Jackson a great person and great father, claims ex-wife

MICHAEL JACKSON’S ex-wife turned the tables on prosecutors again yesterday, describing the pop star as a “great person and a great father.”

Debbie Rowe claimed Jackson had been exploited by his associates, who she described as vultures who had set her up.

Returning to the stand for a second day, she tearfully admitted she still considered him a friend: “There’s different Michaels,” she told Santa Maria court, California. “There’s like, my Michael and the Michael that everyone else sees.”

Ms Rowe married Jackson in 1996 and gave birth to two children before they divorced in 1999.

She reiterated that she had not used a script when she recorded an interview, on Jackson’s request, to rebut Martin Bashir’s damaging documentary.

Asked to define what she had said on the tapes, she said: “Michael is a great person and a great father, generous and caring.”

The interview was taken by Jackson’s alleged co-conspirator Marc Schaffel, who she accused of “talking out of both sides of his mouth, telling me one thing and telling Jackson something else.”

The prosecution called Ms Rowe and had expected her to support claims made by Jackson’s accuser and his family that they were held captive and forced to make a scripted rebuttal video defending the singer.

But instead, she defended the star and said she had never been forced to do any such thing, though she has admitted she was dishonest in some areas. Her lawyer, Iris Finsilber, later told the court she had been present when Ms Rowe recorded the nine-hour interview.

Ms Rowe and Jackson are currently embroiled in a bitter legal battle over the custody of their children, Prince Michael, eight, and Paris, seven. Jackson has a third child whose mother has never been identified.

He denies molesting his then 13-year-old accuser in 2003, plying him with alcohol and conspiring to hold him and his family captive. The trial continues.

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