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Jackson case figure claims he's been threatened

Masada says he's speaking out on behalf of the boy
/ Source: Reuters

The boy Michael Jackson is accused of molesting badly needs a kidney transplant, and his mother is keeping him away from news about the sensational case for fear of triggering a relapse of his cancer, a family friend said Thursday.

Jamie Masada, owner of the Laugh Factory comedy club on the Sunset Strip, also told reporters at a news conference that the ailing teenager’s mother had been threatened during visits to Jackson’s Neverland Valley Ranch before the molestation accusations triggered a police investigation.

And Masada said he has received death threats on his work and privately listed mobile phones this week for speaking out in the case. He said he had been called several times in the past week by men who warned him to keep quiet and that police in Los Angeles and in Santa Barbara, where Jackson faces molestation charges, were investigating his complaints.

“I’ve gotten phone calls saying if I don’t shut up they have a bullet for me to shut me up,” Masada said, adding that he took the callers seriously because they had obtained his cell phone number and other private information.

“If something happens to me, you guys know. You are aware of it,” he told reporters. Police spokesmen declined comment.

Masada said he was speaking out in part because the boy was badly in need of a kidney transplant.

Not a ‘shakedown’Jackson is charged with molesting the youth when he was under the age of 14 and plying him with alcohol to seduce him. He has denied the charges, calling them a “big lie.”

It was when the boy was in a hospital and given only weeks to live by doctors, Masada said, that he fulfilled the sick child’s wish to meet Jackson as well as comics Adam Sandler and Chris Tucker.

Masada said Jackson called the boy at the hospital several times and invited him to visit Neverland. The boy ultimately became a regular visitor there and was seen holding hands with the Jackson in a controversial 2003 documentary about the onetime “King of Pop.”

Masada said that during the boy’s visits to Neverland he “many times” got calls from his mother saying that she had been threatened there.  Masada said the mother told him that she had been prevented from leaving the ranch and that people working for the 45-year-old singer had confiscated her passport and threatened to send her out of the country.

“My advice to her was: ‘You’ve got to get an attorney. You’ve got to get the police involved,” Masada said.

Masada dismissed repeated suggestions by Jackson’s lawyer that people close to the boy had invented the accusations against Jackson in a financially motivated “shakedown.” He said the woman wanted justice, not money.