Michael Jackson failed to arrive on time at the Santa Maria, California, courthouse for his child molestation trial this morning, prompting the judge to threaten to arrest the pop star and revoke the $3 million bail that is keeping him out of jail during the months to come. The pop star's absence added drama to what Jackson's fifteen-year-old accuser's second day on the stand.
"I am issuing a warrant for his arrest," announced Judge Rodney S. Melville, according to reports. "I'm forfeiting his bail. I will hold the order for one hour." Jackson's lawyer Thomas Mesereau Jr. had explained that the singer was at nearby Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital tending to a sudden and serious back problem. When Jackson arrived, visibly frail and wearing pajama bottoms and a suit jacket, he had missed the judge's deadline by minutes. (In January, Jackson delayed the jury selection by a week because of a hospital stay for the flu.) The trial, however, proceeded as planned.
Once the accuser took the stand, he testified that on his first night at the pop star's Neverland ranch, he and his brother slept in Jackson's bed. He also alleged that on the second evening the singer and an employee showed them pornographic Web sites containing sexually graphic images of women and girls who looked as young as fifteen.
The testimony then addressed the period leading up to and after Living With Michael Jackson, the February 2003 ABC documentary by British journalist Martin Bashir, which featured both the boy and the singer. On Wednesday, the fifteen-year-old took the stand -- his first encounter with the pop star since March 2003 -- and described being coached by Jackson for an appearance in Bashir's program.
The accuser, a cancer patient when he first met Jackson in 2000, said that the singer had asked that he call him "Daddy" on-camera and say that his illness had been cured due to Jackson's generosity and attention. When asked whether the pop star had helped with his recovery, the boy responded, "Not really, because for the majority of my cancer he wasn't even there."
As he continued his testimony today, the accuser described meeting with Jackson privately in Miami on the day the documentary aired. Jackson, he alleges, asked him to "audition" for him in a scene in which the boy played a troubled student and the singer played his school principal. He also testified that Jackson gave him wine, which the singer called "Jesus juice," in a Diet Coke can.
"He said he knew I was stressed out from all the media stuff going on," the boy testified, "and the Jesus juice would relax me."