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Jackson Processing Time Not Unusual

Aired November 20, 2003 - 16:19   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: We want to bring back our legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.
Jeff, we heard Mark Geragos. You and I were speaking about that just a short time ago. The fact that he was able to post bond and in the words of Mark Geragos be processed out so quickly, any surprise to you?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Not really. Again, jurisdictions vary. Most of the time he got in, as I recall, he stepped into the processing center a little after noon local time. And that should give plenty of time for someone to be processed through the system and not have to spend the night in prison. That seems to be the way they're going.

And similarly his statement is a -- what you would expect from an aggressive defense attorney on the first day after an arrest, but also with the great deal of absence of specifics. Similarly, the prosecutors yesterday didn't say much.

What we don't know about the evidence in this case is far, far greater than what we do know.

WOODRUFF: Well, again, Mark Geragos calling it -- saying Michael Jackson considers it a big lie, and says that it is categorically untrue. Again, the remarks of what promises to be a vigorous defense against what -- what at least the Jackson camp is saying and in the words of Jermaine Jackson, a modern day lynching. I mean they are using pretty hot language there to characterize what's going on.

Jeff, I want to just quickly go back to what I was asking you about a little bit earlier when we were waiting for Jackson to show up the at sheriff's office. And that is the people around him, someone at his -- in his status of megastar has got to have staff with him all the time.

My question is are any of these people potentially going to be culpable as well? It's hard, I think, for some of us to imagine that if something happened, as what has been alleged, that it would have happened without the support, enabling or whatever you want to call it, of the people who are with Michael Jackson.

I don't know -- are these live pictures of Mark Geragos? OK. This is Mark Geragos leaving, it looks like, leaving the sheriff's office. And at this point, we assume that Michael Jackson is still in there, but we don't know for sure. Well, we didn't see who that was. The audience is seeing this just as we are.

Mark Geragos, the one who made the statement just a few minutes ago saying Michael Jackson came back to specifically to confront these charges head-on. He is outraged by them. He considers them a big lie. He called them categorically untrue. And looks forward to getting into a courtroom to confront the allegations head-on.

Do we want to hear again what Mark Geragos said? All right, let's listen once again to Geragos' statement a short time ago.


MARK GERAGOS, MICHAEL JACKSON'S ATTORNEY: I'm just going to make a brief statement. I'm not going to take questions and answers.

Michael is here. He has come back specifically to confront these charges head-on. He is greatly outraged by the bringing of these charges.

He considers this to be a big lie. He understands the people who are outraged. Because if these charges were true, I assure you Michael would be the first to be outraged. But I'm here to tell you today that Michael has given me the authority to say on his behalf, these charges are categorically untrue.

He looks forward to getting into a courtroom, as opposed to any other forum, and confronting these accusations head-on. We plan on doing that. And I am not going to take any other questions and answers.

I will say, however, that he is already -- for your information, at least, he is already posted the bond, and he is processed out. Thank you very much.


WOODRUFF: Michael Jackson attorney Mark Geragos, who spoke to reporters just a short time ago, as you could tell, vigorously pushing back against these charges that Michael Jackson is guilty of violating a child. Some reports would have it, a 12-year-old child. Authorities have yet to provide any information to characterize the child or the family involved making these charges.

And again, Jeff Toobin, you're still with me. It looked like Mark Geragos is gone, we don't know where Michael Jackson is, it's possible that he got into one of the cars that left some time ago. It's possible he's still in the sheriff's department.

TOOBIN: You would think that -- usually the customer way things work is when a client is released on the first day that he's been in custody, he and his lawyer tend to go to the same place. They tend to talking things over, the lawyer tries to comfort him and say, How are you doing?

So it would be a good idea to follow Geragos's car, because it's a safe bet, not a sure bet, that Michael Jackson is probably heading to the same place.

WOODRUFF: Indeed, that may be what the cameras are doing, Jeff. It looks like we followed that SUV into the back of the sheriff's department. That's what I'm told we're looking at in the picture now. It's going into an area where like at the airport in Santa Barbara, we cannot see the comes and goings of Michael Jackson. If he's getting in this car, we're only assuming that's what's going to take place.


WOODRUFF: Judy, I would just like to answer the question that you asked before about the employees of Neverland, because that actually was a very critical issue in the 1993 investigation. They were very important witnesses in that case. And they were compromised in a way that is unique to a celebrity criminal investigation.

What happened during the Neverland investigation in 1993 was that that was the glory days, if that's the right term, of the supermarket tabloids and the television tabloids, "Hard Copy" and whatnot.

Many -- many, not just a few -- many of the security guards in Neverland were paid off to be interviewed by these tabloids. That compromised them as witnesses so much that prosecutors decided they couldn't use them. That severely hampered what they could prove in that investigation.

That may happen again. Tabloids, supermarket tabloids still pay for information in cases like this. And when people take money, they become compromised as witnesses.

It's an unusual problem for prosecutors in a criminal investigation. But it happens in cases like this one, and it very well may happen again.

WOODRUFF: But, Jeffrey, not only as witnesses, but is it possible that someone who worked very closely to Michael -- to Michael Jackson, a personal assistant or you know, some job definition like that, that someone in that situation might also be considered culpable because they helped make available the -- helped the child be there with Michael Jackson or whatever might have happened.

In other words, if they helped enable it. Is that -- could that be part of all of this?

TOOBIN: It is possible that someone could be charged with aiding and abetting. But there's a very important hurdle that the prosecutors would have to meet if they wanted to charge anyone with aiding and abetting. The prosecutors would have to say -- would have to prove that the security guard, this person, this suspect, not only aided this child going to Michael Jackson, but he aided knowing that child abuse was taking place.

And that would be very hard to prove because aiding and abetting is an intent crime. You have to intend that the child be molested. So, many security guards, many personal assistants may say to prosecutors, Look, yes, I brought the child there. Yes, I arranged for a visit. I knew he was coming to see Michael.

But unless prosecutors can prove that the would-be aider and abetter knew that child abuse was taking place, they couldn't make a case against them. And that's why those cases tend to be very hard to make.

WOODRUFF: I wonder if some of that proof might involve videotapes or other documentation that -- the sort of thing that we're led to believe the sheriff's deputies were looking for. We don't know if they found them when they searched the Neverland estate two days ago?

TOOBIN: Well, again, there's so much about this evidence that we don't know. But certainly the holy grail that these prosecutors and sheriff's deputies were looking for when they executed the search warrant at Neverland were videotapes, were photographs, were some sort of audiotape, something indicating something that would corroborate the story that they have apparently heard from the young, alleged victim because these cases are very hard to make solely on the testimony of the alleged victim.

So, the thing they want more than anything is corroboration in the form of a videotape. And that is certainly what they were looking for. Whether they found it or not, I certainly don't have any idea, but that is the key piece of evidence in the case like this, if it even exists.

WOODRUFF: All right.


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