An orthodontist testified today in Michael Jackson’s child molestation trial that she saw no sign that his accuser’s family was being held captive when they came to her office on a visit that the mother claims was an attempt to escape from the pop star.
Dr Jean Lorraine Seamount was called by Jackson’s lawyers to counter the mother’s testimony that she invented the need for her children to get dental attention as a means to get away from Jackson’s Neverland ranch.
Prosecutors contend Jackson conspired with associates to hold the family captive in order to get them to make video rebutting a February 6, 2003, documentary in which the alleged molestation victim appeared with Jackson, who said he let children sleep in his bed in a non-sexual, innocent practice.
Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a 13-year-old cancer patient in February or March 2003 and plying him with wine.
The accuser and his brother, sister and mother visited Seamount on February 24, 2003.
Seamount testified that the mother asked her to remove her children’s braces so she could mail them back to their old orthodontist. Seamount said she advised the mother to not have the braces removed but the mother insisted because she was upset with the previous orthodontist.
“She claimed that once the orthodontist found out who she was he wanted more money,” Seamount testified.
Seamount did not testify about any attempt by the mother to indicate she needed help or wanted to escape.
Defence lawyers presented a picture of Seamount’s office showing several dental chairs alongside one another in an open setting.
She testified that boy who is now Jackson’s accuser behaved poorly and went through drawers, forcing her to throw away several sterilised items.
Seamount also testified there was no film crew present, as the mother testified, no sign the family was held against their will, and no sign that they were in fear.
On cross-examination, Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen asked why the children had been designated “VIP patients”.
Seamount said that if patients had special needs they were designated VIPs, which might grant them special privileges in terms of scheduling.
She said Neverland ranch manager Joe Marcus had told someone in her office that the children were high profile and may be recognisable.
Defence lawyers are awaiting a ruling from the judge on a request to call a Jackson employee to testify that the accuser’s sister said her mother and the mother’s boyfriend were planning “something big” involving Jackson.
Prosecutors say the statements are hearsay and should not be admitted.
Jackson denies all charges against him and the trial continues.