Wednesday, March 2

Just "Beat It."

Here's a story about a PR expert who got bounced out of Neverland.

Apparently, she had some ideas about how the King of Pop ought defend his image, but never got to the throne room. Instead, someone on the inside hatched a plan to play hardball with the eventual complaintant.

Ann Kite, who also goes by the professional name Ann Gabriel, told jurors in Jackson's trial that she was hired by his Las Vegas-based lawyer, David LeGrand, less than a week after the documentary, "Living With Michael Jackson," aired on Britain's ITV on February 3, 2003.

A different version, based on the same material, later aired in the United States on ABC.

Kite described the program as "an absolute disaster" for the pop star and that, on a damage scale from one to 10, she would put it at "a 25."

Well -- that sounds about right to me.

In his cross-examination, defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. challenged Kite's description of herself as a crisis management expert, getting her to admit that the only other celebrity client she had was an obscure Las Vegas entertainer whose act included self-hypnosis.

"You really weren't very experienced in the area of celebrity crisis management," Mesereau said, asking Kite why she described herself that way.

"I've seen a lot," she replied.

Mesereau is trying to discredit Kite, because prosecutors are using her to prove that the original Martin Bashir documentary backfired on the singer. She claims that her dismissal came directly on the heels of information that Jackson's handlers thought would paint the accuser's mother as a "crack whore."

Some people just don't get it.

A good crisis manager is someone who can deliver a good read on outside opinion. Don't shoot the messenger.

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