After hours of sometimes jumbled testimony, the mother of Michael Jackson’s young accuser ended her second day on the witness stand with an unequivocal pledge that she had no plans to sue the singer.
That statement was certain to come under attack from defense attorneys who contend that despite the woman’s often confused and naive behavior, she actually is a con artist plotting to cash in on a claim that Jackson molested her son.
The planned cross-examination Friday by lead defense attorney Thomas Mesereau, Jr., was expected to be one of the most heated episodes in the trial.
Mesereau repeatedly has told jurors the woman ripped off celebrities and other targets by exploiting her son’s fight with cancer, and has accused her of filing a past lawsuit that Mesereau says was bogus. The family received a settlement of more than $150,000 after alleging they were roughed up by department store security guards.
The woman’s testimony Thursday that she had no plans to sue Jackson came at the end of two days on the stand in which she delivered a bizarre story of Jackson’s associates shuttling her family from one location to the next to protect them from “killers.” She said Jackson’s people never told her who the alleged killers were.
She testified that she never had a chance to seek help, and that even if she did, she doubted police would believe her story.
“Who could possibly believe this?” she said.
Jackson, 46, is on trial on charges he molested a 13-year-old boy and kept the youngster and his family captive.
Claims of threatsThe boy’s mother said Jackson’s team kept her family from fleeing by threatening her parents and her boyfriend.
Prosecutors allege that the family was held to make a video rebutting a Feb. 6, 2003, television documentary in which Jackson appeared with the boy who eventually accused him of molestation. In the program, Jackson said he let children sleep in his bed but characterized the practice as innocent.
The woman said she and her children were trying to appease Jackson’s people when they praised the singer as a father figure in the rebuttal video and in an interview with Los Angeles child welfare workers. She said a Jackson associate gave her a warning before the interview.
“He told me if I put Michael in a bad light, he knew where my parents lived,” she testified.
She said Jackson’s associates told her to give certain answers “to appease the killers.” The associates told her to say Jackson was “a wonderful father ... to my children,” the woman testified.
The prosecutor asked if she really believed the things she said on the video.
“I was confused. I was sad, so basically I was acting,” she said.
The woman, who had testified emotionally Wednesday, was more controlled in her second day on the stand as she answered questions from prosecutor Ron Zonen about her excursions with two Jackson aides, Frank Tyson and Vince Amen.
She wept when Zonen showed her four passports belonging to her and her children, which she said she had been forced to obtain when Jackson’s associates told them they would be going to Brazil.
“Finally!” the woman exclaimed as Zonen produced the passports. She said she had never been given the documents.
She said that from Feb. 21 to March 10, 2003, Jackson’s associates monitored her calls, stood outside her window or her hotel door, and would not let her leave their custody.
Son turns angryAt one point, she said, she and the children returned to his Neverland ranch, and Jackson was there. She said her two sons and daughter played with Jackson while she spent time at a guest house and rarely went outside.
“Did you know where the boys were sleeping?” she was asked.
“No,” she said.
The prosecution alleges that her son was molested during late February or early March 2003.
She described getting away for good by saying she would not go to Brazil unless her children got to visit their grandparents first. Once she had her children back, she said, her son “was like an eruptive volcano.”
The mother described the boy “yelling at me at the top of his lungs that Michael loves him and that he has to go back.”
She said she learned of the molestation allegations from law enforcement officials after her family contacted lawyers to try to retrieve clothing and other items from Jackson. The second lawyer sent her children to a psychologist, who reported the alleged molestation to authorities.