Star producer Quincy Jones, the mastermind who helped Michael Jackson craft such hit albums as "Off the Wall" and "Thriller," found the pop star's sleepovers with young boys "wrong" and tried to intervene, a TV program reported Thursday.
This latest insight into the turmoil surrounding the controversial visits by teenagers to Jackson's Neverland Ranch came less than a day after Jackson was released from a local hospital after being treated for flu symptoms.
Sources with ties to the two men told the syndicated TV show "Celebrity Justice" that Jones said he was "deeply concerned" about the sleepovers. One source said Jones called them "inappropriate " and "wrong," and worried they would be Jackson's "downfall."
But after several attempts, the sources told the show, Jones found that his longtime friend "didn't want to hear about it" and "didn't take it seriously." Jones has been listed as a potential witness by Jackson's defense team.
Jackson has publicly defended the sleepovers, insisting they were "not sexual."
"Why can't you share your bed? The most loving thing to do is to share your bed with someone," the singer told journalist Martin Bashir in a 2003 British documentary.
But in accusations that led to the current charges, a teenage cancer patient featured in the documentary holding hands with Jackson claimed the star molested him. Jackson was also charged with giving alcohol to the boy, who was 13 at the time.
Jackson recently dismissed the charges as "fiction."
Prosecutors said in court filings released Thursday that they hope to use Jackson's own broadcast words to help convict him. The star's "admissions" in a pair of TV interviews that he shared his bedroom help prove their case and should be shown to jurors, they argued.
Specifically, they targeted remarks Jackson made in the Bashir documentary and later on CBS’ “60 Minutes” that he shared his bedroom with his young accuser -- identified in court as “John Doe” -- and the boy’s brother.
Jackson's statement "that he has slept with young boys is admissible as corroboration of the Doe brothers’ allegation that he slept with them,” lawyers argued in a 17-page motion unsealed Thursday. “Certainly the admission that he has slept with many boys clearly shows his willingness to sleep with boys.”
In the documentary, Jackson describes sharing his bedroom with his young accuser and adds: “I have slept in a bed with many children. I slept in the bed with all of them. When (actor) Macaulay Culkin was little (his brother) Kieran Culkin would sleep on this side, Macaulay Culkin was on this side, his sisters in there. We would all just jam in the bed.”
Targeting the accuserMeantime, Jackson's defense lawyers hopes to paint his accuser's family as "professional plaintiffs" with a history of committing fraud, and have revived efforts to have District Attorney Thomas Sneddon pulled from the case, according to court papers unsealed Thursday.
Jackson attorney Thomas Mesereau and his team are seeking to introduce evidence from a 2001 lawsuit filed by his accuser’s family. The family received more than $150,000 in a settlement with J.C. Penney and Tower Records, another defendant in the case, after claiming they were beaten by security guards for the two companies.
The family alleged that Jackson’s accuser, his mother and his brother were beaten in a parking lot in 1998 after the boy left the store with clothes that hadn’t been paid for. The mother also claimed a guard sexually assaulted her by groping her during the beating.
Prosecutors are seeking to limit evidence about the 2001 lawsuit. But defense attorneys argued it demonstrates a “history of making false allegations that become more outrageous as time passes.”
As for Sneddon, Mesereau's team has consistently argued the district attorney holds a grudge and again called for his removal, basing their latest request on grounds that Sneddon may be required to testify at the trial. They say the prosecutor overstepped his role by conducting an investigation into the latest allegations against Jackson.
They argued last November that Sneddon was “blinded by zeal” to put the singer in prison, but failed in their efforts.
Judge Rodney Melville postponed jury selection for the trial until Feb. 22, the second time in two weeks the case has been held up, after Jackson appeared ill Tuesday morning.
The singer was was released Wednesday from Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria after an overnight stay for flu-like symptoms, including vomiting and nausea.
He returned to his Neverland ranch, Jackson spokeswoman Raymone K. Bain told The Associated Press. “He’s still not feeling well, but he’s going to continue his recovery at home,” Bain said.
On Wednesday morning, someone who resembled Jackson could be seen peeking through window blinds of one hospital room and waving.