This week Allison talks to attorney Tom Mesereau. Allison and Tom discuss what it is like representing celebrity clients and learning how he handles the intense media scrutiny that comes along with working on these cases. They go on to talk about Meseareau’s work on the Michael Jackson molestation case and the intricacies of dealing both with the media as well as members of the Nation of Islam who were present throughout the trial. Allison then takes on Mesereau’s views on the first amendment and asks him to discuss his view on race and how it plays out in the courtroom.
Producer Nick then steps in and asks Mesereau about Gloria Allred, celebrity treatment in the justice system and the issue of fair justice.
Tom Mesereau is a graduate of Harvard College who obtained his law degree from Hastings Law School in California. He’s handled a number of significant and high profile cases in his career including Robert Blake and Michael Jackson’s trial. He was the lawyer who was able to get Mr. Blake out on bail and helped to make sure that he wasn’t charged with the death penalty. He is most well known for his successful defense in the Michael Jackson case, which was covered exhaustively by the media. Jackson was acquitted on ten felony counts and on lesser-included misdemeanors. The trial lasted five months.
Mesereau is also very committed to pro bono work—doing work for free for clients who can’t pay. Representing clients in Mississippi on death penalty cases. He has been volunteering time in Southern California by working in the community there continuously. He’s been recognized and acknowledged by the former Reverend Cecil Murray of First AME Church in California, by Bishop Blakely of West Angeles Church, where Johnnie Cochran was memorialized in April of this year, and by many others. He is well known and well respected in the community, not for what you hear about in the press, but for what he does every single day for poor, deprived, voiceless, and often powerless people in the criminal justice system.
02:16 Did you feel prepared to deal with everything around representing celebrities?
04:46 Representing Mike Tyson.
08:03 Are you saying he shouldn’t have been brought before the grand jury?
08:45 Famous trial lawyers.
10:38 Have you ever been on Nancy Grace’s show?
11:58 The Jerry Sandusky case vs Michael Jackson’s trial.
15:03 Were there certain things that Jackson had to concede to before you agreed to represent him?
17:47 How did you get between the camera and Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton, The Nation of Islam, etc.?
20:55 There were a lot of leaks going on during the trial especially around the grand jury hearing. How did you handle all that?
25:25 Dealing with the media around trials.
30:15 You said you thought The Nation of Islam has done some really good things. Can you explain that?
34:45 What is your stance on having cameras in the courtroom?
38:14 Martin Bashir’s documentary and how it effected the Jackson Trial.
42:50 The media’s bias for the prosecution and understanding cross examination.
45:15 Mark Fermin and the OJ Simpson trial.
47:00 MAYHEM ROUND with Producer Nick.
47:43 Syracuse sexual abuse story: Do you think Gloria Allred is behaving responsibly towards her clients?
56:42 Are celebrity cases harder to deal with?
1:01:15 Is true justice dependent upon who can afford it?
1:09:20 Courts weighing in on elections and legislation.
1:15:17 WRAP UP