Michael can’t recognize deception in others because he is incapable of deception. He sees only goodness in people, even if that goodness is merely a reflection of his own light.
On the night of 5 September 2008, Michael called me and we spoke for a long time. While speaking about the trial, he said (as I wrote it down the next day):
"What I went through, it just showed me that there’s so much evil in the world but there’s also so much beauty. You were there for me. I wrote a song about you, the fans, how you were there for me in my darkest hour, in my deepest despair…"
He went on to say:
"My mother always told me, Katherine always told me that. She used to look at me across the room and say, ‘You’re just like me. You’re going to get hurt. You’re going to get used. There are people who are going to use you.’ I didn’t know there were people in the world like that, so evil. I thought that was just in the movies. I didn’t know they existed in real life. I trust people. I always see the best in people. I can be so naïve. So during the trial, there were evil people but there were also so many beautiful people that came out, beautiful people like you."
I don’t know what the world saw in January 2005, when Michael got up on his car outside the Santa Maria courtroom and waved to his fans. What I saw was a heartbreakingly beautiful gesture of love and giving, a man who, even in his darkest hour, still felt the need to acknowledge and thank those who had gathered to support him.
During the trial, which lasted from February to mid-June, people travelled to Santa Maria from all over the world, many taking weeks or even months off college or work and living at nearby hotels. Some of us sat in the courtroom, a silent presence of love and support behind him, while others stood outside, holding banners declaring his innocence and condemning those who would seek to destroy him. And every day on his way back from court, Michael stopped at the gates of Neverland to greet us and exchange words of love.
Pure to the end
One of the most awful things I’ve ever had to do was sit in that courtroom day after day, listening to vile people say vile things about Michael, contradict themselves, make up outrageous stories that were later proven to be utterly groundless, and in the case of one sick individual, pursue a personal vendetta that was borne out of a twisted obsession. As hard it was for my friends and me, I can’t imagine what it was like for him.
The trial revealed the many ways in which Michael had been betrayed, deceived, manipulated, cheated and used by opportunistic people who came in the guise of associates and friends. It gave him every reason to become bitter and angry. But in the years to come, although he must have felt bitter and angry at times, he continued to live in the spirit of love.
The bravest warrior doesn’t go into battle with their armor on. The bravest warrior goes into battle without armor, unarmed and vulnerable. Even after all that he’d suffered, Michael remained open and trusting, his essence untouched by darkness, pure to the end.