By Richard Winton
7:22 PM EDT, May 16, 2013
Once a key defender of Michael Jackson in his sexual molestation trial, Wade Robson on Thursday alleged that the pop star abused him as a child for seven years, forcing him to perform sex acts, and until now he has been unable and unwilling to understand what happened to him was sexual abuse.
Jackson, who died in 2010, "performed sexual acts on me and forced me to [perform] sexual acts on him," Robson said."He was a pedophile and child sexual abuser."
He made the accusations during an interview on the "Today Show" with Matt Lauer on Thursday. "This is not a case of repressed memory in any way," Robson said. "I have never forgotten one moment of what Michael did to me, but I was pyschologically and emotionally completely unable and unwilling to understand that it was sexual abuse."
Attorneys for Robson, who knew Jackson and stayed at the singer's Neverland Ranch as a teenager, have asked a Los Angeles judge to allow him to make a late claim as a creditor in Jackson's estate.
Most of the specifics are under seal, but documents filed May 1 that are publicly available say Robson's claim to money stems from "childhood sexual abuse."
Robson said he was sexually abused from 7 to 14 and decided to face up to the truth because he has a son and knows how he would feel if his son were to be abused.
Robson concedes that during a 1993 Los Angeles investigation of Jackson he denied that he was abused to prosecutors and says at the time that he had been brainwashed by the pop star. "He would call me every day and role play and tell me the same sort of things and also tell me then that if anyone ever thought that we did these things, any of these sexual things, that both of us would go to jail for the rest of our lives," he said.
The statements contradict testimony he gave as a 22-year-old in Jackson's 2005 trial. A jury acquitted Jackson of molesting a 13-year-old boy.
Robson testified in Jackson's molestation trial, in which he said that although he stayed at the Neverland Ranch numerous times and slept in the singer's bed, he was never molested. "Absolutely not," he said.
A housekeeper had testified that she saw Jackson showering with a boy she believed to be Robson, who as an adult went on to do choreography for Britney Spears. Robson denied showering with Jackson and said he and the singer played together like children.
In response to the suggestion that Jackson may have molested him, Robson said, "I think it's ridiculous."
When Robson took the witness stand for Jackson's defense, the singer gave him the thumbs up. Jackson was ultimately found not guilty of multiple counts of abusing a 13-year-old cancer survivor.
To explain his testimony, Robson said, "I said what I understood and was able to say." He said he had two "nervous breakdowns" before he acknowledged the abuse.
A lawyer for the Michael Jackson estate last week dismissed the 30-year-old choreographer's claim, noting that the young man has stated repeatedly in the past that nothing occurred.
Howard Weitzman, an attorney for the Jackson estate, said, "Mr. Robson's claim is outrageous and pathetic. This is a young man who has testified at least twice under oath over the past 20 years and said in numerous interviews that Michael Jackson never did anything inappropriate to him or with him.
"Now nearly four years after Michael has passed, this sad and less than credible claim has been made," he continued. "We are confident that the court will see this for what it is."
The singer's criminal defense attorney told CNN last week that the new allegations were "absurd."
"He was one of the strongest witnesses for the defense at Michael Jackson's criminal trial in 2005," Tom Mesereau said of Robson. "He was adamant under oath that he had never been molested at any time."
Jackson died four years ago at age 50, becoming the only person in Los Angeles County not in the medical field to die of propofol intoxication in their home in the last 14 years.
Since his death, his estate's net worth has soared as allegations of molestation have faded.
Jackson's mother and three children have sued "This Is It" concert promoter AEG, saying the entertainment giant negligently hired and supervised Dr. Conrad Murray, who gave the singer the fatal dose of propofol. That suit is now at trial.
Robson on Thursday denied that he was coming forward now to seek money from the Jackson estate. "I have lived in silence for 22 years."
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