Defense puts on extensive video show in Michael Jackson trial – AP

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[b]Defense puts on extensive video show in Michael Jackson trial[/b] By LINDA DEUTSCH, AP Special Correspondent Wednesday, March 9, 2005 (03-09) 12:42 PST Santa Maria, Calif. (AP) — Michael Jackson’s lawyer on Wednesday presented to jurors a dramatic video show starring the family who now accuses the pop star of molestation and illustrating the relationship of the singer to the cancer-stricken boy he allegedly victimized. In a musically scored production that was apparently part of Jackson’s personal video archives, he was seen with the boy, a ghostlike figure with little hair during the time he was undergoing chemotherapy. Jurors saw the boy in a wheelchair being pushed by his brother, who was undergoing cross-examination Wednesday. Jackson walks alongside with his ever-present umbrella, then walks with the boy to a tree where he spreads a blanket for the two of them to sit and look out over the lake at his Neverland ranch. The video was accompanied by Jackson’s voice singing his hit, “I’ll Be There,” which includes the lyric “I’ll be there to comfort you with my world of dreams around.” The video also included the song “Smile Though Your Heart is Breaking” and showed idyllic scenes of Neverland with Jackson and the boy walking arm-in-arm. A juror’s head bobbed to the music. On the witness stand, the boy’s brother was asked if he had ever seen the video. He was not sure. “Michael was only there with (his brother) a couple of times,” the witness said, minimizing the relationship. “Did you ever hear Michael Jackson encouraging your brother to get better?” asked defense lawyer Thomas Mesereau Jr. “He probably told him on the phone, I don’t know,” said the boy. Mesereau also showed a lively video called “The Neverland Channel.” The star of the show was the witness, who appeared with a microphone and introduced himself by saying, “Hi from Neverland, USA. I’m the host of the Neverland Channel.” The boy then interviews Jackson’s elephant trainer while a group of elephants march around him. He asks such questions as how much the elephants eat and defecate. “That concludes the elephants,” the boy announces professionally. “And now we’re going to take you to another part of Neverland.” The video then switches to a shot of many children boarding the train that runs around Neverland amusement park. “You guys having a good time?” the boy shouts. The children respond, “Yeah!” “Let’s go,” he enthuses as the train begins its run. When the video stopped, Mesereau asked the boy if he had been excited to make the video. “No. … I was very tired. I was kind of sleepy,” he said. Mesereau asked again: “Were you excited to narrate a video like this at Neverland?” “No, I was sleepy,” the boy insisted. The lawyer followed that video with a repeat of the so-called rebuttal video featuring the brother, the accuser, their sister and their mother. Prosecutors claim the video was part of a conspiracy to hold the family to make them participate in damage control after a Feb. 6, 2003, TV documentary in which Jackson appeared with the alleged victim and said he let children sleep in his bedroom. Jackson is alleged to have molested the boy after the documentary aired. On the witness stand, the accuser’s brother listened to his mother praising Jackson as a father figure who rescued the family from poverty. “You heard your mother make those comments?” Mesereau asked. “I wasn’t listening,” said the witness. “I was falling off my chair. It was 4 in the morning. I was very sleepy.” In response to other questions, he said his comments on the video were not truthful and he claimed at one point that while praising Jackson he actually meant to be praising his stepfather. The witness also said he remembered nothing about his brother discussing that Jackson helped him get through his cancer. At a point when the mother declares on the video that Jackson “claimed these three little munchkins as his kids,” Mesereau asked the witness: “Did you think your mother was telling the truth?” “No,” he said. “She was doing what Dieter asked her to do.” Dieter Wiesner is a Jackson adviser named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case. The mother also declares in the video the “personal wish” of her family is “to be in movies.” Mesereau asked the boy: “Do you want to be in movies?” “No,” said the brother. “I don’t want to be in movies … I’m too shy.” Mesereau repeatedly stopped and started the video to ask the brother about his own comments. “Were you in fear?” the attorney asked. “I was just sleepy,” the boy said. The video show came after an hour of inquiry by Mesereau into discrepancies between the boy’s testimony on the witness stand and his other accounts of allegedly seeing Jackson molest his brother. During questioning by the prosecution the boy told of twice looking through the doorway of Jackson’s bedroom as the pop star fondled his sleeping brother while he masturbated. Mesereau confronted the witness with a previous statements to sheriff’s investigators in which he said that during the second incident he was in the room curled up on a little couch pretending to sleep. When Mesereau asked if his account of the second molestation had changed, the boy interjected that there were actually three incidents, although that has never been alleged. “I was nervous while I was doing the interview,” he told Mesereau. “Because you were nervous you didn’t get the facts right?” the attorney asked. “Yes,” said the witness. On Tuesday, Mesereau had also raised questions about fundamental inconsistencies between the boy’s description of the second incident on the witness stand and a description given to the grand jury by a psychologist who interviewed the boy. ___ Associated Press Writer Tim Molloy contributed to this report. Source:

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