The Fix

Jackson's secret phone line, "barber's pole" penis. Plus: Cosby's off the hook.


Salon Staff
February 18, 2005 5:34PM (UTC)

Turn On:
Inspirational TV: The N offers a miniseries about three orphaned brothers making their way in Harlem, "Miracle's Boys," Friday at 9 p.m. EST. And HBO airs the first of 23 new episodes of "Real Time With Bill Maher" at 11 p.m. EST.

Morning Briefing:
The Jackson files: Clear your schedule: You have a lot of reading up on the Michael Jackson case to do this morning. The Smoking Gun has reviewed, digested and posted the highlights from 1,903 pages of grand jury testimony in the case. And? Several former Jackson employees have given damaging testimony, adding credence to his alleged victim's claims that his family was held against its will at Neverland and threatened by Jackson. Though none of those questioned said they'd ever seen Jackson inappropriately touch children, they did testify that they'd seen him give wine to children (though hadn't seen the children drink it), that they were made to serve Jackson white wine in Diet Coke cans and plastic coffee mugs, that he had a special line installed in his bedroom that allowed him to listen in on any phone call made on his property (and sometimes taped those calls), and that he and his team hatched a plan to smear the victim's mother as a "crack whore." And there's more, much more. But how did the Smoking Gun get its hands on the testimony? There's been speculation that the Jackson camp itself leaked it -- in order to dampen its effect on the trial -- but Jackson's people vehemently deny it. (The Smoking Gun, Rush and Molloy)

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Two more juicy Jackson bits: 1) Ernie Rizzo, a private investigator who worked for the family of the boy who accused Jackson of molestation in 1993, says he wouldn't be surprised if testimony in the current Jackson case focused on the distinct -- striped -- look of Jackson's penis. "It looks like a barber's pole," Rizzo says. "That's exactly what it looks like. The first kid and all the other kids who have seen his penis know that there are brown circles around it. If the second kid is allowed to testify, this will come into question." He says the stripes are due to the bleach Jackson uses to whiten his skin. (Page Six) 2) "Celebrity Justice" reports that Quincy Jones at some point warned Jackson away from the "inappropriate" and "wrong" sleepovers he'd been having with children and said it would be his "downfall," but that Jackson "didn't want to hear about it" and "didn't take it seriously." ("Celebrity Justice" via MSNBC)

Bill Cosby's in the clear: Prosecutors looking into allegations that Bill Cosby had drugged and fondled a young acquaintance of his at his Philadelphia-area home have decided not to file charges against the comedian, after finding "insufficient credible and admissible evidence" on which to base a case. Working in Cosby's favor, said Montgomery County district attorney Bruce Castor, was the year it took his accuser to come forward and make her allegations. As for the claims made by other women to bolster the first woman's claim, Castor said detectives had found "no instance in Mr. Cosby's past where anyone complained to law enforcement of conduct which would constitute a criminal offense." Castor, who reportedly did not notify Cosby's accuser of his findings before releasing them to the public, also issued this strange characterization of the complainant and complainee: "Much exists in this investigation that could be used [by others] to portray persons on both sides of the issue in a less-than-flattering light. The District Attorney encourages the parties to resolve their dispute from this point forward with a minimum of rhetoric." Stay tuned for a possible civil suit. (Associated Press)

Finger on the button: You won't catch Chris Rock griping about censorship or time delays, at least not when it comes to his upcoming Oscar-hosting gig. He tells Ed Bradley in a "60 Minutes" segment airing on Sunday that ABC's Academy Awards-night broadcast delay is "a safety net. You know, you're a trapeze artist ... you welcome the net." Then again, Rock says he's not really all that concerned that he'll let slip with a string of unairable four-letter words. "I've been on TV and been funny not cursing. As far as content is concerned, I will talk about the movies. I'm not really worried about it. I'm sure ABC might be more worried about it than me." (CBS)

Also: CBS says it will air a one-hour prime-time tribute to Dan Rather, "Dan Rather: A Reporter Remembers," looking at his career highlights and lowlights, as a special sendoff an hour after he anchors his final evening newscast on March 9. (Associated Press) ... David Geffen told a New York audience on Thursday night that Sen. Hillary Clinton "can't win" were she to run for the presidency in 2008. "She's an incredibly polarizing figure," Geffen, who generously supported Bill Clinton during his presidential campaigns, said. "And ambition is just not a good enough reason." (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown) ... Because of a permit problem, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles will not wed at Windsor Castle on April 8 as originally announced, but will instead have to schlep to Windsor's town hall, the Guildhall, "like commoners." (N.Y. Daily News) ... The three-day Sotheby's auction of JFK and Jackie O possessions that wrapped up Thursday took in $5,538,040, considerably more than the $1 million it was expected to take in. (N.Y. Daily News) ... Before his death in 1999, former Nixon aide John Ehrlichman apparently told friends he was "absolutely convinced" that Henry Kissinger was "Deep Throat." (Editor & Publisher via N.Y. Post) ... Designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have split up -- personally, though not professionally. (Page Six) ... Britney Spears says she's very unhappy that photographs taken of her and her husband on their honeymoon made their way onto the cover of the current issue of Us Weekly. (Associated Press) ... PBS is looking for "young single wanna-be cowboys" to appear on its upcoming reality show, "Texas Ranch House," and it has its eye on you people. "I'm sure a lot of Salon readers secretly want to be cowboys," a rep for the show told me. Could she be right? (PBS.org)

-- Amy Reiter

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