December 31, 2007
(Court TV) — The woman who claims she and her son were victimized by Michael Jackson and his aides admitted Friday that she lied under oath in a past civil case in which she claimed department store security guards victimized her and her son.
She vehemently denied, however, that she had any designs on the pop star’s fortune.
“We will never file a claim against Michael Jackson,” the witness said defiantly. “I want justice here.”
Friday marked a third day of testimony from the woman who alleges that she and her three children were falsely imprisoned at Neverland Ranch by Jackson and his aides, that they were forced to make videotaped statements praising Jackson, and that the singer tempted her 13-year-old son away from her to sexually molest him.
Defense attorney Thomas Mesereau successfully pointed out that she delivered a giddy, effusive testimonial of Jackson in videotaped interviews; she was driven at least twice to pricey salons while under alleged false imprisonment; and she agreed to return to Neverland twice after two alleged “escapes.”
In the video, played for the fourth time for jurors, the accuser calls Jackson “Daddy Michael” and the mother giggles as she recounts the singer’s generosity, calling him “the answered prayer to my children and me.”
“I was acting,” she testified on Friday.
She insisted that she was simply reciting memorized lines scripted for her by Jackson aides.
The interview was supposed to be part of a rebuttal video Jackson made in answer to the broadcast of a damaging documentary, “Living with Michael Jackson,” which showed him in a loving embrace with the accuser.
The witness and her children appear happy and natural as they talk freely about their impressions of Jackson and his impact on their life.
Courtroom observers commented on the striking difference in the mother’s appearance. In the video, her long hair is wet and crimped. In court, she wore a bob cut befitting a soccer mom. In the video, she has glossy red lips and perfectly shaped eyebrows, and bears a slight resemblance to actress Marisa Tomei.
In court, she was wan, wore eyeglasses and no makeup, and claimed to be a poor judge of character.
She testified that she took part in the video because she feared for her life, and said that she was duped into following orders.
“But now?” she said, as she threw out an upturned palm and a ‘bring it on’ gesture toward Jackson. “Have another rebuttal. I’ll speak freely!”
The witness also said she was tricked and manipulated by “those Germans” unindicted co-conspirators Ronald Konitzer and Dieter Wiesner into trusting Jackson with her son.
“I fell for it. Yes I did their little choreography,” she said. “Now I know different. Now I know Neverland is all about booze, pornography and having sex with boys.”
Jackson, 46, faces up to 20 years prison if convicted of plying the boy with alcohol and sexually molesting him in 2003.
Questions on captivity
The witness was seemingly inexhaustible on the stand Friday. She continually dodged and weaved around simple yes-or-no questions, instead turning to the jurors and offering observations such as, “He’s inaccurate,” or “He’s mixing up the facts, purposely.”
She laughed at Mesereau at one point.
“You … you are,” she began to mumble. “I have a lot of thoughts in my heart about you.”
Another time, she shot at him, “Are you missing the point?”
She seemed particularly peeved about the question of whether she was treated to a full body wax while under alleged captivity.
“Would it refresh your recollection to look at the receipt?” Mesereau asked, offering to show her the Feb. 11, 2003, receipt from a nearby Los Olivos salon, which indicates that $140 was spent on a leg, brow, lip, face and bikini wax.
The mother refused to look at it.
“I’m telling you, it was only a leg wax. He has the ability to choreograph everything,” she said, pointing a finger at the defendant.
“And how about you?” Mesereau responded glibly.
The judge admonished the witness and Mesereau to refrain from cat-and-mouse banter.
She was also questioned about a settlement she received from JCPenney and Tower Records, after she claimed the store’s security guards assaulted her, her husband and her two sons in a parking lot in 1998.
In that case, she said the guards beat her up with closed fists and handcuffs, did belly-flops on her body as she lay on the ground, repeatedly squeezed her nipples and reached toward her groin, and that she thought she was going to die.
She said she was left bruised and battered. However, she conceded on the stand Friday that she did not reveal that her now-ex-husband had also been physically abusive to her and her kids, often leaving her bruised and battered.
The settlement was approximately $152,000, but the mother said she personally received only $32,000, and that she was unaware of how much money had been set aside for her two boys.
Mesereau insinuated that she denied the physical abuse in her deposition, because she knew it could affect her settlement. The mother countered that she hid the abuse and praised her husband in the deposition, because she was under his control.
She insisted that when she finally left him, she was “liberated,” and she urged her attorneys to remedy the lies she told under oath. Her attorneys never fulfilled her request.
Cross-examination of the mother will continue on Monday.
Earlier Friday, jurors watched a series of creepy surveillance videotapes allegedly taken by Jackson aides.
The tapes were confiscated from a Jackson aide during a search warrant and they appeared to corroborate the mother’s claim that she and her family were under surveillance. The defense claims they were protecting the family from the press.
Much of the footage appeared to be shot from inside a car, on a shaky handheld camera, trained on the home of the accuser’s grandparents. At one point, the mother is seen on the street talking to a child protective services worker, as one of Jackson’s aides looks on.
Another tape shows movers cleaning out the family’s dingy one-bedroom, $425-a-month apartment. The tape corroborated the mother’s testimony that Jackson’s camp convinced her to vacate her apartment, and then put her possessions in storage while she was away.
Another video, time-stamped March 17, indicating the period after the family’s alleged escape from Neverland, depicted the accuser’s sister walking home from school. She looks briefly in the direction of the camera before hurrying away.
“Yes, this is my daughter,” the mother said with emotion as she identified her child. “And she looks frightened.
Editor’s Note: As part of CNN.com’s new Crime section, we are archiving some of the most interesting content from CourtTVNews.com. This story was first published in 2005.