Michael Jackson's teenage accuser wanted to call him "Daddy," and even asked for the pop star's permission to do so. This revelation comes up on page 369 of grand jury testimony in the Jackson case published yesterday by thesmokinggun.com.
"Question: Were there any times that you actually called Mr. Jackson 'Daddy?' Answer: I wanted to know if I could call him Daddy. Daddy Michael —"
I told you about this one year ago, reported from sources whose other information holds up in the harsh light of the newly released testimony. The Daddy information was revealed when prosecutors questioned the now 15-year-old accuser last year.
It's very interesting, because the accuser's mother had made it seem like Jackson wanted her kids to address him this way. It was just the opposite.
In the redacted documents, the mother and her son have a unique take on some key points in their relationship with Jackson. Their difference of opinion centers on their week at the Country Inns and Suites in Calabasas, Calif., a period of time in which they claim to have been held hostage.
I reported on this exclusively last week. From the grand jury testimony, it's possible to see the basic facts line up with our story. The family was put up at the hotel where they shopped and ate out extensively in public restaurants, and made dozens of phone calls from their room. A sheriff's station was not far from them.
On the stand, the mother acknowledges calling her parents, her cousin, her boyfriend and even the girlfriend of actor Chris Tucker. At no point does she mention to any of them that she's scared, worried or being held against her will. Under benign questioning from the prosecutor, she gives no reasonable explanation for this.
Page 1107: "Question: There were many calls made from that room? Who did you call? Answer: [name omitted], parents, my cousin, [my husband]. I hadn't spoken to [my husband] for a spread of days."
Even worse: The accuser tells the prosecutor that he and his family were powerless to leave the hotel.
Page 408: "They didn't let us leave the room. I don't think they let us even have keys to the room."
If the case makes it to trial, the accuser will have to explain going to see the movie "Old School" and his countless visits to fast-food franchises and outlet shopping emporiums.
In his grand jury testimony, the accuser comes off as articulate, calm and rehearsed. Just like his mother, he seems like a witness who's spent a lot of time repeating his story for prosecutors and is fairly unemotional on the subject of his own alleged sexual abuse.
But it's the mother's testimony that readers and defense attorneys will focus on. She has no logical explanations for many things, including doing nothing when she thought she saw Jackson licking her son's head on a private plane trip and why she allowed the boy to return to Jackson's Neverland Ranch after she thought the singer had served him alcohol.
Even more incredible, however, is her description of "killers" she claims were after her and her kids. This part of the testimony concerns the alleged conspiracy by Jackson and associates to hold her family against their will and ship them off to Brazil.
Even after reading her account of it, the story still makes no sense. She evinces just enough paranoia about Jackson and his team that a jury might start to think they're watching a Hitchcock movie.
From page 1145: "On the freeway, people flashing lights, bright lights. I thought at the moment they were just trying to pass me up. And so when I moved over, they moved over. So when I drove faster, they drove faster. And when I got inside [her then boyfriend's] apartment underground parking, they were there revving their engine. They had their lights bright, vroooom, vroooom."
Interestingly, my sources have been telling me a parallel story to the mother's for a little over a year. Now, seeing the grand jury testimony, I can tell you that that version seems a lot more plausible than the one told by the mother. Her insistence that Jackson's aides threatened to kill her and members of her family does not come off as particularly believable.
In fact, as the story unfolds before the grand jury, the prosecutor never once mentions that the mother has allegedly been treated twice for mental health problems. As she recounts the amazing amount of help she solicited and received from celebrities other than Jackson, she also fails to report various fundraising drives she organized for own benefit, including one from the Los Angeles Police Department.
At the same time, she tries to dodge questions from the grand jurors themselves about her means of support, or her simultaneous dependence on the welfare system. If nothing else, this woman comes off as a wily scrapper who knows how to manipulate all systems and emerge profitably from every situation. At one point she concedes that she married her boyfriend to get health insurance. Little is made by the prosecutor of her using the boyfriend's address to get her kids into a better school.
The mother gets a lot of things wrong, too. She calls Jesus Salas "head of security" at Neverland. Salas, who she says befriended her, was actually head of the house staff and had nothing to do with security. If Salas testifies for the prosecution, that should present a problem, since he was dismissed and could be painted as a disgruntled ex-employee.
The mother, however, is really fixated on the so-called unnamed, un-indicted co-conspirators. In particular, she has not much use for Frank Tyson and Vincent Amen, the pair of 24-year-olds who chauffeured her around during February and March 2003.
The mother vilifies them throughout her testimony, at one point claiming: "I started to realize they were the killers themselves."
Tyson and Amen, two slight and unprepossessing characters, come off like Paulie Walnuts and Big Pussy from "The Sopranos," thanks to the mother's unquestioned descriptions.
It's not until the grand jurors themselves get to ask questions that some sense of disbelief is injected. On a taped phone call seized from private investigator Brad Miller's office, the mother apparently told the now-loathed Tyson, according to a grand juror, that she loved him, trusted him, that he was like family (page 1182). The very smart grand juror asked her: "Nobody was telling you what to say to Frank?" The mother responded: "No, that's me. That's who I was."
In the end, though, the focus will be on the accuser's testimony. There are no witnesses to his alleged sexual encounters with Jackson. He jokes with prosecutors during his testimony in a very intimate way; much the same, his mother refers to District Attorney Thomas Sneddon as Tom. At one point he even mentions a prosecutor dining with the family the night before the grand jury.
The accuser, in fact, doesn't mind making light of what might have happened to him in Jackson's bed. From page 1545: "Question: So on all of the occasions where he [Michael Jackson] did something to you sexually, physically inappropriate, nobody else was in the room besides you and Michael Jackson? Answer: No. Question: Okay. Answer: Not unless like a Navy Seal dropped down."
And what is the result of the grand jury testimony being leaked to the media? Some Jackson experts I know say this is exactly the kind of tactic Michael's father, Joe Jackson, has always employed: Release everything and hope that it neutralizes the shock value.
It's possible that Jackson's team is hopeful of a poisoned jury pool, one that, when court resumes Tuesday, will have heard most of this material and will no longer be impartial. We shall wait and see.