James Safechuck, who had met Jackson as a young boy in the 1980s when he was cast in a Pepsi commercial, also denied publicly that he had been abused, although he was not called to testify.
Jackson was found not guilty of all charges on June 13, 2005; outside the courthouse, a fan released 10 white doves, one for each count that was acquitted. Jackson died four years later, at age 50, on the eve of a comeback attempt.
Fresh accusations and lawsuits
In 2013, four years after Jackson’s death, Robson sued the star’s estate, saying that Jackson had molested him for seven years, beginning when he was age 7. In an interview on the “Today” show, he said that “brainwashing” by Jackson had led him to testify on the star’s behalf. Lawyers for Jackson’s estate blasted Robson’s credibility, saying that in the past he had repeatedly denied abuse. Robson’s case was later thrown out by a judge for being filed too late.
Safechuck filed his own suit in 2014, saying that Jackson had abused him “hundreds” of times from 1988 to 1992, beginning when a 10-year-old Safechuck — and his mother — accompanied Jackson on his “Bad” concert tour. According to his complaint, Jackson kissed Safechuck’s genitals and gave him jewelry as rewards for performing sexual acts. His case was also dismissed.
A new documentary roils Jackson’s family
On Jan. 25, “Leaving Neverland,” a two-part, four-hour film by Dan Reed, with Robson and Safechuck describing accusations of abuse in great detail, opened at the Sundance Film Festival. Before the screening, the festival director told the audience that health care providers were available to help anyone disturbed by the film.
The Jackson estate condemned the film as “yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson.” In a statement, the Jackson family called it “a public lynching” and added: “We are furious that the media, who without a shred of proof or single piece of physical evidence, chose to believe the word of two admitted liars over the word of hundreds of families and friends around the world who spent time with Michael, many at Neverland, and experienced his legendary kindness and global generosity.”