Santa Barbara DA / Michael Jackson Molestation Case
About: TGPR provided media relations support for Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon, the prosecutor in the Michael Jackson molestation case—one of the highest profile trials with more than 1,000 media camped out on the grounds. While the initial objective was to help a district attorney under siege from a media frenzy , TGPR also planned to use public relations to enhance public understanding and the flow of information in one of the world’s most publicized criminal trials.
Assignment: TGPR became the sole media contact for the DA’s office for a year and a half. The agency’s phone and email contacts were immediately posted on the DA’s website as media contacts. From there we created a regional to global media relations plan on a tight timeframe; countered negative press while maintaining prosecutorial standards; and stayed focused even when our agency became the target of media scrutiny.
Key Accomplishments: The agency fielded thousands of media calls and email queries. TGPR provided counsel to the DA for formal press conferences even though the DA was not keen on doing them. We also shortened the conference to prepared remarks and several questions from the gathered media, which helped to control the flow of information. TGPR prepared written documents which were handed out to media and posted on the new court website (only available to credentialed media) to avoid extended questioning and to provide accurate information to media. We were on-site to provide information to the more than 1,000 media camped out when the verdict was read.