USA Today

Ubiquitous Reporter Gets Ready For Trial

By Peter Johnson

Sometimes Diane Dimond thinks her tombstone will read: SHE COVERED MICHAEL JACKSON.

Diane Dimond has never met Michael Jackson but she’s made her name talking about his case.

“I do worry about that,” Dimond said Wednesday, gearing up for a busy week on Court TV, where she anchors Hollywood at Large, and on Access Hollywood and NBC’s Today, where she does commentary

She has never met Michael Jackson, but Dimond has been all over his story, ever since accusations of child molestation first arose in 1993. She has covered Jackson so intensely – breaking the story on the latest charges last fall – that his fans have called for a boycott of her work. Jackson’s camp refuses to talk to her and labels her a shill for the prosecution. She denies that, noting that she blasted the prosecution for seeking a gag order. “This is America, folks.”Being a lightning rod on the biggest celebrity trial of our time doesn’t seem to bother her. “It’s the shoot-the-messenger kind of mind-set,” Dimond says. “There always has to be a goat, and on this story I’m the goat.”

At the moment, her biggest concern is making sure she has a seat in the small California courthouse where Jackson will be arraigned Friday.

“It’ll be the first time I’ve gotten this close to him,” she says. “I’ve got my fingers crossed.”

She has studied him for years, read his lyrics, watched his interviews. “He talks about how lonesome he is. If you read his lyrics you see a tormented soul,” she says. If she could ask Jackson one question, it would be: “Why are you so unhappy with yourself?”

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