Michael Jackson’s young accuser took the witness stand today (March 9), facing the singer in court for the first time. With an expression that appeared to be verging on a sneer, the boy said yes when District Attorney Tom Sneddon asked him if he recognized the defendant. The accuser followed his 14-year-old brother, who testified he saw Jackson grope his sibling in 2003.
The 15-year-old accuser, who was a cancer patient when he met Jackson, talked about attending a Los Angeles comedy camp hosted by Jamie Masada, the comedy club owner who would eventually bring him and Jackson together.
The boy said he met comedians including George Lopez and Chris Tucker. He said his favorite comedian was “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno and that he often asked Masada if Leno would attend the camp, but Leno never did. The defense contends Leno is one of several comedians the boy’s family tried to bilk out of money.
Jackson’s accuser also testified about his father hitting him, his sister and mother, and talked about what it was like to have cancer. “I felt like there was a knife in my stomach,” he said, adding that he would hold a pillow to his stomach as he slept to quell the pain.
Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting the boy, giving him alcohol and conspiring to hold the boy’s family captive to get them to rebut a damaging TV documentary in which Jackson said he allowed children to sleep in his bedroom. Jackson’s defense contends the family has a history of filing false claims to get money.
Jackson’s accuser took the stand after his younger brother, who under cross-examination by defense lawyer Thomas Mesereau Jr. admitted discrepancies between his testimony and his other accounts of allegedly seeing Jackson molest his brother.
During questioning by the prosecution the boy told of twice looking through the doorway of Jackson’s bedroom as the pop star molested his sleeping brother while he masturbated. Mesereau confronted the witness with previous statements to sheriff’s investigators in which he said that during the second incident he was in the room curled up on a little couch pretending to sleep.
When Mesereau asked if his account of the second molestation had changed, the boy interjected that there were actually three incidents, although that has never been alleged. “I was nervous while I was doing the interview,” he told Mesereau. “Because you were nervous you didn’t get the facts right?” the attorney asked. “Yes,” said the witness.
Yesterday, Mesereau had also raised questions about inconsistencies between the boy’s description of the second incident on the witness stand and a description given to the grand jury by a psychologist who interviewed the boy.
During today’s cross-examination, Mesereau also showed jurors a video of Jackson befriending his accuser, and another of the boy’s brother playing TV host for a glimpse at Jackson’s Neverland ranch. “Hi from Neverland, USA,” the brother said on the second video. “I’m the host of the Neverland Channel.”
The younger boy said he felt tired, not excited, when he interviewed Jackson’s elephant trainer and talked to children at Neverland’s amusement park, and indicated that Jackson wasn’t as close to his cancer-stricken brother as the other video made it seem.
In a musically scored production that was apparently part of Jackson’s personal video archives, the singer is seen with the accuser, then a ghostlike figure with little hair during the time he was undergoing chemotherapy.
Jurors saw the boy in a wheelchair being pushed by his brother. Jackson walks alongside with his umbrella, then walks with the boy to a tree where he spreads a blanket for the two of them to sit and look out over the lake at his Neverland ranch. The boy’s brother testified that he didn’t know if he had ever seen the video but said, “Michael was only there with [his brother] a couple of times.”
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