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Jackson's accuser said to be ailing

Tape: Accuser, mother praised Jackson in February

From Stan Wilson
CNN Los Angeles Bureau

Jamie Masada
Jamie Masada

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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- The man who facilitated a meeting between pop icon Michael Jackson and the boy now accusing the singer of molesting him said Thursday the boy -- who suffers from cancer -- is in poor health.

Jamie Masada, owner of the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, said he recently visited the boy.

"The kid is not doing well. His kidney is not doing good. Half of his face is swollen," Masada said at a Thanksgiving event at his comedy club.

CNN could not independently verify the boy's condition.

Masada has said he first saw a story about the boy on a local television station. In it, he said, the boy said he had been diagnosed with cancer and his final wish was to meet Michael Jackson.

Masada, who does not know the singer, said he called Neverland ranch in Santa Barbara, California, where Jackson lives, and pleaded with the singer's staff to get the boy's wish granted.

It apparently was, and the boy, then 12, appeared with Jackson in a British documentary about the singer in February. He and Jackson held hands during the interview, in which he said he had stayed overnight at Neverland. (Full story)

Jackson, 45, was booked last week on suspicion of child molestation in Santa Barbara and released on $3 million bond. Formal charges will be brought in mid-December, according to a source close to the investigation.

Jackson and his lawyers say he is innocent and that the boy and his family have brought the case for financial gain.

The singer is scheduled to be arraigned January 9 in Santa Barbara Superior Court. A single count of child molestation can carry a prison sentence of up to eight years.

Jackson was investigated in 1993 after allegations of sexual misconduct involving a 13-year-old boy. He settled that case out of court -- a move that prosecutors now say prevented them from charging him because the accuser would not testify.

Tape could hurt prosecution

The latest boy to accuse Jackson and the boy's mother praised the pop star in February, calling him a "father figure" and saying God had "blessed" them by bringing Jackson into their lives, according to an audiotape played for CNN.

Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, a San Francisco assistant district attorney on leave and a legal contributor to CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" program, said Wednesday a source close to Jackson's defense played her an audiotape in which the mother, the alleged victim and his brother say Jackson "never acted inappropriately."

CNN could not independently confirm that the voices on the tape are those of the mother, the alleged victim and his brother.

"The whole time the mother and the alleged victim are very effusive in their praise for Michael Jackson, saying they are blessed to have him as part of their life, that he was a father figure, the mother saying that Jackson treated her son as his own son," Newsom said on "Anderson Cooper 360."

The tape was recorded by a private investigator on Jackson's behalf, Newsom said. It lasts a little more than 20 minutes, she said.

It was played for her in Las Vegas, she said, and she was not given a copy to keep.

"It wasn't a lot of questions, it was more just dialogue, talking," Newsom said.

"At no time does it appear this statement is coerced, that there is any kind of duress or any undue influence being exercised over any of the parties," she said.

Newsom said the mother and child allegedly signed an affidavit a month after the tape was recorded saying Jackson never abused the child. Newsom did not see the affidavit, she said; she was only told about it.

If the tape and affidavit are genuine, Newsom said, they could be potentially damaging to the prosecution's case. The prosecution would have to show that the alleged abuse was uncovered after the tape was recorded and affidavit signed.

Newsom said that if the case goes to trial and the boy testifies, the tape and affidavit could be introduced, raising questions about the credibility of the claims.

The time of the alleged incident has not been disclosed.

In June, the boy's family retained the services of an attorney, who took the boy to see a therapist and then referred the case to the Santa Barbara district attorney's office.

Meanwhile, the FBI is looking into whether federal laws were broken when Jackson and his attorney were secretly videotaped aboard a charter jet owned by XtraJet last week.

Jackson attorney Mark Geragos obtained a temporary restraining order to prevent release of the tapes, made last week as Jackson flew from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara to surrender to authorities.

Geragos told reporters he also had filed a civil suit against XtraJet and reserved the right to sue anyone connected with making or trying to sell the tapes.

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