April 22, 2005
SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Prosecutors in the Michael Jackson molestation case lost a key battle when a judge refused their request to allow testimony from a domestic violence expert to explain why the mother of Jackson's accuser lied under oath.
The Jackson trial is not about domestic violence and "it would be a mistake to allow it," Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville said Thursday of the prosecution's attempt to portray her as a battered woman.
Defense attorney Robert Sanger argued the prosecution was trying to give the woman a "pass" for committing perjury under oath. "She has committed perjury in this case from the stand," Sanger said. "This is not because she's a battered woman, it's because she lies for gain."
Sanger said the defense will present evidence of lies she has told in addition to claims made in a lawsuit against a department store. The woman admitted on the stand she lied in depositions for that case.
Melville also refused to allow the prosecution to present a lurid account from a former Jackson employee and excluded testimony from a travel agent about a Jackson plane trip.
Despite the victories, Jackson's defense was unable to block the testimony of a former Jackson security guard who was recently arrested for investigation of robbery in Las Vegas.
Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a 13-year-old cancer patient in February or March 2003. He also is accused of conspiring to hold the boy's family captive to get them to make a rebuttal video following the airing of a damaging TV documentary in which the boy appeared with Jackson. In the documentary, the singer said he let children sleep in his bed, but that it was non-sexual.
Though excluding salacious details that were to be offered by former Jackson employee Kassim Abdool, the judge did allow other testimony from him in an effort to corroborate former Jackson security guard Ralph Chacon, who claims he saw Jackson commit a sex act on a child in 1992 or 1993.
The judge agreed to allow the man to testify about seeing Jackson hug a child and to say that he saw Jackson leaving a shower area on the ranch, carrying a boy piggyback. Prosecutors said Abdool would allege he went to the shower area and saw two pairs of swim trunks.
The judge excluded a more part of Abdool's proposed testimony, including that he saw the star appearing to be in an aroused state.
The boy received a settlement from Jackson in 1994 and subsequently declined to cooperate in a criminal investigation. No charges were filed.
Chacon and Abdool were plaintiffs in a wrongful termination lawsuit against Jackson that they lost and were ordered to pay damages to Jackson.
On another issue, the judge ruled another former Jackson guard, Christopher Carter, can testify - and invoke Fifth Amendment protection if asked about his recent arrest in Las Vegas on charges including robbery and kidnapping.