Alan Keyes: Jail Jacko's jurors
Calls change of mind on verdict 'perjury'
Posted: August 10, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern
The two jurors on the Michael Jackson molestation case who now say they were coerced into voting for acquittal of the pop music icon should be jailed for "perjury," says legal scholar and former ambassador Alan Keyes.
Eleanor Cook, 79, and Ray Hultman, 62, also evoked the wrath of their fellow jurors for branding Jackson a "pedophile" on national TV.
"They've become traitors," one juror, Michael Stevens, 21, said yesterday.
The 12-member jury acquitted Jackson, 46, unanimously on June 13 of all charges relating to the alleged molestation of 13-year-old Gavin Arvizo at the star's Neverland ranch.
Keyes, however, is the first national figure to call for official punishment of the pair.
In an exclusive WND commentary today, he writes: "In its discussion of the meaning of 'perjury,' the Oxford English dictionary notes that 'in legal usage, perjury was first the offence of jurors in giving a willfully false verdict, they being sworn to give a true verdict according to their knowledge. ...' The spectacle of two jurors in the Michael Jackson child molestation case who now boldly and openly declare that they voted against their conscience for acquittal raises the possibility that we are entirely losing sight of this original and critical sense of the term."
Keyes says permitting the jurors to elude accountability "represents a grave threat to the republican form of government our Constitution requires, since trial by jury is the keystone of the people's participation in the administration of justice."
The jurors now claim they acted under pressure from the jury foreman, who purportedly threatened to have them removed from the jury if they did not vote with the majority.
"Whatever the factual basis for this claim, it has no basis in law, since it is precisely against the law to use threats in order to pressure a juror to perjure himself," writes Keyes. "If the foreman acted in this way it amounts to jury tampering, and seriously taints the outcome of the trial. We must also ask whether the judge failed to make clear to the jurors their strict responsibility to render a true verdict."
He calls into question the character of the pair and speculates that they might be publicity seekers and opportunists.
"Given the grave implications of their actions, the jurors who now admit their perjury ought to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law," he writes. "The system of trial by jury is critically important to the practice of liberty. If, in a case notorious throughout the land, jurors can openly admit and profit from the failure to do their sworn duty, this casts a corrosive shadow over the whole concept of a fair jury trial."
A fellow juror, Susan Rentschler, said: "They've really changed their tune. I don't know about Ray, but I think Elly wants attention and she's trying to sell a book."
Cook and Hultman both plan to write tell-all books about the "air of hatred" in the jury room and their incredible change of tack two months down the line, according to some reports.
Michael Jackson's lawyer, Tom Mesereau, branded the allegations "laughable."
"They are embarrassing themselves and they are embarrassing the system," Mesereau said of the pair.
"Show me the money !!!!"
Shut up and go away. It's over, decency lost this time, move on.