monitors Jackson trial
March 4, 2005 By Mike Morris, UnionDemocrat.com
as Elvis, part-time foothill resident Matthew Tuttle held
a sign reading "Jailhouse Rock Michael" as he stood outside
the courthouse in Santa Maria on the opening day of Michael
Jackson's child molestation trial.
Wednesday, the self-described "King" was chosen by lottery
to sit inside the courtroom behind "The King of Pop" and hear
just thought it would be kind of a funny thing to do, something
to tell my grandkids," Tuttle said yesterday from Santa Maria,
where he's been staying in a motel room since Monday.
an Elvis impersonator, Tuttle said he also went because Jackson
was briefly married to Elvis' only child, Lisa Marie Presley,
in the mid 1990s. Tuttle, 30, divides his time between a home
in Sonora and working in Las Vegas as an "Elvis tribute artist."
He doesn't like the word "impersonator" because he said there
is a "bad stigma" associated with it.
Las Vegas, Tuttle is booked mainly for conventions and trade
shows, he said. Tuttle left Nevada for Santa Maria on Monday
and within the week he plans to return to Sonora. But for
now, he's enjoying the madness of Jackson's trial.
like a media circus," he said. "There's definitely a party
atmosphere, like Mardi Gras. And there's a bunch of religious
wackos, too. It's like a mecca, a pilgrimage, for all of his
fans." Tuttle said people from countries as far away as Japan
and Spain gather outside the courthouse and sing Jackson's
hit songs, including "Thriller," "Beat It" and "We Are the
World." He also said several other tribute artists gather
outside to do the moon walk and Jackson's signature crotch
a female that's pretty good. That's the thing, you can be
a man or a woman and be a good Michael Jackson — it doesn't
really matter," Tuttle said.
kind of funny to watch the spectacle." Tuttle said Gary Coleman,
who he describes as "the 4-foot man-child," interviewed him
for a comedy radio show. Because most people outside of the
courthouse are Jackson supporters, Tuttle said he wanted to
stir some controversy so he carried the "Jailhouse Rock Michael"
fans talked a lot of trash to
me. I think they wanted to start a fight," he said, noting
the area was filled with police officers to guard against
such a conflict.
aren't allowed to wear costumes in the courtroom, so Tuttle
only dressed up Monday because he wanted a shot at seeing
the trial firsthand. On Wednesday, Tuttle was picked to sit
in the audience. Audience members were picked by lottery because
so many people want inside the courtroom.
was like a little kid — eating candy, stretching. He couldn't
sit still," Tuttle said of Jackson. "He's very shy in person.
I thought he'd be more charismatic, but he's like a shy little
heard testimony from a woman hired in 2003 to help rehabilitate
Jackson's image after the airing of a damaging documentary.
She testified that Jackson's associates hoped to portray his
accuser's mother as a "crack whore." Jackson, 46, is accused
of molesting a 13-year-old cancer survivor at his Neverland
Ranch in 2003, allegedly giving him alcohol and conspiring
to hold the boy's family captive after the documentary aired.
think it would be kind of a shame to see someone that makes
so many people in the world happy just rot in jail," said
Tuttle, who calls Jackson his generation's Elvis.
Fresno native, Tuttle attended the University of California,
Berkeley, before going to law school at the University of
California, Davis. He became a criminal defense lawyer in
Merced, where at times he handled child molestation cases.
Tuttle, who comes from a family of attorneys, no longer practices
law. He said he was always upset and stressed as a lawyer
so he sought a happier life portraying his hero, Elvis.
moved to Sonora in 2003, after leaving behind both the law
business and his wife, whom he said looks like Priscilla Presley.