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Jackson Closing Arguments Today

Michael Jackson, center, is accompanied by his father Joe Jackson, left, and an unidentified security guard as he arrives for his child molestation trial on Wednesday, June 1, 2005, at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse in Santa Maria, Calif.
AP Photo/Pool
The jury in the Michael Jackson trial received the instructions Wednesday that will govern their deliberations into whether the pop star molested a teenage boy.

Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville told jurors that closing arguments will begin Thursday and they will be given the case sometime Friday.

The closing arguments could be important in this case because of the complexity of the stories the witnesses have told, says .

"Jurors are going to hear more about patterns — patterns of alleged molestation by Jackson and patterns of alleged extortion and manipulation by the alleged victim and his mother. And of course both sides will hammer away at the credibility of the other side's witnesses," Cohen said.

"If the lawyers are smart they will keep their closing arguments relatively short. Jurors appreciate that and anyway they tend to discount most of what lawyers say anyway, even when the lawyers are really articulate. Less is usually more," added Cohen.

The prosecution's closing argument will be delivered by prosecutor Ron Zonen, not District Attorney Thomas Sneddon, who has become something of a lightning rod or the defense.

That will pair him with lead defense attorney Thomas Mesereau, Jr., and former prosecutor Anne Bremner, a courtroom observer, tells CBS News' The Early Show she's looking forward to the match-up.

"They both have charm. They're both very human. They both connect with witnesses. They both connect with the jury. They're measured, they're logical, they're kind of like Atticus Finch-like lawyers," she said, referring to the hero of "To Kill A Mockingbird."

Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a 13-year-old cancer survivor in February or March 2003, 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." The documentary showed Jackson holding hands with the boy and the singer saying he allows children to sleep in his bed in an innocent way.

The pop star watched as Melville began reading lengthy instructions hammered out by attorneys over more than a day.

The judge listed the 10-count indictment against Jackson, which includes four counts of committing a lewd act on a minor. The indictment also alleges one count of an attempted lewd act, one count of conspiracy involving child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion, and four counts of administering alcohol for the purpose of committing a child molestation.

Following up on an earlier decision regarding the alcohol allegations, the judge told the jurors they may consider a "lesser charge" of "furnishing alcohol to a minor," a misdemeanor. The instruction means the jury would not have to relate the alcohol to the purpose of molestation.

The judge paused at one point to determine if the jurors were paying attention.

"You know I read to my wife at night so she'll go to sleep. Am I having that effect here?" he said.

  • David Hancock

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