Video shows family’s praise of Jackson

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[b]Video shows family’s praise of Jackson[/b] By Quintin Cushner/Staff Writer Jurors watched Friday as the family now accusing Michael Jackson of 10 felonies including child molestation praised the entertainer and referred to him as “father” on a videotaped interview shown in court. However, the sister of Jackson’s accuser testified after the screening that her family was pressured to make the tape and that many of their comments were scripted. For most of the 80-minute video, the family of four talked in animated tones about their relationship with Jackson. “He makes me feel like I’m his son,” the accuser’s then 12-year-old brother said in the tape. “He let us call him father.” Jackson’s accuser, then 13, spoke on the tape of an instant bond he felt for the singer. “When I first met Michael, all I thought was that he was a loving, kind, humbling man,” the boy said. Perhaps most supportive of Jackson on the tape was the accuser’s mother. “I can tell a special heart and that is what he has,” the mother said. Prosecutors allege that the family was coerced into making the tape at the San Fernando Valley home of a Jackson associate. The interview was taped about two weeks after “Living with Michael Jackson,” a controversial documentary on Jackson, aired on Feb. 6, 2003. That program showed Jackson holding hands with the 13-year-old boy and talking about sharing his bed with children. In what came to known as the “rebuttal” tape, the boy’s mother condoned the hand-holding. “That’s what a father does with a son,” she said. The tape was screened Friday while the sister of Jackson’s accuser remained on the witness stand. The woman testified that her answers in the video were insincere and motivated by concern about what might happen if she did not make positive statements about Jackson. However, the woman’s defense of Jackson in the video sounded genuine. “They’re the ones with the dirty minds,” she said of those who would question Jackson’s behavior. The taping of the interview is part of a conspiracy charge against Jackson. Prosecutors allege that Jackson and five unindicted co-conspirators schemed to abduct, falsely imprison and extort the family in the wake of “Living with Michael Jackson.” Though the interview was going to appear in a televised special, the family eventually refused to participate. Jackson, 46, has pleaded not guilty to four counts of molesting the boy and four counts of administering alcohol to help him with the alleged lewd acts. He also has pleaded not guilty to a conspiracy charge involving child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion, and a count of attempted child molestation. Because the boy is the alleged victim of sex crimes, the Santa Maria Times, following its established policy, is not identifying him or members of his family, even though they are being named in court. A major aspect of Jackson’s defense is that the accuser and his mother fabricated the case with hopes that they might eventually receive a financial settlement from him. However, the accuser’s sister said that their mother never sought money from celebrities. Rather, such requests were made by her estranged father, she said. Also Friday, the woman said she joined her mother in accusing her father of false imprisonment, molestation and making criminal threats. Under cross-examination, the sister also made the surprising claim to defense attorney Thomas Mesereau, Jr. that she has never spoken about the Jackson case with any of her family. “We don’t really like to talk about anything associated with this,” she said. Her testimony will continue on Monday. As Jackson left court on Friday, he gave reporters his thoughts on the first week of his trial. “It went very good, it went very good,” he said. * Staff writer Quintin Cushner can be reached at 739-2217 or by e-mail at March 5, 2005 Source:

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