Ahmad Elatab, 17, of Clifton, N.J., first met Michael Jackson eight years ago. Ahmad, who's Lebanese, struck up a friendship with Jackson when he was just 9. "He started calling me, we started hanging out and stuff like that," he says, showing a picture of himself, his brother and Jackson.
He's visited Neverland Ranch at least six times. While he never slept in Jackson's bed, he saw many others who did. Does he think that Jackson is a child molester?
"No, I don't. He's not weird," says Ahmad, who claims Jackson has never done anything inappropriate to him or anyone he knows. "He's not sexual with kids. He's not a molester, he's not a pedophile. He just likes to help children."
Ahmad's relationship with Jackson made front-page news on the New York Post, which referred to Jackson as "Wacko Jacko."
"That's a stupid name. No, he's not Wacko Jacko," says Ahmad.
So who decides who gets to sleep in the same bed as Michael? "He decides, and the kids just ask him, and he says, 'Yeah, sure,'" says Ahmad. "A whole bunch of kids just come."
In fact, Ahmad says Jackson's bed can get quite crowded: "He sleeps with his kids. Anybody. He sleeps with his makeup artist. He just sleeps this way. He's a very loving person."
Ahmad believes he knows the boy who has reportedly accused Jackson of molestation. "He threw himself on Michael and he really wanted to hold Michael's hand," recalls Ahmad. "Michael gives him love back, but he doesn't give him love back in a sexual way … I didn't see Michael getting aroused, I didn't see nothing like that."
Ahmad believes the molesting charges are based on lies, along with the report that Jackson has a secret bedroom at Neverland Ranch. "It's not a secret bedroom, they just made that up," he says. "It's a room over the theater, it's like a VIP room."
To Ahmad, Neverland is like a magic kingdom for children, a place where adults have little say: "You can do anything you want. You're treated like kings, never told what to do, just tell them what to do … They can touch expensive paintings, they can touch all these expensive diamonds. Anything."
"I never had the feeling that he would be child molested," says Ahmad's mother, Hanadi Fattouh. "I trust Michael Jackson."
And Ahmad says he trusted Michael, too. He remembers the man who once took him and 20 other children to a closed Toys R Us. "We went there, he said the store is yours, you could have anything we wanted," says Ahmad. "He's a normal guy. He's nice, and he's the most loving guy in the world. He uses money to help himself but also everyone else around him."