LOS ANGELES – Jury deliberations in Michael Jackson’s child-molestation trial were allegedly tainted by serious misconduct, including the smuggling of videotaped Court TV shows and secret communications with Michael Jackson’s mother, the New York Daily News has learned.

Author Stacy Brown revealed the jury room shenanigans he heard from two jurors who consulted him for help with tell-all books they plan to write.

“From what I’ve heard, the whole trial was a waste of taxpayers’ money and time. That jury would have acquitted him even if they had a videotape (of the alleged crime),” Brown said.

Brown said the two jurors detailed a laundry list of misconduct during the pop star’s trial:

• A juror sneaked a forbidden video of Court TV broadcasts featuring the prosecution-friendly Diane Dimond and Nancy Grace into the jury room, but a faulty VCR prevented a sneak peek.

• Juror Eleanor Cook says she smuggled a medical text into deliberations to show “Jackson fit the book’s definition of a pedophile to a T.” Other jurors later held it over her head to “intimidate” her into voting for acquittal, she says.

• Cook admits she frequently winked at Jackson’s mother, Katherine, in court and “exchanged wardrobe tips” with the pop idol’s mom, which resulted in them wearing the same colors on certain days. “She (Cook) intimated that she communicated with Katherine Jackson, in some manner, during the trial,” said Brown.

• Three female jurors were such rabid Jackson fans that they cooed “Not my Michael … ” when the panel discussed the felony charges against the pop star. Both Cook and juror Ray Hultman “said these three women formed a bond, and their minds were made up about one-third of the way through the trial,” Brown said.

Brown, a former Jackson family friend who co-authored “Michael Jackson: The Man Behind the Mask” with the singer’s former publicist Bob Jones, was asked by Cook and Hultman to help them write books about their time in the jury room.

Both Cook, 79, and Hultman, 62, say they now believe Jackson was guilty.

After talking to Cook and Hultman, Brown says their explanations for voting to acquit Jackson while believing he was guilty “just don’t add up,” and it’s “very unlikely” he’ll help either pen a book.

“If they really felt Michael Jackson was guilty, they had the opportunity to send that message with their vote,” said Brown. “They could have hung the jury – if they really believed a pedophile was going back into their community. … I think they are trying to sell books.”

Brown said he is especially suspicious of Cook’s motives because she fervently supported the verdict right after the trial and ridiculed the accuser’s mother for snapping her fingers at the jury.

And since the verdict, Cook has chatted with Jackson’s mother by phone, Brown said.

Bringing the Court TV video and the medical book into deliberations violates court rules because only trial evidence is allowed in deliberations and jurors are barred from considering outside materials, especially media reports.

Brown said Judge Rodney Melville never found out about the medical book, but a bailiff reported the video incident. Still, the judge did not boot the rule-breaking jurors.

According to Cook, the jury was so pro-Jackson they would have acquitted him within minutes if she hadn’t protested, Brown said. “Elly (Cook) claims there would have been no deliberation at all if she hadn’t said she thought he was guilty,” Brown said.

Hultman and another unidentified juror apparently joined Cook in an early vote, leaving the panel split 9-3 in favor of acquittal, Brown said.

He also said Hultman claims he ultimately went along with the “uneducated” majority because he didn’t think he could persuade them to reconsider. Cook has said she was “intimidated” into joining the crowd. It’s unclear what swayed the third juror.



(c) 2005, New York Daily News.

Visit the Daily News online at http://www.nydailynews.com/

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

AP-NY-08-04-05 2159EDT


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.