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Jackson accuser's 'boasts'.


The boy who has accused Michael Jackson of molesting him proudly showed off an expensive watch the singer gave him and boasted that Jackson would buy him anything, a flight attendant testified yesterday. Cynthia Bell told the court in Santa Maria, California, that Gavin Arviso bragged about the watch on a flight with Jackson and members of the boy's family from Miami to California in 2003.

'He was saying things like 'Look at what Michael got me' and 'These are very expensive watches',' she said.

'He did say 'Michael bought this watch for me and he'll buy me anything'.'

Prosecutors contend the watch was a bribe to keep Arviso from revealing Jackson gave him alcohol.

Defence attorneys contend the boy and his family were out to milk Jackson and other celebrities. They have portrayed the child-molestation charges as a shakedown attempt.

Bell also testified that she served Jackson wine in a Diet Coke can but did not see his accuser drink from it, as the prosecution says happened.

She said it was her idea to serve Jackson wine in soda cans and it became a routine on all of the pop star's flights, because 'Michael Jackson is a very private drinker'.

She said he was a nervous flier who could not stand turbulence.

She testified that the boy was rude and unruly throughout the flight, at one point starting a food fight by throwing mashed potatoes at a sleeping doctor who was travelling with Jackson.

The flight attendant also said that Arviso had a wide range of unreasonable complaints.

'His chicken was warm. 'I want a side of coleslaw. I don't want it on the same plate...' He was very demanding throughout the entire flight,' she said.

At one point, prosecutor Gordon Auchincloss asked Bell if she saw Jackson cuddling the boy. She said she did not think so but that Jackson had an arm around him while listening to music.

Auchincloss asked Bell, 'What do you define as cuddling?'

She hesitated, smiled and said, 'I'd have to show you.'

The courtroom erupted in laughter, and Auchincloss quipped, 'Your honour, may I approach the witness?'

Jackson, 46, denies molesting the then-13-year-old boy in February or March 2003, giving him alcohol and conspiring to hold the boy's family captive to get them to make a video rebutting a documentary in which the boy appeared with Jackson, who said he let children sleep in his bed.

After Bell left the stand, the prosecution called psychologist Stan Katz, a pivotal witness because he was the first to report the boy's claim of sexual abuse to authorities. His initial testimony did not deal with the case, but with his professional background and work as a therapist for the TV show Starting Over.

Jackson arrived at court amid screams from a few fans on the street. He waved and blew a kiss to them and patted one of his aides on the head.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 31, 2005
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