The judge in Michael Jackson’s child molestation trial said today he may sanction lead defence lawyer Thomas Mesereau for misrepresenting the terms under which Jackson waived his privilege of confidentiality with former lawyer Mark Geragos.
“I feel deceived by Mr Mesereau and I am considering … sanctions of some sort against Mr Mesereau,” Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville said in a hearing before Geragos resumed testifying.
Jackson only waived lawyer-client privilege for the period until his arrest in November 2003 but that limit was not disclosed until Geragos mentioned it while testifying last week.
The prosecution and the judge were surprised by the limitation, and at the time Mesereau apologised, saying he had not thought the period after arrest was relevant.
Prosecutors argued that Geragos should be required to testify about the period after the arrest because of the misrepresentation, but the judge ruled that Geragos would only have to testify about the period allowed by the waiver.
The judge said he could have stricken Geragos’ testimony from the record but didn’t think that was viable because jurors had already heard it and were likely to remember it during deliberations.
Yesterday, Michael Jackson’s legal team scored a victory as jurors were allowed to see a video tour of the singer’s Neverland ranch that a prosecutor condemned as propaganda.
Jurors saw idyllic scenes of amusement park rides, cheerful workers, zoo animals, blooming flowers, and statues of boys and girls at play.
The video also showed many clocks, apparently countering testimony by family members of Jackson’s accuser that they were unable to keep track of time while allegedly being held captive at the ranch.
Melville permitted the viewing over the vehement opposition of District Attorney Tom Sneddon.
Sneddon said the tape, made this year, showed a ranch that was somewhat different from its state on February and March 2003, when the accuser’s family allegedly was held captive.
Sneddon, calling the video “propaganda,” argued that it was designed to make Jackson look good, and cited a scene of a chalkboard containing a note by one of Jackson’s children that said “I love you daddy.”
Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a boy and plying him with wine. He also is accused of conspiring to hold the boy’s family captive. Prosecutors said he wanted them to rebut a TV documentary in which Jackson said he let children sleep in his bed, although he contended it was non-sexual.