updated 5/3/2004 10:45:44 AM ET 2004-05-03T14:45:44

Guests: Paula Stokes, Najee Ali, Firpo Carr, Joe Tacopina, John Patrick Dolan, Diane Dimond

ANNOUNCER:  DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEBORAH NORVILLE, HOST (voice-over):  Ten felony counts, act two for Michael Jackson.  And the plot thickens as the king of pop proclaims his innocence to a series of new and more serious charges, this time with a new lawyer, a new security team, and a whole new decorum. 

MICHAEL JACKSON, DEFENDANT:  I want to thank the community of Santa Maria. 

NORVILLE:  Tonight, Court TV‘s Diane Dimond takes us inside the courtroom for a look at the latest charges, including conspiracy to commit extortion and child abduction.  What legal hurdles lie ahead now for the pop legend? 

THOMAS MESEREAU, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL JACKSON:  It‘s about the complete vindication of a wonderful human being named Michael Jackson. 

NORVILLE:  Plus, the courthouse sideshow, another thriller for Jackson fans.  They come from around the world to show their support for the king of pop.  What‘s behind their undying devotion?  And can Michael Jackson‘s Caravan of Justice help shake the court of public opinion? 

JACKSON:  I would like to thank the fans around the world for your love and support. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER:  From studio 3-K in Rockefeller Center, Deborah Norville. 

NORVILLE:  And good evening. 

Tonight, Michael Jackson is in even more trouble than when he arrived at the Santa Maria, California, courthouse for his arraignment this morning.  Jackson arrived at the courthouse 40 minutes early.

And once inside the courtroom, he found out that he is facing even more serious charges.  A conspiracy count was added involving allegations of child abduction, false imprisonment, and extortion.  In all, Jackson pleaded not guilty to all 10 counts, including child molestation and giving an intoxicating agent to a child.  After the real, Jackson, accompanied by his parents and two of his brothers, made a brief statement. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL JACKSON, DEFENDANT:  I would like to thank the fans around the world for your love and support from every corner of the Earth.  My family has been very supportive.  My brother Randy has been incredible.  I want to thank the community of Santa Maria.  I want you to know that I love the community of Santa Maria very much.  It‘s my community.  I love the people.  I will always love the people. 

My children were born in this community.  My home is in this community.  I will always love this community from the bottom of my heart.  That‘s why I moved here. 

Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Today‘s court appearance was the first time that Jackson was represented by his new lead attorney, Thomas Mesereau. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MESEREAU:  This case is about one thing only.  It‘s about the dignity, the integrity, the decency, the honor, the charity, the innocence, and the complete vindication of a wonderful human being named Michael Jackson. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  For the next hour, we‘re going to focus on all the aspects of the Michael Jackson arraignment, what it means, what‘s ahead, how this affects his career, a look at the fans who flock to the courthouse and a lot more. 

And joining me now is Court TV‘s investigative reporter Diane Dimond, who has been following the Michael Jackson case ever since the beginning.  She originally broke the story.  Also with us tonight, John Patrick Dolan, a criminal defense attorney who is close to Michael Jackson‘s new legal defense team. 

And we welcome you both to us this evening. 

Diane, let me start with you first.  How were these charges, which are certainly more serious than the ones that were filed before, including this conspiracy charge, regarded by the Jackson team? 

DIANE DIMOND, COURT TV:  Well, I think there is a sobering in the Jackson team now.  As you mentioned at the top, there was no dancing on the SUV.  There was no arriving 40 minutes late.  He arrived 40 minutes early, for goodness sakes. 

I think the inclusion of Tom Mesereau at the top of the defense team now has brought a whole new attitude, and you saw it in the courtroom.  You saw a completely different Michael Jackson come into the courtroom today.  He had a smile on his face.  He was dressed conservatively, even had a pair of specs on, maybe to look more intelligent.  I don‘t know.  Maybe it was a fashion statement.

But I think they know that it is a very serious thing that they‘re facing now.  As they sat in that room, Deborah, they had no idea what this indictment was going to be.  Tom Mesereau signed on to do a child molestation case.  Now he has got a big conspiracy case on his hands as well. 

NORVILLE:  Was there any visible reaction when the conspiracy charge was read in court, Diane? 

DIMOND:  Well, yes, especially among those of us in the media section of the court.  And there were some intakes of breath.  You know, we had not heard anything official about a conspiracy charge, conspiracy for child abduction, false imprisonment, and extortion.  These were not charges included in Tom Sneddon‘s original nine charges. 

So it seeped into us as we sat in the courtroom that once you bring up a conspiracy under California law, Deborah, that opens up the hearsay rule, which means the district attorney can bring up all sorts of statements and all sorts of acts into the courtroom that he might otherwise not have been able to bring up.  So it really presents team Mesereau with a much bigger problem than they thought they had when they walked in here today. 

NORVILLE:  Let‘s talk about the legal future with you, John Patrick Dolan. 

Let‘s go through count by count the counts that were revealed today.  Starting first, there was the first count of conspiracy to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion, 28 separate acts included in that.  What is the significance of that particular count, because, as Diane said, that was the shocker to everybody today? 

JOHN PATRICK DOLAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well, I don‘t think it‘s quite as bad as it‘s been made out to be.

But I will tell you, Diane was right on point.  The reason this kind of count is added to a case like this is because you can get around the hearsay rule and you can start bringing in statements that were made outside of the presence of the courtroom or by witnesses outside of court, and it allows them to sort of prop up their case. 

But I would say this:  The fact that there‘s still just one victim in this case suggests that this case isn‘t as bad as everybody thought it might be, because there was some rumor going around that there may be additional victims, and that would have made it a much more difficult case. 

NORVILLE:  Let‘s look at the rest of the counts again.  There were originally two counts of giving an intoxicating agent to a child.  That‘s now been increased to four counts of administering an intoxicating agent.  Obviously, there was more evidence introduced in the grand jury than the district attorney had when he first lodged his charges. 

DOLAN:  Well, you‘re absolutely right.  However, if you want to look at it on the other counts, there were originally seven counts of the 288(a), which have now been reduced to four counts of the 288.

(CROSSTALK)

NORVILLE:  That would be lewd acts upon a child.

DOLAN:  Exactly.  And I‘m sorry.  We always talk in penal codes in California.

NORVILLE:  No, we‘ve got to talk people talk here.

(LAUGHTER)

DOLAN:  And then one count of an attempted lewd act on a child.  So there‘s actually three less charges, felony charges, of the lewd conduct and then one additional attempted lewd contact.

But you are right that now there are four charges of the administering intoxicating liquor.  And I think this is probably based on the grand jury heard testimony and then made the indictment tailored to the facts that they heard presented to the grand jury, which were different than what were presented in the complaint. 

NORVILLE:  Diane.

DOLAN:  You know, Deborah, I think that that‘s a very important point to make. 

I‘ll talk you some people talk here.  You always hear about, oh, well, you can indict a ham sandwich.  This jury did not rubber-stamp what Tom Sneddon had already filed, the nine felony counts, as you other guest has just pointed out.  They didn‘t just take it verbatim.  They have added more charges for the alcohol or the intoxicating agents, fewer for lewd and lascivious.

But, boy, they went for that big umbrella, conspiracy, and that, again, I think is going to be the hardest. 

(CROSSTALK)

NORVILLE:  With whom do they allege or do we suspect Michael Jackson was conspiring, because the charges remain sealed?  Even the defense has not had a chance to see the specifics of the evidence presented to the grand jury? 

(CROSSTALK)

DIMOND:  Exactly.  They‘ll get those transcripts on Monday.

But let me tell you something.  In this indictment here that we got today—and it‘s redacted.  Parts are taken out.  What is taken out, you can see, are names.  They didn‘t say and Michael Jackson and unindicted co-conspirators.  You wouldn‘t have had to erase that.  They erased names.  Other people are mentioned in this.  We just don‘t know those names yet. 

DOLAN:  That‘s right. 

DIMOND:  I can see that there are four people that used to be in the Jackson camp that have hired lawyers and are very worried that it‘s their names in here.  So keep that in mind.  Other people are going to—could possibly be on trial here. 

NORVILLE:  Mr. Dolan, this clearly ratchets up the case as far as team Mesereau and his associates are concerned for Michael Jackson. 

DOLAN:  Well, it does.

And you should know that the Mesereau team did get to see who the other people were that were indicted.  However, in deference to those people who weren‘t present in court, they asked that those names be redacted.  But we will find out soon enough because those people will have to be brought in for an arraignment.  And it does open up what‘s going to happen. 

DIMOND:  Well, but they were not indicted.

I‘m going to just jump in here and tell you, they were not indicted.  They were named here but they were not indicted, which makes me think they were named here so the district attorney can go to their attorneys and start to squeeze them for information.  Then, if they don‘t cough it up, then they can be indicted. 

(CROSSTALK)

NORVILLE:  You agree with that, Mr. Dolan, that there are individuals that clearly the prosecution would like to bring over to their side of the table and speak on their behalf against Michael Jackson?  You think those are the names in this indictment? 

DOLAN:  Yes, I think those are the names.  I can‘t tell from the copy of the indictment I have.  It doesn‘t say that they‘re unindicted co-conspirators, because it‘s redacted.

But I can tell you this.  Probably what is going to happen is, the district attorney‘s office is going to reach out to these people and see if they can make a plea agreement with them, so that they can avoid any serious consequences in return for testimony.  But I don‘t think that‘s going to happen with the people—if I understand who the people are—and I‘ve only heard some rumors—I don‘t think that‘s going to happen here. 

NORVILLE:  We obviously have no idea what the evidence is going to be against Michael Jackson, but I wonder, in going forward, what do you suspect, Diane, some of the evidence will be presented in court? 

I mean, for instance, there was the Martin Bashir documentary in which Michael Jackson was clearly holding hands with the boy who later became the individual at the center of the case.  Is it conceivable that that would be played for a jury in court? 

DIMOND:  Oh, you can bet your last dollar on that, because on that documentary, Michael Jackson openly talks about sleeping with children and what is wrong with that.  So I‘m sure that that will be part of what‘s—what is shown to them. 

We know they took items from Neverland, including videotapes, computer hard drives.  The child, the accuser in this case, was given a laptop that he claims he and Michael Jackson looked up pornography on.  There were other houses that also had search warrants on them, including the pornographer.

NORVILLE:  And one of those houses was the man who—right.  He does gay pornographic films.  He worked with Michael Jackson on a video that ultimately was never released.  His home was searched and items were removed.  Evidence that will be presented in trial? 

DIMOND:  Absolutely. 

DOLAN:  I don‘t think so.

DIMOND:  In fact, I‘m told by sources—I‘m told by sources very close to this investigation that Marc Schaffel, is the pornographer you‘re talking about, was very organized.  He was very anal in what he saved is the way they put it to me.  And he had files upon files and hard drive files that are just opening up all sorts of avenues for investigators. 

NORVILLE:  Mr. Dolan, I want to let you respond because I know you

believe quite differently on that

(CROSSTALK)  

DOLAN:  Well, yes.

My expertise is in the courtroom, where we actually deal with the evidence code and what happens when a trial actually takes place.  And in the reality of trial, the only way that any of those things that have just been described would be relevant would be if they tend to show something about Michael Jackson‘s intent and do not prejudice the jury in a way that would be more serious than the probative value they offer.

And so there‘s going to be serious, serious pretrial motions and 402 hearings, we call them, during the trial, in limine hearings, regarding what can come in as to that particular issue of his intent, and that‘s what this is all about.  It‘s Michael Jackson‘s intent. 

NORVILLE:  Well, we‘re going to get into some of the steps that will be to come.  We‘re going to take a break. 

Mr. Dolan, we‘re going to let you get out of the legal speak that you‘re in. 

And when we come back, Michael Jackson has got a new look, a new attitude, a new lawyer.  Will it help his legal future? 

That and more in a moment. 

ANNOUNCER:  Coming up, conspiracy to commit child abduction, false imprisonment, and extortion, what does this new charge mean for Michael and his defense team? 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MESEREAU:  This defense is going to be conducted with professionalism and dignity at all times. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER:  More from inside the courtroom when DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT returns. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NORVILLE:  You‘re looking at video of Michael Jackson as he was leaving the Santa Maria County courthouse in California today after his arraignment, certainly a much more subdued atmosphere than when he left the courthouse after his January 16 arraignment. 

Back now with Court TV investigative reporter Diane Dimond and California criminal defense attorney John Patrick Dolan. 

I want to go back to something that you brought up, Mr. Dolan, in the last segment.  And it‘s kind of bugged me.  If Michael Jackson is a pedophile, why aren‘t there more victims coming forward? 

DOLAN:  Very good question, because the experience that most of us know about in the court system is that a pedophile would have multiple victims.  And you saw Tom Sneddon stand up and actually solicit for victims to come forward when they made the initial announcements here.  It‘s pretty interesting that no one has come forward that‘s credible. 

NORVILLE:  Diane, any speculation as to why that would be?  Is there a possibility there are other victims and they‘ve simply been, for reasons of the kind of crime, unwilling to come forward? 

DIMOND:  Yes, in a word. 

First of all, it wasn‘t Tom Sneddon who did that.  It was the sheriff who asked for other people to come forward.  And there were hundreds of calls into the sheriff‘s department, but as—the proof is in the pudding, you know, the one indictment today, only one victim.  I‘ve always wondered about that myself.

But I can tell you, there have been other cases coming in between 1993 and now.  I can tell you of at least two other boys whose families received payments.  They didn‘t want to come forward, I was told, they told me, because its just—I mean, look at the circus. 

NORVILLE:  Yes. 

DIMOND:  Look what happens when you accuse Michael Jackson.  Now, I don‘t even know if they were telling the truth, but that was the excuse they gave for not coming forward. 

NORVILLE:  But it‘s significant, because if there were more than one victim in a child molestation case, it completely changes the nature of this case.  It changes the severity of it. 

DOLAN:  Yes, indeed. 

(CROSSTALK)

DIMOND:  I also caution you just to remember that Michael Jackson travels the world.  And he goes to Germany a lot.  He goes to Asia a lot.  These are people who would never avail themselves of the California justice system if there are any other victims out there at all. 

NORVILLE:  But, just to say that, Diane, that‘s pretty inflammatory.  You have no way of knowing there would be victims elsewhere around the world. 

DIMOND:  I do have no way of knowing.  But I will tell you there are at least two families in Germany who have raised allegations.  I don‘t just say that speciously.  There are two families in Germany. 

NORVILLE:  Mr. Dolan?

DOLAN:  Yes. 

NORVILLE:  How would it change if there were more than one victim? 

DOLAN:  May I first emphasize the presumption of innocence attaches to Michael Jackson, just like everybody else in the criminal justice system. 

DIMOND:  Absolutely.  Absolutely. 

DOLAN:  And there are no other charges pending at this time, although people talk about lots of things. 

Now, let me tell you how it would make a big difference in this case, because I‘ve had experience in this area.  There‘s special one-strike statutes in California.  And if you have multiple victims under the age of 14 of the kinds of allegations that are made here, it goes from a case that has what‘s called a determinate sentence, an eight-year top for a particular count, to a 15-to-life sentence.  So it‘s massively different if you have multiple victims. 

ZAHN:  Which, clearly, if the prosecution, wanted to throw the book at Michael Jackson, they would be looking under every rock they could find to find more victims. 

I want to look at the bigger picture and how Tom Mesereau has come in and today was so different from the proceedings in January.  Let‘s just roll some tape from last January when Michael was standing on top of the SUV, waving to the fans, almost encouraging them to dance, and today was much more low-key, shielding himself from the sun, a very quiet remark made to the cameras.  And then he got in his vehicle and left. 

Is that the influence, Mr. Dolan, of Tom Mesereau? 

DOLAN:  Professionalism and dignity, that‘s what he said.  That‘s how he operates.  And it appears that that characterizes this case from here forward, and I think that‘s perfect for Michael Jackson.  That‘s what it needs to be. 

NORVILLE:  What happened, Diane?  Did Michael Jackson look at the critiques of the January episode and suddenly shake his head and realize, wait a minute, this is not going well for me, this is not the way my legal future should be handled? 

DIMOND:  I don‘t have any indication that it was that deliberate or that Michael Jackson really even pays attention to anything that we say. 

I am getting more, Deborah, that the indictment rattled him.  I think he sort of thought that his lawyers were handling it and it was going to go away, and when it didn‘t and when he was actually indicted, I think a spark went off within the Jackson camp.  He and his brother Randy, specifically, they put their heads together and they said, we have to do something different.  And Randy was very instrumental in bringing in Tom Mesereau. 

NORVILLE:  Mr. Dolan, how does the change of decorum affect, presumably positively, Michael Jackson‘s legal defense?  The Nation of Islam was nowhere to be seen in the lineup, as we saw three months ago.  The circus atmosphere was gone.  Michael‘s own attire was much more low-key than has been the case in the past.  How does that help his case? 

DOLAN:  Well, we‘re talking about Southern California.  And, obviously, the Nation of Islam was a big disconnect out there in Santa Maria.

And that can have a subtle impact, I suppose, on the potential jurors.  I think now Michael Jackson is taking this seriously, not that he didn‘t before.  But professionalism and dignity is now the order of the day.  I think what‘s going to happen is, you‘re going to see a straightforward handling of the matter vs. something done in the media most of the time.  And I think that that‘s going to make a big difference. 

Michael intended to endear himself to his community that he cares about very much.  He expressed those feelings very clearly.  His lawyer represented the professionalism that I think makes a consistent mix with that.  And I think, as they go forward, that‘s going to make it a lot easier for people to recognize there is a presumption of innocence here and that proof beyond a reasonable doubt is now the standard.

It‘s not just speculation and what might have been or could have been or possibly could have been, but only proof beyond a reasonable doubt will cause a conviction for Michael Jackson, which I think will not happen in this case, based on what we know about so far. 

NORVILLE:  And we‘re going to follow up on that.

DIMOND:  I think.

NORVILLE:  Diane, I have got to take a break.  So we‘re going to follow up on that and I‘m going to let you respond to that in just a second.

And we‘re also going to look at the statement that Michael Jackson made.  Was that simply a statement of thanks to the people of his community or was he looking ahead to try to influence the jury pool? 

That and more in a moment. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACKSON:  I want to thank the community of Santa Maria.  I want you to know that I love the community of Santa Maria very much.  It‘s my community.  I love the people.  I will always love the people. 

My children were born in this community.  My home is in this community.  I will always love this community from the bottom of my heart.  That‘s why I moved here. 

Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Michael Jackson speaking to the people who live in his community.  Was it simply a thank you or was he trying to butter up potential jurors? 

Diane Dimond has been covering the case for Court TV.  She‘s with us from Santa Maria. 

Diane, what do people think about that? 

DIMOND:  Well, from the people I‘ve talked to right around here in the courthouse—and it‘s not indicative of the whole community—they think Michael Jackson was being sort of disingenuous. 

He said that his—that‘s why he lives in this community.  He literally lives, oh, about a 45-minute drive away, down toward Santa Barbara.  He said his children were born in this community.  They weren‘t.  They were born in Los Angeles, the two oldest ones.  And the third one that we saw on the balcony in Germany, we don‘t really know where that child was born, but reports say he was born in France.  So I saw a lot of rolling of the eyes. 

(CROSSTALK)

NORVILLE:  After the search at Neverland, Michael Jackson said, I will never, ever live here again.  And he‘s now come back.  It looks like the trial will be there. 

(CROSSTALK)

DIMOND:  He has come back. 

Yes, well, I think it‘s clear—and John can talk about this—I think from what we hear from Mesereau today, he‘s not looking to change the venue.  He likes Santa Maria, and he wants Santa Maria to like his defendant.  And that‘s why they came out and said what they said about the fabulous court here and the wonderful judge and the great community.  I think it‘s clear he‘s not going to ask for a change of venue. 

NORVILLE:  And will potential jurors like what they hear, Mr. Dolan, or will they also be rolling their eyes, as apparently some media folks were? 

DOLAN:  Well, I think, within the bounds of propriety, professionalism, dignity, it‘s good to try and relate, build affinity with the community.  I don‘t think there‘s anything wrong with that.

But probably at least part of the motivation for doing that was to make sure that when people are in the potential jury pool, they have a positive feeling toward Michael Jackson. 

NORVILLE:  Yes. 

I‘m going to ask you both to stand by for just a second because we‘re going to now bring in Joe Tacopina, a criminal defense attorney who is representing two of the people we may well have been alluding to earlier in our conversation. 

Mr. Tacopina, as you know, there‘s been wide speculation that those names that were blacked out on the public part of the indictment that was released today may well be clients of yours.  Can you verify that that‘s the case? 

JOE TACOPINA, TRIAL ATTORNEY:  I can‘t.  I wish I could.  I can‘t.

I mean, I could speculate with everyone else and speculate that it may, in fact, be them.  Based on the allegations, which I think are clearly baseless, but based on the allegations that I‘ve heard bantered about regarding Frank and Vinnie, these acts that are listed in this indictment would sort of fit those allegations, so it would make sense, according to the allegations, anyway, that their names would be the redacted names. 

NORVILLE:  Your clients being Frank Tyson and Vincent Amen. 

TACOPINA:  Exactly. 

NORVILLE:  They were, I understand, invited to appear before the grand jury.  Is that correct?

TACOPINA:  Yes, they were invited to appear before the grand jury. 

NORVILLE:  And they declined.

TACOPINA:  Right.  We declined an invitation.  It‘s not sort of like an invitation to a birthday party, Deborah.  It‘s a little different.  A grand jury is a one-sided proceeding. 

In my opinion, the district attorney in this case, you know, sort of had his position set in stone.  And I don‘t think, quite frankly, my clients going in there giving them a sneak preview of what our defense will be, if, in fact, they‘re charged, would really bode well for them down the road.  If we‘re invited into this foray, if these two really terrific young kids, who are very intelligent, sweet people, are dragged into this mix, I will do everything in my power to make sure that the person who made that decision will regret it and regret it good. 

NORVILLE:  Well, that‘s why you‘re regarded as a very effective criminal defense attorney. 

It‘s been reported that your clients may have been given a promise of immunity from prosecution if they did participate in the grand jury proceeding.  Can you confirm that? 

TACOPINA:  Well, they were given a promise of use immunity, not transactional immunity.  Use immunity is very different than transactional.  Use simply means they can‘t use that statement, that testimony to the grand jury, against them in their direct case.  It doesn‘t give them immunity for anything they say.  The immunity that really means something is transactional immunity, which means basically you testify truthfully and you‘re immunized for all your conduct.  That‘s the immunity that comes with the bells and whistles. 

The use immunity is sort of a Hyundai compared to a BMW. 

NORVILLE:  Is it conceivable that a broader form of immunity would be attractive to you and your clients and encourage them to participate or can you see absolutely no way in which you would want to be a part of the prosecution‘s going forward of this case against Michael Jackson? 

TACOPINA:  Well, here‘s the thing.  Certainly, transactional immunity, if offered, is something I would speak to my clients about and consider.  We‘re not looking to be cavalier here.

But, on the other hand, they‘re not going to go in there because they‘re offered a promise of a clean slate and transactional immunity and make things up.  And I just do not believe that the story that they would tell the truth as they tell it to me—and I believe it to be based on evidence I‘ve seen—would jive with what, you know, the other side, the prosecution thinks the truth is in this case.

And, therefore, you know, I don‘t think it would work out where they would become embraced as witnesses.  So, you know, if they gave us transactional immunity, it would be something we would consider.  But, you know, there‘s not going to be any situation here where they come in there and admit to wrongdoing.  They committed no wrongdoing.  And if someone alleges they did so, we‘ll meet it head on. 

NORVILLE:  What do you think that the prosecution‘s case is with respect to your clients?  If indeed they are part of the conspiracy that‘s being alleged by the prosecution, what role do you suspect they believe your clients might have played in that? 

TACOPINA:  Well, I think what they believe, what they‘ve said anyway, is that they think, you know, Vincent Amen, 24-year-old, Carnegie Mellon educated, terrific kid, was—and, by the way, he‘s about 5‘5“ and hardly intimidating looking for someone who held the family against or participated in holding the family against their will at Neverland, which, aside from defying common sense, does not factually seem plausible for a host of reasons that I know.

And they think Frank, for the most part, who was really one of Michael‘s closest friends and was his personal assistant, they claim through one of the doctors apparently, Stanley Katz, made a threat to one of the siblings of the alleged victim that if he revealed any information about alcohol being distributed, he would kill him, another allegation that is just utterly baseless. 

NORVILLE:  Well, but this will all be presented in evidence and presumably there will be testimony from those who say that this happened. 

Diane, do you want to follow up on that? 

DIMOND:  Well, I agree with everything Joe has just said, but I will just add this. 

There was a panel, a secret grand jury panel impaneled here—boy, I‘m tripping over myself -- 12 other people have agreed that there was enough evidence here to include some names in this indictment.  And if what Joe thinks is true and I think is true, that it‘s Vinnie and Frank, then there must be something to these allegations. 

TACOPINA:  Except this, Deborah. 

And, Diane, I respect what you say, but here is the thing about that.  I didn‘t get to ask any questions in that little proceeding over there in Santa Maria. 

DIMOND:  That‘s true.

TACOPINA:  When I get to ask some questions, we‘ll see how the story sticks, I mean, if in fact I have a chance to ask questions.  You know, that‘s why a grand jury...

DIMOND:  And I hear your clients have some documents to back up their side of story, right, Joe? 

TACOPINA:  I‘m sorry.  I‘m sort of losing my hearing. 

(CROSSTALK)

NORVILLE:  That your clients may have 

(CROSSTALK)

TACOPINA:  No, no, Deborah, I‘m kidding.  I heard Diane.  I was trying to be politically correct and polite. 

DIMOND:  He‘s trying not to answer.

(CROSSTALK)

TACOPINA:  We will not be confirming or denying what we have.  We‘ll wheel it out when there‘s 12 jurors sitting in the box and we‘ll see how that works. 

NORVILLE:  We‘re going to have to close it off with all three of you. 

But I want to throw a question out there that I‘ve wondered about from your all perspectives.  Does it help Michael Jackson‘s case or harm it when the busloads of fans come out to show their physical support for their idol when he walks into a court? 

Diane, is it helping him? 

And I‘m going to ask all three of you the same question. 

DIMOND:  Well, I think that some of the locals here are a little annoyed that Miller Street and Cook Street get closed off a little bit. 

But, you know, I firmly believe it‘s sort of like who you‘re going to vote for for president.  You‘ve already made up your mind.  You either like him or you don‘t.  And the fact that there‘s some busloads of fans coming, I don‘t think it changes any minds. 

NORVILLE:  John Dolan? 

DOLAN:  I think the people up there in Santa Maria have common sense and I don‘t think it‘s going to make a big difference.

But may I mention something about this conspiracy count?  If Joe is right—and I have every reason to believe that he is—if the source of this is the complaining witness, this may backfire on the district attorney because it undermines the credibility of that witness again, so it could be a real big problem. 

TACOPINA:  Absolutely. 

NORVILLE:  All right, we‘re going to let that be the last word, then. 

Diane Dimond, John Patrick Dolan, and, Joe Tacopina, I thank all three of you for being with us.

And, Joe, I‘m glad you were able to make some time for us.  I know it‘s been a busy day for you, too.

(CROSSTALK)

TACOPINA:  Thanks.

NORVILLE:  We should note that, if you would like to read the entire indictment of Michael Jackson, we‘ve posted it for you on our Web page.  All you have to do is log on to NORVILLE.MSNBC.com.

ANNOUNCER:  Up next:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Let‘s do this. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Jackson‘s die-hard devotees.  They‘ve gathered from around the world to show their support.  What fuels their so-called Caravan of Justice? 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACKSON:  I would like to thank the fans around the world for your love and support. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  A look at the king of pop‘s loyal subjects when DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NORVILLE:  No party at Neverland Ranch for Michael Jackson‘s supporters this time, so what did Jackson do when he left the courtroom?  A close friend who joined him joins me next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NORVILLE:  What was this day like for Michael Jackson? 

Joining me now is Jackson family Firpo Carr, who spent the day with Michael Jackson and his family. 

Good evening, sir.  Nice to see you. 

FIRPO CARR, JACKSON FAMILY FRIEND:  Nice seeing you, too, . 

NORVILLE:  I understand you spent most of the day with Michael and his family.  How is he feeling about the proceedings today? 

CARR:  Relatively confident.  He knows he‘s innocent, so it‘s easy to feel confident.  He‘s more subdued and he‘s very careful. 

Of course, and the family, they‘re pretty upset over the additional charges.  In fact, to quote—to put it in mild terms—and excuse me for being a little crude here, possibly—if you throw enough of a certain substance against the wall, then the adhesive properties of that substance is likely to stick.  And that‘s how they feel about these additional charges. 

NORVILLE:  How about Michael himself?  Was he blind-sided by the conspiracy charge? 

CARR:  You know, I‘m going to leave that for his legal team to answer.  I‘ll just say that the family is both confident and angry at these additional charges. 

NORVILLE:  Mr. Jackson is now looking at an in excess of 18 years if he were to be convicted on all these charges.  I‘ve heard Mrs. Jackson described as very worried and Michael described as scared to death.  How did their emotions change after the indictments were opened and these charges were revealed? 

CARR:  Well, I‘ll tell you about Mrs. Jackson, Michael‘s mother.  She was angry.  That‘s the best word I can use, very angry, thinking that the system is out to get her son.  We all believe that.  And she is looking forward to the vindication.

NORVILLE:  Why?  Why would they be out to get Michael Jackson? 

CARR:  Well, because she knows her son.  She knows her son wouldn‘t do any of these things.  Michael Jackson—I mean, when we left the courtroom and were still there in Santa Maria, we parked near I think it was a preschool, some type of a private school.  Children were saying, hi, Michael, hi, Michael.  Of course, all of us were there. 

He stopped, went over and said hello to them and then left.  Now, he loves children.  If you had been around him, you would know that.  Anyone would know that.  And to think that he is going to conspire to give children—ply them with wine to take advantage of them sexually?  That‘s like saying that about a relative of yours or someone else, like, oh no way would he do that.

So that‘s why very upset at the additional charges.  It‘s like the DA is desperate and he has to get as much information as he can or as many charges as he can leveled against an innocent man who has a record of loving children and doing as much as he can for them. 

NORVILLE:  Yes, but the DA didn‘t bring these charges.  These charges were brought by the grand jury and in fact are more serious and more numerous than the ones brought by district attorney Sneddon. 

I‘m curious, does Michael Jackson watch the media coverage of his trial? 

CARR:  He tries to avoid television, because he believes that there‘s a certain spin there.

And with regard to the indictments by the grand jury, as you know, you can bring indictments, as they say, against a ham sandwich, is it?  So that doesn‘t carry a whole lot of weight as far as the family is concerned.  You can indict anyone just about, so that‘s not a big deal. 

NORVILLE:  While he may not watch television and actually may try to avoid it whenever there is going to be coverage of his legal case, he had to be aware of some of the comments that were made about the January 16 court appearance.  Did he feel that that had gotten out of hand? 

CARR:  He feels that the media—he may feel this way.  He may feel that the media has blown it out of proportion, because, as has been stated many times, Michael stood on the van because there were so many fans from around the world who could not see him and who simply wanted a photograph of him. 

The fans beckoned him to do that so that they could see him.  He wasn‘t trying to take—trying to be—give a spectacle or something like that.  He was waving at the fans.  He hears music.  He says, I‘ll even give you a little show for the fans here.  That wasn‘t planned.  That was all spontaneous.  He meant no harm by that.  He loves his fans.  They love him.

And all he was doing was saying thank you to them.  That was it, not trying to in any way lessen the charges or the seriousness of the charges against him or anything like that.  The man was just—he‘s a loving man.  He loves his fans, just as he loves his children in a wholesome way. 

NORVILLE:  I want—I‘m curious about the whole fan thing.  There weren‘t nearly as many there today.  Was that because Michael and his advisers suggested that maybe it should be a lower-key approach, or was it just a function of the timing? 

CARR:  It‘s a response of the fans, a third option there.  He doesn‘t control fans.  The fans love him.  He doesn‘t buy his own records.  The fans buy his records.  He has no control over that.

So the fans came here.  And, of course, through the fan clubs, he may have said or the suggestion might have been made, hey, listen, we don‘t want to have overcrowding.  We don‘t want to overwhelm anyone.  That may have happened.  In any event, he cannot control the fans and he‘s always happy for their support. 

NORVILLE:  All right, Firpo Carr, thank you so much for your time.  We appreciate you being with us this evening. 

CARR:  Sure, Deborah. 

NORVILLE:  And when we come back, we‘ll get into more on Michael Jackson‘s fans.  Through thick and thin, they‘re standing by their man.  In a moment, we‘ll talk to one and find out why. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There are some people that don‘t like Michael.  There are some people that have taken some things out of context and have shaped it in the way that they want it to be told and put it in the media. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No evidence!  Not guilty!

CROWD:  No evidence!  Not guilty!  No evidence!  Not guilty!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Michael Jackson‘s fans early this morning expressing their support outside the Santa Maria courthouse, where hundreds of them showed up.  But it was a much quieter scene than in January when Jackson was arraigned and thousands of fans turned out. 

The city took some precautions this time to prevent the same kind of circus.  About 100 police officers were there.  Chain-link fences and metal barricades were erected to try to control the crowd.  And more than 100 fans boarded three buses early this morning in Los Angeles for the trip to the courthouse.  They called it the Caravan of Justice. 

Joining me now is Najee Ali, the organizer of the Caravan of Justice.  He‘s the founder and co-director of Project Islamic HOPE.  And Paula Stokes, a Michael Jackson fan who rode in the caravan from L.A. to Santa Maria. 

Good evening to you both.  Thanks for being with us.

NAJEE ALI, ORGANIZER, CARAVAN FOR JUSTICE:  Hi, Deborah.

NORVILLE:  Mr. Ali, I‘ll ask you first, what did you hope to accomplish with the Caravan of Justice today? 

ALI:  Well, the goal was to make sure that Michael Jackson realized that he does have the support of many fans and supporters, not only in Los Angeles, but across the world.

And that comforted Michael, realizing that his fans do love him and believe he‘s innocent.  And it‘s important that the court system allowed that we know that Michael Jackson should be treated as if he‘s innocent until proven guilty. 

NORVILLE:  Who pays for this caravan when you guys go up there? 

ALI:  Well, we have Jackson fans who have made donations anonymously to make sure that other Jackson fans who don‘t have the resources can come here and support Michael.  Michael has many wealthy fans, fans who have flown from all across the world, such as Spain, France, London, Germany, and who were here with us again today. 

NORVILLE:  So, if somebody want to ride on the caravan, they‘re not going to be turned away because they can‘t afford themselves to buy the ticket? 

ALI:  No.  It‘s first come first served.  And if anyone contacts made, I‘ll put them on the list and they can ride the bus for free. 

NORVILLE:  Paula Stokes, you got on the list.  You were on the caravan today and headed up to Santa Maria.  Why was it important for you to be among those showing support for Michael Jackson? 

PAULA STOKES, MICHAEL JACKSON FAN:  Well, I‘ve been a fan of Michael Jackson‘s for about 20 years.  And it was just important for me to be here because I love him, I support him, and I believe in his innocence.  So that‘s why I boarded today.

NORVILLE:  You know, a lot of people admire the support and the steadfastness of your support, but they‘re surprised to her people say, I know he‘s innocent before they‘ve seen any of the evidence in the trial. 

STOKES:  OK.  Well, I just...

NORVILLE:  Can you understand that? 

STOKES:  Yes, I understand that, but it‘s just my belief in my heart that that‘s not his demeanor, that‘s not who he is.  I don‘t think he—that‘s his character at all.  I don‘t think he would do a thing like that to a child. 

NORVILLE:  Mr. Ali, just a second ago, we  ere talking with Firpo Carr, one of the friends of the Jackson family.  And he suggested that he thought this was simply a prosecution vendetta against Michael Jackson.  Do you believe that as well? 

ALI:  Well, I believe it is a personal vendetta, based on not my opinion, but when I look at the facts.  The facts are, Michael Jackson has been investigated by the Los Angeles Children and Family Service Department.

He also was investigated by the Santa Barbara Sheriff‘s Department for the same allegations of child sexual molestation, and he was cleared.  So I‘m wondering, why is the prosecutor continuing to prosecute Michael Jackson when he‘s already been cleared of these charges, Deborah? 

NORVILLE:  Well, I believe there was some other evidence that came in after that report was issued.

But I thank you both, Najee Ali, Paula Stokes.  Thank you for sticking around there.  I know it‘s been a busy day for you.

(CROSSTALK)

NORVILLE:  And we should note that Michael Jackson‘s next court appearance will be on May 28. 

When we come back, a scuba diver, the open sea, and a life-saving

rendezvous with the Boy Scouts.  Put it together and we think it‘s pretty

incredible and something that‘s worthy of this week‘s “American Moment.”         

We‘ve got it next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NORVILLE:  In this week‘s “American Moment,” the story of how a group of Boy Scouts put their training to good use and saved a man‘s life. 

Forty-five-year-old Dan Carlock was scuba diving with a group of people off the Southern California coast.  But he had some problems equalizing the pressure in his ears.  He fell behind his group and eventually lost them.  Carlock figured they would come back to get him.  But to his amazement, when he surfaced, the divers and the dive boat were gone, leaving him stranded. 

Well, he floated adrift for five hours seven miles offshore.  He said he feared for his life, but, as a former Boy Scout himself, he remembered his survival manual, stay calm. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAN CARLOCK, SCUBA DIVER:  So then I figured out that the current would take me toward land eventually, which gave me a lot of consolation, knowing that I wasn‘t going to be swept down to the Baja.  And that really helped.  I just focused on that.  I just didn‘t know when. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NORVILLE:  Well, Carlock couldn‘t believe what he saw next. 

A tall ship, the Argus, in the distance coming through the fog, and on board, a group of Boy Scouts.  One of the Scouts, 15-year-old Zack Mayberry, saw something in the water about 150 yards away.  He grabbed his binoculars and he saw Carlock‘s head sticking out of the water.  Believe it or not, the Boy Scouts had just practiced a water rescue the day before.  And they immediately put the plan into action and rescued the stranded diver. 

This picture of Carlock and Boy Scout Zack Mayberry was taken on board the tall ship.  A rescued scuba diver and a sharp-eyed Eagle Scout who saved his life, that‘s this week‘s “American Moment.”

You can send us your e-mails to NORVILLE@MSNBC.com.  And we‘re posting some of your e-mail responses on our Web page, so go to NORVILLE.MSNBC.com to check that out. 

And that‘s our program for this evening.  I‘m Deborah Norville. 

Thanks for watching. 

On Monday, new photos out tonight showing British troops apparently torturing an Iraqi detainee, all coming on the heels of shocking pictures released earlier this week of American soldiers apparently abusing Iraqi prisoners.  Monday night, we ask, is this part of a pattern?  We‘ll have an exclusive interview with a soldier in another prisoner abuse case.  She was ultimately discharged.  But why does this continue to happen in Iraq?  You won‘t believe what she has to say about it.  And you‘ll find out on Monday.

Up next, “NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC‘S ULTIMATE EXPLORER.” 

END   

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