Witnesses say nothing improper happened

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[b]Witnesses say nothing improper happened[/b] By Quintin Cushner/Staff Writer Two men who shared a bed with Michael Jackson as children during the 1990s testified Thursday that nothing improper occurred between them and the entertainer. Both said they consider the singer a close friend. Santa Barbara County prosecutors had claimed that Jackson was sexually inappropriate with Wade Robson and Brett Barnes when both were kids. They presented witnesses to the alleged behavior as they tried to show Jackson was a pedophile before he allegedly molested his current accuser in 2003. Michael A. Mariant/Staff Defense witness Wade Robson, center, along with an unidentified woman, left, is escorted into the Santa Maria Courts Complex Thursday by a member of Michael Jackson’s security force to provide testimony in Jackson’s trial on charges of child molestation. Moments after Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville denied a motion to acquit Jackson on all charges, Robson was called as the first witness for the defense. The 22-year-old Tarzana resident testified he shared a bed with Jackson more than 20 times as a child. Robson said his time in Jackson’s bedroom was spent watching movies and playing video games. He denied anything sexual occurred. “Did Michael Jackson ever molest you at any time?” defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. asked. “Absolutely not,” Robson said. A former maid at Jackson’s Neverland Valley Ranch near Los Olivos, who also claimed the entertainer molested her own son, testified April 4 that she saw Jackson and a young Robson showering together. Robson denied that claim Thursday. The choreographer and film director, who said he was developing a musical for Disney, endured a sharp cross-examination by Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen. Zonen asked Robson if he could have been molested while he slept. “I would think something like that would wake me up,” Robson said. The witness was then presented with an art book seized from Jackson’s home containing pictures of nude boys, and asked whether the book’s owner should share a bed with boys. “To me it’s not a pornographic book, it’s just a book,” he said. Zonen then showed Robson another book seized from Jackson’s home containing pictures of men having sex with each other. “Would you be concerned about a man possessing that book crawling into bed with a 10-year-old boy?” Zonen asked. “Yes,” Robson said. Mesereau countered by asking Robson if his opinion would change if the owner also possessed heterosexual adult magazines like Playboy and Hustler. If that was the case, Robson said, he would allow his own son to share a bed with such a man. Next up for the defense was 23-year-old Brett Barnes, who also denied Jackson ever molested him. “Has Mr. Jackson ever touched you in a sexual way?” Mesereau asked him. “No,” Barnes said. “I wouldn’t stand for it.” When asked, Barnes said he was mad that prosecutors had mentioned allegations he was molested. “I’m very mad about that,” Barnes said. “They’re pulling my name through the dirt, and I’m really, really not happy about it.” Barnes, who left his job as a roulette dealer in Brisbane, Australia, to testify in this case, said he slept with Jackson dozens of times from age 9 to 19, both at Neverland and in hotel rooms around the world. He stayed at Neverland Wednesday night, he said, but not in Jackson’s bed. “Why don’t you still sleep with Michael Jackson?” Zonen asked. “He’s got kids now,” Barnes replied. … Source: http://www.santamariatimes.com/articles/2005/05/06/news/local/news02.txt

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