Michael Jackson’s attorneys had moved to strike his ex-wife, Debbie Rowe, as a witness, but they withdrew the motion after her testimony ended up helping the singer more than it helped the prosecutors who called her to testify. Rowe did acknowledge that she lied during a videotaped interview, praising Jackson’s parenting skills, because Jackson had asked her to speak on his behalf and had offered in return to let her see their two children, Prince Michael I and Paris. But she contradicted the contention, made by prosecutor Tom Sneddon in his opening statement, that her taped remarks had been coerced or scripted. According to wire service reports, she also dealt a blow to the conspiracy charges against Jackson by saying he is ”easily manipulated, especially if he’s scared” by his advisers, whom she called ”opportunistic vultures.”
Rowe, who testified on Wednesday and Thursday, said that Jackson’s phone call to her in 2003 to ask her to appear on the video rebutting the unflattering Martin Bashir documentary marked the only time she’d spoken with him since they divorced in 1999 after three years of marriage. She acknowledged lying on the video, that aired on Fox, when she said Jackson was good with the kids, when in fact, she hadn’t seen Jackson with the kids since 1999. Rowe also did not get to see the kids after appearing in the video, and in fact has not seen them since. She sued her ex-husband for visitation rights, a dispute that’s still pending. Nonetheless, she testified that she still considered Jackson ”a friend — if he’d talk to me.”
Rowe’s testimony echoed that given earlier in the week by videographer Hamid Moslehi, who said he did not see the accuser, his siblings, or his mother rehearsing during the hours before he filmed them praising Jackson. That counters the mother’s testimony that a Jackson aide coached her on what to say. Jackson has pleaded not guilty to the charges leveled against him.