After wavering about testifying, Macaulay Culkin ended up taking the stand early Wednesday to deny that Michael Jackson ever molested him.
Previous witnesses in Jackson's child-molestation trial had described the singer kissing and groping the then-child actor. Most notably, a former Neverland chef testified that he witnessed Jackson putting his hand up Culkin's shorts as he lifted the boy to reach a video arcade game (see "Jackson Testimony Turns To French Fries, Monkey Droppings"). The prosecution had presented that testimony to try to establish that Jackson had a pattern of predatory pedophilia reaching beyond the current accuser's case.
Culkin, now 24, has maintained that his childhood sleepovers at Neverland were innocent, and called the accusations "absolutely ridiculous." He testified that prosecutors never asked him whether he had been molested and he only learned of the allegations by watching CNN. "It was amazing to me that nobody even approached me and asked if these allegations were true," he said.
On cross-examination, prosecutor Ron Zonen asked if authorities had tried repeatedly to contact him but were turned away. "Not that I know of, no," Culkin said. Zonen then asked if prosecutors had tried to contact him in 1993 and more recently, when his attorney said that Culkin wouldn't give a statement prior to testifying. Culkin said yes, that his lawyer had suggested he not talk to the attorneys. "I wasn't really planning on testifying," he said.
The actor said he met Jackson when he was about 10 years old, leading to him and his family visiting Neverland multiple times. He said he slept in the singer's bedroom, but for a lot less time than prosecutors intimated. He described falling asleep in his clothes in various places at Neverland. And during his time at the ranch, he said, he never saw Jackson "do anything improper with anyone."
Culkin was asked about a trip he took to Bermuda with a friend's family in which Jackson came along. He said he couldn't remember if Jackson had tried to get him alone during the trip, but he did remember the singer giving him a Rolex watch on that trip. The accuser had previously testified that Jackson gave him an expensive watch on a trip as a bribe to keep him from telling anyone that the singer had also given him wine. However, unlike the accuser, Culkin was not impressed with the gift, he said. "I was not a person without means, so it wasn't that awe-inspiring," Culkin said.
Culkin is the third young man who testified for the defense to deny that Jackson molested him during trips to Neverland. Choreographer Wade Robson and fellow Australian Brett Barnes also refuted the prosecution's claims that the singer had molested them (see "First Witnesses For Jackson Defense Refute Molestation Charges").
(CBS News contributed to this report.)
For full coverage of the Michael Jackson case, see "Michael Jackson Accused."