Jackson jury recesses for weekend

SANTA MARIA: Michael Jackson’s fate is in the hands of a jury. Jurors received the child-molestation case against the pop star Friday afternoon and deliberated for about two hours before adjourning for the weekend. Defence attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr ended his closing argument after playing video outtakes from an interview in which Jackson says his love for children is pure and innocent. Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen responded with a video of the teenage accuser describing how Jackson allegedly molested him. “You’ve just witnessed the seven worst minutes of this young man’s life,” Zonen told jurors at the end of the recording.

The trial began with prosecutors playing “Living With Michael Jackson,” the documentary in which the entertainer is seen holding hands with his accuser and saying he lets children sleep in his bed for innocent sleepovers. As jurors began deliberations, a grim-looking Jackson left the courthouse and walked slowly to his entourage’s waiting vehicles in front of the courthouse. He rode off without comment. The deliberations are the final step in a trial that began 14 weeks ago. Over those 3.5 months, the panel of eight women and four men

has heard from more than 130 witnesses. Jackson felt nervous in court but was physically fine and relieved the trial is nearly over, said his spokeswoman, Raymone K Bain.

Jackson, 46, is charged with molesting the boy, then a 13-year-old recovering cancer patient, in 2003. He allegedly plied the boy with wine and conspired to hold his family captive to get them to rebut the “Living With Michael Jackson” documentary. He could face several years in prison if convicted of all charges. — AP