Monday, April 18, 2005

SANTA MARIA, Calif. (AP) — The mother of Michael Jackson’s accuser lashed out at the pop star from the witness stand yesterday, declaring that Mr. Jackson “really didn’t care about children, he cared about what he was doing with children.”

The woman resisted answering questions by defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. and began her fourth day on the witness stand by making speeches to the jury.

She looked at Mr. Jackson across the courtroom and said: “He managed to fool the world. Now, because of this criminal case, people know who he really is.”

Mr. Jackson is accused of molesting one of the woman’s sons — a teenage cancer patient — in February or March 2003, giving the boy alcohol and conspiring to hold the boy’s family captive to get them to rebut a TV documentary about the singer.

During another combative day on the stand, the woman repeatedly denied that Mr. Jackson or anyone associated with him had tried to help her and her family when her son was stricken with cancer.

Asked whether Mr. Jackson arranged a blood drive at his Neverland ranch, she said, “I was responsible for that.”

Mr. Mesereau elicited testimony that the woman received checks for $20,000 and deposited them in her mother’s bank account. She also said she opened a bank account in which people could deposit money for her son’s benefit.

“Did you withdraw thousands of dollars from that account?” Mr. Mesereau asked.

“Yes,” said the woman.

“And was any of that money for medical expenses?” the attorney asked.

“No,” she said.

She denied that she misled a reporter for a local newspaper into writing a story saying the family was poverty-stricken and was paying $12,000 for each chemotherapy treatment the boy received. The story included an address to send contributions.

She said that the $12,000 figure was a typographical error and that she meant $1,200.

But she ultimately acknowledged that the family was paying for nothing because the father’s health insurance covered the boy’s treatment.

Mr. Mesereau led her through questions and answers involving her relationship with comedian Chris Tucker and his girlfriend, Aja. She acknowledged Mr. Tucker once gave the family a car but insisted it was because he needed room for Aja’s new car.

Mr. Mesereau pressed her on whether she made any attempts to get help when the family thought Mr. Jackson was holding them captive.

“Did you complain to anyone in the building that crimes were being committed against you and your family?” Mr. Mesereau asked.

“No, but I am now,” she said.

Mr. Mesereau also noted that the woman was able to telephone comedian Louise Palanker during that period.

“If you could call [Miss Palanker], why couldn’t you call police?” Mr. Mesereau asked.

“I couldn’t. I was hoping she could,” the woman responded.

Mr. Mesereau then asked, “You didn’t call 911?”

“I have now,” the woman said.

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