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Jackson Jury Wraps Up Short Day

Michael Jackson leaves the courtroom on a break at Santa Barbara County Courthouse for the second day of closing arguments in his child molestation trial in Santa Maria, Calif., Frdiay, June 3, 2005. Jackson has appeared gaunt in recent days, and officials at Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital in Solvang disclosed Friday that he had visited the emergency room overnight.
AP
Jurors in the Michael Jackson child molestation trial completed a scheduled half-day of deliberations Thursday and left court without reaching a verdict.

The panel has spent more than 22 hours deliberating over five days.

The reason for the short day was not released by the court but the judge said last week that some jurors had obligations to attend school graduation ceremonies.

Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a 13-year-old cancer survivor in 2003, plying him with wine and conspiring to hold his family captive to get them to rebut a damaging TV documentary about the entertainer.

On Wednesday, Jackson made another trip to the hospital for more treatment to his back problems. The singer had gone to the emergency room Sunday because of a back problem exacerbated by stress, and Wednesday's visit was a scheduled follow-up, spokeswoman Raymone Bain said.

"Mr. Jackson is now at home with his family," she said.

The singer's ill health seems to mirror the sorry state of his once-adept PR machine, reports CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales.

A controversy over the gag order in the case arose Wednesday when Jackson's attorney issued a statement saying he had not authorized anyone to hold news conferences on the pop star's behalf.

The court-approved statement from attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. appeared aimed at assuring the court that his defense team had not violated the judge's gag order.

The confusion inside the Jackson camp was apparent as reporters waiting outside the courthouse for a verdict found themselves asking "Who speaks for Michael Jackson?" reports Gonzales.

In the morning, it was Rev. Jesse Jackson, who held his third press conference in three days. He said he meets and prays with the singer.

In the afternoon, it was Bain, who said only she had Mesereau's permission to speak for the singer and his family.

"You can't listen to what Rev Jackson said and equate it to the family," she told reporters. "I never talk to anyone without checking with Mr. Mesereau."

But after she spoke, Mesereau got permission from the court to release a statement on Jackson's Web site: "I have not authorized anyone to speak or hold any press conferences on behalf of Michael Jackson or his family. A gag order is in effect which the defense team will continue to honor."

It is possible that the judge or the prosecution may feel these news conferences are violations of the judge's strict gag order, and that Mesereau's statement may be an attempt to placate the court.

"No one wants to upset the apple cart. This is one of the most critical times of the trial. Tom Mesereau wants to tell everyone, just shut up," said CBSNews.com Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen.

Bain insisted in the wake of Mesereau's statement that it had not been directed at her. She said she runs everything she says by Mesereau and does not violate the gag order because she talks about how Jackson is feeling and not about the case.

Later Wednesday, Jesse Jackson said Mesereau's statement didn't stem from his public comments, either, but that Mesereau had also expressed concerns to him.

"He made it very clear that he wanted to make sure the judge did not think he had a surrogate spokesperson," he told The Associated Press, saying he spoke to the media of his own volition.

"I don't think there will be any impact" on the jury, jury consultant Sam Solomon told CBS News Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm. "These jurors are smart jurors. They're here for a serious reason. And I believe that these jurors will take that job seriously."

Solomon isn't surprised the jury isn't sequestered, to prevent their exposure to media reports.

"This is an situation where having sequestering doesn't make much of a difference," Solomon said. "These jurors will be focused on jury instructions, how to think about the case. We're finding generally that jurors really take this type of job very seriously."