Wednesday, November 19, 2003


TONIGHT'S FOCUS: President Bush is in London, as are tens of thousands of demonstrators. His visit comes on the heels of a major policy change by the White House, and the acceleration of the plan to hand authority in Iraq back to the Iraqis.... And oh yeah, Michael Jackson may be arrested today.


This is a day in which the Nightline staff is pretty evenly divided. We have a meeting each morning when we talk out what we are going to do each night. Usually the plan is pretty well set, but not always. Today's meeting was pretty interesting. Our plan is to look at the President's visit to England, and at the plan his administration is putting forward to try to speed up the political process in Iraq that would allow for the withdrawal of at least some American troops. The approaching presidential election is clearly making this more urgent. This is a broadcast we have been planning for a while, and correspondent Deborah Amos will report on the plan for Iraq, and the Iraqi reaction, and Richard Gizbert will report from London.

But what about Michael Jackson? As I'm sure everyone knows by now, law enforcement in California served a criminal search warrant on his ranch out there. He is in Las Vegas right now. There are reports today that an arrest warrant has been drawn up, raising the possibility that he might be arrested today or in the near future. Apparently this investigation centers on allegations from a young boy that he was molested by Jackson. About ten years ago, there was a similar allegation, but it never went to trial. Instead there was apparently a settlement between Jackson and the family involved. Things this time seem to have gone far beyond that.

So if he is arrested, should we cover that tonight on Nightline? The staff is about evenly split. Some think it's a big story that we would have to do, others don't want any part of it. So what will happen? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Leroy Sievers and the Nightline Staff ABCNEWS Washington bureau

And then...

"TONIGHT'S FOCUS HAS CHANGED: The DA and Sheriff from Santa Barbara have just held a press conference, announcing that there is an arrest warrant for Michael Jackson on multiple counts of child molestation, and they are negotiating his surrender with his attorneys. We are going to switch topics to cover this tonight, we'll report on President Bush's visit to Britain and the situation in Iraq tomorrow."