Monday, February 02, 2004
TONY SNOW, GUEST HOST: In the “Factor Flashback” segment tonight, as we just told you, friends of Michael Jackson spoke out today in his defense, after new allegations made public in “Vanity Fair” magazine. One of the people trotted out in this defense was Geraldine Hughes. She was the secretary for Attorney Barry Rothman, who represented the boy who accused Jackson of molestation in 1993. That case was settled but Hughes has come out with a book called “Redemption: The Truth Behind the Michael Jackson Child Molestation Allegations.” She says the allegations were absolutely untrue.
Bill spoke with her recently.
O’REILLY: In the “Impact” segment tonight, 45-year-old Michael Jackson will be arraigned next week on child molestation charges in California. As you know, the case is the subject of endless speculation, but there is a story you might not have heard.
In 1994, Jackson settled child molestation charges with a 13-year-old boy and his family for millions. At the time, a lawyer named Barry Rothman was representing the boy.
Joining us now from Los Angeles is Geraldine Hughes, who was Rothman’s legal secretary during that case. She is the author of the upcoming book “Redemption: The Truth Behind the Michael Jackson Child Molestation Allegations.”
All right, I want to walk through this, Ms. Hughes. I want to be very specific. All right, you contend that the boy’s father, Dr. Evan Chandler, was behind this whole thing and that Jackson did not molest the boy. Is that correct?
GERALDINE HUGHES, “REDEMPTION” AUTHOR: That is absolutely correct.
O’REILLY: And you base that on what?
HUGHES: Well, basically, I was on the inside. So I was able to witness behaviors. I was able to witness what was going on the inside. I knew from the very onset of the allegation that Michael Jackson was absolutely innocent and that it wasn’t a case…
O’REILLY: All right, now give me one — your biggest convincer. You’ve got millions of people watching you right now.
O’REILLY: All right? The biggest reason you felt Jackson was innocent was?
HUGHES: I guess, if I were to give one — there were a lot — but I will try and pull one. Basically, it was — I actually recall the letter that went to Chandler, where he was advised about how to report child molestation by using a third party without liability to a parent. And that was like three weeks prior to the actual launching of the allegations.
O’REILLY: All right, now Ms. Hughes, if I am a parent, and my child is molested, all right, I immediately go to my attorney for advice. If my attorney advises me to take a certain course of action, as Dr. Chandler’s did, all right, because you worked for the man…
O’REILLY: …all right, why would that mean that this didn’t happen?
Why wouldn’t this be just the methodical, orderly way to place the complaint?
HUGHES: I guess if that was the only thing I had that I could say made me believe that, you would probably be right and I would probably look into it further based on your view. But there’s many occasions…
O’REILLY: All right, but I asked you for the big gun. And the big gun hasn’t convinced me. Give me something else.
HUGHES: Well, okay — well, basically, it’s — my contention is that it was an elaborate — elaborate, meaning it was multifaceted. Multifaceted means I can throw you one thing and it’s really not going to matter until you pull it all together. Minus physical evidence, you have to look at the whole picture. You can’t just — one thing is not going to do it for you.
O’REILLY: All right.
HUGHES: But I will say this. I will say this. We have the finest police, law enforcement agency in the nation. There were four police agencies that went looking for evidence to corroborate with the little boy, and they found nothing. That really should be your biggest thing right there.
O’REILLY: Well, here’s what swayed me to disagree with you, and maybe you can put this in perspective for us. During the settlement hearings…
O’REILLY: The father, Dr. Chandler, all right, and your boss presented a scenario whereby the 13-year-old boy would identify marks on Michael Jackson’s body that nobody would have known about unless they had seen his intimate parts.
HUGHES: Right. Yes, okay.
O’REILLY: Now what say you, Madame?
HUGHES: I said did they bring him — did they arrest him based on their findings? Because had he accurately described parts that only someone could have described if they had seen it, that would have been — that was really what they were looking for, the mere fact that they didn’t bring him up on charges after that. And Michael even said the only reason why…
O’REILLY: The boy — after the $20 million changed hands, the boy then wouldn’t testify. And that’s how it went.
HUGHES: Well, that was before that. That was before that. That was before the settlement negotiations.
O’REILLY: Whoa, whoa, whoa. I will cede you one point, Madame. You’re not making your case for me, I have to be quite honest with you. I’m not believing…
HUGHES: That’s fine.
O’REILLY: …you know, I’m not going to get it, Bill.
O’REILLY: Well, look, I mean I’m not — if I’m on the jury and I’m listening to you, he’s not exonerated. But I will tell you this — I do believe that this Dr. Chandler, okay, wanted the money rather than the criminal prosecution. Instead of going to the authorities first and backing into the civil suit, he didn’t. He went for the civil — he wanted the money and then the criminal prosecution be damned. I do believe that. And that’s wrong.
HUGHES: But we live in a state where you can have both. You can have criminal prosecution and the money.
O’REILLY: Now, but not then. Not yet. You could have.
HUGHES: Oh, then you could too.
O’REILLY: Now here’s motivation you may be right about but…
HUGHES: He could have had both. He didn’t have to go just for the one. And you tell me somebody molests your child, you’re going to take money and not go after the prosecution?
O’REILLY: I wouldn’t do it. I know people who would sell their children for $20 million. Ms. Hughes, we thank you very much for appearing.
HUGHES: Thank you.
O’REILLY: Thank you.
O’REILLY: Thank you for appearing.
HUGHES: Thank you.