The psychologist who was the first to tell authorities about claims that Michael Jackson molested a 13-year-old boy testified at the star‘s trial today that it would be “extremely rare” for a child of that age to make a false allegation.
Stan Katz, one of the prosecution’s key witnesses, was prohibited by Judge Rodney Melville in Santa Maria, California, from testifying directly about the credibility of Jackson’s accuser, or whether he believes the molestation occurred.
However, Katz said that children over five rarely fabricate claims of molestation.
He said that accusers who appear to be truthful sometimes change their stories and embellish or exaggerate, while “children who make false allegations are usually consistent, almost scripted”.
Jackson’s defence has noted inconsistencies in evidence by the accuser and his brother.
Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting the boy in 2003 and plying him with alcohol. He denies all the charges.
Earlier yesterday a flight attendant testified that the boy once showed off an expensive watch the singer gave him and boasted that Jackson would buy him anything.
Cynthia Bell said the conversation took place in 2003 during a Miami-to-California flight with Jackson and members of the accuser’s family.
“He was saying things like ‘Look at what Michael got me’ and ‘These are very expensive watches’,” Bell said.
“He did say ‘Michael bought this watch for me and he’ll buy me anything‘.”
Prosecutors contend the watch was a bribe to keep the boy from revealing that Jackson gave him alcohol.
The defence contends that the accuser and his family were out to bilk Jackson and has portrayed the molestation charges as a shakedown attempt.
Bell also testified that she served Jackson wine in a Diet Coke can but did not see the boy drink from it, as the prosecution says happened.
Yesterday Bell said it was her idea to serve Jackson wine in soda cans and it became a routine on all of the pop star’s flights, because “Michael Jackson is a very private drinker”.
She said Jackson was a nervous flier who could not stand turbulence.
She told the court that the boy was rude and unruly throughout the flight, at one point starting a food fight by throwing mashed potato at a sleeping doctor who was travelling with Jackson.
The flight attendant also said the boy had a wide range of unreasonable demands.
“His chicken was warm. ‘I want a side of coleslaw. I don’t want it on the same plate.’ He was very demanding throughout the entire flight,” she said.
At one point prosecutor Gordon Auchincloss asked Bell if she saw Jackson cuddling the boy.
She said that she did not think so but that Jackson had an arm around him while listening to music.
Auchincloss asked Bell, “What do you define as cuddling?”
She hesitated, smiled and said: “I’d have to show you.”
The courtroom erupted in laughter, and Auchincloss quipped: “Your honour, may I approach the witness?”
Jackson arrived at court amid screams from a few fans on the street. He waved and blew a kiss to them and patted one of his aides on the head.
He showed no signs of the stiffness that he blamed on a fall in the shower earlier this month.
Jackson denies all allegations against him.