Sep 18 2010

First Impressions from ‘Frozen in Time’

Category: Justice,MJ Quotes,Photos,Quotes About MJSeven @ 8:22 am

Frozen In Time

Frozen In Time - Photograph ©2010 Samantha deGosson

I’ve come upon the first reports of the ‘Frozen in Time‘ continuing education seminar held on September 15th, 2010 in LA. I’ll present them here and update this post if/as I learn more.

Some attendees stated there will be no DVDs of the session as it didn’t appear to have been taped in any manner.  There has been much confusion about that, even from LACBA itself, but DVD or none, I’m just SO happy that we had some eyes and ears there to report what was said and done at the seminar – and certainly not least, Tom Mesereau as well to defend against the idiocy and misinformation.

Thanks to everyone who went, and who has reported back!

The first and most detailed report is shared here with permission from Samantha DeGosson who originally wrote it on http://xltweet.com/show/?id=565259585C . Note that I did not write the following synposis. Samantha wrote it herself and it belongs to her. I also did not ‘take’ it from her without permission. She generously allowed me to share it here when I asked, and I will remove it at her request!

The panel of speakers included all who were involved in the 1993 and 2005 cases, plus a moderator.

Moderator: Seth M. Hufstedler

Judge Rodney S. Melville: Judge in the 2005 trial

Carl E. Douglas (under Johnny Cochran at the time): Defense attorney during the 1993 case and who suggested Tom Mesereau as attorney for 2005 trial after J. Cochran got sick and moved to NYC.

Larry R. Feldman: Attorney for the civil case lawsuit case of 1993 but also the attorney the Arvizo family contacted prior to the 2005 trial.

Thomas A. Mesereau, Jr.: Defense attorney who represented Michael Jackson during the 2005 trial.

Ronald Zonen: Prosecution attorney and Chief Deputy District attorney during the 2005 trial.

What an amazing panel!  All first-hand legal representation that all were involved in the 1993 civil case and the criminal 2005 trial!

The event, which was closed to the public and consisted of 98% lawyers and judges and Country Bar Association members was at first intimidating. A posh conference room on the 27th floor of a building in Downtown L.A. With strict security rules where you could ride the elevators alone unless pre- locked to the 27th floor and no cell-phones or cameras seemed promising of something interesting. Was it as big as I expected it to be? Yes and no.

Sitting down in a full room filled with high-profile attorneys and judges felt at first intimidating. No-one spoke, a full room and no sound just sitting there reviewing the same documents I was given.

5.30pm and we were called to another room for dinner, which we had to take and bring back to our seats in the original conference room. As we all ate in the same scenario: total silence, a few whispers here and there. Very unsettling and hard to digest in my opinion. At 6pm, the panel comes in and sits down. It was hard not to throw up my food at that point being face-to-face with some of the very people who tried SO hard to bring Michael down, but who ultimately couldn’t, because as Michael said “Lies run sprints. Truth runs marathons.”  Not so coincidental that I would mention that quote because the live slide-show picture prior to the conference and during the first 20 minutes of it was a picture of the huge banner outside the Santa Maria courthouse during the 2005 trial. The banner was that exact same Michael quote.

Turns out there will be no DVD of the event. I t wasn’t recorded as far as I understand and quite frankly, there probably wouldn’t be any great interest or revelation to be gotten out of one. What I got to experience out of the almost 4 hours of discussion was frustrating, annoying, painful and exhilarating. I won’t go into great detail but I will give you a very brief summary of every person on the panel and what their claims, opinions and renderings were for either the 1993 civil case and/or the 2005 criminal case. Bear in mind I am not going into great detail but making just very short summary. In fact, I was quite surprised at how little new information was given in this conference apart from more personal accounts of how the cases were brought forward and dealt with. There were no amazing legal terms for a room filled only attorneys and judges.

First up to the podium was moderator Seth M. Hufstedler. This person is in charge of being the “host” of the event. That person presents the case, the panel and announces the next topic or speaker. I honestly don’t remember who this person is in the field of law, but I remember him being a retired attorney/judge who is well known in that field.

The first speaker called was Judge Rodney S. Melville. The judge in the 2005 trial. My first personal thought was of how bad of a speaker he was for a judge. He read his notes and it was obvious he wasn’t a man who could discuss anything naturally unless he read it and sounded like a middle-school student reciting an essay. He only spoke of how the media made the 2005 trial responsible for strict courthouse rules and how little the actual court room was and that their expansion budget was only $10 000 dollars and that they bought $46 seats on E-bay to add to the room for more jury seats and what a great saving they made. Everyone in the room thought it was hilarious. Not me. What came next shocked me the most! Remember the banner slide picture I told you about? Melville thought it would validate his high-security and courthouse rules by showing what “freaks” were out there with the media. He showed pictures of the most condescending kind on the screens in the conference room which everyone laughed at. A Jesus look- alike pouring wine in coke cans. A clown with an MJ puppet, religious groups with hateful banners, and a woman selling veggie burgers and I’ll skip the rest. As this was going on I was cringing and wondering what kind of a well-recognized and honored judge would steep so low as to not include the other side of the picture by showing well-behaved supporters/fans from all over the world, gathered together in harmony and dignity and pain.

Next up came Larry Feldman, attorney for the prosecution in the 1993 case and the attorney the Arvizos contacted before any other authority (such as police) because they already knew Feldman settled with the Chandlers in 1993. This is probably the most disgusting display of ego and arrogance in the entire evening. He first talked about himself for a few minutes and was very clear to everyone that the Arvizos came to HIM in 2003 before going to anyone else, which would include the police, the Children’s Services or the D.A. Why he would even gloat about that is quite ironic but I got it right away, he felt important about HIM being the first one contacted considering his involvement in a 20 million civil law-suit in 1993. What he may have forgotten is that such a claim based on ego just reinforces the reason they went to him in the first place: Money, not Justice! But egos don’t get that. Feldman was saying that the 1993 case was settled because of the pro-Michael Jackson opinion in the media at the time, and that the media was talking too much about the case publicly and that thereby the defense had too much advantage and ammunition though public opinion and MJ celebrity friends. Next was Feldman presenting poor Jordan Chandler as a shy and exposed teen-ager. Those “reasons” put together is what led them to settle in a civil case, according to him. However, Feldman then blamed the D.A. for not going through with a criminal suit because the civil case has been too tiring and exposing at the beginning. Point and blame because you couldn’t get any criminal evidence, Feldman. Good one. Several times during the evening Feldman revealed himself as even more self-centered than at the beginning , taking the microphone to not answer the actual questions but rather to talk about himself and rambling on and on to the point where people were starting to look at each other and smiling. That especially happened at the end once Tom Mesereau was the final speaker and shut them all up one after one. Egos were hurt, and Feldman just sat back picking his teeth. He just had to try to comment on something, and even lost track of himself after 20 minutes. That’s EGO for you.

Next up was Carl Douglas, defense attorney during the 1993 case. Very confusing character! A little off the wall during breaks. He kept going back and forth between camps during panel discussions too. A self proclaimed friend of Larry Feldman even though they fought against each other, but had Johnny Cochran as a mutual friend. Douglas agreed with Feldman about the Tabloid Journalism of the time when the 1993 case erupted. Even given and the magnitude of the Michael Jackson case at that time, there was no Internet (or very limited), no blogs, and no real-time media. However, he was quick to denounce Feldman for trying to get a RIDICULOUS settlement out of Michael Jackson in the civil case suit and remembers Feldman saying behind closed doors “Let’s not figure out the worth of the case but Michael Jackson’s worth”!

Next up was Ronald Zonen, the prosecution attorney and Chief Deputy District attorney during the 2005 trial. This is where it gets ugly and after talking to Thomas Mesereau after the conference it made sense why Mesereau was angry and laid it out the way it was when his turn came up. Zonen spent the first 5 minutes out of his approximate 10 minutes talking about Gavin and what a poor victim he was and what wonderful 20 year-old man he was today. He began describing Gavin as a child soldier fighting a stage 4 cancer at the age of 10 and that the real problem in the 2005 trial was his mother. Zonen went on to say that Gavin’s mother, Janet, was totally unbalanced, unpredictable and a lose canon and the biggest problem for the prosecution and that the defense used that to their advantage. Zonen then claimed that the only reason Michael Jackson invited the Arvizos to Neverland during the Martin Bashir documentary was to take credit for Gavin’s cancer remission. According to Zonen, Michael’s “handlers” then re-invited the Arvizo family back to Neverland after the disaster effect of the documentary so that they could be “controlled” and sent to Brazil with one-way tickets and basically “disappear”. After portraying Michael as a stereotype child molester and Mafioso with “handlers” trying to get rid of a whole family, he went on to talk about how Gavin Arvizo lives his life today and what an amazing 20 year-old man he is. He gave a lot of personal information about Gavin and where he is and what he is doing. I choose NOT to disclose that information for safety reasons but what I can tell you is that this liar and immoral person now claims to be religious, which is ironic and a travesty considering he very well knows what he has done to an innocent man and the hell it put him though. But like Jordan Chandler, Gavin has walked away and chosen to change his identity and never be heard of again. How easy and cowardly when Michael couldn’t escape the lies and hurt they caused him, the most famous person on Earth. But Michael came back after all this humiliation and aggravation and pain and raised 3 beautiful children proud and strong until other vultures and liars finally took him out.

Fortunately the last speaker to take the podium was Tom Mesereau. Although there were some Q&As from the audience at the end, they really could have and should have been ignored because they gave some speakers an opportunity to avoid directly answering the actual questions asked; but rather to respond to Tom Mesereau’s amazing speech and conclusions which they couldn’t take, instead.

Tom Mesereau came to the podium obviously upset. He had set there for 2 hours not having the opportunity to say a word while he heard the prosecution attorneys in the 1993 and 2005 case and the judge for the 2005 case speak. Several times during the evening Larry Feldman tried hard to whisper to him and he would not even turn his head towards him. He waited his turn patiently.

Now here is the interesting part:

When I spoke to him AFTER the conference/event, Tom Mesereau said “I can’t believe what Zonen did. He wasn’t objective and that’s why I responded the way I did.

Tom Mesereau began his speech by saying he was contacted by Randy Jackson who was very clear to explain to him how the media had always been out to get his brother, which was “big business” for the media and also for anyone trying to make money off of him. Talking about the 2005 trial Meserau said he had never seen so many witnesses crumble so fast under examination and that the amount of fake witnesses was a circus. He went on to say that despite all that was said Michael was the nicest client he ever had and that he never got in the way.

He said that Michael was not ever capable of master-minding an Arvizo family “disappearance” to Brazil or capable of ever hurting a child. He said that the Bashir documentary was exactly what the rebuttal video was about, exposing a journalist who came in to deceive and to tell a lopsided story, while purposely ignoring the rest. (The Bashir documentary and the rebuttal were both shown in court.)

Mesereau went on to say that the problem in Michael’s life was the people around him who were getting in the way; people and employees who gave Michael Jackson wrong information and kept him scared and suspicious so that they could stay in his life and make a job out of it. What he exactly meant I don’t know, but if you look at what happened to Michael during the last 8 months of his life and which I witnsessed, it sure makes sense!

Tom added that when Bashir sat under oath to answer questions, Bashir chose to not answer under his journalism confidentiality rights , despite the rebuttal that had been shown, so Mesereau chose to play along with this by asking every new question by saying “ Is it true that….”, thus displaying the obvious facts, with Bashir always declining to answer but which provided essential information to the jury. Mesereau ended up by saying that his cross-examinations were very lengthy in order to subject the accusers to so many facts that they could no longer stand their own lies.

This was the end of the individual panel talk but there were two more segments which revolved around Jury Selection and Q&As. I’ll make the rest brief.

First the question of Jury Selection:

When the moderator asked about who wanted to answer the question Zonen was fast to raise his hand. He began by saying it was the fastest selection ever made that he knew of, a day and a half. He went on to say it was a bad choice because Judge Melville was quick to dismiss and relieve any potential juror who would suffer financially from a lengthy trial. According to Zonen all that was left were either unemployed or retired jurors. That statement alone made it clear he was very judgmental about the jurors’ social and academic statuses. Mesereau was asked to answer the same question he made it clear: No matter what the Jury selection was, all 13 jurors came back with the same innocent verdict on all counts. He was also quick to rectify Zonen’s claim about the social and academic statuses of some of the jurors. One was an engineer, one a math teacher, one a retired school principal and so on. Furthermore, none resembled Michael Jackson’s peers, nor any African American or celebrity. Tom Mesereau once again shut the rest of the panel swiftly.

Next and last was the Q&A segment:

The audience got to submit questions to the moderator, which would be the last segment of the evening. I know for a fact very sensitive questions were submitted asking the panel if they ever regarded Michael Jackson as a person rather than a defendant and money machine. None of those questions were chosen by the moderator. However, two questions were chosen. The first one was what did they all think of the Pajamas incident which erupted in laughter from the audience.

I cringed and felt like screaming. Why? Because I knew the background of the story. I was inside the Santa Maria court room that day in 2005. I saw Melville give Mesereau 60 minutes for Michael to show up or all bail would be cancelled and Michael would go directly to jail if he didn’t arrive in that time span. We were all sent out to wait for Michael to show up until his fleet drove up. Once seated we were all terrified that Melville would have Michael hand-cuffed because the 60 minute limit was already up. Instead, 2 minutes before he walked in we could hear commotion and cheering outside. We knew he had arrived. Michael walked in, in pajama bottoms, a white v-neck t-shirt and a jacket. No makeup. As he made his way up the court room he still tried to acknowledge his fans by giving a very weak wave left and right. How he managed to do that is beyond is beyond me, but he did. Once Michael was sitting down facing Gavin he stayed composed and dignified. I saw Michael shaking his head several times while hearing Gavin’s account of the event and reaching out for tissues and wiping his face. During breaks Michael didn’t take bathroom breaks, instead I watched him hide behind a far right pillar talking to Meseareau and what too seemed to be crying, feeling obviously upset and in physical pain from the way he was walking.

I honestly forget who got to address that issue first but someone on the panel claimed they didn’t notice anything different that day and thought that Michael’s outfit that day was one of his “more usual costumes” which once again resulted in the audience’s laughter. When the moderator asked who else might want to address that question, Tom Mesereau chose to answer. Mesereau gave a very clear explanation of it. He had heard Michael had been injured that morning and fell and went straight to a hospital. Mesereau called Michael once the 60 minute dead-line was given and told Michael he had to show up immediately. He told Michael not to bother going back home to get clothes and come as he was from the hospital. There was NO time to waste. This is the story of the pajama incident which the media ran with and humiliated him with. I was there, I am witness and I can verify all that Tom Mesereau claims about that incident.

This is more or less where it ended. I have skipped some details and comments and conversations but kept most of it to share with you, since there will be no DVD.

The above was written in its entirety by Samantha de Gosson and can also be seen here: http://xltweet.com/show/?id=565259585C

SECOND, Lauren writes:

There were a few things that I personally found offensive in the conference but I don’t see the need to discuss them here on your site. Nothing critical, just my own reactions to certain statements and the judge’s slide show in the beginning that I found offensive–pictures of the crowds outside the courtroom. But, again, it’s just my impressions and feelings about it because I am so protective and defensive of Michael. Apparently, there is to be a DVD in 7-10 days. Anyone can call the number listed on the conference announcement and order through them.

Don’t know prices yet or exactly when it will come out. Also don’t know if there are pre-orders.

In short, the conference was not a trial. There was no overt bashing of Michael. Alot of what was said was pertinent to the legal folks there–including discussion about gag orders, handling the crowds and media, attorney discussions and agreements. Each of the four attorneys spoke. The two prosecutors gave a skeleton outline of their evidence, info about the accusors and their families, etc. Zonen obviously feels the same as he did in 05. Both of them spoke about the accusors as victims and about how they were affected. Carl Douglas is someone I was not that familiar with. I liked him. However Mesereau was the strongest, I felt, and, like he always is, very, very forceful in his defense of Michael. He spoke about his strategies and reasons for why he did certain things. Any impressions I had are my own and it’s probably worthwhile to get this DVD when it is available and see and hear for yourselves what went on. Again, not a trial. For those who know these cases very well, there was alot missing due to time constraints.

Worthwhile, yes. Disturbing, yes also. Love Mesereau, ah-huh.

THIRD, Christy says:

I was also at the panel discussion, along with Lisa (we’re partnering on a book about the allegations and trial). Lisa is an attorney, and I’m a writer. I was able to meet again with Tom Mesereau today to gather his impression of the event; he said that he had hoped that it would be a more strategic discussion, rather than an opportunity for Zonen to retry his case. After Zonen essentially made an opening statement (rather than discussing strategy or something more relevant to the mostly attorney audience), Mr. Mesereau said of course he couldn’t let that stand. So he didn’t. He did a masterful and intelligent job of cutting through the crap, which in my opinion, was in abundance. We both agreed that Zonen is bitter about having lost the trial, and that he seems unable to let it go. When Mr. Mesereau asked me what I thought of the seminar, I said it’s sort of like what they say about sausage: you don’t really want to know how it’s made. I was disheartened to notice the levity with which some of the attorneys (including Carl Douglas) spoke of such things as the settlement, but overall I was glad I went, and I was thrilled to be able to spend some time with Tom Mesereau. I attended his presentation at USC Law School, and was moved and inspired by the passion he has for the law, and more importantly, for people.

Interestingly, when he took Michael’s case, he had no idea if Michael was innocent. He said that many of his closest friends advised him against taking the case, saying it wasn’t winnable and that he would be the attorney forever known as the one who sent MJ to jail to die. He said he thought about it, then realized that he wasn’t one to walk away from a tough case, that this is his calling. The rest is history.

And finally, Lisa said:

This may surprise a lot of people, but the speaker I was most offended by was Carl Douglas, one of Michael’s civil attorneys from the 1993 case. I don’t expect that a leopard will change its spots–so the garbage and ignorance that emanated from Ron Zonen and Larry Feldman was unsurprising. Carl Douglas worked with Johnnie Cochran’s and claimed to be Michael’s friend. I found Mr. Douglas to be no different than many of the scavengers who claimed that they too were friends of Michael.

He disclosed to the audience that Larry Feldman had previously represented Johnnie Cochran in a number of personal matters before 1993. So the two were friends. When they handled the Michael Jackson case, they handled it “like two plaintiff’s attorneys. In other words, they were both working in Jordie/Evan Chandler’s interest. He did not say who was representing Michael’s interest.

Tom Mesereau true to form, said that Michael settled the 1993 allegations based on bad advice. Mr. Douglas then started whispering with his buddy, Larry Feldman, and said that during settlement negotiations, the body search was the 800 pound gorilla in the room. At that point, due to his absolute ignorance of the fact that the body search revealed nothing because the description did not match, he became the 800 pound ignorant gorilla.

He said something privately to Christy and I that I won’t repeat because I think that he would deny it and perhaps sue me for damaging his reputation. Needless to say, it should damage his reputation.

Christy was offended by the cavalier attitude with which the attorneys joked around. It was clear that they did not care about the reputation of Michael Jackson or the repercussions of their actions. Indeed, Carl joked about the big car that he was able to buy after working on the Michael Jackson case. I would not be surprised if some of Carl Douglas’ comments are edited from the final version of the seminar.

39 Responses to “First Impressions from ‘Frozen in Time’”

  1. friend says:

    It has been reported that Ron Zonen said that the 2005 case was a shakedown.

    Can anybody else attest to hearing him say that?

  2. Brenda says:

    As usual it sounds like Tom Mesereau is the only voice of reason. I found this all very disturbing and how much the people involved in this case didn’t care anything about justice or Michael.Some of the comments that they made were horrible. Thank You Samantha for writing this up, and Seven for sharing it. It is really scary to think about how things REALLY go on behind the scenes, and what Michael had to go through. All I can say is thank God Tom Mesereau was there for Michael.

  3. Anne Mette Jepsen says:

    Thank you for sharing this:) – And Thank God for Thomas Mesereau Jr.!
    LOVE and GRATITUDE 🙂

  4. gigi says:

    Part 3 of “Frozen In Time” Criminologist Martha’s interview with William Wagener is up on YT

    here’s the title: “Martha Interview part 3″ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWc1kotvMgM

  5. Elsie Crean says:

    This sounds like a retrial and that they tried to make it a circus except for the only honest person there who seems to be the only one with MJ’s interests at heart. He shut them up once and the sour grapes are still there and now he has shut them up again. You go Tom Meseareau. You really had his best interests at heart!!

  6. nan says:

    i cant do 140 dollars just to get sick listening to zonen..
    i hope somebody buys it though…but i cant swing that
    btw lets not forget gavin always said he wanted to be a priest lol
    he is probably using the da to get him a job recomendation when he gets older cause who would hire that scum…
    and the francia testimony didnt add up of course,
    my favorite line from him is how when the police interviewed him, that was when all the crappiness started..
    i would have thought it might have started when you were supposedly molested,lol
    they actually have laughter during his testimony recorded on the transcripts..
    once again…thank heavens michael had tom mezz

  7. Seven says:

    David Edwards has called LACBA and found out:

    This product is now available in CD, DVD and On-Demand formats. You can purchase for $150 (ouch!) online at http://www.lacba.org, or by calling their Member Services Dept at (213) 896-6560.

    BE AWARE that this DVD can apparently only be played on a computer or laptop DVD player (says David Edwards, but this has not been verified).

  8. pauline says:

    we should create a paypal acocunt where everyone can donate $2..we will have the $150 in a splash!

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