Michael Jackson’s lawyer opens case – Reuters

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Tuesday March 1, 07:42 PM [b]Michael Jackson’s lawyer opens case[/b] SANTA MARIA, California (Reuters) – Michael Jackson’s lawyer says the pop star will tell the jury in his child molestation case how his teenage accuser ran wild at his Neverland Valley ranch, drinking wine and looking at porn, while his mother hatched a scheme to extort money. Concluding his opening statements, attorney Tom Mesereau said on Tuesday his client was the naive victim of a scheming family and that there was no DNA evidence of the sexual abuse charged by the prosecution. “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s going to be a long trial and you are going to hear lots of evidence,” Mesereau said. “We are extremely confident that when you do, you are going to find Michael Jackson absolutely not guilty of any of this.” … Prosecutors were expected to call their first witnesses on Tuesday, including Martin Bashir, the British journalist whose controversial documentary “Living with Michael Jackson” is at the center of the case. Mesereau told jurors that Jackson was not home on some of the days that prosecutors charge he molested the boy. “A lot of the dates you heard the prosecutor identify, he wasn’t even near the place,” he said. The real aim of Jackson’s accusers is to use the criminal case to strengthen a civil lawsuit against the entertainer, he said. [i]JACKSON TO TAKE THE STAND?[/i] Mesereau indicated at least three times during his statement that jurors would hear from Jackson directly during the trial, which could last up to six months. The lawyer said Jackson would detail his growing suspicions about his accuser’s family and tell how the boy and his younger brother broke into his wine cellar and got drunk during a stay at Neverland. They also rifled through a briefcase containing pornography. “Michael Jackson will tell you one time at Neverland he got a very bad feeling about these people,” Mesereau said as he recounted an incident during which the boy’s mother had her children hold hands with the pop star and urged them to kneel and pray “with our daddy, Michael.” He added, Jackson thought, “I’ve got to get away. I love helping these children, but I’ve got to get away.” Mesereau said that the mother of Jackson’s accuser was out to get money and had seen her son’s appearance with Jackson in the Bashir documentary as a business opportunity. She concocted the abuse allegations, he said, “when she realized Mr. Jackson wasn’t going to be there to take care of her family for the rest of her life.” Jackson sat in court wearing a dark suit with a gold armband and was accompanied by his mother, Katherine. No other Jackson family members were present and there was only a small group of supporters and onlookers standing vigil outside. … Source: [url]http://uk.news.yahoo.com/050301/325/fdj12.html[/url]

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