Jackson defense challenges credibility of accuser's brother
Cross-examination reveals earlier false testimony
SANTA MARIA, California (CNN) -- Michael Jackson's defense attorney Tuesday went after the credibility of the brother of the teenage boy accusing the pop star of child molestation, challenging the boy's account of seeing the singer grope his brother.
Under cross-examination from defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr., the brother also admitted Tuesday that he lied in a deposition given in a civil suit.
In a dramatic exchange, Mesereau told the jury that the magazine that the brother testified Jackson showed them at the singer's Neverland Ranch was dated August 2003 -- months after the boys stopped going to the Jackson estate.
"I'm telling you, it's not exactly the one he showed us," the brother said, insisting that the magazine they saw was of the same type.
The brother, now 14, repeatedly claimed an absence of memory in response to Mesereau's questions, saying that given his school work and tests, "most of that stuff leaves my memory."
"I know everything happened," the brother said. "I just don't remembers details ... not all the details."
The defense cross-examination of the brother will resume Wednesday morning, after court adjourned early Tuesday afternoon.
After watching his attorney successfully challenge his accuser's brother on the stand, Jackson "felt better today, at court's end, than he did yesterday," his publicist, Raymone Bain, said in a statement.
During the brother's testimony, Jackson sat still in his chair and looked directly at the boy, shaking his head from time to time with a look of displeasure. Jackson's father, sitting in the front row, sat with his chin in his hands, listening intently, as members of the eight-woman, four-man jury scribbled notes.
On Monday, the accuser's brother testified that on two occasions in early 2003, he had walked into Jackson's bedroom at Neverland and found the singer masturbating with one hand, while his other hand was down his sleeping brother's pants. The brother also testified that there was an alarm in the hallway leading to the bedroom that would ring a bell in the bedroom if anyone approached. ( Monday's testimony)
Under cross-examination Tuesday, the brother said he had never seen Jackson disable the bell. The brother said he had heard the bell when he would enter Jackson's bedroom. But the accuser's brother insisted that if the door to the bedroom was closed, the bell would not have been audible in the bedroom.
Mesereau also accused the brother of changing his story about what Jackson did to his brother, pointing to statements he made to a therapist and the grand jury that variously put Jackson's hand on top of the accuser's underwear, rather than inside, or had Jackson touching and rubbing the brother's buttocks, rather than his crotch.
The brother denied changing his story, but he also told Mesereau that he didn't remember making some of those other statements.
Questions over deposition
Under questioning by prosecutors, the brother had also testified that his father had abused him and other members of his family and that his parents often fought with each other. Mesereau challenged that testimony with a deposition the brother gave four years ago in a civil suit in which he said his mother and father never fought and that his father never hit him.
The brother said his statements in the deposition weren't true. When asked by Mesereau whether anyone had told him to lie in the deposition, he said, "I don't remember. It happened a long time ago."
He gave a similar response when Mesereau asked the brother to tell the jury why he lied.
"I don't remember. It's like five years ago. I don't remember nothing," the accuser's brother said.
The civil case stemmed from a December 15, 2000, altercation between the boys' mother and a security guard in the parking lot of a J.C. Penney store, after Jackson's accuser was accused of shoplifting. The mother sued the store, claiming that she had been manhandled by guards, and received a $100,000 settlement.
The defense has pointed to the civil suit as evidence that the boys' mother has a history of making claims of abuse for financial gain.
On Monday, the brother testified that on an airplane trip from Florida to California, he saw his brother and Jackson drinking alcohol, saying that he saw a red ring around a 7-Up can from which the accuser was drinking.
But Mesereau pointed to a transcript of an interview that the brother gave police, in which he said the wine in the can was white, not red.
"Do you think the court reporter made a mistake?" Mesereau asked.
"Yes," the brother answered.
The brother also gave conflicting statements when pressed by Mesereau on whether he knew Larry Feldman, a Los Angeles attorney who assisted the family when they came forward with the allegations against Jackson.
The brother first said he knew Feldman, then later said he didn't recall the name. Then, he said he didn't recall meeting Feldman but later admitted that he had met with him twice, before saying that he didn't remember if he had met Feldman.
Brother: Jackson warned about speaking out
Tuesday's court session began with Santa Barbara County District Attorney Thomas Sneddon finishing his questioning of the brother.
The brother said Jackson warned him and his brother to keep quiet about what went on between them at the Neverland.
"Don't tell anything that happened, not even if they put a gun to your head," the brother quoted Jackson as saying.
Jackson, 46, arrived at the Santa Maria courthouse Tuesday morning, accompanied by his mother, Katherine, his father, Joseph, and his brother, Jermaine. He was wearing a black suit with a black vest, with a chain dangling around his waist.
He was indicted in April by a state grand jury on 10 felony counts for incidents that allegedly occurred in February and March 2003: Four counts of committing a lewd act on a child; one count of conspiracy to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion; one count of attempting to commit a lewd act on a child; and four counts of administering an intoxicating agent to assist in the commission of a felony.
Jackson has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
CNN's Miguel Marquez, Kimberly Osias and Dree De Clamecy contributed to this report.