Jury hears closing arguments in Jackson case
By Friday afternoon, Michael Jackson’s fate was expected to be in the hands of his jurors. Defense attorney Thomas Mesereau concluded his closing arguments Friday morning, followed by a rebuttal by Santa Barbara County Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen. Mesereau began his wrap-up late Thursday, after Zonen spent much of the day presenting the prosecution’s closing argument. Upon completion of Zonen’s rebuttal, Judge Rodney Melville was expected to instruct the jurors and hand the case over to them.
According to reports from the Associated Press and CNN, Mesereau branded the 15-year-old accuser and his family as con artists, calling his mother ”a complete liar and a fabricator” whose children were ”being raised to make allegations.” Zonen had insisted that the mother never sought money from Jackson and had no plans to do so. Rather, he said, ”This case is about the exploitation and abuse of a 13-year-old cancer survivor at the hands of an international celebrity.” He called Jackson a ”predator” who introduced boys ”into the world of the forbidden.”
As has happened at least three times during his legal travails, the 46-year-old singer apparently found the proceedings so stressful that he briefly checked into a hospital. On Thursday night, he was treated at the Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital in nearby Solvang. He went to the emergency room but did not stay long, hospital spokeswoman Janet O’Neill told AP. Sources told NBC News he had been treated for dehydration. Friday morning, however, Jackson was back in court, accompanied by his parents and siblings Janet, LaToya, Jermaine, Tito, and Randy, on hand for moral support as the trial drew to a close.