- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 12, 2005

SANTA MARIA, Calif. (AP) — The mother of a boy who received millions from Michael Jackson in a lawsuit more than a decade ago told jurors yesterday that Mr. Jackson pleaded with her to allow her son to sleep with him during visits to his Neverland ranch and on trips to Las Vegas, Florida and Europe.

The woman said that during several months in 1993, she was treated by Mr. Jackson to trips and lavish gifts of jewelry after she agreed to let the boy sleep in Mr. Jackson’s room.

But during the woman’s testimony, there were no questions about whether Mr. Jackson molested her son. She said she saw her son and Mr. Jackson on the singer’s bed but did not indicate that anything improper was going on.

Prosecutors in Mr. Jackson’s trial are trying to support a teenager’s testimony that he was molested in 2003 by calling witnesses from the past to show that the singer has a pattern of inappropriate behavior with boys.

Yesterday, the woman testified that during a trip to Las Vegas, Mr. Jackson left to take her son to a performance of Cirque du Soleil but returned early and knocked on her door in a distressed state, sobbing, shaking and trembling.

“He said, ‘You don’t trust me? We’re a family. Why won’t you allow him to be in my bedroom?’” she testified.

She said Mr. Jackson also told her there was “nothing going on” and again asked whether she didn’t trust him.

After a 30- to 40-minute conversation, she said, she relented and gave permission for the boy to sleep in Mr. Jackson’s bedroom.

Mr. Jackson gave her a gold Cartier bracelet the next day, she said.

Defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. suggested on cross-examination that Mr. Jackson countersued the family for “extortion,” but the woman said she knew nothing about it and testified they never paid Jackson any money.

The woman said that her son is now 25 and that she hasn’t spoken to him in 11 years. Asked whether that was by her choice, she said no. Her son, who did not cooperate with a law-enforcement investigation after receiving a multimillion-dollar settlement, has refused to testify in Mr. Jackson’s current prosecution.

After the Las Vegas incident, the mother testified yesterday, the boy was constantly with Mr. Jackson, and the pop star even came to the family’s Santa Monica, Calif., home and stayed there with the boy.

“Did Mr. Jackson ever spend nights at your residence?” asked District Attorney Tom Sneddon.

“Yes … more than 30 times,” she said.

“And where would he stay?” Mr. Sneddon asked.

“In [my son’s] bedroom,” she said.

She said they also traveled in 1993 with Mr. Jackson to Monaco, where she and her daughter went on a shopping spree funded by the star.

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