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.
"One day I'm just a normal kid who was an actor, and the next day people are hiding under bushes trying to take your picture," said Culkin, now 24. "You can't find other people who have been in these circumstances."
Culkin said he knew he and Jackson were "part of a unique group" and it was "a very comforting thing." When he spoke about how "profiteers" were out to get him, he said, Jackson understood because "he had lived through it."
Culkin rejected suggestions that he might have been molested in his sleep, saying: "I find that unlikely. I think I'd realize that something like that was happening to me."
He also dismissed a prosecution display of sex magazines seized from Jackson's home, saying he used to keep Playboys under his own bed as a boy. Culkin was the third young man to testify that he slept with Jackson at Neverland as a boy but was not molested.
Copeland told Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm that Culkin was effective for a number of reasons.
"He categorically denied that Michael Jackson has ever molested him or inappropriately touched him," Copeland said. "He also really put an end, I think, to the prosecution's notion that there was a pattern, a pattern of families, a pattern of young boys that Michael Jackson chose and targeted for his acts of molestation."
"I think previously the prosecution had done a very good job of pointing out the kinds of families, kinds of young victims allegedly, that Michael Jackson had targeted. Macaulay Culkin didn't fit that mold," Copeland added.
"This is now the third defense witness to come forward and say that Jackson did not molest him." said CBS News Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen. "The idea for the defense is to pit the sworn testimony of these young men with the testimony of the accuser and his mother and to challenge the jury to figure out who would have more incentive to lie."
Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy in 2003, giving him wine and conspiring to hold the boy's family captive to get them to rebut a documentary in which Jackson told an interviewer he let children sleep in his bed but it was innocent.
Culkin himself faces a court hearing next month on two misdemeanor drug counts in Oklahoma City.
In other developments, a lawyer who has represented Michael Jackson's accuser and his mother told talk show host Larry King and another man that he considered the mother "a flake" and didn't believe the boy, according to a report of a witness interview filed by Jackson's investigator.
In the memo, investigator Scott Ross said he interviewed publisher Michael Viner on April 26 about a meeting with Feldman and King about six months before the trial began. The memo was offered in support of a defense request that Viner testify in the trial.