Jackson's Former Wife Defies Lawyers with Tearful Tribute
Gumbel, Andrew, The Independent (London, England)
Michael Jackson's prosecutors were battling to maintain their credibility after the singer's former wife, Debbie Rowe, defied expectations and said she had not been scripted or coerced into giving a positive account of her relationship with him in a 2003 video designed to shore up Mr Jackson's faltering public image.
Ms Rowe, formerly a nurse for one of Mr Jackson's plastic surgeons, is the mother of his two oldest children. She had been touted as the last damning witness for the prosecution who would substantiate the contention that Mr Jackson and his entourage forced people to take part in the so- called 'rebuttal video' after Martin Bashir's documentary Living With Michael Jackson.
Ms Rowe became highly emotional on the stand when she began her testimony on Wednesday afternoon, breaking down in tears at various points. But she floored the prosecution by insisting her participation in the video was voluntary and her answers spontaneous, not scripted.
'As Mr Jackson knows, no one can tell me what to say,' she told the court. 'I speak my own mind. It was a cold [unscripted] interview, and I wanted to keep it that way.'
She described Mr Jackson as 'her friend', said she wanted to renew contact with him now after a long estrangement " they divorced in 1999 " and added: 'I promised to always be there for him and the children.'
Assuming the jury believes Ms Rowe, and they may not, a significant pillar in the prosecution's case has thereby crumbed. Tom Sneddon, the Santa Barbara County district attorney who has been trying to nail Mr Jackson on child molestation charges for more than a decade, has been seeking since the start of the …
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Publication information: Article title: Jackson's Former Wife Defies Lawyers with Tearful Tribute. Contributors: Gumbel, Andrew - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: April 29, 2005. Page number: 39. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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