SANTA MARIA, Calif. – A 12-year-old cousin of Michael Jackson (search) testified Wednesday that he saw the pop star's young accuser steal wine and money and secretly watch pornography on television while masturbating.
Testifying in the singer's child molestation trial, Rijo Jackson (search) said the accuser's brother — another key prosecution witness — also took part in the misbehavior during visits to Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch.
The soft-spoken Rijo said that in 2003 he was with the boys in a guest unit when the brothers turned the TV to a channel showing naked women, began masturbating and suggested he do the same.
The witness said he declined and instead went to Michael Jackson's room and told him what the boys were watching on TV.
Under cross-examination by prosecutor Ron Zonen (search), the youth said he was scared to tell Michael Jackson about the masturbation.
He also said he spent the night in bed with Jackson.
"Did you do that often?" asked Zonen.
"Yes," Rijo said.
Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy in February or March 2003 and plying the boy with wine. He is also charged with conspiring to hold the boy's family captive to get them to appear in a video to rebut the damaging documentary "Living With Michael Jackson."
The youngster appeared in the program with Jackson, who said he let children sleep in his bed but it was non-sexual.
The defense elicited the testimony in an apparent effort to show that the accuser engaged in sexual activity and drank alcohol on his own and without Jackson's involvement.
Judge Rodney S. Melville ruled in April that the defense could explore whether the brothers were seen masturbating at Neverland without Jackson present.
"This conduct is relevant, you honor," defense attorney Susan Yu said at the time. "Mr. Jackson is charged with masturbation and that they did in fact do it themselves and are trying to blame Mr. Jackson for what he never did is relevant."
Rijo testified that he saw the boys steal wine, go through drawers in the house and take money that belonged to a chef and to another employee.
Rijo said the wine incident occurred when an employee brought a bottle to the downstairs area of Jackson's bedroom suite while the singer was in the bathroom. He said the boys took it upstairs and the next time he saw it the cork was removed and some of the wine was gone.
Rijo's 16-year-old sister, Simone, testified earlier that she also saw the boys steal wine.
In brief testimony, Simone and Rijo's grandmother, Michelle Jackson, spoke of meeting the accuser and his siblings at Neverland and being told they were waiting to go on a trip.
She said the accuser told her, "We don't want to go to Brazil. That's my mother wants to go. We want to stay here."
The prosecution claims Jackson's associates at one point wanted to send the family on a one-way trip to Brazil to get them out of the spotlight after the documentary aired. A witness testified earlier that she arranged such a trip but canceled it after being informed that plans had changed.
In other testimony, actress Vernee Watson Johnson said she became suspicious of the accuser's mother while planning efforts to raise money to help the boy when he was battling cancer in 2000.
The former "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" star was called to support the defense claim that the mother has a history of schemes to get money from celebrities and Jackson was another target.
Johnson testified that she had been an acting teacher for the boy and was asked to help raise money for the boy but abandoned plans to help the mother "because I didn't trust her."
She said she asked the mother to set up a special bank account for donations to her son but the mother asked her to put the money in the mother's account.
Johnson was the latest celebrity witness at the trial. Actor Macaulay Culkin testified previously, and CNN's Larry King was expected to be called as early as Thursday, followed by Jay Leno next week.