Sunday, June 28, 2009

MJ's 1993 Civil lawsuit

I found this interesting, about why MJ would settle out of court. you can follow the whole article here.

Here are a few bullet points:

– Because of double jeopardy, anyone accused of a crime will never have to defend themselves for the same allegation twice unless one trial takes place in civil court and the other in criminal court. This was the situation with Michael Jackson in 1993.

- Up until that point, the alleged victim’s mother June Schwartz had maintained that Jackson was innocent of the allegations. As soon as the civil suit was filed, however, she changed her tune and joined forces with her ex-husband Evan Chandler and their son Jordan. At that point, June Schwartz’s divorce attorney Michael Freeman resigned. “The whole thing was such a mess,” he explained. “I felt uncomfortable with Evan. He isn’t a genuine person, and I sensed he wasn’t playing things straight.”

- The civil suit was filed while the police investigation was still ongoing. As a result, the civil trial was scheduled to take place before the criminal trial began which would have been a violation of Jackson’s constitutional right to not self-incriminate. Typically, when there are two trials dealing with the same allegation, the criminal trial takes place before the civil trial (i.e- the O.J Simpson case). This is to ensure that the Defendant’s defense in the criminal case will not be compromised as a result of the civil proceedings.

- Jackson’s attorneys filed a motion asking for the civil trial to be delayed until after the criminal trial was over. They cited numerous cases such as Pacer, Inc. v. Superior Court to support their request. The Federal case held that, “when both criminal and civil proceedings arise out of the same or related transactions, the Defendant is entitled to a Stay of Discovery and trial in the civil action until the criminal matter has been fully resolved.” Other cases cited include Dustin W. Brown v. The Superior Court, Dwyer v. Crocker National Bank, Patterson v. White and Huot v. Gendron.

- If Jackson had not settled the civil lawsuit, he would have put his entire defense strategy in jeopardy by revealing it to the prosecution months before the criminal case went to trial.

- Let’s pretend for a moment that Michael Jackson had gone through with the civil trial. What would have happened? He would have presented the court with all of his evidence of extortion and Sneddon would have been watching the entire thing unfold. He could have then taken Jackson’s most critical exonerating evidence from the civil trial and found ways to discredit it so that Jackson would have nothing left to defend himself with in the criminal trial.

- In civil trials the jury’s verdict does not have to be unanimous. If at least 50% of the jurors find the Defendant liable, the Plaintiff will still get money.

- The civil trial would have taken months to resolve. Michael Jackson would have been paying millions of dollars in legal fees while at the same time limiting his source of income by putting his career on hold. There was probably also a lot of pressure from his record company to settle the lawsuit because the case was affecting his career.

*From a personal standpoint, I do not deny that whatever MJ was doing with children seemed a bit shady or suspicious. Maybe he felt like he could only really trust children, that they wouldn't try to take advantage of him like adults could. Maybe he was trying to recapture his lost youth. I don't know, I wasn't there. I don't want to believe that he molested children. But then he was a grown man and I'm certain that as he was human, he had sexual urges.

I don't want to believe that those urges were used on children. At the same time, I hate liars, especially people who lie about being molested in order to take advantage of someone's celebrity. I hope that the truth will be brought to light. Let's remember that Jordan, the alleged victim of abuse, chose not to testify in the criminal case.

I do find the point interesting though, that someone would accept money from an alleged child molester instead of pursuing to the ends of the earth to have the accused put away in prison forever for touching their child. I shall always remember Michael Jackson as a Beloved Weirdo. You are truly among the stars now, MJ.*

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