The family of Michael Jackson's accuser heaped praise on the singer and called him a father figure in a video shown to the jury in the pop star's child molestation case today (March 4) in Santa Maria,
The family of Michael Jackson's accuser heaped praise on the singer and called him a father figure in a video shown to the jury in the pop star's child molestation case today (March 4) in Santa Maria, Calif.
"[My son] was the one who asked him, 'Can I call you daddy?' and he said 'Of course,'" the accuser's mother said in the video. At another point the boy's brother said, "He actually seemed more fatherly than like our biological father." Throughout, the family used the words "nice," "humble," "funny" and "fatherly" to describe Jackson.
The video was recorded Feb. 19-20, 2003, two weeks after the airing of a TV documentary that damaged Jackson's image because it showed him holding hands with the boy and saying he allowed children to sleep in his bed.
It was presented as the 18-year-old sister of the accuser testified for a second day. Prosecutors allege that Jackson's associates coerced the family into making the video by holding them captive.
Yesterday, the accuser's sister faced the singer for the first time since her family left his Neverland ranch two years ago, testifying that Jackson's associates tried to control her family's whereabouts for a month and that Jackson served alcohol to her brother.
After she returned to the stand today, District Attorney Tom Sneddon asked if she ever witnessed Jackson inappropriately touching her brother. "He would be constantly hugging and kissing him ... on the cheek or the head," she said.
The witness, who testified previously that her mother had taught her and her brothers to hug people they met instead of shaking hands, said she once saw Jackson and her brother hugging and kissing on Jackson's bed.
During the playing of the video, Jackson appeared to dab at his eyes with a handkerchief. His mother, Katherine, wiped away tears as the accuser's family talked about how good Jackson was. Also present were Jackson's sister LaToya and brother Jackie. Jurors took many notes as the video unfolded.
The boy, 13 at the time, recalled in the video his first visit to Neverland and how he asked Jackson if he could sleep in his room. Jackson said it was OK if his parents gave permission, which they did, the boy said. He said he and Jackson got into a debate about who would sleep on the bed and who would sleep on the floor.
"He told me you sleep on the bed ... Michael finally said, 'OK, if you love me you'll sleep on the bed,'" the boy said. The boy's mother laughingly interjected, "That's so unfair." The boy said Jackson slept on the floor and several other people also slept in the room that night.
The video showed the family members smiling and sitting as a group in front of a decorative backdrop. The mother occasionally whispered to the boy.
She said her son has a rare blood type, O-negative, and that Jackson made sure there was enough blood for transfusions during the boy's treatment for cancer.
The defense contends the video supports its claim that the family is only after Jackson's money and that they only accused him of wrongdoing when he stopped giving them money and gifts. Prosecutors allege that the boy was molested sometime after the video was made.
In the video, the boy's sister broke into tears while describing her brother's illness and how Jackson helped him. At another point, the mother stated that no one else would help the family until Jackson took them in.
"We didn't live in the right ZIP code, we weren't the right race," she said, explaining that the family didn't meet the right criteria for any of the foundations or charities they approached. But she suggested that Jackson took the family in without question. "He claimed these three little munchkins as his kids," she said.
The mother also said she was upset by media reports that portray Jackson in a bad light. "It breaks my heart because they're missing out on something very beautiful that they have tainted. It stemmed from jealousy, envy, a lack of happiness in their own life," she said.
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