Michael Jackson Trial Goes to Jury

The Michael Jackson child molestation case goes to the jury in Santa Maria, California. Defense attorneys wrap their case by playing videotapes of Jackson explaining why he spends so much time with children.

Copyright © 2005 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.


And I'm Michele Norris.

Michael Jackson's fate is now in the hands of a jury in Santa Maria, California. The pop singer's three-month-long child-molestation trial came to a close this afternoon. The defense and the prosecution played dueling videotapes of Jackson and his young accuser. As NPR's Luke Burbank reports, it was all about leaving the jury with a powerful last impression.

LUKE BURBANK reporting:

Defense attorney Tom Mesereau spent the morning playing video clips of Jackson, during which the singer talked about how lonely he was, describing times he would walk down the streets asking random people to be his friend. The tapes were aimed at humanizing Jackson for the jury. Mesereau repeatedly called Jackson's accusers `actors, con artists and liars.'

When it was his turn for rebuttal, prosecutor Ron Zonen again tried to shore up the credibility of the accuser's mother, stating that she never asked for or received any money from any celebrities, as the Jackson camp has maintained. Zonen also replayed a videotape that many legal analysts have called the prosecution's ace in the hole, a video of Jackson's accuser making his first allegations to investigators. In the tape, the small boy, wearing shorts and slumping in his chair, told investigators that the pop star touched him inappropriately a number of times in 2003.

The case is now in the hands of the jury. With 150 witnesses and stacks of evidence to consider, some jury experts say it could be the middle of next week before a verdict is reached. If convicted of all 10 charges against him, which include child molestation, conspiracy to keep the accuser's family captive and providing alcohol to a minor, he could serve up to 18 years, but that would be a maximum sentence. If convicted on the substantial charges in the case, Jackson could serve something in the range of three to seven years. Luke Burbank, NPR News, Santa Maria, California.

Copyright © 2005 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: