The FBI files on Michael Jackson show a concerted effort by the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s office to convict the pop star for child molestationin 2003-2005.
The DA even brought in the FBI for assistance. But the Bureau’s examination of all the computers seized from Neverland found nothing in April 2004 ”ten months before Jackson’s trial. They’ went through a bunch of computers seized at the ranch, and ran “keyword searches” through them, looking for kiddie pornography. They came up with 18 pages of nothing.
Michael’s defense attorney Thomas Mesereau expressed surprise to me about the FBI files yesterday. “I never saw them,” he said. “Shouldn’t they have shared them with me?”
It didn’t matter. Mesereau’s masterful handling of the case got Michael acquitted of all charges in his 2005 child molestation/conspiracy case. But why did the DA go ahead with the case at all if the FBI turned up nothing?
Mesereau told me: “They heard all these stories, they read stories in the tabloids, there was the 1993 case. They had to proceed. Plus DA Tom Sneddon had gotten legislation passed since the first case making it impossible not to go ahead. And he did it because of Michael.”
Jackson was innocent of those charges. Whatever else happened to Michael Jackson in life, he was set up by Janet Arvizo to take a fall. Luckily, several people stepped in to save Michael.
Two of those people were Frank (Tyson) Cascio and his friend Vinnie Amen. They were working for Michael in the winter of 2003. Jackson put them in charge of catering to the Arvizo family right after Martin Bashir’s “Living with Michael Jackson” aired on ABC. All hell broke loose because Michael bragged about Gavin Arvizo “sharing” his bed. Gavin and his brother were featured on the program. Chaos ensued.
District Attorney Tom Sneddon, Michael’s nemesis from the 1993 case, determined to destroy Jackson at that point. He sought out Janet Arvizo, not realizing she was a welfare cheat, a pathological liar, and a big cup o’crazy. On the witness stand, Mrs, Arvizo told Jackson’s defense attorney, Tom Mesereau, she believed Michael was going to steal her children in a big hot air balloon, and fly away.
After that, no testimony mattered. We in the Santa Maria courtroom knew Michael would moonwalk home, free as a bird. And deservedly so.
Earlier that year, I wrote in my old column that when Frank and Vinnie brought Janet home to her L.A. apartment from Neverland, Sneddon’s card was under her door. She called the number. He invented her. Then he involved the FBI. The results are in the newly released files. Manpower was revved up, resources were used. And it was all for nothing. Regardless of Michael’s naive comments about children, or anything that might have happened years earlier, he was innocent. He was guilty, like Chris Tucker and a bunch of other people, of being conned by the Arvizos.
In truth, the Jackson-Sneddon feud had been fueled by Michael. After the 1993-94 Jordy Chandler case, Michael fanned the flames by tautning Sneddon in song. It was a mistake. Sneddon was a no-nonsense guy. He didn’t wear designer suits. He reminded those of us in the court room of an old gym teacher. He wasn’t “hip.” And you could tell, he didn’t like the hip crowd one bit.
In the FBI files, you can see how Sneddon, using Court TV’s willing Diane Dimond, ginned up the anti-Michael cause. He even sent ADA Ronald Zonen ‘‘listed in the FBI files incorrectly as Richard ‘ to New York to persuade Jordy Chandler to testify. Chandler declined, and threatened to fight a subpoena legally. The word was that he left the U.S. for the duration of the trial.
Sneddon et al had little luck getting anyone else from the so-called conspiracy to kidnap the Arvizos onto the stand. And Vinnie, I can tell you now, let me publish dozens and dozens of receipts he’d kept while babysitting the Arvizos. Eventually it all came out during the trial: rather than being kidnapped, the Arvizos were treated to movies, clothes, hotel stays, and spa treatments. Sneddon, of course, knew this. He just pretended that it never happened. Janet Arvizo received a full body waxing, courtesy of Michael Jackson. The FBI was taken to the cleaners.