March 8, 2005 | 8:42 p.m. ET

Italian journalist's hypothesis is absurd (Dan Abrams)

The White House was right to call it  “absurd”— The suggestion from the Italian journalist and former hostage that the U.S. military intentionally tried to kill her as her car was speeding towards the Baghdad airport. 

It's almost unworthy of a response, except that since she was a hostage, she is now using that position and platform to spout out anti-American views.

Giuliana Sgrena, a reporter for a communist newspaper in Italy, was taken hostage in Baghdad on February 4. She was released last Friday into the custody of three Italian security officers after the Italian government apparently paid a multimillion-dollar ransom (at least according to the Italian press).  All four were in a car on their way to the Baghdad airport when according to Sgrena, the car suddenly came under attack out of nowhere. 

One of the officers in her convoy covered her with his body so she wouldn't get hurt. That officer was killed and the other two were wounded.  The car was traveling on a road known as one of the most dangerous in Iraq. 

The military says that when the car didn't slow down after troops made numerous attempts to alert the passengers. There was a check point ahead, and the military had no choice but to open fire. 

So first and foremost, what possible benefit could the United States get out of shooting at a high profile Italian hostage who has just been released and is on her way out of the country? Her theory is just preposterous: Sgrena has told the press that her Iraqi captors warned her that the U.S. might intervene in her release and she suggested the military may have targeted her car specifically because the U.S. opposes any negotiations with kidnappers in Iraq. 

Oh, so someone ordered she would be assassinated because a ransom was paid? The money had already been paid to the kidnappers, but the U.S. wanted to teach Italians a lesson by killing her?

Look, she has a right to be angry: Her car was shot at, she was injured, and a man who was instrumental in her release was killed.  She deserves some answers.  Unfortunately, she‘s probably not going to be satisfied with the most likely answer — there was no communication between the two countries.  Italy wanted to keep the U.S. in the dark about the ransom payment because the Italians knew we'd disapprove. So when her car sped toward the airport, it's likely U.S. forces even realized the Italians were on their way to Baghdad airport. 

If it's really answers she wants rather than just a soapbox, then she's only hurting the effort because now her credibility is at issue.

E-mail Sidebar@MSNBC.com.

March 8, 2005 | 2:58 p.m. ET

Jackson camp preparing victory tour ( Stacy Brown , MSNBC contributor and Jackson family friend)

MSNBC
Is Michael Jackson creating his own version of Dewey defeats Truman?

After a week of testimony, most court watchers would agree that defense attorneys are winning, and the King of Pop is reportedly already preparing for a victory celebration concert tour that would include a half-time performance at the World Cup.

According to the UK's Times Online, each morning while preparing for court and as an aide fixes his tie, Jackson is on his gem-encrusted cell phone speaking with business manager Charles Koppelman.  The two are planning a world tour, which they've already nicknamed “The Michael Jackson Celebration Tour.”

The tour would include stops in Japan, the UK and Asia, and feature Jackson performing live at the World Cup, where the audience is second only to the Super Bowl in sports.  Koppelman is also working in the background to disentangle Michael Jackson's finances and vet offers on the long mooted sale of the now tainted Neverland Ranch, according to the Times.

Winner of this round?
Even after Monday's devastating testimony from the brother of Jackson's accuser, the Jackson camp seemed to exude confidence, even a sense of victory.

On the way out of court Monday, Joseph Jackson, Michael Jackson's father, triumphantly grabbed his embattled son's hand and raised it above his head, like a handler would lift a victorious boxer's arm following a win.

And today, when the Jacksons exited their chauffer-driven SUV, Jermaine Jackson threw his hands in the air and pumped his fist at the handful of supporters outside the courthouse.

The strange thing is that before opening statements, Jackson had reportedly been somewhat glum and nervous, almost like a man preparing to walk his last mile. However, with the unexpected backing of the news media, the singer seems reinvigorated.

Fox and friends
So confident that Jackson will walk, newsman Geraldo Rivera has bet his mustache— and whatever reputation he enjoys— on Jackson's innocence. In fact, the Fox News Channel appears to be backing Rivera.

The network, apparently believing that Jackson is innocent, is currently the only American-based news organization to have abandoned the “John Doe” and “Jane Doe” pseudonyms for the accuser and his family, and routinely refers to the family by their real names.

Even James Brown got into the act this week.  The legendary godfather of soul said that Michael was being “set up” in his child molestation trial and that Jackson should be touring tsunami-hit Asia rather than defending himself in court.

“We need Michael,” Brown said. “We need Michael out here entertaining. Michael could have been great [in Indonesia] performing. His talent is very appealing and people know him. “

Jackson himself told Rivera that he and his brothers had been working on a tsunami relief record although it is unclear if the work had been completed or whether Jackson plans to reunite with the Jackson Five if he is acquitted.

Pre-mature confidence?
But talk of an acquittal definitely appears premature since we've just begun the second week of what is projected to be a six-month trial.

Perhaps Jackson, who grew up only minutes from Chicago, never learned about what happened during the 1948 presidential election.  Weeks before it, many leading editorial writers and political columnists relied on early Gallup Polls, which predicted Thomas E. Dewey's win over incumbent Harry S. Truman.

Truman's strategy was to bypass the press by taking his case to the people in what he called a whistle-stop campaign.  An issue of the early edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune was handed to Truman after the election.  The headline declared “Dewey Defeats Truman.”

Truman upset Dewey despite having the support of only 15 percent of the nation's daily newspapers.

Premature celebrations and continued media pronouncements of his pending acquittal could have Michael Jackson's sworn enemy, District Attorney Thomas Sneddon, looking a lot like Harry Truman after the trial is over.

E-mail us at Sidebar@MSNBC.com

March 7, 2005 | 1:02 p.m. ET

Prosecutors and judges also stand in the line of fire (Dan Abrams)

As of late, Americans have done a better job appreciating how our soldiers, police officers, and firefighters put themselves in harm's way for the rest of us.That's refreshing and I really hope it continues. 

But after last week, we should be thinking seriously about adding judges and prosecutors to the list of those we truly appreciate. Federal Judge Joan Lefkow came home Monday night to find the dead bodies of her husband and mother , both shot execution-style.  Just last year, white supremacist leader Matthew Hale was convicted of plotting to kill Judge Lefkow.  

Judge Lefkow is hardly the first judge to be targeted. Prosecutors who take on the worst of the worst also risk reprisal from those criminals they prosecute. These are judges and prosecutors who often gave up the opportunity to make far more money in private practice in order to serve the public good.  

In Iraq, no one is under the illusion that being a prosecutor or judge is safe. Also last week, a father and son— an investigative judge and prosecutor in Saddam Hussein's trial, were assassinated, gunned down in Baghdad . Both worked for the special court set up to hear charges of human rights abuses against Hussein. The same day, another judge on that special court was severely wounded. 

There's a reason these stories are so important:  Violent attacks on judges and prosecutors threaten our justice system and our democracy and that of Iraq as well. 

I know these days it's P.C. to criticize judges for rulings that particular interest groups don't like and sometimes, the criticism is deserved. But I fear judges are the new scapegoats used by those who want to politicize everything.  And as for prosecutors, if you listen to defense attorneys, prosecutors get the wrong guy in every case. 

The vast majority of the judges and prosecutors in this country's courtrooms are doing the right thing and I don't think we sufficiently appreciate the risks they take. Courtrooms aren't as dangerous as burning buildings or the streets of Iraq— but this week we should appreciate and take note their efforts. 

What judges and prosecutors do inside a courtroom can have serious repercussions for them once they walk outside.

Send your e-mails to AbramsReport@MSNBC.com

March 4, 2005 | 6:05 p.m. ET

Prison gives you street cred or celebrity chic (Dan Abrams)

No one should be surprised that Martha Stewart seems to be emerging from prison as a more important figure, and with even more potential.

Martha Stewart's company stock has shot up nearly 250 percent since she's been in the clink.  She has contracts for not one, but two new reality shows with NBC. 

These days, where reality TV seems to be our reality, spending some time in a criminal courtroom or behind bars often becomes a sort of badge of honor rather than a stain. It's become something to add to the resume rather than to hide.  It proves true the maxim that any publicity is good publicity.  

Look at P. Diddy or Puffy as he was known at the time.  After his trial on weapons charges after a shooting at a New York club, he was just bigger and more influential than before the trial started. He was found not guilty. 

Public relations princess Lizzie Grubman served time for running into some club goers with her Mercedes SUV.  The old timers asked, “Oh, is she done? “ P.R. insiders knew it was just the beginning. Next week she has a new reality show “Power Girls” to the budding empire. 

And of course in the rap music world, it seems spending time in the pen is a prerequisite.  P. Diddy's co-defendant, Jamal “Shyne” Barrow, fired a weapon that night and is serving time, but he's still one of the most sought after rap artists around. 

And former gang member Calvin Broadus went to prison on drug charges in 1990, got out, recorded the album “Doggy Style” under the name Snoop Dogg.  It went platinum. The rest is music history.

Those are just a few of the many examples of beating the rap, so to speak. Robert Downey Jr. survived after dropping out of drug rehab four times and going to prison. His movie career continues to thrive, and he just released his first album. 

It seems you have to do really something extra nasty, but not just criminal, something sort of gross to be considered a real outcast— like former New York Judge Sol Wachtler, who was once mentioned as a possible candidate for New York governor.  He hasn't been seen much after apparently sending a sexually explicit note with a condom enclosed to the 14-year-old daughter of a woman with whom he had an affair. He hasn't recovered. 

It's the new reality: Martha turns lemons into lemonade and walks out of Camp Cupcake with a lot more cake in her cup than when she walked in. 

Your rebuttal

Yesterday, I spoke with former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. He was removed from office for defying a federal judge's order to move a Ten Commandments monument from the State Supreme Court building. The issue we discussed was the Supreme Court's consideration of whether the commandments can be displayed in public buildings.
While we agreed on some of the issues, we ended up debating the depth of our first president, George Washington's religious beliefs.  I said he was “not a particularly religious man.”  Judge Moore disagreed.  Many of you e-mailed with history lessons on both sides. 

Tommy G. Smith:
“I was disappointed tonight as I watched Mr. Abrams interview Judge Roy Moore.  He challenged the judge about whether George Washington was a Christian.  Without hesitation the judge fired a quote after quote from Washington to prove his position.  Never once did he offer any facts or evidence to disprove what the judge was saying.”

Tommy, I wasn't going to waste time throwing out other quotes that suggest just the opposite.  There are plenty of them.  You can find them.  Random quotes don't prove anything.  How about this?  We spoke to both historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Washington biographer Joe Ellis, neither believed he was very religious. Ellis, who is knowledgeable about Washington in particular said Washington only attended church occasionally, didn't use the word God, and his religion essentially involved recognizing a greater force outside the human world.  If that means he was very religious, well then your definition of religious is different than mine. 

From Ithaca, Mich., Brian Showers:
“Simply because this country's first president did not mention Jesus Christ or affirm to his audience his undying allegiance to our God in heaven in every recorded speech does not by any means relegate him as Atheist or somehow weak in his faith.”

Ryan Ramage in Cleveland, Ohio:
“Check your history, Dan.  George Washington was a Freemason.  The most basic requirement of being a Freemason is to subscribe to a religious creed.”

You know, Ryan, if you think Freemasons are synonymous with very religious people, you too have a different definition of religious than do I.  Freemasons, yes, they're required to believe in a God, but that's it.  Hardly proof that he was very religious.

Katie Weathers in Florence, Alabama on my side:
“I have to question Roy Moore's educational background.  He's obviously never taken a history class.  George Washington and many of the other founding fathers were not in the least bit religious and in fact were Freemasons and the like.  Groups which fundamentalist Christians like Mr. Moore decry as thoroughly un-Christian.  So which is it Mr. Moore?”

K.L. Jensen in Gainesville, Fla.:
“What Roy Moore and so many other theists can't take is the fact the God that Washington and many others of our founding fathers believed in was not the God of Abraham and Moses.  Many of our founding fathers were Deists, not Christians.  Under Deism there is no bible and there is no Decalogue of Ten Commandments.”

And Jiggs Elphison in Butte, Montana changes the subject a little:
“Posting the Ten Commandments listing— thou shall not commit adultery, thou shall not steal, thou shall not lie, et cetera— in a public building such as a courthouse that contains politicians, lawyers and judges would be hypocritical and would probably create a hazardous work environment.”

Finally, last night we reported that Bill Cosby spoke out for the first time in an exclusive interview with “The National Enquirer”—the first time since allegations were made that he sexually assaulted two women. 

Jeff Hardy in Colonial Heights, Virginia:
“Now I've seen everything.  Your show has lost a good bit of credibility in my mind, reporting a story in “The National Enquirer” as though it was “The New York Times”.  Are we to believe that Cosby chose this as his one and only media interview?  Unbelievable.”

A number of you said this, but Jeff, yes, that's exactly what Cosby did.  We confirmed that with his lawyers before the segment. He felt apparently indebted to “The Enquirer” for their role in helping to find his son's killer. He chose the venue. Not us. 

Send your e-mails to AbramsReport@MSNBC.com

March 4, 2005 | 3:55 p.m. ET

Neverland: House of child's play or a den of sin? ( Stacy Brown , MSNBC Contributor)

MSNBC
I was awe-struck when I first visited the famed Neverland Ranch some years ago.

Magical! Mystical! Certainly impressive.

I looked long and hard at the mini-Disneyland that is accompanied by amusement park rides, a movie theater, an arcade, a zoo and a railroad system that is not unlike the one that greets millions at Disneyland daily.

The anticipation built, as the car I was riding in made it's way up Figueroa Mountain Road in Los Olivos, California, I wondered had I packed enough clothes, did I bring a camera?  Oops— cameras are not allowed.

After passing the beautiful mountains of the Santa Ynez Valley, I was already in wonderment as I noticed the bucolic beauty surrounded by rolling green hills and cattle ranches.

Once at the compound, I remember joking with the security guard that I didn't want to sign the required confidentiality agreement unless Michael Jackson himself explained it. The guard, not exactly in the mood for jokes, radioed that MJ was needed. I quickly told him that I was only kidding.

I just simply couldn't wait to get onto the grounds of this 2,700-acre masterpiece. The ranch is made up of more than 20 buildings including the main residence, guesthouses, ranch-hand apartments, stables, a movie theater, theme park, teepees and other mind-blowing ornaments.

A simple wooden fence surrounds the complex itself and a small herd of cattle grazed near the security booth.  I was told to take any guest quarter that I liked and promptly chose the one facing a pond with swans and ducks swimming about. There were Peter Pan cars and a horse-drawn carriage available for around the clock use. Coats were hung throughout the ranch as temperatures often drop late in the day and at night.

The staff was as hospitable as could be imagined.

Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch Investigation
Frazer Harrison  /  Getty Images file
Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch is shown November 18, 2003 outside of Santa Barbara, California.
It was a place that turned grown men to children. This was a place that celebrity after celebrity visits and enjoys. A guest book, which sat in the hands of a waxed butler leading to the dining room, contained the names of people like Magic Johnson, Elizabeth Taylor, and O.J. Simpson— and well, now it had my name.

I remember on another visit seeing Jackie Jackson roam the grounds like a child at the zoo. And, still on another visit, seeing Jermaine Jackson in a Mickey Mouse T-shirt excitedly talk about wanting to head to the amusement park rides. Neverland does this to a person.

I will say that one of the first things that came to mind was, "Would the person who owns this place be capable of molesting a child?" From what I witnessed, the hospitality, the friendliness of the ranch staff, and the child-friendly themes, I just didn't see it.

However, yesterday, Neverland was revealed at Jackson's trial to be a huge cluttered den of bizarre artifacts, ranging from mannequins of young boys to a grand piano and a model of Gollum from the Lord of the Rings.

Eerily silent police film shown to the jury at Neverland focused in on Jackson's bedroom and living quarters which prosecutors have sought to depict as a haven of pornography and alcohol designed to seduce young boys.

It showed the “toy room,” and the “doll room.”

In the bedroom, where Jackson allegedly molested a former cancer patient, the camera zoomed in on a giant bed with a sparkly cover. Above it was a version of "The Last Supper" featuring Jackson.

The alleged victim's sister described to the jury how her brother asked to sleep in Jackson's bedroom on their first visit to Neverland.

The young girl also described how she and her family were flown to Miami to meet Jackson on the night the Martin Bashir documentary was broadcast.

During this time Jackson “pulled (the accuser) aside into his room” several times. Jackson, who appeared upset, made it clear he did not want them to watch the documentary.

She said her brother was acting strangely at this time, becoming “very hyper and very talkative and very playful.”

She also described how Jackson led her brothers into the arcade room and hidden behind the jukebox was a private room where he shared wine and vodka with the teens.

This family and the prosecutors have described Neverland as the ultimate in "kids taking candy from a stranger and paying a steep price." A major contrast to the picture I had of Neverland some years ago.

Send your thoughts to Sidebar@msnbc.com

March 4, 2005 | 12:25 p.m. ET

Who's in court with Jackson today (Stacy Brown, MSNBC analyst and Jackson family friend)

His mother, of course, Katherine Jackson
His brother Jermaine
His sister Latoya

March 4, 2005 | 12:20 p.m. ET

Accuser knew of previous abuse allegations

Last night,  Private investigator Bradley Miller, whose office was searched the same day as Jackson's Neverland ranch, spoke about the case for the first time on MSNBC's "Abrams Report."

According to him, Michael Jackson's accuser was aware of similar claims from 1993 before he made allegations that the singer molested him.

Miller has been called as a witness by both district attorney Thomas Sneddon and lead defense lawyer Tom Mesereau Jr. He conducted surveillance on the accuser's family in the wake of the 2003 documentary in which Jackson admitted he shared his bed with young boys. Though participants in the Jackson case are under a gag order, Miller apparently conducted the interview prior to being subpoenaed as a potential witness.

Click here for the full story .

March 3, 2005 | 5:44 p.m. ET

Jackson, Martha, Blake— busy legal day (Cory Gnazzo, Abrams Report staff)

Dan Abrams has an exclusive interview with a key participant in the Michael Jackson trial.  Bradley Miller is a private investigator who was hired by Jackson's first lawyer, Mark Geragos, to find out more about Jackson's accuser and his family.  Bradley Miller is under the gag order but he agreed to talk to an extensive sit-down interview with Dan.  We're going to play part of that interview tonight and the rest will air on Dateline NBC this Sunday. 

We'll also get the latest on the trial. Today, the accuser's sister took the stand , and we'll debate the gag order with our legal panel.  Jay Leno is on the witness list and that makes him bound by the gag order, but now he's asking a judge whether that means he can't tell anymore jokes about Jackson on his show!

Plus, Martha Stewart is getting out of prison tomorrow. We'll have a live report from the prison about her release and what's next for her. And what will her life be like when she's under house arrest?  Dan talks to a former prisoner about what it's like to be a prisoner in your own home.  Stewart could leave Alderson anytime after midnight tonight so keep an eye on MSNBC all night long... we'll bring it to you live when Stewart is released.

We're also keeping an eye on the Robert Blake trial which could go to the jury today.

Don't forget, Dan reads your e-mails at the end of every show so keep them coming! Send them to Dan now: mailto:abramsreport@msnbc.com

The program about justice starts at 6 p.m. ET on MSNBC.

March 3, 2005 | 4:18 p.m. ET

Shoe leather and forensic science will solve the Chicago slayings (Clint Van Zandt, MSNBC analyst and former FBI profiler)

MSNBC

For the past few days, Chicago police detectives, FBI agents, and deputy U.S. marshals have been working together in a task force to solve the February 28 execution-style murder of the husband and mother of Chicago USDC Judge Joan Lefkow.

Investigations 101 tells us that a criminal brings something to a crime scene, he leaves something at the crime scene, and that he or she takes something away from the crime scene (many times unintentionally).   Once this happens, criminals don't get do-overs. Although their story may change, the physical evidence doesn't.

Early in the investigation, law enforcement learned that at about 8 a.m. on the day of the murders, a red Ford Escort with two white men with military-style haircuts wearing camouflage clothing were observed in a church parking lot near the Lefkow residence.  The church official who saw the car and its occupants noticed that the two men were smoking and drinking Cokes. He asked them to move on and they did. 

Detectives and agents have reportedly secured the cigarette butts that were left on the ground by the two suspicious individuals.  These butts will be examined for DNA. If that is present, DNA will not only provide the race and sex of the person smoking the cigarette— something that law enforcement already appears to know because of the witness— but they will then have a known standard of DNA to compare to any future suspect.

I'm told that a fingerprint recovered from the broken window (that may have been the assailant's method of entry into the Lefkow residence) is also being compared with FBI National fingerprint files.  Of course there are also the .22 shell casings that were recovered at the scene, the bullets from the two victim's bodies, the attempts by the shooter(s) to clean up and move through the crime scene, etc., that will assist in linking the killer or killers to the Lefkow residence that fatal day.

In the meantime, investigators are running down all known associates of white supremacist Matthew Hale, other subjects that have recently appeared before Judge Lefkow, and anyone that Michael Lefkow may have had any problems with. The task force is probably also checking all known burglars, street criminals, and anyone that has used a .22 (probably semi-automatic pistol) in any crime in the Chicago area. They will also be matching the bullets from the two victims to any similar bullets recovered from other crimes scenes.

The investigation will rely on 21st century science, plain old investigative shoe leather, the interviewing abilities of the investigators and, finally, tips from the public. 

This case, like that of the BTK serial killer, will be solved. 

March 3, 2005 | 2:15 p.m. ET

Media and the White House exaggerating terror threats and stories (Dan Abrams)

The media and the Bush Justice Department have often exaggerated foiled terror attacks or threats to the U.S. For the past three years, we've heard threats that could have been true, but really weren't. 

The latest example is the breathless reporting on Wednesday about a supposed terror threat to Grand Central Station . Numerous major news outlets led their newscasts with it questioning whether the Madrid bombers who killed 191 people with 10 backpack bombs had been plotting an attack on the famed New York train station. 

The evidence— a Spanish newspaper's report that a search of one of the suspect's home turned up a sketch of what appeared to be Grand Central on a computer disk.  But then some hours later, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says “We have no information to indicate that these drawings were part of an operational plan to attack Grand Central Station.”  Kelly went on to say he didn't think this new sketch was even cause for alarm. 

In the months after 9/11, I was convinced the U.S. homeland was going to suffer another attack. Any hint of a threat sent shivers through my bones and I covered countless supposed threats. I was as guilty as the other news folks.

I still believe we are a nation at risk.  But now, with three and a half years of experience reporting supposed threats that have turned out to be nothing, we in the media need to take more care in how we report these homeland security issues. 

That is made a lot more difficult because it's often hard to trust the administration when it comes to this issue. For example, American citizen Jose Padilla has been locked up in a Navy brig for nearly three years, his arrest heralded with a press conference from Moscow by Attorney General Ashcroft who said Padilla was at the center of "an unfolding terrorist plot to attack the United States by exploding a dirty radio active bomb."

But this week, a federal judge ruled Padilla should be released if the government cannot charge him , and it looks like the government doesn't even have enough evidence to charge him with a crime. 

In August, the government announced a computer file seized in Pakistan supposedly indicated financial institutions in New York, Jersey, and Washington were al Qaeda targets. The press, myself included, went into overdrive covering the potential attacks.  It turned out that the information was old, probably from before 9/11. The  CIA informer who provided the information leading to the warning was apparently lying. 

In the intelligence community “Better safe than sorry” is a cliché to live by.  Just because intelligence turns out to be wrong, doesn't mean someone is to blame. 

But I'm not certain we're safer when we can't trust the messengers. 

E-mail me: DAbrams@MSNBC.com

March 2, 2005 | 1:15 p.m. ET

Why Michael Jackson will not be convicted (Dan Abrams)

If both the prosecution and the defense deliver what they promised in the opening statements, I find it hard to believe that the jury is going to find proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Jackson is guilty.

The prosecution claims Jackson (1) molested the child, (2) gave him alcohol in an effort to molest him, (3)and/or engaged in a conspiracy. 

Maybe it's just the lawyering, but based on the opening statement, what the prosecutors are going to present are the accuser and his family's accounts of being holed up by Jackson and his team (in hotels and at the Neverland Ranch).

The boys will recount experiencing or witnessing abuse by Jackson. They'll have some corroboration, like evidence from other witnesses about Jackson putting liquor into Coke cans. It's at least clear that he had some porn in his Peter Pan-inspired getaway. But he's charged with plying the boy with liquor so that he could molest him. Without proving the intent to molest, the alcohol charge means nothing. 

The success of the conspiracy charge is going to depend largely on the testimony of the mother, but she's a huge problem. Even prosecutors concede she's been a scammer in the past. She's made allegations about false imprisonment and sexual abuse. It looks like the defense may be able to show that at least some of those allegations were false.

But more importantly, the timeline laid out by Jackson's attorneys will be an insurmountable problem for prosecutors. The family repeatedly told investigators, social workers, and the media that Jackson is a great guy until February 21, 2003. The prosecutors say the abuse happened between February 20 and March 12. 

Prosecutors want jurors to believe that after this negative documentary about Jackson aired, Jackson and his team frantically tried to make sure that the family said nice things about Jackson on a rebuttal tape. They want jurors to believe that at this point, Jackson's world is crashing down on him because he said in the documentary that “likes to have children sleep in his bed.”  And right then is supposedly when Jackson suddenly decides to molest the boy for the first time— a boy he's trying to imprison to make sure he says there was no molestation. 

Why didn't any of them report any of this to the Department of Family Services? 

Even the boy's own account is troubling.  At the grand jury, he says he was definitely molested by Jackson twice, but he has dreamlike recollections of Jackson molesting him at other times as well. 

The bottom line? In the same way prosecutors will be able to prove Jackson is weird, inappropriate, and at times maybe downright frightening, the defense will be able to show this family can't be trusted enough to take away Jackson's freedom.

I predict, and we'll see, that Jackson will be found not guilty. 

E-mail Dan at Sidebar@MSNBC.com

Your rebuttal

On Tuesday, we told you the Modesto police were called to the home of convicted murderer Scott Peterson and his murdered wife Laci on Saturday after neighbors reported a loud argument between Laci's mom and Sharon Rocha, Scott's mother. The confrontation occurred as Scott's family tried to take out furniture and other items. 

Stephanie Seglin from Maryland:
“Until today, I felt sorry for Jackie Peterson.  I thought she was a decent lady with a lot of class.  There seems to be a sense from everyone in this family of a total lack of responsibility in their lives.”

Jimmy C. from California:
“I could not believe how fit Jackie Peterson looked carrying that ironing board from her convicted double murderer son's former home.  I mean for a woman on oxygen seen every day for the last two plus years in court and in interviews, she looked as healthy as Jose Canseco on his best day in Major League Baseball all juiced up rounding third.”
Also Tuesday, during opening statements in the Michael Jackson case, Jackson's attorney tried to discredit the accuser and his family.

Bob Fedorowicz writes from Pennsylvania:
“It seems everyone has all but forgotten Michael Jackson's own false accusations of abuse at the hands of the police who arraigned him.  The accuser's mother is not the only one with a history of false allegations.” 

Good point, Bob. 

And Pat Moreland in Nevada asks, “Who is the guy who is always there with the umbrella for Jacko and how much does he get paid to be a lackey?”

Send your thoughts to AbramsReport@MSNBC.com

Discuss:

Discussion comments

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