SANTA MARIA, Calif., April 13 -- The mother of the 15-year-old boy who has accused Michael Jackson of sexual molestation delivered a tear-filled, histrionic account Wednesday of what the prosecution charges was the pop star's conspiracy to imprison her family and to force them to take part in a public relations campaign on the singer's behalf.
Dressed like a librarian and speaking like a soap actress, the mother cried, yelled, sighed, shook and snapped her fingers, covered her face, interrupted the prosecutor, pointed at Jackson and spoke directly to the famous entertainer from the witness stand.
Michael Jackson enters the Santa Barbara County courthouse.
(Nick Ut -- AP)
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Jackson Special Report
Photo Gallery: Scenes from the trial.
Photo Gallery: Michael Jackson's curious career.
Video: Michael Jackson's former maid testified she found the singer showering with a boy who often slept in the pop star's bed.
Video: Michael Jackson walks slowly and haltingly into the courtroom March 21.
Video: Michael Jackson, apparently suffering from some sort of back ailment, is escorted into court after the judge issued a warrant for his arrest.
Video: Michael Jackson arrives for the first day of his child molestation trial.
Video: Journalists and Jackson fans outside the Santa Maria, Calif., courthouse.
Earlier in the day, the mother had invoked her Fifth Amendment rights in declining to testify about allegations that she had committed welfare fraud.
She alleged that in February 2003, as a documentary damaging to Jackson was about to air in the United States, the pop star whisked her and her three children to Miami for a news conference that never took place. There, "in a very normal voice, very male voice," Jackson told her that her family was being threatened and that he would "protect us from these killers," the woman testified.
On the flight back from Miami, the woman said, Jackson sat next to her son, then 13. Asked to describe an incident that allegedly occurred on the private jet, the woman sighed, shook her head, removed her glasses and turned to beseech the jury.
"Please don't judge me," she said, her voice cracking. "I had not slept for so long. . . . I got up and that's when I saw Michael licking the [boy's] head. I thought it was me. I thought I was seeing things." Her son was asleep, she testified, and Jackson's arm was around him. She then demonstrated the pose, sticking her tongue out to mime licking the boy's head, on his hair.
"Like this, over and over," she said.
The mother, whose testimony is expected to continue Thursday, is the trial's most volatile witness yet. Dressed in a pale pink pantsuit, she at first appeared chatty and pleased to have an audience, though by the end of the day she'd turned terse and subdued. She frequently responded to Santa Barbara County prosecutor Ron Zonen's questions with long, rambling asides to the jury, offering up details of a leg-waxing and a past breakfast (lemonade and cheese cubes) without prompting.
"Listen to the question," Zonen urged her at one point, and later again and again in different words. Defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr., who has been known to object every 60 seconds to prosecution questioning, made hardly a peep.
When Mesereau did object, it was so the witness could continue talking; he accused Zonen of interrupting her.
"Oh, there's still more," the witness said, addressing the defense attorney directly.
The accuser's mother made a number of scathing references to two Jackson associates she called "the Germans." She said Jackson instructed her to follow their orders, but she became uneasy when the men attempted to make her use a script to prepare for a video praising Jackson.
She said she was told the video "would appease the killers."
Who said that? Zonen asked.