As if the Michael Jackson case weren’t messy enough. Now, reports CBS News, the father of Jackson’s accuser plans to fight his ex-wife in court for custody of the boy and his two siblings. The father’s attorney, H. Russell Halpern, said his client plans to file for sole custody of the children by the end of the week.
Halpern said the father doesn’t know whether charges that Michael Jackson molested his son are true. (Jackson, who will answer the charges in court on Jan. 9, has called them a ”big lie.”) However, Halpern says, his client believes the boy wouldn’t be in this mess if his mother didn’t have sole custody, since she allowed Jackson to have an unsupervised sleepover with the boy at Neverland. ”[The father’s] position is he never would have allowed his child to spend the night in any adult’s house alone,” Halpern told E! Online.
Halpern says the father knows Jackson, whom his son met after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. ”On one hand, [the father] thinks of Michael Jackson as a friend of his. He’s been in Michael Jackson’s ranch. He’s socialized with Michael Jackson. Had many conversations with him and doesn’t believe him to be a pedophile. On the other hand, he has a son who, he would like to believe, would not lie, saying that Michael Jackson molested him in some form,” Halpern told CBS. ”On the third hand, if that’s possible, he knows his wife is capable of coaching the children and making up stories,” he added, talking to E!
While a custody battle could affect the Jackson case by calling into question the mother’s credibility, it could also cast doubt on the father’s credibility. In 2001 and 2002, he pleaded no contest to spousal abuse and child abuse charges and was ordered to enter a domestic violence batterers program, according to court records cited by E!, CBS, and the New York Daily News.