ABCNews has obtained documented evidence showing that the current district attorney of Santa Barbara, Tom Sneddon, is involved up to his eyeballs in not only the prosecution of the case, but also in the investigation of Michael Jackson. So much so that, depending on what he learned, he could be a witness in the case. A memo, written by Sneddon, provides some startling details of his questionable (at best) activities in the case.
Reporter Jessica Yellin broke the news on Good Morning America yesterday (April 29). This memo wasn’t the only document viewed by ABCNews. The memo, however, was dated for Nov 2003 and says that Sneddon personally investigated aspect of the case against Jackson, by himself. The memo also details a secret meeting with the mother of the accuser:
According to the memo, Sneddon drove to Los Angeles and met alone with the mother of Jacksons alleged victim in a parking lot behind a federal building.
These secret meetings, where he was alone with the accusers mother, are suspicious beyond belief for a number of reasons. ABC also reports that Sneddon himself took pictures of the offices of one of the defense private investigators working on the case. Most legal experts agree that this is completely unusual. There is also some question as to whether this was the same P.I.’s office that was later raided by Sneddon and the police. Legal expert Linda Fairstein told ABCNews:
It’s way too personal. It’s way out of line. If he does any substantive parts of an investigation, he may become a witness in this caseIt also let’s these very talented defense attorneys take him apart before the jury, and explain that it’s not his [Sneddon’s] place to do that. He created trouble in and out of the courtroom for himself by taking on that role.
Remember, according to a Fox news report, Sneddon sought contact with this family now accusing Jackson as far back as Feb 16 2003. This is months before a second investigation was launched by the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department, after the first, 2 month long investigation by them was closed citing no criminal activity on Jackson’s part:
In fact, I am told, [Frank] Tyson and [Vincent] Amen will recount how, when they returned the family to their own apartment in East Los Angeles on February 16, 2003, a business card belonging to Sneddon had already been slipped under the door of their apartment. The mother fresh from the uproar 10 days earlier of her two sons being featured in the Martin Bashir special “Living with Michael Jackson” , picked up the card and called Sneddon, they will say. And that could suggest that Sneddon, long before there was any accusation against Jackson of child molestation, was already looking for a case that might develop into something more. (see MJ Accusers Testimony Shaky)
Why was he trying to contact this family since Feb 2003? He has already publicly stated via a press release then that he would not investigate Jackson because admitting to sharing a bed (letting a child sleep in your bed while you sleep on the floor) with a child in and of itself is not criminal conduct. So just why was Sneddon so eager to contact this family? Why was he meeting alone with the accuser’s mother in a parking lot behind a federal building? Did he not want anyone from his office or the police to find out he was meeting with her? Was this a benign meeting or was this secrecy used to solicit an allegation of abuse from her child? As expected, yesterday(April 29) on the Abrams Report, both prosecution mouthpiece Jim Thomas and Gloria Allred were unsuccessfully attempting to explain-away the incredible seriousness of this and what it means to this case. I’m just going to say it because people are still trying to ignore this information: There’s no way in hell this isn’t a problem and helps add to the shady activities that have gone on thus far in this case. This is yet another layer of questionable actions by the prosecutors. And one of the guests on the Abrams Report, Mercedes Colwin, was completely right about this being very problematic. Colwin says that as a prosecutor, you have to have a dispassionate interest. That means you cannot be gathering evidence yourself from star witnesses in the case in some parking lot behind a federal building. She continues:
You can’t be so personally involved that you’re gathering evidence. As a defense attorney, he [Sneddon] would be the first witness I would call. He’s gathering evidence. He’s talking to witnesses. He has no one present in the room. This is a very sensitive case and involves a child. And certainly, that child can be very impressionable.
Colwin, who has worked in a prosecutor’s office before, says that she would never have gone to talk with a witness by herself. She says:
“what can happen at the time of the trial is suddenly this witness is testifying to something entirely different than what they told me. Extraordinarily problematic”
What may also be highly challenging is the chain of custody of this alleged evidence Sneddon collected from the mother, by himself with no witnesses in a parking lot behind a federal building, is the chain of custody.
certainly, gathering evidenceas you [Abrams] had stated earlier is he’s collecting documentation. Where’s the chain of custody? You have to show where that evidence was from beginning to end. Who else is going to be able to testify?
Where did that evidence go when I took it from this witness?
Someone who has access of older information from the 1993 case is not someone who should be allowed to handle and handle it alone anything new coming into this case. It would reek of corruption and suspicion immediately. Many people are indeed questioning the motives behind this prosecution and the prosecution’s tactics thus far. Colwin says that this gathering of evidence, as reported by MSNBC, is concerned by the personal involvement with this information gathered by the prosecution:
My concern is this: That this person has been following Michael Jacksonthe surveillance is extraordinarily problematic. Since 1993, he’s been trying to prosecute Michael Jackson. And if they if he continues and he’s gathering this evidence, and he’s trying to collect this information, I think it’s extraordinarily problematic. First of all, I have represented prosecutors that have done less than what Sneddon has done, and suddenly you have a due process issue when individuals have been wrongfully convicted for evidence gathered by these prosecutors.
Colwin asked the same questions many people who heard the news yesterday have been asking since. So far, no one has been able to satisfactorily answer the question: Why in the world couldn’t Sneddon have taken someone else with him or allowed some other parties to meet with the accuser’s mother. Colwin explains:
What would have been the problem, though, if Sneddon had gone with someone else? And that’s what I think defines why this is problematic. Whatbecause you, look at the situation. Now he is and Dan [Abrams], you’re exactly right he has placed himself in this vulnerable position. He has been a district attorney for a very long time. He’s a seasoned lawyer. Why would he place himself in this situation? Why not bring someone else with him? He’s got a large office. He’s got many attorneys that work for him. Bring them along. Bring an investigator along. I find that problematic.
One could also ask questions as to why Sneddon would tell jokes and appear overly jocular at the first very first press conference; why he would answer over 100 questions at another press conference; why he would hold off initially filing charges against Jackson to get a media website ready; why he would then run to Judge Melville whining that a gag order should be placed on the parties in the case; why he would then crawl to a grand jury to get an indictment for fear of having his witnesses’ stories torn apart by defense attorneys in a preliminary hearing. This is by far not the first weird happening in this case. It is just another one of those things that make absolutely no sense at all. It also could be extremely detrimental to a case that is already riding on fumes towards a jury trial.