Jay Leno gave a different sort of monologue Tuesday, when he testified in Michael Jackson’s child-molestation trial about his phone encounters with the accuser. Though the talk-show host usually has much to say about Jackson on “The Tonight Show,” he kept it brief on the stand and didn’t paint the boy as a con artist as the defense had hoped.
Leno told the court he received a number of calls from the accuser, most of them resulting in messages left on his voice mail, although he spoke to the boy once to return the calls. The messages were left while the boy was in the hospital receiving treatment for cancer and had hoped to meet his favorite celebrities (see “Michael Jackson’s Accuser Takes The Witness Stand” ). When the talk-show host called back, the boy was “groggy,” Leno said, and yet “something didn’t click.” “It seemed like it was overscripted,” Leno testified. “He was too effective for a 12-year-old.”
However, Leno was ineffective for someone who makes a living with his punch lines. According to Thomas Mesereau’s opening statement, the defense had anticipated Leno would say more than this, that he was suspicious of the calls and thought the family was “looking for a mark.” Leno conceded that the boy might have been reaching out for financial help, saying, “Yeah, probably, I thought maybe they were looking for money.” But under cross-examination, Leno admitted the boy never asked for money.
Leno said he told mutual friend and comedian Louise Palanker that he thought the accuser was calling him too much, and she said she’d take care of it (see “Michael Jackson Fan Faints In Court; Comedian Takes Stand” ). Leno never heard from the accuser or his family again, he said.
Though Leno often cracks jokes at Jackson’s expense on “The Tonight Show,” the singer is housing the comic at Neverland during his stay in the area.
Later, comedian Chris Tucker took the stand and said he first met Jackson through the accuser, back when the Laugh Factory comedy club was holding benefits to raise money for the boy’s cancer costs. A few days after one of the benefits, Tucker said, the boy told him it hadn’t made any money, so he wired a couple thousand dollars for medical expenses. Tucker, who will be the defense’s last witness, will continue testifying on Friday.
Kaiser Permanente lab worker Monica de los Santos Wakefield also testified Tuesday, saying the accuser’s urine and blood tests were never completed, suggesting on cross-examination that samples were never submitted, tying into the prosecution’s theory that Jackson’s associates tried to hide evidence of alcohol use.
Paralegal Mary Holzer, who worked on the mother’s lawsuit against JC Penney, testified that the mother told her the injuries she had claimed to be the result of an altercation with security guards were actually inflicted by her abusive ex-husband. Holzer said the mother also told her she wanted her children to become good actors, so she could tell them what to say, adding, “I’m pretty sure [the accuser] will get the story straight, but I’m not sure [his brother] will remember what we practiced.” When Holzer suggested she should tell the attorneys this, the mother threatened her, Holzer testified, claiming that her brother-in-law was in the Mexican Mafia and “they would come and kill me.”
(CBS News contributed to this report.)
For full coverage of the Michael Jackson case, see “Michael Jackson Accused.”