Jurors in Michael Jackson’s molestation trial went home last week following a combative and tense exchange between the pop star’s accuser and defense attorney. More could be on tap this week.
The teen was due back on the witness stand Monday as Jackson attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. continues cross-examination. He testified Thursday about two alleged molestations.
Defense attacks inconsistencies
After Jackson arrived late to court Thursday complaining of a bad back and wearing pajama bottoms, Mesereau alleged inconsistencies in the boy’s interviews with law enforcement and said the molestation claim was invented after a meeting with a lawyer.
“After you met with an attorney you came up with a story that you were masturbated by Michael Jackson,” Mesereau said.
“No, I never told him about anything,” the boy said, referring to the lawyer.
The accuser testified that Jackson twice molested him in Jackson’s bed at Neverland Ranch as he and the singer wore pairs of Jackson’s pajamas, with the first incident occurring under a blanket. The teen said he believed there were more incidents, but that he couldn’t remember them.
That testimony differed from his brother’s claimed eyewitness account and it was unclear if they were talking about the same incidents — a potential problem for prosecutors.
Also under cross-examination last week, the accuser, a cancer survivor, said he felt Jackson had not paid as much attention to him as he wanted. “I didn’t see him much,” the boy said. “He was my best friend in the world and my best friend was trying to avoid me when I had cancer.”
‘Everybody stays at Neverland for free’
Prosecutors allege the family was held against their will at the ranch and the other locations because Jackson, 46, wanted them to help him rebut a documentary in which he held hands with the accuser and talked about sharing his bed with children.
When Mesereau on Thursday asked if the boy had stayed at Neverland for free, the boy said, “Everybody stays at Neverland for free.”
“Well, who do you think pays the bills?” Mesereau said.
At that point, the judge told the attorney and the boy not to argue.
The session ended with Mesereau questioning him about his part in a lawsuit that his family brought against J.C. Penney stores on a claim that they had been abused by security guards.
Mesereau said that in a deposition in the suit, the boy said he was told what to say by lawyers. The boy denied that.
Jurors got only a hint of the strange courtroom drama that began the day.
“Mr. Jackson had a medical problem and it was necessary for me to order his appearance,” the judge told jurors, adding that he didn’t want the panel to draw any negative inferences from the developments.
Jackson nearly bankrupt?
On Friday, jurors were not in court as the judge ruled that comedian Jay Leno, an expected witness, can continue to crack jokes at Jackson’s expense as long as he doesn’t discuss the facts of his testimony. Prosecutors also argued that Jackson was “on the precipice of bankruptcy,” while the defense battled to prevent the release of Jackson’s financial records.