The Litigation – Part 2

The Civil Lawsuit

Parallel with the creditor’s claim in the Probate Court, Wade filed a civil lawsuit against Michael Jackson and two of his companies, MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures – also for monetary compensation.

The claim against Jackson as a natural person was dismissed relatively quickly, because one cannot sue someone who is deceased. Robson’s lawyers knew and acknowledged this too, they said they sued Jackson as a natural person as some sort of “placeholder” for Jackson’s Estate: in case Robson was successful in the Probate Court they would replace Jackson with his Estate in the civil complaint. As we have seen, Robson’s creditor’s claim in the Probate Court was dismissed.

Against the two companies Wade’s claim is that they had knowingly and deliberately “facilitated” his alleged sexual abuse and that MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures were ““the most sophisticated public child sexual abuse procurement and facilitation organization the world has known”. [1; paragraph 5]

However, when Wade’s mother, Joy Robson was deposed on September 30, 2016, she painted a very different picture of the events surrounding their interactions with the companies than the things that Wade alleges in his complaint. To be clear, it is not that Joy Robson deliberately testified against her son. In her deposition she very much goes out of her way to be supportive of Wade by re-evaluating certain events and using loaded language against Jackson (for example, every nice gesture by the star towards them is now interpreted as “grooming”), but when we look past that, in the main points, her story is essentially the same that she told in 2005 at Jackson’s trial. The problem for Wade is that that story is contradictory with his current narrative.

To best understand what Wade’s claims against the companies are and how they are contradicted by his mother, let’s see them one by one. 

The dance contest that Wade won in 1987 and the resulting meet-and-greet

The Robsons, who are originally from Brisbane, Australia, first met with Jackson in 1987 while the star was on tour in Australia. A Michael Jackson dance competition was held at a Target store in connection with the tour and the prize was to meet with Michael Jackson. Joy Robson entered her then 5-year-old son into the competition and Wade won in his category.

Let’s see what now Wade alleges about that meet-and-greet in his complaint.

“[Robson] alleges these “meet and greets” were purposely orchestrated by MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures as a sexual grooming mechanism to acquire minor sexual abuse victims for Michael Jackson, disguised as charitable events for minors.” [1; paragraph 11]

The first false claim in this paragraph is that these meet-and-greets were orchestrated by MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures. They were not – and the latter did not even exist yet at the time. They were orchestrated and sponsored by Target, Pepsi and CBS Records. Joy Robson testified to it at her deposition [2; page 34], but it is difficult to believe that Wade himself was not aware of it when he constructed the claims for his complaint in which he is trying to implicate Jackson’s companies. As shown in this chapter, from 2012 on Wade was in a very detailed e-mail correspondence with his mother about the events and circumstances around the relevant period of time. It is unlikely that he would not have asked his mother about this detail. Not only that, but in his 2005 trial testimony Wade himself mentioned regarding that 1987 dance contest that it was Target who was holding these dance competitions [3].

On contrary to Wade’s portrayal of this meet-and-greet as a deliberate plot “to acquire minor sexual abuse victims for Michael Jackson”, from his mother’s deposition testimony we learn that the meet-and-greet was an event where a lot of people were present [2; page 35]. Even Wade in his own deposition admits that they only had a few minutes to talk to Jackson [4; page 79]. According to Wade’s deposition, Jackson then invited him to dance on stage with him at one of his upcoming shows [4; page 80]. Wade said in his deposition that at the concert he did not spend any time with Jackson off stage, their only interaction was on the stage [4; page 80].

Their encounter would have ended there, if it was for Jackson (or his companies), but as Joy Robson testified, she had delivered a “thank you” note to Jackson’s hotel room a couple of days later and as a result Jackson invited them to his room and they had another meeting with the star, for about one and a half hours [2; page 38]. Although during that meeting Jackson politely told them to send him videos so that he could see the progress of Wade’s career [2; page 39], but he did not make any effort to actively keep in touch with them. In actuality, according to Joy’s testimony, although she did send Jackson letters and videos of Wade during the next few years, they never heard back from him [2; page 40-41]. The next time they met or even talked to Jackson again was more than two years later, in 1990, when, once again, it were the Robsons who sought contact with the star, not the other way around.

How does this make the meet-and-greets “a sexual grooming mechanism to acquire minor sexual abuse victims for Michael Jackson”, as Wade alleges?

When Wade constructed his story he was well aware of the real story of how they came in touch with Jackson and that it was his mother who contacted Jackson again. So the only conclusion can be that Wade deliberately lies and twists facts in his complaint in order to implicate Jackson’s companies and thus receive the monetary award he desires.

Meeting Jackson again in January 1990

Wade Robson’s allegation:

“[Robson] is informed and believes, and on that basis alleges that Ms. (Norma) Staikos was acting on behalf of MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures, as a “madam” or “procurer” of child sexual abuse victims for Michael Jackson. Although disguised as another charitable “meet and greet” between [Robson], his parents and Michael Jackson, this event was purposely orchestrated by Ms. Staikos, MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures as a further means for Michael Jackson to acquire another sexual abuse victim and grooming him and his parents for such.” [1; paragraph 12]

Norma Staikos was Jackson’s personal assistant at the time. Robson accuses her of being “a “madam” or “procurer” of child sexual abuse victims for Michael Jackson”, but let’s see the reality of that meeting as per Joy Robson’s deposition.

Joy says in her deposition that between 1987-1990, she had sent Jackson several letters about Wade and videos of him, hoping to get in touch with the star again, but all of those remained unanswered. Then, in January 1990, the Robson family traveled to the USA for Wade and Chantal to perform at Disneyland with the Johnny Young Talent School. Before leaving Australia, Joy Robson already tried to obtain contact information for Jackson, by calling Australian television channels and asking if they had any sort of contact for him. She got a number for TriStar Pictures, and then after some more rounds she eventually managed to obtain MJJ Productions’ phone number. While in the US, Joy managed to contact Norma Staikos who, at Joy’s request, arranged for the Robson family to meet Jackson at a recording studio. Jackson then invited the family to Neverland Ranch. [2; page 41-46]

According to her own story, it was Joy who initiated this contact with MJJ Productions (MJJ Ventures did not even exist at the time) and Norma Staikos – and her ultimate goal was, of course, to contact Michael Jackson. The companies and Staikos were incidental to that event and definitely not the initiators. It just happened that Joy was able to contact Jackson through MJJ Productions and Staikos.

How does that make Norma Staikos “a “madam” or “procurer” of child sexual abuse victims for Michael Jackson” and Jackson’s companies “child sexual abuse procurement and facilitation organization(s)”, as Wade tries to portray them in his lawsuit?

Certainly, Wade is aware of the true story. It was told several times in earlier testimonies and police interviews in 1993 and 2005, and he was also in a detailed e-mail correspondence with his mother about these events, to help him put together his story before he filed his complaint. It is clear that it was Joy Robson who “purposely orchestrated” the meeting, not Norma Staikos, MJJ Productions or MJJ Ventures. That Wade claims otherwise in his lawsuit seems to be a deliberate lie to try to implicate and slander the Jackson companies and Norma Staikos, because that is the way he can sue these companies for money.

The Jackson Companies’ sponsoring and/or hiring of Wade Robson and his mother

Wade Robson’s allegation:

“In order to arrange for their immigration to the United States, Michael Jackson had MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures hire [Robson] and his mother, and arranged for [Robson], his mother and sister to move permanently to California. [Robson] alleges this was done by Michael Jackson, MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures for the explicit purpose of allowing Michael Jackson access to [Robson] for sexual abuse.” [1; paragraph 23]

According to Joy Robson’s deposition, the idea of immigrating to the USA was her husband Dennis’s idea (“It was actually Dennis’s idea when we were here in the January (1990) — and we were at Disneyland. It was his idea then.” [2; page 83]). After their first January/February 1990 trip to Neverland, the second time that Joy and Wade returned to USA was in May 1990 to participate in an L.A. Gear commercial photo shoot with Michael Jackson. L.A. Gear paid for that visit, not any of Jackson’s companies [2; page 58-59].

Joy says that Jackson was excited about Wade’s talent and he said things like “Little one and — and I are going to rule the world” [2; page 84]. (“Little One” was Jackson’s nickname for Wade.) According to Joy, this made them think more seriously about immigrating with the hope that Jackson would help Wade’s career. She could not remember when she made the final decision (“perhaps after the February (1991) trip” [2; page 103]), although they had consulted a lawyer about their plans to immigrate before November 1990. Joy clearly stated that the reason they wanted to move to the US was to pursue Wade’s career in the entertainment industry and that it was what she wanted. She said: “You know, I — I believed that Wade had a future here, and I — I felt like he had gone as far as he could go in Australia. He really needed to be here.” [2; page 309]

The role of Jackson’s companies in all this was that when Joy eventually decided to immigrate in September 1991, the Robsons needed a sponsor and an employer in the USA. Joy Robson asked Jackson to help them with that, and Jackson instructed his office to do it. During Joy’s 2016 deposition, the companies’ lawyers brought up extracts from her 2005 testimony:

“And did you ask him to do that?” And you responded: “Yes, pretty much. Basically, I asked for help, so that was the only way we could stay, so yes.” [2; page 128]

(Emphasis added.)

Also quoted from Joy’s 2005 testimony:

“Did you feel like you owed him anything after he helped sponsor your family to stay in the U.S.?” And your response is: “No, not at all.” [2; page 129]

This goes against Wade’s narrative that Jackson and his companies brought him to the USA “for the explicit purpose of allowing Michael Jackson access to [Robson] for sexual abuse”. Jackson and his companies reacted to the expressed desire of the Robson family to have a career for Wade in dancing and choreography which could be better pursued in the USA than in Australia.

Moreover, the reality is that after the Robsons moved to the USA, Jackson did not even spend much time with them, including Wade. In 2005 Joy Robson testified that in the 14 years they had been living in the USA (1991-2005) they had spent only about four occasions at Neverland when Jackson was also there.

Thomas Sneddon (lead prosecutor in 2005): And then from that point, from September of 1991 up till, let’s just say, September 1993 – okay? – the time frame involved, you and your son spent a great deal of time with Michael Jackson, you were around him a lot, correct?

Joy Robson: I don’t think so.

Thomas Sneddon: You were not at the ranch on a number of occasions during 1991?

Joy Robson: My memory is in the entire time we’ve lived here since 1991, we’ve only been at the ranch with Michael on four occasions in 14 years.

Thomas Sneddon: Four occasions?

Joy Robson: Every other time we’ve been here without him.

Thomas Sneddon: Would that be the same for your son?

Joy Robson: Yes. [5]

(Emphasis added.)

In her 2016 deposition Joy also testified that between September 1991 (the date when they moved to the USA) and June/July 1993 (about the time when the Chandler allegations were made) they stayed at Neverland four or five times, but Jackson was only there once and that was during the June/July 1993 visit [2; page 140-141].

To be fair, Neverland was not the only place that Jackson could meet with the Robsons. They did spend some time with him at Jackson’s apartments in Westwood, Los Angeles and Century City, Los Angeles. According to Joy, Wade slept in those condos a couple of times while Jackson was there, but she also added that “sometimes there were others there, as well. It wasn’t just Wade there” [2; page 144]. When asked who else were there with Wade and Jackson, she names Emmanuel Lewis (who, by the way, was around 20 years old at the time), Jordan Chandler and “these two little boys that spent a lot of time with Michael. They lived in Ojai. I — I know one’s name was Anthony. I can’t remember what the other boy’s name was” [2; page 144-145]. She later added that they were brothers. Jackson had a young cousin named Anthony Jackson with whom he indeed hung out a lot, so it is possibly him.[a]

Joy also mentions one occasion when she, Wade and Chantal spent two nights with Jackson at the Las Vegas Mirage Hotel and when Wade slept in Jackson’s room [2; page 147-149] and one occasion when Jackson spent two nights at the Robson’s Hollywood condo in 1995 when he had an argument with his wife, Lisa Marie Presley and wanted to get away from her. On that occasion Wade and Jackson slept in the living room that Joy Robson could cross whenever she came down from her upstairs bedroom. [2; page 151-153]

Altogether these interactions remained occasional and sporadic despite of the Robsons now living in the USA. In actuality, in her deposition Joy Robson revealed that she had to be the one to pursue Jackson about calling Wade [2; page 308], putting him in projects such as his “Jam” music video in 1992, and that “Wade felt pushed aside a little bit” because Jackson would rather spend time with other kids, such as Brett Barnes and Macaulay Culkin [2; page 118-120].

Joy testified that one time she cut ties with Jackson for six months – and that was for Jackson not calling Wade from the Dangerous Tour when he promised him that he would (the tour took place between June 1992-November 1993). Wade also wanted to go on tour with Jackson, but the star would not take him. [2; page 97-99]

(Joy here goes out of her way to emphasize the fact that Jackson took Brett Barnes on the tour . Whatever she is trying to insinuate with that, the fact is that it was not only Brett Barnes who accompanied Jackson on that tour. The Cascio family also traveled with him, as well as three of his nephews Taj, Taryll and TJ. None of these people have ever accused Jackson of sexual molestation and in fact, all of them have consistently defended him. When Robson’s allegations became public on May 8, 2013, Brett Barnes tweeted: “I wish people would realise, in your last moments on this earth, all the money in the world will be of no comfort. My clear conscience will.” [6])

So the narrative that Jackson moved the Robsons to the USA for the explicit purpose of allowing Michael Jackson access to [Robson] for sexual abuse” makes little sense when he then hardly wanted to spend time with him and he “spent much of the time away”, as Joy stated in a 1995 interview [7] and Wade “felt pushed aside”.

The allegation that Jackson’s companies were “the most sophisticated public child sexual abuse procurement and facilitation organization(s) the world has known” is also outrageous because if that was the case it should have been a regularity for these companies to employ children like Wade, but his employment was a one-off, and specifically in answer to Joy Robson’s request to help them with their immigration.

Joy also stated that it was up to her to do everything in order to further Wade’s career and to survive in the USA. During Joy’s 2016 deposition a lawyer representing Jackson’s companies asked her about the 2011 Infinite Dance Cast podcast interview [8] that she had given in 2011:

Katherine Kleindienst: You also said: “I realized very early on that if we were going to make it here, it was going to be up to me. I couldn’t really rely on” — and you said, “Michael kind of lived in a bubble and had a different reality to ours. And so I was the one who had to find agents.” Do you remember that?

Joy Robson: Yes. (…) The funny part is Wade — Michael did find an agent for Wade, but it was CAA (Creative Artists Agency), and Wade was 7 years old and not known in this country. And CAA was not going to be any — and that’s why I said Michael lived in a bubble. He had no idea of anything outside of his realm. So — Wade wasn’t in that category for CAA. It would not have been beneficial for him to be with CAA.

Katherine Kleindienst: Right.

Joy Robson: Michael tried to help, but he just didn’t understand what needed to be done.

Katherine Kleindienst: And when you were asked if you really had to manage Wade’s career, you responded: “I did. I did everything.” Is that right?

Joy Robson: I did what I had to do to — to make things happen. [2; page 115-116]

By the way, Wade appeared shortly in three Michael Jackson videos (Black or White – 1991, Jam and Heal The World – both 1992) and he was paid around $200 each for Jam and Heal the World and $500 for Black or White. That would obviously not pay their bills and facilitate their continued stay in the USA.  “Nobody pays bills with money from videos”, said Joy in her deposition. She said they survived on their own reserves. [2; page 121-122]

Wade is most likely aware of all of the above considering his detailed e-mail correspondence with his mother while putting together his allegations. That he claims that Jackson’s companies arranged their immigration to the USA in some evil plot with the explicit purpose of Jackson having access to him to molest him, looks like a deliberate misrepresentation of what actually happened – and that in order to be able to sue Jackson’s companies for money.

The Charli Michaels story

In paragraph 22 of his Fourth Amended Complaint Wade Robson tells a story which is based on a witness statement by Charli Michaels from the 1993-94 investigation. Charli Michaels was a female security guard who worked at Neverland in 1990-92. She is one of those disgruntled ex-employees who, in the wake of the 1993 Chandler allegations, went to the tabloid media to sell negative stories about Jackson. She was paid money by the tabloid television show Hard Copy (hosted by Diane Dimond) for a story that featured on three episodes of the show. She also filed court documents in connection with a lawsuit filed by five other former guards against Jackson for unfair dismissal. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed by the Court.

The relevant story by Charli Michaels that Robson uses in his lawsuit goes as follows [1; paragraph 22].

The problem is that this is a false story and by all signs Wade put it in his lawsuit while knowing that it is a false story.

That on Mother’s Day 1990 Charli Michaels found Joy Robson crying and upset at Neverland is true, but the rest of the story is an invention by Michaels. Joy already testified about it in 2005. She said that she was upset and crying because she could not find Wade all day and it was Mother’s Day, so it hurt her that Wade would rather spend the day with Jackson than with her. [5]

However, Charli Michaels put a twist on this story (possibly because she held a grudge against Jackson’s personal assistant, Norma Staikos who was the one who directly fired her).

She claimed that Joy was upset “because she was restricted from seeing [Wade] while he was in the company of Michael Jackson. [Joy] said that Norma Staikos had told her that Michael Jackson and [Wade] were rehearsing a dance routine in the theater at Neverland, and that [Joy] was not to disturb them during the rehearsal. [Joy] also told Ms. Michaels that Ms. Staikos had prohibited [Joy] from sleeping in the main house at Neverland while Wade was staying in Michael Jackson’s room.” [1; paragraph 22]

Joy’s own version is different, and in her 2016 deposition she repeated the same story that she told in 2005: she was crying and upset because it was Mother’s Day and could not find Wade and because her son spent the day with Jackson rather than with her. She does not claim that Norma Staikos restricted her from seeing her son while he was with Jackson. In actuality, her story is contradictory to Charli Michaels’ story. Michaels claimed that Staikos told Joy where Wade and Jackson were (rehearsing in the theater), but she also told her not to disturb them. In contrast, Joy said she did not find them all day (“I’d spent the whole day looking for him” and “I would spend my time on a golf cart driving around the ranch looking for them” [2; page 67-69]) Obviously she would not have done that if she had known that they were in the theater.

It is also not true that Joy was prohibited from sleeping in the main house at Neverland while Wade was staying in Jackson’s room. In her 2005 testimony Joy said that she would typically stay in the “rose bedroom” during their visits at Neverland. It is in the main house, the same house where Jackson’s bedroom is. She also stated in her 2005 testimony that she was free to walk in and out of Jackson’s bedroom while at Neverland and Jackson never put any restrictions on that. She stated that she could go to Jackson’s bedroom “at any time I wanted” and that she never got the feeling that anybody was trying to keep her out of Jackson’s room. [5]

It is clear why Wade would rather want to embrace Charli Michaels’ version of the story than his mother’s: because, unlike his mother’s version, it involves Norma Staikos and that element is what he really needed from this story to try to implicate Jackson’s companies in a lawsuit against them. The involvement of this false version of the story in his lawsuit is very disingenuous, because Wade exchanged e-mails about this very subject with his mother in February 2016 where his mother told him that this version of the story was not true (“Wow. None of that is true” [9; page 1]). In his deposition on December 27, 2016 Wade was asked about that e-mail, but he claimed that he did not remember it, although he wrote it only a couple of months before his deposition [4; page 68].

The fact that Wade put the untrue, Charli Michaels version of the story in his Fourth Amended Complaint that was filed in September 2016, seven months after his mother had told him in an e-mail that this version of the story was not true, once again, shows him as an opportunistic person who does not have any qualms about being dishonest in court documents and to embrace untrue stories if they serve him.[b] Keep that in mind when we discuss stories by other “witnesses” with a highly questionable credibility – such as Blanca Francia or Mark Quindoy – which now Wade embraces.

The previous chapter: The Probate Court Case (Creditor’s Claim)

The next chapter: The legal side

Footnotes:

[a] Joy calls him “Latino”. As a child Anthony Jackson could be mistaken for being Latino by the looks, but he is indeed Michael Jackson’s cousin. When Anthony was only seven years old his father died and Michael Jackson stepped in to take care of him and his family.

[b] There is another element of Charli Michaels’s story regarding Wade that is not mentioned in Wade’s complaint, but he now embraces according to his deposition [4; page 150]. In what appears to be a pretty cliché-filled story, Michaels claimed that on Mother’s Day in 1990 she went to the theater to serve lunch to Wade and Jackson and when she entered she was right on time to witness Jackson allegedly grabbing Wade’s crotch while teaching him to dance. She claimed that both were doing Jackson’s signature “euogh, euogh” scream as Jackson clutched the boy’s genitals. Michaels never mentioned these allegations to anyone until in 1993 the media was willing to pay money for such stories – and she was indeed paid by Hard Copy. When she allegedly witnessed this incident she did not go to authorities, nor did she go to Wade’s mother to report it. She claimed that she was scared to lose her job if she reported what she had allegedly observed. However, she never reported or mentioned the story to anyone even after she was fired by Jackson in March 1992. It only surfaced as the tabloid media paid money for such stories about Jackson in 1993. Considering that Charli Michaels’s story and credibility is called into doubt even by Wade’s mother, of course, this element of the story is also highly suspect of being an invention by Michaels. Wade unequivocally denied this story in his 2005 trial testimony [3]. According to Joy’s 2016 deposition, at the time Wade told her that he had spent the day sleeping, after him and Jackson were playing video games the night before [2; page 71-72]. And now, in the wake of his allegations, Wade told his mother that him and Jackson spent the day in the so called “secret rooms” at Neverland [2; page 68]. No word about any theater in that version, either. By the way, the “secret rooms”, that the tabloid media tried to turn into something sinister, were so “secret” and so “sinister” that Jackson once told Joy Robson to go and get some money from the “secret room” inside his bedroom, while Jackson was not at the property [2; page 70-79].

Continued with
The Legal Side

Sources:

[1] Wade Robson’s Fourth Amended Complaint – see as an attachment to Notice of Plaintiff Wade Robson’s Motion to Amend the Third Amended Complaint; Memorandum of Points and Authortities (filed on September 9, 2016)
https://themichaeljacksonallegationsblog.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/2016-09-09-robson-fourth-and-third-amended-complaint-motion-to-amend-third-amended-complaint.pdf

[2] Desposition Transcript of Lynette Joy Robson (September 30, 2016)
https://themichaeljacksonallegationsblog.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/joy-robson-deposition-extracts.pdf

[3] Wade Robson’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (May 5, 2005)
https://themichaeljacksonallegationsblog.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/court-transcripts.zip

[4] Desposition Transcript of Wade Jeremy William Robson (December 12, 2016)
https://themichaeljacksonallegationsblog.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/wade-robson-deposition-extracts.pdf

[5] Joy Robson’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (May 6, 2005)
https://themichaeljacksonallegationsblog.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/court-transcripts.zip

[6] Brett Barnes’ Twitter post (May 8, 2013)
https://twitter.com/IAmBrettBarnes/status/332153562991837184

[7] Shirley Broun – An Australian family’s courage to beat the odds (Variety Today, 1995)
http://onwiththeshow.com.au/the-inside-story-on-life-in-michael-jacksons-shadow-1995/

[8] Nick and Desiree’s Infinite Dance Cast – Interview with Joy Robson (July 2011); the quoted parts are at 14:25, 15:25 and 20:15
https://themichaeljacksonallegationsblog.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/07-joy_robson_interview_eps_11.m4a

[9] E-mails between Wade Robson and others, mainly his mother, between 2012-2016
https://themichaeljacksonallegationsblog.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/2016-12-27-robsonemailswatermark.pdf

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