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Jackson Case Goes To The Jury

Pop star Michael Jackson goes through security as he arrives for closing arguments in his child molestation trial at Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria, Calif., Friday, June 3, 2005.
AP
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."

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