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Jackson Defense Rests

Michael Jackson departs the Santa Barbara County Courthouse following proceedings in his child molestation trial Thursday, May 26, 2005 in Santa Maria, Calif. (AP Photo/Hector Mata, Pool)
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Michael Jackson's defense suddenly rested Friday after prosecutors showed the jury a 2003 videotape of the accuser the first time he told investigators he had been molested by the pop star.

The decision to not present a defense rebuttal means closing arguments could begin as early as Wednesday. Judge Rodney S. Melville told jurors they would not need to be in court Tuesday when attorneys will have discussions.

CBS' Bruce Rheins reports the prosecution has rested contingent upon a motion scheduled for Tuesday morning regarding some documents. They may ask to re-open dependent upon that ruling, but for all intents and purposes, their case is over. Defense has rested unconditionally.

Rheins reports the jury will not be in attendance on Tuesday. They will be asked to call in to find out if they should come in on Wednesday or Thursday. Presumably, closing arguments will begin on one of those two days.

CBS News Consultant J. Randy Taraborrelli reports there was "stunned silence" in the courtroom when both sides made their announcement.

Defense attorneys had said they planned to call the boy, his mother, a psychologist and an attorney who referred the family to the psychologist.

But after jurors saw a tape of the boy haltingly describing the alleged molestation in much of the same language he used in his testimony, the defense decided not to present any witnesses.

"It was a smart move by prosecutors, who were able to get the alleged victim in the case back before jurors without subjecting him to cross examination. And the defense apparently felt there was no point in bringing the young man back onto the stand; that the risks were too great after a strong defense case,'' says CBS News Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen.

"He put his hands in my pants. He started masturbating me," the boy told detectives who urged him to tell his story. "I told him I didn't want to do that and he kept on doing it. I told him no."

Prosecutors played the tape after Melville instructed jurors "only to observe the demeanor, manner and attitude of the witness" and said that the boy's "statements are not to be considered for the truth of the matter stated."

The judge had also told the jury that if the defense called the boy to stand the questions would be limited to the points he had outlined.

The taped interview was conducted in the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department's Sexual Abuse Assault Response Team cottage in Santa Barbara on July 6, 2003.

The tape showed the boy, in denim shorts and a blue shirt, slumped in a chair. He occasionally smiled, scratched his arm and fumbled with a button on his shirt.

Investigators made small-talk as they tried to build rapport before pressing him to be forthcoming.

With his head down and frequently pausing, the boy described the alleged molestation in a low voice. The account was similar to the one he gave on witness stand.

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