Lawyers Under Fire In Jackson Case

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As former Michael Jackson lawyer faced, and sometimes evaded, grilling in the pop star's defense, the judge in Jackson's child molestation trial said Friday he may sanction lead defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. for misrepresenting the terms limiting Geragos' testimony.

The trial is wrapping up for the weekend — and the testimony could be over for good before long. A prosecutor says the defense has indicated that it could rest its case by Tuesday of next week.

Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville could penalize Mesereau for not detailing the agreement under which the pop star waived confidentiality with former lawyer Mark Geragos.

"I feel deceived by Mr. Mesereau and I am considering ... sanctions of some sort against Mr. Mesereau," Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville said in a hearing before Geragos resumed testifying.

Jackson waived attorney-client privilege only for the period up until his arrest in November 2003, but that limit was not disclosed until Geragos mentioned it while testifying last week.

The prosecution and the judge were surprised by the limitation, and at the time Mesereau apologized, saying he had not thought the period after arrest was relevant.

Most court observers expect the sanctions to include a fine.

"Whatever the judge decides to do with Mesereau, it won't make a bit of difference to the ultimate outcome of the case against Jackson. The only thing it will do, and already has done, is make the judge a little more wary of what the defense says in court," says Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen.

When testimony resumed, Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen asked Geragos about surveillance conducted on the accuser's family by a private investigator, Bradley Miller.

Geragos said he hired the investigator because he was concerned the family might go to tabloids to sell a false story or to an attorney to try to sue Jackson.

"I told him, 'Find out who they're meeting with and what they're doing,"' Geragos said.

During today's testimony, Jackson's former lawyer Mark Geragos said he suspected something was up with the accuser's family. So Geragos told his investigator to monitor the family — because he was afraid they were getting ready to shake Jackson down. He says he thought they might meet with tabloid reporters, or meet with an attorney and sue Jackson.

Geragos also said he doesn't know how he got hold of the family's passports. He said he knew nothing about a purported plan to fly them to Brazil.

And as for whether his investigators acted illegally — for example, in their taping of phone conversations involving the accuser's mother — he says their methods were entirely up to them.

His testimony is over, but prosecutors still want him to produce further records, which could lead to more testimony.

Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy in February or March 2003, plying him with wine and conspiring to hold the boy's family captive.

Prosecutors said he wanted them to rebut a TV documentary in which Jackson said he let children sleep in his bed, but it was non-sexual.

Prosecutors have shown surveillance videotapes to suggest that Jackson and his associates were plotting to hold the family captive, and the mother has testified she feared her parents and her boyfriend would be in danger if she didn't cooperate with Jackson.

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