Brothers 'sworn to secrecy over abuse at Jackson's home'

Click to follow
The Independent US

The brother of the alleged victim in the Michael Jackson child molestation case said yesterday that the pop star had sworn them both to secrecy over illicit activities at his Neverland ranch in central California, urging them "not to tell anybody what happened, not even if they put a gun to your head".

The brother of the alleged victim in the Michael Jackson child molestation case said yesterday that the pop star had sworn them both to secrecy over illicit activities at his Neverland ranch in central California, urging them "not to tell anybody what happened, not even if they put a gun to your head".

This latest testimony followed on the heels of Star Arvizo's descriptions on Monday of finding Mr Jackson on two occasions with one hand in his brother's underpants and the other rubbing his own genitals. He said that on both occasions he left without intervening and did not tell anyone what he had seen. "I didn't know what to do," he told the court.

Star, now aged 14, is a year younger than the alleged victim, Gavin Arvizo, a recovering cancer patient, and is not alleging any inappropriate sexual behaviour involving himself. He did, however, tell the court in Santa Maria that Mr Jackson slipped something strong - almost certainly alcohol - into a can of Diet Coke and showed him and his brother pornography in magazines and on the internet.

His testimony is the most damning to emerge against Mr Jackson so far in the eight-day trial. But, as cross- examination got under way mid-morning yesterday, it was clear that Mr Jackson's lead lawyer, Tom Mesereau, intended to find as many inconsistencies in the boy's account as he could.

Neither Star nor, according to the prosecution's opening statement, Gavin has been able to indicate with any accuracy when the sexual abuse was supposed to have taken place. They have said merely that it happened sometime in the month or month and a half after the airing of Martin Bashir's television documentary Living With Michael Jackson in February 2003.

Star also failed to make clear what incidents Mr Jackson was referring to when he supposedly told the boys not to tell, regardless of the pressure they were put under.

Much of last week's prosecution testimony was devoted to establishing the panic that the documentary supposedly instilled in the Jackson camp, leading to a multiplicity of bizarre behaviour involving flights booked if not also taken, rebuttal statements recorded on audio or videotape, and comings and goings between Neverland and Los Angeles, three hours' drive to the south-east.

Mr Mesereau has devoted nearly all his energies so far to a forensic deconstruction of every point in the prosecution witness's accounts.

He has got members of the alleged victim's family to acknowledge freely that they have lied in the past - according to them because they were afraid; according to the defence because they simply have a propensity to lie about weighty matters involving sex, child abuse and general family dysfunction.

Within minutes of resuming his cross-examination yesterday, Mr Mesereau got Star to admit that he lied under oath in a civil case involving his divorcing parents. "When you were asked if your dad ever hit you, you said 'never'," Mr Mesereau said. "Were you telling the truth?" Star replied: "No."

Since the present case will almost certainly hinge on the credibility of the chief protagonists, the fact that at least one key prosecution witness has acknowledged lying under oath in the past will be a valuable weapon in the defence's arsenal.

Star is one of just two witnesses expected to give an first-hand account of the alleged abuse, the other being his brother, Gavin.

The case continues.

Comments