MR. JACKSON TOLD ME HE NO LONGER TRUSTED JOHN BRANCA
David LeGrand testified during 2005 Trial. The following is excepts from his testimony.
Q. When did you begin representing Mr. Jackson?
A. It was late January 2003
Q. And approximately when did you cease representing Mr. Jackson?
A. Well, my services were terminated on about March 28th of that year
Q. How did you begin to represent Mr. Jackson?
A. I was introduced to Mr. Jackson through Ronald Konitzer.
Q. You testified that it seemed like everybody around Michael Jackson was interested in profiting, is that accurate?
A. Many people, yes
Q. You investigated some of the people around Mr. Jackson that you were concerned about. One of the people you investigated was Mr. Branca, correct?
Q. You were doing it on behalf of Mr. Jackson, correct?
Q. And at the time, Mr. Branca was an entertainment attorney for Mr. Jackson, right?
Q. And Mr. Branca was a partner at the Ziffren law firm in Los Angeles, correct?
Q. That firm also represented Sony, correct?
A. I believe the answer is correct. Yes.
Q. The Sony/ATV catalog was owned 50/50 by Sony and Michael Jackson, correct?
Q. You were aware that negotiations went on from time to time between representatives of Michael Jackson and representatives of Sony about their respective interests in that music catalog, right?
A. Well, absolutely, yes, because I obtained files from the Ziffren law firm evidencing the Ziffren law firm and Mr. Branca, representing Mr. Jackson, in just such discussions over a period of time.
Q. Why did you investigate Mr. Branca?
A. Because Mr. Konitzer had indicated in several conversations that he was very concerned about Mr. Branca and that Mr. Jackson had expressed concern about Mr. Branca’s loyalty.
Q. Do you recall asking Interfor to do some investigation into an offshore bank account?
A. It’s kind of the other way around. We asked Interfor to investigate Mr. Branca. They indicated to us that –
Prosecution: I’m going to object based on hearsay.
Mesereau: State of mind, Your Honor.
Q. Isn’t it true that you were trying to investigate offshore accounts owned by Branca and someone named Tommy Mottola?
Q. Who was Tommy Mottola?
A. He was a very powerful figure in the record industry at one time. I believe he was the president of the Sony Entertainment Division in the U.S.
Q. Did you investigate the existence of an offshore bank account?
A. We requested Interfor to look into that possibility, yes.
A. Because we were given information from a source that appeared to have some credibility that such an account existed.
Q. And why did you want to investigate that account?
A. Well, to me, that’s kind of obvious. If, in fact, there was an offshore account in which money was being deposited for the benefit of Mr. Branca, that would indicate very serious violations of Mr. Branca’s responsibilities to Mr. Jackson.
Q. At your direction, they looked into the existence of that account, correct?
Q. Where was this offshore account?
A. I believe it was in the Caribbean
Q. The investigation did indicate Branca was involved in the account, correct?
A. The investigator’s report so indicated.
Q. And the report indicated that Sony was involved in that account, right?
A. The investigator’s report indicated that Sony transferred money to the account.
Q. Sony transferred money to that account for the benefit of Mr. Jackson’s lawyer, right?
A. That’s what was indicated in the report.
Q. Do you know why there was a decision to clean house in Mr Jackson’s business?
A. Well, I know what Mr. Jackson told me.
Q. All right. Why don’t you just tell me what Mr. Jackson told you.
A. Mr. Jackson told me that he no longer had confidence in John Branca.
Q. And in part of this cleaning of house, Mr. Jackson decided to personally fire his attorney (John Branca) who he had been with him for more than a decade?
Q. And he wrote a letter dismissing that attorney, didn’t he?
Q. You did that because that’s what he told you he wanted to do?
The following questions by Tom Mesereau were asked but sustained by court after
the prosecutor objected. But Tom Mesereau managed to get them on record. Michael Jackson was sitting in that court room while his attorney presented the following questions. Implications speaks volumes of Michael’s feelings re: John Branca.
Q. You were concerned that Mr. Branca and that law firm might not be representing Mr. Jackson’s interests properly because of their connection to Sony, correct?
Q. Didn’t you investigate Mr Branca because you were concerned that he and Sony had set up an offshore account to funnel money to so they could defraud Michael Jackson?
Q. Did you think that Sony was paying Mr. Branca money to sell out Mr. Jackson?
Q. And you were concerned that all of these characters were trying to steal money and take advantage of Michael Jackson, right?
Q. And it was your direction that they look into that account because you were concerned that Michael Jackson’s attorney and Sony were putting money in that account so Mr. Jackson’s lawyer would essentially sell him out, right?