Judge bars testimony from Larry King
The judge in Michael Jackson's child molestation case on Thursday barred television talk show host Larry King from testifying for the the singer's defence, saying his testimony was not relevant to the case.
In a hearing without the jury present, Mr King told Judge Rodney Melville that attorney Larry Feldman, who was asked to represent the accuser in 2003, had told him during a breakfast conversation that he had dropped the case because "he thought the woman in this case was wacko and was only in it for the money".
But in his earlier testimony for the prosecution Mr Feldman testified the mother had no intentions of suing Mr Jackson and was not interested in money.
Mr Feldman is the lawyer who represented a then-13-year-old boy who accused Mr Jackson of molestation in 1993 and won a settlement worth about $20 million. Mr Jackson was never charged in that case.
Judge Melville also heard from celebrity publisher Michael Viner in Thursday's hearing and also barred his testimony on the grounds it was not relevant either.
Mr King, Mr Viner and Mr Feldman all met for breakfast in early 2003 at Nate 'n Al's, a famous Beverly Hills diner. It was there, Mr King said, that Mr Feldman talked about the mother.
"(Feldman said) he refused to take her case. He thought she was just in it for the money," Mr King recalled.
At the end of the short hearing Melville said, "At this point I don't find any reason to allow Mr King to testify. I don't find Mr King's testimony would impeach Mr Feldman". Mr Jackson's defence team is attempting to discredit the accuser and his family by painting the mother as a grifter out to get money from the entertainer and the accuser and his brother as out-of-control boys who drank, stole and ran wild while they stayed at Mr Jackson's Neverland Valley ranch.
The singer has denied molesting his accuser, then 13, at Neverland in February or March of 2003, plying the recovering cancer patient with alcohol in order to abuse him and conspiring to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion.
Defence lawyers indicated on Wednesday they were nearing the end of their case after less than three weeks of defence testimony.
ABC News on Thursday said lead defence attorney Tom Mesereau had decided not to put Jackson on the stand. The report, quoting unnamed sources, also said the defence expected to rest its case by the first week of June.
Thursday's first witness was actress Azja Pryor, the ex-fiancee of movie star Chris Tucker, a close friend of Mr Jackson's.
Ms Pryor became friends with the boy's family after she was introduced to them at a Los Angeles comedy club when the accuser was ill with cancer.
Early in her testimony Ms Pryor broke down and cried on the witness stand when Mr Mesereau asked her about the family.
"It's hard for me because I really do love the kids a lot," she said in an apparent reference to her reluctance to testify against them.