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[b]’FAMILY PREYED ON STARS'[/b] Jackson’s defence lawyer described the child sex charges against him as “bogus” and said his accusers were people who preyed on celebrities for money. In his opening statements, Thomas Mesereau said: “I am hear to tell you the charges are fictitious, bogus and never happened.” The youngster, Gavin Arviso, his mother Janet, his younger brother and his older sister will all testify for the prosecution during Jackson’s trial. But Mr Mesereau said the boy’s mother has a history of using her children to con celebrities and had unsuccessfully sought money from Hollywood superstar Jim Carrey, boxer Mike Tyson and US comedian Adam Sandler. She also tried to “hussle” $20,000 dollars out of another comedian and allegedly also telephoned US talk show host Jay Leno, who told police that he might be being targeted for a scam. When those alleged ruses failed, Janet Arviso turned her rapacious sights on Jackson, Mr Mesereau claimed. “The best known celebrity and the most vulnerable celebrity became the mark,” he told the jurors in his opening remarks. Sky News: Digital channel 501 “The mother, with her children as tools, was trying to find a celebrity to latch onto. Unfortunately for Michael Jackson, he fell for it. That’s where it all begins,” Mr Mesereau said. “There is a pattern by Janet and her children of ensnaring people for money. I’m going to show you how the trap was set,” he said. Mr Mesereau also launched into prosecution charges that Jackson used his fantasy theme-park home Neverland as a lure for young children for him to prey on. “Neverland is not a lure for molestation, a magnet for crime, we will prove that in this case,” he told the jury. He described Jackson as a hard-working entertainer whose career caused him to miss out in his childhood. The star bought Neverland in 1988 and built it into “an invitation to play and be like children.” “He wanted a place where children could be innocent,” said Mr Mesereau. Source: http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30000-13304399,00.html

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