Once upon a time (recently), a writer and an attorney joined forces to research and write about the extortion of Michael Jackson in 1993. Christy the Writer and Lisa the Attorney, neither of them particularly avid Michael Jackson fans, were bothered by these allegations after Michael passed. Once they started their investigation, they were shocked by the sheer lack of evidence against Michael.
Reading their account, it seems pretty obvious that Evan Chandler’s motives were not protection of his son from any wrongdoing, but rather a vindictive ploy to regain custody of his son, and an intense jealousy of Michael’s relationship with his son and his ex-wife June. Feeling snubbed by them, it was a means to spite June and Michael, and of course, a means to get money out of Michael Jackson. Further, the book written by tabloid “journalist” Diane (Demon) Dimond is used as a reference, ironically, not to prove the allegations are true, but rather to disprove them!
This research paper was first presented on Reflections on the Dance website in June and also is presented on AllForLoveBlog in several parts. The authors, Christy and Lisa, have given me permission to share it here as well. Thus, I present it here because the truth needs to be out there in as many places as possible. It is long, but please take time to read and share the links with others, especially those who doubt Michael’s innocence!
The following is Part I of Christy and Lisa’s findings in the 1993 allegations against Michael, the second part to be posted separately and soon (below, emphasis mine):
M.O.N.E.Y.: The Extortion of Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson was an enigma, to say the least. Much has been written analyzing everything from his psyche to his appearance to his talent, and there are opinions across the board about the allegations of molestation leveled against him during his life. Fan sites abound with opinionated and impassioned statements and articles about his innocence, most of which simply proclaim that he was found not guilty in a court of law. But there are countless details—including FBI files released in December 2009, court records, and public records—that offer a more well-rounded and supportable claim of innocence against all the charges, not just those in the criminal case.
Lisa: I was never a big Michael Jackson fan. However, having been born in the early 1970’s, Michael’s music was always in the background, always there to be heard and enjoyed. On June 25, 2009, the only news I had received was that Farah Fawcett’s long battle with cancer was finally over. When I returned home after work that evening, I logged on to Yahoo and was horrified by the headline “Michael Jackson Is Dead.” I began to text my husband, trying to multitask by running through the news channels at the same time. I watched CNBC, Fox News, CNN, and whatever channel happened to be broadcasting information about Michael’s untimely demise. As the world knows, the media coverage about Michael was non-stop, with everyone seemingly having an opinion about every aspect of Michael’s life and death. After many weeks of following the story, I continued to be struck by the fact that while so many mourned, so many others made cruel jokes. The dichotomy of feelings engendered by this man was fascinating, albeit in a horrifying way.
Back in 1993, when the first allegations were made public, I was in college. I didn’t really read the accounts of what was happening, but I knew the basic allegations, and for some reason, they didn’t sit well with me. Even after the settlement, I didn’t believe that Michael Jackson had committed the alleged acts.
In 2005, I was sucked into the media reports and thought that Michael was going to jail. Again, I did not believe the allegations, but the evidence being reported at the time was so overwhelming that it seemed a foregone conclusion. When he was found not guilty of all 14 counts of the criminal complaint on June 13, 2005, I completely understood why Michael chose to leave his home country.
However, Michael’s death made me want to delve into the evidence of all the allegations against him in order to determine what really transpired in 1993, and then again ten years later. With some apprehension, I plowed into the research. Once I started even the most basic search I was stunned by how little evidence there was against Michael—both in the allegations of Jordie Chandler and the court case of Gavin Arvizo. I was also confounded that so few credible journalists came to the aid of Michael Jackson, reporting anything other than salacious allegations.
Christy: My husband walked into my office in the afternoon of June 25, 2009, and said, “It’s a bad day to be a celebrity.” At my puzzled look, he said, “Farrah Fawcett died. And so did Michael Jackson.” I was stunned. I skipped right over the Farrah Fawcett news; while I certainly was sorry for what she’d endured, her illness was no secret, and in many ways I was grateful that her suffering was over. But Michael Jackson… that caught my attention. Like millions of others, I immediately became glued to the TV and the Internet, trying to discern fact from fiction. After Thriller, I had lost track of Michael Jackson over the years, not really paying attention to his music or to his life—although it was hard to miss the sensational stories the tabloids frequently ran on their covers every time he dared to venture out. But as I listened to the reports, like Lisa, I was struck by how judgmental and unkind so many people were. I asked my husband if he thought Michael Jackson was a pedophile; he didn’t believe so. I didn’t either, but I didn’t know why I didn’t believe so. Neither of us had followed the 2005 criminal trial in any depth, so I thought perhaps that was why we weren’t inclined to believe the worst. My curious nature got the best of me, and I donned my ‘investigator’ hat and went to work. With so much information available at my fingertips, it was pretty simple to dig deeper.
I began with that bastion of celebrity, Vanity Fair. When I began my research, I had great respect for Maureen Orth, a National Magazine Award-winning journalist and widow of Tim Russert, the famous host of NBC’s Meet the Press. I knew Ms. Orth had covered celebrities for VF, and after only a few keystrokes, I had copies of all of her articles on Michael Jackson. As I began to read, a sense of horror came over me. Sentence after sentence screamed, “bias.” I was appalled at the bias in the reporting, the evident lack of concern about concealing that bias, and at the poor writing and editing.
A Note About Our Sources
For those who take the time to plow into the formidable amount of material that exists on the allegations against Michael Jackson, the first thing you notice is the lack of evidence. It’s just not there, which we’ll point out in great detail in the following pages. What you’ll also notice is that almost no credible journalists came to his aid during this time.
Throughout this article, we’ve cited various books and publications written about Michael Jackson, including the book that Diane Dimond wrote. While most people agree that Diane Dimond is a tabloid journalist, meeting all the derogatory descriptions inherent in that title, we’ve included her book on Jackson as a reference. The reason? She claims to be the ‘expert’ on the allegations against Michael, saying that she’s spent years researching the topic. It’s interesting to note that we’ve used her extensive research and her book to disprove the allegations that she set out to prove. The irony does not escape us.
Lisa is an attorney, and she put her legal expertise to work here, poring through court transcripts and the recently released FBI files about Michael Jackson. She was able to cull relevant and frequently unreported evidence, and it’s included here. Dozens of books and articles about the allegations also served as source material, and it’s our hope that this article will give readers a well-rounded view of the many false accusations leveled against Michael, as well as the complete lack of evidence behind those allegations.
On the surface, it may seem reasonable that no credible journalists reported anything positive about this case; molesting a child is a heinous crime whose victim is more often than not silenced by the abusing adult. On the other hand, an accusation such as that is almost impossible to overcome; and in Hollywood—where image is the only thing—it’s poison. No one wants to be associated with even a hint of something so scandalous. Not surprisingly, the rich and famous, playing to type, turned their backs on Michael Jackson. Or, if they supported him they did so quietly, not in front of a camera or to a journalist. Even his self-proclaimed biographer, J. Randy Taraborrelli, who attended the trial and must have heard the evidence—or lack thereof—stated that the “testimony had been damning.” In actuality, nothing could have been further from the truth. And the jury happened to notice.
It is our hope that learning the truth will clear the name of one who was devastatingly wronged for doing nothing more than sharing his talent with the world. He wanted to bring love to people wherever he went, and rather than recognize that gift for what it was, the world in which he lived turned it into something dirty and base. Michael Jackson should be vindicated, and it’s tragic that it didn’t happen while he was alive to know of it. But his children are still alive, and their father’s legacy needs to move forward untainted by the false accusations that ultimately led to his demise.
So let’s start at the beginning….
Jordan Chandler (Jordie Chandler)
Michael met Jordie in the summer of 1992 when his car broke down near a Rent-A-Wreck in West Los Angeles, which was at the time owned by Jordie’s stepfather, David Schwartz. June Chandler, Jordie’s mother, testified at the 2005 trial that Jordie had been a fan of Michael Jackson, and that Jordie liked to dress like Michael—wearing a “sparkly jacket” and a single glove—and dance like Michael at parties. So when Michael arrived at the Rent-A-Wreck, David Schwartz was not only happy to help him, but he also asked Michael to wait for his wife to bring Jordie to meet him. Michael acquiesced, and he and Jordie and June met for the first time. June gave Michael their home phone number and suggested that Michael call Jordie. Michael first called the Chandler house one or two months after the initial meeting. At the time of the call, Michael was on a European tour promoting the Dangerous album; that leg of the tour went on hiatus on December 31, 1992.
In February 1993, June, Jordie, and his half-sister Lily, made their first visit to Neverland, with June driving the family there from Los Angeles. The three stayed in one of the guest cottages for two nights and enjoyed the rides and amusements at Neverland. The second trip to Neverland was made a week or two after the first. Jordie, Lily, and June later became regulars at Michael’s Neverland Ranch; this was particularly true when June and David separated.
In addition to trips to Neverland, Michael stayed at Mrs. Chandler’s home approximately 30 nights from the middle of April 1993 through the end of May 1993. The family had also been to Michael’s “hideout” apartment in Century City. She was always present with her son when Michael stayed in her home or when they were at the Century City apartment. The Chandlers also traveled with Michael; June testified to a two- or three-day trip to the Mirage in Las Vegas in March 1993, and she and her children also traveled to Disney World in Orlando and to New York with Michael in April 1993.
It was during the trip to Las Vegas that Michael and Jordie slept in the same bed for the first time. According to June Chandler:
A. I was told Jordan and Michael watched an Exorcist movie.
Q. All right. Did you ever object to Jordie sleeping in Michael’s room on that trip?
Q. And what did you say?
A. “Jordie, when you come home, go to your bed. Go to your own bed. Come to our bed, not to Michael’s bed.” He said, “Mom, I want to stay there.” And I was very upset about that.
Q. Now, this was before the approximately 30 nights that he stayed at your home –
Q. — in Santa Monica, right?
Q. And you did allow him to stay at your home in Santa Monica, right?
Jordie’s father (June’s ex-husband) Evan Chandler, was a practicing dentist and an aspiring screenwriter. Evan had re-married a woman named Monique, and the couple had a son named Nikki. In April of 1993, Evan did some checking up on Jordie’s new friend, Michael. According to Evan’s April 16, 1993, diary entry, Evan asked his patient Carrie Fisher to contact Dr. Arnold Klein to request information about Michael. According to the diary entry, Dr. Klein said that Michael was perfectly straight and that Evan had nothing to worry about. In May of 1993, Evan began to become friendly with Michael. He evidently liked being Michael’s friend and enjoyed the attendant limelight.
Evan Chandler’s claim to fame was that he co-wrote the movie Robin Hood: Men in Tights with Mel Brooks in 1992. The original concept and some of the imaginative input into the screenplay can be credited to Jordie Chandler, who was 11 years old at the time. Jordie’s input was confirmed by his mother, who suggested that it would have been nice had Evan given his son $5,000 for the work that he contributed to the script.
According to Evan Chandler’s diary dated “May 7 or 8,” 1993:
I went to the house to see Jordie, but they were in such a hurry we didn’t have time to talk. June showed me the $7,000 first-class tickets Michael had sent over [for the trip to Monaco]. I was happy for her—a man was finally treating her good. Jordie looked great and acted the same as always. I had no suspicions. As they drove away I remember thinking how great it would be if June divorced Dave and married Michael. She would finally have a great life with someone who treated her with respect.
On May 9, 1993, Michael and his entourage checked into the Winston Churchill Suite of the Hotel de Paris in Monaco. The group consisted of eight people: Michael; the Chandlers (June, Jordie, and Lily); Michael’s publicist, Bob Jones; and four bodyguards. On May 10, 1993, Michael had dinner with Prince Albert. On May 12, 1993, he attended the World Music Awards with the Chandlers. On May 13, 1993, the group traveled to Disneyland Paris. They returned to California on May 16, 1993.
On May 18, 1993, Michael received two awards for “Black or White” and “Remember the Time” at the 41st BMI Annual Pop Awards Dinner at the Regency Beverly Wiltshire Hotel in Los Angeles. At the time, “Black or White” and “Remember the Time” were the two most performed songs of the year. On May 19, 1993, Michael received the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award from the Guinness Book of Records at the Guinness Museum of World Records in Los Angeles.
Amidst his busy schedule, on May 22, 1993, to the astonishment of guests, Michael attended Nikki Chandler’s birthday party at the Chandler home. At the time, Evan said, [w]ho wouldn’t want his kid to be Michael Jackson’s pal?” Michael spent the next two nights at the Chandler home, sleeping on a cot in a room with both Nikki and Jordie. Michael stayed at Evan’s house between four and seven consecutive days.
However, it’s important to mention that it was prior to this May 22nd visit that Evan allegedly first questioned Michael about the nature of his relationship with Jordie. In early May 1993, Evan claimed that he asked Michael whether he was having sex with Jordie, which is an interesting way to phrase such a question, given the obvious disparity in age between Jordie and Michael. Despite his alleged suspicions, Evan not only permitted, but he also encouraged, Michael to spend nights at his home and in the same room with both sons Jordie and Nikki.
One has to wonder why Evan would have encouraged the friendship with Michael if he had truly been concerned about the relationship. In fact, Evan did more than encourage; he suggested that Michael build an addition to his house so that Michael could spend even more time with Jordie under the aegis of the Chandler home. Zoning restrictions apparently prevented such an addition, so Evan suggested that Michael purchase a larger home for the Chandlers so that he could stay there regularly. While the exact dates of the housing discussion aren’t known, presumably they occurred after Michael first stayed in Evan Chandler’s home. June confirmed that these statements were true.
By June 1993, Evan had already gone to attorney Barry Rothman and had begun to hatch a plot to extort money from Michael based upon a claim of sexual abuse of Jordie. What remained to be seen was whether June Chandler would be complicit in Evan’s plan.
At the end of June 1993, Jordie was going to graduate from the seventh grade. Originally he planned to attend a year-end dance with his peers. However, he abruptly announced that instead of attending the dance, he had chosen to make plans to spend the evening with Michael. At graduation in June 1993, beginning to lay the groundwork for his plan, Evan expressed his concerns about Jordie’s relationship with Michael. According to June Chandler’s attorney, Michael Freeman, “[s]he thought the whole thing was baloney.” In fact, she told Evan that she and the children had been invited to accompany Michael on his Dangerous tour and would be leaving on August 15, 1993. (Based on Evan’s earlier response to the trip the family took with Michael to Monaco—where he expressed happiness for their good fortune, according to his diary—June had no reason to fear that Evan would take issue with their plans.) But when June made Evan aware of the August 15 date, she inadvertently gave him a deadline by which to enact his plot. Accompanying Michael would mean taking the children out of school and having them taught by private tutors, which gave Evan the premise of saying that Michael was having a negative effect on his family. Evan was later recorded saying, “[Jackson] broke up the family. [Jordan] has been seduced by this guy’s power and money.”
That comment was made during a private telephone conversation with David Schwartz, Jordie’s stepfather, on July 8, 1993. When read in its entirety, this conversation is revealing for a number of reasons. One gets the impression that Evan Chandler felt slighted and ignored—and probably intimidated—by the relationship Michael had with his ex-wife and son. During the conversation, Evan seems to go from being frustrated with being ignored (evidently his phone calls to June and Michael had been unreturned); to feeling “put out” that “they” have been putting him through so much (he doesn’t elaborate on what exactly he’s been put through); to vindictive, saying that after the meeting he had scheduled for the next day between Michael, Jordie, June, Dave, and himself, if they didn’t respond they way he wanted them to, he was going to enact a plan to destroy everyone involved—except himself. At the time, David Schwartz was attempting to determine the reason for the meeting Evan was demanding that they all attend on July 9, 1993. The tape was released to the public on September 2, 1993.
Some of the highlights of the conversation include Evan saying:
I had a good communication with Michael, . . . [w]e were friends. I liked him and I respected him and everything else for what he is. There was no reason why he had to stop calling me. I sat in the room one day and talked to Michael and told him exactly what I want out of this whole relationship. What I want.
During her 2005 trial testimony, June Chandler admitted that she had told the DA in 1993 that Evan said the relationship with Michael was a wonderful means of Jordie not having to worry for the rest of his life. But in 2005, she declined to explain what Evan meant, claiming that she could only offer speculation about his comments.
In the same taped conversation, when asked how Chandler’s confrontation would affect his son, Chandler replied:
[t]hat’s irrelevant to me… It will be a massacre if I don’t get what I want. It’s going to be bigger than all us put together… This man [Jackson] is going to be humiliated beyond belief… He will not sell one more record.
If I go through with this, I win big-time. There’s no way I lose. I will get everything I want and they will be destroyed forever. June is gonna lose Jordy. She will have no right to see him again.”
After hearing the tape recording, Michael said, “I knew then and there that it was extortion. He said it right on the tape.” Michael then turned the matter over to his attorney, Bert Fields and Field’s investigator, Anthony Pellicano.
Pellicano has been referred to as the “private eye to the stars” In addition to Michael Jackson, his client roster included such names as Chris Rock, Tom Cruise, and Yoko Ono. He liked being known as a tough guy, and he played his role to the hilt. According to Bert Fields, “He came up with stuff that other people didn’t. He did that over and over again. He was just better.” In 2008, law enforcement officials discovered hundreds of hours of illegally wiretapped conversations that Pellicano taped out of a small, secure room he called “the Bat-cave.” In December of 2008, after being found guilty on 78 counts that included wiretapping and racketeering, Pellicano was sentenced to fifteen years in prison. But in 1993, when he was working on the Michael Jackson case, Pellicano was simply viewed as the best private investigator in Hollywood to have on your side. He was savvy, and he had a reputation for getting at the truth.
On July 9, 1993, instead of meeting with Evan Chandler, Dave Schwartz and June Chandler played the tape recording for Pellicano. Pellicano subsequently interviewed Jordie Chandler on July 10, 1993, asking specific questions about whether Michael Jackson had molested him. Pellicano has stated that Jordie repeatedly denied that any acts of molestation had occurred; in fact, Jordie denied that he had ever seen Michael naked. The investigator was satisfied with the interview. Based on his reputation, had Pellicano had reason to believe something untoward had occurred between Jordie and Michael, he would have taken steps to hide it. His nickname in Hollywood is the ‘sin eater.’ He did no such thing, but rather, became Michael’s ally in confronting the extortionist.
To give the reader an idea of the personalities involved in bringing these allegations against Michael Jackson, we need to include a bit of background about Barry Rothman, the attorney Evan Chandler hired. Much material is available on this man and his reputation, but Mary A. Fischer did an exceptional job of painting a vivid picture of Rothman in her 1994 GQ article, “Was Michael Jackson Framed?” Fischer gathered much of her information from Geraldine Hughes, Barry Rothman’s legal secretary during the time of the Chandler allegations. Here is just a portion of what Fischer reported:
Former employees say they sometimes had to beg for their paychecks. And sometimes the checks that they did get would bounce. He couldn’t keep legal secretaries. “He’d demean and humiliate them,” says one. Temporary workers fared the worst. “He would work them for two weeks,” adds the legal secretary, “then run them off by yelling at them and saying they were stupid. Then he’d tell the agency he was dissatisfied with the temp and wouldn’t pay.
Ms Fischer also reported Mr. Rothman’s brush with the ethics committee. She wrote:
The [California] state bar’s 1992 disciplining of Rothman grew out of a conflict-of-interest matter. A year earlier, a client, Muriel Metcalf, whom he’d been representing in child-support and custody proceedings, had kicked Rothman off a case; Metcalf later accused him of padding her bill. Four months after Metcalf fired him, Rothman, without notifying her, began representing the company of her estranged companion, Bob Brutzman.
The case is revealing for another reason: It shows that Rothman had some experience dealing with child-molestation allegations before the Jackson scandal. Metcalf, while Rothman was still representing her, had accused Brutzman of molesting their child (which Brutzman denied). Rothman’s knowledge of Metcalf’s charges didn’t prevent him from going to work for Brutzman’s company—a move for which he was disciplined.
Evan Chandler was recorded saying about his attorney:
“[t]here are other people involved that are waiting for my phone call that are in certain positions. I’ve paid them to do it. Everything’s going according to a certain plan that isn’t just mine. Once I make that phone call, this guy is going to destroy everybody in sight in any devious, nasty, cruel way that he can do it. And I’ve given him full authority to do that.”
I picked the nastiest son of a bitch I could find, all he wants to do is get this out in the public as fast as he can, as big as he can and humiliate as many people as he can. He’s nasty, he’s mean, he’s smart and he’s hungry for publicity.
Prior to July 15, 1993, Barry Rothman contacted psychiatrist Mathis Abrams, M.D. and described—in his own words and hypothetically—the relationship between Michael and Jordie. Note that Dr. Abrams did not examine Jordie or Michael and did not speak with Evan Chandler in rendering an opinion. Dr. Abrams did, however, state that if the hypothetical were real, he would be required to report the matter. But based solely upon the attorney’s description to Dr. Abrams, the psychiatrist produced a letter indicating that a “reasonable suspicion exists that sexual abuse may have occurred.”
Evan Implements His Plan
Shortly after learning of June’s plans to join Michael on the tour—and after having had the revealing telephone conversation with David Schwartz cited earlier—Evan asked June if he could keep Jordie for a few days. Even though June had been granted sole custody of Jordie years earlier, the couple had had an amicable visitation schedule up to this point. Evan took possession of Jordie on July 11, 1993, and Rothman made a professional promise to return Jordie a week later. This promise may help to explain why June would have allowed her son to join Evan, given Evan’s increasingly threatening behavior prior to his request. Not surprisingly, given both Mr. Rothman’s reputation and the obvious malicious intent that Evan had expressed in the telephone call, Evan refused to return Jordie after one week as agreed.
While it is unclear exactly when Evan Chandler made his initial demand for $20 million from Michael Jackson, it is implied in his phone conversation with David Schwartz that Evan was planning on making the demand as early as July 9, 1993. Specifically, during the conversation, Chandler said:
Let me put it to you this way: I have a set routine of words that I’m going to go in there that have been rehearsed and I’m going to say. Okay? Because I don’t want to say anything that could be used against me. So I know exactly what I can say. That’s why I’m bringing the tape recorder. I have some things on paper to show a few people — and that’s it. My whole part is going to take two or three minutes, and I’m going to turn around [tape irregularity], and that’s it. There’s not going to be anything said, other than what I’ve been told to say – and I’m going to turn around and leave, and they’re going to have a decision to make. And based on that
decision, I’ll decide whether or not we’re going to talk again or whether it’s going to go further. I have to make a phone call. As soon as I leave the house, I get on the telephone. I make a phone call. Say “Go” or I say, “Don’t go yet,” and that’s – the way it’s gonna to be. I’ve been told what to do, and I have to do it. I’m not — I happen to know what’s going to be going on, see? They don’t have to say anything to me. [Tape irregularity “you have refused to listen to me. Now you’re going to have to listen to me. This is my position. Give it a thought.” “Think it over.” I’m not saying anything bad about anybody, okay? I’ve got it all on paper. I’m going to hand out the paper so that I don’t inadvertently [tape irregularity], handing out the paper, “Michael, here’s your paper. June, here’s your paper.”
Rothman had previously warned Evan about the allegations: “[y]ou open your mouth and you blow it, just don’t come back to me.”
In attempting to explain his actions Evan stated:
All I can think about is, I only have one goal, and the goal is to get their attention – so that [tape irregularity] concerns are, and as long as they don’t want to talk to me, I can’t tell them what my concerns are, so I have to go step by step, each time escalating the attention-getting mechanism, and that’s all I regard him as, as an attention-getting mechanism. Unfortunately, after that, it’s totally out of [tape irregularity]. It’ll take on so much momentum of its own that it’s going to be out of all our control. It’s going to be monumentally huge, and I’m not going to have any way to stop it.
No one else is either at that point. . . . To go beyond tomorrow, that would mean I have done every possible thing in my individual power to tell them to sit down and talk to me; and if they still [tape irregularity], I got to escalate the attention-getting mechanism. He’s the next one. I can’t go to somebody nice [tape irregularity]. It doesn’t work with them. I already found that out. Get some niceness and just go f*ck yourself.
In an apparent attempt to present a fair and balanced approach to the evidence, Diane Dimond was constrained to admit that, before any allegations were made public, Evan’s diary recorded a demand of $20,000,000.
Geraldine Hughes speculates that the discussions between Rothman/Chandler and Pellicano/Jackson at this time focused upon the amount of time Michael was spending with Jordie. It’s feasible that Michael may have felt guilt that the time he spent with Jordie was causing a rift in the family. Financing a film would presumably allow Jordie and Evan to spend time together as they had on Robin Hood: Men in Tights.
By his own words, Evan intimated as much. In the taped conversation referenced earlier, Evan was recorded saying:
MR. CHANDLER: Let me put it to you this way, Dave. Nobody in this world was allowed to come between this family of June, me and Jordy.That was the hard [tape irregularity] be the opposite. That’s evil. That’s one reason why he’s evil. I spoke to him about it, Dave. I even told him that [tape irregularity] the family.
MR. SCHWARTZ: When did you talk to him?
MR. CHANDLER: About that?
MR. SCHWARTZ: Yeah.
MR. CHANDLER: Months ago. When I first met him I told him that.
MR. SCHWARTZ: Yeah.
MR. CHANDLER: That’s the law. That’s the first thing he knew. Nobody’s allowed to do that. Now there’s no family anymore.
Dave Schwartz continued to press Evan about his opinions and the following exchange took place: MR. SCHWARTZ: So why do you think he’s not nice? MR. CHANDLER: Why? Because he broke up the family, that’s why.
Getting to the heart of the matter, David Schwartz asked, “I mean, do you think that he’s f*cking him?” Evan responded, “I don’t know. I have no idea.”
As previously stated, Evan Chandler had been able to procure a report from Mathis Abrams on July 15 1993 through a single discussion between Dr. Abrams and Barry Rothman. However, Jordie had not confirmed that there was anything unusual about his friendship with Michael. That all changed on August 2, 1993.
Almost a year after the Chandlers made their allegations, on May 3, 1994, an investigative reporter from KCBS-TV, in L.A., reported that Chandler had used the drug sodium amytal on his son to pull Jordie’s tooth on August 2, 1993. The reporter stated that while under the drug’s influence, the boy first voiced allegations of molestation. Mark Torbiner was the dental anesthesiologist who assisted Evan Chandler with the procedure. Torbiner introduced Chandler to Rothman in 1991, when Rothman needed dental work. When asked whether he had used the drug on Jordie, he replied: “[i]f I used it, it was for dental purposes.” Evan Chandler has since confirmed that he used the drug, but claimed that it was used solely for dental purposes.
Again, Mary A. Fischer’s GQ article provides some valuable background about the drug:
‘It’s a psychiatric medication that cannot be relied on to produce fact,’ says Dr. Resnick, the Cleveland psychiatrist. ‘People are very suggestible under it. People will say things under sodium Amytal that are blatantly untrue.’ Sodium Amytal is a barbiturate, an invasive drug that puts people in a hypnotic state when it’s injected intravenously.
Primarily administered for the treatment of amnesia, it first came into use during World War II, on soldiers traumatized—some into catatonic states—by the horrors of war. Scientific studies done in 1952 debunked the drug as a truth serum and instead demonstrated its risks: False memories can be easily implanted in those under its influence. ‘It is quite possible to implant an idea through the mere asking of a question,’ says Resnick. But its effects are apparently even more insidious: ‘The idea can become their memory, and studies have shown that even when you tell them the truth, they will swear on a stack of Bibles that it happened,’ says Resnick.
In an example of sodium amytal use gone awry, in 1990, 19-year-old Holly Ramona sought therapy for depression and bulimia. In the course of psychiatric treatment using sodium amytal, she recovered memories of being sexually abused by her father, a top executive at Robert Mondavi Winery, from age 5 to 16. Her psychiatrist, Dr. Richard Rose, wrote in his notes that the sodium amytal helped Holly “remember specific details of sexual molestation.”
Gary Ramona was charged with repeated rape and sexual abuse of his daughter—including anal intercourse and forced copulation with the family dog. In 1991, he filed his own lawsuit against his daughter’s therapists for planting false memories in his daughter’s mind. In the ensuing trial, Martin Orne, a University of Pennsylvania psychiatrist who pioneered research of hypnosis and sodium amytal, wrote in a court brief that: the drug is ‘not useful in ascertaining ‘truth’ . . . The patient becomes sensitive and receptive to suggestions due to the context and to the comments of the interviewers.’ Dr. Lenore Terr, a prominent defender of recovered memories and a chief witness for the defense, admitted under questioning that at least one of Holly’s ‘flashbacks’—of being forced to perform oral sex on the family dog—was dubious.
Mr. Ramona’s civil suit was successful. Criminal charges were withdrawn.
During a later interview with psychiatrist Richard Gardner, Jordie Chandler recalled the first time that he told his father about the alleged sexual abuse. His story corroborates the use of sodium amytal by his father. “[My father] had to pull my tooth out one time, like, while I was there. And I don’t like pain, so I said could you put me to sleep? And he said sure. So his friend put me to sleep; he’s an anesthesiologist. And um, when I woke up my tooth was out, and I was all right—a little out of it but conscious. And my Dad said—and his friend was gone, it was just him and me—and my dad said, ‘I just want you to let me know, did anything happen between you and Michael?’ And I said ‘Yes,’ and he gave me a big hug and that was it.”
Evan’s Negotiations Begin
On August 4, 1993, Evan Chandler and his son met with Jackson and Pellicano in a suite at the Westwood Marquis Hotel. In greeting Michael, Chandler gave the singer an affectionate hug, an odd gesture, given that only two days before, Evan had extracted not only Jordie’s tooth, but also a claim that Jordie had been molested by Michael Jackson. Evan then reached into his pocket, pulled out Abrams’s letter (written back in July, based on Rothman’s description of a hypothetical relationship between Michael and Jordie), and began reading passages from it. The meeting lasted less than five minutes and ended with Evan threatening that he would ruin Michael.
According to Anthony Pellicano, it was at this time that Evan voiced his demand for $20 million. Mr. Chandler wanted Michael to set him up as a screenwriter or would accuse him of molestation. The $20 million demand would finance four movies with $5 million for each movie. Such an arrangement would have made Michael Jackson and Evan Chandler business partners. Again, an odd proposition if Jordie had been molested.
Critics have suggested that given Pellicano’s reputation, it was odd that he did not record this conversation. However, the more relevant question here is why, if he was pursuing claims of child molestation, did Evan Chandler’s counsel or the police not attend the meeting? And of course, why would he have hugged his son’s alleged molester? Pellicano later remarked, “[i]f I believed somebody molested my kid and I got that close to him, I’d be on death row right now.”
After Michael’s refusal of Evan’s demand, on August 5, 1993, Evan wrote a retroactive letter to Barry Rothman justifying the pre-suit demand for a financial settlement rather than a trial and “outlining his intention if Michael decided not to pay the $20 million” demand. In the letter, Evan wrote, “I believed that Michael was a kind, sensitive, compassionate person who made a mistake in judgment born out of an honest love for Jordie.” He claimed that he subsequently realized that he was wrong. Interesting that he would place this in a note to his attorney after his personal negotiations failed. Regarding the settlement negotiation attended by Michael, Jordie, Evan, and Anthony Pellicano, Evan wrote that if there was a criminal trial and Jordie were called as a witness, he would eagerly testify.
On August 7, 1993, Evan Chandler brought an action in the family Court seeking a modification of the custody agreement. Evan wanted full custody of Jordie with June Chandler limited to visitation. Further, Evan wanted Michael Jackson’s access to Jordie to be limited. Anthony Pellicano later said that Evan Chandler and Barry Rothman threatened to assert the child molestation claims in the custody action. While access to records in family proceedings is limited to the parties or their attorneys, had such criminal conduct been alleged in the custody matter, the presiding judge would have been forced to report the matter to authorities.
On August 12, 1993, Evan Chandler told June Chandler about his discussions with Jordie and the allegations of molestation. June called Evan that evening to say that she believed Evan had “coerced” Jordie into making these allegations.
In 1992, using U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data on reports of abuse, the Center For Child Abuse/Neglect, National Center For Child Abuse and Neglect determined that of more than 500,000 reported cases, only 128,000 were substantiated. The remaining were unsubstantiated or false. The rate of false claims was exponentially higher in divided families where the child was exposed to influence by a parent in a position of authority. The Los Angeles Times reported, “[i]n 1992, the Orange County Child Abuse Registry received 9,191 suspected cases of child sexual abuse. It is estimated that as many as one-third of these cases arise out of child custody disputes. When the registry receives these types of allegations, it proceeds cautiously, knowing full well that even if the allegation were untrue, the person’s reputation could be irreparably damaged and the life of the child and his or her family could be significantly disrupted.” According to Anthony Pellicano and as detailed in Diane Dimond’s book, the counter-offer on the $20 million demand that Rothman and Chandler made of Michael Jackson was three movies to be financed by Fox Entertainment. One would wonder about the nature of the claims at this time. That is, why would Michael make an offer involving a reputable company like Fox Entertainment if Evan had already made a threat involving child molestation?
On August 13, 1993, Pellicano met with Barry Rothman for another attempt at settlement. After the meeting, Pellicano stormed out and was overhead to say, “[n]o way” . . . “that’s extortion.” However, negotiations continued—with Michael offering three film scripts at $350,000 each—with a promise that major studios would review them. The next day, Barry Rothman made a counter-demand seeking $15 million for a three-movie deal. Through investigator Anthony Pellicano, Michael counter-offered a one-movie deal with financing of $350,000. Anthony Pellicano did record an August 17, 1993 conversation with Barry Rothman. However, neither man mentioned molestation or extortion.
In that discussion, Pellicano says:
Pellicano: If I were his lawyer right now in your position I would say here’s what you should do, ‘look, you should take this deal, get the money, put together a dynamite screenplay, show them that you can do it’ and then say look, ‘if I deliver and this thing is going to make money, I want another deal.’
Rothman: Well that’s a put, I mean it’s an option. . . . But it’s not a guarantee, it’s an option.
It is unknown whether the conversations before the actual August 4, 1993 demand involved any claim of molestation. Rather, as suggested earlier, it may have been that Evan blamed Michael for the breaking up of his family, something Michael may have felt warranted an opportunity for father and son to share time together by co-writing another screenplay. According to Geraldine Hughes, the counteroffer was based upon such concerns and expressly sought to resolve the custody issues and allow Evan Chandler time with his son. Evan Chandler’s comments during the July 7, 1993 telephone conversation certainly imply that he was concerned about the breaking up of his family and less concerned about Jordie. In either case, the initial discussions were clearly not for compensatory damages for causing personal injuries to Jordie Chandler (in other words, for molesting him), but rather for the financing of future screenplays to be authored by Evan and presumably Jordie Chandler. That certainly changed on August 4, 1993, when Evan Chandler disclosed the Mathis Abrams letter.
Since Evan continued his refusal to return Jordie to his mother—as he had agreed to do a month earlier—June Chandler, through her attorney Michael Freeman, brought a motion to have the child returned to her. The motion was done by an emergency application, which is an order to show cause and required an appearance before the Court on August 17, 1993. When a motion is made by this method, the court will typically require the opposing party to demonstrate why an order should not be issued granting the relief sought by the moving party; in this case, Evan Chandler would need to demonstrate why Jordie shouldn’t be returned to his legal home with his mother.
Both Geraldine Hughes and Diane Dimond described the motion as a surprise, which “stunned” Evan and threw a wrench into the works of Rothman.
In his opposing papers, Evan did not claim that there was any child sexual abuse, a fact that would certainly have demonstrated good cause for not returning Jordie. Therefore, the Court ordered that Evan return Jordie to his mother by the evening of August 17, 1993, and refused Evan’s request that June be prevented from allowing Jordie to spend time with Michael Jackson.
Evan then pulled the trigger and implemented the plan he alluded to.
On August 17, 1993, instead of returning Jordie to his mother, Evan took his son to psychiatrist Mathis Abrams where Evan (not Jordie) is said to have re-counted acts of molestation that allegedly occurred to his son at the hands of Michael Jackson. It’s important to remember that these allegations were not placed in the court records in opposition to June Chandler’s motion for the return of her son. Upon hearing the claims, the psychiatrist reported the allegations to the Department of Children and Family Services (“DCFS”), which he was required by law to do. The DCFS reported the claim to police who began an investigation.
The Media Gets the Story
Since events reported to the DCFS may be criminal in nature, the two agencies have a close working relationship; the police are at the disposal of the DCFS. Within days of the interview, the DFCS reports were leaked to tabloid reporter, Diane Dimond of Hard Copy. In 1993, Hard Copy was considered, “one of the most aggressively shoddy and dishonest programs on the air.” At the time, Ms. Dimond stated, “[i]t was either going to be a superstar being falsely accused or it was going to be a superstar perhaps guilty of one of the most heinous crimes we know. So either way I couldn’t lose.”
After the 1993 leak, a high-profile unit was created to ensure confidentiality for high-profile persons such as celebrities and politicians.
On August 23-24, 1993, Los Angeles police conducted a search of Neverland ranch and Michael’s Century City condominium. Local news affiliate, K-NBC ran the story noting only that Neverland had been searched. On August 24, 1993, Anthony Pellicano stepped forward to release the details and publicly announce that the complaint arose from an extortion attempt gone awry. According to Barry Rothman’s legal secretary’s August 24, 1993 diary entry, Geraldine Hughes overheard Evan Chandler say, “I almost had a $20 million deal.”
During the search, the sheriffs seized two photographic essay books. The first, called The Boy: A Photographic Essay, was an art book depicting photos taken in 1963 during the shooting of the movie Lord of the Flies. In the book, Michael inscribed, “[l]ook at the true spirit and happiness on the faces of these boys. This is the spirit of boyhood, the childhood I never had. This is the life I want for my children. MJ.” A second book, Boys Will Be Boys, contained the inscription: “To Michael: From your fan, Rhonda. Love XXXOOO ♥ Rhonda – 1983, Chicago.” There was no evidence that Michael had ever opened this book.
It is significant to mention that the mere possession of child pornography is a federal crime. Many states also have criminal statutes for the possession and distribution of child pornography. If the books had been pornographic in nature or substance, prosecution would have been inevitable.
The police also seized videotapes. However, as early as August 26, 1993, the Los Angeles Times was reporting that the videotapes did not demonstrate criminality.
On August 25, 1993, young friends such as Wade Robson were coming to the aid of Michael. Similarly, Michael’s representatives reported the extortion attempts by the accuser’s father. (It’s interesting to note that major media outlets didn’t cover the reports of the people defending Michael Jackson.) Also on August 26, 1993, Geraldine Hughes wrote in her diary that she overheard Evan Chandler state, “[i]t’s my ass that’s on the line and in danger of going to prison.”
At some point, June decided to join Evan Chandler’s efforts against Michael. Michael had ceased speaking to June due to his concerns about Evan’s behavior. Diane Dimond suggests that the change of heart may have been the result of fear that Evan could target her as well if she did not agree with him.
Once the DCFS became involved, Jordie’s parents retained attorney Gloria Allred to protect his interests. On September 3, 1993, she stated that Jordie “is ready. He is willing. He is able to testify. He is looking forward to his day in court.” However, on September 10, 1993, she “suddenly left the case without explanation. Some pundits took that to mean Allred saw no case.” June Chandler recalled that Ms. Allred was the attorney of record for “two seconds.”
Gloria Allred “always was a publicity-seeker, but she also was tough and passionate and smart.” Smart is the operative word here. Allred is not known for walking away from a case that shows real potential; with that in mind, it’s interesting that she chose to walk away from the Jordie Chandler case in 1993.
On September 7, 1993, the LA Police Department contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for its assistance in their investigation of Michael Jackson. Pursuant to a request under the Freedom of Information Act, the FBI released its files to the public on December 22, 2009. The FBI files consist of fifty-six (56) pages of materials reflecting their involvement from September 16, 1993 to August 8, 1994, nine (9) pages from September 2, 1993 to October 22, 1993 and eight (8) pages from October 30, 1995 through January 24, 1997. A thorough review of the FBI file revealed that other than the accuser in 1993 and 2005, both of which shared the same lawyer and psychiatrist, none of the other claims were taken seriously.
On September 14, 1993, attorney Larry Feldman commenced a lawsuit on behalf of Jordan Chandler through his guardian ad litem. The Complaint alleged that Michael Jackson had committed sexual battery upon Jordan Chandler within and without the State of California. The Complaint also made claims against John Does 1-100. [Generally, you may bring a claim against a “John Doe” when you know that someone should be named in a lawsuit, but you don’t have information to identify that person by name. It is unclear to whom the John Does referred in this suit.]
The Complaint sought relief on seven separate causes of action: Sexual Battery, Battery, Seduction, Willful Misconduct, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Fraud and Negligence. In response, Michael’s attorneys asserted a counterclaim of extortion against Evan Chandler. After the civil lawsuit was commenced, the District Attorney opened its own criminal file. Enter Tom Sneddon.
TO BE CONTINUED….