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Michael Jackson Verdict

Aired June 13, 2005 - 17:30   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Ted Rowlands, you're there. Give us a little bit more.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, Rusty Dornin, my colleague was inside the courtroom when these verdicts were read. Outside, the vans are now leaving. The fan chasing the caravan down the street. Take us through what happened, Rusty.

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely incredible, as it always in, as you know, in those courtroom. You could not hear a sounds in the courtroom as you judge was ripping open each of the verdict messages, because he had to look at them first before he had the clerk read them. And the only sound in the courtroom you could hear was the tearing of these envelopes.

Meantime, I was sitting just behind the family, behind Katherine and Joe Jackson and Tito, and then in front of them, Latoya, his sister, and Randy, his brother. No just as the clerk is about to read the verdicts, all the kids reached around. Tito had his arm around his mother. Latoya reached her hand around. They all were touching Katherine Jackson, Michael's mother. She started to break -- as soon as they heard the first not guilty, she broke down and started to cry. They all kept sort of grabbing her and holding her. And from that point on really, there was no other sound in the courtroom other than that clerk reading those not guilty verdicts.

Now, Michael Jackson, you could not see his expression. He appeared very somber. But at the end, he did turn. He hugged his attorney, Robert Sanger. Then of course also hugged Thomas Mesereau. But still appeared very somber, as you could see when he was leaving. He was blowing kisses to the fans and that sort of thing.

But absolutely incredible moment in the courtroom, and of course for his family and for him for what they have been going through for the past few months.

ROWLANDS: Walking out, the family did not, by any stretch of the imaginations, raise their hands up.


ROWLANDS: There wasn't a sense of jubilation. Was there any of that, any celebration in court?

DORNIN: There was no celebrations. And of course the judge cautioned everyone in the beginning, because the public is in the courtroom as well, do not show any signs of either unhappiness or jubilation with those verdicts. And as they were read, the family -- as I said, all they did was they really showed how they felt by touching each other. And, you know -- and -- although Michael's father, Joe Jackson, kept his hands clasped and stared straight forward through the whole time the verdicts were being read. As we walked outside of the courtroom, then the other brothers and sisters were there -- Jermaine was there as well as Janet Jackson were there -- to greet the family as soon as they came out of the courtroom.

ROWLANDS: What about the jurors? Did they make eye contact with Jackson walking in? Or did you see anything from them?

DORNIN: You couldn't -- Jackson was looking directly at the jurors as they walked in. He seemed to be nodding somewhat, thanking them as they left. But the jurors seemed more conscious of acknowledging the alternates that were also there. All the alternates, all eight alternates were also in the courtroom at the time. But Jackson, as I said, very somber, as he has been through very much of his trial. It's been very difficult to read his emotions. But certainly, after he hugged his attorneys, you could see, there was definitely some relief on his part.

What about Tom Sneddon, who had so much invested in this case, the man that decided to go forward, despite the inadequacies, if you will, with this accuser and the accuser's family? Anything from him.

DORNIN: Nothing. When the prosecutors came in, they seemed very upbeat. When they initially came in, they were talking, a lot of smiling, that sort of thing, which contrasted really with when Tom Mesereau walked in with Michael Jackson. The two of them sat there in the courtroom staring straight ahead for maybe 10 or 15 minutes before the judge and the jury came in, whereas the prosecutors had been talking with on another and smiling, that sort of thing. After the verdict was announced, it was just very grim-faced. They weren't looking at each other, just very grim-faced after hearing, because once you heard those first two counts, it was very clear where this jury was going.

ROWLANDS: Incredible. All right, Rusty Dornin inside the courtroom. Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. I want to bring Rusty back, if Rusty can hear me. Can she hear me, Ted?

ROWLANDS: Yeah, she can hear you.

BLITZER: Rusty, tell our viewers once again -- and you were sitting inside the courtroom -- the immediate reaction from Michael Jackson once that first count was read and the verdict was not guilty. Just recap briefly what you saw.

DORNIN: You cannot see. He keeps his face very straight towards the front of the room. He did not look from side to side. He did not appear to look at the jury after that first count was read, because the clerk who was reading them was on the other side of the courtroom. So you did not see him move. He appeared very somber. But the family, as I said, who was sitting directly in front of me, the relief on their part was immediately apparent. They were holding their mother, Catherine. They were touching her. Just an immediate sort of sigh of relief within the shoulders.

They were the ones that you could really see some kind of reaction. But as far as Jackson was concerned, you could not see even any kind of a sigh or anything like that. He just appeared straight forward the entire time all of the verdicts were being read. Wolf?

BLITZER: And there was not audible -- there was no noise, no cheering, no thank Gods, no nothing like that? Everybody was totally silent as all 10 counts were read?

DORNIN: That's correct. Because the judge had made such strict admonishment that if any signs of jubilation were shown, that he would be throw those people out of the courtroom. So everyone was very conscious of how they should behave in court. And there was really no audible or reaction within the courtroom when he began reading those counts, or, excuse me, the clerk, when she began reading the counts.

BLITZER: And what about when the whole thing was over and the judge dismissed the jury? Were there cheers from the Jackson team and from Michael Jackson himself?

DORNIN: No, still no cheers. He turned -- the first person he turned to was Robert Sanger to the left and gave him a very, very sort of mild hug. He then turned to Thomas Mesereau, who was on his right, also gave him a hug. The family stood up. They sort of all touched each other once again. And then they demanded -- the court demanded that the media leave the courtroom. So at that point, I could not see the family actually interact with Michael Jackson when he was coming out of that courtroom area.

BLITZER: We see -- we just saw Thomas Mesereau, Rusty and Ted, get into a vehicle. Do we have any idea where he's going, what he's about to do? Because I anticipated he might be getting ready to make a statement to the press.

ROWLANDS: Yeah, we definitely anticipated something from the defense, especially if they came out victorious. They have been very tight-lipped throughout this. And we did expect that they would do something, make some sort of a statement. Whether that comes now or the next day or the next few hours, I'm sure they're celebrating right now.

DORNIN: Right. But it's difficult, as you know, because Michael Jackson's representative, who was speaking to the press, is no longer working for Michael Jackson. So we're kind of unsure of how we're going to be receiving word of this, right, Ted? I mean, whether it's going to come through the defense team or --

ROWLANDS: Right. Thomas Mesereau is a reserved man who is very skeptical of the media. And it seems as though the Jackson family, Mesereau, the defense team, is acting as though they have been vindicated, yes, but not pleased that this ever happened in the first place. And that's been at least Mesereau's attitude throughout this entire trial -- come in, work hard, and almost in a way that he seemed upset that he had to be there.

DORNIN: It's interesting too that Joe Jackson, Michael's father, when he came in, he walked very slowly into the courtroom. And he looked at each and every member of the press that was sitting in all the outside areas trying to get the people's faces and think, you know, I'm going to remember you. That was sort of the feeling you got because he was so studied as he did it and walked so slowly and looked at each person in each row. You know, and it was the feeling of, I'm going to remember you no matter what happens in this case.

BLITZER: We see the motorcade -- Ted, hold on one second, Ted -- the motorcade, this vehicle, this black vehicle is heading back, we assume, to the Neverland Ranch carrying Michael Jackson, a very elated Michael Jackson, not guilty on all 10 counts, read by the clerk just a little while ago. Very, very emotional moment for him, for his family, for all of his fans who are watching this jury and the deliberation.

Ted Rowlands -- and let me bring Rusty back for a moment -- when the jury walked in, all 12 members, eight women, four men, Rusty, did they make eye contact based on what you could tell with Michael Jackson going into the announcement of the verdicts?

DORNIN: They seem -- when they came in, they seemed to just take their seats. And as I said, they made eye contact with the alternates who were in the front rows, because I saw one of the jurors wave at one of the alternates and I saw one of the alternates who were sitting in the front row also wave at one of the jurors.

Now while the verdicts were being read, they did not look at Michael Jackson. They appeared to be looking right at the court clerk as she was reading. They did not appear to be looking at her. And I don't know if you heard actually the statement that apparently the jury made. I'm not sure if that came out on the audio or not.

BLITZER: No, we have not heard that. We have not heard that. But why don't you tell us. The only thing that we heard, Rusty -- and I want to make sure you know -- the only thing we heard were the verdicts on the 10 counts read by the clerk. We didn't hear anything else.

DORNIN: Right. Well, they just talked about that they believe that this -- hang on one second. I'm going to put my glasses on to read some this. That they believe that it was -- that "testament to the belief in the justice system and the truth." And they -- this is not all verbatim. I was taking this very quickly. But they also requested to return to their lives. They came out of their lives anonymously. They requested that they return to their lives anonymously.

But they did want the judge to read this, that they felt that this entire procedure was a testament to their belief in the justice system and the truth. Now the judge did go on to say that they were allowed to talk to anyone they wanted to, and that he actually urged them to talk, that he thought it was a good idea. Also, perhaps, the defense or prosecutors might want to talk (INAUDIBLE). Encouraged them to talk to them and of course -- and talk to the media as well.


ROWLANDS: Wolf, we just...

BLITZER: Go ahead, Ted.

ROWLANDS: We just received a statement from Debbie Rowe, the mother of two of Michael Jackson's children, who was brought here and testified for the prosecution in this case and many believe that that was one of the moments where the prosecution really -- they were -- they seemed to be stunned by what Debbie Rowe had to say because, although she was a prosecution witness, she got up there and basically said that Michael Jackson was a wonderful father.

Debbie Rowe is saying, quote, "Debbie is overjoyed that the justice system really works, regardless of what side called her to testify at the trial." That from Iris Finsilver, Debbie Rowe's attorney. One of the moments in this trial, Debbie Rowe's testimony, where people were literally scratching their heads saying why was this witness called for prosecution, whether Debbie Rowe laid in wait and was a torpedo of sorts, doing it on purpose, or if it was that she was not vetted out, we'll never know, but obviously she's weighing in now that she believes justice has been done.

DORNIN: Also, Wolf, I just did want to add...

BLITZER: Rusty, just to remind our viewers because I know you were there together with Ted for virtually every step of the way, Debbie Rowe was called -- the ex-wife of Michael Jackson, the mother of two of his children -- Debbie Rowe was called to testify on behalf of the prosecution, but what she said, widely interpreted as helping Michael Jackson, the defense, given the loving nature of what he had to say about Michael Jackson.

ROWLANDS: And, keep in mind, Wolf, that if Michael Jackson would have been found guilty, Debbie Rowe would have been taken custody of the children and she is currently in a custody fight for those children. People were blown away by her testimony. It was so supportive of Jackson on the stand, and now, with the verdict in, again, she is showing her support, saying she is overjoyed.

DORNIN: Yes, Wolf, I just want to add one thing that I didn't tell you about the jury statement which was interesting, too. They also said that we the jury have had the weight of the world on our shoulders, you know, while we were making this decision and but we did it studiously and meticulously, that they studied the evidence, that they didn't want anyone to think that this was just some flam-bam thing, that they went through, they feel, every piece of evidence and really looked at it before they made that decision. That was part of their statement that they released as well.

BLITZER: So, Rusty, based on the statement that was read on behalf of the 12 members of jury, did you get the sense that they would be making individual statements, speaking to the news media, or that was it? DORNIN: Well, what happened is, the judge told them that the representative for the media, Peter Chaplin (ph), who's been the pool producer here, was going to back with them to talk to them for two minutes to tell them what to expect, which Peter Chaplin also did at the Peterson trial, just talked to the jurors, say, look, they don't bite. They just want to ask you a few questions. If you want to do it, we're happy to have you stay. If you don't want to do it, there's a place to go and you don't have to and you can go home. So, that's what he was doing right now. We'll have to see who actually shows up in that jury room for this jury press conference. We'll have to see who really does want to talk.

BLITZER: Our cameras, Rusty, did catch -- and Ted, I want you to weigh in on this as well -- Thomas Sneddon, the prosecutor. He was one of the first to get out of that courtroom after the verdicts were read. Here's a picture of him sort of bolting -- there he is, right there in the middle of the screen. He was basically one of the first to get out of there. This is not a good day, Ted, for him.

DORNIN: You can really...


DORNIN: ...see the grim faces, can't you, on the prosecution team?

ROWLANDS: Yes, and all the way until this point here, that was all prosecution representatives. In fact, you still have one more coming out there. A lot of members of the prosecution team in court today and they have been throughout, and they have put their heart and soul into these. They believed A) they had a case and they truly believe that the individual that they were going after, Michael Jackson, was indeed worthy of their attention and their work.

They did work hard in their case, but, I think clearly, for those of us who have been in this courtroom day after day after day, it makes sense, this verdict does. When you analyze the victim's family, the J.C. Penney case, I think, is all you have to say, because what was proven in this case as fact by Thomas Mesereau is that this family had inconsistencies before in a very similar attitude, and I'm sure when we hear from jurors that will be a big factor.

DORNIN: I think there's a credibility issue. When they went back to that jury room, reasonable doubt was just enough to go -- to sway them. But I mean, again, the prosecutors were incredible. I mean, their questioning was so dramatic at times.



BLITZER: I'm going to interrupt. Reverend Jesse Jackson is on the phone. He's been counseling, ministering, to Michael Jackson. He's become the unofficial spokesman, I think we can say, for the Michael Jackson.

Giver us your reaction, Reverend Jackson.

REV. JESSE JACKSON, COUNSEL TO MICHAEL JACKSON: Well, it was a painful process and stressful to the very end. Michael called me this morning and we talked and prayed, as we often do, and he will call back again maybe this afternoon. But this has been an excruciating process. The -- from the time that the sheriff went into his home, in some sense, invaded, occupied and confiscated materials that ended up in the newsroom and in the courtroom, it's been kind of two trials at the same time -- a courtroom trial and a newsroom trial, and he was tried and convicted in many news rooms and many TV shows. And since it's not a sequestered jury, one did not know its impact upon the jury. The jury had the capacity in the end to discern innuendo and suggestion from fact. The accusers made some very, very strong charges, but each time, under cross-examination, they wilted. There was always a sense of some (INAUDIBLE) which weakened their credibility.

The jury has spoken. And I hope that many lessons will be learned from this. The healing process must begin, and then Michael must assess the impact of the very impropriety of these problems that got him in this trouble. And we hope that all those involved now will learn lessons and that we will go to another stage.

BLITZER: Were you expecting this not guilty verdict, Reverend Jackson, or were you bracing for guilty?

JACKSON: I was bracing for either in the sense that if the trial used the standard of reasonable doubt, he would be acquitted. But then oftentimes, juries use political standards, not reasonable doubt standards, and it was a highly charged political environment in which all of this took place. I mean, the sheriff was unrelenting. He was not on the gag order. He was unrelenting. The jurors gave them generous latitude to make their case over and over (INAUDIBLE) -- African-Americans on the jury. (INAUDIBLE)

BLITZER: Hold on one second. I think we're breaking up. Reverend Jackson, I think our line may be breaking up. I don't know if you want to repeat that last thought if you can still hear me.

I think we've just lost Reverend -- Reverend Jackson. We're going to try to reconnect with Reverend Jackson. Jesse Jackson, on the phone with us, has spent a lot of time in recent weeks, with Michael Jackson, serving as an unofficial spokesman, ministering to him as well in these very, very difficult days, weeks, leading up to this not-guilty verdict on all 10 counts. I think the Reverend Al Sharpton is with us as well, on the phone. Reverend Sharpton, are you there?

REV. AL SHARPTON: I'm here. I'm in the studio.

BLITZER: You're in our studio in New York. Reverend Sharpton, give us your reaction.

SHARPTON: Well, I think, you know, in 2002 when Michael Jackson came to New York and we hosted him, we were castigated when he started to say that he felt they were coming after him because he raised questions about his owning the Beatles catalog and others.

I think that this is a vindication for people that believe that people are innocent until proven guilty. And, I think that there are no winners here. I don't think there's a reason for Michael or those opposed to Michael to gloat. There's a lot of pain, there's a lot of hurt here.

Children have been dragged into court. Michael's reputation has been damaged severely. But I think that the criminal justice system worked this time. I think, we can say that this jury, despite being inundated by media, despite the fact they were not sequestered, despite the fact that there were questionable rulings by the judge, this jury said the evidence wasn't there and they acquitted him. I think this is good for American, and I don't think any of us that went on the line saying that Michael deserved the same right as any citizen are celebrating tonight, anything other than the fact that people should have the right to be proven guilty of a crime even if we disagree with their lifestyle and that's what happened today.

BLITZER: Were among those African-American leaders in this country who expressed concern there were no African-Americans on the jury?

SHARPTON: Yes, I did. I expressed that concern and I've expressed concern of what was behind us. A lot of people in the music industry that claimed that for years, were things going, while Michael Jackson was not talking back or not raising questions as he did when he came to our headquarters in Harlem.

And, I felt he was being vilified and, in many ways, lynched by the media. I think today showed that there can be a speck of grass grow even through concrete, and that people are going to be balanced and fair if given the opportunity. I think that they showed tremendous courage, those twelves jurors, who may go into a community that disagrees, some of them vehemently, but they up held the best of the American jurisprudence system by saying, if the evidence wasn't there, despite whatever biases I may or may not have, I'm not going to use the system to make a statement. I'm going to use the system to convict people if they're guilty of a crime."

BLITZER: Jeffrey Toobin is here with the Reverend Sharpton. Our senior legal analyst has a question for you.

TOOBIN: Reverend Sharpton, do you think -- I mean, Michael Jackson has said that he thinks it's appropriate for him to sleep in the same bed as boys who are 12, 13 years old -- do you think he ought to stop doing that?

SHARPTON: I think that Michael now can have time to reflect, and think a lot of deliberate moves, as he goes forward. The question is Jeffrey, that whether or not it was a crime for him to say that. Whatever my feelings -- I've talked to Michael. I've been to Neverland. And I've had advice for Michael, pro and con.

The issue here was not my advice as a minister or even as a man, the issue here was whether he committed a crime. That should be proven. Otherwise, it would set a precedent that anyone can make an accusation against any public figure, and we'd be thrown into jail or convicted just based on media hysteria, rather than hard evidence. That's what was frightening to me about the condition of this trial.

BLITZER: I want you to stand by, Reverend Sharpton.

Steven Clark is with us from Mountain View, California. A former prosecutor, now a criminal defense attorney, he's been inside that courtroom. He's been watching this case. Steven Clark, give us your reaction. How surprised, if you were surprised, were you?

STEVEN CLARK, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, actually, I wasn't surprised on many of counts being not guilty. Frankly, after watching the prosecution's case in court, there left a lot to be desired, and there clearly was reasonable doubt.

I thought that the jury may hang on two of the more series child molest counts that the young boy described. And the reason I say that is because the prior acts evidence was quite compelling as to two of the young boys. And I thought that the jury -- that some members of that jury may say, "Look, Michael Jackson is a pedophile and I'm going to give the prosecution the chance to get this right next time."

But frankly, the conspiracy count was an anchor around the prosecution's case. They made a serious strategic mistake bringing it in the first place, and I think that's really what happened here. The jury just said, "Look, I'm not going to give the mother and the accuser the keys to Michael Jackson's bank account in the this situation." They were disliked. So, I think that conspiracy count was a big mistake, and I'm, frankly, a little surprised that there weren't some jurors felt that he did molest the young boy, but I'm not surprised on the other counts being not guilty.

BLITZER: Steven Clark, the bottom line though -- and I think you could boil it down to this -- is: That jury simply did not believe the accuser, who was 13 years old and is now 16 years old. They simply didn't believe this young man.

CLARK: Well, there was certainly enough doubt, as to his testimony. They may believe him, and I'm not sure that when they do finally speak, they're going to say, " We think Michael Jackson is without fault in this situation." I think that clearly they would say, "He's got a lot personal problems. He shouldn't be sleeping in bed. Maybe he did this, but frankly on the basis of this boy's testimony," when you look at the reasonable doubt standard, before you put somebody in jail -- that's the standard you have --I think they just said, "Look, we cannot believe him beyond a reasonable doubt."

When you look at the other evidence that called into his question his credibility, and particularly the influence that the mother apparently had had on him over prior occasions in that J.C. Penny case. So, they may have believed him in the sense of sitting around discussing it at a cocktail party, but when you look at that reasonable doubt standard, they had to go in favor of the defense, unless they were convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. BLITZER: I'm going to have you stand-by, Steven, as well. Debra Opri is standing-by. She's in Santa Marie, outside the courthouse. The spokeswoman for the Michael Jackson family -- for the Michael Jackson team.

Debra gives us your reaction.

DEBRA OPRI, JACKSON FAMILY LAWYER: I'm not shocked. I expected it. Did I cry? Yes. Am I going to cry again? Yes.

After a year, the stress is just melting away, and I'm so happy for Katherine, Joe, Michael, LaToya, Janet, Tito, Jackie, Jermaine, and Randy. What a family and what a jury. And what an attorney in Tom Mesereau and his crew. I'm so proud tonight.

BLITZER: Did you have a chance to speak with Michael since the not guilty verdicts were announced?

OPRI: I spoke with the family as they were exiting, and they're all very happy and very relieved. I have to make sure I...

BLITZER: Did they tell you, Debra, what their game plan is now? are they going to make a statement? will we hear from Michael?

OPRI: Their game plan was to get into the SUVs and go home.

BLITZER: And just to relax, and to absorb what has happened.

When you say you weren't surprised...

OPRI: It's then of a nightmare, guys.

BLITZER: You were a little surprised, Debra, weren't you?

OPRI: No, I expected the acquittal. The media pundits are -- they have their own courtroom: the courtroom of public opinion. And it's not fair, it's not right. And I took this cause on, because I believe the jury trial should be in the courtroom.

BLITZER: Debra, give us one additional thought, right now, as you look back on these 14 weeks of the trial. What was the biggest mistake, from your perspective, that the prosecution made?

OPRI: They brought charges against Michael Jackson with the wrong accuser.

BLITZER: He was not credible? is that what you're saying? the young boy?

OPRI: That's absolutely what I'm saying.

BLITZER: All right.

Debra Opri, is the attorney for the Jackson family spending a few minutes, as well.

Thomas Sneddon is the prosecutor. He's speaking right now.

THOMAS SNEDDON, D.A., SANTA BARBARA COUNTY: ... And I've been a prosecutor for 37 years. In 37 years, I've never quarreled with a jury's verdict, and I'm not going to start day. So, basically, that's all we really have to say. I'll answer a few questions, but I'm probably not going to remain too long.

So, if anybody has a question, fire away. We'll see how it goes.

QUESTION: I think we're going to start over here.

QUESTION: Can you hear me okay?

SNEDDON: I certainly can.

QUESTION: Have you spoken with the accuser and his family? and if so, what was their mood? and the reaction to the verdict today?

SNEDDON: No, as to all.

QUESTION: Would you address the defense's allegation throughout the trial that you rushed into this prosecution because of your past history with Mr. Jackson.

SNEDDON: My past history with Mr. Jackson had absolutely, unequivicably nothing to do with our evaluation of this particular case. That's been a nice little 30-second sound bite that the media has used to justify this thing. It never had anything to do with either the sheriff's investigation or our decision to file.

QUESTION: Can you address the fans' claim that the Santa Barbara D.A. was somehow trying to frame Michael Jackson, and all of this really is an elaborate scheme to frame Michael Jackson and make him look guilty?

SNEDDON: I just answered that question.

QUESTION: Mr. Sneddon, in retrospect, do you think you had the wrong family on the stand?

SNEDDON: I don't know how much work you do in the criminal justice system, but the system I worked in for 37 years is: that people come in and their the victims of crime. We don't select our victims, and we don't select the families they come from. What we do, is we evaluate the case. We try to make a conscientious decision as to whether or not we have enough evidence to go forward, and that's what we did in this case. We've done it in every other case since I've been the district attorney, in this county, and we will continue to do that, as long as I'm district attorney of this county.

QUESTION: Do you stand by what the family said in court?

SNEDDON: I think that's evident.

QUESTION: There have been a lot of claims that, because of the gag order, you haven't been able to address. I mean, fans -- even Jackson's mother has said that you have some involvement with the Ku Klux Klan. Fans have claimed that you have relatives who are among the witnesses. Do you want to address any those, now that you finally can?

SNEDDON: They're all false. We all did our job. We did it conscientiously, and anybody who knows Tom Sneddon, knows Gordon Auchincloss, and knows Ron Zonen; the things that we've done in the community; and the families that we have, knows all of that to be untrue. And if people would simply take the time to investigate the allegation before they print it, they'd know it's untrue, also.

QUESTION: Have you looked into, and do you have concerns of reports that one of the -- at least of the jurors was peddling a book deal?

SNEDDON: I had heard that.

QUESTION: You had heard that?


QUESTION: And did you have concerns about that? and was it looked into?.

SNEDDON: Let's just say that it was taken care of by the court.

QUESTION: Would you reflect, for just one moment, on the conspiracy charge? do you think that it might have been a better case without conspiracy, only child molestation?

SNEDDON: I've learned a very expensive lesson in life, a long time ago. That is, you never look back, you always look forward.

QUESTION: Tom, is this the end of your office pursuing Michael Jackson?

SNEDDON: No comment.

QUESTION: What do you do now?

SNEDDON: I don't think you want to know. I've been told not to crack any jokes. So, we go back to work. We've got a lot of cases that are pending. I have an office to run. We're having budget hearings today. We're professionals and we'll continue to act as professionals, the way we acted professionally in this case. And I'm not going to look back and apologize for anything we've done. We did a very conscientious, thorough job. As did, the sheriff's department investigating this case.

QUESTION: Would you answer the question: whether witnesses that you put on the stand surprised you when they testified?

SNEDDON: I mean, I'm not going to get into the trial. I'll just say that the experience of any trial lawyer like Gordon or Ron or anybody in my office, for that matter, who tries felonies, is you never have a case where a witness -- you don't get some surprises on both sides, in both ways. And I think, Mr. Mesereau would tell you the same thing. And that's a product of being a trial lawyer. And you learn to adjust and you go on.

QUESTION: Why did you go ahead with the case, when you knew the mother, in particular, to be such a troublesome witness?

SNEDDON: I don't think the media generally understands the responsibility of a prosecutor. And I'll answer it this way -- and the simple thing is, when a victim comes in; and the victim tells you they've been victimized; and you believe that; and you believe that the evidence supports that; you don't look at their pedigree, we look at what we think is right. You do the right things for the right reasons. If it doesn't work out, that's why we have a jury system. But we did the right thing for the right reasons.



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