[b]Witness contradicts accuser’s mother on alleged Jackson conspiracy[/b] Ex-security guard says he saw no wrongdoing By DAWN HOBBS NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER Under defense cross-examination on Wednesday, a police officer who moonlighted as a Neverland Valley Ranch security guard contradicted a key prosecution witness about a conspiracy allegedly orchestrated by Michael Jackson. The testimony of the officer about detailed security logs that recorded comings and goings at the ranch conflicted in several ways with the account offered by the mother of the boy who has accused Mr. Jackson of molestation. For example, the security logs indicate that the accuser’s mother and her children were guests at Neverland for several days beginning Feb. 6, 2003, dates when she said the family was held captive by Mr. Jackson and his associates in a Miami hotel room. Guadalupe police Officer Brian Barron said the logs also indicated that the mother and her children were at the ranch with her children in late February. She had said during her 4 1/2 days on the witness stand that by then she had escaped Neverland and was at her boyfriend’s Los Angeles apartment. The discrepancies between the mother’s recollection and the security logs could cause problems for prosecutors. They recently led the woman through a day-by-day account of a three-week period in early 2003 when they allege Mr. Jackson and his associates conspired to keep the family against their will at Neverland and several hotels. Co-defense counsel Robert Sanger’s cross-examination has so far made it through half of that timeline. His review of the records is expected continue today. The prosecution will then have another chance to question Officer Barron. There were other conflicts between Officer Barron’s testimony and the mother’s. She had testified that she was holed up in a guest unit away from her children during her entire stay at Neverland in spring 2003. The security logs, however, indicate she spent three nights in sleeping quarters in a ranch dance studio with the children. During those three nights, nearly 30 other guests were visiting Neverland, including Miko Brando, son of the late actor Marlon Brando, and movie producer Robert Evans. The security logs, displayed for jurors on a large screen, also indicated that the children had visited the ranch in 2002 with actor Chris Tucker several times. The mother testified that her children visited only once that year. The records show that on Feb. 12, 2003, ranch employee Jesus Salas signed out a Rolls Royce and stopped at the guard booth on the way out of Neverland at 1:38 a.m. The mother testified that she had convinced Mr. Salas to help her escape and return her to Los Angeles. “There was no secret spiriting away,” Mr. Sanger said. “They just checked out right at the gate, right?” Officer Barron answered that the driver had followed normal procedures and that the car had left the ranch without incident. Prosecutors are expected to rest their case, now in its eighth week, by the end of next week. Defense lawyers will then attempt to convince jurors that the mother concocted the elaborate conspiracy and coached her son to make up allegations that Mr. Jackson molested him in the spring of 2003 after a failed attempt to get money from the entertainer. Mr. Jackson, who is free on $3 million bail, has pleaded not guilty to child molestation, administering alcohol to commit a felony, and conspiracy. Mr. Sanger revealed that Santa Barbara County sheriff’s investigators asked Officer Barron to serve as their informant at the ranch after their November 2003 raid. He said he refused. On the advice of the Guadalupe police chief, he quit his moonlighting job at the ranch after the raid, Officer Barron said. Under questioning by Senior Deputy District Attorney Gordon Auchincloss, Officer Barron said there was note on a grease board in the security office instructing guards to keep the accuser, then 13, at the ranch. “It simply stated that (the boy) is not allowed off the property,” Officer Barron said. He said it remained on the board for about a week in February 2003. But under cross-examination by Mr. Sanger, he conceded that no child visitor would have been allowed to leave Neverland unaccompanied by parents: “We would not let them go off the ranch without supervision.” When Mr. Auchincloss asked the police officer to describe how the demeanor of employees was different when Mr. Jackson was at the ranch, he responded: “Tense…. Everyone was walking on pins and needles to make sure everything was right.” Prosecutors contend Mr. Jackson instilled fear in his employees and that was why no one reported suspicions about his activities with adolescent boys. However, when Mr. Sanger asked, “When you say ‘pins and needles,’ is this to suggest Mr. Jackson was a harsh or mean boss?” “No,” the officer answered. “You meant you need to be on your best behavior, right?” Mr. Sanger asked. “Yes,” Officer Barron said. “People worked harder when Mr. Jackson was there, correct?” Mr. Sanger asked. “They worked more, for sure,” the officer responded. The former security guard said that ranch employees knew he was a police officer while he worked at Neverland. He also said that he never saw any wrongdoing at the ranch and would have reported it if he had. Source: http://www.newspress.com/mjacksonupdate/thetrial/042105witnesscontradicts.html

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