Support the “AdLLaw/Cadeflaw Initiative” by signing the petition.
S. Kendrick, AdLLaw Resolution Specialist
S. Kendrick, AdLLaw Resolution Specialist
When you’re alive, if someone makes false statements about you that aren’t true – and in some cases, if true but it can be proved that such statements have been made with malice – this is called defamation of character. Defamation is ugly. It has the potential not only to destroy your reputation, but your family and your livelihood, too. Quite frankly, words are akin to weapons that have the ability to make or break your life. Thankfully, those with enough money and a good, solid case, have the ability to sue for libel (if the offending words are written) or slander (if the words have been disseminated orally).
When you die, however, you lose that ability to seek redress. You may think those rights are now passed onto your family or Estate, but they’re not. Once you’re dead, anything can be written or said about you without consequences. And all it takes is the circulation of one lie to ruin your good name.
Celebrities are often subject to libel in the tabloid press. But libel and slander aren’t simply the preserve of the rich and famous. Every day, courts are dealing with the maligned reputations of ordinary individuals and/or businesses small and large. Some lose their jobs, their friends, their families, their health and well-being, all due to the effects of defamation. Some resort to legal redress, while others feel that seeking such redress will only add fuel to the fire. But the common factor is that – with enough money and stamina – celebrity or not, one can seek legal redress.
But this is not the case when you die. A lie about you may surface and spread. This time, nothing can be done about it because you’re no longer here to defend yourself, and your family can’t go after the individual(s) responsible because there are no defamation rights for the deceased. Now your good name is forever tarnished and your family has to deal with the aftermath. You may have children or a significant other who have to navigate through the mire of injustice, or the company you left behind might be wound up because nobody wants to do business with something you were associated with any more. The countless possibilities of how it might affect all those who knew and loved you are profound. These situations happen more frequently than you think.
Dee Pfeiffer, Professional freelance writer and editor based in the heart of the UK, MJL Trustee
Acil Leitz, Advocate
By now; you will all be painfully aware of the terrible stories in the media today, each one of them from Conrad Murray as “advertisement” from his up-coming book. I felt it important to get online and address this right away.
This is again another form of defamation against Michael Jackson. Under normal circumstances, steps could be taken to put a stop to Conrad Murray’s actions with a cease and desist order. In addition; there would be legal ways to stop his book being published. But sadly, these are not normal circumstances because Michael Jackson is deceased.
Current defamation laws mean that the deceased have no legal protection from slander in its various forms.
As the situation currently stands; no legal action can be brought against Conrad Murray except under the following circumstances:
1) He mentions Michael’s children/family in his book and subsequent press releases (today’s article already mentions Paris Jackson.)
2.) He talks in detail about Michael’s private medical history.
Those are the occasions where Michael’s family and his Estate can start civil proceedings against him. Other than that; our hands are tied.
But why is he doing this? Yes; we could all surmise that indeed Conrad Murray is a person of the lowest order; determined to make money off the man he killed as a result of his negligence. And yes; this appears to be very much the case. But let’s look at this in detail and bring in other issues and stories circling around Michael at this current time.
Let’s cast our minds back to the very public 2005 molestation trial against Michael Jackson and in particular to the media coverage. As Tom Mesereau mentioned; the media were hell bent on reporting every single lurid detail in the prosecution’s favor. During cross-examination by the prosecution, they practically broke their necks to get out of the court room to report every single account – never waiting for the rebuttal from the defense. Michael was very much tried not just in a court of law but in the court of public opinion. Day after day; various media outlets screamed headlines of a “sick, twisted child molester” with a “dark and perverted side.” The facts of the case were completely ignored. Evidence presented in court was twisted to portray Michael as a criminal, long before any closing arguments had begun. The media all but said that Michael was guilty from day one and were ready to throw him in jail right from the very start.
Why would the media portray an innocent man in such a dark light? It all goes back to what Michael himself has said many times while he was alive. The media will only write about negative things because that’s what sells a story. A headline screaming “MICHAEL JACKSON MOLESTED BOYS!!” is far more eye-catching than “MICHAEL JACKSON SAVES BOY’S LIFE.” Human beings are curious by nature – and the media rely on this to pique their interest. Doesn’t everybody love a good scandal? It’s rather like a gritty soap opera, except the characters depicted are real.
It is a fact that the media were reporting these stories in order to sway public opinion. They WANTED Michael to be guilty of the crimes alleged; despite all the evidence and ambiguities in his favor. Imagine how much money they would make if Michael had have been guilty! They’d have enough material to sell stories for the next 10 years and beyond. And the dollars would just keep rolling in. So many people would have gotten rich off this! Shake down – and Michael Jackson is the target.
So why are all these stories coming out now?
Next year sees the civil suit of Wade Robson & Jimmy Safechuck. Their legal teams are already preparing their case as we’ve seen in recent reports. Many of the articles we have seen have been published by media outlets who are in SUPPORT of WR & JS. Now I want to make it ABSOLUTELY CLEAR that I am in no way dismissing those who have genuinely suffered some form of child abuse. Not at all. What I am against; are those who make up a lie purely for cash and that is what we are seeing here.
But these stories are history repeating itself. Yet again; the media have tried, convicted and hung Michael Jackson this time before the case has even made it to the court room. Like WR & JS; the media are counting of two possible outcomes:
1) That the smear campaign levelled against Michael Jackson will force the Estate of Michael Jackson to settle out of court. Let’s remember the stick Michael got in 1993 when he settled (against his will I might add). The media called it an admission of guilt – and this is echoed today in their continuing reports on the matter. Should the Estate choose to settle; this again could be construed as an admission of guilt and with that; the media will have a field day.
2) Public opinion is swayed so the court find in WR & JS favor. Again; that would point to Michael being guilty.
In short; both scenarios are a win-win situation in terms of the media and all those hoping to profit from lies.
Unfortunately for WR & JS; the MJ Estate aren’t biting. Wade Robson is playing a game of “throw me millions of dollars and I’ll go away.” The Estate has responded with “we’ll see you in court.” They are determined that WR isn’t getting a single dime for a lie. Would they have settled if Michael was still alive? Probably not. Michael repeatedly said he wanted his day in court and the fact that it was his INSURERS who paid the settlement to the Chandlers, confirms that.
Let’s also cast our mind back to the various legal suits brought against those who printed lies about Michael. The infamous National Enquirer suit for example. Diane Dimond herself ran with a story of there being a video tape of Michael molesting a child. No such tape of course existed. Michael sued both her and Victor Gutierrez and won. Gutierrez declared himself bankrupt and move to Chile. (I should point out that the reason for many of Michael’s debts was because of these civil suits – particularly around the 2003 allegations.)
This time however it’s different. Michael cannot sue for damages because he’s no longer with us. This means it’s a feeding frenzy for the media. They can write whatever they like about him and get away with it….and that leads me to Conrad Murray….(you were probably wondering when I was going to get to that!)
Enter Conrad Murray – whose tell-all book is to be released on 29th July. Hello! Timing? Of course it is no accident that his publishers choose right now to release it. Neither is it an accident that he decides to contact the media with delicious tidbits of his “story”. WR and JS have already whetted the appetite of the gossip mongers and the hateful “con-Michael Jackson” groups. Murray has rubbed his hands together in glee and brought out the main course. It’s so easy to make money off Michael when he’s already in the news. All Murray has to do is sit back, wait for the book to be released and watch the money come rolling in. And even better; there is not one thing anybody can do to stop him!
So why am I telling you all this?
The actions of Conrad Murray and the fact that he’s clearly piggy-backing off the WR & JS case is a classic demonstration of why the defamation laws need to change. And this is just the start. We have several other books coming out about Michael’s private life. Why do you think these unscrupulous people have waited until Michael’s death to unleash their stories? Floodgates have opened and there is no dam to stop them. And as we edge closer to Murray’s book release AND the WR civil suit next year; the stories are going to become more and more toxic. We haven’t seen anything yet. Right now; Michael Jackson is easy money – and everybody wants a piece of him.
As Tom Mesereau said: “Why work when you can sue Michael Jackson?” Or write a book about him; I shall add.
The AdLLaw Initiative is needed now more than ever. Power needs to be given back to the deceased to stop their legacy from being ruined at the hands of those who will stop at nothing to make a profit. You cannot ignore these stories and pretend they don’t exist. With every passing week; the stories are getting more and more damaging. The media have unleashed a tirade of slander to whip the public into a frenzy. It is spreading like an aggressive cancer and the only way to stop it is to cut it out.
Signing the AdLLaw petition takes only ONE MINUTE of your time. That’s all. It doesn’t cost a penny. You won’t get spammed out with various emails. You’re not signing up for anything which has an ulterior motive. All you are doing is raising your voice and saying “ENOUGH!” to the lies. We need as many signatures as we can possibly get to get the defamation laws changed. Not just thousands but millions! It truly is the ONLY way we can stop this. Not just for Michael either but for every single deceased person who has or is suffering defamation in death. They don’t have to be famous or in the public eye. It can happen to ANYBODY and EVERYBODY. It could even happen to you!
The link to the global petition is below. Will you add your name to it? And please don’t forget to share it as well! The more people who sigh, the more congress will take notice and make that much-needed change to the law!
Submitted by: Kerry Ward, MDF Admin – July 18, 2016
RIGHTS OF THE DEAD by Kirsten Rabe Smolensky* (Page 8/41)
Interest Theory: Deceased Can Have Interest That Survive Death
Assume that a person dies and his neighbor spreads defamatory remarks about him. These remarks hurt the decedent’s reputation, regardless of whether he is alive and can become emotionally upset by the statements. The fact that he does not know about the harm does not mean that a harm to the decedent’s interest, namely his reputation, has not occurred.
One might respond that while the decedent’s reputation is harmed in this example, the decedent is not harmed because he cannot know about the defamatory comments after his death. But knowledge of a legal harm is not required for a legal harm to occur. Take, for example, a living landowner whose land is trespassed upon by a harmless trespasser without his knowledge. In this hypothetical, the landowner’s legal interest is harmed even if he never discovers the trespass. Similarly, even though a decedent will never know about any particular harm to his posthumous interests, that does not mean that a harm has not occurred or that such harm should not be protected against.
In ruling that Elvis Presley’s right of publicity survived his death, the New Jersey District Court said that “‘[i]f the right [of publicity] is descendible, the individual is able to transfer the benefits of his labor to his immediate successors and is assured that control over the exercise of the right can be vested in a suitable beneficiary.’” While the court notes that posthumous rights of publicity incentivize living persons to work hard, it also notes that it is important for individuals to be able to choose an appropriate beneficiary, presumably one who will exercise the right of publicity judiciously and in a way that protects the decedent’s interest in his reputation.
Others have also noted posthumous rights protect decedents’ interests. In discussing his efforts to enhance protections for deceased celebrities in California, the attorney for Marilyn Monroe LLC said: “Ms. Monroe expressed her desires in her will—that the Strasberg family should be the protectors of her persona. The enactment of this legislation helps ensure that the wishes of Ms. Monroe and all other deceased personalities will now be fully respected.” What drives many posthumous rights is not only the recognition that some interests survive death, but also a desire to respect decedents’ wishes.
However, the realization that some interests survive death does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that all interests must or should survive death. For example, interests that “can no longer be helped or harmed by posthumous events,” such as a secret desire for personal achievement, die upon the death of the interest-holder. Minimally, the distinction between interests that survive death and those that die with the decedent turns on whether a record exists of the particular interest in question. The record could exist either in the mind of a surviving friend or family member, or it could be recorded in writing. But, if an interest is incapable of being known after death, then the law cannot protect it.
Furthermore, the simple fact that an interest survives death does not require that the law recognize this interest as a posthumous legal right. Theoretically someone could die with a certain set of interests written in a document, perhaps a will. These interests might include the desire to transfer assets to one’s children after death or the desire to have one’s flower garden tended in perpetuity. Given the wide range of posthumous interests that survive death in a philosophical sense, the law’s purpose is to choose which of these interests are worthy of legal recognition.
Interest Theorists make few suggestions about which surviving interests should be recognized as posthumous legal rights. This determination requires a theory about which sorts of posthumous rights should be recognized.
Interests that survive death.
The right to have their estate governed as they requested
The right to privacy for their family members
Posthumous interest to protect name from being defamed via family, friends and in the case of artists their fans.
Posthumous right to constitutional free speech. If the living has the right to free speech those with an interest to the deceased should be able to speak for the decedents.
The decedents should have a posthumous right to protect and preserve their legacy through friends, family members or fans in the case of an artist.
An artists may desire that his or her artistic work survives him/her. In that case there has to be people who continue to support or buy the works. His/her fans would be responsible for maintaining that interest because they will continue to buy the product.
Right not to have sperm/viable eggs removed from body unless that request has been made, in writing, while living.
Right to safeguard reputations in cases of defamation and invasions of privacy.
Right to artistic creations, name and image
If death marks the end of conscious existence, shouldn’t it mark the end of legal existence as well?
The right of publicity to survive death: the right of an individual to control the commercial value of their name, image and likeness. The right of publicity was used by the singer Bette Midler to stop a car company from using a singer in a commercial who sang in a similar style to Midler and by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to stop an advertiser from using an Onassis look-alike. http://www.alternet.org/story/147332/how_dead_people_have_more_rights_than_you_do!
The deceased DO have INTEREST that survives death. They may be DEAD but they are not DONE. Let’s make sure those interest are respected and carried forward by supporting the AdLLaw Initiative. Sign the petition at:
MJ Brookins, Advocate/AdLLaw Admin
The White Lion talks about the 2005 Michael Jackson trial and in particular talks about the behavior of the media during that time. He points out that the trial was “big business” for the media because they were all profiting from it.
The Wade Robson civil suit starts in 8 months. And again; it will be big business for the media. The behavior we saw from them in 2005 will be repeated. They will report exactly as they did in 2005 – only reporting the salacious testimonies and not reporting the cross- examination.
We have already seen a demonstration of how much the media have $$ in their eyes from the last week. Stories from the likes of Radar Online, Daily Mail and even Huffington Post have shown how they are rubbing their hands together in greed and glee at what will be a big money spinner for them.
Remember; as far as the media are concerned the truth will not bring them profit. The scandal and lies of Wade Robson & Jimmy Safechuck will. Yet again; they are trying to sway public opinion to persuade the public of Michael’s guilt because a “guilty” verdict means even more money for them.
This is why it is so important to act now! This is exactly why we are urging you to get involved in the AdLLaw Initiative and sign the petition to put a stop to this scandalous media behavior.
There are many concrete facts to support Michael’s innocence and none to support his guilt. Which do you think the media will go with? I think we all know the answer to that.
Act NOW and let’s stamp out the media lies for good. Sign the petition and share it with everyone you know. Together; we can protect Michael’s legacy from the greedy money-sucking leeches!
Support the #AdLLawInitiative by signing and sharing the AdLLaw Global Petition
Submitted by: Kerry Ward, MDF Admin
The answer is Paul Baressi – former Private Investigator and tabloid broker.
Here’s a little info on Baressi:
During the Michael Jackson allegations of 1993; Baressi was asked by his former girlfriend Stella Marcroft and her partner Phillippe Lemarque to help them sell a story alleging that they had witnessed Michael Jackson molesting Macaulay Culkin. Baressi managed to get them a $150,000 offer from the National Enquirer, but the couple was so greedy they went over his head to lawyer Arnold Kessler, who persuaded them to dismiss the offer Baressi had managed to get them and promised them a much bigger offer. Baressi was not happy; and secretly taped them to tell their story once again.
Armed with the “tape”, he then approached The Globe: “I called the editor at The Globe and I said, ‘I have a tape, I’m on the way down town to hand it to the District Attorney.’ And his words were, ‘let us come with you.’ And then I knew I had him. The next thought in my mind was I’m going to ask for $30,000. You always ask for twice as much as what you hope to get. He put me on hold, and within less than a minute he came back and he said ‘well, we can’t give you thirty, we’ll give you ten.’ I said ‘make if fifteen,’ he said ‘you have a deal.'” Reporter: “Could you see the headlines coming? Barresi: “Oh yeah, sure, and I could see that money coming too.
He arranged a $15,000 deal with Globe but greed and impatience took over resulting in him contacting Kevin Smith of Splash News Service; resulting in the story being featured in the Daily Mirror, for $24,000. This meant that eventually when Globe was finally interested in the story; they would not pay him because of the Mirror scoop. It is alleged that Baressi threatened Kevin Smith in order to gain $10,000. The end result was that Baressi made $30,000 on the whole story.
In addition; Baressi was regularly hired by Anthony Pellicano to “gain dirt” on any celebrity client sex stories. Pellicano was a former PI to Michael Jackson. Pellicano has also sold various MJ “stories” to the tabloids.
Pellicano is now serving a 15 year sentence in jail for conspiracy to commit wiretapping. He was actually indicted on 150 counts including racketeering, conspiracy, wiretapping, witness tampering, identity theft and the destruction of evidence.
Diane Dimond is a known supporter of Wade Robson. Radar Online are known supporters of Wade Robson. And Paul Baressi? Well he’s a greedy tabloid broker who only cares about money!
I think we can conclude here that these stories are absolutely coming from the Wade Robson camp in an attempt to manipulate public opinion in preparation for the civil suit in 8 months’ time. The upshot? These stories are tame compared with what will come out over the course of the next 8 months. They will get worse. And it also means that WE have only 8 MONTHS to act and stop these stories! We must take action NOW!
Support the AdLLaw Initiative by signing the global petition and sharing with family and friends.
Submitted by: Kerry Ward, MDF Admin
This is something fans, non-fans and those who have doubts about Michael’s innocence should consider. It is well known that DA Tom Sneddon was a man with a grudge. Many in Michael’s camp were well aware that Sneddon was determined to nail Michael; no matter what the cost was. Sneddon was smarting at his failure to bring Michael to trial in 1993; because of lack of evidence.
In 2003; Sneddon was adamant he would not fail. Sneddon carried out a thorough and intense investigation into the allegations made against Michael. From the raid on Neverland to the statements from various witnesses; he left absolutely no stone un-turned. Indeed; investigations against Michael Jackson lasted for 16 years. Around 70 law enforcement personnel were involved in these very detailed investigations. Michael’s personal possessions were collected; Hayvenhurst was also searched as part of the investigation; and Michael himself was subjected to a strip search. And in those 16 years; a man with a very clear grudge against Michael Jackson; was unable to find one scrap of evidence to prove Michael was guilty. Absolutely NOTHING.
Whatever your opinion of DA Sneddon and I’m certainly not paying him a compliment here – he was the man who if there was damning evidence; he WOULD find it. In terms of the investigation; he was the best man for the job because he was fueled by a determination to see Michael Jackson go down. And yet he failed. So if a man with a grudge can’t prove Michael’s guilt; then it’s very clear. There was absolutely NO GUILT to prove.
Submitted by: Kerry Ward, MDF Admin
Support the AdLLaw/Cadeflaw Initiative by signing the petition at: AdLLaw Global Petition