The entire jury in the Michael Jackson trial said the pop legend was not guilty. Now two jurors say they initially believed otherwise, according to an author and one-time Jackson family friend.
Eleanor Cook, 79, and Ray Hultman, 62, who both voted June 13 to acquit Jackson of child molestation charges, are reportedly shopping around book proposals they authored with help from Jackson acquaintance Stacy Brown.
The two have acknowledged that they first thought Jackson was guilty, but were railroaded into a not-guilty verdict, according to Brown's description of the proposals and his conversations with Cook and Hultman. A third juror may have dissented as well, but no one has disclosed that person's identity.
Cook felt "that she was bullied into voting not guilty. She said that they threatened her off the jury," Brown said.
Hultman "said the jury was not educated enough," and went along for an acquittal because he felt he would be unable to convince other panelists of the accusations that Jackson molested a 13-year-old cancer patient, Brown added. Hultman noted at a post-verdict news conference that he felt the singer may have molested children at some point but that the specific charges at the trial weren't proven.
Brown and others say the two prospective books would be titled “Guilty as Sin, Free as a Bird,” and “The Deliberator.” Details of the two jurors' claims, as relayed to Brown, were also reported Friday in the New York Daily News.
According to Brown, the two also revealed that:
- A juror brought a videotape of Court TV coverage into the jury room, but couldn't play it because the VCR didn't work. Judge Rodney Melville found out about the videotape after it stuck in the machine, Brown said, but didn't remove the jurors.
- Cook admitted she winked at Jackson's mother Katherine and felt a bond with her during the trial. "She said that she felt bad for Katherine," Brown said, adding that Katherine had attempted to reach Cook through a third person after the acquittal.
- Three female jurors were huge Jackson fans. Brown said that he heard from Cook and Hultman that the three women "formed a bond" and cooed, "Not my Michael" when felony charges against the pop icon were discussed.
- Cook, who many remember from the post-verdict news conference for her retort to the accuser's mother — "Don't snap your fingers at me, lady!" — brought a book into the jury room to demonstrate how Jackson matched the book's description of a pedophile, according to Brown. She claimed other jurors later taunted her with it as they pushed for an acquittal.
Juror Melissa Herard told NBC's Dan Abrams on Thursday that no one pressured either Cook or Hultman to acquit the singer. And juror Pauline Coccoz said she found the change of heart “absolutely absurd” and driven by “ulterior motives.”
“These were the jurors that kept, I guess, prolonging the agony, you might say, because ... it just seemed as if they were looking for a needle in a haystack that wasn't there, you know, and we had to keep reminding these two that you have to you know set personal issues aside,” she told Abrams.
Brown, who offered commentary on the trial for NBC News, said he will not work with either juror on their prospective book efforts.
"I've totally stepped out of this," Brown said. "I'm not buying their stories."