Friday, April 08, 2005 By Roger Friedman Jackson: D.A.’s Witnesses Admit Lying The prosecution put on two witnesses yesterday in the Michael Jackson child molestation trial, each determined to demolish the defense. At first the prosecution’s plan looked good. But then defense attorney Tom Mesereau came twirling onto the court, and the rest is history. Mesereau’s big moment came at 9:35 a.m. PDT. With 10 minutes to go before the first break in the morning session, Mesereau knew that he had to act fast to counter former Neverland security guard Ralph Chacon’s testimony, which included two instances of child molestation described in graphic detail. … Chacon said that he saw Jackson perform oral sex on a boy, among other upsetting things. When Chacon described a second episode, in which Jackson was “passionately kissing” the boy in front of a Peter Pan display, even Tito left the courtroom. Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon asked Chacon why he’d never mentioned the latter incident in previous depositions. “Who would believe me?” Chacon responded. For a minute, the answer was everyone. The shock of his vulgar description was just enough to get the attention of all in the room. But then came Mesereau, driving hard down the court like Michael Jordan. Armed with Chacon’s deposition from the 1994 “Neverland Five” case, in which former Jackson employees unsuccessfully sued the singer for wrongful termination and harassment, Mesereau didn’t take long to make mincemeat of the witness. Suddenly Chacon’s every answer was “I don’t know” when Mesereau plied him for details of the famous lawsuit, the longest civil trial in Santa Maria history. “The jury said you stole and acted with malice,” said Mesereau. “There was a judgment against you for fraud. Do you recall stipulating that you acted with fraud, oppression and malice?” Suddenly Chacon, who claimed to have a clear memory seeing Jackson in a criminally incriminating situation, could not remember a thing. He couldn’t recall the exact amount each defendant in the dismissal case was ordered to pay Jackson ($1.4 million), or a judgment against Chacon in another case ($2,600), or his telling a doctor that he’d rather get $1 million than work again. Even when Mesereau, in a flamboyant but familiar lawyerly move, showed him his contradictory depositions from a year ago, Chacon was flummoxed. Did he remember his lawyer saying he wanted $16 million for the five former employees? “No,” said Chacon. Mesereau showed him his deposition. The ex-security guard, now a substitute teacher, had an epiphany. “Now I see it,” he declared. Did Chacon recall saying in his deposition that Michael Jackson used to stare continuously at him? That he stared at no one else? The witness, in a rare moment of clarity, explained: “I said it just to say it.” Those ten minutes were perhaps the most crucial in Michael Jackson’s life. Things went just as badly for former personal maid Adrian McManus. Even though her appearance and demeanor were a marked improvement over Chacon’s, her forceful testimony was cut to shreds by Mesereau quickly. At one point, jurors started looking around the room rather than pay attention to her. This happened after the umpteenth time Mesereau — by now riffing on the “May I refresh your memory by showing you that page from your deposition?” routine — sauntered over to the witness stand, book in hand. McManus should have been a reliable, prepared witness. Mesereau got her to admit she’d had a three-hour meeting the night with prosecutors on Wednesday night, just before her testimony Thursday morning. Even under direct questioning, her natural bubbly personality had been supplanted by somber tones. And it didn’t help that Mesereau knew a lot of dirt about her past. … Among McManus’s “secrets”: She and her husband were sued by their sister-in-law, who won a judgment against them of $30,584.89. The crime? They “willfully and maliciously defrauded” the woman’s children after her husband died and the couple served as their guardians. In the Jackson dismissal case, Mesereau revealed that McManus had stolen an ink drawing of Elvis Presley done by Jackson and sold it — her contribution to the “fraud, oppression and malice” part of the case, which also included fellow former employees Chacon, Melanie Bagnall, Sandi Domz and Kassim Abdool. Part of what Mesereau was able to establish with McManus and Chacon was their unwillingness to work with or for a new Jackson’s security team, which was installed in 1994. … McManus’s final half hour on the stand was almost painful. She was reminded of a statement she’d made in a deposition about the alarm system for Jackson’s bedroom: “When you’re a celebrity, you lead a difficult life. People kill celebrities. That little sensor benefits him for his life.” She also admitted to having lied in the Chandler v. Jackson civil suit a decade ago. In that case, she claimed she’d never seen any kids sleeping in Jackson’s room. She’d also said that June Chandler, mother of the kid who eventually got a $20 million settlement from Jackson, had brought her son’s clothes to Jackson’s room, knowing full well he’d be staying there. Mesereau said: “You’re saying you committed perjury in the Chandler deposition?” McManus: “The whole time [I lied].” Mesereau: “Knowing that it was a crime?” McManus: “I didn’t think of it that way.” By then, the jury had long forgotten about Chacon’s pornographic musings. Full Source: [url=http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,152871,00.html]http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,152871,00.html[/url]

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