In Robson civil and probate cases, Estate’s first step was to try to get them dismissed during demurrer phase. They succeeded in probate case however their request was overruled for the civil case. Civil case has proceeded to the summary judgment phase. It is now the time for the defendant – in other words MJ Estate – to respond with an initial answer denying the allegations in the complaint and listing possible legal affirmative defenses. This is a short preliminary document.
Not surprisingly Estate starts their answer to the complaint by focusing on Robson’s 2005 testimony.
“This case has no merit in fact or law. Wade Robson’s allegations are directly contrary to his sworn testimony in a 2005 criminal trial where Michael Jackson was vindicated of all wrongdoing by a unanimous jury of twelve. Robson was twenty-three-years-old when he testified in 2005. He was subjected to vigorous and repeated cross-examination by a very zealous prosecutor handling the case, but Robson’s testimony never wavered”.
Estate continues with
“In his complaint for money damages, Robson does not claim that he made a mistake when he testified in 2005 or that he suffered from a “repressed memory”. Rather, Robson simply claims that he chose to lie to a criminal jury in 2005. Yet, a decade later, and almost four years after Michael Jackson’s tragic death, Robson changed his story knowing that Michael Jackson is no longer here to defend himself. Robson recanted his testimony in a criminal trial for the sole and express purpose of taking money from Michael Jackson’s heirs and beneficiaries. After all, Robson’s complaint does not and cannot seek anything other than money”.
Estate continues to focus on the significance of Robson’s 2005 testimony in very harsh words
“There is no just or equitable way for a Court in this state to allow Robson to recover here – either he is perjuring himself today in an effort to obtain money, or he perjured himself and obstructed justice in a criminal proceeding a decade ago. There is no middle ground between those two positions – a recovery here would make a mockery of California’s system of justice”.
Final blow comes with
“All of the above being said, the corporate Defendants are one hundred percent confident that Robson did tell the truth in 2005, when his sole motivation was to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
Estate denies each of Robson’s allegations.Estate then lists 14 affirmative defenses. I will only mention a few of them here. For full list of them please refer to the document.
On their “No causation” affirmative defense, Estate turns their focus on to Wade Robson’s mother Joy Robson. Estate states
“When Michael Jackson was frivolously accused of wrongdoing in 1993 and investigates by authorities regarding such wrongdoing, both Robson and Robson’s family, including his mother Joy Robson, publicly and prominently defended Michael Jackson and rejected the allegations of wrongdoing out of hand, including false allegations that Michael Jackson had engaged in wrongdoing with Wade Robson himself. Given that Joy Robson necessarily knew more than the Corporate Defendants about the relationship between Wade Robson and Michael Jackson, and given that Joy Robson did not take any steps to “protect” Robson (because no such steps were necessary), Wade Robson cannot possibly prove his absurd allegations that the Corporate Defendants supposed failure to take “reasonable steps” to prevent the alleged abuse is what caused him damage.”
In “unclean hands, bad faith, inequitable conduct” affirmative defense, Estate once again focuses Robson’s 2005 testimony and how Robson now claims his 2005 testimony wasn’t true. Estate states
“As a result of Robson’s own affirmative claims that he perjured himself and obstructed justice in prior judicial proceedings, and other inequitable conduct by him and his associates, all claims in the third amended complaint are barred in whole or in part by unclean hands, bad faith and inequitable conduct.”
In “violation of due process and other constitutional principles of fundamental fairness” affirmative defense, Estate points out how unfair this case is to Michael Jackson. Estate states
“Robson waited almost four years after Michael Jackson had died before he made his scurrilous and frivolous allegations. The nature of these false allegations necessarily makes it impossible for the Corporate Defendants to fully defend themselves without the assistance of Michael Jackson himself. The impossibility of fully and completely defending against Robson’s false allegations is further magnified by the fact that Robson himself steadfastly denied these allegations during the entirety of Michael Jackson’s life. Indeed, Robson and his family denied the allegations under oath on multiple occasions, including in a 2005 criminal trial where Michael Jackson was frivolously accused of misconduct and then exonerated by a unanimous jury of twelve. Accordingly, the Corporate Defendants could not possibily have been on notice, prior to Michael Jackson’s death, that Robson would bring claims like those here and that they should have been prepared to defend against such claims. ”
Finally Estate reminds the court of the creditor claim and how it was dismissed. Estate points out what all of us are thinking
“This is a disguised action for money damages against the Estate of Michael Jackson, deceased (the Corporate defendants are a substantial part of the Estate of Michael Jackson, deceased)”.
Estate asks for a judgment rendered in favor of MJ Estate/ Corporate defendants and legal costs and attorney feed due to frivolous nature of the case. Estate is also asking for a trial by jury (if this case survives summary judgment of course).
Although this is a very brief document and this is Estate’s preliminary answer to the complaint, it looks like the biggest weapon in Estate’s arsenal is Robson’s 2005 testimony followed by Robson family’s defense of Michael in the past. Robson will face credibility issues given his two opposite statements – 2005 testimony and his current claims. In order for a jury to rule in his favor now, they’ll need to believe that Robson lied in 2005 during a criminal proceeding and be okay with that. Wade’s mother Joy will also be an important topic. If she states she knew the alleged abuse and did nothing, she will also admit to perjury and not “protecting” Wade. It would be absurd to expect corporate entities to “protect” Robson when his mother failed to do so. If Joy claims she didn’t know about any alleged abuse, it would bring the question how could corporate entities known about the alleged abuse when Robson’s own mother didn’t. It’s an uphill battle for Robson.