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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 May, 2005, 07:51 GMT 08:51 UK
Jackson abuse rejected by Culkin
Actor Macauley Culkin arrives at the court in Santa Maria, California, 11 May 2005
The Home Alone star was a regular visitor to Mr Jackson's ranch
Actor Macaulay Culkin has denied claims Michael Jackson molested him, as he took the stand at the singer's trial.

The former child star, now 24, told the court that while he had shared a bed with Mr Jackson, allegations of sexual abuse were "absolutely ridiculous".

Jurors also saw a film by Mr Jackson's staff where the singer spoke of his loneliness and denied all abuse claims.

Mr Jackson is on trial over allegations he molested a 13-year-old boy. He denies all 10 charges against him.

The charges include giving his teenage accuser alcohol and conspiring to hold him and his family captive. If convicted, the 46-year-old faces 20 years in jail.

The defence is trying to refute claims of a pattern of abuse by Mr Jackson.

It was amazing to me that nobody even approached me and asked if these allegations were true
Macaulay Culkin

Mr Culkin, who shot to fame as a child with the film Home Alone, acknowledged under cross-examination that he often slept in Mr Jackson's bed during visits to the pop star's Neverland ranch in the early 1990s, when he was aged between nine and 14.

He said the sleepovers were not planned but that he would just fall asleep.

Asked by Mr Jackson's lawyer Thomas Mesereau if he had ever been molested by the singer, Mr Culkin said: "Never."

He rejected a suggestion by prosecutor Ron Zonen that Mr Jackson may have molested him while he slept.

"I think I'd realise if something like that would happen," Mr Culkin said.

Prosecution witnesses have testified that Mr Jackson inappropriately touched Mr Culkin. Last month, a former chef at Neverland told the court that in 1991 he once saw Mr Jackson with his hand inside the young actor's shorts.

'Amazing allegations'

Taking the stand for 45 minutes, Mr Culkin told the court in Santa Maria, California, that prosecutors had never approached him about whether he had been molested by Mr Jackson.

Michael Jackson arrives at court in Santa Maria, 11 May 2005
Mr Jackson's lawyers say he has an innocent love of children
He said he only learned of the claims by watching TV reports about the trial.

"Somebody told me you should probably check out CNN because they're saying something about you," Mr Culkin said.

"I just couldn't believe it. It was amazing to me that nobody even approached me and asked if these allegations were true."

Mr Culkin told the court he felt a special bond with Mr Jackson as they were both child stars.

"We're part of a unique group of people," he said. "He'd been through that before, so he understood what it was like to be put in that position that I was in, to be thrust into it."

Mr Culkin is the third young man to appear for the defence to deny claims of abuse.

'Inspired by children'

Jurors on Wednesday also watched the video footage by a member of Mr Jackson's staff of the singer being interviewed by British journalist Martin Bashir.

I haven't been betrayed or deceived by children. Adults have let me down
Michael Jackson

The footage - most of which was never broadcast - showed the singer describing the loneliness of being a celebrity and also his innocent love of children.

"Everything I do is inspired by children. If it weren't for children I'd throw in the towel. I'd have no reason to live," said Mr Jackson.

Defence lawyers say the tape represents an unedited version of the interview the singer gave to Mr Bashir during filming of the documentary Living With Michael Jackson.

Mr Bashir's documentary - in which Mr Jackson admitted sharing a bed with a child - was broadcast in 2003 and triggered the molestation charges.


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