Prosecutors in Michael Jackson’s child molestation trial on Friday showed jurors two books seized from his bedroom in 1993 that include pictures of nude boys.
The jury saw only the covers and front pages on which dedications were written, and heard a detective describe the content as boys in various states of undress, running, jumping and swimming.
The books were seized by Los Angeles police during a molestation investigation involving a boy who received a multimillion-dollar settlement from Jackson in 1994. That probe never led to criminal charges against Jackson.
Jurors have heard testimony relating to long-ago allegations against Jackson under a California law that permits evidence that may tend to show a defendant’s propensity toward child molestation.
Judge Rodney S. Melville allowed the prosecution to use the books despite defense objections that they were found too long ago to be relevant to the current case and would be prejudicial.
Jackson is accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy in 2003, giving him alcohol and conspiring to hold the accuser’s family captive to get them to rebut a documentary in which Jackson appeared with the boy and said he allowed children to sleep in his bed but that it was non-sexual.
Jurors were shown the covers of the two books during questioning of Los Angeles police Detective Rosibel Smith, who found the books in a locked filing cabinet in Jackson’s master bedroom.
One book, called “Boys Will Be Boys,” featured an image of fair-haired boys in swimsuits jumping into water.
The book contained an inscription written by Jackson: “Look at the true spirit of happiness and joy in these boys’ faces, this is the spirit of boyhood, a life I’ve never had and will always dream of. This is the life I want for my children.”
The jury also was shown the cover of a book called “The Boy: A Photographic Essay.” It also contained an inscription that said: “To Michael from your (heart symbol) fan, XXXOOO, ’Rhonda.”’ The note was dated 1983.
Smith said both books featured boys “playing, swimming, jumping.”
Prosecutor Ron Zonen said earlier that one book was about 90 percent pictures of nude boys and the other about 10 percent.
Prosecutors have previously introduced dozens of adult magazines featuring adult women as well as a few art books that featured nudes.
The judge also heard extensive arguments over whether the prosecution should be allowed to present testimony by a journalist, Ian Drew, but he ultimately barred the testimony after finding that California’s shield law applied and that the value of the testimony was “questionable.”
The prosecution wanted to question Drew about whether he heard Jackson’s associates use the word “escape” when they told him a planned interview with the current accuser’s family had been canceled because the family “had disappeared from the ranch in the middle of the night.”
The issue of whether Drew should testify involved the prosecution’s effort to support the portion of its case alleging Jackson conspired with associates to hold the accuser’s family captive. The associates are named as unindicted co-conspirators.