A comedian who gave $20,000 to the family of the boy now accusing Michael Jackson of molestation testified Tuesday she received a tearful phone call from the boy’s mother that led her to believe the family was being held against its will.
Comedian Louise Palanker said she tried to get in touch with the mother after seeing the TV documentary “Living With Michael Jackson” in which Jackson and his accuser held hands and Jackson acknowledged letting children sleep in his bed.
Palanker was called by the prosecution to support the charge that Jackson conspired to hold the family captive after the documentary aired on Feb. 6, 2003, in order to get them to make a rebuttal video praising Jackson.
On the witness stand, Palanker said soon after she left a message with the boy’s grandparents, the mother called her and sounded frightened.
“She was extremely agitated and she was almost whispering. ... This was fear-based agitation,” Palanker said.
The mother told her not to call her back at the same number, the witness said. Palanker quoted the mother as saying: “Don’t call me back here. They’re listening to everything I say. These people are evil.”
“I said, ‘Are the children in school?’ She said, ‘No.’ That’s when she started crying,” Palanker said.
Palanker did not say where the mother was at the time of the call. The comedian said she called her attorney afterward because “I felt that they were being held against their will.” She did not call police.
Jackson, who is accused of molesting the boy in February or March 2003, arrived on time Tuesday, smiling but moving slowly as he did Monday when he was late again after another visit to a hospital. The pop star has complained of back pain.
He had to sit through only a half-day of testimony Tuesday because of an abbreviated schedule. As he left court he told reporters, “I’m doing better.”
The defense contends the boy’s mother exploited relationships with Palanker and other celebrities to get money. With Palanker’s testimony, the prosecution sought to show it was the now-estranged father who did that.