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Culkin denounces charges against Jackson
Updated: 2005-05-12 15:48

"Home Alone" star Macaulay Culkin denounced the molestation allegations against Michael Jackson as "absolutely ridiculous" on Wednesday and testified that, contrary to prosecution claims, he was never victimized during his boyhood visits to the pop star's ranch.

"Home Alone" star Macaulay Culkin denounced the molestation allegations against Michael Jackson as "absolutely ridiculous" on Wednesday. [AP]

The 24-year-old Culkin confidently rejected suggestions that he might have been molested during his sleep without knowing about it and dismissed a prosecution display of sex magazines seized from Jackson's home, saying he used to keep Playboys under his own bed.

When defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. asked Culkin if he was ever molested by Jackson, he replied, "Not at all."

The testimony was followed by a key decision in which the judge allowed the defense to play a videotape that may serve as a substitute for Jackson taking the stand. The jury heard Jackson give a soul-searching account of his troubled childhood, answering those who call him weird and expounding on his love for children.

The tape also provided a showcase for Jackson to explain his decision to build his Neverland ranch fantasy park and his feeling at times that he was safer with children than adults — all without cross-examination.

"I haven't been betrayed or deceived by children," he said. "Adults have let me down."

Culkin was the third young man to testify at Jackson's child molestation trial that as boys they slept with Jackson at his Neverland ranch and weren't molested.

Culkin testified that he and Jackson were drawn together by their common experience as child performers, although he laughingly noted that "it was not like a child actors' self-help group."

"Anyone who was a child performer," he said, "we keep an eye out for each other."

Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy in 2003, giving him wine and conspiring to hold the boy's family captive to get them to rebut a documentary in which Jackson told an interviewer he let children sleep in his bed but it was innocent.

The tape played for jurors Wednesday after the Culkin testimony was made by Jackson's videographer as journalist Martin Bashir was making the "Living With Michael Jackson" documentary. It included large segments that did not appear in the documentary.

The tape showed Bashir effusively complimenting Jackson and leading him to believe the documentary would benefit him. However, the documentary brought down a storm of criticism and led to the charges in the current case.

The tape also dealt with Jackson's odd behavior in Germany when he held his baby over a railing for fans to see and took his two older children to the zoo where they were caught in a near riot. Jackson offered no apologies, saying his behavior with the child was blown out of proportion.

"I was holding that baby strong, tight. ... The press manipulates everything," he said. "This is my child. I can do what I want with it as long as I don't harm the child. I didn't realize he was over the railing.

Culkin became part of the case when prosecutors were allowed to present testimony to suggest Jackson has a pattern of abusing boys. The testimony included an ex-chef who said he saw Jackson with a hand up Culkin's shorts as Jackson held the boy up to a video game.

Culkin said he only learned of the allegations made about him when someone told him he should watch CNN.

Culkin appeared relaxed and answered questions directly during less than 90 minutes of testimony. Godfather to two of Jackson's children, Culkin has appeared in such Jackson productions as his "Black or White" music video.

Culkin testified that he was 9 or 10 years old when he met Jackson and that he slept in Jackson's bed several times between the ages of 10 and 14, sometimes with other boys as well. He said the sleepovers weren't planned and that he and others would just fall asleep when they were tired.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen suggested he could have been molested while he was asleep.

"I find that unlikely," Culkin said. "I think I'd realize that something like that was happening to me."

At one point Culkin described Jackson as "very childlike."

"He liked doing the things we did. He liked playing the arcade games although he wasn't as good as we were," he said, drawing laughs.

Prosecutors seized on the "childlike" comment and another about how guests in Jackson's room were free to look at memorabilia.

The prosecution has shown the jury dozens of sexually explicit magazines found in his room during a November 2003 search, and have alleged that Jackson showed the material to his accuser and the boy's brother.

Asked if he thought it was childlike to have such material, Culkin said, "When I was 12 or 13 years old I had a couple of Playboys under my bed."

Culkin himself faces a court hearing next month on two misdemeanor drug counts in Oklahoma City. He was arrested Sept. 17, 2004, after police alleged found more than a half-ounce of marijuana and several tablets of the prescription medication Xanax in a car in which he was a passenger.

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