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Back To Work For Jackson Jury

Vans carrying the jurors in Michael Jackson's child molestration trial arrive Wednesday, June 8, 2005, at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse in Santa Maria, Calif., for the third full day of deliberations.
AP
Jurors in the Michael Jackson trial returned to court Wednesday for more deliberations on the child molestation charges that could send the pop star to prison.

The panel entered the jury room at Santa Barbara County Courthouse at 8:22 this morning. They had already spent more than than two days in talks since getting the case on Friday.

"It was a 14-week long trial," notes CBS News Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen. "We shouldn't be surprised if deliberations take a couple of days."

The scene around the courthouse, where many fans and reporters have gathered, was low key compared to Monday, when the unexpected appearance of the defendant's father sent the crowd surging. On Tuesday, another famous face visited the courthouse — the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who said the singer was optimistic as he awaited the jury's decision.

"If Michael's friends did not stand up for him in a public way, you would ask, 'Where are they?"' Jesse Jackson said. He also said that rumors have continued to swirl about Jackson's health and he wanted to reassure everyone that "he is resting comfortably" in spite of great back pain.

The pop star was staying out of the public eye, waiting with family and friends at his Neverland ranch.

The 46-year-old singer is charged with molesting a 13-year-old cancer survivor in 2003, giving the boy alcohol and conspiring to hold his family captive to get them to rebut a documentary in which Jackson appeared with the boy and said he let children into his bed but it was nonsexual.

Jurors were continuing an 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. schedule, bringing their own lunches and taking three 10-minute breaks during the day. The jury assembles in a different undisclosed location each day and is brought to the courthouse in a van.

CBS News Correspondent Steve Futterman reports the wait for the verdict has every move the jurors make under close scrutiny. They are watched when they arrive at the courthouse, watched when they leave the courthouse and there hasn't been any apparent sign of discord on their faces.

The only clue so far, and it isn't much of a clue as to what's on the jurors' minds, is that just one question has been asked of the judge – who has declined to reveal what the question was.

"It doesn't take that long to decide 'I don't believe the accuser and his family,'" says Craig Smith, a former Santa Barbara prosecutor who has been following developments in the trial. "So the longer they stay out at this point, generally speaking, I'd say the better it is for the prosecution."

Legal troubles aren't the only thing worrying Michael Jackson. The Wall Street Journal reports he's at least $270 million in debt, as a result of taking out loans to make up for declining income, and lavish spending including the upkeep of the menagerie of animals living at Neverland.

The Journal quotes a source described as "a person close to the singer" as saying that Jackson's cash reserves ran so low earlier this year that he worried about paying his electric bill.

The newspaper also reports friends of the singer, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, have made calls to Michael Jackson's lenders to urge them not to declare his loans in default.

The financial turmoil is most likely being monitored by some big names in the music industry, since one possible move Jackson could make to patch up his bank balance would be to sell his stake in the song catalog including 251 Beatles songs Paul McCartney has been trying to buy back for years.

The Journal estimates the value of Jackson's stake in the song catalog to be at least $500 million.