Frail, tardy Jacko takes ill during trial -- He forces a delay in testimony of child-abuse expert

By Gary Susman
Updated March 22, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST
Michael Jackson: Carlo Allegri/Pool/AP

On the plus side, Michael Jackson made it to court Monday in regular slacks instead of pajamas. Still, he arrived late and appeared frail; later in the day, he would complain to reporters that he was still suffering from the severe back pain that had caused his tardiness March 10. As on that day, Jackson was late because he stopped before the day’s legal proceedings began at Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital seeking treatment, CNN reports; this time, however, Judge Rodney Melville did not respond by threatening to arrest the singer and revoke his $3 million bail. In fact, Jackson brought his emergency room doctor with him to the courthouse, and the trial was delayed for 45 minutes as the doctor met with the judge in his chambers.

At one point, Jackson was so ill that he had to leave the courtroom; appearing nauseated, he held tissues in front of his face as he got up to leave, according to CNN. Judge Melville did not reveal the nature of his discussion with Dr. Bert Weiner, though Jackson told reporters at the end of the day that the doctor had given him medication.

Jackson’s ailment delayed the testimony of two prosecution witnesses. University of California-Davis psychologist Anthony Urquiza, called as an expert on sexually abused children, said that the discrepancies in the accuser’s statements (to police, teachers, other kids, and the court) were consistent with the behavior of child molestation victims. Under cross-examination, however, he acknowledged that he had not studied cases involving false accusations of molestation.

The other witness, Lauren Wallace, was an XtraJet flight attendant who said she had flown with Jackson on 15 charter flights. She said she had standing orders to serve him wine in Diet Coke cans. She told the defense, however, that she did so because Jackson didn’t want his own kids to see him drinking, that she had never seen drunken children on a flight with Jackson, and that she had never flown with the accuser and his family on board.