Jackson defense to depict accuser as unruly child – SBNP

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Jackson defense to depict accuser as unruly child 1/14/05 By DAWN HOBBS NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER Michael Jackson’s defense lawyers have subpoenaed Neverland Valley Ranch employees who are expected to paint a picture of the boy who accuses their client of molesting him as an unruly, out-of-control youth, the News-Press has learned. The employees are expected to testify at the upcoming trial that the boy verbally assaulted them, broke into Mr. Jackson’s wine cellar and was caught masturbating with another boy in the entertainer’s bedroom while they perused girlie magazines, sources knowledgeable about the case said. A primary tactic of the defense has been to attack the credibility of the boy’s mother, who they say made up the molestation allegations after a failed attempt to get money from the entertainer. The lawyers point to other situations where they say she used similar tactics for financial gain. Now it appears defense lawyers also want to destroy the boy’s credibility through the testimony of the Neverland employees. Defense lawyers and prosecutors have recently sent out dozens of subpoenas gearing up for what’s likely to be a six-month courtroom rumble. The trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 31 with jury selection. Mr. Jackson has pleaded not guilty to child molestation and conspiracy charges. Prosecutors are expected to argue that the allegations against the boy and his mother are beside the point. They maintain that Mr. Jackson plied the boy with alcohol and then molested him on four occasions in spring of 2003. A gag order prevents attorneys from commenting on the case. Many of the prosecution witnesses who testified during the grand jury proceedings in April are counted on to take the stand at trial, including the boy and his brother, who allegedly saw him in bed with Mr. Jackson. Other prosecution witnesses included the boy’s psychologist, the family’s civil attorney and the boy’s parents. The journalist whose documentary launched the investigation into Mr. Jackson, Martin Bashir, has also been subpoenaed by prosecutors. “Living with Michael Jackson,” which aired February 2003, showed the boy who would later become his accuser holding hands with the entertainer. In that video, Mr. Jackson says he shares his bed with children. “Conversations with (Mr. Jackson) concerning his sleeping arrangement with children and particularly with the victim of the current case are clearly material relevant and necessary to the prosecution in Santa Barbara County,” according to a prosecution document released Thursday. The defense has contended that the boy’s mother wanted money from Mr. Jackson for her son’s appearance in the video and that after the entertainer refused to pay, the allegations surfaced. The prosecution asserts that the firestorm caused by the Bashir documentary is what prompted Mr. Jackson and his associates allegedly to abduct, falsely imprison and force the boy and his family to make a rebuttal video. That video, “Take Two: The Interview They Wouldn’t Show You,” aired two weeks later, but the boy and his family were not in it. It was on the day the rebuttal video aired that the prosecution alleges the molestation began. But the defense has said that the mother was not held against her will but left and returned to Neverland three times of her own choosing. During some of the time the boy was there, Mr. Jackson wasn’t home, sources have said. It was during Mr. Jackson’s absence, the employees are expected to testify, that the boy ran wild. GRAND JURY TESTIMONY Michael Jackson’s accuser told a grand jury that the pop star closed his eyes tightly while molesting him on a bed, according to an ABC News report that quotes from transcripts of the testimony. The boy described Mr. Jackson’s alleged crimes in graphic detail, according to the network, which said its “Primetime Live” program reviewed more than 1,900 pages of testimony. The defense initially declined to comment, citing a gag order in the case. But later Jackson attorney Thomas Mesereau said in a statement that the defense strongly objected to the leak of sealed grand jury testimony. “The witnesses who testified before the grand jury were never subjected to cross-examination or impeachment by the defense,” he said. A notice on the statement issued by a Jackson spokeswoman noted it was approved by the court. Source: http://news.newspress.com/topsports/011405jackson.htm

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