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Jackson Case: Calls, Big Checks

Michael Jackson arrives at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse in Santa Maria, California, Monday, May 2, 2005
AP
As the prosecution nears the end of its case against Michael Jackson, it's introducing as evidence phone calls made by dozens of Jackson associates.

During the weeks surrounding the broadcast of a damaging documentary about Michael Jackson, his associates apparently made dozens of phone calls to each other, prosecutors showed Monday in the pop star's child molestation and conspiracy trial.

The phone records and unexplained testimony about one associate cashing two huge checks on an account shared with Jackson were offered as the prosecution neared the end of its case.

The jury was not told how the calls support the case, but prosecutors are expected to say in final arguments that they show frantic activity in an effort to stem the damage caused by the "Living With Michael Jackson" documentary.

CBS News Correspondent Steve Futterman reports that the charts of phone records detail how members of the Jackson camp called members of the alleged victim's family — all this taking place around the time the prosecution claims the family was detained by Jackson associates.

None of the calls were traceable to Jackson, 46, who is accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy at his Neverland ranch, giving him alcohol and conspiring to hold the boy's family captive to rebut the documentary, in which the singer said he shared his bed with children.

The documentary, which aired in the United States on Feb. 6, 2003, featured Jackson holding hands with the boy now accusing him of molestation and saying he has allowed children to sleep in his bed, though he said the sleepovers were non-sexual.

District Attorney Tom Sneddon said last week that the prosecution would rest on Tuesday.

Much of the speculation is about whether Jackson himself will take the stand in the defense phase. Attorney Dana Cole, a friend of defense lawyer Thomas Mesereau Jr., said Mesereau is leaning toward putting him on because "Tom feels Michael would make a very good witness."

CBSNews.com Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen doesn't think it will happen.

"When a defendant testifies in a criminal case, it's because the defense is very worried and is on the defensive," he said. "I don't think that's the case here."

Jackson's attorneys have presented a long list of possible witnesses, including many big names such as Stevie Wonder, Eddie Murphy and Elizabeth Taylor, reportsFutterman, but that doesn't mean they are all going to be called.

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