Jackson Defends Self, Off Stand

Michael Jackson waves to fans as he arrives at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, Thursday, May 12, 2005, prior to a day of defense testimony in his child molestation trial.
In what some experts are calling a brilliant defense move, Michael Jackson defended himself Thursday, but did so without taking the stand. Jurors heard never-released outtakes that were taped along with the Martin Bashir documentary that the pop singer's case has made legendary.

Jackson's defense team played a short series of the outtakes from the now-infamous documentary that led to these current child-abuse charges, CBS' Teri Okita reports.

At one point Bashir effusively praised Jackson as a parent.

"Your relationship to your children is spectacular," Bashir said. "It almost makes me weep."

In the documentary, however, Bashir expressed strong concern about Jackson's parenting.

Also Thursday, two men who took over Michael Jackson's management in 2003 were discovered to have diverted $965,000 of the singer's assets, a lawyer testified Thursday as part of a defense attack on conspiracy allegations in the child molestation case against the pop star.

David LeGrand testified that he rapidly became suspicious of the motives of Jackson's associates, echoing earlier testimony by the singer's ex-wife Deborah Rowe, who said her former husband was a victim of "opportunistic vultures" in his inner circle.

LeGrand said he had been brought in to straighten out a maze of transactions involving Jackson when he met the two men, Ronald Konitzer and Dieter Wiesner, who he said were determined to manage all of Jackson's affairs.

"I became concerned that they were in a position to divert funds," LeGrand said, describing how he requested documentation of what they were doing.

In outtakes of the video, Jackson describes his troubled childhood, denied being "weird" and explains that he loved children and would never harm them, Okita reports.

While some legal analysts say this tape negates any need for Jackson to testify, others still think he will.

"He has educated the jury as to who he is. He has gotten them used to him," Court Observer Susan Filan said. "He no longer has to make a first impression when he takes the stand."

Meanwhile, LeGrand said he wasn't behind any conspiracy to hold the accuser and his family captive, making a rebuttal to the damning documentary.

"I began to disagree with Mr. Konitzer's decisions and felt he was making bad decisions. I became suspicious of his motives and his actions," the witness said.

When the accounting report came back, he said, "There were hundreds of thousands of dollars dispersed to Ronald Konitzer and Dieter Wiesner."

LeGrand said he quickly wrote a letter to Konitzer asking him to account for $965,000.

"Did you ever find out what he did with the money?" asked defense lawyer Thomas Mesereau Jr.

  • David Hancock On Google+»

    David Hancock is a home page editor for