Following hours of grueling and graphic testimony on Thursday, the latest in a series of former Neverland employees took the stand Friday (April 8) and said he saw Michael Jackson inappropriately touching then-child actor Macaulay Culkin.
Philippe LeMarque, a French chef who used to work at Jackson's estate, is one of a group referred to as the "Neverland 5" — employees who left Neverland soon after cooperating with authorities investigating the 1993 child-molestation case against the pop star. Both ex-maid Adrian McManus, who continued to testify Friday (see "Security Guard Claims He Saw Michael Jackson Having Oral Sex With Young Boy"), and LeMarque claim to have witnessed Jackson touching Culkin. The actor, however, has denied anything inappropriate occurred during time he spent at Neverland (see "Macaulay Culkin, Corey Feldman To Testify In Jackson Case?").
LeMarque described an incident in 1991 in which he said he got a call around 3 or 4 a.m. requesting french fries. After making them, he went to the arcade, he testified, where he saw Jackson and Culkin playing the "Thriller" video game. LeMarque said the singer was holding the boy up so that he could reach the controls, and that Jackson had his right hand around Culkin's waist and his left hand inside the boy's pants.
"I was shocked," he said. "I almost dropped the french fries."
LeMarque said he left and made a noisy re-entrance to deliver the late-night snack. He said that he didn't report the incident because he didn't think anyone would believe him. Investigators later interviewed him in connection with the 1993 accuser's claims.
Jackson's defense attorneys attacked the credibility of both former employees. Judge Rodney Melville had ruled that Jackson's defense team could not use LeMarque's subsequent career as an Internet porn impresario against him, so Thomas Mesereau instead quizzed the former chef about how he and his wife considered selling their story to the tabloids. LeMarque admitted he once asked for $500,000 but said he backed out of a possible deal because "it was against our principles."
After court, LeMarque's attorney, Richard Herman, made a brief statement to reporters that LeMarque and his wife, who also worked at Neverland, never took any money from any tabloid for their story, despite being in bankruptcy in the early 1990s. Like other former employees, LeMarque sued Jackson after he left his job, but not for wrongful termination. He was after overtime pay, and he said his suit was settled.
In McManus' case, since she admitted she didn't tell attorneys what she witnessed when she was subpoenaed in the 1993 accuser's suit out of fear of losing her job, Mesereau suggested it was difficult to tell which of her contradictory statements were true.
"Isn't it true you once said the suit [by the 1993 accuser] is a bunch of bull?" he asked her.
"Isn't it true that you once told someone that Michael didn't do it?"
McManus also admitted to using a media broker to sell her story to the tabloids.
"You were quoted in a Star story with the headline 'Kinky Secrets Of Michael And Lisa Marie's Bedroom.' "
"I didn't say that," she said, insisting that the tabloid made up what it wanted.
McManus told the court she didn't know any sex secrets about the couple, since she never saw the singer's former wife Lisa Marie Presley — let alone any woman — in Jackson's room. She did, however, see quite a few monkeys, since she had to clean their droppings from the walls.
Meanwhile, a previous defense motion for a mistrial was denied.
(CBS News contributed to this report.)
For full coverage of the Michael Jackson case, see "Michael Jackson Accused."