Geraldine Hughes is convinced that Michael Jackson is innocent of the 1993 molestation charges and that he was the victim of an extortion attempt. As I read Hughes’ book, Redemption, looking for items to comment on, I found that I had placed sticky notes on almost every page – sometimes three per page.
The book contained numerous inaccuracies and omissions of fact. For instance, Hughes failed to mention that child pornography was found at Jackson’s home in 1993, that Jackson invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege in 1994 to deposition questions concerning his relationship with young boys, that Jackson had negotiated with a second child victim for a multi-million dollar settlement in 1995, that the district attorneys stated that they believed there were two additional victims other than Jordie, that the district attorneys made a public statement outlining the specific reasons why they declined to press extortion charges, and that the authorities were not able to confirm Jordie’s description of distinctive markings on Michael’s genitals.
Hughes her book also contained misstatements of the law, excusable for a layman, but not for someone claiming to have twenty-three years experience as a legal secretary. Hughes stated that Jackson’s (and O.J. Simpson’s) constitutional right against double jeopardy was violated by having to face both criminal and civil trials. Double jeopardy applies only to repeated criminal trials. Hughes revealed that until she met Anthony Pellicano in 1993, she believed that all private investigators worked for the district attorney.
Despite its failings, Redemption was well received by the hard-core Jackson fans. Together with Mary Fischer’s 1994 GQ article, from which Hughes borrowed many of her “facts,” it has become their bible.
It would be exhausting to discuss Hughes book in its entirety, so I have selected a few examples.
Redemption, page 45.
Hughes claimed that she met Jordie twice, the first time when he was alone in Barry Rothman’s office. Here’s how she described that meeting.
The boy had a puzzled look on his face when I walked into Rothman’s office. That made me very suspicious of this meeting between Rothman and the Chandler boy. I had some overwhelming feeling that that this meeting had some significance to the child molestation allegations and not the custody case that was also going on between the boy’s parents.
Hughes claimed to be the sole legal secretary to Rothman in the summer of 1993, but her initials do not appear on Rothman’s letters until about July 16. The only time Jordie was in Rothman’s office without Evan was on July 20, 1993.
July 20 was the day June and Dave came to Rothman’s office to see the letter from the psychiatrist, Dr. Mathis Abrams. The letter was based on the facts of Jordie’s relationship with Jackson, but the psychiatrist was not provided with the names of the child or alleged perpetrator. The letter stated that the unknown child was “at risk” in his relationship with the unknown male.
June and Dave had agreed that if a psychiatrist said that Jordie was at risk, they would sign a document awarding physical custody of Jordie to Evan. A meeting was set up for them to review the letter at Rothman’s office. Evan brought his son to the meeting, and, as planned, left before Dave and June arrived. On the day that Hughes first saw Jordie he was waiting for his mother and stepfather to show up.
Although Hughes mentioned Dr. Abrams letter in her book, she made no mention of June and Dave’s appearance at Rothman’s office to view the letter. It was a meeting that ended up in a shouting match between Dave and Rothman. Hughes could not have avoided hearing it. Jordie called Evan in the midst of the melee and he came running over from his dental office. No mention of this by Hughes, either.
More important, Hughes description of the child abuse and custody issues as separate issues reveals that (even ten years later) she did not have a clue about what had occurred in the Chandler case before she started working for Rothman. Evan had been demanding that June meet with him to discuss the relationship between Michael and Jordie. June refused, and Evan was not permitted to see or talk to his son for four weeks after making that demand. That’s when Hughes came on the scene. She apparently never understood that the custody battle had originated because of the molestation, and that it was a fight to prevent further abuse.
As the following reveals, Hughes quickly parlayed her suspicions based on a child’s puzzled
look, and her overwhelming feeling about a meeting she knew nothing about, into the firm belief
that Rothman and Chandler had teamed up to extort Michael Jackson.
According to Hughes, the second time she met Jordie was just after the scandal went public.
While Evan and Barry were conversing away from the child, she observed Jordie for several hours. Hughes stated that Jordie acted perfectly normal and he did not appear to be harmed in any way. In fact, he was more calm than his father, and Hughes observed that he seemed to be consoling Evan, who was a nervous wreck.
Here is Hughes interpretation of what she observed that day.
After observing the boy for a number of hours, I could not help but speculate, in my mind, what would cause a child to falsely accuse someone of child abuse? Especially someone he loved and valued as a good friend – especially someone like Michael Jackson! Most kids would give their right arm and leg to be with the superstar. I could not stop wondering how this boy could be sucked into such a scheme as this. What could make a child become part of such an evil scheme? (Italics in original.)
Hughes had made up her mind about the child abuse allegations right from the start, and from that point on she twisted everything she saw into evidence to support her belief. She stated that she had previously worked for an attorney who handled child abuse cases and she had seen how in 95% of the cases the child wanted to return to the abusive parent because children want to protect and cover up for their parents. That’s what was going on between Evan and Jordie, Hughes surmised.
Just a few days prior to the incident Hughes described, Jordie had told the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) that he wanted to stay with his father because Jackson had abused him, and he was afraid that a return to his mother would place him back in Jackson’s grasp. He said he never wanted to see Michael Jackson again. All of this information is in the DCS report.
The only fact contained in Hughes description of this event was that a child had exhibited concern for his father at a point in time when his father was being vilified in the world-wide media. Instead of interpreting Jordie’s acts for what they were, a child expressing love for a parent, Hughes decided that there must be something “evil” in it. She had to. She had already made up her mind; she just needed the facts to fit her belief.
Redemption, pages 51-52.
Dr. Chandler admitted, in his own words, that he had been “rehearsed what to say,” – “paid people to move against Michael” and that, “there was a plan.” This was, in my opinion, a confession of guilt. Why wasn’t anything done about this admission by Dr. Chandler?”
The above quotes, together with others appearing on page 51 of Hughes book, are from Dave’s secret tape. They are found on pages 9, 27, 29 and 220 of the official court transcript of the tape. Some of these quotes, including the “rehearsed” quote, were discussed in Part Three of All That Glitters (regarding Mary Fischer’s 1994 GQ article). I refer the reader to that discussion. Suffice it to say that Hughes (like Fischer) took snippets of the conversation out of context and opined that they were admissions by Evan that he had a plan to extort Jackson.
On the same page Hughes quoted Evan saying that he had hired Rothman because he is “devious, nasty and cruel, and will destroy everybody insight,” and that Evan said that once his plan went forward he would “win big time.” Hughes then commented, “I am not an attorney, but in laymen’s terms, this sounded like he had expressed first degree, premeditated motives to extort money from Michael Jackson, all in one sentence.“
First, the “devious, nasty and cruel” quote is on page 29 of the transcript. The “destroy everybody in sight” quote is on pages 206-207. And the “win big time” is on page 133.
More important, when Dave asked Evan what he meant by winning big time, Evan replied that he will win custody of his son. There was no mention of money on the tape. Hughes neglected to mention this.
Still on page 51, Hughes wrote.
When Dave asked Evan to consider the possible repercussion the case would have on his son, Dr. Chandler responded, ‘that’s irrelevant to me.’ By Dr. Chandler’s own admission, his actions had nothing to do with the best interest of his own child.
Here is the actual transcript.
21 MR. CHANDLER: Michael can come with
22 all his bodyguards and his lawyer if he wants to.
23 I don’t really care, as long as everything gets
24 aired out. That’s it. And if I walk away
25 dissatisfied, then I’ll take it to the next step.
1 That’s all. If they walk away dissatisfied, they
2 have the right to do that, too. At least [tape
3 irregularity] nothing will get resolved except for
4 the fact that we’ll agree to meet again and talk
5 about it.
6 MR. SCHWARTZ: Yeah.
7 MR. CHANDLER: I don’t know where it’ll
8 go, but I’m saying is that when people — when
9 you — when people cut off communication totally,
10 you only have two choices: To forget about them,
11 or you get frustrated by their action. I can’t
12 forget about them. I love them. That’s it. I
13 don’t like them. I still love Jordy, but I do not
14 like them because I do not like the people that
15 they’ve become, but I do love them, and because I
16 love them I don’t want to see them [tape
17 irregularity]. That’s why I was willing to talk.
18 I have nothing to gain by talking. If
19 I go through with this, I win big time. There’s no
20 way that I lose. I’ve checked that out inside out.
21 MR. SCHWARTZ: But when you say
22 “winning,” what are you talking about, “winning”?
23 MR. CHANDLER: I will get everything I
24 want, and they will be totally — they will be
25 destroyed forever. They will be destroyed. June
1 is gonna lose Jordy. She will have no right to
2 ever see him again.
3 MR. SCHWARTZ: Yeah.
4 MR. CHANDLER: That’s a fact, Dave.
5 That’s what —
6 MR. SCHWARTZ: Does that help —
7 MR. CHANDLER: — Michael the career
8 will be over.
9 MR. SCHWARTZ: Does that help Jordy?
10 MR. CHANDLER: Michael’s career will be
12 MR. SCHWARTZ: And does that help
14 MR. CHANDLER: It’s irrelevant to me.
15 MR. SCHWARTZ: Yeah, but I mean the
16 bottom line is —
17 MR. CHANDLER: The bottom line to me
18 is, yes, June is harming him, and Michael is
19 harming him. I can prove that, and I will prove
21 MR. SCHWARTZ: Yeah.
22 MR. CHANDLER: — and if they force me
23 to go to court about it, I will [tape
24 irregularity], and I will be granted custody. She
25 will have no rights whatsoever.
1 MR. SCHWARTZ: Yeah.
2 MR. CHANDLER: Now, I’m willing to sit
3 down and talk to her. If she wants to tell me to
4 go fuck myself after that, she’s welcome to do it,
In addition, as noted above, Hughes wrote that Dave asked Evan to consider the repercussion that “the case” would have on Jordie. Those were Hughes words; Dave never mentioned “the case.” How would Hughes know that Dave and Evan were talking about a case? Because on the tape Evan talked about going to court, about everyone being placed on the witness stand, about lie detector tests, and about experts who would decide right from wrong.
Hughes knew, or should have known, that Evan was not talking about winning big time money, but about winning custody. She was there in the office and had seen the files. She knew that Rothman had drawn up restraining orders and custody modifications – all legal documents to be filed with a court.
On the day the tape was made, Evan had not been allowed to see or talk to his son for four weeks. Evan was throwing around words like nasty, cruel and devious, and saying that he would destroy everybody in sight because he was frustrated and angry at not be allowed to see his son, and because each time he tried to talk to June about Jordie he was told ‘go fuck yourself’? Evan said this on the tape.
From day one Hughes had shut her mind to the possibility that Evan had hired Barry Rothman to help him end the relationship between Michael Jackson and his son. No, for Hughes it always something evil and sinister.
On the next page 52 of her book, Hughes concluded:
Dr. Chandler appeared to be a very insecure man who was dominated by greed. The Bible says that ‘the love of money is the root of all evil.’ Dr. Chandler was the epitome of what the love of money can do to an individual. How the lust for money can turn an individual into a green-eyed monster with no regard for anyone – including their own child.
No parent whose child caught the eye of Michael Jackson needed to extort the singer. Jackson gave away money, cars, homes, jewelry, cash and a whole lot more to the parents of his favorite boys. Evan had seen first hand the benefits that his ex-wife had received from Jackson. And Jackson had offered Evan many benefits as well. All he had to do to reap those benefits was to do what the other parents had done, allow Jackson access to his son. Instead, Evan was willing to go to court to get Jackson away from Jordie.
Redemption, page 68.
Regarding Jordie’s description of Michael’s genitals, Hughes wrote, “It was later revealed that the authorities were not able to corroborate the boy’s statements….” Revealed by whom? Hughes offered no source for this claim.
In 1995, after Jackson denied on PrimeTime Live that Jordie’s description was accurate, Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon told Vanity Fair that Jackson statement was “untrue and not consistent with the evidence.” Lead LAPD detective Bill Dworin has also stated that the matchup was accurate.
Redemption, page 76.
Hughes admitted that at the time of the child molestation allegations Evan and June appeared to be sharing custody without any problems. She then claimed that the custody battle arose because Evan became jealous of being cut out of the relationship between his son and Jackson. Here is her proof: “Dr. Chandler, in the recorded conversation with Dave Schwartz, reported that he didn’t know why Michael Jackson had stopped visiting him.” . . . “He also admitted that he told Michael Jackson exactly what he wanted out of the deal.” (Italics added.)
At no point on the tape did Evan state that he wondered why Jackson had stopped visiting him. Evan complained that Jackson had stopped talking to him, and that the communications halted immediately after he (Evan) tried to discuss his concerns about Jordie’s relationship with Michael.
Here is the transcript.
10 MR. CHANDLER: No, I’m not his role
12 MR. SCHWARTZ: Yes, you are,
13 definitely —
14 MR. CHANDLER: Not anymore.
15 MR. SCHWARTZ: You are, positively, in
16 the long run, you’re his role model.
17 MR. CHANDLER: There is no — there
18 isn’t gonna be a long run if things went on like
20 Don’t you see? As long as I go along
21 with whatever they want to do —
22 MR. SCHWARTZ: Yeah.
23 MR. CHANDLER: — everything’s okay.
24 As soon as I say you can’t [tape irregularity]
25 anybody —
1 MR. SCHWARTZ: Did you go through that?
2 MR. CHANDLER: Yeah, I went through
4 MR. SCHWARTZ: And how old were you?
5 MR. CHANDLER: Why do you — oh, with
6 my parents?
7 MR. SCHWARTZ: Yeah.
8 MR. CHANDLER: No, I didn’t go through
9 that with my parents. I never had any outside
10 influence on me —
11 MR. SCHWARTZ: Yeah.
12 MR. CHANDLER: — was more powerful
13 than my parents were.
14 MR. SCHWARTZ: Well, I mean, Michael is
15 very seductive, without even trying.
16 MR. CHANDLER: Oh, he’s trying, believe
17 me. He just looks like he’s not trying because
18 he’s so damn good at it.
19 MR. SCHWARTZ: Well, I mean, it’s —
20 MR. CHANDLER: Dave, he fooled me —
21 MR. SCHWARTZ: Yeah.
22 MR. CHANDLER: — I’ll tell you that.
23 He fooled me, for a while.
24 MR. SCHWARTZ: I mean, do you think
25 this is —
1 MR. CHANDLER: There’s no reason why
2 they would have to cut me out unless they — unless
3 they need me to be away so they can do certain
4 things which I don’t think are good to be doing.
5 MR. SCHWARTZ: Yeah.
6 MR. CHANDLER: And I — and not only
7 that, but I don’t even have anything to say about
8 it, okay? [tape irregularity] I think what they’re
9 doing and it isn’t bad, and so maybe I’m wrong —
10 MR. SCHWARTZ: Yeah.
11 MR. CHANDLER: — but I’m not even
12 getting a chance to express that.
13 MR. SCHWARTZ: I think that’s all — I
14 think it’s all fair because —
15 MR. CHANDLER: I had a good
16 communication with Michael.
17 MR. SCHWARTZ: Yeah.
18 MR. CHANDLER: We were friends, you
19 know. I liked him.
20 MR. SCHWARTZ: Yeah.
21 MR. CHANDLER: I respected him and
22 everything else for what he is, you know. There
23 was no reason why he had to stop calling me. He
24 could have called me.
25 MR. SCHWARTZ: Yeah.
1 MR. CHANDLER: In fact, Dave, I — you
2 ask Jordy. I sat in the room one day, and I talked
3 to Michael and told him exactly what I want out of
4 this whole relationship, what I want [tape
5 irregularity], okay, so he wouldn’t have to figure
6 me out.
7 MR. SCHWARTZ: Yeah.
8 MR. CHANDLER: And one of things I said
9 is we always have to be able to talk to each other.
10 MR. SCHWARTZ: Yeah.
11 MR. CHANDLER: That’s the rule, okay,
12 because I know that as soon as you stop talking
13 weird things start going on and people [tape
14 irregularity] —
15 MR. SCHWARTZ: Imaginations take over.
16 MR. CHANDLER: Imagination will just
17 kill you.
By early June, Evan not only refused to allow Jackson back into his home, he began demanding that his ex-wife end the relationship with Jackson. Michael stopped talking to Evan after that, and Evan was not permitted to see or talk to Jordie for one month. By the time the tape was made on July 8, June and Michael had refused repeated requests from Evan to talk to him about Jordie’s welfare. It was at that time that Barry Rothman began to draw up legal documents.
Redemption, pages 84-85.
Hughes continued her manipulation of the tape.
When Mr. Schwartz asked Dr. Chandler [on the secret tape recording] if that helped his son [making allegations against Jackson], Dr. Chandler’s reply was, ‘That’s irrelevant to me (134). It’s going to be bigger than all of us put together. The whole thing is going to come crashing down on everybody and destroy everybody in sight (206-207). It will be a massacre if I don’t get what I want. (27)’”
The numbers represent the page on the official transcript where each sentence appears. The complete transcript of the Chandler – Schwartz tape can be viewed on this Web site.
Redemption, page 134.
Hughes presented a detailed discussion on the motions submitted by both parties in Jordie’s civil case against Jackson. Jackson had asked that the case be postponed for six years until the criminal statute of limitations on child abuse had expired. He told the court that he would have to invoke his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent if the case went forward. He also asked the court not to allow any evidence gathered by Jordie’s attorneys to be handed over to the district attorney.
Jackson lost all of the motions, which, according to Hughes, was an infringement on his Fifth Amendment rights. She then asked the following question.
What would you have done at this point with these same factors weighing out of your favor? Would you have continued with the litigation or settled the case as Michael Jackson chose to do?
Hughes is right. Anyone in Michael’s position would have settled. But she asked the wrong question. The real question is why Michael was in that pickle to begin with.
Jackson called huge press conferences and had his attorneys shout to the world that he was innocent and that he had been extorted. Why then, would such an innocent man want the case postponed for six years? Why would he tell the court that he would have to take the fifth if the case went forward? Why would he fight so hard to keep evidence from the district attorney, or to be placed under oath? (Why did he take the fifth in a 1994 case when asked about his relationship to young boys? Why did he pay another victim $2 million dollars just a few years later?)
Throughout her book Hughes professed that the evidence of molestation was weak and the evidence of extortion was strong. By December of 1993 Jackson’s career had taken a huge hit. Why let the effects linger for six years? If the evidence was all in Jackson’s favor, why not go to court, prove his innocence, and watch his career rebound to new heights? Hughes never raised those questions. And neither did anyone else who supported Jackson. They complained that his right to remain silence was violated, but they did not want to talk about why he felt compelled to invoke that right in the first place.
Redemption, page 143-144.
Here, Hughes discussed a lawsuit brought by Rothman against Jackson and Pellicano. She reported that one of Rothman’s allegations was that the Jackson camp had committed defamation by filing a false extortion charge against him. Hughes then described several of the documents filed in the case and even provided the legal name for each document.
Hughes had researched the lawsuit extensively, yet she failed to mention some key facts. Bert Fields, Jackson’s attorney, was also a defendant in the lawsuit. Fields’ defended against Rothman’s defamation charge by claiming that even if he did falsely accuse Rothman of extortion, he (Fields) was immune from liability because of a law that protects attorneys who are involved in legitimate disputes. Fields argued that he and Rothman were at all times engaged in legitimate negotiations to settle civil claims that the Chandlers might have against his client (Jackson). This was the same conclusion reached by the authorities and made public by a spokesperson for the district attorney. No mention of this in Hughes book.
Fields defense would have been hard for Hughes to miss; it was vigorously challenged, went up on appeal, and became a published opinion. (Discussed in greater detail in Part Three of All That Glitters.) Hughes, apparently, did not want anyone to know that Jackson’s former attorney agreed with Evan and Barry Rothman that the talks were legal negotiations, not an attempt to extort money.
If Hughes were a professional reporter I would say that she set out intentionally to misrepresent the truth. But I do not believe she did. I believe Hughes is a zealot who has convinced herself that she is doing God’s work. Her book is replete with biblical references, page after page of them. At times, especially near the end of the book, she preaches like a firebrand from the pulpit.
It is also obvious from Hughes book that Mary Fischer and Anthony Pellicano are her heroes, and that she borrowed heavily from the information they supplied. This combination of unreliable sources and holier-than-thou piety has resulted in a sort of blind faith belief in Jackson’s innocence.
As if that were not enough, Hughes added race to the mix.
In the Michael Jackson case so much energy was directed toward indicting him on the child molestation allegation that the extortion investigation received minimum attention and investigation. Some people call it black justice in white America. There was a time in America when a serious crime was only a crime when it was committed by someone black. That same crime committed by someone white would always end in a lesser punishment or acquittal. This includes murder, rape, robbery, stealing people’s land and even police brutality. There is no doubt that this practice caused a lot of anxiety in many Americans, especially in the black community. But this case also involved the word of a thirteen-year old white boy against an adult black male, totally denying Michael Jackson’s constitutional rights as well as ignoring proven state and federal laws that applied to other states.
Hughes is typical of the fanatic Jackson fan. They eliminate all evidence of his guilt and manipulate the evidence that exonerates his accusers. To them, Jackson has become a deity who must be protected at all costs.