Several weeks ago we examined a LA based talk radio legal show that Robson/Safechuck/Doe lawyer Vince Finaldi was on. Soon after we published our blog post, I was alerted to another radio interview that Finaldi took part in. This interview actually took place on September 15, 2016 but it went unnoticed. While MichaelJacksonAllegations and a friend were helping me to dissect this interview, Jane Doe filed her complaint. So we focused on that unexpected development first, putting this interview on the backburner. Now we are finally ready to publish another commentary.
In this interview Finaldi is discussing Robson’s amended complaint.
Hosts: You know a story that never goes away? It is the Michael Jackson story. Guy’s been dead for 7 years but we still have a lawsuit lingering around alleging child sex abuse. We are going to talk with Vince Finaldi from the law firm of Manly, Stewart and Finaldi. We had Vince, we had John Manly on many times. Often they are representing the plaintiffs in sexual abuse cases involving the LA Archdioceses, the Los Angeles Unified School District and other entities that years ago that you can trust not to sexually abuse your kids. Then there is Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson somehow slithered away from ever going to jail for all the terrible things he did. But this law firm Manly, Stewart and Finaldi is representing Wade Robson. Wade Robson is described as a director, dancer and choreographer and a Michael Jackson protégé in the day. He is accusing Michael Jackson of sexually abusing him from he was 7 until he turned 14. As the saying goes he got too old for Jackson. And his attorney say that Jackson's production company designed, developed and operated what is likely to be the most sophisticated child sexual abuse procurement and facilitation organization the world has ever known. So let’s get Vince Finaldi on here to explain this. Vince? Welcome back to the John and Ken show. How are you?
Commentary: From the start we learn about the close friendship between the radio show hosts and Finaldi. That means this show like the other one would be extremely biased against Michael. Also Michael Jackson didn’t “somehow slithered away”, he was investigated, he was charged, he went through a trial and at the end the jury came back with a NOT GUILTY verdict. He was acquitted. How can you host a show that includes legal matters when you have no respect for the jury verdict? However it’s not that surprising, these hosts were known to to do bombast on Michael Jackson back in the day.
Finaldi: Good afternoon folks. Good to talk to you again.
Hosts: Yeah good to have you on again. Explain how, if what you are saying is true explain how this child sexual abuse procurement organization worked?
Finaldi : Okay. Essentially when you have an entertainer and when you want to hire the entertainer you don’t really hire them personally. You hire what’s called loan out corporation which was MJJ Productions which was his company. If you wanted to hire Michael Jackson, you hire that company. And what he did is he had a number of workers that worked for him, that worked for that company that he would use to develop his performances, his music and like that. But he would also use the same employees to help him locate and single out children to invite to Neverland and to his homes, and on concert, and use that as a process to being grooming and eventually sexually abusing kids. He would use his employees to go buy them gifts, buy their mothers gifts, get them tickets to events , take them to Disneyland, take the parents one place and then isolate the kid at a different place, put them up in hotel rooms while they are at concerts. Use his company for all these things. So there was another purpose that he was using these companies for.
Host : So this was implicit, explicit? I mean exactly these employees acted on specific directions or this is sort of implied?
Finaldi: Absolutely. These employees were hired essentially to do whatever he asked. It’s not like Michael Jackson was on the phone buying these plane tickets and booking these hotel rooms suites and out there buying the gifts for the kids. He would tell the employees here is the card, here is what I want you to do and they’d go and do it. And..
Commentary : Pay attention to the above bolded parts. Finaldi keeps refuting their own argument that they try to make in their complaint, namely that Michael was controlled by his companies. Everything he says here only supports the Estate's argument that Michael was the boss and he was the one controlling his companies and his employees, not the other way around. Those who follow the legal proceedings know why this is very important.
Host: That’s fascinating. They were doing the grooming for him.
Finaldi: Well they were definitely facilitating the grooming. They would put him in contact with the kids and the parents. As you know the way the pedophiles work. They begin to groom the parents, groom the kids, and they begin to discern which one of the kids they will eventually abuse. And this business is what he used in order to facilitate that.
Commentary: No, it wasn’t the companies that put Michael in contact with Wade and his parents. In actuality, it was Wade Robson’s mother Joy Robson who sought contact with Michael Jackson’s companies and eventually with Michael Jackson when they came to the US in 1990. She testified about that in 2005.
Q. Do you remember the first time you visited Neverland?
A. Yes. It was in January of 1990.
Q. And how did you end up visiting Neverland?
A. When we were here, we called around, trying to find Michael again. He had told us if we returned to the United States to contact him. So we called around, and we eventually were put onto his personal assistant, which at that time was Norma Stakos (sic), and they called Michael. He remembered us, and said he would like to see us again. So we met him at a recording studio where he was working at the time.
Host: What kind of evidence are you going to provide for this?
Finaldi: Well the evidence we are going to provide is gonna be gathered. So far it’s evidence been taken through discovery in the case but I can’t really get too much into evidence at this point in time. All I can say is that you know you should stay tuned because it’s going to very explosive.
Commentary : Make a vague threat in every interview - check. Make Estate shake in their boots - major fail.
Host: Wade Robson was 5 when he first worked for Jackson? Explain the chronology of his time with Michael Jackson
Finaldi: Okay. Wade was a young dancer in Australia. He went into a dance contest was put on by MJJ Productions. Surprise Surprise, guess what the prize is? If you win the dance contest, you get to meet Michael Jackson in person. So that’s where he first met him. After that Michael Jackson kept in touch in communication with him by sending faxes and letters and gifts from MJJ Productions. On the letterhead and everything.
Commentary: This is once again demonstrably untrue. Both Wade Robson and Joy Robson testified in 2005 that they had absolutely no contact with Michael Jackson between 1987 and 1990 and THEY were the ones who contacted him again in 1990, out of the blue without any previous arrangement. Here are the relevant parts from their testimonies.
Wade Robson on direct examination by Michael's lawyer Thomas Mesereau.
Q. And who is that?
A. That’s Michael Jackson.
Q. How do you know him?
A. I met him first when I was five years old. I think it was ‘87. And Michael was touring, he was doing the “Bad” tour. And I was imitating him as a dancer at that point. And he was holding these -- it was in connection with Target or something like that, holding these dance, like, contests all around wherever he traveled. So I entered one of the dance contests and ended up winning it, went on to the finals and won that, and then the prize was to meet Michael. So I met him after one of his concerts in Brisbane, Australia. And it was just like in a meet-and-greet sort of room. And we met, and I was in my whole, you know, “Bad” outfit and everything. He was sort of laughing and tripping out on my outfit and asked if I danced. I said, “Yeah.” And he asked me to perform with him in the show the next night. So after -- it was like the end of the concert, I pulled up, performed in the show with him. The next -- the next -- I think within the next couple of days, my mother and I went to visit him at his hotel room, and we stayed for a couple of hours. It was in Brisbane, Australia. Just talking about what I want to do. And then that was kind of it at first. And then for the next two years, we didn’t have any contact at all. And I continued pursuing my dance career in Australia. And then the company that I was with, the dance company, was traveling to America to do a performance at Disneyland. So we all went. Came out, did that performance. As I said, we’d had no contact with Michael or anything. Somehow my mother got in contact with Michael’s secretary at that time, who was Norma Stokes (sic).
Joy Robson on direct examination by Michael's lawyer Thomas Mesereau.
Q. And how did you meet Mr. Jackson?
A. Originally, in Australia in --
Q. I think you need to speak up a little bit.
A. Sorry. In Australia. He was touring on the “Bad” tour, and my son Wade was five years old and won a Michael Jackson look-alike/dance-alike competition.
Q. Did you develop a friendship with Michael Jackson?
A. Not immediately. Two years later, we returned to the United States for -- Wade was dancing here, and we reassociated with him at that point, and became friends from there, from 1989.
Joy Robson on cross-examination by prosecutor Thomas Sneddon.
Q. And the time that you met Mr. Jackson in Australia was in connection with your son winning a dance contest?
Q. And the occasion of you meeting Mr. Jackson was you were brought behind the stage with a lot of other people who were back there; is that right?
A. It was a meet-and-greet situation, yes.
Q. There wasn’t a lot of substance to it?
A. No, it was just, “How are you? It’s a pleasure to meet you,” type of thing.
Q. Okay. And then the next time that you meet Mr. Jackson is when you come to the United States in January of 1990, correct?
Q. And when you came here, there were no arrangements when you first came here to meet with Mr. Jackson?
Q. And it was as a result of you making contact with Norma Stakos (sic) that you were able to make contact with Mr. Jackson, correct?
But now Finaldi is presenting a completely different story in which Michael set up the dance competition to lure victims, in which he kept contact with the Robsons between 1987 and 1990 to groom them and in which it is somehow the fault of Michael Jackson’s companies that Joy Robson contacted them in 1990 looking for a connection with Michael Jackson again and somehow that makes these companies the “the most sophisticated child sexual abuse procurement and facilitation organization the world has ever known”. Finaldi can only claim this alternative history now, if they will claim that not only Wade Robson lied in 2005 under oath, but also his mother. What would be her excuse for that? Either that or this lawyer has no problem with lying about his case in the media and mislead the public who are unaware of the details of the case.
Furthermore according to Robson’s own complaint there wasn’t a lot of time to “groom the kids, and they begin to discern which one of the kids they will eventually abuse.”. Let’s recap. Win dance competition. Have a not substantial meet and greet with Michael at backstage where both his mother and other people are present. Meet with Michael a few hours next day at his hotel room with his mother present. No contact for next 2 years. His mother calls and arranges a meeting with Michael in the studio he works where other people and Robson’s family members present. Get invited to Neverland with the whole Robson family. Spend the first night with Michael with his sister present. Spend the second night alone with Michael and abuse happens.
So according to Robson he was abused the first time he was alone with Michael and only after interacting with him for 1-2 days. As we mentioned it before, that’s way too quick for any meaningful grooming to happen. That’s probably why now they are changing their story *cough*lying*cough* to claim contact between Michael and Robson between 1987 and 1990.
Host: Wade Robson is 7 years old and he is staying over at Neverland Ranch?
Finaldi: Yeah Michael Jackson is actually sponsored his immigration. He employed him as an employee of MJJ Productions, paid him, sponsored his immigration visa and brought him out here. He was working as an employee for him. Dancing for him, practicing with him at Neverland. He was his teacher, his coach and his mentor in the entertainment business.
Host: When did the sex abuse start?
Finaldi: It started as soon as he came out here. I believe he was 7 years old.
Host: Oh no, really?
Finaldi: Yes very early on
Host: how long did it go on?
Finaldi: It went on I believe until he was 14. Until he just started to hit puberty. That’s when Mr. Jackson started to obviously distance himself from him and move on to the next… and we don’t just represent Wade Robson. We represent another kid named Jimmy Safechuck who was also abused during the same time period in much the same manner. He was caught in the exact same net that was cast by the MJJ Productions.
Host: So you are suing the production company?
Finaldi: The Production Company and MJJ Ventures. Those are his two main business that he used to facilitate his abuse.
Host: Are you suing any individuals that worked for the production company?
Finaldi: Not yet but we got several Does that are listed and we can substitute the names of people that we find liable during this process.
Commentary: Seriously when are you going to sue Joy Robson? Isn’t she the first person who should be responsible for Wade’s well being? First and foremost responsible as a mother. More responsible than for example a secretary?
Host: Now now Robson testified in the 05 trial.
Finaldi: He testified in the 05 trial and also in 93.
Host: 93 too?
Finaldi: Yes in 93 as well. What happened was Michael Jackson was calling him, coaching him on the phone as he did during the entire time. He also hired a lawyer for him. And had Anthony pellicano in the mix. Going to Wade, going to his mother. Coaching them and telling them what to say.
Host: Anthony Pellicano is a famous dirty, nasty private investigator who is in prison now and has been for quite a while.
Finaldi: Exactly. Well Anthony Pellicano worked for Michael Jackson’s lawyers. Worked directly for him. That’s how they got put in contact with one another.
Commentary: We already addressed this in the article about the other radio interview Finaldi did. According to Robson’s own complaint he and his mother were first interviewed by the police (where they obviously did not say anything incriminating about MJ - Sneddon would have used it if they had) and THEN it was his mother who contacted Norma Staikos who THEN put them in contact with Pellicano. It seems like the Robsons actually volunteered to support Michael.
Host: This is to intimidate Wade and the other kids into not..
Finaldi: Into staying quiet. What he did is, He is actually the one that set up a lot of these interview that Wade is talking. You have to remember that the grooming process started very early with Michael Jackson saying “look this is a dirty business, you have to stick by me, I am the only one that loves you, I’m the only one you should trust, These people will grind you up . Listen to me, I love you, these are loving acts”. So when the 93 investigation came and Michael started to say “we didn’t do that, did we?” Here is how you answer these questions, here is how you answer those. Listen to me”. Wade initially said according to their instructions that he is not gonna talk. What happened was Judge Lance Ito at the time held him in contempt. So Wade was under contempt and he had to testify. That’s when he thought well they are going to put me in jail, that’s right. So I better follow the company line and he did.
Host: So he did testify that he wasn’t abused.
Finaldi: He testified at that time he wasn’t abused, correct.
Host: and in 1993 he was very young then
Finaldi: 12 years old.
Host: So he was still having a relationship with Michael Jackson then
Finaldi : It was ongoing, yes. And then in 05 he decided that is just going to say the same thing because all of the same reasons.
Host: was he paid like some others paid off?
Finaldi: Was he paid? He was an employee of MJJ Productions so yes he was paid for performances.
Host: Was he paid off to not spill the story?
Finaldi: Absolutely not. He was not paid for example you go and say no and then I’ll give you x amount of money. That did not happen.
Commentary: This statement became a lot more significant after Jane Doe’s claims.
Host: Because I see in your press release you are asking the Estate lawyers Howard Weitzman to release the details of past payments to other alleged child abuse victims of Jackson.
Host: Can you hold on because I want to get into Wade Robson ended up with a lot of success and then he hit a terrible patch the last few years. I think we want to understand just how much psychological damage the sex abuse of Michael Jackson did to him. So hang on.
Host: Just to go through. Robson became a choreographer for Britney Spears Pepsi commercials. He hosted a show on MTV. He choreographed American Idol’s live tour. He wrote songs for Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. He directed feature films. And then he suffers about 4 years ago a nervous breakdown. What happened?
Finaldi: He also won an Emmy award in the process. He got married and he had a child. As it happens with many sexual abuse victims , you have a child, you are responsible for caring for that child and they start to grow up and you start to see yourself in that child. And you start to think about things that happened to you in the past. And reflect on whether they were right or wrong. And you start to realize , hey maybe some of the things that I was told when I was young during the grooming process were not right. He had an emotional breakdown. This was when he was at the pinnacle of his career at the time. He essentially could not cope. He didn’t know what was wrong with him.
Host: This is pretty common. You are right. We learned about this in a lot of sex abuse cases. Many men as it is tough to deal with , to even think about. They put it in the back of their minds. Only when they have children , it springs out.
Finaldi : he started to think about what he would do , he would feel if someone did that to his child. And he started realizing this is not right. What happened to me was not right. It’s not loving. It’s not natural. And what was done to me was wrong.
Host: and he did okay emotionally up until that point?
Finaldi: You know what. He was taught by Michael early on that you have to be like a machine. You have to practice hard. You have to work hard. You have to tune everything out including your emotions. And you have to just work. Work hard every day. And that’s what he did. He became like a machine. Working hard. That’s one of the reasons why he was so successful. You gotta remember sexual abusers do have parts of their personalities that are positive. It’s not like they are the monster hiding in the corner with the trench coat on. So that was one of the ways that he was able to compartmentalize his abuse and not really reflect on it for such a long period of time. But as you know as the case with all these instances eventually it bubbles to the surface and you have to deal with it.
Commentary: The claim that Michael taught Robson to “be like a machine” and to “tune out emotions” is interesting because that would be rather out of character for MJ. On the other hand, Robson’s own mother Joy seems to be the kind of tough and ambitious stage mom who would teach her children such things.
For example, in a 2011 radio interview called “Nick and Desiree’s Infinate Dance Cast” Joy Robson said of Wade and Chantal’s childhood (at 20:15): “My kids worked every weekend, every school vacation, their birthday parties were backstage, their Christmas parties were backstage. No regrets."
Michael Jackson had little to do with that since, by Joy’s own accounts, other than giving them the opportunity to work in the United States and giving Wade some early jobs and opportunities, he had no active involvement in Wade’s career. In the same interview at 15:24 Joy Robson says: “I realized very early on that if we were gonna make it here it is gonna be up to me. I couldn't really rely... Michael had a... he lived in a bubble and had a different reality to ours. I was the one who had to find agents and, you know, he (Wade) started acting and he didn't dance a lot. He actually decided at the age of 10 that he didn't want to work as a dancer. He didn't like the way they were paid, he didn't like the way they were treated." And she goes on to tell that’s how Wade started to teach and choreograph instead.
In another interview that she gave in 1995 Joy says: “The first 18 months in LA was really tough going. We had taken six suitcases and little money and knew no-one in LA, only Michael who spent much of the time away.”
The same article also tells us about Wade’s tough schedule as a child: “Joy said Wade and daughter Chantal developed an American accent almost immediately. As a result, Wade was doing three or four auditions between 3-7pm each day. While Wade worked hard, attending audition after audition, learning lines, practising and rehearsing his dance movements, so too did Joy – his greatest supporter. The two are almost inseparable and make career decisions together.”
Also: “While Michael was their friend, he never interfered with Wade’s career … only to offer advice, but the ultimate decision was Joy and Wades’.”
“While Wade is the on-stage talent, Joy is his mentor, protector and confidante. She handles everything from make-up, wardrobe and music to securing a deal with some of the big names of the American entertainment scene.”
“Three years since their arrival on American soil, the Robson family are heavily entrenched in the entertainment scene. It is a tribute to Joy’s courage, persistence and belief in her son’s ability, and their fortitude to stand up for what they believe is right. They could easily have repacked their six bags and returned home to Australia, but they – as a team – decided to stay and help a friend in need, while at the same time defy the odds and pursue their own goals in their own way.”
Host: and he hasn’t been able to work for the last few years?
Finaldi: You know he decided to take himself out of the entertainment business because it was a constant trigger for him. Constant reminders of the abuse. So for that reason he decided that it was best for his healing and his own recovery to take himself out of that. So he removed himself from the entertainment business and has been focusing on his family and on his recovery. Going from being a sexual abuse victim to being a sexual abuse survivor.
Commentary: Well this is not completely true. In March 2014 - less than a year later - Robson registered his website WadeRobsonCreations. He started advertising his filmmaking/ director capabilities. Most of his initial work consisted of PSA videos, or local business videos. However this changed in the last year. On November 2015, Robson released “Flight” a dance video he did with Teddy Forance from the “Step Up” Series. Dance Spirit Magazine reported this as the return of Wade Robson. On May 2016, Robson released another dance video called “Life in Color”. This time he worked with Tyce Diorio from “So You Think You Can Dance”. On June 2016, “Life in Color” was screened at HollyShorts Film Festival. On September 2016, right about Robson’s lawyers were amending his complaint and claiming Robson was “unable to continue directing in any manner or capacity whatsoever”, Robson was directing (and apparently even choreographing) a music / dance video for Blake Mcgrath (from SYTYCD). So not only Robson is more than capable to direct, for the last year he also has been back to doing entertainment related dance and music videos.
Moreover, Robson has two entertainment and production companies, Wajero Entertainment Inc. and Light Tree Productions.The former was founded in 2000 the latter in 2003. Robson never terminated any of his entertainment/production companies during these proceedings. He continues to keep them active. In fact, based on online company information, in the past years he filed documents to change the address of Wajero to a Hawaii address (Robson now lives in Hawaii) and to change the agent from from his previous one Gary Haber who died in 2014 to Helen Yu, Robson’s entertainment lawyer in California.
Host: are you one of the last remaining cases against Michael Jackson over sex abuse? Are there still out there beside the ones you are bringing?
Finaldi: Well we got two cases right now that we are proceeding with. And as you know we were recently brought onto these cases about two months ago. We took over from his former lawyers who were essentially entertainment lawyers. As you know we specialize in sexual abuse cases. From what we know from reviewing the materials and from his exposure with children we have a very very good idea that he was doing this for an extremely long time as we know that there are more people out there, more kids. But I think they are just as scared as our clients were in the beginning and eventually…
Commentary: But Robson and Safechuck didn’t claim to be scared of Michael, they claimed to not realize what sexual abuse was. Robson was having friendly BBQ’s with Michael until soon before his death. Safechuck even claimed he told Michael off and told him not to call him again. That’s not the behavior of a scared person. Can you please keep the lies straight at least?
Host: if this went to trial though how would you get a verdict when it is so difficult to convict celebrities or get them declared liable. Is this different because Michael Jackson is now dead and you are going after a corporation?
Finaldi: Well you gotta remember. First of all it’s different standards that we deal with a civil case. More likely than not. It’s not beyond reasonable doubt. So that’s the first thing. Second thing is every other civil case he had they were smart enough to settle those cases before they ever saw light of day in a trial. And they paid a lot of money. The first case I believe they paid somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 to 30 million dollars to make it go away. They didn’t do that for no reason whatsoever. They did it because they knew how bad the facts were, how bad the evidence was and the way it would turn out in a trial. And we look forward to it. I assure you I can’t wait for that day that we open and we get to put this evidence on.
Commentary: We would need to write a whole essay to explain Finaldi the real story of the 1993 settlement. How the Chandlers played the system to bring the civil lawsuit ahead of the criminal case and how that put Michael in an unfair position which ultimately lead to the settlement. How the Chandlers never wanted a criminal trial and in fact were actively trying to avoid it. How from the very beginning their only focus was money. However it's not our responsibility to educate Finaldi.
Host: Vince thanks for talking to us. We will talk to you again.
One last note about the unprofessional and very biased way this interview was conducted. The host is obviously friendly with Finaldi and Manly and thus spares Finaldi of any difficult or challenging questions. In fact, he immediately accepts anything Finaldi claims as true and you can tell he is rooting for him and his position. In reality many things Finaldi claims in this interview are demonstrably untrue and can be challenged and refuted.