Money Woes Paining Jackson?

This photo released on Sunday, Aug. 22, 2010, by the Iranian Defense Ministry, claims to show launch of the Karrar, or striker in Farsi, the country's first domestically-built, long-range, unmanned bomber aircraft at an undisclosed location.
AP Photo
The jury has the day off Friday at the Michael Jackson child molestation trial, but the judge and the lawyers will be there: arguing motions on what evidence the panel will be allowed to see and hear.

There was quite a lot to see and hear in connection with the trial Thursday, and only some of it made its way to the eyes and ears of the jury that will decide the pop star's fate.

Michael Jackson went AWOL from his trial Thursday and was nearly jailed before he finally showed up more than an hour late, in his pajama bottoms and slippers, to listen as his accuser described his alleged molestation in graphic detail.

The pop star, wearing a coat over a T-shirt, walked gingerly into court after being treated at a hospital for what was described as a serious back problem. Jackson arrived after Judge Rodney S. Melville threatened to arrest him and revoke his $3 million bail; the judge later vacated the warrant.

Jurors got only a hint of the strange courtroom drama.

"Mr. Jackson had a medical problem and it was necessary for me to order his appearance," Melville told jurors, adding that he didn't want the panel to draw any negative inferences from the developments.

CBS consultant and Jackson biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli tells CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales that Jackson's back pains may be more than just stress from the trial.

"People in Michael Jackson's circle are not surprised at what happened today. People who know him, know he can't handle stress. He's prone to panic attacks," said Taraborelli.

Apparently staff at his Neverland Ranch staged a sickout because they haven't been paid in weeks. Animals in the singer's zoo may have to be moved. His lawyers have reportedly not been paid in months.

"Our information is that Michael Jackson was up all night long last night dealing with his troubles at Neverland. He only needs $150,000 to straighten out this mess at Neverland," said Taraborelli. But the singer may be having trouble raising the money.

As testimony finally began Thursday, Jackson, 46, watched as his accuser described extensive liquor-laced visits with Jackson at Neverland, and of looking at sex magazines with the pop star and of being molested as he lay in Jackson's bed.

Under questioning by District Attorney Tom Sneddon, the boy said he remembered two sexual encounters.

In testimony that was hushed and sometimes mumbled, the young cancer survivor said Jackson molested him the first time in his bedroom under the covers after they returned from drinking in Neverland's arcade. It began with talk about masturbation, he claimed.

"He said if men don't masturbate they can get to a level where they might rape a girl or they can be kind of unstable," the boy said of Jackson.

The witness said he told Jackson he did not masturbate and Jackson said that if he didn't know how "he would do it for me."

He said Jackson masturbated him while they were under the bedcovers and he was wearing Jackson's pajamas.

The boy said the second molestation occurred "about a day after" and in that instance he resisted an attempt by Jackson to place the boy's hand on Jackson's genitals.

The boy claimed he ejaculated in both incidents and felt embarrassed but that Jackson tried to "comfort me."

In opening statements the defense noted that no DNA from the boy was found anywhere in Jackson's bedroom.

The accuser's testimony differed from his brother's earlier testimony and it was unclear if they were talking about the same incidents. The brother said he saw Jackson and the boy in their underwear and that the boy was asleep. The brother also said the boy was on top of the bedcovers.

On cross-examination, defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. alleged the accuser was making up the story. Jackson's attorneys have said the molestation claims are an attempt by the accuser's family to get money.

"Only after you met with Larry Feldman you started talking about inappropriate touching," said Mesereau, referring to a lawyer who handled another boy's allegations against Jackson in 1993 that ended with a civil settlement.

"I never told Larry Feldman," the boy said.

He acknowledged that he and his family went back to Neverland several times after meeting with attorneys.

Mesereau also attacked the boy's testimony that he did not feel that Jackson had done much for him when he had cancer.

"I didn't see him much," the boy said. "He was my best friend in the world and my best friend was trying to avoid me when I had cancer."

Mesereau, however, said Jackson called the boy three times a week for conversations of two to three hours, gave him gifts, invited him and his family to stay at Neverland for weeks at a time, had them stay at a Florida resort and had them chauffeured in limousines and a Rolls-Royce.

"Did your family go back and forth and stay at Neverland for free?" Mesereau asked.

"Everybody stays at Neverland for free," the boy answered defensively.

He was asked whether he knew that Jackson conducted a blood drive for him at Neverland.

"I heard something about a blood drive but I don't remember," he said.

"Can you look this jury in the eye and say that Michael did nothing for you when you had cancer?" Mesereau asked angrily.

"I didn't say he did nothing," the boy said. He said he felt other celebrities he had gotten to know did more for him, although he acknowledged that none had invited his family to live with them.

The boy suggested there was an instance when he was told Jackson was not at home but he bumped into him at the estate.

"My heart broke right there," he said.

The day's testimony ended with Mesereau questioning the boy about a lawsuit that his mother brought against J.C. Penney stores, claiming that the family had been abused by security guards.

He noted that in a deposition in that suit the boy said he was told what to say by lawyers, but the boy denied that Thursday.

Mesereau's cross-examination of the boy will resume Monday.

Attorney Brian Oxman said Jackson will return to court Monday after recovering from an injury he suffered Thursday morning.

"He tripped this morning and fell in the early morning hours as he was getting dressed. His back is in terrible pain. He was in terrible discomfort throughout the proceedings."

As he left court, Jackson was asked if he was in pain and he nodded.

Since the jury won't be in court Friday, when the judge hears motions on evidence, Thursday's final testimony may stay uppermost in their minds throughout the long weekend, says . He says the prosecution made a mistake in not asking the accuser a few more questions - to prevent the defense from beginning its cross-examination.

"Prosecutors could have had the final say before jury's long weekend; instead it was Jackson's attorney who even in a few short minutes began to try to chip away at the accuser's credibility," says Cohen. "The alleged victim's story is devastating but even during direct examination - questioning by the prosecutor - there are inconsistencies with what his siblings already testified to under oath and, perhaps most important, some degree of ambiguity about how many times he says Jackson molested him."

  • David Hancock

    David Hancock is a home page editor for