The stepfather of Michael Jackson's accuser testified today (April 12) that after the broadcast of a damaging TV documentary about Jackson, an associate of the pop star offered the family a college ed
The stepfather of Michael Jackson's accuser testified today (April 12) that after the broadcast of a damaging TV documentary about Jackson, an associate of the pop star offered the family a college education and a house. But the stepfather said that when he sought money for the family, he was accused of blackmail.
The stepfather took the stand as the prosecution shifted from witnesses who alleged past improprieties by Jackson back to the current allegations that the singer molested a 13-year-old boy in February or March 2003, gave him alcohol and conspired to hold his family captive to get them to rebut the documentary.
In the Feb. 6, 2003, documentary, "Living With Michael Jackson," Jackson and the boy appeared on camera, and Jackson said he let children sleep in his bed but characterized it as innocent.
Part of the stepfather's testimony dealt with the period leading up to Feb. 19-20, 2003, when the boy, his brother, sister and mother made a rebuttal video in which they praised Jackson.
The stepfather testified that he began asking Jackson associate Frank Tyson what monetary compensation there was for the family if they participated in the rebuttal video. Tyson has been named by prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in Jackson's case.
"I said, 'What are you offering this family to do this?'" the stepfather said. He quoted Tyson as replying, "We're offering protection." The stepfather continued, "I said, 'Frank, the family doesn't need protection. Who are you protecting them from?'" He said he was never given an answer.
According to the witness, as the conversation continued, Tyson "said he was going to offer a college education and a house." The stepfather said he told Tyson the family did not need a house or college, and asked, "What are you offering them monetarily?"
At that point, the witness said, Tyson replied, "Are you trying to blackmail us?" The stepfather said he had no idea there was any information that could be used for blackmail.
At the time the documentary aired, Jackson had flown to Florida with the boy, the youth's siblings and mother, then returned with the family to Neverland. The stepfather testified that during the family's return visit to Neverland, the mother called him and was upset.
Prosecutors allege that the molestation occurred near the end of the family's purported captivity.
The stepfather said that when the boy returned from Neverland for the last time his behavior was markedly changed. "It appeared to me he'd been brainwashed by someone," the man blurted out, drawing a defense objection. Judge Rodney S. Melville told the jury to disregard the remark.
Asked by the prosecution to describe the change in the boy, the stepfather said, "He'd become mean. He was using curse words. He had never done that before." He also said of the boy, "He was acting very cocky, kind of rude, actually. I don't think he wanted to see me. It was almost like, 'What are you doing here?'"
The prosecution said yesterday it would call the accuser's mother as early as today after some legal problems with her testimony were resolved.
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