can you give the ladies and gentlemen of the jury an
18 idea of how old Jason Francia was at that particular
19 point in time?
20 A. Well, he was about 14 years old. He’s 24
21 now, as I understand it, and we’re talking about
22 things that happened just about exactly ten years
24 Q. And in your position as a civil litigator,
25 at the time that an individual is of minority, at
26 the age of 14, how do you deal with representing a
27 person like that?
28 A. Well, a child – 4955
1 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Vague;
2 foundation; relevance.
3 THE COURT: Overruled.
4 You may complete your answer.
5 THE WITNESS: A child, under California law,
6 under the age of 18, is not permitted to enter into
7 a contract. I suppose he or she could, but it
8 wouldn’t be enforceable. So the only way a child
9 can act legally is through a guardian ad litem. And
10 it’s normally the parent and normally the mother.
11 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: Was that the case in this
12 particular instance?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Now, during the course of the time that you
15 were involved in obtaining a settlement from Mr.
16 Jackson on behalf of the Francias, did you deal
17 personally with Jason at any time?
18 A. Yeah. Sure.
19 Q. In what respect?
20 A. Well, I knew who he was, I met with him. I
21 met with he and his mom. He was a teenaged boy, and
22 a nice young man.
23 Q. Now, at some point in time was Jason
24 required to sign some kind of documents in
25 conjunction with the settlement?
26 A. Yes. When he turned 18, part of the
27 condition was that he sign a confidentiality
28 agreement. 4956
1 Q. Now, with regard to the confidentiality –
2 and to your knowledge, did he sign that?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And with regard to the confidentiality
5 agreement, did it have a provision that required
6 notice to Mr. Jackson in the event that Jason
7 Francia talked to anybody?
8 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Leading; move to
10 THE COURT: Overruled.
11 You may answer.
12 THE WITNESS: I believe so, yes.
13 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: And what was the
14 requirement notice in the confidentiality agreement
15 with regard to notice to the defense?
16 A. I believe it’s five days.
17 Q. And were you at some point contacted by Mr.
18 Zonen of our department with regard to interviewing
19 your — Jason Francia?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And in that particular case, did you
22 indicate to Mr. Zonen that you would have to do
23 something before you could agree with that?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And what was that?
26 A. Well, I’d have to notify somebody on Mr.
27 Jackson’s legal staff that they wanted to talk to
28 him. 4957
1 Q. And did you do that?
2 A. Yeah. Yes. Excuse me.
3 Q. And did you then grant permission for Mr.
4 Zonen to have a conversation with your — with Jason
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Now, were you present during the
8 conversations between Jason Francia and Mr. Zonen?
9 A. I don’t think so. I think I was there, and
10 then I think I had to go to another court or
11 something like that. I don’t remember being an
12 integral part of any of those — if there was more
13 than one, I don’t even know.
14 Q. And I’m talking about the conversations that
15 occurred after you gave notice to the defense in
16 this case, or gave notice to Mr. Jackson. To your
17 knowledge, was Mr. Cannon present?
18 A. I believe so. At least for part of it.
19 Again, I’m not certain.
20 Q. Do you remember when it was that you
21 finally — the year that you finally reached a
22 settlement agreement with Mr. Jackson?
23 A. Yes. It’s been a long time. But it was a
24 big deal. And I do remember –
25 MR. MESEREAU: Objection. Nonresponsive;
26 move to strike.
27 THE COURT: The answer is stricken.
28 Nonresponsive. 4958
1 Q. BY MR. SNEDDON: Just –
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And what year was that, approximately?
4 A. It was either ‘95 or ‘96, I believe.
Mesereau’s Cross Examination of Kris Kallman:
Q. Yes. Okay. Now, the prosecutor asked you
13 some questions about provisions in the settlement
14 agreement, okay? And one of the issues that was
15 carefully negotiated by the people representing Mr.
16 Jackson was that he deny any wrongdoing in that
17 agreement, right?
18 A. Again, the best evidence of that would be
19 what’s in the agreement. I don’t remember what’s in
21 Q. Okay. Well, let me — the prosecutor read
22 you a provision, asked you about it.
23 Let me ask you about this: There was
24 language in that agreement that said, “The parties
25 acknowledge that Jackson has elected to settle the
26 claims solely in view of the potential impact any
27 litigation could have in the future on his
28 reputation, earnings and potential income, and not 4968
1 because of any alleged wrongful conduct on his
2 part,” right?
3 A. If you’re asking me if that’s in the
4 document, I’ll have to take your word for it. You
5 don’t need to show it to me. It sounds pretty
6 standard to me.
7 Q. The agreement further said — excuse me, let
8 me rephrase that.
9 Both agreements, the one involving Jason and
10 the one involving Blanca, his mother, both had
11 language which said, “This agreement shall not, in
12 any manner, be construed as an admission by Jackson
13 that he has acted wrongfully with respect to
14 Francia, Blanca, or any other person, or at all, or
15 that Francia or Blanca have any rights whatsoever
16 against Jackson or Jackson’s releasees.” Sound
17 familiar to you?
18 A. It sounds like standard language in
19 virtually every release that I deal with. But, yes,
20 it does sound familiar.
21 Q. Actually, there’s a whole separate paragraph
22 entitled, “Denial of Claims by Mr. Jackson,”
24 A. Don’t know.
25 Q. Would it refresh your recollection if I show
26 you a copy?
27 A. It would.
28 MR. MESEREAU: May I approach, Your Honor? 4969
1 THE COURT: Yes.
2 THE WITNESS: It does refresh my
4 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Okay. And do you recall
5 that language being in both agreements?
6 A. I believe so, yes, sir.
7 Q. Okay. In addition to the language that I
8 have read, there’s further language which says,
9 “Jackson specifically disclaims any liability to,
10 and denies any wrongful acts against, Francia,
11 Blanca or any other person and may continue to do so
12 publicly, to the extent reasonably necessary, to
13 respond to any inquiries in this regard.” Right?
14 A. Correct.
15 Q. It said further, “The parties acknowledge
16 that Jackson is a public figure, and that his name,
17 image and likeness have commercial value and are an
18 important element of his earning capacity.” Right?
19 A. That’s true.
20 Q. And that language was in both settlement
21 agreements, the one involving Blanca Francia and the
22 one involving Jason Francia, correct?
23 A. I don’t remember that. I will take your
24 word for it. You don’t need to refresh my
25 recollection. It sounds like it should be or would
27 Q. Now, Mr. Kallman, provisions in which a
28 settling party denies liability are fairly standard 4970
1 in settlement agreements, right?
2 A. True.
3 Q. But the language that I just read to the
4 jury is not standard language in a settlement
5 agreement, is it?
6 A. This is not a standard case, or was not.
7 And no, you’re right. These were carefully drafted
8 by a team of lawyers, and we agreed to the terms.
9 Q. And the reason those terms are different is
10 because Mr. Jackson is an unusual individual in
11 terms of his need to preserve his reputation and
12 public image so he can earn a living, right?
13 MR. SNEDDON: Calls for speculation on this.
14 It wasn’t drafted by him. No foundation.
15 MR. MESEREAU: I think it was drafted by
16 this witness.
17 THE COURT: All right. I’ll sustain a
19 MR. MESEREAU: Okay.
20 Q. When you settled these matters – and I’m
21 talking about matters involving Michael Jackson,
22 Blanca Francia, and Jason Francia – you put in
23 language involving denial of claims by Mr. Jackson
24 that was not standard language in a typical
25 settlement agreement, right?
26 MR. SNEDDON: Your Honor, I’m going to
27 object to the question as lack of foundation; that
28 he put the language in there. 4971
1 THE COURT: Well, that was the foundation I
2 was looking for.
3 So I’ll allow you to answer the question as
4 long as you understand the limitations of your
6 THE WITNESS: Well –
7 THE COURT: If you put the language in.
8 THE WITNESS: I didn’t draft that agreement.
9 THE COURT: Okay.
10 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: Did lawyers from your
11 office draft the agreement?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Who drafted the agreement?
14 A. Somebody in Mr. Modabber’s office, the
15 Katten, Muchin, Zavis & Weitzman firm in Century
17 Q. Did you have any input into the language in
18 the agreement?
19 A. Only to review it. And if there was
20 language we found objectionable, we could strike it,
21 I suppose.
22 Q. Okay.
23 A. But they wanted that in there, and I didn’t
24 find it objectionable.
25 Q. Okay. Now, you made a statement, I believe,
26 in response to the prosecutor’s questions, that if
27 someone from law enforcement wanted to speak to your
28 client, you had to first notify representatives of 4972
1 Mr. Jackson, true?
2 A. True.
3 Q. That — really, that language is not in that
4 agreement, is it?
5 A. I don’t know.
6 Q. Then why would you say it?
7 A. Because that’s part — in one of the
8 agreements, I have to give notice to the defense
9 team. And I’ve given notice once to Mr. Sanger.
10 And then when I got subpoenaed on Friday, I gave
11 notice to Mr. Modabber down in Los Angeles.
12 Q. But the notice you’re supposed to give to
13 the defense team does not involve requests by law
14 enforcement to speak to your client, does it?
15 A. I assume that anybody from law enforcement
16 that wants to talk to my client, there was a
17 requirement to notify somebody from the defense
19 Q. Nowhere in those settlement agreements is
20 there language to that effect, is there?
21 A. I have no idea.
22 MR. SNEDDON: Object as immaterial;
24 MR. MESEREAU: The prosecutor brought it up
25 on direct, Your Honor.
26 THE COURT: The objection is overruled. And
27 the answer came in as, “I have no idea.”
28 Q. BY MR. MESEREAU: It would be against public 4973
1 policy for a civil litigator to put language in a
2 settlement agreement precluding anyone from
3 cooperating with law enforcement, wouldn’t it?
4 A. In my opinion, yes.
5 Q. Lawyers are not allowed to have language
6 like that in settlement agreements, right?
7 A. Wrong.
8 Q. Pardon me?
9 A. No. It’s a notice requirement. It’s not a
10 preclusion requirement.
UPDATE October 8th, 2010
Here is a story from September 1993, when MJ visited Russia for his first concert there. It gives a timeline of events up through September 1993. Even in the early stages of the scandal, the media was reporting that “hush money” could be paid to Evan Chandler, and this was mentioned @ 4:14.
@ 4:45 you hear Pellicano playing a tape of Rothman saying that he would be “amazed” if MJ didn’t “take this deal” because it would be a “great move” for him.
@ 5:12 you see LaToya giving a less than supportive statement about MJ’s innocence, which as we all know was only a prelude of things to come! I wonder if Jack Gordon “forced” her to say this too?
And for pure comic releif, at 5:21 you see Gloria Allred (BEFORE she cut her hair! LOL!) stating that Jordie is “ready, willing, and able” to testify, yet a few days later she was FIRED!!! (Which I described in the article.)
Finally, @ 7:30 the reporter quoted the LAPD as saying that they “won’t be bullied into prosecuting Jackson!!”. We all know that was a total farce, especially with the desperate attempt that Garcetti made to have the law changed so that he could FORCE Jordie to testify! He was so desperate to prosecute Jackson that he didn’t HAVE to be bullied!