SANTA MARIA, Calif. (AP) – “Home Alone” star Macaulay Culkin firmly testified Wednesday that he was never molested by Michael Jackson and told jurors that he and the pop star have a bond based on the shared experience of being children thrust into stardom.

The 24-year-old actor was the third young man to testify at Jackson’s trial that as boys they slept with Jackson at his Neverland ranch and were neither molested nor inappropriately touched, as prosecution witnesses have alleged.

Culkin called the charges against Jackson “absolutely ridiculous” and said he did not even learn of the allegations made about him until someone told him he should watch CNN’s coverage.

“Do you have reason to believe Mr. Jackson molested you at any time?” defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. asked.

“Not at all,” said Culkin, who entered court through a back way without being seen by photographers and about two-dozen Jackson fans outside the courthouse.

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 damaging documentary about the singer.

Culkin became part of the case when prosecutors were allowed to present testimony about Jackson’s past to suggest he has a pattern of molesting boys. The testimony included a former chef’s account of seeing Jackson with a hand up Culkin’s shorts as Jackson held the boy up to a video game.

Culkin, wearing a suit with an open-neck shirt, appeared relaxed and answered questions directly during his nearly 90 minutes of testimony.

The actor, who is the godfather of two of Jackson’s three children, testified that he and Jackson were drawn together by their common experience as child performers, although he laughingly noted that “it was not like a child actors’ self-help group.”

“Anyone who was a child performer,” he said, “we keep an eye out for each other.”

He said he slept in Jackson’s bed several times between the ages of 10 and 14, sometimes with other boys as well. He said that the sleepovers were not planned and that he and others would just fall asleep when they were tired.

During cross-examination, prosecutor Ron Zonen suggested Culkin could have been molested while he was asleep.

“I find that unlikely,” Culkin said. “I think I’d realize that something like that was happening to me.”

Prosecutors seized on Culkin’s description of Jackson as childlike and his account of how guests in Jackson’s room were free to look at memorabilia.

The prosecution has shown the jury dozens of sexually explicit magazines found in Jackson’s room during a November 2003 search, and have alleged that the pop star showed the material to his accuser and the boy’s brother.

Asked if he thought it was childlike to have such material, Culkin said, “When I was 12 or 13 years old I had a couple of Playboys under my bed.”

Culkin himself faces a court hearing next month on two misdemeanor drug counts in Oklahoma City. He was arrested last September after police said they found more than a half-ounce of marijuana and several tablets of the prescription medication Xanax in a car in which he was a passenger.

Culkin has pleaded innocent and is free on bail.


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