News and Information

Jackson 'showed porn to victim'
March 1, 2005

Michael Jackson outside court 28/02/05
Michael Jackson has strenuously denied the 10 charges
A US prosecutor has told a jury how pop star Michael Jackson showed a boy porn and plied him with wine in order to molest him.

Tom Sneddon's statements came on the first day of Mr Jackson's child abuse trial in Santa Maria, California.

Mr Jackson denies molesting the boy in 2003, giving him alcohol and conspiring to kidnap him and his family.

His lawyer described the charges as "bogus", saying the teenager's mother preyed on other celebrities for money.

The trial is due to resume later on Tuesday.

If convicted, Mr Jackson could face up to 21 years in prison.

'Wine instead of cookies'

In Monday's three-hour opening statement, full of explicit sexual detail, Mr Sneddon laid out his case to the 12-member jury.

The mother, with her children as tools, was trying to find a celebrity to latch onto. Unfortunately for Michael Jackson, he fell for it
Defence attorney Thomas Mesereau

He described how the singer allegedly had visited sexually explicit websites and showed the boy - who was 13 at the time - and his younger brother pornography at his Neverland Ranch in California.

"It's not children's books, but visits to internet porn sites... magazines like Hustler, Playboy, Barely Legal," Mr Sneddon said.

"The private world of Michael Jackson reveals that instead of cookies and milk, you can substitute wine, bourbon and vodka," he said.

The private world of Michael Jackson, instead of bedtime books and discussions of Peter Pan ... he's talking to them about masturbation...
District attorney Tom Sneddon (prosecution)

The court was told the teenage cancer patient boy would appear on the witness stand later in the trial and describe his sexual experiences with Mr Jackson.

Mr Sneddon also said the singer's world had been "rocked" by a TV programme in which he said he did not see anything wrong with sharing a bed with a child.

The 2003 US airing of Martin Bashir's film "Living with Michael Jackson" sparked a media storm and the subsequent investigation into Mr Jackson's relationship with the boy.

'Vulnerable celebrity'

The singer's lawyer, Thomas Mesereau, said the charges were fake, silly and "they never happened".

Michael Jackson fans

The opening statements

He described the teenager's mother as a money-grabbing con-artist who had tried to extort money from other celebrities.

"There is a pattern by [the mother] and her children to ensnare people for money," Mr Mesereau said, mentioning the names of actors Adam Sandler and Jim Carey and boxer Mike Tyson.

"The best known celebrity and the most vulnerable celebrity became the mark," Mr Mesereau added.

He also said Mr Jackson's Neverland ranch "is not a lure for molestation, a magnet for crime - we will prove that in this case".

Star witnesses

The singer arrived at the court wearing a black suit, gold-buttoned waistcoat and a red armband. He was accompanied for the first time by his mother Katherine and his brother Jermaine.

About 1,500 members of the media are in Santa Maria for the case, which could last up to six months.

Jury selection was completed on Thursday, with the jurors chosen from a pool of 4,000 candidates.

Mr Jackson's lawyers have said they intend to call more than 350 witnesses.

Stars on the list include Elizabeth Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Eddie Murphy, Diana Ross, Macaulay Culkin, Smokey Robinson, David Blaine, Larry King, Jay Leno and Uri Geller.


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