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Jewish World Review Nov. 21, 2003 / 26 Mar-Cheshvan, 5764

Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders
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Razzle-dazzle 'em, Scott and Jacko | What must Scott Peterson be thinking? The Modesto, Calif., murder defendant, on trial for the murder of his wife, Laci, and their unborn son, Conner, probably is trying to gauge how Michael Jackson's arrest for child molestation will affect his pending trial.

There are so many questions.

Here are some he must be asking himself:

"Will the Jackson story siphon all the cable-news airtime away from me, or is 'Larry King Live' big enough for two lurid crime stories?

"Will Fox News' Greta Van Susteren stay tuned?

"Will MSNBC anchor Dan Abrams jump at the next pro-defense tidbit my legal team feeds him? Or will he and CNN's Jeffrey Toobin only have eyes for the gloved one?

"How can a fertilizer salesman from Modesto compare with a rock star from Neverland?

"Do I dare complain to my attorney Mark J. Geragos that it will be difficult for him to represent me and Jacko at the same time?

"When Jackson opens up his checkbook, will Geragos even have time for me? Will he try to change the venue to Santa Barbara?

"Is Geragos that good anyway? Or did my folks just hire him because he's on TV all the time?

"I mean, if Geragos were really, really good, couldn't he have gotten Winona Ryder less of a sentence than a big fine and almost 500 hours of community service? After all, she was just a shoplifter.

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"Will California Attorney General Bill Lockyer announce that the case against Jackson is a 'slam dunk' — like he did for me? Or will he suddenly discover the notion of 'innocent until proven guilty' for a gazillionaire defendant?

"How can the media talk about my change of hair color now? At least I've got the same face.

"Which friend of the victim will hire attorney Gloria Allred, and will Allred now drop sweet Amber so she can work on the makeover of her next victim?

"Hey, and how come I'm rotting here behind bars and can't get bail, but the Neverland man simply flies away like Peter Pan after he posts $3 million, which is magic dust for him?

"Say what you will about me, I didn't pay off — er, settle a civil suit with — a would-be witness against me, like Mr. Thriller did in the early 1990s.

"And what kind of parents would let their kid spend the night at Neverland ranch?

"At least my mug shot doesn't look like a puppet's head.

"I wonder if it helps Jacko to have his plane landing and the motorcade to the slammer on live TV? Or is the understated booking to which I was treated — a through-a-window shot of me being cuffed under harsh industrial light — better? Will my jurors notice that I try to look contrite, pained even, and I'm not flashing any victory signs, like he did?

"The important thing is to offer so much spectacle, and pull in so much star power, that the audience members — er, jurors — are caught up in the action and lose sight of the victims.

Geragos had them thinking about book deals, rubbing elbows with Katie Couric, how their friends and family could watch if there were cameras in the courtroom. It's showtime. Like 'Chicago' without the music. The idea is to get them thinking about anything, anything but Laci and Conner."

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© 2003, Creators Syndicate