A former Neverland chef’s assistant testified today that the sister of Michael Jackson’s accuser talked to him after the family left the pop star’s estate and never complained of being treated badly or held against their will.
Angel Vivanco said he spent time with the sister after work about five or six times while the family was at the ranch in February and March 2003, the period in which prosecutors say Jackson molested the girl’s brother and conspired to hold the family captive.
Vivanco said the sister continued to call him on the phone for about two weeks after they left but never said Jackson or anyone else had mistreated them.
Before Vivanco took the stand for a second day, California Judge Rodney Melville reaffirmed his ruling from yesterday that barred the defence from asking Vivanco about several statements the sister allegedly made during their conversations, including a reference to her mother as “psycho mom”.
Defence lawyers had hoped to use Vivanco’s testimony to try to show that the accuser’s family fabricated the allegations in an attempt to get money from Jackson.
They said in a motion last week that Vivanco would testify that the girl told him her mother and her mother’s then-boyfriend were planning “something big” involving Jackson.
The “something big” statement was not among those barred but defence lawyer Robert Sanger opted not to ask about it before ending his questioning of Vivanco.
Yesterday, Vivanco testified that the accuser’s younger brother once demanded that he make him a milkshake with alcohol and had also held a kitchen knife to his throat. Vivanco also said the accuser once used a swear word while demanding food.
Under cross-examination by prosecutor Ron Zonen, Vivanco acknowledged he did not report those incidents when he was first interviewed by law enforcement authorities.
Vivanco said that when he was asked about the family he did not recognise their last name. He said, however, that he reported the incidents to two supervisors.