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Details of Jackson grand jury testimony emerge

Star allegedly closed his eyes while molesting the victim
/ Source: The Associated Press

Michael Jackson’s accuser told a grand jury that the pop star closed his eyes tightly while molesting him on a bed, according to an ABC News report that quotes from transcripts of the testimony.

The boy described Jackson’s alleged crimes in graphic detail, according to the network, which said its “Primetime Live” program reviewed more than 1,900 pages of testimony.

Details on the transcripts, which have not been released, were reported Thursday on ABC’s Web site and quoted on “Good Morning America.” A fuller report was planned Thursday evening on “Primetime Live.”

Defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. declined to comment to ABC. Jackson attorney Brian Oxman told The Associated Press that the defense could not comment because of a gag order the judge has imposed on the case.

The accuser told prosecutors who questioned him before the Santa Barbara County grand jury that Jackson never spoke to him during the alleged abuse and the two didn’t discuss it later, ABC reported.

According to transcripts, the boy said that when he was molested, he looked over at the pop star and “his eyes were like squinching really tight.”

Jackson was indicted in April on multiple counts of molestation and a count of conspiracy involving child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion.

Some counts accuse him of administering alcohol to further child molestation. The accuser, who had cancer and lost a kidney when a surgeon removed a tumor, said he told Jackson he shouldn’t drink alcohol because of his medical condition, according to the transcripts.

“And so it harms my kidney for I drink that stuff,” the accuser was quoted as saying. “But he would just say, ‘It’s OK.’ And he would just keep on telling me to drink.”

Normally, grand jury transcripts are made public in California 10 days after they’re received by a defendant. But the judge has kept the Jackson transcripts sealed, along with most other documents in the case.

Jury selection in the case begins Jan. 31. Pretrial hearings have been set for Jan. 21 and Jan. 27 to consider issues such as whether a child-abuse expert can testify and what should be included on the questionnaire to be given to jurors.

On Wednesday, the trial judge, Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville, ruled that a hearing about allegations of past sexual misconduct by the singer will not be held behind closed doors.

The judge said he will schedule the arguments after the jury is selected.

Jackson’s lawyers had contended that holding an open hearing on the alleged prior offenses would influence prospective jurors. But the prosecution and the news media had opposed the defense motion.

“I was very pleased that the judge recognized the California Supreme Court ruling that hearings such as admission of evidence be held in open court,” media attorney Theodore Boutrous Jr. said.