Corey Feldman Speaks Out Against Jackson
Prosecutors Want Former Child Star to Testify Against 'King of Pop'
Feb. 10, 2005
Former child star Corey Feldman has been subpoenaed to testify against Michael Jackson in his child molestation trial, ABC News has learned.
With jury selection under way in Jackson's molestation trial, "20/20's" Martin Bashir interviewed actor Corey Feldman, who spoke about his relationship with "The King of Pop" during his youth.
Feldman said, "I started looking at each piece of information, and with that came this sickening realization that there have been many occurrences in my life and in my relationship to Michael that have created a question of doubt."
Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a now-15-year-old boy who spent time at his Neverland ranch and is believed to be a cancer survivor who appeared in Bashir's 2003 British documentary "Living With Michael Jackson." The pop star has pleaded not guilty to 10 charges that include felony conspiracy with 28 overt acts involving child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion.
Bashir joined ABC News' "20/20" in September 2004.
As a teen, Feldman -- known for his roles in movies such as "Gremlins," "The Goonies" and "Stand by Me" and who appeared in the first season of the celebrity reality show "The Surreal Life" -- became good friends with Jackson. They were often seen together, dressed in similar outfits. Their friendship waned and finally ended in 2001. Feldman later released "Megalo-Man," a highly critical song about Jackson on his CD, "Former Child Star," released in 2002.
Why Speak Out?
However, in an exclusive interview, Feldman, now 33, speaks out with surprising new claims about his relationship with Jackson. Until now, the actor has stood by Jackson, and he tells Bashir why he is now coming forward with allegations about their friendship.
Feldman said speaking out has finally become a responsibility and a duty. "This child -- if he's telling the truth -- and the other children like him -- if they're telling the truth -- they're small voices, they're weak voices," he said.
Feldman said he hopes the allegations against Jackson are proved false, but said he feels compelled to speak out. "So I'm here to say I hope and I pray that these things never happened, and if they never happened, then there's some real sickness with a lot of people. But if they did happen, then there's a lot of sickness with one person. And that person needs to be punished."
Feldman stressed in his interview with Bashir that Jackson never molested him or touched him improperly and that there was no sexual contact between them. But he said he has re-evaluated his friendship with Jackson and has concluded that there were things that happened in their relationship that were inappropriate and wrong.
"If you consider it inappropriate for a man to look at a book of naked pictures with a child that's 13 or 14 years old -- then your answer would be yes."
Feldman says he had such an encounter at Jackson's home when he says they stopped there on the way to Disneyland. "We went to his apartment, and I noticed a book that he had out on his coffee table. The book contained pictures of grown men and women naked. And the book was focused on venereal diseases and the genitalia." Feldman said the singer sat down with him and explained the photos to him.
Feldman said, "I was kind of grossed out by it. I didn't think of it as a big deal. And for all these years, I probably never thought twice about it ... But in light of recent evidence ... I have to say that if my son was 14 years old -- 13 years old, and went to a man's apartment that was 35, and I knew that they were sitting down together talking about this, I would probably beat his ass."
In 2001, Feldman and Jackson had a falling out. At the time, Feldman told the press the rift had nothing to do with child abuse allegation that continued to dog Jackson.
Could Feldman's 1993 Statements Help Jackson?
In 1993, when a 12-year-old boy accused the singer of molestation, Feldman defended Jackson publicly and to investigators.
"He never did anything out of line. I mean anything, you know," Feldman said in a 1993 audiotape made by authorities. "I mean, the closest he ever came to touching me was maybe slapping me on the leg once."
Jackson always denied any wrongdoing in that case, and has denied ever harming any child. Santa Barbara County, Calif., prosecutors did not pursue charges against him after they said the alleged victim refused to testify. "The King of Pop" settled a civil suit filed by the boy's family for a reported $20 million.
Feldman said he defended the singer in 1993 because he thought he was being a loyal friend. "I did what I believed was right as a friend," Feldman said. "I defended him up and down. ... I did so publicly, and I did so behind closed doors with police."
Harvey Levin, executive producer of "Celebrity Justice," came into possession of Feldman's 1993 audiotaped statements to investigators and says they could ultimately help Jackson's defense. Levin says they show authorities were convinced of Jackson's guilt then and could suggest they have a vendetta in the current case against him.
"It might give jurors some pause because it seems like the cops had made up their mind during this interview [with Feldman] that Michael Jackson was a child molester," Levin said.
Since Bashir's interview with Feldman, prosecutors have subpoenaed the actor, and he has been placed under the same gag order imposed on all parties in the case. Feldman, Bashir reports, is expected to appear on the stand as a prosecution witness on March 15. Bashir has also been ordered to testify about his extensive interview with Jackson in "Living With Michael Jackson."