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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 May, 2005, 00:46 GMT 01:46 UK
Mothers defend Jackson in court
Michael Jackson arrives at court for the second day of defence testimony, 6 May 2005
Mr Jackson's lawyers say he has an innocent love of children
Two mothers who allowed their sons to share a bed with Michael Jackson have told a court in California of their love and respect for the pop star.

Joy Robson and Marie Barnes, whose sons testified on Thursday, denied that their children had been molested by the 46-year-old defendant.

The two men, now 22 and 23, admitted they often shared a bed with the star.

The defence is trying to refute claims of a pattern of abuse by Mr Jackson, who denies all 10 charges he faces.

The charges include molesting a 13-year-old boy two years ago, plying him with alcohol and conspiring to hold him and his family captive. If convicted, he faces 20 years in jail.

The star's lawyers began their defence on Thursday by calling Wade Robson, 22, and Brett Barnes, 23, as witnesses - both of them Australians.

Both admitted they had often shared a bed with Mr Jackson when they were young boys, but they rejected claims by the prosecution that they had been sexually molested.

In calling the two mothers, defence lawyers were attempting to show the jury that Michael Jackson's unusual lifestyle and friendships with young boys were not sinister, says the BBC's Daniela Relph at the court in Santa Maria.

'Nice person'

Joy Robson told the jury that Mr Jackson's love of children was "very pure" and she trusted him with her son.

"They enjoyed each other," she said. "I remember Michael telling me it was like looking in the mirror. He saw himself all over again."

She described the star's Neverland ranch in California as the "happiest place on Earth".

KEY PROSECUTION WITNESSES
Gavin Arvizo, accuser - testified that he was twice molested
Star Arvizo, accuser's brother - said he had twice seen Mr Jackson abuse Gavin as he slept
Janet Arvizo, accuser's mother - said she and her sons had been held captive at Neverland
Debbie Rowe, Mr Jackson's ex-wife - described Mr Jackson as generous and kind, and manipulated by his aides

Mrs Robson rejected suggestions from the prosecution that she thought Mr Jackson would help her son, who is now a dancer and film director, break into show business.

"You're trying to make me say that was the basis for our friendship and that is not true," she said.

However, she admitted her family had received financial help from the star, as well as help in legalising their situation in the US. Mr Jackson also helped organise a recording deal for her son, she said.

In his testimony, Mr Robson said he slept in the star's bedroom on all but three or four of his 20 or so visits. They played video games, watched films, talked and sometimes had pillow fights, he said.

Marie Barnes followed Mrs Robson into the witness box. She told jurors she trusted Mr Jackson implicitly with her son, who she allowed to go on tour with the star.

"He's a very nice person," she said of Mr Jackson. "You just know when you can trust someone."

The defence lawyers are expected at a later stage to call upon celebrity friends of the star, including former child actor Macaulay Culkin, actress Elizabeth Taylor, singer Diana Ross and basketball star Kobe Bryant.

Mr Culkin, 24, made famous in film Home Alone, has repeatedly denied claims that Mr Jackson fondled him during visits to the singer's Neverland ranch more than a decade ago.


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