On August 17, 1993 the Los Angeles police department opened an investigation against Michael Jackson based on an allegation that he had sexually molested a 13-year-old boy called Jordan Chandler. In the first section of this document we will go through the Chandler case.
Meet the Chandler Family
Michael Jackson met Jordan Chandler in May 1992, after the star’s car broke down while he was driving on Wilshire Boulvard, Los Angeles and he went to a nearby car-rental agency that was owned by the boy’s step-father, David Schwartz. Schwartz called his wife, June Chandler to tell her of the illustrious client and to ask to bring her 12-year-old son, Jordan (born January 11, 1980) who was a big fan of the entertainer. Schwartz offered Jackson a deal: he would rent him a car for free if Jackson would agree to take Jordan’s phone number and call him. Jackson accepted the deal, kept his promise and called the boy a couple of days later. From then on a friendship developed between the star and the family on the phone. According to the Chandlers’ recollections between May 1992 and January 1993 they talked to Jackson on the phone about 8-10 times, so approximately once a month.
Jordan’s biological father, Evan Chandler was divorced from Jordan’s mother since 1985. Evan had a dental practice in Beverly Hills, but he was also an aspiring screenwriter. According to June’s 2005 testimony, before Michael Jackson came into their life, Evan did not spend much time with his son, he was rather busy writing screenplays. In August 1993 June even sued Evan for $68,000 in back child support though later she retracted this.
There are also several accounts of Evan Chandler having a violent temper and an abusive nature. For example, in September 1993, while they were discussing their lawsuit against Jackson in their civil lawyer Larry Feldman’s office, Evan hit David Schwartz. Even Evan’s loyal brother Ray Chandler had to admit to this in an article that he wrote for his website in 2005, although he tried to downplay it as a “one punch fight” in the heat of an argument about the settlement money that they had not even received yet. (Details later in this document.) In a lawsuit that Schwartz later filed against Evan he mentioned more incidents when Evan allegedly physically had attacked him, and in a 1994 deposition June Chandler mentioned an incident where an argument between Evan and his second wife Nathalie had become physical (in some writings the pseudonym “Monique” is used for Nathalie). According to another source, June herself left Evan “because of his temper”.
More than a decade later Evan’s physical violence peaked in an attack against his son, Jordan. According to court documents, on July 6, 2005 Evan Chandler “struck [Jordan] on the head from behind with a twelve and one-half pound weight and then sprayed his eyes with mace or pepper spray and tried to choke him”. A judge later “found that the weight could have caused serious bodily injury or death”. On August 5, 2005 Jordan obtained a temporary restraining order against his father, though his request for a final restraining order was dismissed. This was not the end of Evan and Jordan Chandler’s legal disputes. On July 24, 2005 Evan Chandler filed a lawsuit against Jordan, which had to do with Jordan’s trust fund where the money from the settlement from this case was put. The case was dismissed in 2007.
Journalist Diane Dimond (whom Ray Chandler’s book, All That Glitters describes as Evan Chandler’s “closest ally” in the media) reported after Evan’s death in 2009 that Evan had bipolar disorder.
Evan Chandler Turns on Michael Jackson
This was the family dynamic that Jackson entered into as a new friend. In February 1993 he invited June, Jordan and Jordan’s younger sister to visit his Neverland ranch for the first time. From then on the family frequently visited Neverland, Jackson’s Century City condo and went with him on trips in and outside of the USA. According to June Chandler’s 2005 testimony Jackson also stayed over at her house a couple of times.
Jackson had not met Evan until May 20, 1993. That was the first time when they ran into each other in June’s house. Jackson invited Evan to his Century City condo the next day, then Evan invited the star to spend the weekend in his house with his side of the family (his second wife and their two children) and Jordan on May 22-23. Then Evan invited Jackson again to spend Memorial Day Weekend with them on May 28-30.
Evan later claimed that by May 28-30 he had “suspicions” of Jackson sexually molesting Jordan. This alleged suspicion, however, did not stop him from placing Jackson in his son’s room to sleep.
In Ray Chandler’s book one reason given for Evan’s “suspicions” was the huge amount of gifts that Jackson bought for Jordan and which – according to Evan – were “inappropriate” for Jordan’s age: they were plastic army men and other toys which, according to Evan, were fit for younger children.
Another sign of sexual abuse, according to Evan, was that Jackson and Jordan enjoyed each other’s company too much, played together and Evan felt left out. “Michael and Jordie had been off in their own little world all day, as if Evan didn’t exist” – writes Ray Chandler in his book. According to the book: “It should have been a dead giveaway,” Evan recalled weeks later, when Jordie came walking in the house that night wearing tight black pants, white socks, black loafers and a black fedora, and Michael came walking in right behind him wearing the same riling. Or when they ran off into the living room together after dinner and closed the door behind them, leaving me to work alone on the history paper. Or that Michael never once called Jordie by name, referring to him instead by affectionate nicknames like ‘Applehead’ and ‘Doo Doo Head.’” (Note: Jackson called those names a lot of people, including his own children.)
How toys for younger children, playing together, enjoying each other’s company, silly nicknames, and Jordan dressing the same way as his favourite pop star who also happened to be his friend, is a sign of sexual abuse or a sexual relationship is never explained.
In actuality, according to Ray Chandler’s book Evan asked Jordan that weekend whether the relationship between him and the star was sexual, to which Jordan said: “That’s disgusting! I’m not into that.”
It is clear that Evan began to grew jealous of the friendship between Jackson and his son. Some other things also happened that weekend. One was that Evan asked Jackson to build an addition to his house, which Jackson declined. Evan also wanted Jackson to help him with his screenwriting career and make him a partner in his movie company, but the star was not willing to do that either. That is when Evan suddenly started “suspecting sexual abuse” by the star.
There is one another noteworthy story in the Chandler book about that Memorial Day Weekend. According to it, one morning Jackson complained about a terrible headache. Using that opportunity Evan drugged Jackson with the help of his anesthesiologist friend Mark Torbiner. Evan claims they gave the star Toradol which is a non-narcotic equivalent to Demerol. The book claims that then the star showed drunk-like symptoms: “he was acting weird, babbling incoherently and slurring his speech”. After a while the entertainer began to sober up, and was in a somewhat coherent but still uninhibited condition. Evan decided to take advantage of the situation to ask him questions about his sexuality, whether he was gay. Jackson answered that he was not. According to the book, Jackson did not feel well and remained in bed all day – and despite of the later claim that Evan was suspicious of Jackson molesting Jordan, he put the entertainer to sleep in his two sons’ bedroom.
It has to be noted, that in her autobiography entitled “Shockaholic”, actress Carrie Fisher described both Evan Chandler and his anesthesiologist as two of those shady Hollywood doctors who abused medications. (Fisher was a patient of Evan Chandler around that time.) So it remains questionable whether they really gave Jackson Toradol that day or something else, and what was their real intention with it.
Evan Chandler Starts Plotting
On Father’s Day (June 20) Jordan refused to call his father, which prompted Evan to threaten June and Jordan: “Let me tell you something, June. He better call me, and it better be soon, or you’re all going to be sorry. You know me. I’ve had enough!”
He also left a threatening message on June’s answering machine on July 7 in which he said: “June, make sure you play this message for Michael and Jordie. All three of you are responsible for what is going on. No one is a neutral party. Since Jordie has repeatedly refused to return my phone calls, this will be my last voluntary attempt to communicate. I will be at your house at San Lorenzo this Friday. Julv 9. at 8:30 in the morning. Take my word for it, there is nothing else any of you has to do that is more important than being at this meeting.”
Evan attributed Jordan’s refusal to talk to him to Jackson’s influence on the boy, as if Evan’s mania, threats, temper tantrums and weird sexual suggestions and questions would not be enough to alienate a child.
On July 8, 1993 David Schwartz, June Chandler’s then husband, recorded three telephone conversations he had with Evan Chandler which are revealing about the fact that Evan was plotting against Jackson before Jordan even allegedly “confessed to him” about sexual abuse.
Evan hired a lawyer, Barry K. Rothman whom he describes on the tapes as the “the nastiest son of a bitch”, who wanted to “destroy everybody in sight in any devious, nasty, cruel way that he can do it”, who wanted to “humiliate as many people as he can” and who was “hungry for the publicity”. Once again: this was all before Jordan allegedly “confessed” to Evan about sexual abuse.
But was not Evan Chandler just a desperate father who wanted to communicate a legitimate concern to his ex-wife and Jackson, but was not heard, so he had to resort to desperate measures?
When we discuss Evan’s use of these allegations to make money and his abandonment of his other two children, you will see that a portrayal of him as a concerned parent could not be further from the truth. Additionally having concerns alone would not explain elaborate plans to destroy and humiliate people (and notice the plural – apparently Evan does not only talk about Jackson) in “any devious, nasty, cruel way” while his son himself denies any wrongdoing by Jackson.
Rather than a concern for his son, it seems to be more about Evan’s hurt ego as reflected on the tapes when Evan says: “[T]o tell you the truth, Dave, it would be a lot easier for me and a lot more satisfying to see everybody get destroyed like they’ve destroyed me, but it would be a lot easier.” In the conversation Evan does not resent only Jackson, but also June and even Jordan for what they have – in Evan’s mind at least – done to him.
And what was it that they have done to him? Evan says on the tape: “Let me put it to you this way, Dave. Nobody in this world was allowed to come between this family of June, me and Jordy. That was the hard [tape irregularity] be the opposite. That’s evil.”
On the tape Evan does not go into specifics about his plan to take down Jackson, but that there is a plan already (before Jordan even allegedly “confessed” to him) is clear: “If I go through with this, I win big time. There’s no way that I lose. I’ve checked that out inside out.”
“I will get everything I want, and they will be totally — they will be destroyed forever. They will be destroyed. June is gonna lose Jordy. She will have no right to ever see him again.” and “Michael’s career will be over.”
At one point Schwartz asks Evan quite bluntly whether Evan suspects sexual molestation (“Do you think that he’s fucking him?”) to which Evan says he has no idea and then proceeds to saying he was told by his lawyer not to say anything to anyone to not “blow it”.
Other times on the tape Evan alludes to a “relationship” between Jordan and Jackson: “What I’m telling you is that Jordy and Michael are users. They had — they were gonna — they had their own relationship. They want to carry it out the way they want to carry it out. They don’t want anybody getting in the way [tape irregularity] — least resistance, and that’s the way they’re going.”
Why did he think that? Because they would not talk to him: “There’s no reason why they would have to cut me out unless they – unless they need me to be away so they can do certain things which I don’t think are good to be doing.”
Evan then goes on to complain that Jackson stopped calling him: “There was no reason why he had to stop calling me. He could have called me. In fact, Dave, I – you ask Jordy. I sat in the room one day, and I talked to Michael and told him exactly what I want out of this whole relationship, what I want [tape irregularity], okay, so he wouldn’t have to figure me out. And one of things I said is we always have to be able to talk to each other. That’s the rule, okay, because I know that as soon as you stop talking weird things start going on and people [tape irregularity] –
Dave Schwartz: Imaginations take over.
Evan Chandler: Imagination will just kill you.”
When Schwartz asks Evan to go with him to a “shrink” to talk it over, Evan refuses saying that “the thing has already been set in motion” and that “it’s out of my hands”. This makes little sense because Evan pretty much pulled the strings and was in control during the formation of these allegations. What was already unstoppably “set in motion” and why when his son himself was adamant at the time that he had not been molested and Evan only had his imaginations?
Evan rants further against Jackson: “Michael Jackson — Michael Jackson’s career, Dave. This man is gonna be humiliated beyond belief. You’ll not believe it. He will not believe what’s going to happen to him. Beyond his worst nightmares. [tape irregularity] not sell one more record. That’s for sure.” But then he adds “it doesn’t have to happen if they show up tomorrow”.
All through the conversation Evan rants about Jackson, June AND Jordan alike for what they have supposedly done to him: “Because June and Jordy and Michael have forced me to take it to the extreme to get their attention. How pitiful, pitifuckingful they are to have done that.”
“So it’s their fault. Everything’s their fault, one hundred percent, and the reason it’s their fault [tape irregularity] try to communicate, and they have time after time frustrated my attempts to talk by telling me, “Go fuck yourself.” And when you do that to somebody, consistently, you drive them to do something [tape irregularity]. I’m not an evil person. I don’t want to do this.”
Evan also tries to play on Schwartz’s jealousy of Jackson to get him on his side: “What harm would it be to you, what harm would it be to your relationship to June, if Michael wasn’t around anymore? So if he wasn’t around anymore what do you think she’s going to do? She’s going to come back to you. She doesn’t need you anymore. She doesn’t even want you around anymore.”
Later Evan further divulges his plan to Schwartz: “There are other people involved that are waiting for my phone call that are intentionally going to be in certain positions – [tape irregularity]. I paid them to do it. They’re doing their job. I gotta just go ahead and follow through on the time zone. I mean the time set out. Everything is going according to a certain plan that isn’t just mine. There’s other people involved –“
Evan threatens to set the plan in motion if Jackson, June and Jordan don’t appear at the meeting on July 9: “But if they are there, it’s going to be far better than if they’re not — I mean, they’re going to have a chance to make things a lot better if they’re there. My instructions were to kill and destroy [tape irregularity], I’m telling you. I mean, and by killing and destroying, I’m going to torture them, Dave. Because that’s what June has done to me. She has tortured me –“
The next day, on July 9, the meeting Evan demanded on the tapes did not take place. However, Schwartz and June Chandler took the tapes to Anthony Pellicano, a private investigator working for Jackson’s lawyer, Bert Fields. Pellicano then met with Jordan without Jackson being present, and asked him very specific questions about whether he had ever been molested or inappropriately touched by the entertainer. The boy’s answer to each and every question was that nothing inappropriate had ever been done to him by Jackson. According to Pellicano, Jordan also said that his father only wanted money.
Jordan Chandler “Confesses”
On July 11, Jordan was sent to his father for a one-week visitation but at the end of the week Evan Chandler refused to return the boy to his mother.
On July 14, Evan Chandler and his lawyer Barry Rothman contacted Dr. Mathis Abrams, a Beverly Hills psychiatrist, and presented him with a one-sided, heavily loaded description of Jackson and Jordan’s relationship. In reply, on July 16, without having met either the child or the accused, just based on what Evan and Rothman had told him, Abrams sent Rothman a two-page letter in which he stated that “reasonable suspicion would exist that sexual abuse may have occurred”. It has to be noted that during their July 14 discussion Abrams did urge Evan to bring the child to him for an evaluation, but Evan refused. All he needed from Dr. Abrams was this “blind” letter that he could then use as a “negotiation” tool with his ex-wife June and with Michael Jackson.
In actuality, at that point Jordan still denied having been molested by Jackson. According to the Chandlers’ story his “confession” would come on July 16, conveniently on the day when Evan was scheduled to return him to his ex-wife. According to the Chandlers’ story, Evan sedated Jordan for a minor dental procedure (pulling a baby tooth) with the help of his anesthesiologist and friend, Mark Torbiner (the same person who also participated in the suspicious drugging of Jackson on Memorial Day Weekend). After Jordan emerged from the sedation Evan started pressuring him to “confess” and corroborate his “suspicions” that Michael Jackson had sexually molested him. The boy refused. Then Evan started to blackmail him with lies and threats against his friend, Michael Jackson. First Evan claimed he had bugged Jordan’s bedroom, but Jordan remained “silent, seemingly unimpressed” and “sensing this, Evan quickly changed tack”. Then he tried to cajole Jordan by telling him that being bisexual was not only OK but was “sorta cool, in a way”. That didn’t work either, Jordan still would not say that Jackson was sexual him.
Then Evan’s threats against Jackson became more direct and more aggressive: “I’m going to give you one last chance to save Michael. If you lie to me, then I’m going to take him down in front of the whole world, and it’ll be all your fault because you’re the one person who could have saved him.”
Jordan by this time, of course, knew what his father would consider “the truth” and what would he consider a “lie”, since Evan made that very clear. Ray Chandler writes in his book: “In his heart, Evan already knew the truth; he didn’t need Jordie to confirm it.” In other words Evan had a fixed, preconceived idea that Jackson had molested his son and he would only accept confirmation from Jordan as “the truth”. Everything else would be considered a “lie” and would result in Evan acting to “taking down” the entertainer. And this is when Jordan, after pleading with his father not to hurt Jackson, allegedly, gave in:
“Okay. What’s the question?”
“Did Michael touch your penis?”
Jordie hesitated. Then, almost inaudibly, he whispered “Yes.”
Evan would press no further. He had heard all he needed to hear. He reached out and hugged his son, and Jordie hugged back, tight.
“We never talked about it again,” Evan later told the L.A. district attorney. To Evan, the details didn’t matter. “The prison walls had cracked and I was confident the rest would take care of itself.”
After all these threats and blackmailing Jordan “confesses” with an almost inaudible “yes” and we are to believe that Evan doesn’t have any further questions? Supposedly his son just confessed that he had been molested but his father is not interested in details, such as when, where, how, how many times and exactly what happened, under what circumstances was his son’s penis touched by another man? In actuality, Evan later tells the Los Angeles DA that “we never talked about it again”. It would only make sense if Evan knew there were no details to be told. It also seems to be an attempt on Evan’s part to avoid suspicion that he coached his son.
All the “details” would later coalesce when we hear about the masturbation, mutual masturbation and oral sex claims but those “details” only surfaced after Jordan spent more time in his father’s care and in the office of Evan’s attorney, Barry Rothman, a person that Evan himself described in his taped phone conversation with David Schwartz as the “nastiest son of a bitch”. Rothman’s secretary at the time, Geraldine Hughes later said in an interview: “I really believe that the whole thing was plotted and planned and the words were given to him [Jordan Chandler] to say because I actually witnessed the 13 year old in my attorney’s office without any supervision of his parents and he was kind of snuck in there, it was like no one in the office knew he was in there. He was behind closed doors with my attorney for several hours, and I kind of believe that is where he was being told what to say.”
The story about July 16 is the Chandlers’ own story about Jordan’s alleged confession, and even if we went by this version of the events, the way Jordan was coerced and threatened into a “confession” would make these allegations very problematic.
However, there are reasons to doubt the claim that Jordan “confessed” anything at all on July 16. Namely the fact that Evan Chandler, while described as desperate to convince June and David Schwartz that Jackson had molested Jordan, never mentioned Jordan’s alleged confession to them in the next few weeks. All he used to try to convince them was Dr. Abrams’s letter. Why would he “forget” to mention the most important element, Jordan’s own confession? Evan’s explanation in the hindsight was that he did not want to betray the boy’s trust, but that makes little sense considering the fact that he did not have any problem with betraying his son on other occasions, plus he already claimed to June that Jackson had allegedly molested Jordan, basing his claim on Dr. Abrams’ letter.
According to Ray Chandler’s book June kept asking Jordan about his father’s allegations during that period and even told him that she would help them punish Jackson if he would confirm what his father claimed, but Jordan refused to do so. The confirmation would finally come on August 11, when Jordan called his mother and told her about his allegations on the phone – with Evan standing next to him. June then requested to talk to the boy alone, but Evan refused to let them.
Consider the fact that initially Evan should have returned Jordan to his mother on July 16. To invent in the hindsight that Jordan “confessed” to him that day about having allegedly been molested by Michael Jackson, would be a good way for Evan to justify why he did not and avoid legal action.
Evan Chandler’s Monetary Demands
Between July 11 and August 16, 1993 Evan Chandler did not only work on making his son “confess” that he had allegedly been sexually abused by Michael Jackson, but he also used those allegations to try to extort money out of Jackson. Although he was very sensitive to the word “extortion” – in Ray Chandler’s book they prefer to use the word “negotiations” instead. Whatever you call it, this is how it went.
Evan first tried to get a meeting with Jackson alone. Jackson would only agree to a meeting if his lawyer or private investigator could also attend. At the time the Schwartz tape was already delivered to him, so he was aware that Evan was up to something. The telephone conversation between Evan and Jackson is described as follows in All That Glitters:
“I just want to find out what’s going on between you two,” Evan explained. “You don’t need a lawyer. We can work this out ourselves.”
Michael wouldn’t budge: Pellicano or Fields had to attend.
“We may talk about some embarrassing things for both of you,” Evan cautioned.
“Anything you say to me, you can say to Bert,” Michael insisted.
“But I don’t think anyone else should hear these things. I don’t want you to get in trouble. I just…” Click.
This phone call was a turning point for Evan. “I understood that a man in Michael’s position needed lawyers for everything, but this was not business, not to me. I really thought we could work it out if we could get all the lawyers out of the picture, and I thought Michael would want that too. If I wasn’t bringing a lawyer, why did he need one?”
The meeting took place on August 4 at the Westwood Marquis Hotel. Present were Michael Jackson, Anthony Pellicano (the PI of Jackson’s lawyer Bert Fields), Evan and Jordan Chandler. On seeing Jackson Evan gave Jackson an affectionate hug, which is certainly strange from a father who later claimed that his son had just confessed to him about having been sexually abused by the man. Then Evan reached into his pocket, pulled out Abrams’s letter and began reading passages from it.
From that Jackson could certainly understand what he was accused of, but Evan made sure not to say that in his own words and directly, so that he could not be sued for slander later. Evan already alluded to why he was doing that in the taped phone conversation with Schwartz on July 8. There he said that in the meeting that he demanded for July 9, instead of talking in his own words he would rely on paper to avoid saying “anything that could be used against me”. Although that meeting eventually did not take place, the August 4 meeting followed a similar choreography.
According to the Chandlers’ book, then Evan brought up an offer that Pellicano supposedly had made to him a couple of days before about assisting his screenwriting career. Pellicano denied making the offer and it became very clear that Jackson was not willing to offer him anything. According to the Chandler book, “frustrated by Pellicano’s attitude, and Michael’s apparent condoning of it” Evan then told the entertainer that he knew what he had done to Jordan and that the boy had confirmed it. The book claims “Evan then asked his son to confirm that he had, and the boy nodded affirmatively”, to which Jackson looked straight into Jordan’s eyes and said: “I didn’t do anything.”
Pellicano’s account about Jordan’s attitude in that meeting differs. He said that when Evan read Abrams’s letter and got to the part about sexual molestation, Jordan “put his head down and then looked up at Jackson with a surprised expression, as if to say “I didn’t say that.”
After the meeting, Pellicano alone was invited to meet with Barry Rothman and Evan at Rothman’s office and there they made it clear what they wanted: $20 million dollars in exchange for not making sexual abuse allegations against Jackson.
Pellicano apparently wanted to record them on tape as they were negotiating for money (and indeed, he did), so on August 9 he came back with a counteroffer of $1 million to fund three screenplays written by Evan and Jordan. Later however it became clear that he was not seriously bargaining when after Evan’s turning down of the $1 million, Pellicano next made a $350,000 offer that seemed to be mocking them. “Barry couldn’t believe his ears. Pellicano was completely ignoring the rules of the game. Barry started at twenty million, Pellicano had countered with one million, surely the next number should be somewhere in between”, Ray Chandler complains in his book. According to the Chandlers’ book, Rothman then suggested to Pellicano “that Evan might be willing to take the original million dollar offer if Pellicano was willing to renew it”, but Pellicano refused: “It’s never going to happen,” the investigator insisted”. According to the Chandlers’ book, Pellicano then kept “refusing to compromise on what would amount to chump change to Jackson”, making it very clear that he wasn’t seriously looking for a deal.
It is clear that Jackson had plenty of opportunities to pay off the Chandlers and to stop them from going to authorities and the public, had he really wanted to, because the Chandlers admittedly wanted nothing more than being paid off. However, he refused to do so. Ray Chandler literally brags in his book about how Jackson could have avoided these allegations if had he paid them off:
“Fields [Jackson’s lawyer] and Pellicano already knew Evan was willing to negotiate. Why not pay him off and nip the nightmare in the bud while you’ve got the opportunity? Especially when you know your man is guilty of sleeping with little boys, at least. Not only do you avoid a civil suit, but also, more important, you buy your way around authorities by removing their star witness. Ten, twenty, thirty million? Money’s no object. The deal could be a fait accompli within hours. And if it doesn’t work, you can always come out swingin’ anyway.”
“On the morning of August 17, 1993, as he negotiated with Barry Rothman, Anthony Pellicano had in his possession a copy of the psychiatrists report with the names omitted. He held in his hand the future of the most famous entertainer in human history. Yet the tape is replete with examples of Pellicano refusing to compromise on what would amount to chump change to Jackson. Why take the chance of Michael’s name ending up on that report and triggering an investigation?”
Whether you use the term extortion to describe the above events or not, Ray Chandler closes the chapter about the “negotiations” with a standalone paragraph, as if to summarize the chapter and emphasize:
“Had Michael paid the twenty million dollars demanded of him in August, rather than the following January, he might have spent the next ten years as the world’s most famous entertainer, instead of the world’s most infamous child molester.”
Meanwhile, please remember how Jordan’s allegations emerged in the first place: his father threatened and pressured him into saying what he wanted to hear. The same father who then used these allegations to try to “negotiate” money out of Jackson.
The Allegations Go Public
On August 16, June Chandler’s attorney, Michael Freeman filed a motion for a court order to have Jordan returned to June. Barry Rothman advised Evan that he did not have any chance of winning, unless he accused Jackson of molesting Jordan. In Ray Chandler’s book we read:
“In a phone conversation the night before Freeman’s request was to be heard in court, Barry counseled Evan that unless he was willing to walk into the courtroom and accuse Michael of molesting Jordie, he didn’t have a prayer of winning; June had legal custody and that was all she needed to get Jordie back.”
Indeed, on August 17 the Court ordered that Evan had to return Jordan to June within 48 hours. In response to that, and frustrated by Jackson’s refusal to pay him off, on August 17 Evan finally took Jordan to Dr. Abrams where the boy made allegations against Jackson on official record for the first time. By the time Jordan was under his father’s and Rothman’s influence for more than a month.
Taking Jordan to Abrams instead of the police, was another strategic move by Evan. Therapists are required by law to report all child abuse allegations to authorities. Having the therapist report the allegations instead of Evan himself reporting them was a way to report them through a third party without liability passing to the parent in case the allegations turn out to be false.
Although Dr. Abrams dutifully reported the case, ten years later, on December 12, 2003 he told CBS News that he did not spend enough time with Jordan to conclude whether the boy was telling the truth or not: “I think that this [children changing their stories] is a possibility in both cases, that there could be coaching, but, again, I wasn’t given the opportunity in the initial one to even try to find out.”
This, of course, triggered a criminal investigation against Jackson, and as a result of the allegations Evan did not have to return Jordan to his ex-wife despite the Court’s order that same day.
On August 19 Jordan’s mother and step-father had a change of heart and started siding with Evan. “Mother stated that if Jordie had said it, it must be true”, the Department of Children’s Services report of August 19, 1993 stated, although previously June felt that Evan had brainwashed their son into making allegations against Jackson. June’s choice was between the possibility of ending up as a co-defendant with Jackson if she had stayed on his side, or having the prospect of getting a slice of the settlement money that Evan was about to ask for if she switched to her ex-husband’s side.
On August 23 first reports about the allegations appeared in the media.
Meanwhile Jackson was on tour abroad, but the stress of the allegations took a toll on his health. On August 25, 26 & 30 he had to cancel two shows because of dehydration and another one after collapsing backstage.
On August 21, 22 & 30 Jackson’s premises were searched in his absence. The Los Angeles Times reported on August 27: “The search warrant didn’t result in anything that would support a criminal filing.”
In late August Jackson filed extortion charges against Evan and Rothman. In answer to that Rothman quit representing the Chandlers. The investigation of the extortion allegation by Jackson was never given the same attention and effort by the authorities as the child molestation allegations against him. They never subpoenaed any witnesses, no search warrants were ever issued, and not much at all was done in order to investigate Jackson’s extortion allegations against Evan Chandler.
On August 30 the Chandlers hired the media savvy attorney, Gloria Allred. On September 2 she called a press conference where she announced that the accuser was willing to testify in a court. In reaction to that, a couple of days later the Chandlers fired Allred and replaced her with a civil attorney, Larry Feldman. According to Ray Chandler’s book this was because the Chandler family wanted to steer the case toward “a highly profitable settlement” rather than a Grand Jury indictment and a criminal trial. Keep in mind that only a criminal trial can result in jail time for the alleged perpetrator. At the end of a civil trial, the only restitution available is monetary.
On September 8, Evan, June and David Schwartz discussed the “highly profitable settlement” in Feldman’s office. Evan and Schwartz had an argument about who gets how much money if they manage to get a settlement, and the argument turned physical when Schwartz allegedly said “this was all about extortion, anyway, at which point Evan stood up, walked over and started hitting Dave”. Ray Chandler’s book admits that “in the heat of this verbal battle [Evan] sprang from his seat and slapped Dave in the face. Several of the lawyers stepped between the two men and separated them”.
On September 14 the Chandlers filed a $30 million civil lawsuit against Jackson accusing him of sexual battery, battery, seduction, willful misconduct, intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud and negligence – now we know with a settlement in mind.
On October 6 Jordan was sent to a psychiatrist, Dr. Richard Gardner who conducted an interview with him. By the time Jordan was under his father’s influence for almost three months. The interview with Dr. Gardner contains remarkably similar trains of thought, opinions, expressions, ideas and choice of words to that of Evan’s in the taped phone conversation that he had with David Schwartz on July 8. That despite of the fact that Evan claimed that they never discussed these allegations with each other in detail. He claimed that their only ever exchange about them was that almost inaudible “yes” that Jordan allegedly said on July 16. However, these similarities between Jordan’s words and ideas in this interview and his father’s words and ideas during that phone conversation do add to the suspicion of coaching by Evan. Jordan never repeated his allegations in a court and was never cross-examined about them. In actuality, during the interview, Dr. Gardner asked him at one point if he had any fears. Perhaps not understanding that Dr. Gardner referred to the type of fear that is common in many children who suffered with sexual abuse, Jordan replied that he was only afraid of cross-examination.
It is not known what Dr. Gardner concluded from the interview because his analysis was not leaked with the interview. What we know is that the Chandlers and their civil lawyer, Larry Feldman took the tape to psychologist, Dr. Stanley Katz for an evaluation with whom Feldman worked together since 1987. Dr. Katz was a controversial psychologist. He was formerly involved in the infamous McMartin preschool trial. He was the Director of Training and Professional Education at the Children’s Institute International (CII). Kee McFarlane, who initially interviewed the McMartin children, worked under him. On cross-examination at Jackson’s 2005 trial, Dr. Katz testified that he did the assessments of the McMartin children. The CII’s role in the McMartin case has been widely criticized in professional circles. Their interviewing techniques are considered coercive and manipulative which may lead children to make false allegations about sexual abuse.
On October 21, Jackson, who was still on tour at that point, canceled a show in Chile, then he canceled several more dates of his Dangerous World Tour due to serious health problems.
On November 8 a fourth search warrant was carried out – this time at the Hayvenhurst (Encino, California) home of the Jackson Family. Once again, nothing incriminating was found.
On November 11 Jackson had his last performance on his ongoing world tour in Mexico. The remaining dates of the tour were canceled because Jackson developed a dependency on painkillers. He sought treatment in Europe with the help of Elizabeth Taylor and Elton John.
On November 15 Jackson’s lawyer, Bert Fields held a press conference confirming that Jackson was undergoing treatment for a painkiller dependency. He said Jackson was “barely able to function on an intellectual level”. Fields added that Jackson “has no intention of avoiding coming to the US”. The media tried to cast doubt on the dependency claim and made suggestions that Jackson was running and hiding from the law, even though that did not make any sense as he was not charged with anything, nor was an arrest warrant issued against him. We know since that he was indeed in an extremely bad shape, battled with painkiller dependency and the stress of the allegations took a toll on his health.
On November 22 Dr. Beachamp Colclough, the doctor who treated Jackson, released a statement confirming the treatment and refuted media rumors about Jackson “hiding out” and also rumors about cosmetic surgery and that he was suicidal: “no other medical, surgical or psychological condition exists”, he said.
On November 26 the police raided the offices of Jackson’s dermatologist, Dr. Arnold Klein and plastic surgeon, Dr. Steve Hoefflin confiscating medical records of the star. Once again, no incriminating evidence was found.
On December 10 Jackson returned to the USA.
On December 13 due to a friction within Jackson’s legal team, Bert Fields and his private investigator Anthony Pellicano left the case. Before that, on December 3, a letter signed by Jackson was sent to Bert Fields ousting him as chief attorney for the civil case. Upon his resignation Pellicano stated that he was convinced of Jackson’s innocence and his leaving the case is no indication of otherwise. After Fields’ resignation Jackson was represented by Howard Weitzman and Johnnie Cochran – the latter newly joined the star’s defense team.
On December 20 Jackson was subjected to a humiliating strip search in which his genitalia and buttocks were photographed and videofilmed. Authorities wanted to compare the photos with the descriptions his accuser, Jordan Chandler gave to them. This humiliating process is rare even in child abuse cases and, as you will see it, it is questionable whether it had any probative value at all, ie. any good reason even existed for this strip search, or the prosecution just tried to humiliate Jackson.
Two years later, in a 1995 magazine interview prosecutor and Santa Barbara District Attorney, Thomas Sneddon (who harbored such deep-seated prejudices against Jackson from the get-go that it often clouded his judgment) claimed that Jordan’s description matched the pictures taken of Jackson’s genitalia. This then spread through the media and for many years it was often repeated as a fact in various media articles and used as a sign of guilt against Jackson.
However, now we know, Sneddon’s claim was quite simply not true. For one, Jordan’s description claimed that Jackson’s penis was circumcised. After Jackson died in 2009 his autopsy was made public which stated that the singer’s penis was uncircumcised. Jordan had a 50 percent chance of guessing that right and he guessed it wrong. (Jordan, being half-Jewish himself, knew what circumcision was.) Some journalists tried to defend that fact by saying that an erect uncircumcised penis may look circumcised, but those people ignore the fact that the Chandlers’ claim was not that Jordan had a fleeting glimpse of Jackson private parts. They alleged that Jordan had to masturbate Jackson approximately ten times and they also claimed that he had seen Jackson’s penis many, many times, in many different situations, not just during the alleged sex acts, but while allegedly taking a bath together etc. “from every possible angle”, and that Jordan “had a precise mental picture” of it, as Ray Chandler put it in his book.
In a motion filed during the 2005 trial, Sneddon claimed that Jordan described the relative location of a dark blemish on Jackson’s penis “about” correctly. The problem with that is that Sneddon made no mention of any of the other blemishes and features that Jordan also described, just like he does not mention the circumcision issue at all. Apparently he cherry-picked something out of the description that he could somehow make “a match” – “about” – and simply ignored the rest of the description which could not be made “a match” even by Sneddon’s biased assessment.
But how did the Chandlers even know that Jackson had blemishes all over on his skin? For a start, they knew that Jackson suffered from the skin disease vitiligo and that it caused blemishes all over his body like in the below picture.
One month before the strip search even took place, a Reuters UK story by Ann Gerhart mused: “But it seems that any opportunist who could pronounce vitiligo, the mottling disease that Jackson divulged to Oprah Winfrey [in an interview in February 1993], could guess his penis also was affected and have a decent chance at being right.”
Moreover, when Evan drugged Jackson on Memorial Day Weekend, he injected him in his gluteus which allowed him to see at least the singer’s buttocks and that he had such blemishes on the lower part of his body. In actuality, the Chandlers discussed Jackson’s vitiligo with prosecutors and how it would make giving a description basically risk-free for them. (The description was not the Chandlers’s idea, they themselves were not too enthusiastic about it, it was a prosecution idea.)
In his book Ray Chandler quotes a conversation in which their lawyer, Larry Feldman told Evan that according to Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney, Lauren Weiss (both LA and Santa Barbara investigated in the case), vitiligo was “capable of changing anywhere you look, so that anything Jordie says is irrelevant. It can change very quickly with this disease”. Feldman was enthusiastic about this fact saying “that’s good for us!” When Evan asks him why, Feldman answers: “Because if [Jordan is] right, he’s right. And if he’s wrong, we’ve got an explanation!” “It’s a no-loser for us”, the lawyer exclaimed, “It’s terrific!”
In another chapter Ray Chandler writes: “On the other hand, it had been medically established that the markings of vitiligo were subject to change. So if Jordie’s description was wrong, Larry would be able to say the markings had shifted over the months.”
As you can see, the Chandlers cynically played on the fact that vitiligo markings are subject to change. It seems that Sneddon, like the Chandlers, tried to have it both ways: if there was something in that drawing that remotely guessed a location of a marking right (at least according to Sneddon’s own biased assessment) it would have been used against Jackson, while everything else would have been ignored and/or explained away by the fact that vitiligo markings were subject to change. As Larry Feldman put it: “It’s a no-loser for us”.
When the prosecution decided to put Jackson through the humiliation of a strip search they knew that it was unlikely to produce anything with probative value as the markings on his skin could change. Lauren Weiss herself told Larry Feldman that “anything Jordie says is irrelevant”. This makes the intention behind the whole procedure very questionable.
It has to be noted that Jordan gave two descriptions: one in September, one in December. It was never explained why a second one was needed and whether there are differences between the two, but between those two dates, on November 26, the offices of Jackson’s dermatologist, Dr. Arnold Klein and plastic surgeon, Dr. Steve Hoefflin were raided by the police and they confiscated medical records of the star.
Sneddon never explained that if the description and the photos were a match why was not Jackson arrested after the strip search? Nor did he ever explain if it was a match why did initial reports after the strip search say just the opposite? In actuality, prosecutors tried to make sense of the mismatch by asking Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson in a Grand Jury testimony whether her son had changed the appearance of his genitalia. On March 16, 1994 the Los Angeles Times reported: “Jackson’s mother has frequently given interviews and made public appearances to defend her son, but a source close to the investigation said she may be questioned about Jackson’s physical appearance. Investigators have been attempting to determine whether Jackson has done anything to alter his appearance so that it does not match a description provided to them by the alleged victim, who turned 14 in January.”
The Chandlers’ lawyer, Larry Feldman also would have gladly kept those photos out of the trial and on January 5, 1994 he filed a motion to request the that either Jackson provides them copies of the photographs, submits himself to a second search or “the court may bar the photographs from the civil trial as evidence”. This, by the way, refutes another myth, namely that Jackson settled the civil case because Jordan’s description matched. As you can see, the Chandlers’ own lawyer requested that those photos should be kept out of trial.
On December 22 Jackson released a video statement, talking about the humiliation of the strip search and maintaining his innocence.
He said that they told him that if he had not submitted himself to the strip search they would use that against him as a sign of guilt. “It was a nightmare. A horrifying nightmare. But if this is what I have to endure to prove my innocence, my complete innocence, so be it”, he said in the statement.
In answer to Jackson’s statement, on December 28, the Chandlers filed a written declaration on Jordan’s behalf about his allegations. According to Jackson’s lawyer, Howard Weitzman this was a PR move by Feldman because it contained nothing new compared to the allegations that had already been detailed before, so it only served as a PR counter punch in reaction to Jackson’s December 22 video statement in which the star maintained his innocence.
On December 30 Judge David M. Rothman denied Jackson’s motion for a gag order. According to Ray Chandler’s book, the Chandlers were opposed to a gag order because if it had been issued they could not have talked to the media and influenced public opinion.
On January 10, 1994 Larry Feldman asked the Court for access to Jackson’s financial records. “He is a millionaire hundreds of times over whose assets are tied up in intangibles. Plaintiff will need the three months remaining before the trial date to be able to track down these assets and come up with an approximation of their worth”, he wrote in his motion.
On January 25 an out of court settlement was reached in the civil case between Jackson and the Chandlers in which Jackson paid the Chandlers $15.3 million. The document, signed by both Jackson and the Chandlers, emphasized that it was in no way an admission of guilt on Jackson’s part.
A frequently asked question regarding the child molestation allegations against Michael Jackson is “If he was innocent why did he settle the case out of court?” The part of the media that used the settlement as a sign of Jackson’s guilt, failed to explain the legal circumstances of this case that led to the settlement, so let’s explain them here.
First of all, let us clear up what exactly was settled. There were two proceedings going on in Jackson’s case parallel: a criminal investigation conducted by the State of California and a civil lawsuit filed by the Chandlers. Only the criminal proceedings and a criminal trial can result in jail time for the alleged perpetrator. At the end of a civil trial, the only restitution available is monetary.
The settlement settled the civil lawsuit, not the criminal. The criminal proceedings proceeded after this settlement and nothing in the settlement prevented the Chandlers from testifying against Jackson in a criminal court. Los Angeles district attorney, Gil Garcetti even stated right after the settlement that the Chandlers’ attorney, Larry Feldman promised him “that the alleged victim will be allowed to testify and that there has been no agreement in the civil matter that will affect cooperation in the criminal investigation.” And Feldman himself stated at a press conference that “nobody’s bought anybody’s silence”. According to the Washington Post’s report about the press conference: “But the boy’s lawyer insisted that “nobody’s bought anybody’s silence” and that his client will continue to cooperate in a criminal investigation against Jackson.”
Indeed, there was nothing in the settlement that prevented the Chandlers from testifying against Jackson in a criminal court. In fact, under American law one is not allowed to settle a criminal case. The Chandlers could have taken the settlement money AND testified against Michael Jackson in a criminal case. They chose not to, but it was not because they were forbidden to do so by the settlement, but rather because they were never interested in the criminal proceedings in the first place. Their only focus was money from the very beginning. As we learned from Ray Chandler’s book they filed their civil lawsuit on September 8 already with a “highly profitable settlement” in mind. It is important to emphasize that it was the Chandler family who demanded a settlement from the very beginning and it was not Michael Jackson who sought or offered it.
Normally, civil complaints are only filed after criminal proceedings are completed and justice has been served. One would naturally expect the parents of a molested child to pursue justice and not money when they have the chance to do so. That was not the case with the Chandlers.
To achieve the settlement goal, Larry Feldman played the California legal system masterfully. He pushed for getting the civil trial ahead of a possible criminal trial. That put a pressure on Jackson’s legal team, because if the civil trial is held before the criminal trial in the same matter, it can give the prosecution in the criminal trial a major advantage, because they have the opportunity to monitor the civil trial, study the defense’s strategy and adjust their claims and strategy in kind. In addition, the burden of proof is more relaxed in a civil trial than in a criminal trial. Jackson’s attorneys were certainly aware that a civil trial was riskier for a defendant, even if the defendant is innocent, and if they had lost it, it could have prejudiced the jury in an upcoming criminal trial as well, compromising Jackson’s right to a fair criminal trial.
There are many precedents where civil proceedings have been frozen to allow the criminal trial ahead, preserving a defendant’s right to a fair criminal trial and preventing that right from being violated. In Jackson’s case, however, all such attempts by Jackson’s lawyers to stay the civil proceeding were dismissed by Judge David M. Rothman. Apparently, the Chandlers’ trump card was Jordan’s age. They argued that because Jordan was under the age of 14 and “a child’s memory is developing”, they were entitled to a speedy civil trial, and the Judge accepted that argument.
Under extremely unfavorable conditions, Jackson and his attorneys might have found themselves in a position where they would have had to fight and defend Jackson on two fronts at the same time – in both a civil and criminal trial. On top of that they would have to prepare for a civil trial within 120 days, while the police for the criminal proceedings had seized all of Jackson’s personal records and refused to provide copies or even a list of what they took.
After all motions to push the civil proceedings behind the criminal had been denied, the Jackson team was left between a rock and a hard place. The start of the civil trial was set for March, 1994.
The Chandlers’ motion papers accused Jackson and his attorneys of applying “delay tactics” regarding the civil trial, but they knew well that those “delay tactics” were all about getting the criminal proceedings ahead of the civil proceedings to secure Jackson’s chances to a fair criminal trial. Ray Chandler, in his book quotes a conversation that took place between Evan Chandler and Larry Feldman and it proves that THEY were the ones utilizing delay tactics with regards to the criminal proceedings:
“[Feldman:] [T]hey fucked this up unbelievably. What could be better? But I’m going forward. We’re going to push on. So far there ain’t a button I’ve missed. The only thing we gotta do is keep the criminal behind us. I don’t want them going first.”
Larry had said it before, but it hadn’t registered in Evan’s brain till now.
[Evan:] “You mean if they indict, the criminal case automatically goes before us?”
[Evan:] “Jesus Christ!”
[Feldman:] “Right! So we don’t want that.”
“So we don’t want that” – said the Chandler side regarding the possibility of a criminal indictment. It is very telling that for the Chandlers “us” was not the criminal process, but the civil process, and that they did everything in their power to keep the criminal proceedings behind the civil process. Let that sink in, while keeping in mind that only a criminal trial can send an alleged perpetrator to jail; a civil trial can only result in a monetary award.
The California law that allowed the Chandlers to push the civil trial ahead of the criminal trial was changed eventually – according to Santa Barbara District Attorney, Thomas Sneddon directly because of what happened in the Chandler case. Because of that change, today an accuser in a sexual assault case cannot pursue a civil lawsuit right away. The new law restricts a civil trial from preceding a criminal trial in the same matter.
However, that did not apply to Jackson back in 1993. So to preserve his chances for a fair criminal trial, he was pressured to settle the civil case. The hostile and unfair media campaign against him, and his health and dependency issues might have also contributed to a decision to settle.
Additionally, Jackson’s lawyers too might have been more than keen to settle the case – and not necessarily without selfish reasons. The Chandlers boast in their book that their lawyer, Larry Feldman and Jackson’s lawyers, had many years of friendship with each other, which would make it easier for them (the Chandlers) to push the case in the direction of a settlement. They name Howard Weitzman from Jackson’s lawyer team as close to Feldman, but we know from other sources that Johnnie Cochran too had a 20 years long friendship with Feldman (Feldman even represented Cochran in a case). Ray Chandler wrote: “Feldman, Shapiro, Hirsch, Weitzman & Weis, (Oy vey!), all were part of a neat little “old boy” network, just the ticket for getting this nightmare over and done with — quietly.”
Bert Fields was not a part of that “old boy network” and was against the settlement and advised Jackson against it, but once he was out, the way was free for the other lawyers (who were a little too friendly with Larry Feldman) to convince Jackson of a settlement, which was something that was good for the lawyers on both sides and something that they would desire just as much as the Chandlers desired it. Whether it was in the best interest of Michael Jackson is up for debate. As you could see it, the settlement did have its legitimate legal reasons, which have nothing to do with guilt. On the other hand, it is not necessarily an ideal situation for an accused person when the accuser can count on a friendship between lawyers to steer the case towards a desired settlement.
The Chandlers’ Selective Publicity-Shyness
While Jackson’s motives for the settlement are often questioned, it is a much less frequently asked question (although it would be similarly valid to ask): why did the accuser’s family so aggressively push for a settlement while doing everything in their power to avoid a criminal trial?
Their reasoning was that they wanted to move on with their lives and not subject Jordan to media spotlight and scrutiny that would have been unavoidable in a high profile case and trial such as this. They claimed that they were also scared of the wrath of Jackson’s fans. At first sight this may seem reasonable, however, when we take a closer look at the case, there are many problems with this claim.
First of all, one of the reasons Evan hired Barry Rothman as his lawyer, according to his secretly taped phone conversation with David Schwarz in July 1993, was because Rothman was “hungry for the publicity” and “all he wants to do is get this out in the public as fast as he can, as big as he can”. Instead of being publicity-shy, they were very much looking for publicity. There are good reasons to believe that the Chandlers fed National Enquirer articles about the case in 1993 and Ray Chandler’s book calls another journalist, Diane Dimond, Evan’s “closest ally”.
The Chandlers did not seem to be concerned about media spotlight, possible fan reactions, threats and Jordan not being able to move on with his life, when within days after the settlement, in January 1994, they were shopping a book that they had written about the allegations. Publisher Judith Regan:
“I received a call from Jordan’s uncle [Ray Chandler]. He wanted to do a book in which he would describe in detail the allegation of molestation against Michael Jackson. So I asked him how he proposed to do this given the fact that the Chandlers had actually signed a confidentiality agreement and taken $20mln. And he said that Jordan’s father had given him all the information he needed for the book and he believed he was outside the bounds of the Confidentiality agreement because he would be the author. At the time I had the impression that the Chandlers were brazen opportunists and I found the entire proposal by the uncle to be distasteful. They enter a Confidentiality agreement and before the ink is even dry they are shopping a deal that violates this agreement?”
Because of the confidentiality agreement involved in the settlement, Evan was not allowed to write a book or do media rounds himself, but they got around that by his loyal brother Ray Chandler doing all the public talking for them.
After being turned down by the publisher in 1994, Ray’s book eventually was published ten years later, in 2004 at the height of the media frenzy caused by the Arvizo allegations. At the time, Ray Chandler made his rounds in the media, giving interviews and appearing in documentaries heavily biased against Jackson. He even ran a website. Obviously not concerned about media spotlight, not afraid of possible threats by Jackson fans and not worried about how it might affect Jordan’s ability to move on.
The irony of this all was that because Ray Chandler claimed in media interviews that he had evidence to prove Jackson’s guilt, Jackson’s defense team called his bluff and subpoenaed him to appear at Jackson’s 2005 trial, present his alleged evidence and give testimony there. However, Ray Chandler, rather than take this opportunity to help finally convict a person he alleged had molested his nephew, instead fought tooth and nail against the subpoena and eventually managed to avoid having to appear in court and testify under oath.
Whenever it came to having to appear in court, especially a criminal court, the Chandlers were suddenly shy of publicity, worried for Jordan’s ability to move on and scared of Jackson fans. Not so much when it came to feeding tabloids, publishing a book, running a website or appearing in media interviews and tabloidish “documentaries”.
The Chandlers also did not seem to be concerned about media spotlight, possible fan reactions, threats and Jordan not being able to move on with his life, when Evan filed another lawsuit against Michael Jackson in 1996, this time for $60 million and a record deal so that he could release a music album about the alleged sexual molestation of his son. (Yes, you read that correctly!)
In the lawsuit Evan accused Jackson of violating the confidentiality agreement of their 1994 settlement when Jackson maintained his innocence in a 1995 interview with Diane Sawyer. Furthermore, Evan also alleged that Jackson violated the confidentiality agreement on his 1995 album entitled HIStory too. Neither the interview or the album directly named Evan or Jordan Chandler. Jackson simply stated his innocence in the interview. It is undeniable that some of the songs on HIStory and their lyrics were influenced by the allegations and it is also natural that, like any artist, Jackson would process and vent his life experiences in his creative work. However, the claim that what Jackson expressed on his album violated the settlement and its confidentiality agreement did not find support in the court system and Evan’s lawsuit was eventually dismissed.
During that lawsuit the Chandlers, far from being media-shy, played the media again for their benefit and sought the publicity. Evidence of that can be found in court documents. For example, we learn from them that when the Chandlers deposed Jackson’s ex-wife, Lisa Marie Presley (who was a co-defendant in the case because she had appeared in the 1995 interview with Jackson), they tried to use that for publicity.
“On March 7 and 8, 1997, pursuant to this Court’s order, Chandler deposed Presley for two days. When Presley and her counsel arrived at the deposition site, they were confronted at the door by reporters and television cameras. Chandler’s counsel did not deny that he had called the media to cover the deposition. Chandler’s counsel made all the arrangements for the deposition, and never told anyone he had invited the media. Also, apparently before the deposition, Chandler’s counsel gave a private interview to a nationwide tabloid news program about the deposition. Right after the deposition, a major network broadcast the interview, along with clips of Ms. Presley and her counsel entering the deposition room, on the tabloid show. Chandler’s counsel obviously carefully orchestrated this media blitz to exploit Ms. Presley’s fame for the private benefit of himself and his client.” – we read in a motion filed by Presley’s lawyer.
As you have seen above, the Chandlers were alright with being in the media spotlight for civil lawsuits and possible monetary rewards arising from them, or with a book, a website and various media interviews, as opposed to moving on with their lives. They even were willing to accept the risk of potentially being threatened by Michael Jackson fans because of those, but it was unacceptable for them to testify in a criminal court. When it came to that, they suddenly grew media-shy, very concerned about Jordan’s ability to move on and about possible fan threats.
Once the Chandlers got their settlement money in 1994, they totally stepped back from the case. In February-April, 1994 the prosecution convened two Grand Juries (one in Santa Barbara, one in Los Angeles) to discuss the Jackson case. The Chandlers refused to testify at them. Both Grand Juries disbanded without indicting Jackson.
In May 1994 Evan closed down his Beverly Hills dental office.
On July 6 Jordan Chandler informed prosecutors that he was not willing to testify in the Jackson case.
In August David Schwartz tried to get his slice of the pie and, in separate lawsuits, sued both Evan Chandler and Michael Jackson. He sued Jackson claiming that he and his daughter were “traumatized” by the allegations. Evan and June Chandler each got $1.5 million from the settlement money, but Schwartz was left out as he and June Chandler divorced in 1994.
On September 21 Santa Barbara District Attorney Thomas Sneddon and Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti made an official statement regarding the status of the Michael Jackson investigation. They informed the public that Jordan Chandler was unwilling to testify therefore they were unable to file charges. Garcetti admitted that the 18-month investigation did not lead to anything that incriminated Jackson. He also stated: “Michael Jackson is presumed to be innocent as any citizen in this room is if they are not convicted with a crime. We are not charging Michael Jackson with a crime”.
Sneddon, on the other hand, claimed that there were two more alleged victims, but they were unwilling to testify. Typical of Sneddon, this was a very misleading statement. One of the people he called an “alleged victim” was Brett Barnes whom the prosecution tried to convince to say that he had been molested by Jackson, but who himself denied being a victim. In actuality, until this day Barnes has nothing, but kind and friendly words about Jackson and he has always maintained that the singer has never done anything inappropriate to him. Indeed, Sneddon admitted at this press conference that Barnes “had made a “general denial of wrongdoing by Mr. Jackson”, but this did not stop him from using him to boost the number of alleged victims at this press conference. Years later, at Jackson’s 2005 trial, Sneddon would also use this tactic of calling people “victims” who themselves denied being victims.
The other alleged victim was Jason Francia who was pressured by the prosecution into making allegations against Jackson. He eventually testified at Jackson’s 2005 trial and was not found credible. We will discuss his allegations in detail in the next section.
Sneddon also stated that despite of the prosecution’s inability to charge Jackson with any crime, the investigation would remain open. For many years, he refused to close the case and he even managed to find a way to extend the statute of limitations for Jordan, hoping that he would decide to pursue criminal charges against the singer. Jordan was never interested in that.
In 1995 Jordan emancipated himself from both of his biological parents. He went on to live with Evan’s second wife, Nathalie (who by this time had divorced Evan) and his two younger siblings. Jordan’s relationship with his Evan seemed to be very ambivalent, while Evan’s relationship with his other children was virtually non-existent after the allegations. From court documents between Nathalie and Evan, it appears that despite of the emancipation, Evan retained some kind of mental or emotional control over Jordan, because in those documents Nathalie complains that after a while Jordan refused to talk to and meet with his younger siblings, just like their father who had abandoned them.
In a 1998 lawsuit Nathalie also complained that Evan refused to work and to provide for his two younger children, nor was he available to them and was content with living off of the money of his son, Jordan. Her court papers say:
“[Evan Chandler’s two younger children] kept asking petitioner why respondent [Evan Chandler] and their brother Jordan do not love them anymore and refuse to see them or talk to them when the children call. They haven’t seen their father or their brother for an extremely long time for such young children. As a result of respondent’s deliberate and cruel abandonment of his two minor children, both children have been in therapy on a regular basis since September, 1997 and [Jordan’s younger brother] now openly states that he does not want to have anything to do with his father and he does not trust his father anymore. Although custody and visitation are not an issue in this matter, the children’s need for therapy has created a further need for financial assistance. If respondent does not want to see or talk to his children, he should at least cover the expenses of therapy resulting from his blatant abandonment of them.”
“Evan is not a person who has a lot of friends. Since he decided to live with and off of his son Jordan, he has become either a nomad or a recluse. He does nothing to provide for his own living, or that of his minor children. He apparently is satisfied to allow his 18 year old son to support him and has purposefully cut himself off from any other family members who disagree with his behavior.”
This puts the portrayal of Evan Chandler in the media or in Ray Chandler’s book as the concerned father, the only responsible adult in Jordan’s life, the only person who cared about his well-being, into a perspective. After the settlement, out of all of his children Evan only cared about the millionaire Jordan.
Preparing for the 2005 Arvizo trial, on September 28, 2004 prosecutors visited the 24-year-old Jordan Chandler in New York to ask him to testify against Jackson in the upcoming trial. According to Jackson’s FBI files, Jordan refused and advised the prosecutors that “he would legally fight any attempt” to make him testify against Jackson. Later Jackson’s 2005 trial lawyer, Thomas Mesereau revealed that he had witnesses for the trial who said that Jordan privately admitted to them that Jackson had never molested him. Had Jordan come to testify, Mesereau would have presented those witnesses.
On April 11, 2005 June Chandler appeared in court at Jackson’s trial as one of the prosecution’s witnesses. She admitted that she has not spoken to Jordan for 11 years. She testified about her son and Michael Jackson spending time together in 1993, but she did not claim to have witnessed any molestation. She remains the only member of the Chandler family who ever testified in a court.
As we have mentioned earlier in this document, on August 5, 2005 Jordan obtained a temporary restraining order against his father, claiming that on July 6 Evan “struck him on the head from behind with a twelve and one-half pound weight and then sprayed his eyes with mace or pepper spray and tried to choke him. The judge also found that the weight could cause serious bodily injury or death.”
On July 24, 2005 Evan filed a lawsuit against Jordan which had to do with Jordan’s trust fund where the money from the settlement was put. The case was dismissed in 2007.
On June 25, 2009 Michael Jackson passed away.
On November 5, 2009, only four months after Jackson’s death, Evan Chandler committed suicide by shooting himself in the head in his New Jersey home. He did not leave a suicide note. Reportedly, he died as a lonely man, stricken with serious and painful diseases. In his Will, Evan ordered that none of his family members be advised of his death until well after his funeral. He also stated that he did not wish to leave anything to any of his three children: “For reasons best known between us, I purposefully make no provision in this, my Last Will and Testament, for any of my children or their issue.”
Presently Jordan is on good terms with his mother June and he is also close to his younger half-siblings and their mother Nathalie again. He never publicly addressed the allegations, and the claims that he had made under his father’s influence in 1993 were never cross-examined.
 Evan Chandler’s younger brother, Ray Chandler published a book about the allegations in 2004, entitled All That Glitters: The Crime and the Cover-Up. The book quotes Evan Chandler extensively. Since the Chandlers never appeared in Court to testify about their allegations I use this book in this paper to represent the Chandlers’ side of the story.