Former Michael Jackson defender files sex abuse claim
POSTED: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 11:44am
UPDATED: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 6:25pm
CNN — A dancer-choreographer has filed a claim against Michael Jackson's estate related to alleged child sex abuse by the late pop icon.
Wade Robson, now 30, denied in testimony at Jackson's child molestation trial in 2005 that he had been molested by the singer.
Two months after Jackson's death in 2009, Robson said they had "a wonderful relationship" and he called Jackson "a kind human being."
The lawyer for Jackson's estate called the new accusations "outrageous and pathetic."
The details of the allegation are sealed by the Los Angeles probate court where Robson's lawyer filed the claim last week, according to a court document obtained Tuesday by CNN.
The deadline has long passed for creditors to file claims against Jackson's estate, but Robson is asking the probate court to allow him to file a late creditor's claim.
The sealed documents include an affidavit from Dr. David Arredondo, a San Francisco-based child psychiatrist, the filing said.
Jackson was acquitted of child molestation charges in 2005, partly based on the testimony of Robson, his sister and his mother.
"It's absurd," said Tom Mesereau, the lawyer who successfully defended Jackson in the trial. "He was one of the strongest witnesses for the defense at Michael Jackson's criminal trial in 2005. He was adamant under oath that he had never been molested at any time."
A housekeeper at Jackson's Neverland Ranch testified that she saw Jackson showering naked with Robson during a visit in the early 1990s, but he denied it at the trial.
"He withstood very aggressive cross-examination by the prosecutor," Mesereau told CNN Tuesday. "He stood his ground and never wavered in saying Michael Jackson had done absolutely nothing improper to him."
Robson met Jackson in his native Australia when he was just 5. Jackson invited him for frequent stays at Neverland after Robson and his family moved to Los Angeles two years later. Their visits continued until he was 13, according to court testimony.
Robson paid tribute to Jackson In an interview with "Entertainment Tonight" to promote his choreography work on the MTV Video Music Awards in August 2009.
"I just had a wonderful relationship," he said. "I learned so much from him, as an artist and as a kind human being, and it's my goal to just try and continue as much as I can in my own little world that legacy."
"We talk so much about him as the pop legend, which is important, but it's nice to remember that he was a man, that he was a father," Robson said. "And that's what it's really about is a father and his children, and he was a wonderful dad."
The 2005 trial in Santa Barbara County, California, centered on charges that Jackson had molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor who often visited his ranch. He was also charged with plying the boy with alcohol, and conspiring to abduct, extort and falsely imprison the child and his family. He was acquitted on all counts.
"I've known Michael for a long time. I've spent many hours talking to him about everything. I trust him. I trust him with my children," Joy Robson, the mother of Wade Robson, testified when called as a prosecution witness.
Robson said she let Wade, who was then 7, and daughter Chantal sleep in Jackson's bedroom from the first visit.
"Mr. Robson's claim is outrageous and pathetic," Jackson estate lawyer Howard Weitzman said in a prepared statement. "This is a young man who has testified at least twice under oath over the past 20 years and said in numerous interviews that Michael Jackson never did anything inappropriate to him or with him. Now, nearly 4 years after Michael has passed this sad and less than credible claim has been made. We are confident that the court will see this for what it is."
Mesereau said it was "suspicious timing" for the claim to be filed at the start of the trial of the Michael Jackson wrongful death case, in which Jackson's mother and children are suing concert promoter AEG Live.
AEG Live lawyers have said they would bring up the child molestation charges against Jackson as part of their defense.