In a surprise move, the rebuttal phase of the Michael Jackson trial ended on Friday in hushed darkness with the prosecution showing a July 6, 2003 videotape of Jackson’s then-13 year-old accuser quietly, somberly and seemingly reluctantly telling law enforcement interrogators for the first time of his alleged abuse by Jackson in early ’03.
The hour-long interview ended with the boy pleading with two Santa Barbara detectives not to tell his mother about the molestations, leaving at least two jurors wiping their eyes, and casting clouds of doubt over the defense’s assertions that the boy was coached by his grifter mother to falsely accuse Jackson for financial gain.
Although Jackson’s defense attorneys had stated they would recall the boy, his mother and possibly others to rebut the videotape, they did not do so.
“How long is it going to take?” asked the boy — dressed in a short-sleeved blue dress shirt, denim shorts, white striped sneakers and white socks — to open the videotape.
After discussing baseball, school, and his cancer with Sgt. Steve Robel, the boy said, “Michael Jackson called me in the hospital [in 2000]. He started telling me he wanted me to come down to the ranch.”
The boy said Jackson took him aside. “Michael asked me to ask him in front of my parents if I could stay with him in his bedroom. He wanted just me to come and I asked if my brother could come.”
He said Jackson showed him and his brother pictures of naked girls on a laptop computer.
After several additional visits, the boy hadn’t heard from Jackson for some time when the singer called to ask him to participate in the Martin Bashir dicumentary. “He said he wanted to make me an actor and this was my audition, and he said to talk about my cancer and how he helped me.”
After the Bashir film aired in February, ’03, Jackson faced a firestorm of criticism for saying that he shared his bed with children, but that it was innocent and non-sexual.
The boy and his family flew to Miami to met with Jackson in his hotel there. The boy said Jackson emptied a can of Diet Coke, poured wine into it, and gave it to him. “He said he had something that could relax me, that could, that could relax me because I was all stressed out … “He said don’t tell nobody. It’s our little secret.”
“Has Michael ever touched you inappropriately or done anything that made you feel embarrassed or made you feel angry at what he’s done to you?” Robel asked the boy.
The boy paused, then said, “I was staying at Neverland and we had a drink – I wasn’t really drunk. He drank a lot, he was really drunk and he started telling me that boys have to masturbate because if they don’t we’d go crazy.”
He paused again.
“What happened next?” Robel asked. “You’re doing a good job. It’ll be much better when you get it off your chest. I know there’s stuff in there that’s built up inside. Something else happened, didn’t it?”
It happened in Jackson’s bedroom. They were both in their pajamas, he said. “He said he wanted to show me how to masturbate. I said no. He said he would do it for me.”
“Did he do it for you?”
“He grabbed me.”
“Where did he grab you?”
“He grabbed me in my private area … He started masturbating me. I told him I didn’t want to do that. He kept on doing it.”
Jackson molested him about five times, he said, “every night that my little brother wasn’t there.”
And after that?
“Michael didn’t call me anymore.”
With the long Memorial Day weekend and today off as well, by the time closing arguments begin, likely tomorrow, the 12-person jury of eight woman and four men will have had four full days to contemplate the words and demeanor of an embarrassed, boyish 13 year-old and their ramifications for the man who used to be the biggest pop star in the world.