March 14, 2005 -- Prosecutors and defense attorneys in the molestation trial of Michael Jackson have interviewed a former teacher of the alleged victim, and sources tell ABC News that the teacher claims that the accuser told him that "nothing happened" between himself and "The King of Pop."
The 15-year-old alleged victim return to the stand for cross-examination as testimony resumed today in Jackson's trial. The boy, who was 13 at the time he was allegedly molested by Jackson, spent time at the singer's Neverland ranch in California and appeared with him on the 2003 British documentary "Living With Michael Jackson." Jackson, 46, has pleaded not guilty to 10 charges that include felony conspiracy with 28 overt acts involving child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion.
In a secret meeting on Saturday, Santa Barbara County, Calif., prosecutor Tom Sneddon and Jackson's defense attorneys interviewed the teacher from Burroughs Middle School in Los Angeles, where the alleged victim was a student while he and Jackson were friends. According to sources, the teacher said that the young accuser told him in the spring of 2003 -- after "Living With Michael Jackson" aired and after the alleged molestation occurred -- that "nothing had happened between Michael Jackson and him."
Thomas Forsyth, an attorney for the teacher, said the interview lasted approximately one hour and that he expects his client to be called as a witness. In testimony today, Jackson attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. confronted the alleged victim in cross-examination about what he told the teacher, who was identified in court as Jeffrey Alpert. The boy admitted telling Alpert, "Michael didn't do anything to me."
Embarrassment for Alleged Victim?
Last week, the boy testified that Jackson molested him on two separate occasions in his Neverland bedroom and gave him wine, which he said the singer called "Jesus juice."
Some legal experts say there may be questions about why this witness surfaced only a few days ago. Former prosecutor Kimberly Guilfoyle says the prosecution is likely to argue that there are many reasons why a teenage boy would lie about alleged sexual molestation to an authority figure like a teacher.
"It's something that's very painful for victims to go through," Guilfoyle said. "It's not something that's easily shared with other people, whether it's a teacher or outside friends. A jury will believe that this is something this child didn't want to tell anyone."
A source close to the alleged victim's family told ABC News that the teacher's claims are not surprising because the boy did not tell his family, friends or anyone close to him about the alleged molestation until months later, and it is consistent with the embarrassment he may have felt.