Accuser’s Stepfather Wanted Money from Jackson – AP

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[b]Jackson Accuser Kin Wanted Compensation [/b] By LINDA DEUTSCH AP Special Correspondent SANTA MARIA, Calif. (AP) — [b]The stepfather of the boy who accused Michael Jackson of molestation testified Thursday that he asked for payment from Jackson for the family’s participation in a video interview intended to restore Jackson’s reputation.[/b] [b]”I said ‘this family has nothing and you’re making millions from this and what are you doing to do for this little family,'” the witness said of a conversation he had with someone he identified only as the “gentleman from Neverland,” a reference to Jackson’s ranch.[/b] The man was identified in court as Mr. Doe to keep his identity secret. He said he had been an officer in the Army reserve for 22 years and had married the mother of the accuser last May. He said she recently gave birth to a child. [b]The witness testified that he also asked for compensation at some point from a British journalist who came to the family’s home to try to interview them after a documentary on Jackson aired on British television. “Two British journalists showed up and I talked to them,” the witness said. “The said they wanted to do an interview with (his wife) and the children. I said, ‘what are you offering?’ They said, ‘what do you want?’ And I said I didn’t know.” He said the journalists left and said they would return with an offer. “Did you complain to anyone that Mrs. Doe was not receiving proper payment?” asked defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. “It was a conversation with a person form Neverland,” the witness said. “He said, ‘we are going to do a rebuttal video and we need them to come and sign a contract.'” The witness said he asked the man what was being offered in return. “He said, ‘we are going to give them a college education and buy them a house,'” the witness testified.[/b] In wide-ranging questioning, Mesereau questioned Mr. Doe about the man’s belief that the mother and family were being held under duress at Neverland. [b]The man testified that he called the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department in April 2003 after the woman and her children had gone to the ranch. “I felt (my wife) and the family might be under duress,” the witness testified. But after calling authorities, he said, the family returned and he told deputies everything was fine. After that incident, he said, his wife returned to Neverland. “She somehow or another got back there,” the witness said.[/b] Defense attorneys were expected to ask the man what he knew about the relationship between Jackson’s former lawyer and a private investigator. The issue is whether anyone told prosecutors and sheriff’s deputies that investigator Bradley Miller was working for attorney Mark Geragos before the authorities decided to break into Miller’s office and seize evidence for the Jackson case. Mr. Doe is said to have been present when Miller supervised the making of a videotaped interview with the 12-year-old and his family. The so-called “rebuttal video” was intended to answer negative publicity surrounding a British TV special on Jackson’s life that featured the pop star defending his practice of having young boys sleep in his bed. In the rebuttal video, the boy and his family reportedly vouch for Jackson’s good character and praise his relationship with youngsters. Prosecutors are claiming the family was coerced into making the video as part of a conspiracy charged in the indictment against Jackson. The tape is among items seized from Miller’s office when sheriff’s deputies broke in with a sledgehammer. The defense contends that if authorities knew Miller was working with Geragos, the search violated attorney-client privilege of confidentiality. In other testimony Thursday, an attorney who once represented the accuser’s family acknowledged he exchanged numerous letters and phone calls with Geragos and Miller but never asked or was told that the investigator was working for Geragos. William Dickerman acknowledged he was aware of the existence of tape recordings made by Miller and was concerned about whether consent had been given by his clients to use the tapes for the purpose of television exploitation. Meanwhile, Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville agreed to let Jackson file a request to make a public statement of unspecified content, according to papers posted on the court’s Web site Wednesday. Jackson’s lawyers filed the request Aug. 13, with the proposed statement blacked out. Also posted on the Web site Wednesday was Jackson’s request to file an objection to the release of a sealed report by the California attorney general. Sheriff Jim Anderson wants the report released. In it, state officials reportedly concluded that Jackson was not mistreated as he claimed when he surrendered to authorities last year. A copy of the leaked report was posted Sunday on the CBS News Web site. In an interview broadcast by CBS’s “60 Minutes” a month after his Nov. 20, 2003, arrest, Jackson said he was “manhandled” by Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies who took him into custody. The report to Anderson from the California Bureau of Investigation said there was no evidence to support Jackson’s claim that his shoulder was dislocated when he was handcuffed. It also found that there was no criminal misconduct by sheriff’s personnel. Jackson, 45, is charged with committing a lewd act upon a child, administering an intoxicating agent and conspiring to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on $3 million bail. :nav Source:

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