What happens in Vegas may not always stay in Vegas. The mother of Michael Jackson’s 1993 accuser testified on Monday that the singer, having befriended her then-13-year-old son, begged her to let the boy sleep in his room during a trip to Las Vegas, and that Jackson slept in her son’s room at her Santa Monica home at least 30 times after that. The woman said she never saw Jackson molest her son, but his relationship with the pop star led to his permanent estrangement from his mother, as well as a lawsuit that Jackson averted with an eight-figure out-of-court settlement paid to the boy.
The woman testified that she had denied the boy’s requests to share Jackson’s room during several Neverland sleepovers, but she said she relented during a trip to Las Vegas, when the singer sobbed and pleaded with her. ”Michael was trembling, saying, ‘We’re a family. [He] is having fun. Why can’t he sleep in my bed? There’s nothing wrong. There’s nothing going on. Don’t you trust me?”, she told jurors, according to Reuters. The next day, Jackson gave her a gold Cartier bracelet, she said. More lavish gifts followed, and they took other vacations together — to New York, Disney World, and Monaco. But she said she felt her son growing estranged from her and other family members, even as he started dressing like Jackson. She said she confronted Jackson about the situation during a New York trip.
Finally, she said, she went to child-welfare authorities, to whom she said the boy first revealed the molestation allegations. Under cross-examination from Jackson’s attorney, she denied having gone to a lawyer with the allegations before talking to authorities. The boy declined to cooperate with police after his legal threat led to the multimillion-dollar settlement, and he is not expected to testify in the current trial. His mother said she hasn’t spoken to her son, now 25, in the 11 years since he received the settlement, though not by her own choice.
The 1993 accuser was one of five boys prosecutors say Jackson molested before the current accuser. His mother’s testimony caps a week of appearances by witnesses supporting the prosecution’s claims of prior bad acts, though only one of the five alleged previous victims testified on his own behalf. (Another of the five, Macaulay Culkin, has denied that Jackson molested him and is not expected to testify.) No criminal charges were filed regarding any of the previous accusations. Jackson has said he never abused any child. He has specifically denied wrongdoing in the 1993 case (saying he paid the settlement only to stem the damage to his career), and he has pleaded not guilty in the current case.