Squirming in his seat, Michael Jackson is asked directly on camera whether he’s a pedophile in newly unearthed video footage obtained by DailyMailTV.
The King of Pop is quizzed by lawyers about allegations of child sexual abuse in what’s understood to be the only time he was ever filmed being questioned on the subject during his life.
The iconic singer, who at the time was 37, appears nervous and laughs, giggles and jokes his way through questions about molesting children in the astonishing footage dated March 1, 1996.
The video comes as a documentary, shown at the Sundance Film Festival, features Jackson’s former child companions Wade Robson and James Safechuck claiming the star raped and sexually abused the pair during sleepovers at his Neverland ranch.
In Leaving Neverland, Robson and Safechuck reveal lurid details of how Jackson allegedly groomed them before engaging in sexual acts.
DailyMailTV’s newly obtained video footage spanning hours shows Jackson being grilled over the claims and highlights his extremely odd reactions to the serious allegations.
The disturbing footage shows Jackson giggling just seconds after he was questioned on the molesting allegations against youngsters Macaulay Culkin, Jordan Chandler and Brett Barnes – the trio who were regular visitors to Jackson’s Neverland ranch.
The video sees Jackson squirm and uncomfortably shuffle in his seat as he was deposed by an attorney over the child sex abuse allegations as part of a lawsuit filed by five Neverland employees against Jackson for wrongful dismissal.
The group – who became known as the new Jackson 5 – asked their lawyer to cross examine Jackson about his behavior and management practice at the ranch.
A key argument from the five’s lawyer Michael Ring was that Jackson had threatened staff, who saw him act inappropriately with children.
In 1995, Jackson ducked a court grilling after giving $20 million to Chandler not to testify against him in court.
He also refused to take the stand in the Gavin Arvizo case in 2005.
But in this video the star has no choice but to be quizzed over the abuse allegations.
The wealthy star was aided by advisor Steve Cochrane and another legal advisor Zia Modabber, while Ring was joined by his co-counsel Ruth Ann Niosi.
It was filmed at The Four Seasons Hotel in New York on March 1, 1996.
During the video Jackson compared himself to Jesus and ranted at how he’s been misrepresented.
Jackson, dressed in a black jacket, red frilly stage shirt and black hat, smirked and shook his head whenever the lawyers discussed the child sex claims.
Looking pale white and gaunt the star fidgeted, scratching his neck, chest and head, as he denied knowledge of staff who spoke out against him.
Prosecution lawyer Ring asked: ‘Mr. Jackson were you ever accused of having sexually molested Brett Barnes?’
Jackson appeared stunned, closed his eyes and covered his face, before oddly smiling. He shook his head and smiled again.
After an argument between the lawyers, Ring then added: ‘To your knowledge were you ever accused of sexually molesting Macaulay?’
Again the star reacted oddly. Jackson whisked his hands onto his head, touched his hat and then lounged back in the chair.
His eyes looked to the ceiling; he then swung himself back, grimaced, before returning with a wry smile as he shook his head.
His lawyer sniped: ‘That’s an instruction not to answer on that one.’ Jackson never answered.
He then stared at the floor before looking in disbelief at attorney Ring.
Seconds later he faked a yawn on camera and burst out laughing for no apparent reason.
Later the lawyers argued again about whether the singer should be questioned on his relationship with the children.
Jackson frowned and vigorously shook his head.
The star – covering his mangled surgically damaged nose with plasters – appeared completely unfazed by the severity of the molestation questions.
Asked by Ring: ‘Mr Jackson, in 1993 there were some allegations leveled at you concerning improper conduct concerning some young boys.’
Inexplicably Jackson spluttered out a laugh.
As he denied investigating and harassing employees who testified against him in the trial, Jackson nervously licked his lips.
The singer – then 37 – denied that witnesses had been threatened.
As the lawyers continued wrangling he moved in and out of his chair, and then covered his shirt microphone with his hand.
Ring added: ‘Were you aware that that Jordan Chandler filed a lawsuit against you?’ Nervously, Jackson gulped and muttered ‘Yes’.
Earlier Jackson admitted knowing Chandler – the 13-year-old friend who he’d had a well publicized relationship with at his Neverland ranch.
Jackson started the interview sitting upright in front of the lens, but as the questions got more personal, he sank back into his chair.
‘I’m a black American man and I’m proud of it, and I’m honored of it,’ he said.
‘The bleach skin rumor is a rumor, I don’t bleach my skin; I’m not gay.
‘Don’t judge a person unless you have spoken to them one on one – which is true.’
Jackson then compared himself to Jesus.
The star ditched his coy attitude to preach: ‘Jesus said to love the children and be like children; be youthful; be innocent, be pure and honorable.
‘He was talking to his apostles and they were fighting over who was the greatest among themselves and he said, ”Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest among me.”
‘He always surrounded himself with children, and that’s how I was raised, to be like that and imitate that.’
As the deposition drew to a close, Jackson acted non-plussed about the severity of the matters, whispering into his microphone.
‘Testing the sound. Is the air conditioning a problem. Sometimes the high sensitivity of the mics picks up sounds.’
Again nervous Jackson burst out laughing.
At other moments as Ring paused to review his questions, Jackson laughed looking at doodles made by his lawyers. Grinning from ear to ear, he said: ‘That’s good.’
The star’s legal team ultimately convinced the lawsuit judge to discount claims about child abuse – much to the fury of his accusers – when the six month trial started in autumn 1996.
The Neverland 5 accusers had all given evidence in Jackson’s 1995 trial, where he was accused of molesting Chandler.
A maid, three former bodyguards and an admin assistant claimed in their civil suit that Jackson used recording devices at Neverland in an attempt to find out what they knew about the abuse allegations.
However a jury took Jackson’s side after many of his ranch staff testified for the star after the six month trial in March 1997.
Jackson’s legacy now is being questioned following the release of Leaving Neverland, which will air on HBO in March and premiered recently at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.
Director Dan Reed claims that efforts were made to approach Jordan Chandler, Brett Barnes and Macaulay Culkin by Robson’s lawyers, friends and media partners. None of them gave their blessing to work on the documentary.
Culkin publicly denies any claims that he was molested by MJ, as does Aussie Brett Barnes. Chandler has been in hiding for the past 25 years after receiving a pay off of over $20 million from the singer after a failed lawsuit concerning abuse inn 1993.