Santa Maria (California), May 25 (Reuters): Lawyers for Michael Jackson rested their case today without calling the entertainer to testify in defence of the child molestation accusations against him.
“Your Honour, the defence rests,” said lead Jackson attorney Tom Mesereau after calling some 50 witnesses over 15 days intended to cast doubt on the motives and background of Jackson’s accuser and family. The final defence witness was comedian Chris Tucker, who said he had warned Jackson about the mother of the boy before the charges were brought.
Tucker, a friend of the 46-year-old entertainer, said he befriended the boy after meeting him in 2000 at a time when the youth was battling cancer. But Tucker, who co-starred with Jackie Chan in the Rush Hour movies, said he became concerned about the mother and about the the boy’s own wheedling, “cunning” ways.
The mother of the boy was so emotional and overwrought at one point when she was calling him about a truck that he had promised to provide the family that she seemed “possessed,” Tucker said. Defence lawyers have sought to portray the mother of Jackson’s accuser as a grifter who tried to wheedle money from celebrities and coached her son to lie about the molestation charges against Jackson.
Relating an incident at a Los Angeles comedy club where he had helped in a fund raiser for the boy, Tucker said the boy approached him and said the event had not raised enough money. “He was just real sad looking. He said they didn’t raise any money and they really needed some money.” Tucker said.
“He was really smart and he was cunning, but at the time I always overlooked it,” Tucker said of the boy. “He was always saying stuff like, Chris, let me have this, let me have that.”
Tucker said he took Jackson aside in February 2003 to warn him about the boy’s mother. At the time Jackson, Tucker and the family were staying at a hotel in Miami. The comedian also said that the boy's family had been eager to travel with him to Miami to be with Jackson, countering prosecution claims that the trip had been a ploy by Jackson's camp to keep the family from seeing a documentary.