SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- The mother of Michael Jackson's accuser lashed out at the pop star from the witness stand yesterday, declaring that Jackson ''really didn't care about children, he cared about what he was doing with children."
The woman resisted answering questions by defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. and began her fourth day on the witness stand by making speeches to the jury.
She looked at Jackson across the courtroom and said: ''He managed to fool the world. Now, because of this criminal case, people know who he really is."
Jackson is accused of molesting one of the woman's sons -- a teenage cancer patient -- in February or March 2003, giving the boy alcohol, and conspiring to hold the boy's family captive to get them to rebut a TV documentary about the singer.
During another combative day on the stand, the woman admitted that she once told sheriff's deputies she feared Jackson had a plan for her and her family to disappear from his Neverland ranch in a hot air balloon.
However, she accused Mesereau of taking the comment out of context.
''I told police that [Jackson associates] had many ways to make us disappear," she said.
''And someone mentioned to you a hot air balloon?" Mesereau asked. ''That was one of the ways," she said.
The mother also denied repeatedly that Jackson or anyone associated with him had tried to help her and her family when her son was stricken with cancer.
Asked whether Jackson arranged a blood drive at his Neverland ranch, she said, ''I was responsible for that."
She then launched into an explanation about how the hospital would provide a bloodmobile anywhere she could arrange such an event.
''And Mr. Jackson allowed you to use the ranch for the blood drive?" asked Mesereau.
''Yes, this is correct," the woman said. But she added, ''He wasn't the only one. Many church groups gathered."
Mesereau also elicited testimony that the woman received checks for $20,000 and deposited them in her mother's bank account. But she said she could not remember how any of the money had been used for her son.
She also said she opened a bank account in which people could deposit money for her son's benefit.
''Did you withdraw thousands of dollars from that account?" Mesereau asked.
''Yes," said the woman.
''And was any of that money for medical expenses?" the attorney asked.
''No," she said.
She denied that she misled a reporter for a local newspaper into writing a story saying the family was poverty-stricken and was paying $12,000 for each chemotherapy treatment the boy received. The story included an address to send contributions.
She said that the $12,000 figure was a typographical error and that she meant $1,200.
But she acknowledged ultimately that the family was paying for nothing because the father's health insurance covered the boy's treatment.
Mesereau led her through questions and answers involving her relationship with comedian Chris Tucker and his girlfriend Aja, and she denied that the family solicited help, money, or any other gifts from Tucker. She acknowledged that Tucker once gave the family a car, but she said she never asked him to do that and asserted that he only did it because he had gotten his girlfriend a car and needed to make room for it.
Mesereau pressed her on whether she made any attempts to get help during the family's alleged period of captivity.
''Did you complain to anyone in the building that crimes were being committed against you and your family?" Mesereau asked.
''No, but I am now," she said.