Rowe Said Described Jackson As Sociopath
May 3, 2:46 PM (ET)
By TIM MOLLOY
(AP) Michael Jackson is scanned as he arrives at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse in Santa Maria,...
SANTA MARIA, Calif. (AP) - A sheriff's investigator testified Tuesday in Michael Jackson's child molestation trial that ex-wife Deborah Rowe privately described the pop star as a sociopath and said they had a "plan" to always speak nicely about their relationship in public.
District Attorney Tom Sneddon told Judge Rodney S. Melville he was bringing Sgt. Steve Robel to the stand to impeach Rowe's testimony.
Rowe, the mother of two of Jackson's three children, delivered a setback to prosecutors last week when she testified that Jackson was a wonderful parent, a generous person and a victim of "opportunistic vultures" in his inner circle who were trying to take advantage of his troubles for their own financial gain.
Robel testified that in his interview of Rowe last year she told him that statements she made in a videotape in February 2003 were not true. In that tape, made at the behest of Jackson associates, she praised him and his parenting skills.
"She referred to Michael as a sociopath and his children as being possessions," Robel said.
Robel also said Rowe told him that she and Jackson had "a plan" following their divorce in 1999.
The judge sustained numerous objections from the defense as Robel tried to elaborate on "the plan," but he eventually testified that the idea was "to talk positive about Mr. Jackson" after the divorce in all public statements.
Rowe said those statements were false, Robel testified.
Jackson is accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy at his Neverland ranch in February or March 2003, giving the boy wine and conspiring to hold the accuser's family captive to get them to rebut the documentary "Living With Michael Jackson." The accuser appeared with Jackson in the documentary and Jackson said he allowed children to sleep in his bed but that the activity was non-sexual.
Prosecutors also presented evidence Tuesday that Jackson referred to wine as "Jesus juice," the same phrase that the boy said the pop star used while encouraging him to drink.
Sheriff's Detective Craig Bonner said he saw Jackson use the phrase on a videotape of an interview with British journalist Martin Bashir, which took place during the making of the documentary.
That segment did not appear in Bashir's documentary. It was recorded by Jackson's former videographer Hamid Moslehi, who has testified that he ran his camera at the same time as Bashir's crew.
"Michael Jackson's statement was, 'You don't have like a little bit of Jesus juice, a little bit of wine,'" Bonner testified.
The judge denied a defense request to play the entire recording to put the comment in context, but he left open the possibility that the defense could introduce part of the recording while presenting the defense case.
The judge said he watched the tape and wanted the spare the jury from viewing hours of repetitious footage.
Prosecutors also presented more phone records Tuesday to bolster the conspiracy portion of the case against the pop star by showing there were dozens of calls between phones belonging to Jackson associates around the time the documentary aired.
During an initial round of records presented Monday a detective conceded that no calls were tied to Jackson.
Prosecutors contend members of Jackson's inner circle were plotting to send the boy who is now Jackson's accuser and his family to Brazil in the aftermath of the documentary.