Fans suggest that because testimony from prosecution witnesses related to any alleged abuse of James was barred from the trial, then that means James could not have testified at the trial at all. They use this as proof that James lied about being contacted to testify.
Let’s look at what James said in his claim:
In 2005, DECEDENT contacted Plaintiff, and asked him to testify on his behalf in the criminal trial against DECEDENT in Santa Barbara for criminal sexual abuse. Plaintiff was approximately 27 years old at the time. DECEDENT started out the telephone call by saying that he wanted to help Plaintiff with his music and directing. He then asked Plaintiff to testify at trial on his behalf. When Plaintiff said no to the request, DECEDENT got angry and threatened him.
Note that this is in 2005. Details of prior sexual abuse of boys was known to Jackson’s legal team in December 2004 and the trial commenced on February 28, 2005, so this claim is easily verifiable. Further adding credibility to James’ story, he does not appear on the pretrial witness list. James went on to claim:
DECEDENT’s lawyers, together with Evvy Tavasci, DECEDENT’s executive personal secretary and an employee of MJJ PRODUCTIONS, contacted Plaintiff and told him that he needed to testify and deny anything that the cooks at Neverland said that they saw happen between Plaintiff and DECEDENT. Plaintiff told them that he did not want any further involvement with DECEDENT.
This is also verifiable and would have occurred before the following event took place, when evidence was planned to be presented about the alleged abuse of James.
On March 28, 2005 the court discussed 1108 evidence which would be admitted (1108 evidence is prior bad acts evidence which could establish a pattern of behaviour of the accused). The discussion starts around page 61 but here are the pertinent parts related to James (Jimmy):
THE COURT: The arguments presented by both sides here were very good arguments, and they’re arguments bringing up the law and the factors that I’ve been working with trying to reach a decision in this matter, which is of such great importance in this case for both sides.
The arguments didn’t really bring up new material, but they definitely emphasized the concerns that I’ve had. You know, the weighing of the case as I’ve heard it, the remoteness of the alleged charges that would come under 1108. But ultimately the decision I’ve reached, and which I’ll now announce, is that I am going to permit the testimony with regard to the sexual offenses, and the alleged pattern of grooming activities, which is 1101 material, leading up to the sexual offenses against Jason Francia, Wade Robeson, Macaulay Culkin, Jordan Chandler, and Brett Barnes.
The witnesses that would be permitted to testify under this order would be Jason Francia, Blanca Francia, Charlie Michaels, Phillip LeMarque, Adrienne McManus, Ralph Chacon, June Chandler, Bob Jones, and Charmayne Sternberg. The evidence of alleged grooming of the other children will not be permitted. Evidence as to Jimmy Safechuck and Jonathan Spence will not be permitted. The witnesses that would be precluded under this ruling would be Jolie Levine and Mary Coller. And there was only one part of Bob Jones’ testimony that I would consider admissible, that relating to the one physical act that he observed. And some of the testimony of Blanca Francia and June Chandler and Charmayne Sternberg would not be admissible. But I think if you can see the way I’ve divided that up, the grooming testimony is limited to those cases where there’s actual physical sexual conduct that’s been observed by somebody. That really is where I’ve drawn the line. And just to give you an example, Mr. Jones’ observations over a long period of time were conclusionary and opinions that I wouldn’t allow based on what he didn’t see.
The judge rules on two important matters here. He tells us what evidence will not be permitted about James Safechuck by the prosecution witnesses. He names the two witnesses who are barred (Jolie Levine and Mary Coller).
This ruling does not preclude James Safechuck from testifying for the defence about other matters, such as Jackson’s character or to rebut evidence about abuse of Wade or Brett – remember James spent time with both of them and would be able to confirm “nothing happened”.
After the call with DECEDENT’s lawyers and Ms. Tavasci, DECEDENT called Plaintiff again. This call was towards the end of the criminal trial. DECEDENT told Plaintiff that that he “was sorry for not being there for [the Plaintiff].” The words that DECEDENT used and the tone of his voice appeared to Plaintiff to be rehearsed, as if the call were being tape recorded. Plaintiff feared that this was a possibility, as he knew from the past that DECEDENT often taped telephone calls on a regular basis. Plaintiff wanted to get off the telephone call as quickly as possible, as the very sound of DECEDENT’s voice made him very uncomfortable and put him into a panic mode. DECEDENT continued to pressure Plaintiff to testify and told him that Gavin Arviso (the victim in the criminal prosecution) was just trying to get money. Plaintiff told DECEDENT not to call or try to talk to him ever again, and then ended the call.
Some fans believe that James said that Jackson’s lawyers called him towards the end of the criminal trial. As you can see that is untrue, he claims Jackson acted alone. Why Jackson would make this call is uncertain, but it’s possible he was using the request to testify as a ruse to call James to gauge his loyalty. Even if Jackson was calling James to probe his willingness to testify as a character witness there would have been no impediment. James was not barred from testifying.