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Jackson Jury Done For The Week

Michael Jackson leaves the courtroom during a break in testimony in his child molestation trial at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Tuesday, May 24, 2005 in Santa Maria, Calif. (AP Photo/Hector Mata, Pool)
AP
The jury in the Michael Jackson child molestation trial went home for the weekend, ending a full week of deliberations with no verdict.

"There is no indication of any problems inside the jury room but maybe the weekend will give jurors time to clean out some cobwebs, think about what their colleagues have been saying, and allow them to come back Monday fresh and ready for a breakthrough,'' said CBS News Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen.

"I'm sure what is driving the attorneys most crazy is the complete silence from jurors. No questions of the judge. No readbacks of testimony. No requests for explanation of the law. Nothing. And so there is no way for the attorneys to tell which way the jury is leaning,'' Cohen notes.

In a development late Friday, a statement on the Jackson Web site www.mjjsource.com said his spokeswoman, Raymone K. Bain, and her firm were terminated. The statement attributed to MJJ Productions added, "We thank you for your services,'' but did not elaborate.

Bain, however, said in a phone interview that she works directly for Jackson, not for MJJ Productions, and only he could terminate her.

"I have not been fired by Michael Jackson,'' she said.

On Thursday, fans outside the courthouse gates chanted "Michael's innocent" as jurors wrapped up for the day.

The jury panel put in only 2½ hours Thursday. The reason for the abbreviated day was not released by the court, but Judge Rodney S. Melville noted last week that some jurors had school graduation ceremonies to attend.

Jackson is charged with molesting a 13-year-old boy in 2003, plying him with wine and conspiring to hold him and his family captive to get them to rebut the TV documentary "Living With Michael Jackson."

The documentary showed the boy holding hands with Jackson and the pop star saying he let children into his bed for innocent, nonsexual sleepovers.

During the trial, the prosecution portrayed Jackson as a pedophile who has preyed on boys for years. The defense sought to show he is a victim of a family of con artists who target celebrities.

Many of the reporters and pundits camped out at the trial thought a verdict would have happened by now.

"I think they are being thorough because they know the whole world is watching," said Craig Smith, a former Santa Barbara prosecutor who has been following developments in the trial. "And they want to give the impression that they gave both sides fair consideration."

Since the jurors have been deliberating, there's been little news from the court. Typically jurors ask for more readbacks of testimony or have questions for the judge. But journalists have heard nothing lately.

CBS News Correspondent Manuel Gallegus says trying to read what's going on with the jury right now would be no more than a guess. In the Scott Peterson murder trial, for example, it took nine and a half days before jurors reached a verdict.

Meanwhile, outside Jackson's Neverland ranch Thursday, three local teens tangled a bit with Jackson fan until officers stepped in to settle things.

"They call us names and we decided not to answer back but they still do it," said Dulce Eglesias, a Jackson fan from Spain.

"I've lived here for 18 years and I think he's guilty and deserves just punishment," said a Santa Maria resident named Jacob.

Inside the gates of Neverland, Jackson was shielded from the scuffle. He remains there except for his occasional visits to the emergency room.

Jackson went to a hospital again Wednesday for treatment of back problems, according to his spokeswoman, Raymone K. Bain.

Bain said the visit to Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital had been scheduled as a follow-up to a hospital trip Sunday for what she described as a back problem exacerbated by stress.

Jackson first reported the back problem in March, when he made an early morning emergency room visit on one of the days his accuser testified. Jackson rushed to the courtroom wearing pajama bottoms when the judge threatened to have him arrested if he didn't appear.

Later that day, the boy testified that Jackson molested him while they were both wearing pairs of the singer's pajamas.