Jackson Defense Case Ready To Go

Michael Jackson waves to fans as he arrives at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, Wednesday, May 4, 2005, in Santa Maria, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Prosecutors rested their case Wednesday in the Michael Jackson trial after more than two months of dramatic testimony in which they sought to prove that the pop star molested a teenage cancer patient and conspired to hold his family captive at his fairy-tale estate.

The defense immediately filed a motion seeking acquittal on the grounds that the prosecution has not proven its case. Judge Rodney S. Melville said the motion would be heard first thing Thursday.

District Attorney Tom Sneddon closed his case pending the judge's decisions on whether to admit various items that had been shown to the jury but had not yet been formally entered into evidence. The judge said the prosecution could reopen its case later depending on his decisions.

says he is not impressed with the prosecution's case against the pop star.

"The case against Jackson so far has been supported by the motliest collection of witnesses I have ever seen assembled in one case. Like characters from a Damon Runyon story, many of them have stepped out from hiding places and shadows, with dark backgrounds and shady motives, to bear witness against the King of Pop," says Cohen. "Jackson may be a freak but the people Sneddon has relied upon to put him in prison aren't exactly Pat Boone, either."

Prosecutors presented their case amid drama in and out of the courtroom.

A colorful cast of more than 80 witnesses paraded to the stand over nearly 10 weeks, chief among them Jackson's young accuser, the boy's theatrical mother and others who alleged Jackson molested boys as far back as the 1980s. Some of the prosecution's own witnesses wound up benefiting the defense, including Jackson's ex-wife Deborah Rowe, who cast him as a victim of money-hungry charlatans.

Without saying a word, Jackson remained the trial's star. Even his absence, twice caused by ailments, created a scene — and once required him to rush to court in pajamas, under threat of arrest by the judge. After that Jackson was on time and calmly listened to testimony in a rainbow of suits with brocade vests and matching armbands.

The prosecution's presentation was built on two main points: that in 2003 Jackson twice fondled the boy, at the time a 13-year-old cancer survivor, and that he arranged to detain the teen and his family so that they could rebut a damaging documentary about the singer.

"Living With Michael Jackson" pictured the boy side-by-side with Jackson, who said he let children sleep in his bed but dismissed the notion that the practice had any sexual meaning.

Jackson is accused of having molested the boy at least 14 days after the program aired in the U.S., as he and associates panicked over its implications.

The prosecution closed its case with witness Rudy Provencio, who talked about hearing a phone discussion in which the singer's associates talked with Jackson about response to a damaging documentary about him.

But the witness, who used to work for a Jackson associate, did not tie Jackson to the heart of the alleged conspiracy, quoting the singer only as saying such things as that he didn't want to hold a press conference.

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