The judge in Michael Jackson's (search) molestation case has refused to allow the prosecution to present an account in which a man alleged he was asked to bring Vaseline to Jackson's bedroom while the pop star was with a boy.
The boy named in the incident received a multimillion-dollar settlement from Jackson in 1994 and subsequently declined to cooperate in a criminal investigation. No charges were filed in that case.
The man who told the account, Kassim Abdool (search), used to work for Michael Jackson. He was one of several workers who lost a wrongful termination lawsuit to Jackson in 1997 and was ordered to pay damages to the singer in a countersuit.
Judge Rodney S. Melville (search), however, did allow other testimony from Abdool in an effort to corroborate testimony from another ex-employee of Jackson. Security guard Ralph Jackson — who also was involved in the wrongful termination suit — claims he saw Jackson commit a sex act on a child in 1992 or 1993.
The judge agreed to allow the Abdool to testify about seeing Jackson hug a child and to say that he saw Jackson leaving a shower area on the ranch, carrying a boy piggyback. Prosecutors said Abdool would allege he went to the shower area and saw two pairs of swim trunks.
Earlier Thursday, the defense said Abdool's testimony would be "precisely the kind of inflammatory evidence that is more prejudicial than probative," and asked that it not be allowed.
Melville also refused a prosecution bid to call an expert on battered women to explain the demeanor of the accuser's mother during her five days on the witness stand.
"I think this type of evidence is valuable in domestic violence cases," the judge said. But he said this was not one of those cases and "it would be a mistake to allow it."
Defense attorney Robert Sanger argued the prosecution was trying to give the woman a "pass" for committing perjury under oath. "She has committed perjury in this case from the stand," Sanger said. "This is not because she's a battered woman, it's because she lies for gain."
Sanger said the defense will present evidence of lies she has told in addition to claims made in a lawsuit against a department store. The woman admitted on the stand she lied in depositions for that case.
On another issue, the judge ruled another former Jackson guard, Christopher Carter, can testify — and invoke Fifth Amendment protection if asked about his recent arrest in Las Vegas on charges including robbery and kidnapping.
Prosecutors have introduced several former Jackson employees who claim to have witnessed Jackson behaving inappropriately with young boys. Defense attorneys have tried to discredit them by showing they have either lost a lawsuit to Jackson or at least attempted to sell their stories.
Prosecutors said the employees' testimony increased the credibility of Jackson's current accuser by showing the singer has a history of improper behavior with young boys.
Also Thursday, the defense walked a former Neverland ranch security guard through records detailing activities at Jackson's estate during the time Jackson's current accuser and his family were allegedly held captive there.
The logs showed, among other things, that on Feb. 20, 2003, the boy now accusing Jackson of molestation was hit by a golf cart driven by a relative of actor Marlon Brando (search).
An emergency medical worker examined the boy and he did not require any further attention, according to the log reviewed by former guard Brian Barron (search ) during cross-examination by Sanger.
An entry from Feb. 24, 2003, showed the entire family left and returned a few hours later. Sanger asked if the family had gone to the dentist that day and Barron said he did not know.
The boy's mother has testified that she took the family for an unnecessary trip to an orthodontist because she hoped to somehow escape.
Prosecutors allege that Jackson conspired to hold the family so they would make a video rebutting the documentary "Living With Michael Jackson" by British journalist Martin Bashir.
The boy accusing Jackson of molestation appeared with Jackson in the documentary, and the pop star spoke of allowing children to sleep in his bed, although he characterized it as non-sexual.
The prosecution called Barron on Wednesday to testify that he once had orders not to let the accuser leave Neverland.
Barron, a police officer who moonlighted at Neverland, said that in January or February 2003 he saw a note written on a message board that "simply stated (the boy) is not allowed off-property."
He said he needed to get permission from a supervisor before letting the boy leave.
While the prosecution sought to show that the directive indicated the boy and his family were held against their will, Sanger challenged that implication when he began questioning Barron.
Sanger asked whether the general policy was that children visiting without parents would not be allowed to leave by themselves.
"Yes," said Barron. "We would not let them go off the ranch without supervision."
"So it would not be unusual to not let (the boy and his brother) leave the ranch without supervision," said Sanger.
"That's correct," said Barron.
The defense then questioned Barron about the visitor logs and it became clear that the ranch's timeline of arrivals and departures for the accuser and his family was different than those described by the mother and other prosecution witnesses.
The mother and others have said the family flew to Florida to be with Jackson just before the Bashir documentary was broadcast on Feb. 6, 2003. The mother said Jackson did not allow them to view the program there.
But the gate records of Neverland showed the family present at the estate on Feb. 6 and Feb. 7, 2003.
Barron wasn't asked if the dates were accurate, but it was clear the records weren't always perfect. The name of the boy's sister, for example, was repeatedly misspelled.
The witness, a police officer for the city of Guadalupe, said that he quit his job at Neverland after the estate was raided by Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies in November 2003. He said a supervisor at his police job suggested he give up the part-time job because of the criminal investigation and he took the advice.
"You did not do that because you'd seen anything unlawful at the ranch?" asked Sanger.
"No," said the witness, who acknowledged that if he had seen anything amiss he would have been obligated as a police officer to report it.
The witness also said that after the raid — for which he was not present — the Sheriff's Department asked him to go back to work at Neverland as a law enforcement informant but that he refused.
Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a 13-year-old cancer patient in February or March 2003, giving him alcohol and conspiring to hold his family captive to get them to rebut the Bashir documentary.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.