The mother of a boy who received millions from Michael Jackson in a lawsuit more than a decade ago told jurors Monday that Jackson pleaded with her to allow her son to sleep with him during visits to his Neverland ranch and on trips to Las Vegas, Florida and Europe.
The woman said that in 1993 she was treated by Jackson to trips and lavish gifts of jewelry after she agreed to let the boy sleep in Jackson’s room. However, she never testified to seeing her son molested.
Her testimony set the stage for prosecutors to call the mother of the boy now accusing Jackson of molestation in a scenario that virtually duplicates the situation described by the mother Monday.
Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen told the court at day’s end that prosecutors intended to call the current accuser’s mother as early as Tuesday, after some legal matters regarding her testimony were resolved.
The woman said that after being flown to Las Vegas on resort mogul Steve Wynn’s jet and treated to a weekend at the Mirage hotel, Jackson left to take her son to a performance of Cirque du Soleil but returned early and knocked on her door in a distressed state.
“He was sobbing, shaking, trembling. He said, ’You don’t trust me. We’re a family. Why won’t you allow him to be in my bedroom?” the woman testified.
She said Jackson also told her there was “nothing going on” and again asked if she didn’t trust him.
She said she finally relented and the next day Jackson gave her a gold Cartier bracelet.
The woman appeared to be the last witness in a prosecution effort to support the current molestation allegations by resurrecting past claims that never led to charges. Prosecutors are trying to build a circumstantial case by showing a pattern of behavior during Jackson’s life that indicates inappropriate behavior with young boys.
The witness confirmed that her son was involved in a lawsuit against Jackson and received compensation. She was not permitted to say how much he was paid.
Defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. suggested on cross-examination that Jackson countersued the family for “extortion,” but the woman said she knew nothing about it and testified they never paid Jackson any money.
The woman said her son is now 25 and she hasn’t spoken to him in 11 years. Asked if that was by her choice, she said no. Her son, who did not cooperate with a law enforcement investigation after receiving a multimillion-dollar settlement, has refused to testify in Jackson’s current prosecution.
After the Las Vegas incident, the boy was constantly with Jackson, and the pop star even came to the family’s Santa Monica home and stayed there with the boy, the mother said.
“Did Mr. Jackson ever spend nights at your residence?” asked District Attorney Tom Sneddon.
“Yes ... more than 30 times,” she said.
“And where would he stay?” asked Sneddon.
“In (my son’s) bedroom,” she said.
She said they made trips to Disney World in Florida in May 1993 and later to Monaco, where she and her daughter went on a shopping spree funded by the star.
So close was the relationship, she said, that when she and her children flew to New York to attend a family wedding, she received word from Jackson’s secretary that he would be joining them. She said he arrived after the wedding and stayed at the same hotel.
Eventually, she said, her brother raised concerns about the relationship and she too became concerned.
Another confrontation with JacksonShe said there was another confrontation with Jackson and “he was upset that I wanted my son back. I didn’t like the situation. It was getting out of control.”
That June, she said, Jackson gave her a necklace, a pair of earrings and a ring. He later gave her a $7,000 gift certificate to a West Hollywood boutique, the woman said.
On cross-examination, she also denied Mesereau’s suggestion that she took the molestation allegations to a lawyer before going to police. She said she went to child welfare authorities, where her son made a report to officers working there on Aug. 7, 1993.
Mesereau noted that when she was first interviewed by Los Angeles County prosecutors in 1993 she talked of the family’s relationship with Jackson and said, “Michael Jackson wasn’t the superstar. He was a regular person. We couldn’t believe how nice he was.”
She also told them that “when Michael Jackson is not working, he’s a lonely person,” Mesereau said.
Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a 13-year-old former cancer patient, plying the boy with alcohol, and holding his family captive in February and March 2003 to get them to help rebut a damaging documentary.