Will Culkin testify on Jackson's behalf? A source close to the trial says the actor will take the stand for the defense

By Gary Susman
Updated April 21, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

Macaulay Culkin has said that Michael Jackson never mistreated him, and his publicist has said that the 24-year-old actor will not testify in Jackson’s trial, but a source close to the case tells CNN that Culkin will testify for the defense. Any Culkin testimony would be expected to rebut the claims of former Jackson employees who testified for the prosecution, saying they had seen the singer fondle Culkin when he was a child star and frequent Neverland visitor. Prosecutors have tried to depict Jackson as a predator who molested at least five boys before the current accuser, though only one of those alleged former victims, now an adult, testified on his own behalf. Defense witnesses could start testifying as soon as April 30, as the prosecution has indicated that it will rest its case by the 29th.

News of a possible Culkin appearance on the witness stand follows testimony on Wednesday by a former Neverland security guard who said that the ranch’s security staff had been ordered not to let the accuser leave the property without permission from a supervisor. Brian Barron, a police officer who moonlighted at Neverland for five years, said a notice barring the boy from leaving was posted on a dry-erase message board at the guardhouse in early 2003. Under cross-examination by the defense, however, Barron said it was standard Neverland policy not to let children who were at the ranch without parents leave the property without supervision, and that he did not think the accuser’s parents were at Neverland at the time. He testified that, on occasions when he saw the boy at Neverland, he didn’t see any hint that the boy didn’t want to be there. He also said that he never saw any criminal behavior at Neverland, and that as a police officer, he would have acted if he had.