- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 8, 2005

SANTA MARIA, Calif. (AP) — Michael Jackson’s attorney yesterday confronted a 14-year-old boy whose brother the singer is accused of molesting, pointing to discrepancies between the boy’s trial testimony and earlier accounts, and extracting an admission he lied in another case.

“I knew more back then,” the boy said during a grueling cross-examination. “It was fresher in my memory.”

“Did someone tell you to say that?” defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. asked.

“No, I’m just saying it,” the boy said. “I know everything happened. I just don’t know it in detail.”

The teenager, who visited Mr. Jackson’s Neverland ranch for the last time in March 2003, became confused after Mr. Mesereau showed him a copy of Barely Legal magazine dated August 2003.

The boy had testified on Monday that the magazine was one of those that Mr. Jackson had showed to him and his brother.

Confronted with the conflicting dates, the boy said: “I never said it was exactly that one. That’s not exactly the one he showed us.”

He said he had looked at the magazine with District Attorney Tom Sneddon before it was presented as evidence.

Under questioning by Mr. Mesereau, the accuser’s brother said he lied under oath in a deposition for another case when he swore his mother and father never fought, and that his father never hit him.

“Did someone tell you to lie in the J.C. Penney case?” Mr. Mesereau asked, referring to a lawsuit brought by the boy’s mother against the retailer over an encounter with security guards.

“I don’t remember,” the boy said.

When Mr. Mesereau asked him to tell the jury why he lied under oath, the boy said: “I don’t remember. It was five years ago. I don’t remember nothing.”

The defense contends the lawsuit shows the family has a history of filing false claims to obtain money.

Mr. Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a 13-year-old cancer survivor at his Neverland estate in 2003 and giving him alcohol. He also is accused of conspiring to hold the boy’s family captive to get them to rebut a damaging documentary in which Mr. Jackson said he allowed children to sleep in his bedroom.

The 14-year-old boy became a crucial prosecution witness Monday when he testified to seeing the molestation, saying he twice walked into Mr. Jackson’s bedroom and saw the singer masturbating with one hand while the other was in his sleeping brother’s underwear.

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