Michael Jackson's defense team lead attorney Thomas Mesereau, Jr., arrives August 20, 2004, at the courthouse in Santa Maria, California, for a pre-trial hearing in the case against the pop star. The mother of the boy who accused Jackson of child molestation was ordered by a judge to testify in a pretrial hearing in the case after the pop star's lawyers called her a liar. Photo by Pool via Reuters
SANTA MARIA, Calif. (Reuters) - The mother of the boy who accused Michael Jackson of child molestation was ordered by a judge on Friday to testify in a pretrial hearing in the case after the pop star's lawyers called her a liar.
The woman, who is known in court as "Jane Doe" to protect the identity of her son, will testify in September as Jackson's lawyers battle to have evidence suppressed in the high profile case, Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville said.
Melville had planned on allowing the woman, who is recovering from surgery, to submit a written statement to the court instead of testifying. But Jackson's lead attorney, Tom Mesereau, said he wanted to cross-examine her.
"We firmly believe that this woman lies under oath," Mesereau said. "We would like to examine her (in court)."
Earlier, a Santa Barbara County Sheriff's deputy who was present in a November raid on Jackson's Neverland Valley Ranch testified that while searching an open safe near the 45-year-old singer's bedroom he found a tape recording of what he believed was a child talking on a telephone.
Sgt. Ross Ruth said that when he played the tape: "I heard a voice ... definitely a juvenile, saying 'Somebody is coming, I have to go now."'
Ruth said he believed the recording was made in Jackson's bedroom because he could hear in the background the sound of an alarm that rings when someone enters the room. Ruth was unable to identify the child on the tape and its significance to the case was not immediately clear.
Jackson's lawyers have spent much of the week trying to convince Melville that he should throw out evidence seized against their famous client, either at Neverland or at the offices of a private detective.
The entertainer was present for Monday's court session, dressed from head to toe in symbolic white, but has skipped the remainder of the week. The hearing was scheduled to resume on Monday.
Jackson is scheduled to stand trial in January on charges of child molestation and conspiracy. He has pleaded not guilty.