The year is 2003 and Michael Jackson was once again charged for child molestation. This time he does not have the option of a settlement like he did in 1993, the laws had even changed in Santa Barbara since 1993, and he has to go to the trial of his life. Possibly facing jail for at worst according to rumor up to 20 years.
He was accused of sexually molesting a 13 year old boy Gavin Arvizo. A boy from Los Angeles from a latin descent and a cancer survivor. There were also additional charges for giving alcohol to minors, but on top of that it all allegedly happened amidst a quite complicated charge of conspiracy against the family to including kidnapping, imprisonment, threats and financial exploitation.
Michael Jackson was on trial from 25th of February to 3rd Of June of 2005 in a highly publicized and extremely controversial trial. Michael Jackson was in the end found “not guilty» by the jury and was acquitted of all charges. The question is was Jackson innocent the whole time, and if not.. what happened?
The Arvizo’s was a poor Mexican family who lived in Los Angeles. In the fans lore they’ve been regularly painted by Jackson’s defenders as a “grifter family” with credibility issues who was only after Michael Jackson’s money. Could it be however, that the time is ripe to reconsider this negative assessment of them? Is there a microscopic chance the family was trying to tell the truth after all?
At this site we believe and defend the Arvizo’s claims.
All Counts Michael Jackson was accused of
Statement Of Probable Cause
Tom Sneddon / Sheriff Jim Thomas 2003 Press Conference
Ron Zonen interview at Weezy And The Swish
Interview with Ron Zonen about Gavin and Michael Jackson
DA. Tom Sneddon after losing the trial
Gavin Arvizo testimony at Grand Jury / 2005 Trial
Janet Arvizo Grand Jury / 2005 Trial
Michael Jackson on 60 Minutes
Public Statement By Michael Jackson
Written Statement By Michael Jackson
Documentary: Living With Michael Jackson (Martin Bashir, 2003)
2 of the jurors regret voting not guilty
Rich & Acquitted: Michael Jackson episode (2016)
Diane Dimond – Be Careful Who You Love (2005)
Common myths about the Arvizo case and 2005 trial
Short answer: “Not guilty” does not mean “proven innocent”.
Long answer: Being acquitted from a charge doesn’t mean you’ve been “proven innocent». It means guilt wasn’t proven ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’. In the court of law the burden isn’t on the defense to ‘prove innocence’ but on the prosecution to prove guilt. In criminal cases the jury have the difficult task to deliberate both sides of a case and judge if a case is proven «beyond a reasonable doubt». If the jury isn’t sure it typically results in an acquittal (“not guilty”).
This means that while Michael Jackson wasn’t found guilty it does not mean the jury necessarily thought he was innocent. In this instance we actually know some jury members didn’t think Michael Jackson was innocent and was close to voting guilty.
The jury in 2005 was in reality very split and there was a lot of tension within the group. Some of the jurors thought he was guilty while others thought he was innocent, and some haven’t made any official statements one way or the other.
It’s still correct however that in the end jury did acquit Jackson on all charges and legally he was found not guilty — but this does not mean “proven innocent”.
[More information on difference between proven innocent and not guilty]
Usually jurors aren’t allowed to speak publicly about their decision. Michael Jackson’s case was very unique in the sense because the jury was urged to speak publicly on the topic. So we have some insight on what happened among the jurors.
What was leaked was there was a lot of turmoil and tension among the group while deliberating. One juror, Eleanor Cook (#5), said when she expressed early on that she was sure Michael Jackson was guilty and she thats her final word. This didn’t sit well with some of the other jurors and she was attempted removed although unsuccessfully. Cook expressed there was a peer pressure inside the group to vote not guilty, and she even (controversially) claimed there was a ‘clique’ of three Jackson fans who was extremely hostile to the idea of Jackson being anything but innocent. One of these jurors supposedly was Paulina Coccoz, who also supposedly went to Michael Jackson’s acquittal party the day he was found not guilty. Eleanor Cook said while she wanted to vote guilty she felt there was a lot of hostility aimed at her so she caved in.
“No doubt in my mind whatsoever, that boy was molested.” ~ Eleanor Cook
After the case three of the jury members (including Cook) officially came out saying they thought Jackson was guilty. There was also an alternative juror who was reported thinking Jackson was guilty.
Ray Hultman explained his reasons for voting not guilty in the end had to do with him not wanting a hung jury. His argument was a little bit strange perhaps but he says he felt 5-6 months of deliberation would be a waste of time if he voted guilty leaving the jury hung. (If the jury had been hung it would likely mean there would be another trial later with a new jury.)
Ray Hultman later regretted and said he would apologize to Gavin.
Question: What would you say to Michael Jackson?
Ray Hultman: Get it together. You’re a grown man and you need to stop doing these things. The jury found you not guilty but that does not mean you are innocent, and we know that something is not right at Neverland. Stop hanging around with little boys.
Question: If the victim[Gavin] is reading this right now what would you want to say to him?
Ray Hultman: I’m sorry. Very sorry.
Katerina Carls was a third juror who openly expressed she believed Gavin, but at the of judging couldn’t get past that she wasn’t 100% sure beyond a reasonable doubt.
Katerina Carls: Yes. It was very hard for me because I believed the boy and I believed that Michael is a child molester. And so I spent the whole weekend thinking about it, and I still cannot get past the reasonable doubt. There is (INAUDIBLE) reasonable doubt there, so I have to vote not guilty.
Interviewer: But you just said to me that you believe Michael Jackson is a child molester, is that correct?
Katerina Carls: That‘s right.
Jury foreman Paul Rodriguez has said things in both directions, and some are now in retrospective a little bit strange. On the surface he says he (probably) believed the accuser, but that there just wasn’t enough evidence to convict Michael Jackson.
Interviewer: Some of the jury thought there was smoke but no fire, did you see smoke?
Paul Rodriguez: Yes, I did, I thought that Michael Jackson has molested boys in the past, and probably molested this boy, but as I said, what we believe doesn’t matter… the EVIDENCE has to PROVE IT.
What does he mean by evidence?
Paul Rodriguez: “I think that if they convict they must convict beyond a reasonable doubt, there has to be a smoking gun, like a video, semen, you know… SOMETHING of substance. Not just testimony.”
So unless you have video evidence or “semen” (presumably on the victim) Rodriguez wasn’t ever going to convict. Most sources also indicate he dictated the same rule to all the other jurors as well. Now, beyond Michael Jackson, is that fair in a general sense to possible victims of sex crimes? Should a jury never convict someone for a sex crime unless the prosecutors presents video evidence of the sex crime or semen still on the victim?
Judge for yourself. Never the less, here is Paul’s message to Michael Jackson on behalf of the jury.
“We would hope, first of all, that he doesn’t sleep with children anymore and that he learns that they have to stay with their families or stay in the guest rooms [at Neverland] or the houses or whatever they’re called down there. He just has to be careful how he conduct [himself] all around children.” ~ Paul Rodriguez
This might be the biggest reason most people are so confused by the 2005 trial and the allegations.
When Martin Bashir’s documentary «Living With Michael Jackson” (2003) aired we see Gavin and Michael together in a controversial and by now infamous segment. Here Michael Jackson tell the world he sleeps in bed with children all the time and argues its the most loving thing in the world. Gavin says he slept in Michael Jackson’s bed (while Michael slept on the floor), and all this is said while holding hands while Gavin leans on Michael. This was a moment where many turned suspicious on Jackson (who had a known child molestation allegation from 1993 behind him) and the media chaos erupted. Who was this boy? Many people speculated if Gavin was a possible abuse victim of Jackson and Gavin was even reported to the child services two times before he ever made an accusation himself.
The thing that makes “everybody” confused is that Gavin says the molestation hadn’t occurred yet at the point of the documentary, because according to Gavin it actually happened in the aftermath of the documentary. If you combine this with what many claim is ‘credibility issues’ with the Arvizo family, you have the short explanation why many people (possibly including some members of the jury) find the story a little bit too wild to believe. Many things about the whole story comes across as a bit mysterious, and it’s even possible the police and prosecution didn’t solve exactly what happened. Today with tons of misinformation (usually just twisted to make Michael Jackson seem like a saint swarmed by greedy devils) by the fan community doesn’t help.
So how can it be explained?
Its a longer story to explain the relationship between Gavin Arvizo and Michael Jackson, as well as what happened through the span of their time together, so you need to look at their backstory, and unfortunately also need to explain the conspiracy charge between The Jackson camp and the family which, and most importantly why it happened. We would need a much bigger space to explain everything that happened, and we will at some point, but it’s recommended to read the testimony of Gavin and his mother.
Critics of Gavin love to highlight that the police initially seemed to change the amount of times he was molested, so anywhere between 2 and 7+ was suggested. Exactly when it started may have been slightly adjusted along the way from early depositions and grand jury.
Here critics are not really giving Gavin’s side of the story much of a chance (if they have listened to him at all!). The reason is not that complicated. Gavin remembers clearly Jackson molested him 2 times, but he had also been served alcohol by Michael Jackson he could only remember two of them with certainty. He thinks its possible it happened more times as there were more sleepovers in Jacksons bedroom. He was too drugged to remember and compared it to “remembering kindergarten”. There’s additionally the claims his brother Star Arvizo made. Star claims he saw Michael molesting Gavin while Gavin was passed out two or three times. If that is true thats at least over 2 times. The police had to give a 2+ estimate.
Its true Gavin didn’t remember the exact date of the molestation, but our estimate (through a lot of research of the timeline and the events) we think it started on 3rd and 4th of Mars 2003, and other possible dates of abuse following up to when Gavin left Neverland on 12th of Mars 2003. A lot of grooming and other inappropriate behavior by Michael Jackson started much earlier.
A much ridiculed claim made by Jackson’s defenders. They love to post the picture above, and other available pictures of clocks around Neverland, and rephrase their claim to be like Star and Gavin said there didn’t exist any clocks at Neverland when they were allegedly held captive there. What about the huge functional clock outside the Neverland train station?! Alright, fair enough, to a degree it is kind of funny..
Its true that Gavin and Star said they were being kept away from clocks and calendars in the period they were held at Neverland post-Bashir documentary so they perhaps couldn’t know what time of day or date of the calendar it was. It’s something that may or may not have been true, it’s difficult to prove or disprove, although it wouldn’t be too surprising if there was something to it.
It’s irrelevant either way since the complete timeline is established.
Even if it wasn’t let’s remember we’re talking about two children here, and children does not always keep track of dates they did things. What Jackson’s defenders won’t tell you (or don’t know) is that Janet Arvizo the mother actually gives corroborative dates to everything that happened to them through her testimony and it matches other witnesses, receipts, etc. It all checks out surprisingly well. There’s actually nothing that happened in the period the Arvizo’s were at Neverland there’s a need to specify a date to.
After the Arvizo’s escaped Neverland Gavin was eventually going back to school after approx two months away. Unfortunately for Gavin many children at the school had seen the clip from the Martin Bashir documentary «Living With Michael Jackson» and the scene with Michael and Gavin holding hands together. Gavin was teased and bullied in the schoolyard and was called gay slurs and they teased him for having had sex with Jackson. Gavin got into fights in the schoolyard because of this.
As a result there was an interference from people working at the school and Gavin was brought into the principle’s office. He was asked if Michael Jackson actually had done anything to him. At this point Gavin had actually been molested pr his claim, but he denied it. The defense of Michael Jackson tried to use this against Gavin at the trial as in a “we have people thats going to testify and say Gavin told them nothing ever happened”. The prosecution answered this by getting experts on child molestation to testify (Dr. Anthony Urquiza, Dr. Stan Katz) and explain it is perfectly normal for children to deny sexual abuse. Children come forward when they feel ready, and sometimes they never are, and definitely don’t do so on command by authorities. Under pressure it’s typical they will deny it, which is very consistent with what happened with Gavin.
When did Gavin reveal he was sexually abused?
Gavin would first come forward when being sent to a psychiatrist Dr. Stan Katz by lawyer Larry Feldman. When he was asked about Jackson and if Jackson did anything to him he didn’t answer, but seemed distressed and started to cry. Katz reported there was “probable cause of sexual abuse” to the authorities, which he was by law obliged to do, and Gavin was brought to the police to talk to Sgt Paul Zelis and Sgt Steve Robel. He reluctantly revealed more and more in detail what happened to him there, and this started an increasing investigation that lead to a charge on Michael Jackson and eventually ended up to the 2005 trial.
It is a source of doubt for some people that most of the Jackson allegations (no matter the reason) dealt with money in some kind of way.
Either through million dollar settlements like the Chandler’s or the Francia’s, or by some of the key witnesses at Neverland who claimed they saw Michael Jackson molest children selling stories to the tabloids, or to the more recent civil suits by Wade Robson and James Safechuck where although we don’t know exact sums possibly large amounts of money is implied.
This doesn’t make the allegations or testimonies fake, its normal to sue for cost of the lost life quality being sexually abused causes all through life, but for Jackson’s defenders the narrative «lying about being sexually abused to get money» has been a useful and successful strategy.
But did the Arvizo’s ask for money?
No. The ironic thing about the Arvizo case is that while people have said a lot bad of things about their accusations and their credibility in general, there has never been proof they wanted money from Jackson. To the contrary they’ve always been crystal clear they never wanted nor did they ever get a single dime from Jackson, nor have they sold stories to tabloids.
The case was a criminal trial, and if they had won and put Michael Jackson in jail there would be no money prize. Tom Mesereau promised in his opening speech to prove the allegations were only after money, but never actually demonstrated this as prosecution lawyer Ron Zonen pointed out in his closing argument.
Additionally the Arvizo’s has never said yes to appearing in interviews, tabloid stories or anything of the sort, and there’s supposedly standing offers with 6 digits for Gavin to tell his story. The mother Janet Arvizo said she was repulsed by the idea of taking “the devils money” as she put it. Being an economically struggling family this speaks volumes, and its high time someone gives them credit for this. The Arvizo’s were not after money.
What money by the way?
The prosecution also proved under the trial that Michael Jackson wasn’t rich like he was in the 90s. Its well established that around 2003-2005 he wasn’t just financially struggling… he was broke and had many many many millions in debt.
This is a popular statement in the pro-Jackson camp and you’ll see it all the time. They think it proves the allegation was money related.
Well, the part about two civil lawyers getting involved is true, and it’s true they even ended up temporarily at Larry Feldman (who presented the Chandlers in the 90s), but one have to look into what actually happened before concluding the motivations.
Why did they go to civil lawyers?
The Arvizo’s didn’t go to civil lawyers to accuse Jackson of molesting Gavin.
There was two other reasons.
1. The mother went to civil attorney Bill Dickerman because Jackson’s people had resigned their apartment and taken all their belongings and put them in a storage and they didn’t know how to get it back. The mother went to a lawyer for help negotiate belongings back. Bill Dickerman succeeded in getting their belongings back, and Jackson’s ex-lawyer Mark Geragos admitted in court to delivering the belongings to Dickerman’s office (obviously confirming it had happened).
2. The other for them seeking a lawyer was because Gavin Arvizo was teased and bullied at school (and elsewhere) because of the scenes with Michael Jackson in the Bashir documentary and they wanted to either stop further screenings of it or at least make them blur Gavin’s face. Bill Dickerman was contacted and assigned to do this as well.
These were the two initial reasons for them contacting the first civil lawyer, and the Arvizo’s were recommended to see Dickerman through their friend Jamie Masada who ran The Laugh Factory (a stand up club) who had used Dickerman previously.
Why did Larry Feldman get involved with the case?
How it ended up at Larry Feldman had to to with the mother gradually opening up to the Bill Dickerman that the Jackson camp had kidnapped them, imprisoned them at Neverland, threatened their lives and tried to move them to Brazil against their will. Bill Dickerman was just a local lawyer working alone, and was overwhelmed with what he heard, and he quickly understood that the scope of the allegation was far too big for him to deal with alone.
Bill Dickerman knew Larry Feldman personally. Larry Feldman ran a bigger law company with many people working for him. They had effectively dealt with Jackson and his lawyers in the 90s with the Chandlers, so Dickerman asked Feldman if he wanted to take over the case. At this point the molestation accusation was still not brought up as Gavin was totally silent about it.
So its important to look closely how this went down:
Jamie Masada was the one who sent the Arvizo’s to Bill Dickerman, and Bill Dickerman was the one who sent the Arvizo’s to Larry Feldman. The Arvizo’s were basically referred passively to Feldman because of the conspiracy part of the allegation. It has never been clear the family even knew about the multi-million dollar settlement between the Chandlers and Jackson or if they knew Feldman was the one involved with it.
«There is just no time ever in this case that either this young boy or his mother ever suggested they wanted money.» ~ Larry Feldman
When the family were talking to Larry Feldman they still didn’t talk about suing Jackson for money. Since Larry Feldman had met Jordan Chandler in the 93 case and believed Jordan was abused by Jackson, he got suspicious about any abuse of any of the children in the family. He sensed there were some similarities between Jordy and Gavin, so he sent the whole family to psychologist Stan Katz to see he would see if there was any sign of abuse.
Dr. Stan Katz was the first person who Gavin ever revealed something had happened between him and Jackson, and thats how it ended up at the police where Gavin explained more in detail what had happened. The police were the ones initiating the charge and the arrest of Jackson followed thereafter, and according to lead prosecutor Ron Zonen the mother (or anyone else in the family) was not involved in the charge at all, and she had been told by the police what Gavin had told them.
Why the family didn’t go to the police immediately due to what the Jackson camp had done to them was reportedly fear, and a realistic feeling they might not be believed. It’s a daunting task to go against a superstar, and they were still shaken and confused why they had been treated the way they had been by Jacksons people.
Jackson’s bedroom was infamously guarded by alarms so when anyone came near a notable bell sound would go off in advance. The police and others have argued these were installed so Michael Jackson wouldn’t be caught molesting children. Needless to point out an alarm system like this doesn’t look great for someone with multiple child abuse allegations on them and who also admitted to often sleeping in bed with children.
There were not one but two of these alarm bells, one when someone entered the hallway leading to his bedroom, and another one that went off when one came up the stairs to the top floor of the bedroom where Jackson’s bed was at.
This complex alarm system was demonstrated at the trial and shown to everybody there through video. Leroy Nimmer made a big fuzz about the alarms in his documentary “Michael Jackson: The Untold Story Of Neverland”(2010) where we get to even see the actual alarms and how they work, and it was also a topic that came up in the trial before that. The critique is that if Star saw Gavin being molested by Michael Jackson from where he said the alarms should have gone off and Michael Jackson should have noticed Star. So why didn’t he? Since according to Star’s story he didn’t could that mean Star’s story isn’t true?
Star explained at the trial that the first alarm in the hallway did go off, but for some reason the second one coming up the stairs didn’t.
Why didn’t Michael Jackson notice the first set off alarms?It goes into a little speculation, but we know through the testimony of Jesus Salas that at the time all of this happened Jackson was taking a lot of prescription drugs. If we’re to believe the boys and other witnesses he was also drinking a lot of wine these days. This is perhaps not too odd because of the media chaos and pressure around him, and many people can testify Jackson did have a bit of an addiction problem. It’s quite possible he was simply too high (and/or drunk) to have noticed the first alarm bell out in the corridor which is a little more in the distance.
However he should perhaps still have noticed the second alarm as its right beside the bed. They didn’t go off. Why?
It seems like the second set of alarms goes off at when you finish the top of the stairway, its not impossible Star saw the molestation happen before he was completely up the stairs, meaning the alarm just didn’t go off and he then turned and went down the stairs.
Its also a possibility the second alarm up the stairs wasn’t turned on at that point in time, assuming there’s an option to manually turn it on and off.
Either way, we don’t know for sure why the second alarm didn’t go off, or why Jackson didn’t notice the first alarm, but these are at least possibilities.
However for defenders of Michael Jackson to make this argument its inconveniently dependent on them admitting such a suspicious bedroom alarm system was installed in Michael Jackson’s bedroom to begin with. Who needs a second alarm inside their own bedroom for people coming up the stairs before seeing their bed? A child molester extra cautious of getting caught would at least, but other suggestions are welcome.
This is referring to a strategy by the Michael Jackson’s defense in 2005, and has been repeated many time since by Jackson’s defenders.
The claim is that Gavin for some reason said his Michael Jackson told him that men had to masturbate “or they will rape a woman”, but at another point said it was his grandmother that said it. This sounds strange on its surface, but it’s extremely inaccurate if we read the transcripts from the testimonies. While there’s arguably loose similarities on closer inspection what Gavin said his grandmother told him and what Michael Jackson told him were actually vastly different.
What did Michael Jackson say? (According to Gavin)
Michael Jackson said he knew of a boy who didn’t masturbate and went crazy and ended up having sex with («humping”) a dog, not a woman, so he urged Gavin that he needed to masturbate or he’ll go crazy. Leading up to him wanting to «show” Gavin how to do it.
From Grand Jury testimony:
What did the grandmother say?
She didn’t say anything about raping a woman, but «She told me like if, sometimes certain men if they don’t do it, like their sexual urges can get elevated to a certain level.» He even says he don’t remember saying she referred to raping (a woman or anything else).
From Grand Jury testimony:
According Gavin never said the grandmother said anything about rape, and Michael Jackson talked about a boy became crazy and started «humping» a dog, not about raping women. These two statements are evidently more different than Jacksons ardent defenders like to portray it as.
At the 2005 trial there was an occurrence where Tom Mesereau showed a picture of an open black suitcase full of pornographic magazines found in Jackson’s bedroom. Star and Gavin said Michael Jackson had shown them the content of this suitcase.
Mesereau asked Star if it was the Barely Legal magazine that was on top of the magazine he showed them, and Star said yes. Tom Mesereau said «Ha! Got you!» and revealed that this was an issue published after he have been there, claiming this proves Star was lying. Star defense was himself he didn’t mean that exact Barely Legal magazine, but the type. .
It was too late for Star though. It was easy to claim Star was only making an excuse. This has been used against him ever since.
This one is pretty easy to explain because already at the Grand Jury 25th of March 2004 which was before the 2005 trial Star was asked specifically if it was the type of magazine or that exact issue of Barely Legal… and he said TYPE.
The ironic thing is it doesn’t matter at all because both Star and Gavins fingerprint was found and identified on several pornographic magazines that was in the black suitcase in Michael Jackson’s bedroom, exactly like they had described to the police. This means they had evidently seen the black briefcase full of magazines and had many in their hands. So even if Star remembered one single magazine wrong wouldn’t matter, but as you can see he actually did not.