Michael Jackson’s lawyer said on Tuesday the pop star would tell the jury in his child molestation case how his teenage accuser had run wild at his Neverland Valley ranch, drinking wine and looking at porn, while his mother hatched a scheme to extort money.
Concluding his opening statements, attorney Tom Mesereau said his client was the naive victim of a scheming family and that there was no DNA evidence of the sexual abuse charged by the prosecution.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it’s going to be a long trial and you are going to hear lots of evidence,” Mesereau said. “We are extremely confident that when you do, you are going to find Michael Jackson absolutely not guilty of any of this.”
Jackson, 46, is charged with molesting a then 13-year-old boy at his Neverland estate in February and March of 2003, not long after a controversial documentary aired showing Jackson holding hands with his accuser and saying that he shared his bed with boys.
Prosecutors were expected to call their first witnesses on Tuesday, including Martin Bashir, the British journalist whose controversial documentary “Living with Michael Jackson” is at the center of the case.
Mesereau told jurors that Jackson was not home on some of the days that prosecutors charge he molested the boy. “A lot of the dates you heard the prosecutor identify, he wasn’t even near the place,” he said.
The real aim of Jackson’s accusers is to use the criminal case to strengthen a civil lawsuit against the entertainer, he said.
JACKSON TO TAKE THE STAND?
Mesereau indicated at least three times during his statement that jurors would hear from Jackson directly during the trial, which could last up to six months.
The lawyer said Jackson would detail his growing suspicions about his accuser’s family and tell how the boy and his younger brother broke into his wine cellar and got drunk during a stay at Neverland. They also rifled through a briefcase containing pornography.
“Michael Jackson will tell you one time at Neverland he got a very bad feeling about these people,” Mesereau said as he recounted an incident during which the boy’s mother had her children hold hands with the pop star and urged them to kneel and pray “with our daddy, Michael.”