Jackson Case Goes To The Jury

The child molestation case against Michael Jackson went to the jury Friday after the defense portrayed him as a victim of grifters trying to pull "the biggest con of their careers" and a prosecutor argued that the pop star has a history of illegal conduct with boys.

After two hours of deliberations, the jury went home for the weekend, and will take up the case again on Monday.

"Ladies and gentlemen this has been a nightmare for Mr. Jackson," defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. pleaded in a forceful closing argument that urged acquittal on all charges.

The prosecutor countered by telling jurors they would probably ask themselves why Jackson would molest his accuser.

"Because he could," said Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen. "This child was in love with him. This child would do anything he said."

The jury got the case 14 weeks after the Judge Rodney S. Melville first explained to them that Jackson was accused of molesting a 13-year-old cancer survivor in 2003, plying him with alcohol and conspiring to hold the boy's family captive to get them to rebut a damaging documentary.

The panel of eight women and four men was ordered to begin deliberations on the 10-count indictment against the "King of Pop" and were given 98 pages of instructions to guide them.

More than 130 witnesses were brought before them, including the now-15-year-old boy who told of being molested by Jackson and three young men including actor Macaulay Culkin, who said as boys they spent time with Jackson and were never molested or inappropriately touched.

Mesereau Jr. finished his two-day closing hours after Jackson again visited a hospital for undisclosed reasons.

"Ladies and gentlemen, it only takes one lie under oath to throw this case out of court," Mesereau told the jury. "You can't count all the lies under oath by (the accuser's family). How many does it take to let you know this case is a fraud?"

CBS News Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen said it was "a very good closing argument from the defense. In short sentences and dramatic tones, Mesereau told jurors that prosecutors backed the wrong horse; that they never should have brought these charges against Jackson based upon the testimony of the alleged victim and his family, whom he labeled as liars, perjurors and terrible witnesses."

Mesereau played excerpts from a video in which Jackson denied sexual impropriety and said he had never "been betrayed or deceived by children." The attorney closed by telling jurors that Jackson had been lax with his money and had let the wrong people into his circle but was not guilty of any crime.

Since it has the burden of proof, prosecutors then got the last word, reports CBS News Correspondent Teri Okita. With "their" videotape, they showed more of a sheriff's interview with the then 13-year-old accuser which many thought was very damaging to Jackson the first time it was shown in court.

Zonen, who had given his closing Thursday, told jurors, "You just witnessed the worst seven minutes in this boy's life."

Jackson has appeared gaunt in recent days, and officials at Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital in Solvang disclosed Friday that he had visited the emergency room overnight. Hospital spokeswoman Janet O'Neill refused to discuss why he was there.

Jackson's case has been disrupted twice by his hospital visits — one for treatment of flu symptoms and another for a back problem.

Courtroom observer Anne Bremner, a former prosecutor, says there's been a real change in Jackson since the start of the trial, when he looked confident.

"He's gotten thinner. He's looked stricken in the last few days. His family has even looked somber. And he just sits still in court, motionless," she told CBS News Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen. "And I think ... there is almost a sense of fear in him in the last few days."

On Friday, Jackson, 46, appeared drawn but made it to court on time. He arrived with his parents, sisters Janet and LaToya, and brothers Jermaine, Tito and Randy. He clutched his mother's arm as he walked in.

"Michael's innocent!" came shouts from some in a crowd of about 75 people outside.

Jackson is charged with molesting the boy in 2003, plying him with wine and conspiring to hold his family captive to get them to rebut the documentary "Living With Michael Jackson."

In his closing argument Thursday, prosecutor Zonen said Jackson brought the accuser "into the world of the forbidden." He said Jackson gave the boy alcohol and showed him pornography before molesting him in the bedroom of the entertainer's Neverland ranch.

Mesereau countered by telling the jury that prosecutors portrayed Jackson as a hard-drinking, porn-collecting pedophile to "dirty up" the pop star because they couldn't prove that he molested a child.

Mesereau directly attacked the accuser's honesty Friday, saying a lawsuit in which the boy's family got a $152,000 settlement from J.C. Penney began when the boy was caught shoplifting. He said the boy stated in a deposition for the J.C. Penney lawsuit that his parents never fought, but he and his brother, sister and mother would later say his father beat them for years.

"This kid's lying at the age of what, nine? Ten?" Mesereau said.

The boy was like "a bull in the china shop," constantly asking for money, Mesereau said. He said the mother was more sophisticated, ingratiating herself with her targets.

"She gets to know you, she hugs you, she loves you," Mesereau said. "Then she tells you a tale of woe and she gets money."

In the documentary at the center of the case, Jackson holds hands with the boy and says he allows children into his bed for innocent, non-sexual sleepovers. The prosecutor, Zonen, said Thursday that by the time the accuser and his family stayed at Neverland, "the behavior had turned to something terribly illegal."

Zonen ridiculed the idea the boy's mother could have made up the entire molestation story and prompted her children to lie in order to make money with a future lawsuit against Jackson.

"It's unmitigated rubbish," he said.

Jackson would face prison if convicted of all charges, although the term is uncertain because of many sentencing variables.