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The Michael Jackson Trial

Source: Culkin plans to testify for Jackson

Ex-guard says staff was told to keep accuser at Neverland


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Michael Jackson waves to fans Wednesday as he leaves court.
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Macaulay Culkin is expected to testify that he was not molested.

The accuser's mother has been shaky in cross-examination.
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SANTA MARIA, California (CNN) -- Former child movie star Macaulay Culkin plans to testify on behalf of Michael Jackson in the singer's trial on child molestation charges, a source close to the case told CNN.

But Culkin's publicist, Michelle Bega, who said last month the actor had no plans to testify, would not confirm any change in his position.

"There is no change, and there is no comment," she said.

The testimony could rebut claims by former Jackson employees who say they saw the pop star inappropriately touch Culkin in the early 1990s when he was a frequent guest at Jackson's Neverland ranch.

Culkin, now 24, has denied that anything of a sexual nature took place between him and Jackson. In an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live" in May 2004, he defended the entertainer and described him as a friend.

"Nothing happened," Culkin said.

The trial judge has allowed prosecutors to present witnesses to support their contention that Jackson had a pattern of singling out and grooming young boys -- including Culkin -- for sexual abuse.

The evidence related to five boys, although only one of them actually testified. Allegations relating to the other four, including Culkin, came from third-party witnesses who said they saw inappropriate behavior.

Former guard testifies

In trial testimony Wednesday, a former guard at the ranch said the security staff was ordered not to allow the singer's teenage accuser to leave the ranch in early 2003.

The notice was posted on a guardroom message board around the time that prosecutors allege Jackson's associates held the teenager and his family against their will.

"We weren't to allow him off property without some sort of permission from the supervisor," said Brian Barron, a Guadalupe police officer who moonlighted as a guard at Neverland for five years.

Barron said a notation that the boy was not allowed off the property was written on a message board in the guardhouse at the main entrance sometime in January or February 2003.

Under defense questioning, however, Barron said it was policy at Neverland not to allow children to leave the ranch if they were visiting without their parents, and notations often were made in the guest log to that effect.

Asked if the accuser's parents were at Neverland at the time, he said, "I don't think so."

Barron also said he never saw criminal behavior at Neverland and that as a sworn police officer would have taken action if he had. He said the rest of the staff at the ranch was aware that he was a police officer.

Barron described Jackson as a hands-on manager, saying the staff would be "on pins and needles" when he was at the ranch and there was "much more work to be done."

"He's very much like a perfectionist," Barron said.

Barron also testified that the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department had asked him to work undercover as a confidential informant at Neverland after investigators raided the ranch in November 2003.

He refused and quit his moonlighting job after a discussion with the chief of his department, Barron said.

The prosecution has alleged that in February and March 2003, after the singer and boy were shown holding hands in a television documentary, Jackson and members of his entourage conspired to control and intimidate the accuser's family into helping with damage-control efforts, holding them against their will at Neverland and a Los Angeles hotel.

Barron said he seldom saw Jackson's accuser -- now 15 -- when the boy stayed at the ranch, but when he did, he never saw any indication the boy did not want to be there.

Barron also said on a visit in June 2002, the accuser crashed a golf cart into a fountain and was warned that if he didn't slow down, the golf cart would be taken away.

Gatehouse logs

Defense attorney Robert Sanger took Barron through logs kept at the gatehouse in which the arrivals and departures of Jackson's guests were noted.

The notations in the logs showed that on February 12, 2003, the accuser and his mother, brother and sister left the ranch at 1:30 a.m. in a Rolls Royce driven by Jackson's ranch manager.

The mother had previously testified she was uncomfortable being at the ranch because she felt intimidated by Jackson's associates and she had persuaded the ranch manager to take the family back to Los Angeles.

Interpreting the logs for the jury, Barron said that there was no indication anyone was notified or called after the family's departure in the middle of the night.

The accuser and his family returned to Neverland several days later, after repeated phone calls from a Jackson associate, Frank Tyson, urging them to come back, the mother testified.

A grand jury indicted Jackson, 46, last year on charges of molesting the boy, giving him alcohol and conspiring to hold him and his family captive in 2003. Jackson has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Testimony on Culkin

Among the witnesses who testified about Jackson's relationship with Macaulay Culkin was Phillip LeMarque, a former chef at Neverland.

LeMarque testified that in 1991 he was "shocked" to see Jackson's hand shoved up Culkin's shorts when he walked in on them playing a video game in the middle of the night, when Culkin was 10 or 11.

At the time, LeMarque said he was delivering an order of french fries that Jackson had ordered.

"I almost dropped the french fries," he said.

LeMarque said he did not report what he saw to the police or anyone else at the time, "because nobody would ever believe" his story.

A former maid, Adrian McManus, also testified she once saw Jackson put his hand on Culkin's leg and buttocks and kiss him on the cheek while they were sitting together in Neverland's library.

CNN's Ted Rowlands and Dree De Clamecy contributed to this report.


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