Jurors hear Jackson speak -- sort of
Michael Jackson may or may not testify on his own behalf during his trial, but jurors got to hear him speak Wednesday and Thursday when defense lawyers screened a video shot by Jackson’s videographer while Martin Bashir was making his Living With Michael Jackson documentary. On nearly three hours of videotape, according to reports by CNN and the Associated Press, Jackson discusses his love for his own children and the duplicity of adults. And while Bashir’s documentary portrayed in an unflattering light Jackson’s relationships with kids (his own children and the boy who would later accuse the singer of molestation), the tape showed Bashir praising Jackson’s parenting. ”Your relationship to your children is spectacular,” Bashir tells Jackson on the tape. ”It almost makes me weep.” It also showed Bashir telling Jackson the singer was ”looking so sexy.”
In the video, Jackson speaks of his own kids, saying, ”I’m crazy about them. I look in their eyes and I say I love you every day.” He also says, ”I haven’t been betrayed or deceived by children. Adults have let me down.”
David LeGrand, a former Jackson business attorney, testified Thursday that he advised Jackson to make the video central to the rebuttal program that aired on Fox shortly after ABC aired Bashir’s film. Under cross-examination, he acknowledged that he offered the future accuser and his family $25,000 to join Jackson as a party to a formal complaint filed in Britain (where Granada TV commissioned Bashir’s film) centering on Living With Michael Jackson‘s alleged violations of privacy, but the family turned him down. LeGrand also testified that he saw no evidence that the family was being held captive at Neverland, and that he in fact urged Jackson aides to disassociate the family from the entertainer because he saw them ”as a personal liability” to Jackson. Echoing earlier testimony by Jackson’s ex-wife Debbie Rowe, LeGrand said Jackson’s advisers were taking advantage of the pop star, and that when he confronted two of them over the seeming diversion of nearly a third of Jackson’s $3 million payment from Fox for the rebuttal show, he was fired. ”It seemed everybody wanted to benefit from Mr. Jackson in one way or the other,” LeGrand said.
Even though the boy’s family turned down LeGrand’s offer, they did contact a lawyer to help them take legal action over the boy’s loss of privacy from his appearance in Bashir’s film, the mother testified earlier in the trial. That lawyer, Larry Feldman, allegedly met with CNN’s Larry King and publisher Michael Viner at a Beverly Hills deli and told them that he thought the woman was ”a flake,” that he didn’t believe the boy, and that he thought the family was only out to get money, according to a defense memo the court released on Wednesday. The defense is fighting a motion by prosecutors to have Viner barred from testifying, on the grounds that his assertions are hearsay. Feldman has testified that he never met Viner or made those comments, though he recalled eating with King at the deli. King has also been subpoenaed to testify for the defense.