Friday April 15, 09:48 PM [b]Jackson team attack accuser’s mom’s credibility in fiery court showdown[/b] SANTA MARIA, United States (AFP) – Michael Jackson’s lawyer savaged the credibility of his child sex accuser’s mother, getting the woman he claims is a rapacious gold-digger to admit she lied under oath. In one of the most explosive showdowns of the seven-week-old trial, defense lawyer Thomas Mesereau began his cross-examination of the combative 37-year-old woman he has branded a “professional plaintiff.” In his bid to decimate the woman’s claims that Jackson and his aides kidnapped her family and implicitly threatened their lives, Mesereau forced her to concede she did not tell the truth in a sworn deposition she made while suing a department store in 2000. “You lied under oath to increase the amount of money you could get … correct?,” Mesereau asked, referring to her claim she was sexually assaulted when she and her children were detained on suspicion of shoplifting. The woman claimed in the statement she was never abused by her now ex-husband, who she later reported to authorities for beating her and abusing their three children. Mesereau suggested her claim against the JCPenney store that bruises on her body were caused by its security guards would have been weakened by the revelation of spousal abuse. “How many lies do you think you told in the JCPenney case?” Mesereau asked. In evasive responses, she reluctantly conceded she lied about anything to do with her then husband until his subsequent arrest. Jackson’s team claims the woman is a greed-driven con artist with a history of coaching her children to lie under oath to win financial settlements. The 46-year-old pop icon is accused of molesting her son, then 13, plying him with alcohol and conspiring to kidnap him and his family and hold them at his Neverland Ranch and a Los Angeles-area hotel two years ago. Legal analysts said Mesereau had seriously damaged the credibility of the woman — whose testimony is critical to the prosecution case — in the eyes of jurors. “The more she talks, the worse its gets for the prosecution,” said trial watcher Michael Cardoza. “She won’t answer the simplest of questions. “She’s self-imploding right before our eyes,” Cardoza said. “He’s just begun the surgery … he’ll continue to slice the witness,” he said of Mesereau. In a series of tense exchanges with the defiant witness, Mesereau suggested the woman’s stories of kidnapping were a tissue of lies and that she was in fact living in the lap of luxury as Jackson’s guest at Neverland. “You didn’t escape from Neverland at all, did you,” Mesereau asked the woman provocatively. “Oh yes I did,” she retorted. “How many times, in your mind, did you escape from that dungeon, Neverland?” Mesereau persisted, getting the woman to admit that she had left the ranch and then returned three times during her alleged captivity. In a surprise revelation, she also conceded that she was once investigated for allegedly abusing her own child — the alleged victim in the case. The witness however gave as good as she got in her extremely testy sparring match against former boxer Mesereau, prompting the judge to warn he would cut the hearing short if the pair did not behave. She pointedly corrected Mesereau’s statements, turning directly to jurors on several occasions to say: “His statement is inaccurate.” She also hit back at a suggestion that her motive for making charges against the faded “King of Pop” was to set the scene for a lucrative civil lawsuit. “We’ll never file a claim against Mr Jackson,” she said. “I want justice here.” The war of words came a day after the woman wrapped up a complex and frequently baffling account of how Jackson aides allegedly used fear and intimidation to keep her family prisoner for three weeks in late February and early March 2003. She said she agreed to allow them to whisk her family off to Brazil because they told her that “killers” would murder her boyfriend and parents if she refused to cooperate with Jackson’s camp. Prosecutors claim the panicked singer and his aides hatched the plot after the airing of a television documentary in which Jackson he held his future accuser’s hand and admitted sharing his bed with children. The woman claimed her family was then coerced into making a “rebuttal video” in which they described him as a beloved father figure and referred to Jackson as “Daddy Michael.” She said she did not want to make the video, which was played for jurors Friday, and claimed everything in it — even the laughter — was scripted: “I am a poor actress.” But Mesereau shot back: “You are a good actress.” Jackson has pleaded innocent to 10 charges that could see him jailed for up to 20 years if convicted. Source: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/050415/323/fggfq.html

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