Attorney Andrew Cohen analyzes legal issues for CBS News and CBSNews.com.
The last time Debbie Rowe did this much for Michael Jackson is when she gave birth to their second child, Paris. The defendant's ex-wife Thursday shredded the prosecution's molestation and conspiracy case with piercing testimony that both undercuts important allegations against the "King of Pop" and bolsters defense claims that Jackson himself is the main victim in this tragic farce of a story.
It was an astonishing courtroom result from a woman who was called by prosecutors to help them put Jackson behind bars for a decade or two. It is barely an exaggeration to say that Rowe was so good for the defense that lead Jackson attorney Thomas Mesereau ought to simply recite portions of her testimony during closing arguments. She laid prosecutors low, she raised Jackson high, and she did so in a forceful and dynamic way that was sure to catch the jury's attention.
After Wednesday's brief testimony, we expected Rowe to talk about how she had lied to help Jackson when he was in trouble a few years ago following the airing of an embarrassing network videotape that described Jackson's bizarre relationships with children. But after a brief in camera meeting between the judge and the lawyers before the jury was called in, Rowe never again was asked to explain what she meant. My best guess about what happened is that a deal was made to exclude this testimony because it went beyond the limitations the judge earlier in the week had place on the scope of what Rowe could say to jurors. Even so, we expected her today to help prosecutors in some fashion. She never did. Her testimony started off poorly for prosecutors on Wednesday afternoon and on Thursday it just kept getting worse.
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