Thursday may have been the most dramatic day yet in the Michael Jackson trial, beginning with the threat of arrest for the tardy singer and ending with defense attorney Thomas Mesereau arguing with the defiant accuser as he cross-examined the boy. In between came the central allegation of the trial when, according to wire service reports, the 15-year-old detailed in his testimony his claim that Jackson molested him twice.
Continuing his testimony for the prosecution that he began on Wednesday, the former Neverland guest said that Jackson often served him wine, rum, vodka, and bourbon, even though the boy, then 13, had lost a kidney to cancer. He said he could firmly recall only two incidents of molestation, though there may have been more. One night, after serving him alcohol, the pop star brought up the topic of masturbation. the accuser said. ”He told me that if men don’t masturbate they might get to a level where they might rape a girl or they can be kind of unstable,” the boy said. ”He said that once he was looking over a balcony and he saw a boy who didn’t masturbate who had sex with a dog.” He said the singer then offered to show him how, and reached into the boy’s pants and fondled him. The boy said he ”felt weird” about the situation but that Jackson said it was ”OK and natural.” The second incident occurred a day or so later along similar lines, he said, except that Jackson also ”grabbed my hand to do it to him and I pulled my hand away, I didn’t want to do it to him.”
Jackson, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of molesting the boy and plying him with alcohol, arrived more than an hour late to court, after his tardiness prompted Judge Rodney Melville to issue a bench warrant, saying that the defendant risked arrest and forfeiture of his $3 million bond. His spokesperson said later that he’d thrown out his back and had gone to the emergency room of an area hospital seeking a muscle relaxant. When he finally arrived at the courthouse, the pajama-clad 46-year-old hobbled in with the apparent aid of bodyguards.
Testimony won’t resume again until Monday, but District Attorney Tom Sneddon ended his questioning early enough to allow Mesereau’s cross-examination of his star witness to be the last thing the jury heard before the long weekend. Mesereau had only 15 minutes, but that was enough time to get into a heated dispute with the boy, who denied making up the molestation story after meeting with lawyers. Mesereau rattled off a list of gifts and perks Jackson had paid for, but the boy said he hadn’t received special treatment from Jackson (”Everybody stays at Neverland for free,” the boy said). When Mesereau asked him, ”Well, who do you think pays the bills?”, Judge Melville stepped in and told them not to argue. The accuser also said that Jackson’s attention had been less important to his recovery than that of others who had spent more time with him.