Jackson defense opens case

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[b]Jackson defense opens case after losing bid for acquittal [/b] By Linda Deutsch ASSOCIATED PRESS 2:26 p.m. May 5, 2005 SANTA MARIA – Two young men testified in Michael Jackson’s defense Thursday that as children they spent considerable time with the pop star and he never molested or inappropriately touched them. The defense called Wade J. Robson and Brett Barnes after Judge Rodney S. Melville turned down a motion to acquit Jackson on grounds that prosecutors failed to prove the child molestation and conspiracy case. Robson and Barnes were among individuals mentioned in the portion of the prosecution case intended to show that Jackson has a pattern of past inappropriate behavior with boys. Robson, 22, a dancer and film director, said he considers Jackson to be his friend and never had any qualms about sharing a bed with him. [b]”Mr. Robson, did Michael Jackson ever molest you at any time?” asked defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. “Absolutely not,” Robson said. “Did he ever touch you in a sexual way?” asked the attorney. “No, not ever,” said Robson. “Did Michael Jackson ever touch your body inappropriately at any time?” asked Mesereau. “No,” said Robson. Barnes said that as a youth he stayed with Jackson at least 10 times and was not molested. “If he had I wouldn’t be here right now,” Barnes said. Asked if he had ever been touched inappropriately, Barnes said, “Never, I wouldn’t stand for it.”[/b] Robson said he stayed at Jackson’s Neverland ranch more than 20 times and has slept in Jackson’s bedroom. He said there were only about three or four visits when he did not sleep in Jackson’s bed. A former Jackson maid, the mother of a boy who got a multimillion-dollar settlement from Jackson in the 1990s after accusing the star of molestation, testified previously that she once saw Jackson showering with Robson. [b]Robson said he had never showered with Jackson. Asked what he did when he stayed in Jackson’s room, Robson said they played video games, watched movies and talked. “We have pillow fights every now and again,” Robson said. [/b] On cross-examination, Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen attacked Robson’s story. [b]”What you’re really telling us is that nothing happened while you were awake,” the prosecutors said. “I’m telling you nothing happened,” said the witness. Asked if something might have happened while he was asleep, Robson said, “I think something like that would wake me up.” The prosecutor at one point marched to the witness stand carrying two books taken from Jackson’s home, one showing nude boys and the other showing men in sexual acts. Zonen asked Robson to look at the book about boys and asked if he would be concerned about a person who owns such a book sharing a bed with a boy. “No,” Robson said. “To me it’s not a pornographic book. It’s just a book.” But when shown the book depicting men in sex acts, the witness appeared taken aback. “Would you be concerned with a man who possesses that book crawling into bed with a 10-year-old boy?” Zonen asked. Robson paused and said quietly, “Yes.” Mesereau quickly countered, asking Robson if he would feel differently if he knew that Jackson also had a collection of 10 years’ worth of Playboy, Hustler and other heterosexual magazines. Robson said he would feel differently and would no longer be concerned about it. Mesereau also pointed to a woman in the courtroom and said, “Mr. Robson, that is your fiancee right there, correct?” “Yes,” said the witness. “You are heterosexual, correct?” Mesereau asked. “Yes,” Robson said.[/b] During the cross-examination, Robson acknowledged that Jackson helped him move from Australia to the United States in September 1991 and that he was grateful for the help. Jackson is accused of molesting a 13-year-old cancer survivor in February or March 2003 at his Neverland ranch, giving him wine and conspiring to hold the accuser and his family captive to get them to make video to rebut a damaging documentary about Jackson that aired in the U.S. on Feb. 6, 2003. In “Living With Michael Jackson,” the boy appeared with Jackson, who told interviewer Martin Bashir that he let children sleep in his bed but asserted that it was an innocent and non-sexual practice. The unsuccessful motion for acquittal was filed by the defense immediately after prosecutors rested Wednesday. Jackson lawyer Robert Sanger made an impassioned plea to the judge to dismiss the charges, saying that the prosecution built a case on witnesses who were liars, including the main accuser and his mother. “One has to wonder, would this case have gone anywhere if Michael Jackson wasn’t the defendant?” he said. District Attorney Tom Sneddon, who has pursued Jackson for more than a decade, countered that the evidence was overwhelming and that he was “sick and tired” of defense claims that witnesses committed perjury. Associated Press Writer Tim Molloy contributed to this report. Source: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/state/20050505-1426-ca-michaeljackson.html

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