[b]AMERICAN MORNING[/b] Democratic Governors Unite Behind Kerry; Judge Continues Jackson Molestation Case; Interview With Sen. Biden; Interview With Gov. Rendell; Interview With Howard Dean Aired July 28, 2004 – 07:00 ET … MARCIANO: Heidi, back to you in New York. COLLINS: All right. Thanks so much to you, Rob. Appreciate it. The judge in Michael Jackson’s child molestation case has granted a defense request to delay the trial until January. Prosecutors meanwhile claim the alleged victim and his family were virtual prisoners at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. CNN’s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joining us now to talk about the developments in this case. What do you make of these charges? JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: Well, this was really interesting. This was the first time that the prosecution really laid out its theory of the case. And what they said was after February of last year, which is when the Martin Bashir documentary came out, where Jackson said he thought it was appropriate to have children sleep in his bed, he thought there was nothing wrong with that. COLLINS: Right. [b]TOOBIN: He said after that, at that point, according to the prosecution, Jackson made the accuser in this case virtual prisoners in his home, took them around on private plane trips to Florida and elsewhere, and forced the child to make a videotape saying that nothing untoward went on with Michael Jackson. COLLINS: OK. So, how difficult will this be to prove for prosecutors? TOOBIN: Incredibly difficult to prove because, you know, how do you make someone a prisoner with their parents and by forcing them to, you know, be on a private plane and take vacations and live the good life? I mean, that sounds — many people might view that as a nice thing to have, as a good thing to have, hardly a prisoner situation. Tom Mesereau, Michael Jackson’s lawyer, in court yesterday said any jury would laugh this out of court. I don’t know if that’s true, but certainly I think the idea of this as a prisoner type situation, that’s going to be difficult to prove. COLLINS: Yes, virtual prisoner, being the keyword. TOOBIN: Yes, very virtual.[/b] COLLINS: Right. OK. Also the trial date, as we mentioned, being pushed back to January 31st, originally scheduled for September 13th, judge saying that he was overly optimistic in trying to do that. Does that surprise you? TOOBIN: Welcome to California. Again, California has the slowest legal system in the United States, certainly of all the big states. That’s a long delay, but not terribly surprising. There are a lot of legal motions still to be handled in this case. They have to go to all the grand jury testimony to make sure that the prosecution conducted an appropriate proceeding. There are a lot of issues about whether evidence will be suppressed or not. It’s going to take a long time. January, I think, is likely at this point, but there’s no guarantee it won’t be delayed past then either. [b]COLLINS: But when it comes down to it, Jeff, doesn’t it really just appear to be Michael Jackson’s word versus the boys word? TOOBIN: Well, in many respects, the case is even weaker than that because you have the boy on tape saying nothing happened. You have the boy telling investigators from Los Angeles children’s services that nothing happened. So it’s not just Michael Jackson’s word against the boy’s now; it’s the boy’s word against his own word at various times. So, it strikes me as a difficult case for the prosecution. And there’s only one accusation at the heart of this case. It’s not like there are a group of people who claim that Michael Jackson abused them.[/b] COLLINS: January 31st. All right. [url=http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0407/28/ltm.05.html]http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0407/28/ltm.05.html[/url]

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