Actor Macaulay Culkin, whose name has been heard several times a day in the Michael Jackson trial, is still undecided about whether or not he should come and testify for the defense.
Culkin has long been a public supporter of Jackson, his old friend. But considering what's gone in the trial in the last two days, he has good reason to weigh his decision carefully.
One thing remains certain: he will not be here on Monday when court resumes unless a last-minute deal is struck with his lawyers. Of course, his managers, agents, and publicists would prefer that this all went away.
Culkin is part of a "graduating class" of young men who spent great amounts of time with Jackson in the early '90s. They are now all between 22 and 26 years old. Today in court Joy Robson, mother of Wade Robson, 22, a member of that group, testified that Jackson had a succession of "special friends" with whom he was so close that he slept with them. Jackson was then between 30 and 35 years old.
She said, "It was Wade [her son] in 1990, Macaulay in 91, Brett Barnes in 1992."
Joy Robson defended Michael Jackson, saying there had never been anything inappropriate between him and her son or her daughter. She said Jackson "created trust easily." He arranged for her and her family to move to California from Australia in 1991, got her a green card, bought her a car, and paid her through his MJJ Productions for three years. She denied there was a quid pro quo involving her son's availability to sleep with Jackson.
Robson did make an usual observation about June Chandler, mother of the boy who got a $20 million settlement from Jackson in 1994. She said, "My impression of her was that she wanted to be mistress of Neverland. She was a gold-digger." As in a TV courtroom drama, that statement drew audible oohs and aahs from the audience.
Joy Robson's daughter Chantal also testified in Jackson's behalf, as did Brett Barnes' mother Marie Lisbet and his sister, Karlee Barnes, 26. Each of the younger women turned out to be better witnesses, but the prosecution still managed to score points as they got the sisters to recount how many nights their brothers slept with Jackson unaccompanied. Karlee Barnes estimated a total of 365 nights over two years -- a shocking number by any standards.
"My brother wanted it," she said forthrightly, even as she denied that anything sinister or illegal ever occurred. It's hard to know at this point what the jury believed.
Of all the troubling topics raised so far at this trial, one thing remains most curious: that mothers regularly took their children out of school so they could spend time with Jackson on tour or at Neverland. Not once so far in the testimony of these recent witnesses has anyone even mentioned school. The Barneses indicated that they traveled with Jackson for six months in 1992 and six months in 1993. Today Brett Barnes is an out-of-work casino worker living at home with his parents. He has no college education.
You wonder as you listen to these parents, what were they thinking? And what did their children do all that time at Neverland? The steady refrain is: play video games, watch TV, stay up late, go on the carnival rides, visit the zoo. And even the latter turns out to be problematic. The Robsons all confirmed that Jackson and little Wade liked to throw small-sized rocks at the caged lion to get him to roar.
What no one has said at all yet: Michael read to us, or we learned about history, or nature or the stars. Not one Neverland visitor has mentioned a book as of yet, except for a collection of pornography.