The Prosecution’s Wintesses – Phillip and Stella LeMarque

lemarque

Phillip LeMarque in 2005

Another “prior bad acts” witness of the prosecution in 2005 was Phillip LeMarque. LeMarque and his wife, Stella Marcroft worked for Jackson at Neverland for about ten months beginning in 1991. Marcroft was a cook and her husband was in charge of serving the food to guests. After they left Neverland they opened a restaurant in Encino, but it went bankrupt and at the time when the Chandler allegations went public they were heavily in debt. Later in the 1990s they went into the pornographic website business.

At Jackson’s 2005 trial, LeMarque claimed that on one occasion he witnessed Jackson put his hand into Macaulay Culkin’s pants. Though LeMarque claimed he was so shocked by the sight that he almost dropped the French fries he was about to serve, he never bothered to report to authorities what he had allegedly witnessed.  In actuality, even after the Chandler allegations went public in 1993 he and his wife did not turn to authorities but tried to sell their story to tabloids.

They met with private investigator and tabloid broker, Paul Barresi, whom LeMarque said was an old friend of his wife. Barresi then negotiated about their story with tabloids as did their lawyer friend, Arnold Kessler. The police was informed about the LeMarques by Barresi behind the couple’s back (Barresi had his own selfish reasons to report the story to authorities as you will see in the later chapter Did the FBI have evidence that Michael Jackson paid off dozens of young boys to silence them after he sexually abused them?), the LeMarques themselves never went to authorities to report their story. They got contacted by authorities only after Barresi reported them without their consent.

At first the LeMarques claimed they did not discuss the price of their story with Barresi but later admitted they did. LeMarque tried to distance himself from the money negotiations by saying he and his wife just listened to what Barresi had to offer. However, Barresi taped their conversations and it came out that when Barresi offered them $100,000 for a story the LeMarques tried to up it to $500,000.

You upped the price to 500 from $100,000 at one point?

Yeah, to see if we were going to do it. [1]

and

Did you have a discussion with Paul Baressi where you said, “We don’t want 100,000. We want 500,000”? Yes or no.

Yes. [1]

During the testimony LeMarque said he stopped negotiating with Barresi because he realized he was “sleazy” [1]. Jackson’s lawyer, Thomas Mesereau asked him why he thought that and LeMarque said he thought so because Barresi secretly taped their conversations. However, on cross-examination he contradicted himself by saying he learned that Barresi taped them only a couple of days before his testimony at the 2005 trial [1]. He also said he learned that from the news, although earlier in his testimony he claimed he did not follow the news regarding the allegations which Mesereau pointed out to him when he asked: “I thought you didn’t follow the news about the case” [1].

Barresi then allegedly went to various media outlets and sold the LeMarques’ story, but Phillip LeMarque claimed they had nothing to do with that; that Barresi acted on his own, without their consent. However, the LeMarques’ lawyer, Arnold Kessler also contacted tabloids at the time trying to sell the LeMarques’ story. Again, LeMarque claimed on the stand that Kessler acted on his own, without their consent. LeMarque also claimed on the stand that he was not aware of the tabloid articles that were published in 1993 about their story, quoting them. As he sat there in 2005 he claimed that he had never even heard about them [1].

LeMarque gave a written statement to the police on September 10, 1993 about what he allegedly witnessed. On further recross examination, Mesereau asked him if he gave this statement to the police after he had already talked to Barresi about selling stories to tabloids. At first he said he did not think so, then that he was not sure and eventually he admitted that he gave the statement “probably after” they had already talked to Barresi [1]. It indeed was after they talked to Barresi as Barresi conducted his interview with them on August 28, 1993.

In a 1994 documentary entitled Tabloid Truth: The Michael Jackson Scandal even Barresi himself expressed doubt about the credibility of the couple and revealed that the couple first turned to him trying to sell their story for money [2]. They only talked to authorities after Barresi sent them the tape he made of their conversation.

The final blow to LeMarques’ credibility and testimony came about a month later, when Jackson’s defense presented their side of the case and called Macaulay Culkin who testified that Jackson never molested him and never touched him in any improper way:

You heard about some of the allegations about whether or not Mr. Jackson improperly ever touched you, right?

Yes.

Did Mr. Jackson ever molest you?

Never.

Did Mr. Jackson ever improperly touch you?

Absolutely not.

Has Mr. Jackson ever touched you in any sexual type of way?

No.

Has he ever touched you in any offensive way?

No.

What do you think of these allegations?

I think they’re absolutely ridiculous.

When did you first learn that these prosecutors were claiming that you were improperly touched?

When did I first learn that?

Yes.

I — somebody called me up and said, “You should probably check out CNN, because they’re saying something about you.”

And did you check it out?

Yes, I did.

And what did you learn?

I learned that it was a former cook had done something to me, and there was something about a maid or something like that. It was just one of those things where I just couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that, first of all, these people were saying these things or — let alone that it was out there and people were thinking that kind of thing about me. And at the same time it was amazing to me that they — that nobody approached me and even asked me whether or not the allegations were true. They kind of just were — threw it out there just like — they didn’t even — they didn’t even double-check it basically. I mean, even if they assumed that they knew the answer, what got me was that they didn’t even ask.

Now, are you saying these prosecutors never tried to reach you to ask you your position on this?

No, they didn’t.

Do you know if any police officer from Santa Barbara has ever tried to call you to see what the truth is?

No. [3]

Sources:

[1] Phillip LeMarque’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (April 8, 2005)
https://themichaeljacksonallegationsblog.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/court-transcripts.zip

[2] Tabliod Truth – The Michael Jackson Scandal (documentary by Frontline, February 1994) (Barresi talks about the LeMarques between 30:14-35:35 and 36:55-37:10)

[3] Macaulay Culkin’s testimony at Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial (May 11, 2005)
https://themichaeljacksonallegationsblog.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/court-transcripts.zip

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