April 11, 2005
SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The mother of a boy who received a multimillion-dollar settlement from Michael Jackson in the 1990s testified Monday that she initially refused to let her son sleep in the singer's bed but relented when a "sobbing and crying" Jackson made another request.
The woman testified in the pop star's molestation trial that her son stayed at Jackson's Neverland ranch three times and once asked if he could stay in Jackson's room. She testified that she said no.
Later, on a trip to Las Vegas, she, the boy and the boy's brother stayed in Jackson's suite at the Mirage hotel, she said.
On the second night, she testified, Jackson tearfully asked why the boy could not sleep in Jackson's bed, the mother testified.
"He was sobbing and crying, shaking and trembling," she said. "He said, 'You don't trust me? We're a family. ... (The boy) is having fun. Why can't he sleep in my bed? There's nothing wrong. There's nothing going on.'"
She said she then allowed her son to sleep in Jackson's bed for two nights.
Prosecutors called the woman to try to show that Jackson has a history of improper behavior toward young boys.
After the boy received a reported multimillion-dollar settlement from Jackson, he did not cooperate in a law enforcement investigation. No charges were ever filed against Jackson in the matter.
Earlier Monday, another witness surprised the prosecution by saying he did not remember seeing the pop star lick the same boy's head during a long flight in the early 1990s, but he later reversed himself and said it must have happened after being confronted with an e-mail he wrote.
Former Jackson publicist Bob Jones initially testified that "I don't recall ever seeing any head licking" by Jackson on the flight from Paris to Los Angeles.
Prosecutor Gordon Auchincloss then read a proposed passage from a book Jones is writing that stated that Jackson and the boy were cooing and kissing and that Jackson licked the boy's head.
"They were holding each other tightly, almost in a romantic sense," the passage said.
Prosecutors claim Jackson also licked the head of a boy who now accuses Jackson of molesting him in early 2003.
Under cross-examination by defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr., Jones said that passages he writes are completed by a co-writer and then reviewed. Jones said he had not reviewed the passage and it was inaccurate.
But the prosecutor then confronted Jones with an e-mail he sent to the co-writer in which he described Jackson licking the boy on the head. "If it was in my e-mail, I'm taking responsibility for my e-mail," Jones finally testified.
Jones was only the most recent prosecution witness to surprise prosecutors. For example, former Jackson former house manager Jesus Salas had told investigators that he brought wine to Jackson and several boys, but said on the stand that he had just remembered that he brought soda as well as wine.
Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a 13-year-old former cancer patient, plying the boy with alcohol, and holding his family captive in February and March 2003 to get them to help rebut a damaging documentary.