Michael Jackson came face to face with his accuser when the boy at the center of his child-molestation trial took the stand Wednesday (March 9).
But although the boy’s testimony will be crucial to the prosecution’s case — which largely rests upon the accuser’s credibility in this “he said/ he said” tale — he only tiptoed up to the allegations, leaving details of his alleged molestation for Thursday, when court resumes.
The boy, now 15, seemed nervous as he started to testify, stringing words together and mumbling at times. He said his family life had been torn apart by his abusive father, and that one of the bright spots in his life was when he attended a Los Angeles comedy camp, hosted by Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada.
Masada later helped the boy’s father raise money for his medical costs when he discovered he had cancer and also tried to introduce the boy to comedians to cheer him up while in the hospital. He wanted to meet Jay Leno, he said, but Leno never came. Masada did arrange for him to meet Chris Tucker, who took the boy’s family to Neverland, to sports events, and various fund-raisers. He met Kobe Bryant, and then later Jackson, who first called him in the hospital and then invited him to visit Neverland. On his first night sleeping over, Jackson suggested that both the boy and his younger brother “sleep in his room with him,” he said. “And I was like, ’Yeah,’ because we wanted to sleep in his room, and he said, ’Ask your parents.’ ” They said yes, “and we did.”
In Jackson’s room, he testified, the singer’s assistant was surfing adult Web sites. Jackson and the boys joined him, he said, as they looked at pictures of girls “for about 15 to 30 minutes.” At one point, Jackson pointed to a picture of a female with her shirt up, the boy testified, and the singer joked, “Got milk?” “And we started laughing,” he said. “Prince and Paris,” Jackson’s children, “were asleep on the bed, and Michael leaned over and said, ’Prince, you’re missing all this p—y.’ ”
As their stays at Neverland increased, both boys — but not their sister — got nicknames. The older boy’s cancer also went into remission, he said, which he later attributed to the singer’s friendship in the Martin Bashir documentary “Living With Michael Jackson.” But, the accuser testified, he didn’t know the documentary was to be broadcast on television, claiming Jackson told him that since he wanted to be an actor, he should consider the filming his “audition.”
The shoot, which the boy said he thought was a home video of sorts, actually occurred after the family’s stays at Neverland had tapered off and he hadn’t seen the singer for a long time. But when the boy got there, he said, Jackson instructed him to call him “Daddy” and to say positive things, “like that he helped me, pretty much cured me of cancer.” That wasn’t true, he said, because “for the majority of my cancer, he wasn’t even there.”
At the time, the boy testified, he thought Jackson “was the coolest guy in the world. My best friend ever.”
Earlier that day, the accuser’s younger brother had continued his testimony via a tough cross-examination that lasted several hours, with re-direct examination and then re-cross-examination. During this, Jackson’s defense attorney Thomas Mesereau continued to find inconsistencies in the younger brother’s statements (see “Jackson’s Lawyer Pokes Holes In Testimony Of Boy’s Brother” ), which he juxtaposed with footage shot for internal use at Neverland Ranch (in which the boy touts Neverland as a place to have fun), as well as outtakes from the rebuttal video Jackson made in response to the Bashir documentary.
Mesereau grilled the boy about where the key to the wine cellar was located, since he had told the grand jury that he could get the key anytime he wanted, but testified Tuesday that he could not. On Wednesday he clarified that the key was kept on a hook. Mesereau asked him how many times his family escaped Neverland, only to “go back to escape again.” The boy said he didn’t understand the question.
The younger brother also admitted he lied in the rebuttal video interview when he praised the singer. “I just said whatever came into my head,” he said. “I was tired and I wanted to get out of there.” He also alluded to a possible third time he’d witnessed Jackson molesting his older brother, but it was unclear whether this was something he had told authorities about before.
(CBS News contributed to this report.)
For full coverage of the Michael Jackson case, see “Michael Jackson Accused.”