CBSN

Jackson Is Family's 'Biggest Con'

Michael Jackson waves to the crowd as he enters court, Friday, June 3, 2005, in Santa Maria, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP
The family accusing Michael Jackson of child molestation and other crimes is trying to pull "the biggest con of their careers," the pop star's lead attorney told jurors Friday in the second day of closing arguments.

"They just need you to help them," attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. told the panel of eight women and four men.

Mesereau resumed his argument shortly after a gaunt-looking Jackson arrived at court with parents Joe and Katherine Jackson, sisters Janet and LaToya, and brothers Jermaine, Tito and Randy, among other family members. Jackson clutched his mother's arm as he walked in.

Courtroom observer Anne Bremner, a former prosecutor, says there's been a real change in Jackson since the start of the trial, when he looked confident.

"He's gotten thinner. He's looked stricken in the last few days. His family has even looked somber. And he just sits still in court, motionless," she told CBS News Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen. "And I think ... there is almost a sense of fear in him in the last few days."

"Michael's innocent!" came shouts from some in a crowd of about 75 people standing outside. Fans, whose numbers dwindled to about 10 a day over the long weeks of trial, were back in larger numbers along with some prosecution supporters.

Mesereau was to conclude his closing argument Friday, after which the prosecution was to make its rebuttal. The case then goes to the jury.

The case boils down to a matter of credibility.

"If the jury believes the family, Michael Jackson is going to be convicted, and if they don't then he's going to be acquitted," says CBSNews.com Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen.

The 46-year-old entertainer is charged with molesting the boy in 2003, plying him with wine and conspiring to hold his family captive to get them to rebut the documentary "Living With Michael Jackson." In the documentary, Jackson holds hands with the boy and says he allows children into his bed for innocent, non-sexual sleepovers.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen Thursday launched an impassioned, rapid fire attack, implying Jackson was a homosexual and calling him a "predator."

He said at Neverland the accuser and his brother "entered the world of the forbidden, and they learned about human sexuality from someone very willing to be their teacher."

On the other hand, the prosecutors portrayed Jackson as a hard-drinking, porn-collecting pedophile to "dirty up" the pop star because they couldn't prove their case that he molested a child, Jackson's lawyer said in his closing arguments.

"Closing arguments is when you can really tell a story and tie it all together," said University of Southern California law professor Jean Rosenbluth. "Zonen did that very well."

  • David Hancock

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