In testimony interrupted by tears and outbursts directed across the courtroom at Jackson, the woman also begged jurors for understanding, as she told of failing to intervene when she saw the singer licking her son’s head on a private jet.
The day began with the woman’s testimony in doubt after she told Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville that she would refuse to answer questions regarding her acceptance of welfare for fear of being criminally prosecuted.
Defence lawyers said she defrauded the government in accepting that money.
Judge Melville ruled the woman could testify about the Jackson matter while at the same time invoking her constitutional right against self-incrimination regarding the welfare.
He threw out a bid by Jackson’s lawyers, who have portrayed the mother as a liar who preyed upon celebrities, to prevent the woman from testifying at all.
The mother said Jackson and his aides whisked her family to Miami in February 2003 so they wouldn’t see the broadcast of a documentary about Jackson in which the pop star is seen holding hands with her son and defending his practice of sharing a bed with boys.
She said Jackson and two German aides to the singer told her that the family was in grave danger, and then flew them back to Neverland — the flight where she witnessed the head-licking incident.
That began a period of intense pressure on the family to cooperate in making a videotape exonerating Jackson and incessant telephone calls from Jackson aide Frank Cascio in which he urged them to “appease the killers.”
“Appease the killers — I heard that so many times … And you know what? They ended up being the killers,” she said, referring to Jackson and his aides.
Several times, the woman spoke directly at Jackson, once when asked by prosecutor Ron Zonen if she had been allowed to leave Neverland to get a body wax.
She replied that she only had her legs waxed and jabbed a finger at Jackson as she added loudly, “And the key thing is, I paid for it.”
Jurors heard a tape of a series of calls in which Cascio, in a soft voice eerily similar to Jackson’s, beseeches her to return to Neverland for the family’s safety, make the tape, and “go away” with the entertainer.
“We’re all going to have to go somewhere, including Michael,” Cascio says, adding that Jackson “has been hurt so many times” and that she should not turn her back on him.
The tape provided a rare glimpse into what prosecutors contend was the crisis around Jackson following the broadcast of the documentary, which they say prompted him and his aides to virtually imprison the family at Neverland in central California.
Jackson is charged with molestation and plying the boy with alcohol in order to abuse him.
He is also accused of conspiring to commit child abduction, extortion and false imprisonment and could face 20 years in jail if convicted.