I’m back on the MJ trial beat, having purged the debilitating sludge built up in my system over ten weeks of numbing, debased testimony, which has cast an ugly shadow across virtually everyone within the drama’s lurid light: sketchy accusers, former employees with grudges, Jackson-lickspittles — including his former wife Debbie Rowe — whose fawning exudes an oleaginous stench, guilt-wracked mothers who virtually sold their sons to an exceptionally peculiar superstar, and the skeletal figure of Jackson himself, who casts an undertaker’s pall over the entire proceeding.
Last week the prosecution wrapped up its case, and now the Jackson defense team headed up by the Supercilious Silver Fox, Thomas Mesereau, is trying to simultaneously impugn the veracity of prosecution witnesses — especially that of MJ’s child accuser and the rest of his family — and portray the self-styled King of Pop as a victim of monomaniacal prosecutors, a treacherous inner circle of toadies and henchmen, and a family of rambunctious grifters making false allegations for profit.
On Thursday, the defense called to the stand two young men who slept in Jackson’s bed multiple times when they were boys and both said the singer never molested them. “Never, I wouldn’t stand for it,” said 23-year-old Brett Barnes; not when he was awake, anyway, the prosecution noted.
Jackson has already been portrayed as a victim during the trial, with Rowe testifying that some of his associates were “opportunistic vultures” scheming against him. And Jackson has forever cast himself in the role of the victimized naif in song — “Billie Jean,” “Man In the Mirror,” and “D.S.” among others — and in lore: accusing his father of beating a singing career into him, denying him a childhood, and variously accusing recording industry execs from Berry Gordy of Motown to Tommy Mottola of Sony of turpitude against him.
The singer has also darkly hinted at a conspiracy to wrest his publishing empire away from his trembling achromatic fingers.
After yesterday’s court session concluded, Jackson spokeswoman Raymone Bain had some interesting things to say about the direction the trial might take. “At the end of the day he will listen to what Tom Mesereau suggests. If Tom Mesereau asks him to testify, he will.
“Michael wants the world to know that he did not molest any children. He would not be opposed to testifying if the defense attorneys wanted him to and he would not testify if they didn’t want him to.”
Odds are they don’t want him to.
Answering reporter’s questions about whether Jackson would continue to share his bed with boys, Bain said, “He indicated that he had learned a lot. He said he’s never going to put himself in this position again.” When asked why he did it in the first place, Bain said, “He doesn’t look at things as most people do. At the end of the day he looks at the world with rose-colored glasses.”
Ah yes – the guileless innocent moonwalking heedlessly through the garden of life, once again. If Jackson only could, he would sleep with all the children of the world in one big bed.
Except it isn’t children, it’s boys, and that theme came up in testimony today. Under cross-examination, defense witness Joe Marcus, property manager and 18-year employee of Neverland, said that MJ had special relationships with girls and women as well as boys.
“Mr. Jackson tends to form special bonds with some of these boys, true?” prosecutor Gordon Auchincloss asked.
“Not just boys, but yes, I have seen bonds with children,” Marcus said. He pondered a bit before coming up with the names of two girls, sisters both of boys prosecutors say Jackson “groomed.”
Asked to name women besides his wives with whom Jackson made friends, Marcus said, “Besides his wives? He has friends. Elizabeth Taylor. … I’m drawing a blank on a few of the names. … There were — other women.”
Auchincloss pressed for names. “Liza Minnelli has been there — they seem to be good friends.”
Marcus admitted that Jackson had formed “special bonds” with a series of eight boys, including his current accuser and Macaulay Culkin.
And that is the essence of this case, isn’t it? Have those irrefutable “special relationships,” and in particular the one with his current accuser, crossed the line into illegal touching or have they not?