updated 3/29/2005 2:16:10 PM ET 2005-03-29T19:16:10

Guest: Sheri Payne, Dr. Ronald Cranford, Jim Moret, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Jim Moret, Gloria Allred, Robert Dunn, Bob McNeill

ANNOUNCER:  This is a special edition of THE ABRAMS REPORT.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT SCHINDLER, TERRI SCHIAVO‘S FATHER:  She‘s alive.  And she‘s fighting like hell to live.  And she‘s begging for help.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Terri Schiavo‘s father says Terri‘s still trying to communicate.  Could it, might it be possible, after it seems they‘ve run out of options in the courts?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  She is speaking from her hospice bed, saying, I want to live!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Then, a huge setback for Michael Jackson‘s defense.  The judge clears the way for prosecutors to offer up evidence that Jackson molested other boys.  Tonight, the ruling that could make this case.  How can Jackson‘s defense team fight back?  Plus, Jackson‘s cry of persecution in a new interview.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

MICHAEL JACKSON, ON TRIAL FOR CHILD MOLESTATION:  This has been kind of a pattern among black luminaries in this country.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Michael Jackson playing the race card?

ANNOUNCER:  Now, live from MSNBC world headquarters, Dan Abrams.

ABRAMS:  Hi, everyone.  All eyes are on Florida tonight, where Terri Schiavo is entering her 11th day without food or water.  She‘s now down to possibly the last hours.  Yet her father claims Terri is still communicating with him and fighting for life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT SCHINDLER:  She‘s alive.  And she‘s fighting like hell to live.  And she‘s begging for help.  She‘s still communicating.  She‘s still responding.  She‘s emaciated.  But she‘s responsive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Attorney for Terri Schiavo‘s husband, Michael, painted a very different picture of Terri‘s condition.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE FELOS, MICHAEL SCHIAVO‘S ATTORNEY:  Mrs. Schiavo‘s appearance to me was very calm, very relaxed, very peaceful.  There was no—I saw no evidence of any bodily discomfort whatsoever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Here‘s the latest on all the wrangling in this case.  MSNBC‘s Lisa Daniels is live in Pinellas Park outside her hospice.  Lisa, go ahead.

LISA DANIELS, MSNBC:  Well, Dan, I just wanted to give you the very latest.  We are hearing two slightly different versions about Terri Schiavo‘s condition.  From Schindler camp, we are hearing that she‘s very much alive.  They are certainly emphasizing that.  But they‘re also making a point of saying that the death process has not been easy.  We heard straight from Bob Schindler, Terri‘s father—straight from his lips this description, that Terri‘s eyes are swollen, her skin is sallow, her mouth is dry.  But again, they are emphasizing it is not too late.  She can be saved.

From Michael Schiavo‘s side, we‘re hearing from George Felos, his attorney, that the death process has been relatively peaceful.  He uses words like, Terri Schiavo is comfortable.  She‘s resting peacefully.  She‘s not in pain.  And he also pointed out that contrary to a lot of rumors, she has not been on a morphine drip, rather on two separate occasions, she was given a little bit, very low doses of morphine.

I also want to give you a better sense of what‘s going on here, Dan.  If Sean (ph) could just pan over here?  You can see the chaos here on the ground.  You really don‘t get a good idea of it when we show it to you TV.  Besides the dozens of reporters, Dan, there are about 100 protesters here.  They continue holding up signs like, “If Terri‘s death is painless, why is she on morphine?” mostly pro-Schindler protesters.  In fact, I haven‘t really seen a pro-Schiavo protester, to be honest.

Periodically, the crowd breaks into song.  Once in a while, we hear a bagpipe playing in the background.  But perhaps most interestingly, 24 hours a day, we hear the continual beating of a drum.  They have that center (ph) manned, and when one person stops beating it, another person comes to beat it.  It‘s supposed to be symbolic of Terri‘s heartbeat.

Finally, I just wanted to pass along some clarification that we heard from George Felos, Michael Schiavo‘s attorney.  There was question whether an autopsy would be performed on Terri Schiavo passes away.  Well, George Felos was very clear in saying that Michael has every intention of having that autopsy performed, that that was just rumors that there wasn‘t going to be.

But of course, there‘s still the dispute, Dan, whether she‘ll be buried, as her parents want, right here in Florida, about 40 miles down the road, or whether she will be cremated, as Michael Schiavo wants, and then those ashes buried on a plot, a family plot outside Philadelphia.  Dan, back to you.

ABRAMS:  Lisa Daniels, thanks very much.  That‘s got to be a tough story to be out there covering, you know?  There‘s a lot of—a lot of emotion on this case.  I can tell you just from the e-mails that we get every day.

We‘re joined now by Terri Schiavo‘s friend, Sheri Payne, who first visited with Terri last night.  She saw her again two times today.  Thanks very much for coming on the program.  I know you met Terri just after she married Michael Schiavo, and you‘re really the only friend that‘s been allowed to visit her.  So give us a sense from your perspective of what she looks like to you.

SHERI PAYNE, TERRI SCHIAVO‘S FRIEND:  I think Terri looks well.  Each day, it, of course, is going to change, when we‘re going into our 11th day.  Last night, I was in late with her.  I spoke to her.  She was very verbal.  I talked to her about things we used to do, going dancing.  Both of her arms came up several times when I mentioned the word dancing.  When I talked to her about concerts, or just things we used to do together, she got very verbal, more verbal than I‘ve ever heard her of all the times I‘ve been to see her.

ABRAMS:  You can understand, when you use the term “very verbal,” that even the doctors who are being cited by the Schiavo parents wouldn‘t say in a minimally conscious state that you could be very verbal.

PAYNE:  Well, she doesn‘t speak, like I‘m speaking right now, of course, but she follows you.  Her eyes follow you.  If you go to one side of the bed, she follows you.  But when I was speaking to her last night about all the good times we used to have together, she lifted her face up to me and she started trying to talk.  Her mouth was going.  Her eyes were fluttering.  And very loud.  She was very, very loud, to the point that the police officer came around to the bed and looked at her, and my friend, Fran, was with me, and Fran couldn‘t believe it, either.

ABRAMS:  And I assume, again—this is just to be fair—that you do not then accept the medical explanation for that, which is that this is just a reaction, that this is very typical of someone in a persistent vegetative state, that they do make noise at times, that they can give the appearance of being alert, but, in fact, that they really don‘t have a very good concept of what is going on around them?

PAYNE:  Right.  I do not agree with it.  If your foot were to hit Terri‘s bed, then that is when she really reacts.  As far as when you speak to her, she looks at you.  She follows you.  She tries to speak to you.  Last night was unbelievable to me.  It was wonderful.  I was glad to be able to be with her last night.

ABRAMS:  But you can understand why some people are very skeptical of hearing the idea because it seems with each day, Terri Schiavo is doing more and more, right?  I mean, in 2000, parents were conceding that she was in a persistent vegetative state.  And now, you know, your account, which is really remarkable, in conjunction with the Schiavo parents, are now saying that she‘s actually trying to have conversations.  It would seem that she‘s come quite a long way, despite the injury remaining about the same, in three years.

PAYNE:  Well, she has.  She has come a long way.  And I‘ve been into see her lots of times, and she has always been verbal.  I hate to repeat myself, but last night, she was more so.  And whenever I spoke to her about dancing, both of her arms would come up, and then they went down.  And then I mentioned it again, and both of her arms came up again.  And that‘s when she kept trying to speak to me.

ABRAMS:  Yes.  All right.  Well, again, you know the doctors would say that‘s just a reaction.  It has nothing do with what you‘re saying, that she‘s not responding.  But look, you‘re seeing it differently.  Very quickly—I don‘t want to forget about who Terri was back then.  Very quickly, just tell me about Terri, the woman you knew.

PAYNE:  When I think of Terri, I think of a fun person.  Terri and I had a lot of fun together.  We‘d go to clubs.  We‘d go to the beach.  We‘d go to concerts on the beach.  We had lots of dinners together.  She was happy.  Terri is a happy person.  She was always laughing.  She loves animals.  Terri was a joy to be with and still is.

ABRAMS:  Well, I wanted an opportunity to show those pictures of Terri as a young woman because it drives me crazy that the only pictures that are out there of Terri are those ones of what she looked like in 2001.  So I wanted an opportunity as you spoke to put up some beautiful pictures of Terri.  So thank you very much, Sheri Payne, for coming on the program.  I appreciate it.

PAYNE:  Thank you.  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Well, look, you know, that‘s what she saw.  That‘s what she believes she saw.  But I‘ll tell you, we‘re going to talk to one of the few doctors who‘ve actually examined Terri Schiavo, and he‘s going to tell us it‘s wishful thinking.  He‘s actually going to present the pictures from the CAT scan.  He says there‘s no way that Terri is communicating.

And a huge win for prosecutors in the Michael Jackson trial that could save their case.  Jurors will now hear about past allegations of abuse against Jackson, one involving child star Macaulay Culkin.  Also, Jackson compares his child molestation trial to the plight of Nelson Mandela.  I‘m serious.  It‘s on tape.  Is he really going to play the race card?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUSAN VITADAMO, TERRI SCHIAVO‘S SISTER:  The look on her face is, Please help me.  And that‘s exactly what I get from her when I‘m in there.  Please help me.  So she‘s fighting.  She‘s struggling.  And does this sound like somebody that wants to die?  I don‘t think so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Some family and friends of Terri Schiavo say she‘s very much alert and very much alive.  A few doctors say it‘s possible Terri‘s been misdiagnosed and is not in a persistent vegetative state but rather in a state of minimal consciousness.  But even if that‘s true, it wouldn‘t mean she‘s communicating.  The overwhelming majority in the medical community say Terri has close to no brain activity and no chance of regaining awareness.

Two hours ago, I spoke with a doctor who actually examined Terri in 2002, testified to her condition.  Dr. Ronald Cranford is the assistant chief in the neurology department at the Hennepin (ph) County Medical Center in Minneapolis.  He‘s a faculty member university of Minnesota Center for Bioethics.  I asked him how confident he is in the diagnosis that Terri‘s in a persistent vegetative state.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. RONALD CRANFORD, EXAMINED TERRI SCHIAVO IN 2002:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

the time of the trial in 2002, there‘ve been eight neurologists who examined her, four doctors caring for Terri Schiavo from 1990 to 2002, and three neurologists at court.  And of those eight neurologists total, seven of them said beyond any doubt whatsoever, Terri‘s in a vegetative state.  Her CAT scan shows severe atrophy or shrinkage of the brain.  Her EEG is flat.  And there‘s absolutely no doubt that she‘s been in a permanent vegetative state ever since 1990.  There‘s no doubt whatsoever, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Doctor, let me read you this from Dr. Cheshire.  I know you‘ve heard about him.  He‘s from the Mayo Clinic, and he is the reason that they appealed to the federal court, saying, Look, we‘ve got a doctor who is saying the following.  “There remain huge uncertainties in regard to Terri‘s true neurological status.  I believe that within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, there is a great likelihood that Terri is in a minimally conscious state rather than a persistent vegetative state.”

Your response?

CRANFORD:  Well, actually, if you read his report, he says she has no visual tracking and she has no conscious awareness, which are the cardinal signs of the vegetative state.  So I don‘t think there‘s any doubt she‘s in a vegetative state.  He never examined her.  He did an interview with her for 90 minutes, which is observing her.  He never reviewed her CAT scans.  He makes no mention of her EEG.  So while he‘s a reputable neurologist, perhaps, at the Mayo Clinic, his report means absolutely nothing.  It‘s a desperation last-minute move by the governor, who just doesn‘t know what else to do, and so he brings in a Christian fundamentalist neurologist.  It‘s just not true.

ABRAMS:  And this—this is what—you know, again, I feel for the parents here.  And I‘m going to play you a sound bite...

CRANFORD:  So do I.

ABRAMS:  ... from Terri‘s...

CRANFORD:  Yes.

ABRAMS:  ... from Terri‘s father here.  And now, I want you to listen to it and just tell me if it‘s even medically possible that this is the case.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT SCHINDLER, TERRI SCHIAVO‘S FATHER:  She‘s alive.  And she‘s fighting like hell to live.  And she‘s begging for help.  She still‘s communicating.  She‘s still responding.  She‘s emaciated, but she‘s responsive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Doctor, I mean, you hate to say it, but that‘s just a father wishful thing thinking, isn‘t it?

CRANFORD:  I hate to say it, but it‘s a father wishful thinking.  These are sincere, caring people.  I think the Schindlers, as opposed to the right-to-life activists and the president and Congress and all the others—I think they really believe that she‘s interacting.  They really believe she‘s been denied medical care.  And I think everybody sympathizes with their concerns.  This is a loving, caring family, but they‘re wrong.  And they‘ve known they‘ve been wrong.

They‘ve been diagnosed—she‘s been diagnosed a vegetative state ever since the early 1990s.  They were told that repeatedly in the early 1990s.  It‘s wishful thinking on the part of parents who dearly love their daughter and don‘t want her to be in the vegetative state she‘s in.  But Dan, there‘s really no doubt whatsoever.  No credible neurologist has come along who‘s examined her who‘s said she‘s not in a vegetative state.  It‘s just what they want to see.

And you can see how scary the tapes are that show her apparently interacting, with eyes open.  But her eyes are open, but she‘s not even looking at her mother, when you look at those tapes.  So I‘m afraid—I‘m afraid they‘re just wrong.

ABRAMS:  I want to very quickly—I‘m going to ask you about the CAT scan in a second.  But at the trial where Judge Greer evaluated this, were the neurologists split as to whether she was in a persistent vegetative state?

CRANFORD:  No, not the credible neurologists.  There were four neurologists, three who agreed (UNINTELLIGIBLE) court-appointed expert, and the trial court judge just didn‘t believe Dr. Hammesfahr.  He felt he was bogus.  He called him a self-promoter, and he said he had nothing to support his position.

ABRAMS:  Right.

CRANFORD:  So, no, there was no split at the trial.

ABRAMS:  But let‘s talk medically...

CRANFORD:  If you read judge—go ahead.

ABRAMS:  I just want to—I‘m running out of time, and we‘ve talked extensively about Judge Greer‘s opinion, which I have supported on this program.  All right, let‘s talk about the CAT scan.  You actually have the CAT scan.  This is it.  This is the CAT scan of Terri Schiavo.  Is that correct?

CRANFORD:  Yes, this is a CAT scan of Terri Schiavo taken in 2002, the most recent CAT scan done on her, 2002.

ABRAMS:  Tell us what it means.

CRANFORD:  Well, it shows extremely severe atrophy.  And unfortunately, we don‘t have one to compare it to.  But where those black areas are, that should be white.  That should be cerebral cortex.  And so really, there‘s no cerebral cortex left.  It‘s just a shrinkage of the cerebral cortex.  It‘s a thin band on the—well, the white on the outside.  And any neurologist or any radiologist looking at those CAT scans will tell you that her atrophy could not be more severe than it is.  So even if she were minimally conscious, which she‘s not, she‘s irreversible.  She‘s been like this for 15 years, Dan, and that CAT scan shows the most extreme, severe atrophy of the higher centers of the brain.

ABRAMS:  And what about those who say that there should have been more tests, that she‘s never had a PET scan, that she needs another MRI?

CRANFORD:  Well, she doesn‘t need an MRI because an MRI will not show any more damage than the CT.  And you can, again, check with any radiologist.  They‘ll tell you this CAT scan is more than adequate.  PET scan would show low (ph) metabolic activity.  I consider the CT—the PET scan in 2002, but the only place in the country that could do a reliable one is New York City, and I don‘t think back then, they would ever have taken her to New York City for a PET scan.  And you know what?  It‘s just a stalling technique by the pro-lifers now.  It has nothing to do with Terri‘s condition.  They know she‘s in a vegetative state, except for the family.  And the PET scan wouldn‘t add anything to what we know already, not with a flat EEG and not with that CAT scan showing atrophy.

ABRAMS:  Very quickly, a lot of my viewers asking, If she‘s not in pain, as you and many others have said, why is she getting any morphine?

CRANFORD:  Well, we commonly do that because it‘s a comfort to the family.  And I will commonly give morphine to patients who are in vegetative state.  I explain to the family that they‘re not suffering, but sometimes it helps the family just to know the patient‘s getting a little morphine.  So that‘s perfectly—an accepted standard of care, to give morphine to a patient who‘s dying in a vegetative state of dehydration.  I‘ve done it on many, many occasions, and that‘s perfectly acceptable to do that.  It‘s not for the patient.  The patient is not experiencing pain.  It‘s to benefit the family and to relieve them.  And there‘s no problem with giving morphine in a situation like this.

ABRAMS:  Very quickly, you are at the center of a case—we‘ve never received as many e-mails as we have on this case, this sort of divide and the passion in this case—you‘re in the center of it.  You‘re the doctor who so many people are relying on in this case.  How has that been for you?

CRANFORD:  Well, I‘m not the doctor.  I mean, they‘ve had two other neurologists (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a court-appointed expert.  They had four neurologists (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

ABRAMS:  Fair enough, one of the doctors.

CRANFORD:  One of the seven doctors who actually examined her who said beyond any doubt, she‘s in a vegetative state.  So there‘s just no doubt about the diagnosis.  I know there‘s sympathy for the family.  And you see those pictures, it looks like Terri is interacting.  But you know what?  She‘s really not.  That‘s what the vegetative state is.  It looks like they‘re interacting, but they‘re really not.  And there‘s nothing I can do to change that.

ABRAMS:  Dr. Ronald Cranford, thanks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Now to the Michael Jackson case, a huge bombshell today, a major blow to the defense.  Jurors will hear about prior allegations of abuse by Michael Jackson.  That means testimony about five other alleged boys—fair game.  It‘ll come from nine witnesses, including several former Neverland employees who say they witnessed it.  One of the prior accusers is going to testify.  He was paid millions for his silence back in the ‘90s.

The judge said earlier today, quote, he‘d permit “testimony with regard to sexual offenses and alleged pattern of grooming activity by the defendant.”

Joining me now, my friend, Jim Moret, an attorney and senior correspondent for “Inside Edition.”  He was in court today.

All right, Jim, so give us an overview as to who the prosecutors can now call—no names, of course—who the prosecutors can now call with regard to these past allegations.  I said no names.  I just mean the one boy.  Go ahead.

JIM MORET, “INSIDE EDITION”:  Oh, I understand.  Basically, there are five alleged prior victims.  But only one of them is going to get on the stand and say, Michael Jackson touched me inappropriately.  As to the four other alleged victims, there‘s going to be what the judge called third-party testimony.  There‘s going to be the mothers, some eyewitnesses.  There‘s one particular eyewitness who claims that he saw Michael Jackson in bed with other boys between the ages of 10 and 13 and that their underwear was on the floor.  That‘s the type of gross testimony that this jury‘s going to be confronted with.  It‘s really disturbing.

But what disturbs me, frankly, is that four of these alleged prior victims have said on the record that Michael Jackson never molested them.  I find that troublesome.

ABRAMS:  And one of them, and the one we can talk about—he‘s spoken about it publicly, denying, it is Macaulay Culkin, the child actor.  He‘s saying—he said nothing happened.

MORET:  He‘s said in the past nothing happened.  As a matter of fact, one of the alleged victims is from Australia.  When I was with CNN 11 years ago, I happened to interview this young boy and his mother.  The boy said to me on the record, Nothing ever happened.  My gripe, frankly, was with the mother just for allowing a child to sleep in a 35-year-old man‘s bed, and that‘s assuming nothing happened.  However, that boy said nothing happened.

They are going to bring in, as we said, some of the boys‘ mothers, some eyewitness testimony.  This jury is going to hear a lot of evidence.  And the one difficulty for the defense is that if this jury believes any of these prior allegations, they may think Michael Jackson got away with this time and time and time and time again, and regardless of what they feel in this case, they may make him pay for this case.

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Jim, stick around.  I want to talk about what someone says they saw with Macaulay Culkin, but—coming up.  We now know exactly what Jackson says happened the morning he showed up to court in his pajamas.  It‘s all part of an exclusive interview he gave to the Reverend Jesse Jackson.  He also compared himself to Nelson Mandela.  Come on!  We‘ve got the tape.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL JACKSON, DEFENDANT:  There have been many disgusting statements made recently concerning allegations of improper conduct on my part.  These statements about me are totally false.  As I‘ve maintained from the very beginning, I‘m hoping for a speedy end to this horrifying, horrifying experience to which I have been subjected. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Those—quote—“disgusting and false statements” that are coming back to haunt Michael Jackson during his current molestation trial, the judge ruling today the testimony related to abuse allegations from five other boys will be put in front of the jury.  Now, not all five of them are going to testify, only one.  But there‘s going to be a lot of witnesses. 

In that group, child actor Macaulay Culkin.  Now, he has always maintained that nothing inappropriate happened between him and Michael Jackson.  Culkin‘s publicist says her client—quote—“is presently not involved with the proceedings and we do not expect that to change.”  We‘ll just have to wait and see.  I think we might be seeing Culkin subpoenaed to testify.  I‘ve said it before.  I‘ll say it again.  This is a devastating blow to the defense.  Legally, with this new law California, it is the right call. 

Back with me, attorney and “Inside Edition” senior corporate Jim Moret.  Also joining me, Gloria Allred, who represented the 1993 accuser early on the case, criminal defense attorneys Bob McNeill and Robert Dunn, and Court TV anchor, former California prosecutor Kimberly Guilfoyle. 

All right, Kimberly, bottom line, this is a big blow for the defense. 

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, COURT TV:  Huge blow.  This is the turnaround point for this trial for the prosecution.  I think the defense had a very good chance of walking Jackson out the door.  Today, that stopped.  The fact that these cases, prior incidents, are going to be able to come in—and they should—is devastating to Michael Jackson. 

ABRAMS:  Robert Dunn, here is the stuff that is coming in, All right, 1990 accuser, this is—and his mother.  Kid settled for about $2 million.  He‘s going to testify.  So is his mom.  The mother of the ‘93 accuser, the kid who got $25 million, is going to testify.  A former maid who testified in ‘93 and sued Jackson later on is going to testify about what she says she saw.  Other former employees who worked at Neverland are going to testify about what they saw. 

Big trouble for Jackson? 

ROBERT DUNN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well, I mean, clearly it‘s not good news.  But I‘m certain it‘s not at all unexpected. 

I don‘t think that anyone who understands California law thought that much of this evidence was not going to be permitted in.  But what is critical is who is not testifying.  And that is the multiple witnesses, including principally the ‘93 alleged victim who is not testifying.  And their absence I think speaks as much as the evidence that will be coming in in this case will. 

ABRAMS:  Absence makes the heart grow founder, Gloria Allred.  The bottom line is, what are they doing?  Isn‘t it a problem, though, that Robert Dunn mentioned—and we‘ve heard this before—that only one of these five kids is going to say—you‘re going to have a witness who is going to say, yes, I saw this Michael Jackson fiddling with this boy. 

And the boy is going to come in if he‘s subpoenaed or forced to testify and say, it didn‘t happen. 

GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY:  Well, as the district attorney pointed out, the child who is the subject of the current criminal case was certainly in a sense put through a meat grinder for at least three days on the witness stand by the defense.  And he held up very well, according to the district attorney. 

But it‘s understandable that children, even if they are now adults, would be reluctant to come in and testify.  Of course, it would be better if they did.  On the other hand, the judge is going to permit testimony by others if they observed, for example, physical contact between Michael Jackson and those children. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Gloria, this isn‘t just, though, people who are reluctant to come in and testify—this is a quote from Tom Mesereau today. 

“Then we come to Macaulay Culkin, who has repeatedly made statements that he‘s a friend of Michael Jackson, has never been molested.  They want to bring in evidence that he was molested.”  I mean, if he‘s subpoenaed to testify, it sounds like he‘s going to be called and someone is going to say, oh, I saw him doing something inappropriate and Macaulay Culkin—

Macaulay Culkin is going to get up there and say, it didn‘t happen. 

ALLRED:  Well, you know, I don‘t know what Macaulay Culkin is going to say.  I will say this, though.  In general, often children will deny if, in fact, they have been victims of child sexual abuse, which is not to say that Macaulay Culkin has been such a victim.  But often they will deny because of the shame of it, because they feel there‘s a stigma attached.  And they, for that reason, often even keep it a secret and won‘t tell anybody for a long period of time. 

ABRAMS:  And, Bob McNeill, here is what the defense is going to do with regard to a lot of the witness from Neverland. 

I mean, one of these witnesses is going to testify, Adrian McManus, was ordered to pay.  She sued Michael Jackson.  Jackson countersued and was ordered—Adrian McManus was ordered to pay $25,000, Ralph Chacon ordered to pay $25,000.  The defendants were entitled to recover attorneys‘ fees.  This is Jackson‘s.  Jackson was sued.  And not only did he win in the lawsuit, but he countersued and got 1.5 almost million dollars in fees. 

BOB MCNEILL, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  You know, Dan, I think that you‘ve analyzed this case quite ably. 

This is the kind of case that most prosecutors I believe in the country would not bring this case.  And the problems with this case are pointed up.  Here it is.  They thought they were going to have five allegations brought to the jurors with the witnesses coming in, the victims that were involved testifying.  Come to find out there‘s only one. 

And that one that‘s coming in, you know, they‘re talking about marginal conduct.  It‘s illegal, but they‘re talking about touching, no evidence of any actual sexual acts being brought out.  I think that the prosecution has a problem.  I think it‘s not devastating, because I think the defense, based on what I‘ve heard, that they‘re ready to deal with it.

And so I think that they‘re still not be dead.  They have a fight on their hands.  But I think they‘re come out fine. 

ABRAMS:  Jim, what is the ‘90 accuser going to say happened to him, he and his mother, when they testify? 

JIM MORET, “INSIDE EDITION”:  Well, they‘re going to—with respect to that person, he‘s going to say that Michael Jackson physically touched him, inappropriately touched him. 

ABRAMS:  What does that mean?  Just under the underwear or somewhere? 

(CROSSTALK)

MORET:  Put his hand in his pants, yes.  Yes, that‘s exactly what it... 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  All right. 

MORET:  And you have to remember that the other people are going to come in and say, give evidence that Michael Jackson was grooming them and inappropriately touching, because that‘s one of the allegations here, that he was using pornography, specifically adult magazines, to groom, to groom this victim.  And they‘re trying to show past pattern of behavior to show that in 1990, ‘93, ‘94, for this period of time, Michael Jackson acted this way with boys aged 10 to 13, and he did so again here. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Robert Dunn, go ahead. 

DUNN:  Yes. 

I was just going to say that it‘s critical that we‘re not going to have additional victims coming in and testifying about any grooming.  We‘re only going to have the one victim, who incidentally was interviewed by prosecutors and they determined that there was no case.  So, in a way, that kind of cuts both ways, because it supports in part what the defense has been saying about Sneddon all along, that he‘s on a witch-hunt, because when someone else, another prosecutor, objective prosecutor, reviewed this witness‘ allegations, they determined that there was no criminal charges to be filed. 

ABRAMS:  Kimberly, what about—what about that? 

GUILFOYLE:  I just think—I can‘t believe what planet I‘m on right now.  Is everyone calling it marginal conduct?  Since when is it OK for a grown man to get in bed and fondle a young child?  Since when is it OK to sleep naked together with the underpants on the side of the bed?  I don‘t get it. 

In my state of California, those are felonies.  It‘s not OK.  And I think that a jury is going to be hard-pressed...

(CROSSTALK)

GUILFOYLE:  Hold on—to let Michael Jackson walk out that door.  You don‘t get five free bites at the apple, OK?  This is outrageous. 

ABRAMS:  What about Robert Dunn‘s comment, though, about why—if it was so outrageous, why didn‘t prosecutors bring charges in that case?

GUILFOYLE:  That‘s an evaluation, a statement he‘s making based on one case and one incident.

Now, when you put this all together in the aggregate, do any of you find this compelling?  Do any of you want any of your relatives or young kids to go have a little snack at Michael Jackson‘s house and Jesus juice, a little rubdown, have him lick your friend‘s kid‘s head?  I don‘t think so. 

(CROSSTALK)

ALLRED:  And, Dan, just because there‘s a failure to prosecute doesn‘t mean there‘s—quote—“no case.”

ABRAMS:  Right.  Right.  Right. 

ALLRED:  It just means that a prosecutor decided that he can‘t prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.  There might very well have been a very strong civil case.  As a matter of fact, there were some civil settlements in some of those... 

(CROSSTALK)

GUILFOYLE:  Yes, why did he pay, Dan?

ALLRED:  This case is now a tossup.  I‘m telling you, it was going all Michael Jackson‘s way.  Things are a‘changing.  Everyone is sticking around, because, coming up, Jackson is speaking out in an exclusive interview comparing his plight to—get this—Nelson Mandela.  He‘s talking about other black luminaries who‘ve been persecuted.  Come on.  He‘s playing the race card?  He?   

And actor/comedian George Lopez takes the stand, the first of the many celebrities on the witness list coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, in a taped interview, Michael Jackson seems to be dealing the race card.  Him of all people?  I thought this defense was about money, not race.  Well, that‘s coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) 

JACKSON:  I‘m handling it by using other people in the past who have gone be through this sort of thing.  Mandela‘s story has given me a lot of strength. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Michael Jackson comparing himself to Nelson Mandela.  It

happened on Sunday.  In an hour-long radio interview with the Reverend

Jesse Jackson, who is also his spiritual adviser, Michael Jackson said he‘s

·         quote—“completely innocent” of the charges against him.  He suggested he‘s a victim of a conspiracy. 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

JACKSON:  Just the pain of what I‘m going through, to be accused of something where I know in my heart and in my experiences in life I‘m totally innocent, and it‘s very painful.  But this has been kind of a pattern among black luminaries in this country. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Come on. 

My take, as I‘ve said, I have real questions about the accuser and his family, but let‘s be clear.  If Michael Jackson is innocent, it‘s about money, not race.  For Michael Jackson, who seems to stray from his roots more and more every day, to suggest otherwise I think is just unnecessary and counterproductive race-baiting. 

Robert McNeill, I thought that the defense was that this was about money.  Now it‘s about race?

MCNEILL:  Dan, I think that you frame the issue, but think for one moment, though, that Michael Jackson is absolutely innocent, yet he‘s being prosecuted and all this big hullabaloo has been brought on accusing him of these very, very serious crimes and all the time he‘s in there and he‘s innocent. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  But let‘s assume that—let‘s assume—let‘s assume that for a minute.  Let‘s assume that for a minute.  But, even assuming that, it‘s not like the prosecutors are bringing this out of a whole cloth.  The bottom line is, there‘s still a bunch of kids who are saying, Michael Jackson diddled me. 

MCNEILL:  No, Dan, what you have here is boys that were conflicting

one another.  They were not concern about when things happened and how they

happened

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  So, they decided Michael Jackson is black and we want to go after him together? 

MCNEILL:  No, no.  No, Dan, don‘t forget, what Michael Jackson is doing, Michael Jackson is reaching, trying to figure out why this is happening to him.  And you know what?  It‘s going to be up to him to explain why he made that comment that he made about little black, you know, African American luminaries being persecuted throughout the country. 

That‘s up to him.  But you know what?  He‘s in a situation where they

started off with a $3 million bail on him.  He‘s in a situation where the

prosecutor kicked the African-American jurors off the panel

ABRAMS:  Well, come on.  Come on.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  They made a challenge and it was—come on. 

(CROSSTALK)

MCNEILL:  I know.

But, Dan, understand he‘s sitting there.  Terrorist‘s nobody that is his peers.  There are no African-Americans on the jury.  The man feels lost.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  He even agrees he‘s peers with the people of Santa Maria.  He‘s the one who chose to move to an all-white community.  No one forced him to move there. 

MCNEILL:  Well, that‘s a good point.  But the point is, is that Michael Jackson is somewhat desperate.  He‘s in a desperate situation. 

GUILFOYLE:  Oh, exactly. 

MCNEILL:  And if is innocent, that‘s understandable. 

ABRAMS:  All right, Gloria Allred, what do you make of that, of Jackson saying—it bothers me, because, again, I‘ve been very critical of this prosecution.  I‘ve been questioning the prosecution‘s evidence, but then to get Michael Jackson out there and saying this is about race, you know, it‘s troubling. 

(CROSSTALK)

ALLRED:  First of all, it‘s insulting to Nelson Mandela to think that Michael Jackson is in the same league with Nelson Mandela, who fought for his whole life against apartheid. 

By the way, was the district attorney—did he put a gun to Michael‘s head and say, get in bed with young boys between the age of 10 and 13?  That‘s ridiculous to make this about race.  Michael Jackson has placed himself in this situation.  He has nobody to blame but himself. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  I‘m saving one of the quotes for Kimberly.

So, Robert Dunn, what do you make of this?

DUNN:  OK.

Well, Dan, I have to agree with you.  It‘s a bit of an absurd stretch for Michael Jackson to compare himself to Nelson Mandela in any respect.  But, having said that, let‘s just keep things in their proper content.  It‘s not as though Michael Jackson said that his case is the same case as Nelson Mandela. 

ABRAMS:  I understand.  Still, black luminaries? 

(CROSSTALK)

DUNN:  Well, I do think that a certain amount of the persecution that Michael Jackson has experienced over the years is due to his racial background. 

ABRAMS:  Oh come on, really?  You really believe that, Robert? 

(CROSSTALK)

DUNN:  Yes, I do believe that.  I believe that the extent to which he has been hounded and persisted throughout these years is in part due that. 

ABRAMS:  And it‘s not because Hispanic boys are accusing him of doing this, right? 

DUNN:  Well, I mean, even—the point of the matter is, with this—with Sneddon, at least, it would seem that he‘s been out there looking and hunting for any complainant he could go after Jackson with since the ‘93 case. 

ABRAMS:  All right.   

(CROSSTALK)

DUNN:  And so it does seem like he has got an axe to grind here. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  All right. 

Let me—let me—I have got to save this one for Kimberly, all right?  So, this is my favorite piece of sound from the Jesse Jackson interview.  This is Michael Jackson talking about how and he and Elizabeth Taylor used to interact. 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

JACKSON:  Elizabeth Taylor used to feed me, hand-feed me at times, because I do have a problem with eating.  But I do my very best.  And I am eating, yes, I am.  So I don‘t—please, I don‘t want known think I‘m starving.  I‘m not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  I can just picture, Kimberly, Elizabeth Taylor going, airplane, zoom or open up, the choo-choo train is coming. 

DUNN:  But can‘t you, though, Dan?  Can‘t you?  I can.

(CROSSTALK)

GUILFOYLE:  So disturbing.  I can‘t take it.  It‘s really disturbing. 

Now he‘s like turning into like a wanna-be Olsen twin or something.  I don‘t even know what it is.  And in terms of him being persecuted like a black man, he looks more now like Elizabeth Taylor.  What‘s going on with Michael Jackson?  If he had stopped the pajama parties earlier on, 10 years ago, he wouldn‘t be in this position.  But I think that he probably just can‘t help himself, Dan. 

(CROSSTALK)

DUNN:  Dan, if I can. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Very quickly, 10 seconds... 

(CROSSTALK)

DUNN:  I just want to say that it‘s interesting that, in the case of Jackson and O.J. Simpson, two people who did as much as they could to distance themselves from the African-American community, when the S. hits the fan is when...

(CROSSTALK)

GUILFOYLE:  That‘s right.  That‘s right. 

DUNN:  I will say that. 

ABRAMS:  All right.

Coming up, you know, we have got one more.  In the next block, I am going to play another piece of sound.  Michael explains why he wore his pajamas to court that day.  He explains his injury.  It involves him being fragile.  Actor/comedian George Lopez on the witness stand today.

Right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

GEORGE LOPEZ, COMEDIAN:  My job wasn‘t one for the defense or the prosecution.  My job was just to get my side of the story out and to tell the truth as I knew it. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  First celebrity testimony today at Michael Jackson‘s trial.  Comic George Lopez testified for the prosecution, saying that it was the accuser‘s father, not his mother, who appeared to be the scammer in their family, and that, now that they are separated, I guess the prosecutors are saying the mother shouldn‘t lose credibility because of her husband‘s actions.

But, Jim Moret, I am not so sure that‘s so good for the prosecution.  It reminds these jurors that this is a family that did some scamming.  And Lopez talked about the fact that someone falsely accused him of stealing money. 

MORET:  Well, but I think it is significant, Dan, and I will tell you why, because this was originally a defense witness. 

The defense said that this is basically a mother-son grifter operation, and they basically set up celebrities and bilked them for money.  What happened, though, is George Lopez came in for the prosecution and said, you know, this mother never asked for a dime.  The son was great.  He was my hero.  He overcame cancer.  He was a good kid.  It was the now ex-husband, this abusive ex-husband, who was the bad guy.  He caused the rift in the relationship with George Lopez and the family.

And, basically, we are now seeing the third witness that was supposed to be a defense witness who is now a prosecution witness.  So I think it‘s pretty significant. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  But, Kimberly, just very quickly, I just don‘t see how it helps them. 

GUILFOYLE:  Yes.  Oh, totally, Dan.  It totally helps. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  It‘s still a family of scammers. 

GUILFOYLE:  No, hold on.  Hold on.

DUNN:  It‘s in the blood.

GUILFOYLE:  He is no longer part of the family.  Remember the Peterson case not so long ago, when Geragos was doing the overpromise, underdeliver?  Now we‘ve had the third time, the defense, a witness turned around, taken from them by the prosecution.

ABRAMS:  And taken from them and want?

(CROSSTALK)

GUILFOYLE:  It‘s called preempting.  And it‘s a good thing to do.

ABRAMS:  And thrown out there and said, OK, so—yes, it‘s nice little, tiny little point. 

(CROSSTALK)

DUNN:  I think you are right, Dan

GUILFOYLE:  There‘s no problem, then, with the mother.  These are things that the father did.  So, how is it going to hurt this kid‘s testimony? 

ABRAMS:  Because, Robert Dunn, it still sticks in their head that it‘s a family.  It‘s too much of a lawyer‘s argument. 

(CROSSTALK)

DUNN:  Exactly.  That‘s the point.  The point is, is that the taint that was delivered to the family.  Even if it now has moved from the mother to the father, there‘s going to be enough on the mother. 

(CROSSTALK)

GUILFOYLE:  The defense loses credibility. 

DUNN:  They don‘t need Lopez to taint the mother.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  I think that is lawyer speak, but...

DUNN:  It‘s the whole family.  It‘s in the blood.

GUILFOYLE:  No.  When it‘s all put together, they‘re going to say, look, the defense, everything they promised didn‘t come together. 

ABRAMS:  That is what all us legal commentators do, sitting on the sidelines.  The jurors don‘t sit there and say, well, wait a second, the credibility of the prosecutor or—they basically just say, do I buy it or don‘t I? 

GUILFOYLE:  Dan, what happened in the Peterson case? 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  The Peterson case, they had all the evidence.  Come on.  The Peterson case was the evidence, not the lawyers. 

GUILFOYLE:  Hey, look. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Even those prosecutors won the case.

GUILFOYLE:  We are going by what Mesereau said.  And so far, it‘s not coming true.  Big problem, big problem for the defense today in general. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  All right, I got to wrap it up.  This is what I call a panel. 

Robert, I‘m sorry.  I apologize.  I am out of time. 

Thanks to my panel, Jim Moret, Gloria Allred, Bob McNeill, Robert Dunn, Kimberly Guilfoyle.

(LAUGHTER)

ABRAMS:  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  That does it for us tonight.  Stay tuned to MSNBC for the latest developments in the Terri Schiavo case.

And be sure to tune into the regular edition of the program about justice.  I love saying that.  It kind of rings, 6:00 p.m. Eastern time tomorrow night and every night.  We‘ll bring you all the latest developments in that case and all the rest of the legal news.

Up next, Joe Scarborough, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.”  Have a good night.  And I‘ll see you tomorrow here at the same time, after you watch the second edition.  You‘ll watch 6:00, right?  And then we‘ll be back together at 9:00.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

Transcription Copyright 2005 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license

is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may

not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or

internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall

user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may

infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary

rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for

purposes of litigation.>

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,