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Lights, Camera... Jackson

Jurors see Jackson surveillance tapes. The videos appear to show Neverland employees keeping the accuser's family on a tight leash

The prosecution's questioning of the accuser's mother in the Michael Jackson trial ended Friday morning with jurors being shown surveillance videotapes meant to corroborate her account of the alleged conspiracy to keep the woman and her family virtual prisoners at Neverland in order to secure their participation in Jackson's rebuttal video to the Martin Bashir documentary. The tapes, which investigators seized from the office of Bradley Miller, a private detective working for Jackson's t former lawyer, Mark Geragos, appeared to show that Jackson's employees kept the woman's family on a tight leash.

According to the Associated Press, one tape showed the comings and goings of the woman's parents and her then-boyfriend (now her husband). Another showed men packing up the furniture at the woman's apartment, at atime when she said Jackson employees had told her they were preparing to ship the family off to Brazil for their protection from unspecified ''killers.'' According to CNN, she said she never authorized anyone to move the family out of the apartment.

The woman has testified for the past few days that Jackson's staff kept the family under virtual lockdown at Neverland, except when they were whisking them to other locations, like Miami, all to protect the family, she said Neverland staffers told her, from death threats against her son, the future accuser. As a result, she said, she felt confused and coerced when she finally did speak, in complimentary terms, about Jackson, both for the rebuttal video and to social workers who came to investigate after watching Jackson and the boy together in the Bashir film.

The defense, whose cross-examination of the woman began Friday, has painted her as a liar and con artist who exploited her son's cancer-patient status to bilk celebrities. She testified Thursday, however, that she has no plans to sue Jackson. As for why she didn't complain to police or other authorities during her time at Neverland, she said she didn't think police would find her story credible. Posing the rhetorical question that lies at the heart of the trial, she said, ''Who could possibly believe this?''

Originally posted Apr 15, 2005
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