CBSN

Leno Center Stage At Jackson Trial

Texas Rangers' Bengie Molina, right, celebrates with David Murphy after Molina's three-run home run against the New York Yankees in the sixth inning of Game 4 of baseball's American League Championship Series Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
AP Photo/Charles Krupa
Defense attorneys in the Michael Jackson child molestation trial were expected to call "The Tonight Show" host Jay Leno and comedian Chris Tucker to testify in the pop star's behalf Tuesday.

Leno was expected testify that he once received a phone call from someone he believed to be the accuser who tried to bilk him out of money. The NBC talk show host dedicated much of his monologue Monday night to discussing his court appearance. Noting he has often poked fun at Jackson's expense, Leno quipped: "I was called by the defense. Apparently they've never seen this program."

CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales reports that despite the jokes, Jackson's defense team has serious questions for Leno regarding a police report in which Jackson's young accuser and his family called Leno seeking money. Leno reportedly told police he thought they were looking for a mark.

"This is really a showdown of sorts in the sense that it's the first time that Michael Jackson and Jay Leno have locked eyes since Jay Leno has been making jokes about Michael Jackson practically every night for the last six months," said CBS News Consultant J. Randy Taraborrelli, who has been in close contact with the Jackson camp.

"I can tell you that Michael Jackson has not found those jokes humorous," Taraborrelli said on CBS News' The Early Show. "Jackson feels that Jay has been very unkind, very mean, and that his life is on the line."

Taraborrelli also notes that it's ironic considering those circumstances that Leno will turn out to be beneficial to the defense.

Tucker, who like Jackson befriended the boy while he was battling cancer, is expected to testify about spending time with the family. They took several trips together, including one to visit Jackson in Miami in February 2003.

Jackson's attorneys were rushing toward concluding their case by calling a series of witnesses who painted the mother of his accuser as a welfare cheat who exploited her son's cancer to live lavishly at Jackson's expense.

Taraborrelli reports that Jackson talked to Liz Taylor on Sunday and told her that she was not going to have to come here and testify.

"She's been in poor health, but she was very anxious to come here to Santa Maria, we understand, to testify on Michael Jackson's behalf," he told Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen.

Taraborrelli added that several celebrities have been removed from the defense witness list because of a ruling the judge made about two weeks ago that said character witnesses were going to be very heavily scrutinized and any character witnesses that the defense team brought forward could be refuted by anti-character witnesses by the prosecution.

  • David Hancock On Google+»

    David Hancock is a home page editor for CBSNews.com.