Transcript of Thomas Mesereau on 'The Bill O'Reilly Show' NOV 16,11/2011 specifically addressing the media's mounting 'comparisons' between Sandusky and Michael Jackson:
O’Reilly: Joining us now from Los Angeles, attorney Thomas Mesereau, who successfully defended Michael Jackson against child molestation charges back in 2005. Counsel, do you see any similarities in the two cases?
Mesereau: Yes I do. In both cases you had a grand jury indictment. In both cases grand jury information has been handed to the media. And remember, in a grand jury proceeding, there’s no judge, and no jury, and no cross-examination, so everything looks stacked against the defendant. And in both cases the media has swarmed all over that grand jury indictment, and whatever information they’ve gotten, and they basically have convicted the defendant before the defendant has a chance to even defend himself.
O’Reilly: Now, isn’t grand jury testimony supposed to be secret? You rightly pointed out that in both the Jackson case and the Sandusky case, the media got a hold of this stuff. Is there something wrong with that?
Mesereau: Yes, there is. A grand jury proceeding is supposed to be secret. It’s supposed to be closed. In the Jackson case, information was being leaked on almost a daily basis from that grand jury room. And remember, there’s no defense lawyer in sight in a grand jury proceeding. Additionally, on the first day of jury selection in the Jackson case, someone took all those transcripts and handed them to ABC. The judge had ordered that they be suppressed and basically remain secret until they naturally arose during the course of the trial. So people were trying to prejudice everyone against us. I suspect that may be starting in this case too.
O’Reilly: And that’s illegal, though, for anybody to release grand jury testimony, correct?
Mesereau: Yes, it is.
O’Reilly: Alright, but how aggressively authorities are going to pursue that, I don’t know. Now, the Jackson situation was basically one family, one kid against Jackson, that’s what you had to contend with, correct?
Mesereau: That’s not totally correct. It was one primary accuser, and in California the prosecution introduce evidence of other similar acts. And they introduced evidence that five other young men had been molested as well, and they tried to introduce evidence that more young men had been molested.
O’Reilly: But they weren’t called to testify, these kids, right?
Mesereau: I called them to testify. They put on evidence that five other young men were molested, they did it primarily through third-party witnesses, however, one of them did testify, an alleged youth pastor, who said that he had been tickled outside of his jeans. I started my case by calling three of those five as my first three witnesses, all of whom denied that they had been molested by Michael Jackson.
O’Reilly: Alright, you quickly impeached that scenario, but in this scenario with Sandusky, there’s a lot of kids, allegedly, a lot, and they’re are adults now, they’re not children any longer. And there are two eyewitnesses; the football coach, and a janitor. Now the janitor is problematic because he’s got dementia, he resides in a nursing home, and he’s incompetent to testify, so that’s going to go out the window. Now Mesereau, the football coach, he says he’s an eyewitness, now that………Jackson didn’t have that against him, but Sandusky seems to have that against him.
Mesereau: No, Michael had witnesses against him. There were people who worked at Neverland who tried to claim that all of these other young men were molested. They got on the stand, one after another, and said they’d seen things in the shower, they’d seen things in the pool, they’d seen things in his room, the prosecution really tried to load up on us in the Jackson case. The problem was, they all fell like a deck of cards when you start cross-examining them! They made conflicting statements, they tried to sell their stories, they had questionable pasts, I mean, it was just amazing to watch them fall like dominoes, and you never know if that will happen in this case.
O’Reilly: But you didn’t have anybody, and correct me if I’m wrong, testify before a grand jury that he’s witnessed a crime? McQuery testified in front of the grand jury. You didn’t have anybody testify in front of the grand jury that actually witnessed Michael Jackson molesting anybody, did you?
Mesereau: Yes, we had the brother of the accuser claim that he had walked up a stairwell and had seen his brother being molested. We did have that.
O’Reilly: Okay. So you impeached every single one of them, and that’s what Sandusky’s attorney is going to have to do. He’s just gonna have to knock them down one by one.
Mesereau: Well remember, in the world of Michael Jackson, there were so many con artists, and exploiters, and imposters showing up and trying to take advantage of Michael Jackson. He was the best known celebrity, he was fabulously wealthy, and so many people would show up with their hands out, trying to get something, and we were able to not only knock over these witnesses one by one, but show a picture, a broader picture, of exploitation. And it all worked in the end.
O’Reilly: Now you heard Sandusky say on television that he showered with boys, I mean, that’s pretty damning just in that regard, is it not?
Mesereau: It is, and I think his statement was very foolish. I don’t know why his lawyer let him do that, and I think it’s gonna hurt you in the long run. But technically speaking, showering with boys is not sex, and what the defense has to do is draw a distinction and say “Look! He’s a big jock, you know, he hangs around football facilities, he hangs around with young people all the time, and never did he do anything sexual.” It sounds like a tall order, but you know it might happen.
O’Reilly: Would you take this case, Sandusky? Would you take this case?
Mesereau: You know, I have no interest in this case at the moment, but I do defend difficult cases. I believe in what criminal defense lawyers do, we make the system work, we defend people charged with crimes, who everyone has vilified and attacked, and yes, it’s a case I would consider taking, but it’s not a case that interests me right now.
O’Reilly: Do you still believe that Michael Jackson innocent of all of this? Not “not guilty”, but innocent?
Mesereau: I know he was 100% innocent. He wasn’t just acquitted, he was vindicated. The jury said “Not guilty” 14 times, and……………
O’Reilly: But you personally, now that Mr. Jackson is not here any longer, do you personally, 100% convinced he was not a child molester?
Mesereau: I’m 100% convinced that he was innocent and not a child molester, yes sir.
O’Reilly: Thanks for coming on, we appreciate it.