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Not guilty on all charges for Michael Jackson

Aired June 13, 2005 - 19:30   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Jeffrey, it was always sort of one of the questionable things about this case. I mean that time line, I mean according to the prosecutors the molestation, the allegations of molestation did not actually take place according to the prosecutors until after that documentary aired.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: You know, Anderson, I remember sitting in the courtroom when Tom Mesereau was giving his opening statement and frankly from reading the indictment it hadn't hit home for me that that was the allegation.

But, remember, just -- but I was just astonished that this was the claim because, remember, Michael Jackson had immediate lengthy access to this boy for about two years and the claim was no molestation took place then.

The prosecution's theory was only after this documentary when he was being investigated by the press, by Los Angeles County, by Santa Barbara County that was the time he started to molest this boy. It didn't make sense to me and apparently it didn't make sense to the jury.

COOPER: All right. Jeffrey Toobin, we're going to talk to you a little bit later on.

Coming up next, we're going to look at the jury. During the trial, press was not allowed to show their faces or report about them in any detail. Of course those restrictions are now over. When we come back, well, there they are. Michael Jackson's jury faces the cameras to explain their decision.

Plus, one result of that decision, celebrations at Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch, we will take you there live.


COOPER (voice-over): In 1984, Michael Jackson was making a commercial for what company when pyrotechnics caught his hair on fire: A) Sony; B) Nike; C) Coca Cola; or D) Pepsi -- the answer when we return.



(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COOPER (voice-over): Before the break, we asked you "What company was Michael Jackson making a commercial for in 1984 when pyrotechnics caught his hair on fire?" The answer is D, Pepsi.


COOPER: Well, just over two hours ago Michael Jackson was acquitted of all counts stemming from his child molestation trial, ten counts in all. After the verdict was read, Jackson and his family left the court drove back to Neverland Ranch.

That's where CNN's Brooke Anderson joins us live. Brooke, is the crowd growing or is it diminishing at this point?

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the crowd is growing with every second, every minute. Down the road for really miles we've got cars parked on either side of both sides of the road, crowds just walking minute by minute, the crowd swelling outside of the gates.

And behind me, two Santa Barbara County fire trucks are here now. They're kind of blocking our view of the gates now but they got a request to check it out because there are so many cars here. There are so many people.

They said it's the beginning of fire season and they just want to make sure everyone is safe. A number of photographers, media outlet here as well, a number of law enforcement personnel as well, about 200 fans outside this gate. At times they're chanting "Michael, Michael, Michael," just hoping that maybe he'll come to the gate, speak to them, wave to them, they'll get a glimpse of him.

And we also have the "Santa Maria Times" that has come out, if you can take a quick shot of that, "Not Guilty on all Counts." You see a picture of Jackson leaving the courtroom with his family by his side, a fan below crying, very emotional.

Everyone very emotional here; when his motorcade arrived earlier he was greeted by hundreds of fans. He was greeted by a number of members from his staff. I saw chefs. I saw housekeepers, people pumping their arms in triumph, everyone very elated, very excited.

For many of these fans, Anderson, they're here from all over the country, all over the world and their devotion to Michael parallels deep religious convictions almost. They see Michael's music, his presence almost as some kind of spiritual experience. So, it's definitely a scene out here and the party just keeps on growing, keeps on getting bigger and bigger every minute.

COOPER: And just give a sense of your location. I mean how big is Neverland? I mean I've heard different figures of how many acres. It's thousands of acres and there also seems to be some question about whether Michael Jackson is going to be able to actually hold on to it because of his financial problems.

ANDERSON: Right, right. Well, Neverland is between 2,500 and 3,000 acres, so it's a huge property, 22 buildings on the property including the main house. There's a zoo with a menagerie of animals. There's an amusement park. It's got its own railroad system and arcade.

So, the place is really, really big and fans when they go to visit Michael Jackson you can only get in by invitation. They all are said to have to sign confidentiality agreements. They can't take in video cameras or cameras.

And, yes, his finances are tenuous. There has been speculation that he will sell Neverland but his former spokeswoman Raymone Bain, she was actually fired this past weekend but she had been saying throughout the trial that he is not going to sell Neverland.

Also, his spiritual advisor Jesse Jackson had said that as well. He's not giving it up. And, after court today, after he was acquitted the first place he came was right here back home to Neverland Ranch.

COOPER: All right, Brooke thanks very much. We'll see if he or anyone else from the Jackson camp makes a statement. We, of course, will bring that to you live.

Michael Jackson is home tonight because of 12 men and women. They had really nothing in common with the singer except of course they gave him his freedom. Here's some of what the jurors had to say after the verdict.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We expected probably better evidence, you know, something that was a little more convincing and it just wasn't there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we looked at all the evidence. We looked at Michael Jackson and the first -- one of the first things we decided that we had to look at him as just like any other individual, not just as a celebrity and once we got that established that we could go beyond that we were able to deal with it just as fairly as we could with anybody else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm very proud of everyone here. We took notes so well that we could develop the time line on the boards and really analyze it, so it was a question. The time line was a concern.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe you can find a smoking gun or something that you can -- that you can grab onto that says absolutely one way or another. And, in this case, we had difficulty in finding that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coming from all different walks of life and all different types of employment we were really a good support system for each other. We all had different views, of course, but sometimes we found that we had a lot of things in common and that we did think alike.

But, of course, when it came to the fine details of things, fortunately we did get to know each other in being tight quarters that we were able to have discussions and not screaming matches.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had 98 pages of instructions and we referred to them quite diligently and we kept going back to it, you know. It has to be beyond a reasonable doubt.


COOPER: It's fascinating when there's been so much focus on those 12 jurors and the alternates to finally see them, to finally be able to hear from them and hear their thought process.

Listening in with us as well defense attorney Anne Bremner who joins us from Santa Maria, Ann, what surprised you most about what the jurors had to say?

ANNE BREMNER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nothing really surprised me because with the burden of proof with a celebrity defendant it's so much higher, Anderson. We all know that. But also, I guess one thing did surprise me and that is that they felt like Michael Jackson was one of them and they didn't see him as someone higher than they were.

It reminded me of, you know, Atticus Finch's closing argument in "To Kill a Mockingbird" when he talked about all men, he said (INAUDIBLE) was in the '30s in Georgia, are created equal in a courtroom.

They're not created equal anywhere else. Some are fat. Some are poor, you know, thin. Some are poor. Some are rich. But in a court of law with a jury and a defendant that's where everyone is created equal and that's what it reminded me of with this jury.

COOPER: Atticus Finch from what I remember in "To Kill a Mockingbird" was one of the great attorneys of all time. It was a novel, of course. How do you rate Tom Mesereau compared to Atticus Finch?

BREMNER: I actually have compared him to Atticus Finch, Anderson. I think he's kind of Jimmy Stewart like but I've also compared him to Atticus Finch, humble, well prepared, never star struck, never self aggrandizing, always -- he's always on task, never a wasted word, brilliant, brilliant lawyer and he won this case fair and square.

COOPER: We heard from one of the jurors who said that there was no smoking gun. Often, I guess, in molestation cases or in alleged molestation cases it's a he-said/he-said or he-said/she-said as the case may be. It seemed like the jury, they didn't really comment on whether or not they believed the boy in all this but they certainly didn't believe his mother.

BREMNER: Right. You know and, Anderson, I do the press briefings as a legal expert for the International Poll at what we call the Green Monster and I want to say "I told you so." I said before she testified don't call the mother. She will be the centerpiece of the defense. We knew that from opening statements. And lose some of the conspiracy count that count, if necessary because the sins of the mother became the sins of the family and the sins of the accuser and undermined this entire case.

COOPER: And one of the jurors specifically talked about the mother snapping her fingers and looking to the jurors and two of them at least seemed to have been personally offended by it.

BREMNER: She was so odd. You know there was a circus outside court, a circus in court but there was a circus in her head. She would -- she would shake her finger at the jury, shake her finger at Mesereau, "No, no, no, no, no, that wasn't a body wax."

Then she would look over at the jurors and say "He's tried to fool you. You know he's trying to fool you again." She talked about a hot air balloon spiriting her from Neverland. She was -- she absolutely undermined the prosecution's case such as it was at the time.

COOPER: And one of the jurors actually said that she kept looking straight at the jurors, never took her eyes off the jurors and that actually made them uncomfortable and that's something no juror wants to be. Anne Bremner, appreciate you joining us, we'll talk with you a little bit later on.

Next on 360, the Jackson faithful, it has been a long wait for hundreds and hundreds of Michael Jackson's fans outside the courtroom these past couple months. That continued support paid off with joy today. We'll talk to one of them ahead.

Also tonight, the media not to be outdone by the fans hovering around the courthouse in droves, we'll talk about their coverage ahead.


STATEMENT FROM ELIZABETH TAYLOR: "Thank God Michael is vindicated for all time. Now maybe people will leave him alone."

COOPER: That statement from Elizabeth Taylor made just a short time ago.

We'll be right back with the Jackson coverage. But Erica Hill from Headline News joins us with the latest at about quarter to the hour -- Erica.


COOPER: One of the most noticeable fans gathered outside the courthouse in Santa Maria and there were a lot of them was the woman who released a flock of white doves, one for each not guilty verdict of the ten count charge. There she is.

The dove lady, Farida Garmani joins me now. Farida, thanks very much for being with us.


COOPER: What drew you to be outside that courtroom every day? What drew you to rent homing doves and show up for Michael Jackson what about him?

GARMANI: Well, he's such a dear person to me and to lots of his fans. He's so innocent and it was so sad to see him being taken advantage and being so misunderstood.

COOPER: So is it...

GARMANI: To show how much...

COOPER: Is it just, I mean is it...

GARMANI: I'm sorry.

COOPER: ...his -- I'm sorry. Is it his music or I mean is there something that you see in him? I mean you talk about his innocence?

GARMANI: Yes, it is more than his music. It is the kind love that he has in his heart. It is his generosity, the beautiful personality that he has that he always wants to be there for people to help them and children. So, it's...

COOPER: So you see him as a victim through all of this? And in the past allegations you see him as essentially a victim under threat, pressure from the rest of the world is that it?

GARMANI: Absolutely, absolutely. Unfortunately when you have fame and money people do take advantage of you and on the top of that when you have a great, good heart, yes, that would be the number one goal for people to go after (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: And when people say -- and when people say to you, you know, why is he sleeping with children? Why is he having children in his bed, little boys in his bedroom you say what?

GARMANI: You know, we all have a child within ourselves and he really missed his childhood and in our culture Middle East, Far East this is really not abnormal. There's nothing wrong with that. He perhaps doesn't want to grow up and that is what he chooses. There is nothing wrong with that. And the way he has always shown his love to people, to children.

COOPER: Would you advise him not to sleep with little boys anymore?

GARMANI: I'm sure he doesn't need anybody's advice. I'm sure that Michael is not going to just go through this ever again. I'm sure he's just going to change his lifestyle and perhaps just stop helping people because it's causing him nothing but pain.

COOPER: Well, Farida Garmani, I know it's been a great day for you. The person that you admire so much has been vindicated, not guilty on ten counts. GARMANI: Thank you.

COOPER: And we appreciate you joining us. Thank you very much.

GARMANI: Absolutely thank you.

COOPER: OK. It's always interesting to see what it is, I think, that draws people to a particular person in the media.

We have more special coverage in just a second. First, a quick Michael Jackson quiz.


COOPER (voice-over): Michael Jackson first performed the Moonwalk in 1983 for what occasion: A) The Grammys; B) The MoTown 25th Anniversary Show; C) The American Music Awards; or D) His 30th Anniversary Special, the answer when we return.




COOPER (voice-over): Before the break, we asked you "For what occasion did Michael Jackson first perform the Moonwalk in 1983," the answer, B, the MoTown 25th Anniversary Show.


COOPER: So, a man I know tells the story of an invention he claims a relative of his came up with, a ball bearing to put in your shoe first thing in the morning.

Now, of course, all those he told about this would say "Didn't it hurt something fierce to walk around like that all day" to which he'd say "Absolutely but that was the genius of the thing. At night when you took your shoe off, man, it felt so unbelievably good."

The Michael Jackson case is over. CNN's Jeannie Moos goes "Inside the Box" now for a look at how it all ended.


JEANNIE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is how bored cameramen were waiting for a verdict outside Neverland Ranch, as Michael Jackson's music played. But chasing squirrels gave way to chasing Jackson's convoy once news of the verdict started to break.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. We are now being told that a verdict...

MOOS: Aerial shots showed fans linking hands along the roadside. A couple of networks put up a countdown clock to see if Jackson would make it to court in the allotted hour. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They'd have to do about 100 miles an hour to get here in time.

MOOS: But everyone knew this party wouldn't start without Michael Jackson.

NANCY GRACE, CNN HEADLINE NEWS HOST: Guess what? I think we're late.

MOOS: As network after network broke in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an NBC News Special Report.

MOOS: Even the crash of a DC-3 in Florida couldn't compete with the Jackson coverage. The frenzy built until Jackson himself appeared.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is one scared individual right there.

MOOS: Without a camera inside the court, TV reporters resorted to radio-style descriptions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ...a report that the jurors' eyes are fixed on Judge Melville and nowhere else.

GRACE: They will not look at the defendant? It's bad news for the defendant. Of course you can all replay this back if there...

MOOS: But this is what will be played back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not guilty of conspiracy; not guilty of a lewd act...

MOOS: And then there was the fan who celebrated each not guilty count by releasing a dove.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not guilty of child molestation. Michael Jackson is not guilty.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Clearly now it's pandemonium out here.

MOOS: In Times Square, people stopped to watch. Out came the characters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think now we'll start to call him the Teflon Molester.

MOOS: But there's one thing that does stick to Michael Jackson. It's the press.

Jeannie Moos, CNN, New York.


COOPER: And that is certainly true. 360 next, all the angles of the day's big story, Michael Jackson, there's a live picture of his Neverland Ranch. Right now fans are gathering ready to celebrate. It is going to be a very interesting night there indeed.

We're not sure if Michael Jackson is going to be making some sort of a statement or if anyone from his camp is going to make a statement. In the past, they've actually invited people onto Neverland Ranch for kind a party. We're not sure if that's going to happen. We'll be watching.

Our coverage continues. We'll be right back.


COOPER: And, again, we are showing you some live images from Neverland Ranch, cars arriving, we believe some with members of the Jackson family, supporters, the defense team gaining access to the Neverland Ranch.

That looks to be some members of Michael Jackson's family. We can't tell from this angle, possibly -- some are saying that may be Jermaine Jackson on the right but I cannot swear to that.

But imagine what the mood must be there now compared to what it must have been this morning in those moments before when they first heard that there was indeed a verdict and Michael Jackson left for the courtroom. Of course, he heard ten times over not guilty on all ten counts.

I'm Anderson Cooper, 360 will be back this evening with a special live edition at 11:00 Eastern, a look back at this extraordinary day. That's a live special edition of 360 at 11:00.

Right now CNN's prime time coverage continues with Paula Zahn -- hey, Paula.



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