KEY FACTS ABOUT THE 1993 JORDAN CHANDLER ALLEGATIONS
How did Michael Jackson meet Jordan Chandler?
Michael Jackson met Jordan Chandler in May 1992. Michael’s car broke down in Los Angeles and he went to a nearby car rental agency which was owned by Jordan Chandler’s stepfather, David Schwartz. Schwartz called his wife, June Chandler, and told her to bring Jordan who was a huge fan of the star. Schwartz also offered to rent a car to Michael at no charge if Michael would agree to take Jordan’s number and call him. Michael accepted the offer and kept his promise, calling Jordan a couple of days later. Following this encounter, Michael struck up a friendship with the whole Schwartz-Chandler family. The Chandler family spent time with Michael at Neverland and also travelled with him from time to time and Michael visited the family at their home, too.
When did Jordan first make allegations of abuse against Michael Jackson
The allegations of abuse did not originate with Jordan Chandler. In fact, it was Evan Chandler (Jordan’s father) who first made the claims of abuse, even when Jordan denied them strongly. Following his divorce from June when Jordan was about 5 years old, Evan did not play much of a role in Jordan’s life. He took little interest in his son, until he learned that Jordan had struck up a friendship with Michael Jackson. It was at this point that he suddenly wanted to be greatly involved in Jordan’s life and wanted to meet Jordan’s new friend. Evan quickly became jealous of Jordan’s relationship with Michael and of the fact that Jordan preferred to spend time with Michael rather than him. Shortly after meeting Michael, Evan suggested to him that Michael should build (and pay for) a new wing on Evan’s house or build him a new home entirely so Michael could come and stay more frequently. Michael declined to do this. Evan also had ambitions of being a Hollywood screenwriter and wanted Michael to fund his projects, including a 50/50 partnership with Michael to create a film production company which Michael also declined. In July 1993, Jordan went to visit his father for a week. At the end of this week, Evan refused to return him to his mother who had legal custody. It was during this week that Evan, under the guise of performing a minor dental procedure, sedated his son and Jordan allegedly confessed. Between this time and 17 August, Evan made repeated financial demands to Michael but all were refused (see point 4 for further information). Evan was required, by a court order, to return Jordan to June by 17 August but he did not want to lose control over the boy. In order to avoid having to comply with the court order and angered by Michael’s refusal to pay him off, Evan took Jordan to a psychiatrist and Jordan alleged abuse. The psychiatrist was obligated to report these allegations and Michael thus became the subject of a criminal investigation.
Did Evan Chandler drug his own son to extract a confession?
We know that Evan Chandler administered a drug to Jordan in July 1993 to pull a retained baby tooth. It has been strongly suggested that the drug used was Sodium Amytal, a drug which makes the user highly susceptible to false memories and suggestions. It is worth noting that prior to this, Jordan consistently denied that Michael had behaved inappropriately with him in any way whatsoever. Although there are some questions as to the exact drug used, the Chandlers themselves confirm that Jordan was indeed sedated and that after Jordan emerged from his sedation he “confessed” to have being abused. According to Ray Chandler ‘s (Evan Chandler’s brother) book, the “confession” was obtained as a result of Evan pressuring and lying to his son and blackmailing him that he would destroy Michael and it would be Jordan’s fault. This confession was made on 16 July 1993. However, on 14 July 1993 (before Jordan confessed to anything), Evan Chandler and his attorney had already contacted a psychiatrist who, without having met or examined either Jordan or Michael, determined that “reasonable suspicion would exist that sexual abuse may have occurred”. This letter was used by Evan to try and blackmail Michael into a financial payout in return for not going public with the allegations. Michael refused to pay.
What evidence is there that Evan Chandler was trying to extort Michael Jackson?
There is a significant amount of evidence that Evan was simply seeking a financial payout and was using his son’s friendship with Michael as the means to achieve this. From his initial demands that Michael build him a home and finance his screenwriting career to the way in which he approached the entire episode, it is clear that Evan’s primary motive was money. One of the most significant pieces of evidence are the recordings of phone conversations between Evan Chandler and David Schwartz (June’s husband). Importantly, these conversations took place on 8 July 1993 (again, before Jordan’s alleged confession). During these calls, Evan explicitly stated that there was a plan in place and that he had been “told what to do” and what he could say. Evan told David that even his then wife thought he was “out of control” and that it would be satisfying for him to “see everybody get destroyed”. Evan was furious that “they” (we can assume he meant Michael, June and Jordan) wouldn’t talk to him and told David “I mean, once I make that phone call, this guy’s [Evan’s attorney] just going to destroy everybody in sight in any devious, nasty, cruel way that he can do it. And I’ve given him full authority to do that.” In a later conversation that day, Evan went on to say that Michael was “evil” for coming between “this family of June, me and Jordan” and that “if I go through with this, I win big time. There’s no way that I lose. I’ve checked that out inside out.” When asked by David if this would help Jordan, Evan’s response was “It’s irrelevant to me”. At one point, David directly asked Evan if Evan thinks “that he’s [Michael] f****** him?” and Evan’s response was “I don’t know. I have no idea”.
Furthermore, in August 1993, Evan demanded that Michael pay him $20 million. Michael refused and his private investigator, Anthony Pellicano, countered with an offer of $1 million to fund three screenplays written by Evan and Jordan. Pellicano later stated that he made this offer to have a record of the Chandlers negotiating a financial payout. Evan refused this offer, expecting that a bigger offer would follow. However, on 13 August, an offer of $350,000 was made by Pellicano. Evan’s lawyer tried to get the original offer of $1 million reinstated but Michael refused, showing that he had no intention of paying to silence Evan or Jordan. Michael had plenty of opportunities to prevent the allegations from going public but he chose not to do this. Indeed, Ray Chandler wrote in his book that “had Michael paid the twenty million dollars demanded of him in August, rather than the following January, he might have spent the next ten years as the world’s most famous entertainer, instead of the world’s most infamous child molester.”
What happened after Jordan “confessed” to the psychiatrist in August 1993?
As soon as Jordan alleged that he had been abused by Michael, the psychiatrist was legally obligated to report this to the authorities. This triggered a criminal investigation and also meant that Evan did not have to return Jordan to June. Authorities begin investigating, including carrying out search warrants on Michael’s homes and hotels in which he stayed. Despite the extensive nature of these searches and the seizure of videotapes and computers, investigators were unable to find anything incriminating at all. In fact, the Los Angeles Times reported on 27 August 1993 that a high ranking police source said “the search warrant didn’t result in anything that would support a criminal filing”.
In late August 1993, Evan’s lawyer withdrew from representing the Chandlers after Michael filed extortion charges against him and the Chandlers. Evan subsequently hired Gloria Allred but fired her two days later after she held a press conference stating that the accuser was willing to testify in court. Evan, still pursuing a financial payout, replaced her with Larry Feldman, a civil attorney. Ray Chandler confirms that this was because the Chandlers wanted to steer the case toward “a highly profitable settlement” rather than a Grand Jury indictment and a criminal trial. In September 1993, Feldman filed a $30 million civil lawsuit against Michael on behalf of the Chandlers.
During the course of the investigation, police interviewed dozens of children who had spent time with Michael. They employed highly aggressive tactics, seeking to pressure young children into making allegations of abuse against Michael. This included telling these children lies (such as falsely telling them they had nude photos of them) and pressing them for hours to make accusations against Michael. All the children stated that Michael had never behaved inappropriately with them, apart from one: Jason Francia (see point 6 for further information). Police also raided the offices of Michael’s dermatologist and seized his medical records.
Michael returned to the USA on 10 December 1993 (he had been abroad on tour and then recovering from an addiction to painkillers). On 20 December 1993, he was subjected to a humiliating full body strip search (see point 7 for more information).
On 25 January 1994, the Chandlers and Michael reached an out of court settlement in relation to the civil case only (see point 9 for more information about the settlement). As part of this settlement, Michael was made to agree to withdraw the extortion charge against Evan Chandler. The criminal case continued to progress and the settlement did not – and could not – impact that at all.
Between February and March 1994, two grand juries were convened to review the evidence and determine whether there was enough evidence to charge Michael with a crime. During grand jury proceedings, only the prosecution team is present; the defence is not even allowed to attend. Thus the jurors hear evidence only from the prosecution. Although the prosecution is obliged to put forward any exculpatory evidence they often do not present it fully or to best advantage for the defendant. It is widely accepted that grand jury proceedings are unfair and are a tool for the prosecution to ensure the result they want. It is said that when a grand jury is used it would be possible to “indict a ham sandwich”. Despite this, both grand juries failed to return an indictment. Nonetheless, prosecutors refused to close the case.
In September 1994, prosecutors announced that they were unable to file any charges against Michael because Jordan refused to testify. The Los Angeles District Attorney confirmed that the over-a-year long investigation did not yield anything incriminating against Michael and that he was not being charged with a crime. Sneddon, however, maintained that despite not charging Michael with anything, the investigation would remain open. He continued to make such statements until 2001.
Did anyone else allege that they were abused by Michael in 1993?
Of all the children that were questioned by the police only one, Jason Francia, eventually succumbed to the interrogations (after initially maintaining there was no improper behaviour) and alleged that Michael had touched him inappropriately whilst tickling him. This allegation came off the back of highly unethical and improper questioning from the police including the police telling the child that Michael was abusing Macauley Culkin and that Corey Feldman had a drug problem because he was abused by Michael and that he would die by the time he was 22 because of this. During the course of the interviews, Jason said: “They [the interrogators] made me come out with a lot more stuff I didn’t want to say. They kept pushing. I wanted to get up and hit them in the head”. During Michael’s 2005 trial, Jason admitted that he said things during the police interviews because he was “trying to figure out how to get out of there”.
Towards the end of 1994, having seen that the Chandlers received a settlement, Jason’s mother, Blanca, threatened to file a civil lawsuit against Michael (she had indicated her intention of suing Michael for money as early as March 1994). Having just put the Chandler saga behind him and getting ready to release a new album a few months later, Michael settled with both Blanca and Jason. The settlement documents emphasized that there had been no wrong-doing on the part of Michael and it is worth noting that no criminal charges were ever filed against Michael on the basis of the claims made by Jason. Michael settled to avoid civil litigation not to prevent any criminal proceedings.
In fact, Jason’s allegations were heard in detail during Michael’s 2005 trial during which both Jason and his mother were called to testify. However, his claims were contradictory and unreliable and following the trial, the jury foreman stated in an interview that the jury “had a hard time believing him” and that “he just didn’t seem that credible”.
Did Jordan’s description of Michael’s genitalia match the pictures taken by the authorities?
On 20 December 1993, Michael was strip searched and his entire body, including his genitalia, was photographed and videotaped to compare against the description of Michael’s body given by Jordan.
During Michael’s 2005 trial, Thomas Sneddon, the District Attorney, tried to claim there was a match between the photographs and the description solely on the basis of a single mark on the right side of Michael’s penis being at the same “relative” location as a blemish located by Jordan in his drawing (note the use of the word “relative” and not exact. It was never made clear what “relative” meant in this context). Sneddon goes on to say that he did not believe that Jordan would have been able to guess that Michael had any discoloration. However, this is not true. Firstly, in February 1993, Michael revealed to the world in an interview that he suffered with vitiligo, a skin condition which causes discoloration of the skin and Jordan would have seen the discoloration on Michael’s arms and legs etc and, therefore, would be able to make an educated guess that his penis was also affected. Secondly, when Michael stayed at Evan’s house for the weekend in May 1993, Evan injected medication into Michael’s buttocks so knew what his buttocks looked like. In his book, Ray Chandler quotes a conversation between Evan and his attorney on this issue as follows:
“Oh, yeah, Lauren Weis told me today that this disease Michael says he’s got, vitiligo, that it’s capable of changing anywhere you look, so that anything Jordie says is irrelevant. It can change very quickly with this disease.“
“Shit, these guys seem to have an answer for everything.”
“No, that’s good for us!”
“Because if he’s right, he’s right. And if he’s wrong, we’ve got an explanation!”
“Yeah, it’s a no-loser for us.”
Furthermore, Jordan described Michael as being circumcised but we know from his autopsy that he was not, in fact, circumcised. Given the acts of molestation alleged by the Chandlers, Jordan should have known whether or not Michael was circumcised.
Additionally, the news reports in the immediate aftermath of the strip search reported (citing law enforcement sources) that the photographs did not match the description given by Jordan. It was only later that the narrative changed after Sneddon alluded to a match in a press interview. In fact, during the Grand Jury proceedings in spring 1994, Katherine Jackson (Michaels’ mother) was called to testify as to whether or not Michael had altered the appearance of his genitalia so that it would not match the description given by Jordan! Had the photographs matched the description, such a question would have been irrelevant.
Ultimately, if the photographs had matched the description, it is highly likely Michael would have been arrested and charged. He was never charged with anything in relation to the Jordan Chandler allegations.
What about the Neverland staff that allegedly witnessed abuse?
In November 1993, five former bodyguards of the Jackson family file a civil lawsuit against Michael claiming $10 million for being fired because they “knew too much” about Michael’s relationship with young boys. In fact, the bodyguards who made these claims on the TV show Hard Copy never worked for Michael and documents later revealed that they had negotiated a fee of $100,000 for appearing on the show. Furthermore, they never reported any inappropriate behaviour to the police and, in depositions given to investigators, they admitted they had never seen anything inappropriate. Their case was thrown out of court in 1995.
Five Neverland employees (known as the “Neverland 5”) sued Michael in the 1990s for wrongful termination, seeking $16 million in compensation. The five claimed that they had witnessed inappropriate behaviour by Michael. None of these people ever reported this inappropriate behaviour to the authorities at the time these acts allegedly occurred.
One of the five, former maid Adrian McManus, claimed to have witnessed Michael behaving inappropriately with Jordan Chandler, Brett Barnes and Macauley Culkin (both Brett and Macauley have consistently maintained to this date that Michael never behaved inappropriately with them or harmed them in any way and even testified in his defence in 2005). However, in December 1993, Mcmanus testified under oath that she never observed any inappropriate behaviour or any form of sexual behaviour by Jackson towards Jordan Chandler or any other child. She even said she trusted Jackson so much that she would have no problem with leaving her son alone with him. During Jackson’s trial in 2005, she changed her story again and claimed she lied whilst under oath in 1993.
Another two of the five, Ralph Chacon and Kassim Abdool first made allegations against Michael during the grand jury proceedings in February/March 1994. However, in January 1994, Abdool had signed a statement stating that he had never seen Michael touch a child in a sexually inappropriate manner. During his deposition, Chacon asked the Detective to help him with money and a gun permit, both of which were provided. It was also revealed that in 1994, Chacon was in severe financial difficulties for several reasons: he owed money on a lost lawsuit, owned money in child support and owed money on missed rent payments.
The Neverland 5 lost their lawsuit (Chacon and McManus were even found guilty of stealing from Michael). During their case, the Neverland 5 and their attorney were sanctioned $66,000 for lying during their depositions and on the stand and for discovery violations. Judge Zel Canter, who presided over the civil trial, left the bench after stating he was disgusted. The jury rejected the wrongful termination lawsuit against Michael and ordered the Neverland 5 to pay him damages. The court also imposed attorney’s fees and costs of $1.4 million against the five. As of the time of their testimony in 2005 none of them had paid the damages to Michael. It is also worth noting that prior to their lawsuit, these five employees had also sold stories to tabloids.
It also emerged during the 2005 trial that McManus and her husband were ordered to pay $17,000 each in another lawsuit, in which it was ascertained that they stole money from an estate that was set-up for minor relatives of McManus.
Phillip LeMarque and his wife Stella Marcroft who worked at Neverland for approximately 10 months in 1991 also claimed to have witnessed inappropriate behaviour, including seeing Michael put his hand into Macauley Culkin’s pants (Macauley denied this during his 2005 testimony in defence of Michael). Neither went to the authorities but, instead, sought to sell their story to the tabloids. They were offered $100,000 but tried to negotiate for $500,000. The LeMarques were also in financial difficulty; the restaurant they opened after they had left Neverland went bankrupt and they were in significant debt. Later they went into the adult industry.
Why did Michael “pay off” the Chandlers and settle if he was innocent?
It is widely believed that Michael bought his way out of criminal prosecution by settling with the Chandlers on 25 January 1994. This is factually incorrect. The settlement put an end to the civil proceedings and not the criminal proceedings. Criminal cases cannot, by law, be settled in this way. The criminal investigation into Michael Jackson continued after the settlement was concluded and the settlement document itself expressly states that Jordan was free to testify in any criminal proceedings. Indeed, in a press conference after the settlement was signed, the Chandlers’ lawyer said that Jordan would continue to cooperate with the criminal investigation and that “nobody’s bought anybody’s silence”.
So why did Michael settle? It was clear from the outset that the Chandlers’ sole aim was a financial payout. Less than a month after the criminal investigation began, the Chandlers filed a civil lawsuit, seeking $30 million.
Michael had no interest in settling with the Chandlers. As discussed in point 4 above, the Chandlers had previously sought a payout of $20 million. Michael refused to pay this and had his investigator counter with an offer of $1 million. Evan Chandler refused this but, instead of coming back with a higher offer as was expected by Evan and his lawyer, Michael’s camp offered $350,000. Even when Evan’s lawyer tried to get the offer of $1 million reinstated, Michael refused to pay. His investigator later revealed that they only engaged in the negotiations to show that Evan was negotiating for money. Had Michael wanted to buy the accusers’ silence, he could have paid them off at this stage and prevented the whole saga from ever becoming public.
Civil complaints are usually filed/heard following the completion of criminal cases. In this case, the Chandlers were pushing for the civil case to be heard before the criminal case. Michael’s team filed four motions arguing that the civil trial should be heard after the conclusion of the criminal trial. The order in which these cases are heard is extremely important for several reasons. Firstly, if the civil trial went before the criminal trial, it would give the prosecutors in the criminal case a huge advantage because they would be given the opportunity to study Michael’s defence and tailor their case accordingly. Michael would have had to defend himself in civil proceedings and this would have revealed his strategy and defence to the waiting prosecution team. Secondly, the burden of proof is significantly lower in civil proceedings and therefore, it is easier to secure a ”win” in civil cases than in criminal cases. In a criminal case, the burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt” whereas in civil cases it is only the “preponderance of evidence” i.e. there is a greater than 50% chance that the claim is true. Therefore, a civil trial is risky even if the defendant is innocent. Michael and his team were concerned that if he was found liable in a civil trial, it could prejudice a jury in any criminal trial. Furthermore, the rules of evidence are far more relaxed in civil proceedings than in criminal trials, again making it risky to allow the civil trial to precede the criminal trial. All of these reasons show that Michael’s constitutional right to a fair trial would have been severely compromised had the civil trial gone first.
Michael lost all four motions requesting that the civil trial be heard after the criminal trial and he was therefore caught in an extremely difficult position. Furthermore, the Chandlers filed a motion requesting that the civil trial be held within 120 days of the motion being granted. This would have meant that Michael and his team had only 120 days to prepare for the civil trial whilst also dealing with the criminal investigation at the same time. This too at a time when the police had seized all of Michael’s personal records and refused to hand over copies of them or even a list of what had been taken. According to Geraldine Hughes, the Chandlers’ lawyer’s legal secretary, “The District Attorney’s office was operating, with the blessings of the Court, in violation of Michael Jackson’s constitutional rights, and the Court was weighing heavily in favor of the 13-year old boy”.
As a result of this and to enable the criminal trial to proceed as fairly as possible, Michael reluctantly agreed to settle the civil case. As stated above, this did not prevent Jordan from cooperating with the criminal investigation; he chosenot to. The Chandlers could have taken the settlement money and pursued justice but they chose to simply take the money and refuse to cooperate to with the authorities to put away an alleged child molester.
Ironically, the law that allowed the civil case to be heard ahead of the criminal case was changed as a direct result of what happened in this case. An accuser now cannot pursue a civil case before the criminal case.
What happened to the Chandler family after the Settlement?
The settlement was signed on 25 January 1994. In July 1994, Jordan informed investigators that he was not willing to testify. In September 1994, investigators announced that they would not be filing charges against Michael.
In July 1995, it was reported that Jordan (aged 15) was seeking to legally emancipate himself from both his parents. His emancipation became final in November and he went to live with his stepmother (who had, by this time, divorced Evan).
In May 1996, Evan filed a lawsuit against Michael (and others) for $60 million alleging that Michael had breached the confidentiality provisions of the settlement agreement by asserting his innocent during an interview. He also wanted a record deal so that he could release an album called “Evanstory” about the alleged sexual abuse of his son in response to Michael’s “HIStory” album. The lawsuit was thrown out of court in 2000.
In 2004, Ray Chandler self-published his book “All that Glitters” about the child abuse allegations against Michael which he had been shopping around since days after the 1994 settlement.
In September 2004, prosecutors in the Arvizo trial against Michael visit Jordan Chandler in New York to ask him to testify against Michael in the upcoming trial. Jordan refused and stated that he would “legally fight any attempt” to make him testify.
In April 2005, June Chandler testified in the criminal trial against Michael. She was the only member of the Chandler family to do so and she admitted she had not spoken to her son, Jordan, for 11 years.
In August 2005, obtained a temporary restraining order against his father, claiming that while they were living in the same household Evan “struck him on the head from behind with a twelve and one-half pound weight and then sprayed his eyes with mace or pepper spray and tried to choke him.” The judge also found that the weight could cause “serious bodily injury or death.”
In November 2009, only 4 months after Michael’s own death, Evan Chandler committed suicide. In his will, Evan explicitly provided that “For reasons best known between us, I purposefully make no provision in this, my Last Will and Testament, for any of my children or their issue.”