AP court reporter Linda Deutsch on Michael Jackson from a recent interview with Without Notes’s host Michael Levine:
“Michael Jackson had the world looking at him. The whole thing was a debacle. He should have never been tried. An overzealous prosecutor who saw himself as some sort of Javert chasing Jean Valjean. He had tried to get Michael before and he had failed and after Michael was acquitted in this case I went to the press conference and I asked him: ‘Are you through chasing Michael Jackson?’ and he said: “No comment” and that night Michael left his beloved Neverland and never came back… I think the trial killed him. You could see him shrinking during the trial physically.
When it was over, he called me. I had met him, I saw him every day and he finally called me after it was all over to thank me for being fair to him because NOBODY ELSE was. They ALL were out to get him one way or another. And I said to him: Michael, how was the trial for you? And he said: it was the hardest thing I ever did in my life and that was true. Michael was a very sensitive and gentle soul and he was not up to this. He became ill over and over again… Michael came in with a lot of strikes against him not because of what he did but because of his whole persona.
I think Mesereau believed, and I believed, that he was set up. That this woman that brought her child and claimed that he had molested him for money, well for more than money, she wanted to live in Neverland for the rest of her life.
Michael had been so kind to this woman and her son who had overcome cancer that he gave them a little cottage that was normally occupied by Elizabeth Taylor, his friend. There were swans floating in the lake outside, there were flowers everywhere, there was music playing, it was idyllic. This is a woman who had been living in the ghetto in Los Angeles. She thought she’s gonna stay there for ever. And so, when it became evident that she wasn’t, that Michael was going to give them eviction papers she went to the DA and claimed that he had molested her child.
As I said, Michael should never have been tried but because he was Michael there was no way they were going to let it go. The thing is with the people who are acquitted they are never acquitted in the public mind, so that is the tragedy because supposedly if you go through a trial and you are proven not guilty you are supposed to go on with your life.
But the public had made a different decision, they had tried to second-guess the jury and it was impossible for him to ever live down being tried.
That to me is heartbreaking. The trials I covered, at least 60 maybe, maybe more. They are show trials. They’re not symbolic of anything else because these trials are giving the public a chance to see their system at work and to see something that’s emblematic of what’s going on in society but they are not emblematic of what’s going every day in court houses around the countries.
In the journalistic world I sometimes feel like a visitor from another planet. Things are not now like they were when I started, they’re just not. I wouldn’t say they are better, I think that there is a cult of personality now around journalism that’s not healthy. When I started no one knew who I was, all they knew was my byline. Eventually I became known because I was the face of the OJ trial but there was never this feeling of: I have to cover this because it’s going to make my career. I’ve never even thought of that. But in the electronic media which is now so prevalent and TV media stars are made from trials. That Nancy Grace type of person… It gives you a very different motivation to be there. I was there to tell the truth.”
Sources: Michael Jackson Chinese Fan Club | Laura Messina | All Things Michael