In 1995 I was working for NBC News on the OJ Simpson story. “The murders were ‘94 and trial ‘95,” a network journalist named Lydia told me. “Victor was in LA and used to visit the Burbank studios, “she said. Explaining that shows like, “Hard Copy had deep pockets and the networks don’t pay.” Victor Gutierrez always used to come around with,” stuff on Michael and at that time nobody cared because OJ was the story. It was always somebody guard or employee that came out of the woodwork.”
But the networks refusal to buy his stories didn’t deter Gutierrez– who admittedly made a bulk of his income selling stories on Jackson. All he needed was a sensational story to capture some attention, even if he invented one about a phantom video tape. “I know at the time he sold that story he (Victor) needed money. He never thought it would backfire like that because people had been saying horrible things for years and never got sued. Victor made the claim about Michael and his nephew. And I’m surprised that Splash news service didn’t come into play. I think he tried to sell that video tape to,” tabloid brokers as well. See nobody would touch it– so he went off the radar and the next I heard was Diane Dimond reported it,” she said laughing.
Another journalist named Lisa Marlowe, who had previously worked with Diane Dimond on stories regarding Jackson, stated in court documents that Dimond approached her one day to ask whether she had heard a story about a video depicting Jackson with a little boy. Marlowe said that she had not heard about the story but said that it sounded like “BS.”
Marlowe then said, “Don’t tell me this came from Victor,” to which Dimond did not respond. Marlowe though that it sounded like a set-up and warned Dimond that “unless you’ve got it sitting in your office, I would leave it.” Dimond did not heed her warning however and on January 9, 1995, while using Victor Gutierrez as a source, reported a false story during an interview on “The Ken and Barkley Company” of KABC-AM radio. She said that a videotape existed of Michael Jackson engaging in unlawful conduct with a minor. She also said that Gutierrez had met with the child’s mother in a hotel room to view the tape. Dimond further stated that investigators were looking for the tape, and that the investigation on Jackson was reopened.
Right after the show, Jackson’s lawyer Howard Weitzman sent the following letter to Paramount Pictures:
I learned earlier today that Diane Dimond, one of Paramount’s Hard Copy reporters, was on KABC talk radio this morning and indicated that an untrue and defamatory story about an alleged videotape depicting Michael Jackson engaging in sexual relations with a minor was true, and that she believed such a tape existed. I understand that Ms. Dimond also made claims that the Los Angeles and/or Santa Barbara District Attorneys’ offices are reopening their criminal investigation of Mr. Jackson, based on the purported existence of this videotape. Please be informed that Ms. Dimond’s claims regarding the existence of such a videotape are untrue and defamatory, as are her claims regarding the reopening of any criminal investigation concerning Mr. Jackson.
Weitzman also called Hard Copy to warn them that they were repeating a false report. But Hard Copy ran with the false report the same night, and so did two British tabloids. After that, Howard Weitzman said, “This week several tabloid shows and magazines, along with certain individuals, publicly alleged a videotape existed of Michael Jackson engaging in unlawful conduct. No such tapes exist.”
Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, issued a statement after the false tabloid report: “We have not reopened the investigation. We have heard about the alleged tape. We have not seen it and we don’t have it. Prosecutors were not involved in a search for such a video.”
An AP article at the time stated, “Michael Jackson has ordered his lawyers to sue newspapers, TV shows and anyone else spreading ‘vicious lies and rumors’ claiming there was a videotaped sexual encounter between him and a 13-year-old boy.” But that did little to deter some of the tabloid media from running with the story.
The London Sun and Today newspapers carried reports about the purported 27-minute black-and-white video. The story was carried for two consecutive days on TV’s Hard Copy and other shows. The reports said one of the entertainer’s own security cameras captured a sexually explicit Christmas holiday encounter between Jackson and the teenager, whose name wasn’t disclosed. The reports were based on allegations by Victor Gutierrez, a free-lance writer who says he saw the tape. He said it was given to the boy’s mother, who now wanted to sell it back to Jackson.
Q: “It is an x-rated tape?”
Dimond: “It is . . . yes.”
Q: “Of Michael Jackson?”
Dimond: “Truly explicit.”
Q: “It’s what? Michael Jackson and little boy. Are you 100% sure that this tape exists?”
Dimond: “I am as sure as I can possibly be.“
Q: “You have not seen it?”
Dimond: “I have not seen it but one of my best sources on the Michael Jackson story has seen it.”
Q: “Who … you have no doubts about.”
Dimond: “I have never had a doubt about this person, ever. I know the District Attorneys’ Office is looking for it because they are calling up reporters saying ‘Have you seen it.’ . . . Do you know where we can get it?”
Dimond: “You know, I remember way back when, more than a year ago, we interviewed the head of the pedo[ph]ile unit at the FBI in Quantico, Virginia and he said you know the down fall of pedo[ph]iles is that they love to keep a memento of their victims. Or, they love to take pictures or take videos. We don’t know why, but they do this. It is for their own self gratification later but it always comes back to bite them.”
Dimond: “And, I have to tell you, if my source is correct, who has seen this tape, and again, he always has been. The acts that are being performed on that tape are exactly what the accuser a year ago said Michael Jackson did to him.”
“Enough is enough!” Jackson said in a statement. “I will no longer stand by and watch reckless members of the media try to destroy my reputation. I intend to protect myself and my family.” There was no reaction from the London tabloids, and Hard Copy senior correspondent Diane Dimond said she “stood by her reports.” Michael Jackson filed a $100 million lawsuit against everyone involved for slander on January 12, 1995. “The plaintiff is compelled to defend himself because Dimond, Hard Copy and the other defendants appear more concerned with their ratings than they are with the accuracy of their broadcast or the harm caused their victims.”
Interestingly, Dimond mentioned a trip to Quantico because according to defense attorney Thomas Mesereau “The prosecutors were traveling back and forth across the country. To Quantico Virginia and working with the FBI expert on pedophilia and child molestation. A well known expert, highly regarded in his field…I was prepared to cross examine him if he testified and they decided not to call him in the criminal trial in 2005.”
Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon, in an unusual move for a prosecutor, involved himself in the lawsuit to save his friend Dimond. Sneddon had nothing to do with this case because it was outside his jurisdiction. The case belonged to the Los Angeles District Attorney and LAPD, and Sandi Gibbons had already refuted the tabloid reporter. The following are excerpts from Tom Sneddon’s declaration:
In or about December 1994, I received information that a video tape existed depicting Michael Jackson engaged in sexual conduct with a minor child. The information received included the fact that the Victor Gutierrez, a journalist who I understand reports on Michael Jackson’s activities and who is writing a book about his life, has seen the video tape. Sometime during the month of December,Ms.Dimond contacted me to inquire about reports that our office was looking for the video tape or investigating new allegations of molestation against Mr. Jackson. I informed her that I was not at liberty to comment upon such reports.
In response to the reports which we received regarding the video tape, I contacted deputy District Attorney Lauren Weis of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. We discussed steps to investigate whether or not the tape existed and since all of the players were in the Los Angeles County area, it was decided that Lauren would ask an LA District Attorney’s investigator to attempt to investigate the existence of the tape and procure it if possible. Ultimately, after some efforts by the investigator, I was informed that we could not locate the video tape or definitively prove its existence or the acts that it purported to depict. It is my recollection and believe that this did not occur until after the “Hard Copy” broadcast in question.
Lauren Weis’s Declaration:
Diane Dimond was saved from the lawsuit because the court ruled that no malice was proved on her part. That she only stated her opinion and did not present the false story as a fact. She escaped justice by hiding behind the Shield Law, which allowed her to put the burden of responsibility onto the shoulders of her “best source,” Victor Gutierrez. Jackson appealed the judge’s ruling, but the California Court of Appeal affirmed the summary judgment, citing Sneddon’s declaration extensively in its November 1998 decision.
Jack Gonterman, an investigator working for the LA county DA’s office also gave a declaration. He stated that “shortly before January 5, 1995, Lauren Weis, Deputy District Attorney, instructed me to interview Victor Gutierrez regarding the possible existence of a videotape of Michael Jackson molesting a minor child. On January 5, 1995, I interviewed Victor Gutierrez regarding his knowledge, if any, of the alleged videotape. Shortly thereafter, I discontinued any further effort in the matter.”
Curiously, Sneddon’s declaration stated that he contacted the Los Angeles DA without discussing specifics with Dimond. The LA county investigator interviewed Dimond’s “best source” on January 5th for approximately an hour.. Gonterman interviewed Kevin Smith (Splash News) based on one of Victor’s answers, who knew absolutely nothing about a tape. The investigator quickly dismissed the story because it could not withstand any scrutiny. Even so, Hard Copy decided to run the story four days later on January 9th. Victor Gutierrez made a personal appearance on Hard Copy and spoke of what he had supposedly seen on the tape. “Victor Gutierrez has reported on Michael Jackson for the last decade and has a book about to be published regarding the entertainer’s relationship with various boys,” said Dimond. “Gutierrez has talked with this young boy’s mother.” Gutierrez claimed the mother in his story was Margaret Maldonado, Jermaine Jackson’s ex-wife.
“The story was an outrageous lie,” said Maldonado. “Not one part of it was true. I’d never met the man. There was no tape. Michael never paid me for my silence. He had never molested Jeremy. Period.” She would also appear in court to discredit Gutierrez and say that when she was approached with the story, she told reporters it was untrue. Gutierrez had said that he met Maldonado and showed her the videotape in a room at the Century Plaza Hotel. He told the courts that he paid for the room with his personal credit card. But it was revealed in court that the Century Plaza had no record of Mr. Gutierrez ever being there, let alone presenting a credit card and charging a room.
Astonishingly, while the Jackson lawsuit was pending against her, Diane Dimond aired another story about a phantom victim on April 27, 1995. Hard Copy producers flew her to Canada for a story about a Canadian street kid that claimed he had been molested by Jackson. He was able to offer a detailed story and the detective that questioned him over the phone said he sounded believable.
The boy claimed he met Michael Jackson at a Canadian video arcade and that he was supposed to spend the weekend with a friend. But when Jackson invited him to visit Neverland instead, the boy decided to fly off in a private jet with the entertainer. The 15-year-old described in detail the people in Jackson’s entourage, the layout of the ranch, and even Jacksons’ family home at Encino. Later he would draw detailed maps of both Jackson’s homes. This could be another alleged victim of Michael Jackson’s equate to big ratings for the show.
Curiously, the child never appeared with his adult friend, fictitiously named John Templeton, who was assisting him throughout his communications with Hard Copy. The boy was ultimately brought to Canadian authorities for questioning. “We took it very seriously and contacted the sheriff’s department in county (Santa Barbara) because that’s where it allegedly happened,” Detective Campbell told me. Eventually, the child confessed that the allegation was an elaborate scam. He had been coached to lie by a man named Rodney Allen, who had sent multiple letters to Hard Copy making it seem as if different people were writing about being “victims.” The 15-year-old was arrested, and Rodney Allen was later arrested and convicted of pedophilia.
Ironicaly, Victor Gutierrez met Lydia at the police station during interviews and according to her, “The LAPD interviewed a lot of journalists to see what they knew .” She told police that whatever she knew was in her stories and she never heard anything damaging. She continued by saying,” Victor’s information, his story was unclear–NAMBLA–It didn’t add up.” Her initial take was that he had to have known or meet Jackson at some point because his persecution of him “was not normal.” Victor later told her one story about a wealthy family that he was friends with living in Westwood, CA. Victor claimed that Michael molested their child and the family came to him for help. Knowing that there was something amiss with his story Lydia asked ” Why don’t they go to the police since there’s an ongoing case?” Victor responded “They don’t want money their wealthy, they just want him exposed.” Victor must have sensed that Lydia questioned his story and in a strange twist asked her to drive with him past a local arcade . He specifically asked her not to stop as he pointed out what seemed to be a random child as they drove past. “I never understood his motivation,” she said and,”though it was strange.”
One has to wonder how Rodney Allen was able to coach the boy in identifying Michael’s employees and drawing detailed maps of both Neverland and Havenhurst without having meet these individuals or visiting these locations. “I assumed that Rodney spent time at site…I don’t know for sure but was going on the information that Dimond provided,” said detective Campbell. According to Campbell, Hard Copy “put a fair amount of money into it. And I suggested they do a story about how celebrities are sometimes falsely accused, this way they at least had a show.” The program didn’t have the international scandal that they were anticipating but the image of an objective journalist was something Dimond very much needed at the time. When the courts were looking into her motives of malice in the suit filed by Jackson. She needed a vivid illustration of how “unbiased” and “lacking malice” she and Hard Copy in general were towards Jackson.
During Michael’s 2005 trial defense attorney Susan Yu filed a motion asking the prosecution to provide the defense with all the documents enumerated in the evidence list with regard to the 1993 investigation. The list the prosecution turned over included a fax listed as item 8336 involving Rodney Allen at the time of the Chandler allegations. We do not know the contents of the fax but District Attorney Tom Sneddon stated during the 2005 trial that, “Rodney Allen will not be a part of THIS case.” Sneddon was likely annoyed at being repeatedly duped by Allen. “My information was that [Sneddon] traveled to Australia and Canada. That was in the Mid 90’s — and couldn’t find anyone,” said attorney Thomas Mesereau.
Dimond’s source, whom she “never had a doubt about.” Gutierrez had interviewed and sold stories on behalf of employees at Neverland, many of which appeared on Hard Copy or in tabloid print. It would stand to reason that he could easily obtain photos and other information from them. It’s plausible that Gutierrez, a Chilean national living in California, and Allen, a Canadian pedophile, had interacted. Gutierrez openly admits to attending an international NAMBLA conference in 1986. Currently, Rodney Allen is serving a life sentence in Canada for pedophilia. In 1999, Allen met and became friendly with a group of five fourteen-year-old boys. These boys often came to Mr. Allen’s apartment because he let them drink alcohol and smoke. Mr. Allen told the boys that he was a member of the FBI, a fictitious claim that Victor Gutierrez had also made (along with his claim that he was employed by the LAPD). Subsequently, I called the LAPD to check on Victor’s claims and was told that, “you have to be a sworn officer to work for the LAPD,” and the personnel office checked saying that Victor Gutierrez, “was never employed by the LADP.”
I must state that Rodney Allen is rumored to be mentally delayed and has a propensity to embellish stories. He wasn’t only contacting Hard Copy and the District Attorney’s office, he was also posting detailed information on public internet sites. Along with his detailed knowledge of Jackson’s home, which he relayed to the child in the center of the Hard Copy story. He posted various home addresses and phone numbers for members of the Chandler in the mid-90’s which have been confirmed.
I also wrote to Rodney Allen in prison and merely stated that a friend named “Victor” (no last name) encouraged the correspondence. Allen wrote back confirming that he knew Victor Gutierrez and even stated, “I would really like to hear from him. It is funny how he pops into my life every now and then and changes my life so much.” In his letter he sounded eager to regain contact with his old friend Gutierrez and stated that he had, “found out who really terminated Michael Jackson’s life,” as well as, “the new address for O.J. [Simpson] in Nevada.”
In future correspondence Allen warned me about,“Victor and his scams to get my money –for his own personal use,” and called Gutierrez,” sneaky and underhanded.” Additionally he confirming a 1999 internet post that read in part, ” I was to be paid a large amount of money when things shuttle down, I was promised by Victor Gutierrez and Evan Chandler that it would be paid. But they didn’t pay me. Michael never touched him [Jordan] and sexually hurt him. Michael paid out the money to close the chapter on this scandal.”
Allen went on to write that he stayed with Gutierrez in LA –paying the landlord $500 during his month long stay. “Victor owed his land lord 8 months back rent,” he said. Confirming the NBC journalist statement that Gutierrez was broke and, “needed money.” Allen also claimed that at Gutierrez’s request he removed, “ toy trains, book negatives” and paintings of Michael,” from Victor’s home and shipping them to Canada for safe keeping.
He further stated that he accompanied Victor to Chicago for a book exhibition in 1995 to help promote Gutierrez’s book. Victor faxed him a letter asking him to, “ send a hard copy to NAMBLA requesting that they list the book Michael Jackson was My Lover in their books.”
Gutierrez was accustomed to making up stories and perpetrating elaborate schemes, as became apparent in court documents filed in Jackson’s suit against him. A tabloid broker named Ken Wells availed himself to Michael’s legal team in 1997 claiming to have information relevant to another litigation then pending in Santa Maria, California involving Mr. Jackson and Evan Chandler.Wells had discussed, among other things, meeting Gutierrez during the course of his work as a broker. Specifically, Wells said that a source of his (whom he refused to identify) claimed to have explicit photos of Michael Jackson and a child. Mr. Wells then began negotiations, through a third party and Gutierrez, whereby Wells would obtain the supposed photographs and give them to Gutierrez to sell to various tabloid media publications. When Wells’ source never produced the photographs, Wells ended his negotiations. But on July 2, 1997, Gutierrez and his attorney, Goldman, went to Wells’ home unannounced to discuss production of the phantom photographs. During their discussion Gutierrez bragged to Wells, telling him all about his connections in the tabloid business and that he had sold many stories, some of which had been “BS” and simply made up. According to Wells, Gutierrez said that money in the tabloid business was easy, even for false stories. Wells asked Gutierrez about the videotape at issue in this case. According to Wells, Gutierrez said that “the judge told me to produce the tape and I couldn’t produce it.” Wells asked Gutierrez whether he had ever had or seen the tape and, according to Wells, Gutierrez smiled and said, “Well, you know how that is. You know how these things are.” Wells stated that he believed Gutierrez was telling him, without saying so explicitly, that he had lied about the existence of the tape. Throughout the meeting Wells stated that Gutierrez and his attorney requested that he obtain the supposed photographs of Mr. Jackson, with Mr. Gutierrez saying that he needed the photographs to help him with this case, and even if the pictures were fake, he could still make money selling them—with the money being placed in a trust account handled by the attorney.
I contacted Ken Wells, who is no longer in the tabloid business, who stated “ I’ve seen what other people have done to capitalize on his name and a lot of false things have been said. The way I look at it, because of being in the tabloid business years ago is, if you don’t see proof it’s probably not there. People will say anything about a celebrity to make money. I don’t want to be involved in something that’s false. I’ve meet Michael Jackson a couple of times and the guy was not a child molester. I don’t care what anyone says and if they think he is they need to bring some kind of proof. Nobody has brought any kind of proof in all these years.”
In a further attempt to generate stories and pressure the singer into dropping the suit, Gutierrez’s attorney requested that Jackson:
“Identify the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all male persons who are not blood relatives who, when they were a minor, slept with you overnight in your bed at any time from January 1, 1984 through the present date…At a minimum, Victor Gutierrez, without even approaching the minor, may discover that the disclosed minor is the same minor who he allegedly saw in the videotape. He should be entitled to introduce this circumstantial evidence — sleeping with a minor tends to establish sexual conduct with a minor — and request that the decision maker draw any appropriate inferences there from. Alternatively, Victor Gutierrez may approach the disclosed minor, the minor may admit to sexual conduct with MJ, or to be naked with MJ, etc., and Victor Gutierrez may recognize the disclosed minor to be the same minor who he saw in the videotape. This case may then be over!”
So Gutierrez wanted to identify the child from the videotape he’d seen. Except he already claimed the minor was Jeremy Jackson and claimed Margaret Maldonado had shown him the videotape herself. Court TV media submitted a media request in 1997 with Victor favoring the request. But much to Gutierrez’s dismay, Jackson would not be making a personal appearance in court. In a declaration submitted by the entertainer he stated that he had not lived in California since 1993 and was currently on tour. He would, however, be submitting a videotaped deposition. Contradicting Gutierrez’s later claims of a face to face court showdown with the entertainer.
In actuality— Gutierrez was asked in a 1996 deposition if he had ever met Michael Jackson in person. He replied,” yes, just once at Dr.Arnie Klein’s office.” He then admitted to attorney’s that he hadn’t been formally introduced to the superstar. He claimed to have seen the singer because, “I was following him,” in 1995. Speaking to Michael as he arrived, at the entrance to Dr.Klein’s office building. “I approached Michael, and I said — I took a picture first because I was interested in what he was going to do at the doctor’s office. With the Vitiligo. Or something like that. He entered the building and he [Jackson] said, “Gary, take the camera. Take his camera.” Gutierrez stated that this incident occurred when Jackson was without security and the presents of Jackson’s driver Gary Hearne, Debbie Rowe, other media photographers. He goes on to say, after Jackson singles him out amongst the other photographers present —before shouting, “Jordy wants to speak to you.”
Question: then what happened?
Answer: he said, “Gary, take his camera.” And Gary was — he didn’t know what to do. He just said “take it.” He said something like the F camera something like that.
Question: Michael said “take the F-ing camera,” is that what you’re saying?
Question: Did Mr. Hearn threaten you in any way and the course of this conversation?
Answer: He tried to force to get the camera from me.
Question: when you say tried to force to get the camera from you, what did he do?
Answer: grabbed my hand trying to get the camera.
Question: then what happened?
Answer: when we were like forcing, and when he stood back, and Michael said, “Come on. Get the camera.” Then David came down and they took Michael up to Arnie Klein’s office.
Question: did you give up your camera?
Question: you didn’t lose the camera?
Question: did you call the police for any reason?
Many of Gutierrez’s motions mentioned the shield law and trade secrets. One even stated, “Victor Gutierrez has sold his stories about MJ to numerous television and print media. He is currently writing a book about MJ. He has continues to derive a substantial portion of his livelihood from writing about MJ.” But with Gutierrez unable to hide behind the shield law or his claims of trade secrets, he apparently became increasingly desperate; the following are portions of two declarations filed by Jackson’s attorneys:
During the course of this case I have often interacted with defendant Victor Gutierrez’s counsel, Robert Goldman, in connection with discovery matters and informal attempts at settlement. During one such conversation on September 11, 1997, Mr. Goldman stated if there is a trial in this case, there will be publicity adverse to Mr. Jackson. Mr. Goldman said that Mr. Gutierrez states that he intended to hold up next to his face a copy of his book entitled Michael Jackson Was My Lover every time Mr. Gutierrez is interviewed on television in connection with this case.
During the September 26 conference, Mr. Goldman’s said that his client, Mr. Gutierrez, had instructed him to give Mr. Jackson the “message” that he (Gutierrez) might attempt to exploit any press covering the trial by advertising his book on the 1993 allegations entitled Michael Jackson Was My Lover, The Secret Diary of Jordie Chandler. Mr. Goldman stated his client, Gutierrez, wanted to know my response to this possibility. I told Mr. Goldman that this “message” appeared to be a veiled threat designed to attempt to persuade Jackson not to proceed to trial. Mr. Goldman’s response was that the “message” was simply something that his client asked him to convey.
On the Friday before the trial was to begin, Gutierrez filed for bankruptcy. He sent notice to the courts on Monday, October 27, 1997, but his desperate efforts didn’t halt the court proceedings. His bankruptcy was not to be mentioned at trial. Gutierrez failed to appear in court, stating that he was living with family in his native Chile and couldn’t afford to buy a ticket back to the US to appear for trial.
I spoke to Michael’s private investigator, Eric Mason, who laughingly said at one point during the trial Gutierrez’s attorney took the stand and cross examined himself. One can only assume that he filed the following handwritten note with the courts in disgust.
Proposed instructions RE: Victor Gutierrez
Mr. Gutierrez is required to be here, but he has chosen not to be here, and you may draw whatever inference you may from his non-appearance.
In the end, the jury took less than two hours to render a verdict and Victor Gutierrez was ordered to pay $2.7 million to Michael Jackson for defamation. “Jurors told us that they not only wanted to compensate Mr. Jackson and punish Victor Gutierrez, but to send a message that they are tired of tabloids lying about celebrities for money,”Jackson’s attorney Zia Modabber told the Associated Press.
In 1995, five former Neverland employees followed the example of the Hayvenhurst security guards. Dubbed the “Neverland 5,” Kassim Abdool, Ralph Chacon, Adrian McManus, Sandy Domz and Melanie Bagnall filed a $16 million lawsuit against Michael Jackson, with Michael P. Ring as their attorney. They alleged they were harassed and threatened by security and fired or forced to quit in 1994. Melanie Bagnall even alleged she was sexually harassed by a guard named Andrew Merritt (in the trial Merritt was not found liable of sexually harassing her). The judge refused Court TV’s request to televise the trial. The plaintiffs had sold their stories to the tabloids instead of going to the police. The civil case went to trial in September 1996, along with Michael Jackson’s cross-complaint. The singer’s countersuit said two of the former workers stole sketches, personal notes, hats, toys and candy from the ranch and sold some items to tabloids. Michael Ring was fined $28,350 for hiding evidence from Jackson’s lawyers during pre-trial fact-finding in March 1997. He was fined $10,000 previously for concealing facts. The trial lasted six months, and the plaintiffs were sanctioned approximately $66,000 for lying in court and contradicting their own testimony. Judge Zel Canter in one instance left the bench saying he was disgusted. On March 1, 1996, Michael Jackson was deposed for the case, and a three minute video was released by News of the World tabloid in 2009. On March 18, 1997, the jury rejected the wrongful termination lawsuit and awarded Jackson $60,000 in damages. The plaintiffs were also ordered to pay a $1.4 million judgment in attorney fees and court costs to Michael Jackson.
At least two of the employees declared bankruptcy, and when they later testified in the 2005 trial they admitted that their attorney advised them to sell salacious stories to tabloids by using a media broker so they could pay their legal expenses. Maid Adrian McManus admitted that she knew nothing about Jackson’s sex life with Presley but nevertheless signed contracts to sell fictional stories. Howard Weitzman said after the ruling: “Michael Jackson is thankful for the court’s ruling. He has consistently maintained that he has not engaged in wrongful conduct with any minors. The stories told by these guards on various tabloid shows, for which they were paid, were false.”
The Neverland employees downplayed their role in selling stories on the stand and disavowed Gutierrez, who stated during his deposition in the “Neverland 5” case that he was moving to Chile to start a new life. He also stated that he had just bought a home in Chile. When asked whether the home was nice, Mr. Gutierrez said, “The home has 21 bedrooms.” Notably, during Gutierrez‘s case with Jackson, which was running simultaneously, he cried poverty.
To show further malice in his suit against Gutierrez ,Michael had strategically selected four quotes from Victor’s book that did not refer or relate to the 1993 allegations. In August 1997, while being sued by Jackson, Gutierrez filed a motion to modify the scope of discovery to include discovery into the 1993 child molestation allegations against Michael Jackson in a thinly veiled attempt to generate more tabloid stories and publicity. Gutierrez stated that he believed that Evan Chandler and Jordan Chandler had knowledge about the subject matter of the foregoing quotes. In particular, Gutierrez sought to take the depositions of Evan and Jordan Chandler, parties to the 1993 public allegations. Gutierrez argued that the alleged truth of those 1993 allegations, and his reporting of them, tended to negate any inference of malice. Gutierrez stated that his book was “based on the diary written by Jordan and Evan Chandler, and upon my own independent investigation about Jordan Chandler’s relationship with Jackson.” This was the third time Gutierrez had changed his story about who had actually written the diary.
But the four quotes in question were malicious. Gutierrez attributed the following grotesque quotes to Kassim Abdool, Adrian McManus and Melanie Bagnall in his book:
Jackson’s personal guards used their pistols and automatic rifles to threaten other employees and guards and at times forced them to have sex. ~ Abdool
This female fan of Jackson’s had crossed the gate of the ranch. When I detained her, I did not have handcuffs to hold her until the police arrived, so I had to tie her hands with a telephone cord. ~Bagnall
The poor guy [Jackson] couldn’t make it to the bathroom, and it got to the point that he didn’t even care. If he had to go, he did it right there, wherever he was. Poor Adrian was the one who suffered, but at times we would help her pick up the dirtied clothes and clean the floor. Michael would put tampons in his ass to stop the diarrhea. ~ Abdool
I was talking with Michael about something not so important when he told me that he had to go to the bathroom. He didn’t take two steps when he defecated right there in front of me. It was diarrhea that ran down to his shoes. It was a shame. The guards that saw it went into another room to have a laugh.~McManus
Evan and Jordan Chandler did not give depositions in the case. They would both, however, submit declarations to the courts stating that they knew absolutely nothing about either the making of the quotes or their content. Evan stated that he didn’t know or recall ever speaking to Abdool, McManus or Bagnall. Jordan stated the same with the exception of McManus, with whom he only recalled exchanging pleasantries. Most notable about the Chandler’s declaration is what they didn’t say—they didn’t say they didn’t know or hadn’t spoken to Gutierrez.
Book reviews have described Gutierrez’s book as “a pedophile’s opus” or simply “disgusting” for its graphic detail and seemingly positive attitude towards the sexual abuse of minors. Victor said that his book was based on Jordan’s Chandlers diary that was given to him by someone within the Chandler’s home. Gutierrez has changed his story about the origins of the phantom diary several times. The more obvious questions one would ask are — is it likely that a child would write in such graphic detail? Furthermore, Jordan Chandler didn’t have a diary according to a Jackson investigator. He did have, “ a notebook that he wrote his film ideas and stories in since he was going to film school.” Based on the rumor of the existence of a diary, investigators in later years hunted that notebook down (not a diary), only to find out that the “stupid thing” as he called it –had no value.
Gutierrez said in his book “For me it was confusing, not knowing whether to refer to the boys as victims or ex-lovers.” Victor also published the inaccurate description of Michael dated 10/24/93 clearly marked “theory.” Disturbingly, it also includes the description of another “cute” young boy and gives graphic details about sex games between the three — something that was never claimed by the Chandlers and was vehemently denied by the other child in court.
In an interview for the German paper Die Tageszeitung, Gutierrez said he had heard for the first time at a NAMBLA meeting that “Michael is one of us.” He says, “Jackson was treated like an idol there, as a hope for social acceptance.” He goes on to say, “In a hundred years maybe such relationships will be socially accepted.” The story reminds him of Oscar Wilde and his young lover Bosi,’ he says. As Gutierrez, a homosexual himself was looking for a publisher for his book in 1995 he heard people say he glamorizes pedophilia. He released a Spanish version of his book in Chile and shipped the English version to small book shops in LA himself. Michael Jackson never sued him for his book. His employees buy up all copies those they get hold of,” said Gutierrez.
But Jackson employees did not, “buy up,” copies of the book like Gutierrez claimed. In actuality in May 1999 the sheriff’s department confiscated all copies of the book pursuant to a court ordered levy.
Declaration Of Steven Cochran
That reads in-part:
I am also counsel for Mr. Jackson in another matter, Evan Chandler v. Michael Joseph Jackson Case No. SM097360. That basically alleges breach of contract. Portions of that action have been ordered to arbitration under the jams/Endispute Comprehensive rules and procedures. Jackson has filed a cross-complaint in that action which alleges that Chandler and his son breached the same contract by divulging certain information to Victor Gutierrez.
I was not able to find a dollar amount awarded to Jackson for court costs and attoneys fee’s in the Chandler v Jackson case (Sawyer interview) Nor the outcome of his cross complaint.