The mother of a boy who alleged Michael Jackson molested him in 1993 testified Monday that she allowed her son to start spending nights alone with the pop star after a sobbing Jackson pleaded with her to let them sleep together.
Taking the stand in Jackson's child molestation trial, the mother also said that at Jackson's urging, she signed papers giving custody of the boy to his father, her ex-husband, after he raised the possibility of taking legal action against Jackson.
"[Jackson] kept begging me to sign it so there wouldn't be any lawsuits or anything," she said. "I didn't understand completely what I was signing."
It was unclear from the testimony why Jackson might have believed changing custody would thwart a lawsuit.
The boy's family did bring legal action against Jackson, and in 1994 reached a confidential multimillion-dollar settlement with him in which he did not admit guilt.
Now 25, the alleged victim will not testify because he does not want to get involved in the media spectacle, his uncle has told CNN.
The 46-year-old singer is accused of molesting a different boy -- now 15 years old -- at Neverland Ranch, giving him alcohol and conspiring to hold his family captive in 2003.
Jackson has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Prosecutors are presenting previous allegations against Jackson to try to prove the singer had a pattern of grooming boys for sexual abuse.
First meeting recalled
The mother testified Monday that her son first met Jackson in August 1992, when the performer came to a Los Angeles car rental agency after having car trouble. Her then-husband, the boy's stepfather, worked there, she said.
She said she gave Jackson their phone number and told the entertainer to call "if you'd like to see [him] ... or speak to him."
A month or two later, Jackson began calling the boy, in conversations that "got longer and longer," she said. She and her son and daughter began spending weekends at Jackson's Neverland Ranch starting in February 1993, and he began treating the family to trips to Las Vegas, Disneyland and Florida.
On their third visit to Neverland, she said she refused her son's request to spend the night with Jackson in his bedroom.
But she relented during a trip to Las Vegas in March 1993, after Jackson -- whom she described as "sobbing, crying, shaking and trembling" -- confronted her, she testified.
"You don't trust me. We're a family," she quoted the entertainer as saying. "There's nothing wrong. There's nothing going on. Why don't you trust me?"
After 30 to 40 minutes of pleading by Jackson, the mother said she relented, and the two then began sleeping in the same bed on nights when they were together.
For more than 30 consecutive nights, she said Jackson, who was then 34, visited the family's home in Santa Monica to spend the night with her 13-year-old son, left in the morning after he went to school and then returned in the afternoon when he came home, often eating dinner with the family. There was only one bed in the boy's room, she said.
In May 1993, Jackson took the family with him to the World Music Awards in Monaco, and gave her his credit card to go shopping. He also gave her gifts that included a gold Cartier bracelet, earrings, a necklace and a ring, as well as a $7,000 gift certificate to a Beverly Hills store.
By the fall of 1993, the mother testified she became concerned. Her son had become withdrawn, sullen and "was not wanting to be with us anymore." She said he began dressing like Jackson and was "not as sweet as he normally was."
"[He] was spending too much time with Michael Jackson, and I was upset," she said. "I wanted my son back. ... It was getting out of hand."
Ex-publicist: Jackson licked boy's head
In testimony earlier Monday, Jackson's former publicist reluctantly admitted that he saw Jackson lick the boy's head when he and his family were on the plane returning from Monaco.
Bob Jones, who handled media relations for Jackson from 1987 until he was fired late last year, is writing a book about his time with Jackson with co-author Stacy Brown. A draft of the book obtained by prosecutors contained the licking allegation, but under questioning Monday, Jones initially said he could not recall the episode.
After he was confronted with e-mails he sent to Brown that "the licking is going to be important," he conceded that it must have taken place.
"I would not have made it up," he testified Monday.
Prosecutors also called Brown to the stand. He said he had several conversations with Jones in which he talked about seeing Jackson lick the boy's head on during the Monaco trip, but he said Jones' recollections later became "fuzzy."
And under cross-examination by defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr., Brown said Jones' recollections about the incident seemed to change with his finances -- that he had a better memory of seeing the licking when he needed money and a fuzzier memory when he didn't.
Jones and Brown have written a book titled "The Man Behind The Mask" that is currently being edited by their publisher, with a final draft expected in six to eight weeks, Jones said.
Asked if the book was an accurate depiction of his experiences working for Jackson, Jones said, "It's factual to a degree," going on to explain that Brown had included things of which he did not approve.
Prosecutor Gordon Auchincloss introduced excerpts from a manuscript of the book, in which Jones described Jackson and the boy "holding each other tightly" while sleeping on the return trip from Monaco in an "almost romantic embrace," with "cooing" and licks on the head.
The licking episode is important to the prosecution's case because it supports testimony by Jackson's current accuser and his family that the pop star also licked that boy on the head.
In Jones' e-mail to Brown, he makes that same point, writing that "the licking is going to be important because he did it in this case" and that it would "bite him big," referring to Jackson.
While Jones hedged about the licking on the stand Monday, he told jurors that he did see Jackson and boy "embraced into one another" while coming back from Monaco.
He also said that during the 1993 World Music Awards show, at Jackson's insistence, the boy and his sister sat on the singer's lap. At the time, Jackson was seated in the front row between Prince Albert of Monaco and actress Linda Evans, and the girl eventually shifted to sit on Evans' lap, while the boy remained on Jackson's lap, Jones said.