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Jackson Returns To Hospital

Michael Jackson supporter B.J. Hickman, of Knoxville, Tenn., left, faces off with a Jackson critic known as Bobby Bible in front of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse in Santa Maria, Calif., Wednesday, June 8, 2005, as jury deliberations continue in Michael Jackson's child molestation trial.
AP
It's been more than three days, adding up to about 18 hours in the jury room, and the panel will be back at it Thursday, trying to arrive at a verdict in the Michael Jackson child molestation trial.

Wednesday afternoon, the pop star was back at a local hospital, for what his spokeswoman said was a previously scheduled follow-up doctor's appointment for back pain that has plagued him repeatedly throughout the trial.

CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales reports however that hours after Jackson's spokeswoman said the entertainer had already left the hospital, he was still there - and did not leave until around midnight, exiting with his security guards.

Jackson, 46, is charged with molesting a 13-year-old boy in 2003, giving him wine, and conspiracy involving an effort to hold the boy and his family against their will to get them to rebut a damaging documentary.

The jury is scheduled for only a half-day session Thursday. No reason was given, but the judge noted before the start of deliberations that he understood some jurors had obligations to attend graduation ceremonies for family members.

Wednesday, a controversy over the gag order in the case arose when the singer'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 has not violated a gag order imposed by the judge.

Mesereau did not name anyone, but his statement came shortly after Jackson's spokeswoman, Raymone K. Bain, held a news conference at the courthouse in which she indicated that her comments had been approved by Mesereau. Others, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, also have spoken publicly in recent days, in a show of support for the embattled entertainer.

Jesse Jackson, notes CBS News Correspondent Steve Futterman, had been holding news conferences at the courthouse for several days running and at one point compared a police raid this year at the Neverland Ranch to the 1990 siege by federal agents at the Branch Davidian complex in Waco, Texas.

"I have not authorized anyone to speak or hold any press conferences on behalf of Michael Jackson or his family," Mesereau said in the statement issued on a Jackson Web site. "A gag order is in effect which the defense team will continue to honor."

"What concerns the attorneys and the judge is that something these public speakers will say will somehow get in front of jurors at the most sensitive point in the case," said .

"The place where the press conferences take place here is about 50 feet away from where the jurors hang out during their breaks," said Cohen. "Can you imagine if one of those jurors, just by accident, just happened to hear what was being said at the microphone?"

It was originally announced that the court would release a statement, but the judge simply signed off on Mesereau's statement before it was posted on the Web site.

Shortly before the statement was issued, Bain had addressed the media. There was little new in her comments, but she noted, "If Mr. Mesereau didn't want me here, I wouldn't be here. I never speak to the media without talking to Mr. Mesereau."

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.

Earlier Wednesday, Jesse Jackson charged that the jury is being subjected to "psychological warfare" because of a television report in which a former Santa Barbara County sheriff showed a jail where the singer might go if convicted and immediately ordered into custody.

"With an unsequestered jury, they are saying 'Here is where he will stay,'" said Jackson.

Former sheriff Jim Thomas, reacting to the Rev. Jackson's comments, said "I think the jurors are quite capable of figuring out where he'll go, if he's convicted, without my help." The jury has been ordered to avoid all news reports on the trial.