[b]Money makes the world go round at Jackson trial[/b] 16:00 AEST Wed Apr 13 2005 SANTA MARIA, California (AFP) – From its main actors to its bit players to its overarching themes, a central motif runs through Michael Jackson’s child molestation trial — and it isn’t sex. “Money in this case is huge. It’s money, money, and more money,” lawyer Anne Bremner, who has been following the trial, said Tuesday. “It seems like everyone has their hand out.” … The pop icon’s handlers were so worried, the argument goes, they panicked after a television documentary showed him holding his future accuser’s hand and admitting that children often share his bed. As his longtime publicist said in court this week: “Perception is 90 percent of what the public thinks.” So Jackson aides moved to sequester the family to force them to make a rebuttal video, aiming to prevent further erosion of the pop star’s empire. The defense meanwhile maintains that the allegations by the accuser’s family are driven by the mother’s rapacious greed. She has a history of using her children to bilk celebrities, lead defense lawyer Thomas Mesereau argued in opening arguments six weeks ago. Past targets include Hollywood superstar Jim Carrey, boxer Mike Tyson and US comedian Adam Sandler, he said. When those alleged ruses failed, she turned her rapacious sights on Jackson. “The mother, with her children as tools, was trying to find a celebrity to latch onto,” Mesereau said. “Unfortunately for Michael Jackson, he fell for it.” The prosecution has taken its time calling the mother to the witness stand and is now, late in its case, apparently weighing whether to bring her out at all. Jurors might believe she coached her kids to lie in this case, if the defense dredges up too many questionable details from her past, Bremner argued. “If she’s on the stand and is eviscerated by Mesereau … what happens to the case? Because she is the one who drives the children,” she said. Prosecutors rolled out her new husband Tuesday, a seemingly “straight and narrow” military man, in a bid to improve her image prior to her highly anticipated testimony, Bremner said. But his squeaky clean image was sullied when he admitted speaking several times with a British tabloid that was offering US$15,000 ($19,340) for the family’s story. And then there’s the domestic help at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, a gated fantasy world he spends millions to maintain each year. Adrian McManus, Jackson’s former personal maid, denied she plotted with other employees on how to reap riches from her insider access, but later admitted in court she collected US$32,000 ($41,258) from tabloids and other media. She could not deny that she had a contract with a gossip magazine to rat on Jackson’s relationship with his former wife Lisa Marie Presley, or that she was quoted in an article in Star magazine titled “Kinky Sex Secrets of Michael and Lisa Marie’s Bedroom: Five of his Closest Servants Tell All.” Another maid admitted in court to being paid US$20,000 ($25,787) dollars for an interview with the Hard Copy television program. Jackson, in addition to doling out millions to two alleged abuse victims, has been sued by ex-employees for overtime pay and wrongful dismissal. And everyone, from his former long-time publicist to the man who supervised his maids, has a book in the works. Dwayne Swingler blabbed to News of the World after working as Jackson’s house manager for just five weeks and jotted down some notes tentatively titled “Entering Neverland: Secrets behind the Gate,” according to Jackson’s defense. “I was interested in maybe writing down some information to cash in like everybody else was doing,” Swingler said. “Everybody wants money from Michael Jackson. Everyone wants money from the press or tabloids,” said Bremner. “No one is immune from the money angle of this case.” Source: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=48165

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