Accuser Thought Jackson was 'The Coolest'

ByABC News

Jan. 13, 2005 -- -- Before his alleged sexual encounters began, the boy accusing Michael Jackson of child molestation said he thought the pop star was "the coolest person in the world," according to grand jury testimony reviewed by ABC News' "Primetime Live."

A Santa Barbara County, Calif., grand jury consisting of 19 men and women heard testimony from 42 witnesses over 12 days. It totaled more than 1,900 pages.

Among the witnesses were the boy, his sister, mother and younger brother -- who described the family's first visit to Jackson's Neverland ranch in August 2000.

The younger brother also testified that during their first visit to Neverland, Jackson had asked the two boys to sleep in his bedroom, where Jackson's own two toddlers, Paris and Prince, were asleep in the bed.

The younger boy said that Frank Tyson, Jackson's personal assistant and confidant, helped Jackson get his computer online, and they browsed pornographic Web sites.

The younger boy said Jackson chose the Web sites. "There was one site where there was a female, she had her shirt up and Michael said, 'Got Milk?' and Prince and Paris were already asleep in the bed, and Michael leaned over to Prince and said, 'Prince, you're missing some p---y,' to Prince while he was sleeping," he continued.

Tyson's lawyer told ABC News: "The allegation that Frank Tyson ever showed a minor pornography is a lie."

The grand jury returned an indictment in April 2004 charging Jackson, 46, with child molestation and a conspiracy count alleging child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. Jackson has pleaded not guilty.

Jackson's lead defense attorney, Thomas A. Mesereau Jr., released a statement objecting to the release of the grand jury testimony. The transcripts had been sealed by the judge and were not supposed to be made public, Mesereau said.

"The witnesses who testified before the grand jury were never subjected to cross-examination or impeachment by the defense. By law, no judge or defense lawyer was allowed to be present in the grand jury room," he said. "Furthermore, the defense had no opportunity to call its own witnesses to refute or criticize this one-sided proceeding."

"This case will be won in the courtroom and not through 'leaks' in the media. When he has his day in court, Michael Jackson will be acquitted and vindicated," the statement concluded.

According to the grand jury transcripts, the family visited Neverland several more times.

But there are no allegations of any molestation during this earlier period. The prosecutor solicited testimony that most of these visits came while the accuser was recovering from chemotherapy treatments for the aggressive cancer he was suffering from.

Describing his battles with cancer beginning at age 11, the accuser told prosecutors: "They had to remove my left kidney and my spleen ... The doctor was telling my parents to prepare ... for me to die, because I was going to pass on."

Over time, the visits to Neverland slowed and nearly stopped when the boy went into remission. Until, according to his brother's testimony, Jackson asked the boy in September 2002 if he'd appear in the now-famous British documentary by Martin Bashir in which Jackson was seen holding hands with the boy.

The accuser testified that Jackson spoke to him before the interview. "Michael pulled me aside and told me, 'OK, ... you want to be an actor, right?' I was like 'yeah.' And he said 'OK. I'll take -- I'll use this as like your audition.' And, like, 'I want you to act.' I was, 'OK.' And he told me to like, say ... a bunch of good stuff about him. Say like he's, like, act like he's my father and stuff like that."

Mirroring what his younger brother told the grand jury, the accuser described Jackson urging him to drink alcohol beginning the very day the Bashir documentary was broadcast in the United States.

"He told ... me if I knew what 'Jesus Juice' was. I told him 'I don't know' ... And then he's like 'Oh -- wine.' And then he's like I should have some because it will relax me. Because he said like, 'Oh, I'm stressed out because all the stuff on the news ... He was like drink it. Drink it ... So I just started drinking it."

The accuser said he never drank alcohol at Neverland when Jackson wasn't there. When Jackson was there, the accuser said they would drink every night. "Pretty much we would drink white wine. Then we'd drink red wine and then we'd drink vodka."

Before the British documentary was broadcast in the United States, a firestorm erupted around it. Prosecutors suggest that in order to control the boy and his family, Jackson whisked them all off to an exclusive resort in Florida.

When the accuser and his family flew home via private plane with Jackson, the younger boy says he saw Jackson "rotating his head while his tongue was out and he was licking my brother's head."

Prosecutors know that their case hangs on the credibility of the accuser and his younger brother. They also know the defense will suggest that that their story is a lie and the motive is money, and that the accuser and his brother are being manipulated by the adults around them.

So before finishing his questioning, the prosecutor asked the accuser if he had discussed his testimony with his family, or any member of the family. The prosecutor asked if he was ever coached on his answers. He said no.

"Why do you think you continued to stay in [Jackson's] room and even in his bed after the first time?" the prosecutor asked. "I really don't know why. Now that I see it I should have left ... " the boy replied.

"Were you fond of Michael Jackson at the time?" the prosecutor continued. "Well, yeah," the boy said. "Before that stuff happened I thought he was, like, the coolest person in the world."

The prosecution may also find a challenge in the testimony of the accuser's mother. She has already been labeled by the defense as an unstable, manipulative woman who is trying to "shake down" Jackson.

The accuser's mother told the grand jury she had concerns about her son's relationship with Jackson from the very beginning. In her testimony she said, "You know, and all these things that [my son] liked, Michael liked. I thought that was really strange."

She also corroborated her younger son's testimony that he saw Jackson lick the accuser's head. "I thought I was losing my mind ... I saw a big, long, white tongue. His tongue is, like, white," she testified.

But the transcripts do not resolve a series of lingering questions: If the accuser's mother was so concerned about her kids, why did she continue to allow them to go to Neverland, even without her?

And why did she tell child protective services in California that Jackson was like a "father" to her children? The transcripts reveal various answers.

She testified: "My understanding, to me, as a parent, like, when children sleep over, they sleep with other children, in another room."

She also said she had charged her daughter with looking after her sons. "I had given her the responsibility, since they didn't allow me access to be with the boys and with them, to watch over the boys."

As for the defense claim that this is all a fabrication for money, she said, "I don't want the devil's money."

At trial, the defense will likely push much harder than the prosecutors did on these kinds of questions, in a much less sympathetic manner.

But in the run-up to the trial, the grand jury transcripts give a glimpse inside the prosecution's case and an insight into how they see the evidence. When prosecutors summed up the two weeks of testimony for the grand jurors, their arguments suggest the direction they might take at trial.

The prosecution's summary reads: "Understand that it is a tricky proposition for a 44-year-old man to convince a 13-year-old child that it's OK to engage in sex acts with him. That's not something that he would have done in the first 10 minutes of their meeting. That requires an evolution of time."

It continues: "How does the kid make something like this up? I mean, nobody's that good of an actor for Pete's sake. This is real. This is exactly what happened."

And then: "We have an incredibly powerful man who is a pedophile. A 44-year-old man who molested [a] 13-year-old [boy]. A man of unimaginable wealth and power, whose sexual desire for a teenage boy is his downfall."

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