Culkin Describes Bond With Jackson

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Actor Macaulay Culkin was only a boy when he met Michael Jackson, but he said they were kindred spirits, having both been cast into the show business spotlight at a tender age.

The former child star of "Home Alone" described his relationship Wednesday at Jackson's trial, adamantly denying the pop star had ever touched him inappropriately and dismissing molestation charges against Jackson as "ridiculous."

"It really was the first glimpse into the mind of Michael Jackson, into the mind of what it's like to be this prodigious young child star and growing up in the limelight," said CBS News Legal Analyst Trent Copeland. "Macaulay Culkin shared that limelight with Michael Jackson, and I think he expressed it to the jury in an extremely artful way."

Jackson himself finally had the chance to defend himself in court — not from the witness stand but in videotaped outtakes of interviews he gave. The singer described his troubled childhood, denied being "weird," and explained that he loves children for their innocence and would never harm them.

"I'm not a nut," Jackson said in one interview. "I'm very smart. You can't come this far and be a nut."

The videotape, presented by the defense after the Culkin testimony, was made by Jackson's videographer as journalist Martin Bashir was making the "Living With Michael Jackson" documentary. It included large segments that did not appear in the documentary. Jurors were expected to see more of the footage Thursday.

"I haven't been betrayed or deceived by children," he said. "Adults have let me down."

The videotape provided a showcase for Jackson to explain his decision to build his Neverland ranch fantasy park and his feeling at times that he was safer with children than adults — all without cross-examination.

Copeland said on CBS News' The Early Show that there were significant pluses for Jackson because it was the first time he was speaking extemporaneously about his life, his fame and his isolation.

However, Copeland notes some inconsistencies in the video may hurt Jackson.

"He talked about not drinking alcohol. We know very clearly that he did drink alcohol. He talked about not having extensive plastic surgery. He's sitting across at counsel table, and it's very clear he has," Copeland said.

CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales reports that prosecutors do not get to cross-examine Jackson on those statements and may never get to question him unless his attorneys feel the singer needs to take the stand in his own defense.

Jackson's lawyers are expected to show more from video in court on Thursday.

During Culkin's testimony, the actor acknowledged sleeping in Jackson's bed several times between the ages of 10 and 14 — sometimes with other boys as well.

The pair's real bond was in shared experiences as child stars, said Culkin, who was just a boy when his wide-eyed role in "Home Alone" made him a household name.

Culkin said both he and Jackson were child stars who lost their childhood to fame and celebrity and that helps explain the singer's child-like behavior and his fascination with young boys, reports Gonzales.
  • David Hancock

    David Hancock is a home page editor for CBSNews.com.

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