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Jackson Prosecution Wrapping Up

Fresh off a week in court that featured testimony about books with pictures of nude boys, prosecutors in the Michael Jackson appeared close to the final stages of their case.

Most speculation centers now not on who District Attorney Tom Sneddon may call as his final witnesses, but whether the defense will call Jackson himself.

Sneddon said last week that the prosecution would rest its case against the pop singer Tuesday.

The prosecution's presentation has had lots of problems, reports CBS News Correspondent Steve Futterman. At times it has seemed disjointed. Last week, when the prosecution expected Jackson's ex-wife Debbie Rowe to say that she was pressured to say nice things in a video interview about the pop star, she said just the opposite — that no one told her what to say.

"This should be the pinnacle of the prosecution case; it should never get better than it is right now, and it's not very good," CBSNews.com Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen said.

After the prosecution rests, the defense was expected to ask Judge Rodney S. Melville to dismiss the entire case for insufficient evidence.

"They need to tie Michael Jackson to the conspiracy. They haven't clearly tied him to that," said San Francisco attorney Michael Cardoza, a courtroom observer.

Jackson's attorneys will argue that the testimony so far has failed to substantiate the charges. Such motions rarely succeed.

Despite these problems, legal experts point out that this case involves a very emotional issue, child molestation, and if jurors believe Jackson is indeed a child molester, they may be willing to overlook any weaknesses in the prosecutions case.

On Friday, prosecutors presented two books found in Jackson's home that included pictures of nude boys.

Los Angeles police Detective Rosibel Smith, who found the books in a locked filing cabinet in Jackson's master bedroom during a 1993 search, testified that both books featured boys "playing, swimming, jumping."

One book included an inscription written by Jackson: "Look at the true spirit of happiness and joy in these boys' faces, this is the spirit of boyhood, a life I've never had and will always dream of. This is the life I want for my children."

The books were seized during a molestation investigation involving a boy who received a multimillion-dollar settlement from Jackson in 1994. The investigation never led to criminal charges against Jackson.

Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy in 2003, giving him alcohol and conspiring to hold the accuser's family captive to get them to rebut a damaging documentary, "Living With Michael Jackson."

The documentary, which aired in the United States on Feb. 6, 2003, featured Jackson holding hands with the boy now accusing him of molestation and saying he has allowed children to sleep in his bed, though he said the sleepovers were non-sexual.

Much of the speculation is now about whether Jackson himself will take the stand.

Lead defense lawyer Thomas Mesereau Jr.'s close friend and associate, attorney Dana Cole, said Mesereau is leaning toward putting him on. "Tom feels Michael would make a very good witness," Cole said. "He feels it's important for the client to look at the jury and say 'I did not commit this crime.'"

Cohen doesn't think it will happen.

"When a defendant testifies in a criminal case, it's because the defense is very worried and is on the defensive," he said. "I don't think that's the case here."

Jackson's attorneys have presented a long list of possible witnesses, including many big names such as Stevie Wonder, Eddie Murphy and Elizabeth Taylor, reports Futterman, but that doesn't mean they are all going to be called.

"I think the defense understands there's an interest in brevity here," says Cohen. "And if they keep the defense case short, make the points they need to make and then sit down, they'll be appreciated by the jury."