A Michael Jackson biographer has claimed comments made by one of the accusers featured in Leaving Neverland are not true.
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The HBO film focused on allegations made by Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who both said the late pop star sexually abused them when they were children. Jackson denied any wrongdoing until his death in 2009.
Mike Smallcombe, who wrote the 2016 book Making Michael: Inside The Career Of Michael Jackson, has accused Safechuck of lying about his involvement in Jackson’s 2005 trial. In the documentary, Safechuck said he had refused to testify.
However, Smallcombe told the Mirror that his comments in Leaving Neverland weren’t accurate.
“In the documentary, Safechuck claims Jackson called him ‘near the end of the trial’ and asked him to testify on his behalf again, as he had done in 1993,” the author said. “Safechuck said he refused, and that Jackson then ‘got really angry’ and threatened him. He repeated this claim under oath, in his ongoing lawsuit against the Jackson estate.
“However, it simply can’t be true. Very early on in the trial, the judge ruled that he would allow the jury to hear about five boys whom the prosecution claimed were sexually abused by Jackson.”
Smallcombe claimed that Jordan Chandler, Brett Barnes, Jason Francia, and Macaulay Culkin were among the boys asked to testify in court, adding that the judge presiding over the case had said Safechuck’s evidence would not be permitted. “The judge came to this decision because nobody had ever claimed they had seen Safechuck being abused,” he said.
“So Jackson could not have asked him to testify, and certainly not near the end of the trial, when the judge had ruled months earlier that evidence about Safechuck would not be permitted.”
Smallcombe also claimed that both Robson and Safechuck are in debt to Jackson’s estate after they tried to bring lawsuits against it in 2013 and 2014 respectively, both of which were thrown out. “Robson owes the estate almost $70,000 dollars in court costs, and Safechuck owes the estate several thousand dollars as well,” he said.
He continued: “Both Robson and Safechuck should have been questioned about their motives for trying to get hundreds of millions of dollars in damages from the estate. These things should have been put to them in the documentary, or by journalists in their television interviews. We still need to challenge, especially when there are credibility issues.”
Since the premiere of Leaving Neverland, a number of radio stations have dropped Jackson’s music from their playlists, while a statue of the star was removed from the National Football Museum in Manchester. However, it was confirmed yesterday (March 21) that Madame Tussauds would not be removing wax figures of the singer from its attractions around the world and that he would not be removed from the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.