Alleged Victim’s Mom Praised Jackson, Denied Abuse in Tape

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[b]Alleged Victim’s Mom Praised Jackson, Denied Abuse in Tape[/b] Posted on 11/26/2003 10:36:22 AM PST Nov. 26 — The mother of the boy who accused Michael Jackson of molesting him made an audiotape and signed an affidavit saying the pop star never abused him, ABCNEWS has learned. ABCNEWS legal contributor Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom heard the tape, which was made in February by an investigator on behalf of Jackson, and she said there was no indication from the sound of the voices that the statements were coerced or had been rehearsed. The boy and his mother said that Jackson never acted inappropriately with the child, Guilfoyle Newsom said. The tape was provided to her by a source close to the defense. They praised Jackson for providing support, love, guidance and advice, and the boy’s mother said that God had blessed them by bringing Jackson into their lives, Guilfoyle Newsom said today on ABCNEWS’ Good Morning America. In the tape, the mother described Jackson as a “father figure” to her children. “There are few questions asked,” Guilfoyle Newsom said. “It was mostly the mother and alleged victim in this case and one other child, her other son, making statements, talking about Michael Jackson how he was a father to them and how they considered him to be family.” Sometime after the tape was made, the accuser’s mother said that she had felt like a “hostage” at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, but Guilfoyle Newsom said there is no hint of any feeling like that on the tape. “On the tape, she’s effusive about her praise,” she said. The tape and affidavit could be extremely damaging to the prosecution, said Guilfoyle Newsom, who is herself a prosecutor. If the boy testifies, the tape could be introduced by the defense to raise questions about his credibility, and he could be forced to say that he lied in the tape and affidavit, she said. The revelation of the tape comes as The Associated Press reported that the family of the child was involved in two earlier cases that involved allegations of abuse: a lawsuit in which the family said they were battered by mall security guards, and a divorce fight in which the father pleaded no contest to spousal abuse and child cruelty. C. Penney Co. paid the boy’s family $137,500 in November 2001, to settle a lawsuit alleging security guards beat the boy, his mother and his brother in a parking lot after the boy left the store carrying clothes that hadn’t been paid for, court records found by the AP show. The mother also contended that during the confrontation, which occurred in 1998, one of the guards sexually assaulted her, according to the report. A month before the settlement in that case, the boy’s mother had filed for divorce, and she accused her husband of criminal abuse. The father’s attorney, Russell Halpern, told The Associated Press the mother had lied about the abuse and had a “Svengali-like” ability to make her children repeat her lies. Jackson’s attorney Mark Geragos went on the offensive Tuesday, saying he had obtained a court order blocking the sale of video and audiotapes of the beleaguered pop star talking with the lawyer, and vowing to land “like a ton of bricks” on anyone who tried to smear the singer’s reputation. The tapes were made Nov. 20 as Jackson and his entourage flew on a chartered jet from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara, Calif., where the the singer was booked on multiple counts of child molestation. The allegations, which Jackson denies, involve a 12-year-old boy. The tapes were offered for sale to various news organizations, including ABCNEWS. Jackson’s lawyers are suing the charter company, XtraJet, on seven counts, including invasion of privacy. Geragos said Tuesday afternoon that he had obtained a temporary injunction against XtraJet, which he accused of peddling a “surreptitious” videotape. “This entire case is about cash, and anyone who believes differently is living in their own Neverland,” he told reporters at a Los Angeles news conference. A spokesman for XtraJet said the tape was not made by anyone on the company’s staff, and the camera may have been placed on the plane by a reporter. The FBI is investigating the case, according to Jackson’s lawyers. ‘We Will Unleash a Legal Torrent’ Geragos said he believed the cameras were secretly planted and that the alleged culprits broke state and federal laws. It would be illegal to have made the tape in Nevada unless at least one of the people filmed had previously agreed to it. In California, the law requires that everybody consent to being filmed. The tapes also would violate the attorney-client privilege of confidentiality, Geragos said. He said Jackson was suing XtraJet, and vowed to come down on anyone who wants to “besmirch” the pop star’s reputation for profit. “This is not the lottery. This is this man’s life, his family’s life,” he said. “These are scurrilous allegations. … We will land on you like a ton of bricks. We will land on you like a hammer. We will unleash a legal torrent like you’ve never seen.” ABCNEWS was offered the opportunity to buy video and audio recorded on the flight, but declined. ABCNEWS producer Beth Tribolet was shown some of the video, which showed an apparently relaxed Jackson smiling in conversation with his lawyer. “Mark Geragos was talking very animatedly and at various times he would use his hands to make gestures and that seemed to entertain Mr. Jackson,” she said. “He would sort of laugh and so forth. But basically I would tell you that their demeanor was overall sort of relaxed. It didn’t seem like people were upset or angry.” The injunction issued in Los Angeles County Superior Court prohibits the release of the tape until a hearing next month. At that time, Geragos plans to seek a permanent injunction. Jackson, 45, has been in seclusion with family and friends in Nevada since he surrendered to Santa Barbara County authorities last week.. The self-proclaimed King of Pop is free on $3 million bail after being booked on counts of committing lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14. Formal charges will be filed sometime after Thanksgiving, officials said. Jackson is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 9. Source:

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