Jay Leno Appears to Contradict Jackson Accuser - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

3/16/05

Jay Leno Appears to Contradict Jackson Accuser

 A source close to the Michael Jackson child molestation case has exclusively shown ABC News what he says is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview with Jay Leno, and in that transcript, Leno appears to contradict the alleged victim's testimony that he never spoke directly to "The Tonight Show" host

On Tuesday, the 15-year-old alleged victim's testimony concluded in the molestation trial of Jackson. The boy, who was 13 at the time he was allegedly molested by "The King of Pop," spent time at the singer's Neverland ranch in California and appeared with him on the 2003 British documentary "Living With Michael Jackson." Jackson, 46, has pleaded not guilty to 10 charges that include felony conspiracy with 28 overt acts involving child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion.

During cross-examination by Jackson defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr., the young accuser, a cancer survivor, denied ever speaking directly to Leno but said he once placed a call to the comedian from a hospital and left a message on an answering machine. But in what appears to be a transcript of an interview with officials from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department, Leno appears to contradict the alleged victim's testimony and tells investigators the boy's mother put him on the phone to speak to him. Leno said the conversation made him suspicious.

"It all sounded very rehearsed to me," Leno says.

The defense has sought to undermine the credibility of the alleged victim and his family by claiming they sought to get money from celebrities and made up the molestation allegations against Jackson to get a monetary settlement. Jackson's defense has argued that Leno alerted police after a call from the boy because he thought the family was looking for a "mark."

In the transcript, Leno says he remembers taking one or two phone calls from the boy's family when he was sick with cancer.

Leno: 'It Just Sounded Coached'

Leno said the accuser's mother was on the phone line first, and he was told he was on top of the list of celebrities the boy wanted to meet.

"Awhile back the mother called," Leno says in the transcript. " 'Oh, my son, he's 12 years old. Oh, he loves you.' "

Leno told authorities he was suspicious of the mother's claims.

"I'm not that much of an egomaniac," Leno says. "I don't know why a 12-year-old boy would be infatuated with a 55-year-old guy who does political jokes and things. And I said, 'Well, what can I do for you?' Or, well, I can't remember the exact … of the phone call. But essentially, sort of looking for money."

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