The mother of Michael Jackson’s most famous accuser took the stand Monday, staring down the singer and apparently making him sweat, as he mopped his brow throughout her testimony in the Santa Maria, California, courtroom.
June Chandler, whose family accepted a multimillion-dollar settlement after her then-13-year-old son accused Jackson of molesting him in 1993, occasionally glared at the singer as she described how she and her son met Jackson, started going to Neverland, and began going on trips together.
On their third visit to Neverland, she said, her son asked to sleep in Jackson’s bedroom, but she said no. Then, on a trip to Las Vegas, everyone slept in their own rooms at first, she testified, until the second night, when Jackson came back early from taking her son to a Cirque du Soleil performance. She said Jackson started “sobbing, shaking and trembling,” asking her, “Why don’t you trust me? We’re a family. Why won’t you allow him to be with me? Why won’t you let him sleep in my room?”
After talking for half an hour and being told that there was “nothing going on,” she relented, she testified, and received a gold Cartier bracelet the next day.
At that point, she said, Jackson was a constant presence in their family and their Santa Monica home, staying there overnight “more than 30 times” and at her husband’s house four to seven times, sleeping in her son’s bedroom. She and her family felt close to Jackson, she said, since he would join them for family weddings, take them on trips, give them shopping sprees, buy her expensive jewelry, and let her use his credit card.
But even though she thought things were fine, her brother raised concerns about the relationship, and when she told Jackson, she testified, he got very upset. ” ‘Why can’t we be a family? Why don’t you trust me?’ I didn’t like the situation. It was getting out of control.”
Chandler also described her son’s behavior as changing from being quiet and well-behaved to becoming “smart-alecky,” much as the accuser in the current case has been alleged to be. However, she did not witness any inappropriate touching or behavior directed toward her son, she said.
Referring to the lawsuit her son filed against Jackson, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon asked her, “Did you support your son in that lawsuit?” She turned toward Jackson and said firmly, “I did.” However, she added, she signed a confidentiality agreement not to disclose details of the agreement (see “Jackson Says $25M Settlement Is Not An Admission Of Guilt” ).
In other testimony, former Jackson publicist Bob Jones reversed himself on the stand, saying he now did not remember seeing the singer lick the accuser’s head while on a trip in the early 1990s (see “Reportedly Leaked Documents Provide Lurid Details Of Michael Jackson Case” ). Prosecutor Gordon Auchincloss reminded Jones that he was interviewed by sheriff’s detectives a week ago, and said that Jones told them he’d been sure there was head-licking.
“I was very adamant saying I was not sure,” Jones said. Then, when he was confronted with a manuscript for a tell-all he’s co-writing, and e-mails to his co-author about the subject, Jones admitted it must have happened, saying that if he wrote an e-mail saying there was head-licking, there must have been head-licking.
(CBS News contributed to this report.)
For full coverage of the Michael Jackson case, see “Michael Jackson Accused.”