Jackson Lawyers debate jury instructions

Lawyers in the Michael Jackson child molestation trial today began discussing proposed instructions the jury will be given before beginning deliberations.

Lawyers in the Michael Jackson child molestation trial today began discussing proposed instructions the jury will be given before beginning deliberations.

District Attorney Tom Sneddon told the court that prosecutors were seeking fewer instructions than they originally wanted because some instructions referred to witnesses who were not called.

However, much of the discussion was done without elaboration of issues.

Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville asked lawyers on each side whether they wanted a specific instruction, but referred to each item by a number without describing the content.

Neither Jackson, who is not required to appear for motions hearings, nor the jury were present.

Jackson’s lead lawyer, Thomas Mesereau, who will deliver the defence closing argument, also was not present for the jury instruction discussion.

Jackson’s lawyers were expected to ask Melville for standard jury instructions, saying the panel may reject the entire testimony of a witness they think has lied about a key point.

The defence has tried since the beginning of the case to portray the boy and his family as grifters who targeted Jackson.

Both sides rested their cases on Friday after prosecutors played for jurors a tape of the first law enforcement interview with the singer’s accuser. Defence lawyers had said they might call the boy, his mother, and others back to the stand to question them about the tape, but made the surprise decision to rest instead.

Closing arguments in the case could begin as early as tomorrow, and jurors could get the case before the week is out.

The videotape was a final, dramatic finish for prosecutors as they try to get the panel to sympathise with the boy.

On the tape, the boy slumped in his chair, described the alleged molestation in a low, halting voice. He also asked investigators not to tell his mother what he had told them.

Prosecutors were expected to argue that the boy’s request undercuts the defence’s claim that the mother prompted her son to lie as part of a scheme to get Jackson’s money.

Jackson, 46, is charged with molesting the then-13-year-old boy in February or March 2003, giving him wine and conspiring to hold his family captive to get them to rebut a documentary in which Jackson said he let children into his bed but it was non-sexual.

Jackson denies all charges.

More in this section

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox