Jurors watched the British documentary that sparked the case against Jackson, then heard testimony from its maker, British journalist Martin Bashir. On cross-examination by the defense, Bashir refused to answer dozens of questions and his attorney, Theodore Boutrous Jr., repeatedly invoked California’s shield law for reporters and the First Amendment, saying that as a journalist Bashir did not have to answer questions about unpublished materials. Defense lawyer Thomas Mesereau Jr. sought to have Bashir’s testimony and the documentary stricken when Bashir refused to say how many hours of videotape were recorded during the making of the program. Judge Rodney S. Melville refused both motions.
3/1 -3/2: Ann Marie Kite
Prosecutors called public relations specialist Ann Gabriel Kite to support allegations that Jackson and associates held the accuser’s family against their will at Neverland and other locations throughout February 2003 to force them to help in a public relations campaign to rehabilitate his image.
Kite said there was alarm in the Jackson camp when the woman and her children abruptly left Neverland in the middle of the night in the aftermath of the documentary. She said Jackson associate Marc Schaffel later told her, “the situation had been contained. … He said they had been brought back to the ranch.”
She said she then contacted her ex-boyfriend, David LeGrand, a lawyer for Jackson who had hired her. “I said, ‘Don’t make me believe that these people were hunted down like dogs and brought back to the ranch,”‘ she said. She said he told her, “I can’t discuss this right now.”
Kite said LeGrand later told her that the boy’s mother was no longer a concern, “because they had her on tape and they were going to make her look like a crack whore.”
On cross-examination, defense lawyer Thomas Mesereau Jr. stressed that Kite never met the singer or most of his associates and dealt with them only by telephone. She also never met the accuser’s family and did not know their relationship to Jackson
3/3 – 3/4: Accuser’s Sister
The accuser’s 18-year-old sister underwent several days of questioning by District Attorney Tom Sneddon and cross-examination by Jackson attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr.
She testified that Jackson’s staff tried to control her family’s whereabouts by sending them on sudden trips and confining them to his Neverland ranch. She also said she witnessed Jackson serving alcohol to her brother.
Under cross-examination from the defense, the sister testified that she had accused her own father of molesting her, imprisoning her and making threats.
She said she learned that she was sexually abused through something her mother blurted out.
“When you were interviewed by police you never told them your father molested you,” she said.
“They weren’t asking me about that and I was very young,” she said.
Jurors also watched a video in which the accuser’s family praised Jackson as a father figure. “God worked through Michael to help us,” the mother says in the video. Prosecutors say Jackson’s associates forced the family to make the video by holding them captive.
3/7 – 3/9: Accuser’s Brother
Called by the prosecution March 7, the accuser’s 14-year-old brother described the molestation allegations for the first time, saying he twice saw Jackson lying with his brother in bed, his hand in the boy’s underpants. He said his brother appeared to be sleeping and that the singer was masturbating. Prosecutors say the incidents occurred after the Martin Bashir documentary was televised in February 2003.
“I didn’t know what to do,” the witness said, adding that he watched both incidents for a few seconds before going to a guest room.
The boy said the molestations occurred sometime after Jackson had shown the boys sexually explicit magazines, which District Attorney Tom Sneddon projected on a courtroom screen. The defense has said Jackson had “girlie” magazines in his house but never showed them to children.
He also described: an incident in which a fully-clothed Jackson “pretended like he was having intercourse with” a mannequin; a conversation Jackson initiated with the boys about masturbation; playing drinking games with the singer; and a time when Jackson, naked and aroused, sat down next to the boys on a bed while they were watching a movie.
Under cross-examination by defense attorney Thomas Mesereau on March 8, the witness was confronted about problems in his testimony.
Questioned about key differences in the description of the alleged molestation he gave on the stand a day earlier, and grand jury testimony by the psychologist who interviewed him before the case was brought, he said, “I know everything happened. I just don’t know it in detail.”
The witness also said he lied under oath in a deposition for the mother’s 2000 case against J.C. Penney, when he swore that his mother and father never fought and that his father never hit him. He told jurors he could not remember why he’d lied.
Mesereau also got the boy to acknowledge that Jackson had not really shown him or his brother a particular sexually explicit magazine, which was in fact published after the alleged abuse occurred.
On the boys’s final day of testimony, Mesereau confronted the witness with a previous statement to sheriff’s investigators in which he said that he was in the room pretending to sleep on a couch during the second alleged molestation incident. When Mesereau asked if his account of the second molestation had changed, the boy interjected that there were actually three incidents, although that has never been alleged.
3/9 – 3/15: The Accuser
On his first day on the stand, Jackson’s 15-year-old accuser spoke about his relationship with the singer, saying, “I thought he was the coolest guy in the world.”
The teen, who was a cancer patient when he met Jackson, talked about their meeting through a comedy club owner. He said Jackson invited him to Neverland the first time they talked, and later spoke with him on the phone about 20 times.
He testified that Jackson coached him on what to say for Bashir’s documentary, asking that he call him daddy on camera and say, “he pretty much cured me of cancer.”
When asked if that was true, the teen said, “Not really. He was hardly there during my cancer.”
He also gave the same account his brother had of looking at sexually explicit Web sites with Jackson and others at Neverland, repeating a remark Jackson allegedly made while looking at a woman’s breasts.
His second day on the stand, the accuser said Jackson molested him twice, the first time after they returned from drinking in Neverland’s arcade. It began with talk about masturbation, he claimed.
He said Jackson masturbated him while they were under Jackson’s bedcovers and that he was wearing Jackson’s pajamas. The teen claimed he ejaculated in both incidents. His testimony differed from his brother’s earlier testimony and it was unclear if they were talking about the same incidents.
On cross-examination, defense attorney Thomas Mesereau alleged the accuser was making up the story after meeting with a lawyer. Mesereau then attacked his statements that Jackson had not done much for him when he had cancer, leading to a fast-moving and sarcastic exchange between the two.
The witness’ testimony was delayed more than an hour because Jackson, wearing pajama bottoms, arrived in court more than an hour late. He’d been taken to an emergency room for what his lawyers described as a serious back problem. Jackson raced to court when the judge threatened to arrest him and revoke his bail. The judge later vacated the warrant.
The accuser spent a full day under cross-examination March 14, during which Mesereau suggested the abuse allegations were fabricated by the witness and his family to get even with the singer for evicting them from Neverland. The teen insisted that, while he did want to stay on at the singer’s home, he never thought they would live there forever and that the family didn’t need Jackson.
Mesereau also asked the witness about a conversation he had with middle school dean Jeffrey Alpert about the singer. He quoted Alpert as telling the boy: “Look at me, look at me… I can’t help you unless you tell me the truth – did any of this happen?”
“I told Dean Alpert he didn’t do anything to me,” the accuser testified. “I told him twice.”
Mesereau played the family’s video tribute to Jackson, the third time it has been shown during the trial. He stopped it repeatedly to ask if the witness and his family were lying. In most instances, the accuser said they were speaking the truth.
Also during the day’s testimony, the teen spoke warmly of Jackson’s children and said he considered them a brother and sister. And he denied he ever spoke to Jay Leno, though he said he once placed a call to the comedian from a hospital and left a message on an answering machine.
During Sneddon’s re-direct before he stepped down from the witness stand on March 15, the accuser said that he told the school’s dean he had not been abused because he was tired of being teased. He testified that after the Bashir documentary aired, he was harassed by schoolmates who said he had been “raped” by Jackson. He said he got into fights as a result, and it was then that he was sent to see the dean.
He told Sneddon, “All the kids were already making fun of me at the school and I didn’t want anyone to think it had really happened.”
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