The fascination with all things Michael Jackson never ends.
Now comes a two part, four hour documentary about Jackson’s 2005 child molestation and conspiracy trial from A&E. I’m told the special will air in June on the anniversary of Jackson’s acquittal, which is also two weeks short of 11th anniversary of his death.
The special is being put together by Atlas Entertainment, owned Michael and Michelle Walrath. Michael was described in the New York Times as a “nightlife and tech mogul.” Among their films: “Tapped” and “Fed Up.”
The filmmakers are trying to talk to everyone involved in the 2005 trial including the Arvizo family, who were used by Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon in his vendetta against Jackson. Janet Arvizo and her then 13 year old son Gavin claimed Michael molested the boy. Eighteen grueling months of embarrassing negative publicity culminated in a graphic trial. Thanks to the truth, and defense attorney Thomas Mesereau, Jackson was acquitted. But the episode wore on Jackson and pushed him into a series of misadventures that ended his life four years later.
What will be interesting is to see if the filmmakers can get the Arvizo’s to talk, and get at the truth of what happened. I hear they’ve spoken with Sneddon’s second in command, Ron Zonen, who helped prosecute Jackson. Zonen wound up marrying a prosecution witness, Louise Palanker, who billed herself as a comedian in 2005, and testified for the family. Despite the jury verdict for Jackson, Palanker and Zonen went on to attend Gavin Arvizo’s wedding.
The Arvizo’s claimed that in addition to the molestation, Jackson had “kidnapped” them to keep them quiet. But I reported extensively on the case at the time, and none of that was true. Their so called abduction included first class hotel stays, movies, dinners out, toys, clothes, and for Janet Arvizo, spa days. Janet Arvizo was revealed on the witness stand to be a total nut when Mesereau asked if she thought Michael Jackson would take her kids away in a hot air balloon. She answered in the affirmative. Laughter broke out in courtroom, Judge Melville banged his gavel, and the trial was for most purposes over.