SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Michael Jackson (news)'s attorney tried to damage the credibility of a key witness in the singer's child molestation case by getting him to contradict his own testimony and that of a psychologist who interviewed him and his brother.
The 14-year-old brother of Jackson's accuser testified Monday about allegedly witnessing two molestations in the master bedroom at Jackson's Neverland Ranch.
But defense attorney Thomas Mesereau got the boy to acknowledge Tuesday that Jackson had not really shown him or his brother a particular sexually explicit magazine.
The boy appeared caught by surprise when Mesereau confronted him with his testimony from Monday that Jackson showed him and his brother a magazine called Barely Legal, which was displayed by District Attorney Tom Sneddon as a significant piece of evidence seized from Jackson's home.
The boy reiterated he was sure it was the exact magazine Jackson showed them in a suitcase full of magazines.
"Michael Jackson never showed you that magazine, Barely Legal, did he?" Mesereau said in an accusatory tone.
"Yes," said the boy.
"But when you look at the date it was August 2003," Mesereau said, pointing out that the family left Jackson's Neverland ranch for the last time in March 2003.
"I didn't say it was exactly the one he showed us," the boy said defensively, adding later, "I said he showed us those type of magazines."
Jurors took notes.
At another point, Sneddon confronted him with grand jury testimony from psychologist Stan Katz about the specific type of molestation that allegedly occurred.
The boy testified Monday that he twice saw Jackson touching his brother's genitals with his hand. But Mesereau noted Katz had told a grand jury on March 29, 2004, that the boy had told Katz he saw Jackson's genitals touching the accuser's buttocks in the second alleged molestation.
The boy denied making the statement to Katz and refused the lawyer's request that he look at the transcript.
The witness' own account of the alleged molestations Monday was largely consistent with the one he gave last year to the grand jury.
Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a 13-year-old cancer survivor at Neverland in 2003, giving him alcohol and conspiring to hold the boy's family captive to get them to rebut a damaging TV documentary in which Jackson said he allowed children to sleep in his bedroom.
Under questioning by Mesereau, the accuser's brother said he lied under oath in a deposition for another case when he swore that his mother and father never fought and that his father never hit him.
"Did someone tell you to lie in the J.C. Penney case?" the lawyer asked, referring to a lawsuit brought by the boy's mother against the retailer over an encounter with security guards.
"I don't remember," the boy said.
Asked to tell the jury why he lied, the boy said, "I don't remember. It was five years ago. I don't remember nothing."
Jackson's defense contends the lawsuit shows the family has a history of filing false claims to get money.
The allegations that the father abused the family surfaced later during the parents' divorce.
Mesereau also asked the boy to tell jurors about an alarm that sounds when anyone enters the hall outside Jackson's bedroom. The boy acknowledged there was a bell and that anytime he was in that hallway it went off.
"So the two times you claim you saw Michael Jackson touching your brother in bed, that alarm went off?" asked Mesereau.
"Yes," said the boy, who did not mention the alarm in his earlier testimony.
After court recessed, Jackson spokeswoman Raymone K. Bain said in a statement that the singer "felt better today" than he did Monday. She said that the "scurrilous and salacious accusations and details, all untrue, were hurtful and embarrassing to Mr. Jackson" and the singer feels that Mesereau is "doing an excellent job."