Sister: My brother changed after knowing Jackson
The sister of Michael Jackson’s 13-year-old accuser broke down crying twice in court today as she described how her brother’s behaviour had changed after getting to know the star.
The accuser changed from being a “very affectionate” boy who liked to be kissed and hugged to one who just wanted to spend time alone, his sister told Santa Maria court in California.
“It just hurts, because I’m his older sister,” she said.
His family, which accuses Jackson of child sex abuse, was filmed gushing about the star, describing him as a father figure and even suggesting he had been sent by God to cure cancer.
Jurors were shown a video they claim they were forced to make as a rebuttal to British journalist Martin Bashir’s controversial documentary.
The family can be seen laughing and joking as they heap praise on the singer, repeatedly using the same words to describe him as a humble, funny and fatherly man.
The accused, now 15, recalls asking Jackson: “Can I call you daddy?” He adds: “Michael, he treats me like he’s my father,” before his younger brother Star interrupts, saying: “He makes me feel like his son and he lets me call him father and he calls us sons.” The 90-minute video was unedited and showed taping had repeatedly stopped and started as family members became confused over who said what.
Off camera, an interviewer asks them questions and suggests they say certain things about Jackson.
The accuser's sister, 18, claimed they spent hours filming the video and were given strict instructions about what to say.
She said it was recorded in the dead of night two weeks after Bashir’s documentary Living With Michael Jackson was broadcast in the US. It was that documentary which triggered the child molestation trial.
The rebuttal footage was taken shortly before the alleged molestation and when Jackson was allegedly plying the cancer-sufferer with alcohol and conspiring to hold him and his family captive.
Jackson, 46, denies the charges.
The footage shows the accuser recalling his first visit to Neverland and how he asked Jackson if he could sleep in his room.
He said he and Jackson argued about who would sleep on the bed and who would sleep on the floor.
“He told me you sleep on the bed … Michael finally said, ’OK, if you love me you’ll sleep on the bed,”’ he said.
The boy's mother laughs, interrupting: “That’s so unfair.” At one point the mother, who the defence will portray as the scheming orchestrator of the allegations, thanks God for “electing Michael to breathe life” into her son.
“It’s a wish come true to see my children interact with a father role model,” she said.
“When they are with Michael, he spreads his wings and my children have happiness they never have had in their life. And he hasn’t left me out. I appreciate him with all my heart.”
But she criticises Bashir, suggesting it was not God but the devil working through him. “He took a beautiful relationship and spun it out of control,” she said.
But under cross-examination his sister insisted no one in her family had ever seen the documentary.
She strongly contested the contents of the 90-minute video.
On film the family says they were given a phone number so they could contact Jackson at any time and that he was available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
But his sister told the court that was not true and that while they had a number, it was always disconnected.
She also told jurors that she and her brothers were abused every day by their father and that she had also been sexually abused.
Her brother, who told a grand jury he saw Jackson molesting his brother on his bed, will be the next witness.
The trial continues.