Tuesday, June 07, 2005

ON THE JACKSON TRIAL

The deliberations for the Michael Jackson trial are now into Day 3.

Looking back at this trial I have to say that the prosecution team has had its share of problems. Their main one right now is that they have had a difficult case from the get go. They didn't have DNA proving Jackson did it, and the witnesses in this case kept on changing their stories and being unreliable. You had that kid changing his story and admitting he changed his story on the witness stand, that sort of thing.

After the prosecution rested commentators like Andrew Cohen over at CBS were openly saying the prosecutors were in trouble. I can't disagree; my reaction was sort of a disgusted "is that it?!" I personally will be quite surprised if Jackson ends up being convicted here, because frankly the case against Jackson was far weaker than the cases against other celebrities like O.J. Simpson, whose DNA was everywhere. And HE was acquitted! I have a really hard time believing O.J. is innocent. Frankly I'm with the people who think he got away with murder, but the prosecution team made a lot of mistakes during that trial and the defense team (Barry Scheck in particular) did an excellent hatchet job on all the DNA evidence.

The only reason the prosecutors have a chance with Jackson's case is because I have a suspicion these jurors, some of them anyway, could be out to get Jackson and might look hard for any reason to convict him. After all, kids were involved and they want to take these charges seriously. Another reason I think this Jackson jury is going to be out for a while is because clearly the prosecutors have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Michael Jackson is a total weirdo. Unfortunately, Tom Sneddon and the gang needed to do much more than that to convict him, they need proof of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. I think it helps them that Jackson has been such a headcase, being late for court, showing up in his pajamas, and now this weekend winding up in the hospital again. I also read something about him selling Neverland. Michael Jackson's having nothing but problems and frankly I don't have sympathy for him. The guy is just too weird.

Anyway to sum up, I think the prosecutors feel they have a chance with this jury despite their problems, and the defense team is really confident. That's why you never saw a plea bargain deal like what you saw in the Marv Albert case. I had thought there might be a chance at a plea deal earlier in the trial but it's been apparent for a long time now that this wasn't going to happen, especially after the prosecution rested and Tom Mesereau moved to have the whole case dismissed. You could just tell that the defense team was sensing blood and refusing to give an inch. When you have a confident team of defense lawyers, any chance of a deal is likely to go up in smoke.

As for the circus elements of this case, well, they got old pretty quickly. You had Larry King called to the stand only for the judge to rule that his testimony wasn't relevant, so he never got on the stand. Then you had Jay Leno and his testimony and that made the news. But all in all it got kind of boring. The big problem is that compared to the O.J. trial there were no cameras in the courtroom, so even though there were 3,000 press people covering Jacko, the rest of the country was pretty disengaged and couldn't follow along on TV. I know I sure didn't. Instead you could get the usual ranting and raving from the likes of Nancy Grace and the rest of them, and frankly I find it difficult to trust any of these talking heads. The defense attorneys think the defendants are always innocent while the prosecutors have the prosecutorial mentality. I think Nancy Grace is completely biased. She's totally prosecutorial and seems to think everyone who's charged with something is automatically guilty. And then you have Diane Dimond there and basically her whole career has consisted of following the train wreck that is Michael Jackson's life and investigating him.

I think people are just tired of the Jacko show and tired of these trials. The Scott Peterson trial was another big one and everyone went nuts over that one, too, and now you see the books on the case coming out from Catherine Crier and Amber Frey and everyone else. Everyone is just cashing in on that case, just like they cashed in on O.J. Simpson, and for that matter Martha Stewart. I notice even Larry King is fed up with these things, he spent all of last week interviewing other people like Bill Clinton and Woodward and Bernstein. I guess they're letting Nancy Grace deal with these trials now.

Anyway we still await a verdict. Day 3. In the Robert Blake case it took over a week.

UPDATE: For another opinion from Andrew Cohen about the state of the case, click here; he thinks maybe some late videotape evidence may have saved the prosecution's case and cast the accuser in a more positive light than before. It would be interesting to see if the jury comes back and asks to see this tape again, or something. Something more to think about.

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