D.A.’s Witnesses Aid Jackson Team; Culkin to Testify for Defense – CBS

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[b]D.A.’s Witnesses Aid Jackson Team[/b] SANTA MARIA, Calif., March 30, 2005 A flight attendant who has undercut a prosecution claim that Michael Jackson served alcohol to his accuser during a flight testified in the pop star’s child molestation trial Wednesday that the boy was unruly, rude and started a food fight, but she didn’t see Jackson touch the boy inappropriately. After the flight attendant, the prosecution called psychologist Stan J. Katz, a pivotal witness because he was the first to report the boy’s claim of sexual abuse to authorities. He was on the stand only briefly, but testified that he and a private lawyer for the accuser’s family discussed the case Tuesday, which witnesses are not supposed to do. [b]CBSNews.com Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen calls Wednesday “a tough day for prosecutors,” even though it’s prosecution witnesses on the stand. “This is a lesson for lawyers that you have to know what your witnesses are going to say, and certainly that you have to make sure your lawyers are not discussing the case before they testify,” Cohen said. “Even if this problem is not a violation of the court’s gag order, it certainly gives jurors the impression that witnesses who are supposed to have independent recollection and judgment are ‘ganging up’ on the defendant and that perception greatly hurts the prosecution’s case.” [/b] Flight attendant Cynthia Bell returned to the witness stand for a second day to testify about flying with Jackson, his accuser and members of the boy’s family from Miami to Santa Barbara in February 2003. [b]She repeated her testimony from Tuesday that she served Jackson wine in a Diet Coke can and did not see his accuser drink from it, as prosecutors contend. [/b] Bell also said Jackson appeared noticeably relaxed from the wine but did not appear drunk. She said that at one point Jackson’s accuser threw mashed potatoes at a sleeping doctor who was traveling with Jackson and it resulted in a food fight among many of the passengers. [b]”The initial flinging of mashed potatoes was not playful. Throwing mashed potatoes at a sleeping man?” Bell said. [/b] Bell was called by the prosecution, but her answers to questions by Deputy District Attorney Gordon Auchincloss and cross-examination by defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. [b]favored [/b] Jackson. The defendant arrived at court earlier amid screams from a few fans on the street. He waved and blew a kiss to them and patted one of his aides on the top of the head. He showed no outward sign of the limited movements that have sometimes followed what he has said was a fall in the shower earlier this month. Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a then-13-year-old boy in February or March 2003, giving him alcohol and conspiring to hold the boy’s family captive to get them to make a video rebutting a documentary in which the boy appeared with Jackson, who said he let children sleep in his bed but it was innocent and non-sexual. [b][color=red]Meanwhile, CBS News has learned that actor Macaulay Culkin was contacted Monday night by the Jackson defense team. One reliable source very close to the Jackson team says Culkin agreed to testify. Another source close to Culkin says while he doesn’t know specifically what Culkin decided, in the past Culkin has told him he would testify for Jackson if requested, despite what Culkin’s spokesperson said on Monday[/color]. [/b] On the witness stand, Bell said the boy boasted that Jackson gave him a watch. Prosecutors contend the watch was a bribe to keep him from revealing that Jackson gave him alcohol. “He was saying things like, ‘Look at what Michael got me,’ and, ‘These are very expensive watches,'” she said. “He did say, ‘Michael bought this watch for me and he’ll buy me anything,'” she said. Defense attorneys contend the boy and his family were out to bilk Jackson and other celebrities. Auchincloss asked if she knew what caused the boy to act that way. “I have no idea,” Bell said. [b]The prosecutor also asked if the boy’s behavior changed during the flight. She said the boy was consistently rude except when listening to music. [/b] Under questioning by Mesereau, she said [b]the boy’s mother was aware of his rude behavior and didn’t stop it. [/b] The flight attendant also said the boy had a wide range of unreasonable complaints. “His chicken was warm. ‘I want a side of coleslaw. I don’t want it on the same plate.’ … He was very demanding throughout the entire flight,” she said. Mesereau seemed to revel in questioning Bell about the boy’s behavior. [b]”Have you told the jury every rude thing you can remember?” the defense attorney asked. “Well, there were so many,” she said, adding that the boy also complained about a lack of napkins in the lavatory. [/b] On Tuesday, Bell said it was her idea to serve Jackson wine in soda cans and it became a routine on all his flights because “Michael Jackson is a very private drinker.” She said Jackson was a nervous flier who could not stand turbulence. Source: [url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/03/30/entertainment/main684055.shtml]http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/03/30/…ain684055.shtml[/url]

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