Debbie Rowe is locked in a bitter custody battle with Jackson over Prince Michael, 8, and Paris, 7, and could prove one of the strongest, most damning witnesses in the case against him.
She was silenced by a confidentiality clause in their divorce settlement, promising never to speak about paternity issues, Jackson’s mental and physical condition or his lifestyle.
But the subpoena issued by prosecution lawyer Tom Sneddon is understood to cancel out the civil agreement and the court in Santa Maria, California was told yesterday that she was ready to testify.
Rowe made a videotape praising Jackson at around the same time the singer’s young accuser and his family were also filmed extolling his virtues.
The family claim they were held captive and forced to make the video to defend Jackson in the wake of Martin Bashir’s controversial documentary.
Prosecutor Ron Zonen told the court that the interviews on both films were entirely scripted and that Rowe was offered visitation rights with her children in return for her co-operation.
He said in both cases children were used as “pawns” to get their mothers to speak in Jackson’s favour.
Jackson defence lawyer Robert Sanger insisted the videos were not scripted and described the mother’s evidence to the contrary as “preposterous.”
He said interviewers prepared questions but there were no prepared responses. He also noted that at one point Rowe used language that would not be allowed on television, suggesting her remarks were spontaneous.
The defence has pledged to play Rowe’s entire three-hour interview to the jury.
The pair met when she was a nurse working for Jackson’s dermatologist. She gave up the parental rights to both of their children when they divorced in
1999 but is now suing Jackson for custody although her rights have been restored.
Judge Rodney Melville also ruled that the prosecution could not call a man who claims his young son once disappeared at Neverland for 90 minutes until he was found in Jackson’s bedroom.
Prosecutors plan to wrap up their case against Jackson this week.
The singer denies all ten counts against him including child molestation and conspiracy to hold the family captive.