The jury in the Michael Jackson trial watched a video today (May 12) in which the journalist who made a damaging documentary about the pop star actually praised him as a parent.
“Your relationship to your children is spectacular,” Martin Bashir said to Jackson during the making of the documentary. “It almost makes me weep.”
The videotape was recorded by Jackson’s personal videographer as Bashir and his crew were interviewing the star for “Living With Michael Jackson,” which aired in 2003 and caused a stir because Jackson stated that he let children sleep in his bed, though he said it was non-sexual.
The boy who is now accusing Jackson, 46, of molestation appeared with Jackson in the program. Despite his praise of Jackson in their conversation, Bashir expressed strong concern about Jackson’s parenting in the actual documentary.
Jurors began watching the tape yesterday after actor Macaulay Culkin testified that as a boy he bonded with Jackson because of their shared experience as child stars and slept in his bed, but was never molested, as the prosecution has claimed.
The tape allowed Jackson to defend himself in court without taking the stand or being subject to cross-examination by prosecutors, who had sought to exclude the video.
When the viewing continued today the jury heard Jackson talk about how he had two children with former wife Deborah Rowe — calling them a “gift” — and a third child by a surrogate mother. Of the surrogate, he said he only wanted to know that “she’s healthy and her vision is good and her intellect. I wanted to make sure her intellect was good.”
When Bashir praised his relationship with his children, Jackson said, “I’m crazy about them. I look in their eyes and I say I love you every day.” He also said it was difficult for a celebrity to maintain a marriage. “One day I’ll be married again. I’m married to my fans, to God, to my children. I’m married to life,” he said.
Earlier, Jackson was shown on videotape saying, “I haven’t been betrayed or deceived by children. Adults have let me down.” “I’m not a nut,” Jackson said. “I’m very smart. You can’t come this far and be a nut.”
After the video concluded, the defense began calling new witnesses. Carlos Velasco, the son of a gardener at Jackson’s Neverland ranch, was asked about a maid’s son who testified earlier in the trial that Jackson groped him when he was a little boy.
Velasco said that he encountered the boy every year at “family day” at Neverland and then they went to high school together and became friends.
“Did you hear or see anything that suggested to you that [he] was molested by Michael Jackson?” asked defense attorney Robert Sanger. “Never,” said Velasco. Prosecutor Gordon Auchincloss asked Velasco if he ever slept with Jackson. The witness said no.
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