The judge in Michael Jackson’s child molestation trial ruled today that prosecutors may call the mother of two of Jackson’s children to testify against him.
The ruling by Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville followed arguments in which prosecutors sought to allow testimony by Debbie Rowe, the mother of Jackson’s children Paris and Prince Michael.
Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen said prosecutors want Rowe to testify about a videotape she made praising Jackson at about the same time the family of his young accuser made a videotape praising Jackson as a father figure.
The prosecution contends Jackson conspired to hold the accuser’s family captive to get them to make the videotape in order to rebut a damaging television documentary about Jackson.
Zonen said in both cases Rowe and the family gave scripted interviews. He also said that in both cases children were used as “pawns” to get their mothers to speak in Jackson’s favour.
Jackson defence attorney Robert Sanger said the videos were not scripted and testimony last week from the mother of the accuser that her remarks were not spontaneous was ”preposterous.”
“We keep hearing ’scripted performances’ and there are no scripts,” Sanger said.
Zonen also revealed in the course of arguments that Rowe has had her parental rights restored.
Rowe once gave up those rights, but Zonen said she sought to get them back and a family court proceeding under way in Los Angeles involves Rowe’s efforts to “compel visitation” with the children.
Zonen said Rowe was offered visitation rights with her children in return for her appearance on the video praising Jackson.
Prosecutors planned to wrap up their case against Jackson this week, with the testimony they can present limited by several recent rulings favourable to the defence.
In one, Melville ruled Monday that prosecutors may not call a man who was to testify that his young son once disappeared at Neverland for 90 minutes until he was found in Jackson’s bedroom.
Sanger said the plan to call the man suggested “sort of a desperation” on the part of prosecutors.
He also argued that the man’s son has denied that anything improper happened with Jackson.
Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy in February or March 2003, giving the boy alcohol and conspiring to hold the boy’s family captive to get them to rebut the TV documentary.