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The Michael Jackson Trial

Travel adviser's testimony supports Brazil trip

Sources: Singer's ex-wife to testify Wednesday


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Michael Jackson leaves court following the conclusion of Tuesday's court session.
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Ex-wife Debbie Rowe is set to testify for the prosecution.

Jackson offered accuser's family a one-way ticket to Brazil.

A shake-up occurs on Michael Jackson's legal team.
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SANTA MARIA, California (CNN) -- An associate of Michael Jackson asked for one-way plane tickets to Brazil for the pop star's teenage accuser and his family in February 2003, days after they filmed a video designed to rebut a controversial television documentary, a travel consultant testified Tuesday.

Taking the stand in Jackson's child molestation trial, Cynthia Montgomery also said she advised flight crews handling private jet flights for Jackson to provide him with wine disguised in a soda can, after she was told by a flight attendant that Jackson had made that request.

Jackson's accuser and his younger brother have previously testified that Jackson shared the wine-filled soda cans with them, referring to the beverage as "Jesus juice."

Montgomery's motives and credibility came under attack by defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr., who made sure jurors knew she was testifying under a grant of immunity and had been questioned by the FBI about a secret videotape made of Jackson as he was on his way to surrender to police.

Montgomery and Jackson are suing each other.

Mesereau's cross-examination, however, allowed Montgomery to offer up a small bombshell of her own -- that Jackson lied when he claimed in a television interview that he had been manhandled and injured during his arrest.

Montgomery, who said she witnessed Jackson being taken into custody by Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department, told jurors that when she saw him make that allegation in an interview with Ed Bradley of CBS's "60 Minutes," she called the sheriff's department to tell them his allegation was false.

Montgomery also said she agreed to secretly record telephone conversations at the request of investigators, although details of who she taped, or what was said, was not revealed in court Tuesday.

Plans to send family to Brazil

Montgomery testified that on February 25, 2003, Marc Schaffel, then-president of Jackson's Neverland Valley Entertainment, asked her to book one-way reservations to Sao Paulo for the accuser and his mother, sister and brother, with a departure date of March 1. Schaffel also had her make a separate, round-trip reservation for him, she said.

Montgomery also said that while Schaffel wanted one-way tickets for the family, she had to book a return trip for them, using an "arbitrary" date, because Brazil doesn't allow U.S. citizens to travel there on one-way tickets.

However, while reservations were made, the tickets for the family were never actually purchased because Schaffel told her their plans had changed, Montgomery said. She said she did not know if Schaffel himself went to Brazil.

The prosecution has charged that the trip to Brazil was part of a conspiracy by Jackson and five unindicted co-conspirators, including Schaffel, to control and intimidate the family after the broadcast of "Living With Michael Jackson," a television documentary by British journalist Martin Bashir that showed Jackson holding hands with his accuser.

The accuser's mother had previously testified that she was told by Jackson's associates that her family would have to go to Brazil for their own safety because she had done an inadequate job during the taping of a rebuttal video, shot about five days before Montgomery says Schaffel asked her to book the tickets.

Montgomery said she never talked to anyone in the accuser's family about the trip, nor did she speak about it with Jackson.

Working with FBI

During his questioning of Montgomery, Mesereau asked pointed questions about the plane trip on November 20, 2003, when Jackson flew from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara on a chartered private jet to surrender to police.

Jackson was surreptitiously videotaped on that flight, operated by a charter company called Xtra Jet -- an episode that is now the subject of an FBI investigation. Jackson has also filed an invasion of privacy lawsuit, naming Montgomery, who booked the flight, as one of the defendants. The suit charges that attempts were made to sell the video.

Montgomery admitted on the stand Tuesday that she has twice "spoken voluntarily" to the FBI about the incident and saw the videotape at FBI headquarters. She also said she was not aware that Jackson had been taped on the flight until she learned of it a day later.

"I am a witness for that case," she said.

Montgomery also said that "per my lawyer's instructions," she would not have testified in the Jackson trial unless the prosecution gave her immunity to protect her from possibly incriminating statements. However, she said that the immunity request was initiated by her lawyer and insisted she had no fear of prosecution.

Mesereau got her to admit that she ignored a request to use a different charter company for the flight, after discussing the issue with Schaffel, whom Jackson's lawyers say was part of the taping plot.

"We thought it was in the best interest of our client to use Xtra Jet," Montgomery said.

Montgomery said she went to Xtra Jet's office in Santa Monica and paid for the charter flight with cash. She has filed a $50,000 lawsuit against Jackson, seeking reimbursement for the flight.

Montgomery said prior to the taping incident, she and Schaffel had been friends for more than a decade and even traveled together. However, she said they haven't spoken since and are no longer friends.

Jackson ex-wife to testify Wednesday

Meanwhile, sources said Tuesday that Jackson's ex-wife, Debbie Rowe, will take the stand for the prosecution Wednesday. She is the mother of his two oldest children, Prince Michael, 8, and Paris, 7.

Rowe is expected to testify about an interview she gave supporting Jackson in 2003, as child molestation allegations swirled around him.

The prosecution says she was pressured into making laudatory remarks by promises that she would have more access to her children, who live with Jackson.

A grand jury indicted Jackson, 46, last year on charges of molesting his then-13-year-old accuser, giving him alcohol and conspiring to hold him and his family captive in 2003.

Jackson has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

CNN's Ted Rowlands and Dree De Clamecy contributed to this report.


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