Michael Jackson’s attorney Mark Geragos was just on ‘At Large with Geraldo Rivera’ on the Fox News Channel to discuss Michael Jackson’s child molestation case. Geragos shot down reports in the New York Times indicating CBS News had paid $1 million for the interview with the singer, and also downplayed Jacko’s relationship with the Nation of Islam. Geraldo joked about how he was surprised Geragos wasn’t representing Britney Spears in the weekend wedding annulment in Las Vegas. Read on for a transcript.
Geraldo: Jim Anderson vigorously denying the charge that Michael Jackson was a victim of police brutality. I wonder what his lawyer has to say about that. He is in fact the hottest lawyer in the country by now but he has his hands full defending Scott Peterson up in Modesto, California even as he fights the child molestation against his world famous client Michael Jackson. Mr. Geragos joins us on the telephone right now from his home near Los Angeles. I am surprised you are not representing Britney Spears in this annulment, mark.
Mark: The one thing you learn quickly Geraldo is it’s safer in the criminal courts than it is in the family law courts.
Geraldo: I can dig that.
Mark: Only place anybody gets shot is in the family law courts.
Geraldo: Any truth to the stories circulating Mohammed of the controversial son-in-law of the controversial leader is in charge of Michael Jackson’s legal defense his finances in essence his whole life?
Mark: No, there isn’t. Obviously Leonard is one of Michael’s advisers. Michael has many advisers including people who have been around him for a long time clearly our office is in charge of the legal defense and Michael is actively engaged in his legal defense at all times.
Geraldo: Does Leonard mu has been bed have an office in your office.
Mark: You been by my office? We don’t have enough room for all of the lawyers let alone anybody else.
Geraldo: Is he calling the tune as has been reported here, mark?
Mark: In fact Geraldo, there were two stories came out one was the Nation of Islam story and the other was that Michael Jackson had been married for a third time last week.
Geraldo: To Britney Spears?
Mark: More successful in batting down that one than I was the Nation of Islam story.
Geraldo: The reporting seemed credible. Foxnews.Com broke the story, the New York Times and others picked it up embellished it perhaps.
Mark: I tell you something. In the new york times series of articles this week were replete with errors.
Geraldo: Like what?
Mark: They also accused Ed Bradley of sitting across from Michael Jackson saying he would pay him $1 million for the interview which was ludicrous and laughable. I don’t know if I would embrace any of the reporting out of the New York Times. Roger Friedman was closer to getting some of the facts correct but certainly the New York Times series of articles, there’s been three of them, are not only inaccurate but I believe their ombudsman there is in negotiations with not only two of the principles involved but there’s a number of lawsuits that I am sure will be brought out of that as well.
Geraldo: Is there any truth, mark, to the rumor that because of the involvement of the Nation of Islam or otherwise that there is real talk of having a black lawyer take your place, someone like Johnnie Cochrane?
Mark: I think that johnny had come out last week and indicated he gave up the practice of criminal law I think right after the P. Diddy case. I have known Johnnie since before I was a lawyer. My father and he were in the DA’s office together. I have got incredible respect for him but i don’t think Johnnie has any interest in getting back in the criminal law.
Geraldo: If he had interest would he be taking your place?
Mark: I don’t know. You would have to ask Johnnie that. I don’t think he has any interest. Understand something. Johnnie is very close to Michael. Obviously is a extremely capable and competent lawyer. But the fact of the matter is he does civil law now not criminal.
Geraldo: I hear all that. Is there any chance you will be replaced in the Michael Jackson defense by Cochran or any other black lawyer?
Mark: I can’t predict anything, Geraldo. I am the lawyer. I spent the better part of 12-hours working on the case today and talking with investigators and we’re defending this case.
Geraldo: I am not hearing a definitive no way.
Mark: Geraldo. You want to hear it definitively? I am the lawyer.
Geraldo: Why are you allowing the Nation of Islam to be so close to your client if it’s going to cause trouble?
Mark: I don’t think the Nation of Islam is involved with my client in any formal way. I know that Leonard is an advisor of Michael. The Nation of Islam issued a statement this week that said they in fact have no official, and I think they later amended it to say or unofficial involvement. I think it’s a red herring that’s been raised to divert the attention to what the fact are in this case that the person who should be shocked and dismayed at Michael Jackson as being charged in this case. This case, Geraldo, is not about black-and-white it’s about green. It’s nothing but a shakedown.
Geraldo: Be that as it may, and as you may or may not know I tends to agree with at least the direction of that previous statement, but why would your client, when he has this weak, this apparently weak case, coming down against him from these maybe or maybe not grifters, why would he raise you spoke of red herrings and diversions this whole issue of police brutality, mark? What good does that do? Where did it come from. I have a source close to your defense you indicated — someone said they didn’t know where this was coming from the police brutality a couple weeks ago now it’s in center stage now the sheriff is knocking it down now they are threatening lawsuits against your client for —
Mark: Let me tell you a couple things about that. The sheriff came out. This is a second time there’s been a press conference first by the DA and now by the sheriff where they have misstated what the law is in California. There isn’t going to be any charge or will not be any charges against Michael Jackson in connection with this, because under the state of the law can’t do that. If the sheriff wants to turn this over to the attorney general I welcome about a. Let’s have the attorney general investigate why it is in this case that the los angeles authorities thoroughly investigated this case thoroughly interviewed anybody involved and deemed this thing as unfounded and went on their merry way to charge him.
Geraldo: What about the police brutality. Why raise —
Mark: I don’t want to be labor anything but the fact that my client is charged with 7 counts from the time period of February 7th to March 10th, he couldn’t have done and didn’t do anything during that time period. It’s patently ludicrous. All of the rest of this is to try to damage or dirty up or try to get on to a collateral issue, so to speak or collateral issues. The fact of the matter is he is been charged with serious felonies and the agency that’s charged with investigating this case has already determined it’s unfounded. That to me is the story here.
Geraldo: Be that as it may, why would he tell Ed Bradley he sees nothing wrong with sharing beds with minor children that are not related to him? Why would he say that?
Mark: I think he answered that correctly. I will tell you what he meant by that. The fact of the matter is, he was raised in a small house in Gary, Indiana. They — the boys all shared beds and dozens would come over friends would come over they would. He didn’t — Michael said quite clearly when you say shared a bed it sounds like hop in the sack with me we are going to sleep together. Somebody wanted to go in there the kid was recovering from cancer or many other kids want oh sleep in there he is not sleeping with them. What he is saying is, is that this is the way he was raised. He was very honest about it. I don’t think that Michael for a second mind works the way people have tried to imply that there’s something about sex here. To him there’s nothing about sex in any of this. There isn’t — his mind doesn’t think that way. This is a heterosexual male. This is somebody who would never, as he stated, he would slit his wrists before he would abuse or hurt a child. The fact of the matter is Geraldo, they did a press conference, they called for anybody else who this has ever happened to to step forward it was met with a resounding thud. That’s why I will repeatedly say, i will call for people to come forward who have had nothing but wonderful experiences. This is somebody Michael, who spent his entire adult life helping and healing children. He is devoted considerable resources to helping and healing children.
Geraldo: Wasn’t it a bad idea —
Mark: Why it was perverted is beyond me.
Geraldo: Wasn’t it a bad idea to give that interview why stir a pot when you have stakes profoundly high?
Mark: I think he performed admirably in the interview. He did something that I think i have seen so many people in various cases, i wish I could tell you the exact ones without violating attorney client privilege who have been chastised for not going out and saying I am innocent. He wanted to say I am innocent. He went on probably the premiere news outlet with all due respect.
Geraldo: I beg your pardon, sir. I beg your pardon.
Mark: With one of the premiere under statesman —
Geraldo: In context cc that I ha aminute lt.
Mark: He stood Ed Bradley and he did well.
Geraldo: That’s in the eye of the beholder. I don’t think it’s sage advice to give it given the timing.
Mark: Blame it on me.
Geraldo: You are going to move for change of venue?
Mark: That hearing is on Thursday in the Peterson case.
Geraldo: I was talking about Jackson. In Peterson how do you think your chances are?
Mark: I think if you answer that question you would have to visit me in custody on Friday. There’s a hearing, there’s going to be testimony, I assume, from at least two experts probably three, and the judge will make a decision and depending on which way he rules one of us will go to the court of appeals.
Geraldo: How will you handle the two big cases when they come down the pike.
Mark: You can only try one case at a time.
Geraldo: That’s what I mean?
Mark: Try one case at a time. See what happens. One of the things you do in criminal law every good criminal defense lawyer that I know is always balancing, not just two cases but probably 10-15.
Geraldo: Good luck, mate.
Mark: Thank you Geraldo. Good talking to you. Bye bye.