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Jackson Team Grills Accuser's Mom

Court sketch of the mother of Michael Jackson's teen accuser
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The mother of Michael Jackson's young accuser was barraged with questions and insinuations on the witness stand Friday as the singer's attorney tried to portray her as a con artist and forced her to admit she had lied under oath twice in an unrelated case.

Attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr.'s biting cross-examination and the witness's long-winded answers that often strayed from the subject prompted Judge Rodney S. Melville to admonish both sides.

"It's a very tense relationship between them," courtroom observer tells CBS News.

"It's as nasty and contentious and theatrical a cross examination as you will ever see, pitting a bulldog defense attorney and a whacky witness fighting over key issues in a criminal case," reports CBS News Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen. "If it weren't happening for real, and if you saw it on television or heard it on the radio, you would swear that Hollywood had overdone it."

Mesereau, attempting to shatter the mother's credibility, focused many of his questions on the woman's lawsuit against a department store. The family received more than $150,000 in 2001 after alleging they were roughed up by JC Penney security guards.

Mesereau noted that in a sworn statement, the woman said she had never been abused by her husband at the time — an important issue, because her alleged injuries may have been caused by such violence.

"You were not telling the truth under oath when you made those statements," Mesereau said.

The woman eventually responded, "This is correct," but explained that she lied because she was embarrassed about the abuse.

She also acknowledged being untruthful when she said in the lawsuit that her husband was honest.

Earlier, the witness testified about her performance on a videotaped interview in which she praised Jackson, saying she is a "poor actress." Mesereau fired back: "I think you're a good one."

The judge chastised Mesereau for the remark and told the woman to refrain from delivering long answers unrelated to attorneys' questions, telling her, "It's as much your fault."

Cross-examination of the witness is expected to continue when court resumes Monday.

"We know that jurors tend to believe witnesses more when they like them. And it's hard to see a scenario here where these jurors like this witness," reports Cohen. "She's playing to them in a way that is so obvious and dramatic and contrived that they may be tuning her out.

"That's doesn't guarantee an acquittal for Jackson, but it certainly doesn't hurt."

Cross-examination of the witness is expected to continue when court resumes Monday.

Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a 13-year-old former cancer patient, plying the boy with alcohol, and holding his family captive at his Neverland ranch and elsewhere in February and March 2003 to get them to help rebut a damaging documentary.

Jackson's lawyers have suggested that the child-molestation charges were concocted by the boy's mother in an attempt to shake down Jackson for money.

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