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A Tale Of Two Michael Jacksons

Michael Jackson arrives for his child molestation trial on Wednesday, June 1, 2005, at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse in Santa Maria, Calif.
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Jurors in the Michael Jackson child molestation trial will hear two very different versions of the case, as prosecution and defense attorneys deliver their closing arguments Thursday.

"Prosecutors are going to talk about the pattern of molestation and threats that they say Michael Jackson and his guys did," says CBSNews.com Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen. "The defense is going to talk about the pattern of extortion and grifting that they say the alleged victim and his mother were involved in.

"Which pattern the jury chooses will decide the outcome of the case," predicts Cohen.

A subdued Jackson sat silently in court on the eve of closing arguments, well aware that within a matter of days his future will be placed in the hands of a jury.

"It's a very difficult situation to sit in there and know your life is in the balance," Jackson spokeswoman Raymone K. Bain said Wednesday after the entertainer moved quickly and quietly past reporters on his way out of the courthouse.

Jackson returned home from court to find about 100 supporters rallying outside the gates of his Neverland Ranch, reports CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales.

"We are here because we love and support Michael," said one.

Some of those same fans will greet Jackson when he arrives back at court Thursday to hear closing arguments. His spokeswoman angrily denied reports he might not be there.

"All these rumors about him fleeing the country ... that's a lie," Bain said. "He's here, and he's coming into court."

The closing arguments are expected to take up the entire day and part of Friday, reports CBS News Correspondent Steve Futterman. After that, the jurors will be given a few more instructions by the judge and then finally deliberations can begin.

"He has strong faith in God and in the judicial system," Bain said of Jackson. "He knows his fate is in the hands of 12 jurors."

Jackson sat stone still in court for nearly two hours Wednesday as those jurors were repeatedly reminded of the child molestation charges against him as they were given instructions for their deliberations.

The 46-year-old singer is charged with molesting a 13-year-old cancer survivor in February or March 2003. He is accused of plying him with wine and conspiring to hold his family captive to get them to rebut damaging aspects of the documentary "Living With Michael Jackson," in which Jackson appeared holding hands with the boy as he talked of allowing children into his bed for what he said were innocent sleepovers.

In the instructions, the jurors were told if they believe the accuser beyond a reasonable doubt they don't need any other evidence to find Jackson guilty of molestation, reports Gonzales. The judge also gave them the option to find Jackson not guilty of a less serious misdemeanor charge of giving alcohol to minors. In all, there were 98 highly-detailed pages of instructions.

  • David Hancock

    David Hancock is a home page editor for CBSNews.com.