Saying they succumbed to peer pressure, two of the 12 jurors who acquitted Michael Jackson of child-molestation charges say in TV appearances that they now regret their decision.
The jurors, Eleanor Cook and Ray Hultman – both of them have book deals, according to the Associated Press – made their statements on MSNBC’s Rita Cosby: Live and Direct and appeared on Monday’s Today show.
“People just wouldn’t take their blinders off long enough to really look at all the evidence that was there,” said Hultman, 62, while Cook, 79, told Cosby: “No doubt in my mind whatsoever, that boy was molested, and I also think he enjoyed to some degree being Michael Jackson’s toy.”
Jackson defense attorney Tom Mesereau dismissed the two jurors’ comments as “embarrassing and outrageous.”
“The bottom line is it makes no difference what they’re saying. It really is a non-event,” Mesereau tells AP. “Twelve people deliberated and out of that process justice is supposed to result. Now two months later these jurors are changing their tunes. They clearly like being on TV. I’m very suspicious.”
The changes of heart have also angered fellow jury members. “They’ve become traitors,” Michael Stevens, a 21-year-old student, is quoted as saying by New York’s Daily News. Added juror Susan Rentschler: “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.”
Hultman’s book is to be titled The Deliberator and Cook’s, Guilty as Sin, Free as a Bird, according to Larry Garrison, a producer who is working with both on their separate books and a combined TV movie. Part of the profits from their book sales will go to charity, he said.