Thursday 3 December 2009

Best-selling author to prove Jackson's innocence in TV documentary

In 2005 Aphrodite Jones was one of only two authors granted access to every day of the Michael Jackson trial. With seven New York Times bestsellers under her belt, her book looked set to fly off of shelves when it hit stores.

But when Jones came to write her book she hit wall after her wall. As one of the only journalists willing to admit that Jackson's 2005 trial had proven his innocence once and for all, Jones found that publishing houses were unwilling to give her a deal.

Thomas Mesereau, Jackson's defence lawyer, encountered the same problem. After the trial almost every major publishing house in the US approached him with lucrative book deals. When he maintained that Jackson was truly innocent and he wouldn't write anything to the contrary, every publishing house retracted its offer.

Jurors were offered book deals too. Two jurors claimed after the trial that they really thought Jackson was guilty, but only after they had signed six figure book deals. Other jurors claimed that they had been offered identical deals by the same publishing companies - but only if they too would change their opinion from innocent to guilty, casting enormous doubt over the sincerity of both rogue jurors' u-turns.

One juror, Ray Hultman, lost his publishing deal after it was revealed that his manuscript included portions plagiarised from an inaccurate Vanity Fair article. These included allegations that the former juror couldn't possibly verify, such as claims that Jackson had a detachable nose.

The book was co-written by Stacy Brown, a serial Jackson detractor who also co-wrote a book about the star with Bob Jones, Jackson's former aide. Jones was forced to admit on the stand in 2005 that portions of his book 'The Man Behind The Mask' had been fabricated by Brown in order to boost sales.

Hultman's crediblity was further damaged when it was revealed that after the verdict he had commented to one reporter, "The evidence just wasn't there. We couldn't have gone any other way." A strange comment from a man who would later insist that Jackson had been guilty.

The second juror, Eleanor Cook, also never published her book. Cook's granddaughter caused controversy when she announced during jury deliberations that the juror had already signed a book deal - and had agreed to it in principle before the trial had even begun. Ghostwriter Ernie Cariwel admitted on June 7th 2005 - five days before the verdict was reached in Jackson's trial - that he had already begun writing the book despite never having spoken to Cook.

Fellow jurors slammed the pair two months after the verdict, calling them 'traitors' and claiming that their allegations were 'ridiculous'.

As the publishing industry set about convincing the world that Jackson was guilty - printing books such as 'Be Careful Who You Love' by Diane Dimond, an author who has claimed that her sole aim in life is to destroy Michael Jackson and who writer Ishmael Reed once described as a 'Jackson stalker' - Jones began conducting deep research. Obtaining a special court order from Judge Rodney Melville, who presided over Jackson's trial, she was given access to all of the evidence and transcripts related to the case.

It took Jones days just to photocopy all of the court transcripts and a further six months to read them. The wealth of information needed for the book forced her to invest in a second computer. She used one to store all of her research and the other to store her writing. It took her a further six months to finish the manuscript.

'Michael Jackson Conspiracy' was explosive. Not only did it reveal all of the exculpatory evidence and testimony which the media had failed to present to the public, it also exposed deliberate media bias against Jackson and explained the motives behind it. The blurb described the book as follows:

"...A scathing indictment against the media for conspiring to distort, dehumanise and destroy Michael Jackson... Jones argues convincingly that the case against Jackson amounted to nothing more than a media made, tax paid scandal, and she makes an impassioned call to the public at large to think critically about, question the integrity of and demand truth in 'the news'."

Despite its sensational contents and in spite of her seven previous bestsellers, Jones was unable to convince any major publishing house to print the book. She was forced to self publish.

When I interviewed Aphrodite Jones shortly after the book's release she told me that she intended to make a documentary about Jackson's trial, describing her vision for a 'TV version of the book.' Yesterday she emailed to tell me that the project is moving forward.

"The one hour docu-show I did on Michael Jackson will air during my new series called 'True Crime'," she said. "It will begin in April 2010 on a new Discovery channel called Investigation Discovery (ID)."

The hour-long film will cover Jackson's 2005 trial, the media falsehoods which surrounded it and why Jackson 'died with a broken heart' after being 'divorced by America'. Jones insists that the 2005 trial proved Jackson's innocence and says the documentary will show this.

Jones is otherwise tight lipped about the show, saying that she can't elaborate without network approval. However, fans will be ecstatic that a factual documentary on Jackson will for once air on television, as opposed to the conveyer belt of nonsense that is usually paraded before the public.

Jacques Peretti - sit down and take notes.

Click here to read my June 2008 interview with Aphrodite Jones.