Jackson lawyers face tough battle

SANTA MARIA: Michael Jackson’s lawyers on April 5 faced one of their toughest battles in the superstar’s child sex trial, following the tearful and explosive testimony of a second alleged victim. Court-watchers say lead defence attorney Thomas Mesereau will be walking a tightrope as he seeks to discredit the testimony without being seen as too harsh on the young man who claims Jackson fondled him.

The witness, the 24-year-old son of Jackson’s former maid, dropped a courtroom bombshell when he told jurors the “King of Pop” had first fondled him when he was seven or eight, and then again on two more occasions. While the jurors are not being asked to judge his case, or four more that will be presented in coming days, they must assess whether Jackson had a “propensity to commit similar crimes” to the ones he is charged with. The “King of Pop” has denied all 10 counts that he fondled a 13-year-old boy, served him alcohol and conspired to hold him and his family against their will two years ago. The judge’s decision to allow testimony about the prior cases has dealt a severe blow to Jackson’s lawyers who had gone all out to argue the star’s accuser was a liar and a pawn in his mother’s scheme to extort money from celebrities. — AFP