Posted on Tue, Apr. 19, 2005 [b] Michael Jackson prosecution plans to rest next week[/b] LINDA DEUTSCH Associated Press SANTA MARIA, Calif. – The prosecution in Michael Jackson’s child molestation trial plans to rest next week, the district attorney told the judge Tuesday. The announcement by District Attorney Tom Sneddon came in the eighth week since opening statements. Sneddon said, however, that he had a problem with witness availability for Friday and Judge Rodney S. Melville agreed to give participants a three-day weekend as long as pending motions were completed by then. The plans were revealed after the accuser’s mother completed testimony that spanned five days and a brief appearance by the accuser’s grandmother, who drew no cross-examination by the defense. Under final cross-examination by the defense, the accuser’s mother insisted she never solicited money from celebrities for her son when he was stricken with cancer and that a lawsuit she filed against a department store was intended to obtain an apology rather than money, although there was a settlement of more than $150,000. The defense sought to suggest through the questioning that Jackson is the victim of a scheme to get his money. … Before leaving the stand, the woman was questioned by defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. about her family’s encounters with celebrities and its involvement in the lawsuit that claimed security guards beat them in 1998 after the boy who is now Jackson’s accuser walked out of a store with clothes that had not been paid for. The woman said she was never informed that fundraisers were held for her son at a Hollywood comedy club and didn’t know that donations were being made when she opened a special bank account for his benefit. She said she had no idea why money was being put in the account and that all of it was being handled by a husband she has since divorce. “You had no idea why anyone put money in it. You just withdrew it?” asked Mesereau. “I did what (my husband) told me,” the woman said. “And you had no idea that Chris Tucker was going to wire money in to that account,” asked the lawyer, referring to the comedian who became a benefactor of the family. “This is correct,” she answered. The attorney asked if she was aware that comedians held a benefit for her son at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood while the boy sat in the lobby collecting money. She said she knew nothing about it. “And do you remember using money donated for (him) on cosmetic surgery?” asked Mesereau. “No,” said the woman. “I used a credit card.” She was asked if she knew that comedian Louise Palanker had given the family $20,000 to build a germ-free room for her son, and she said she knew nothing about it other than that she endorsed a check for $10,000 and gave it to her husband. Palanker has testified that a second check was made out to the husband. The mother insisted that Palanker never mentioned to her that she was writing any checks and that she knew nothing about the hiring of a contractor to construct the room. Palanker testified that the contractor was never paid by the family for the work he did. The mother also maintained that she never asked comedian George Lopez for money, nor did she approach Jay Leno. “Have you spoken to Jay Leno?” asked Mesereau. “I have never spoken to Jay Leno,” she said, and insisted she knew nothing about her son possibly having called Leno. Leno’s role was mentioned in opening statements in which the defense said the “Tonight Show” host became alarmed when he was called repeatedly by the family and reported them to authorities. The woman also gave a confused account of how she happened to be photographed with bruises all over her body in connection with the alleged beating by the store security guards. The pictures were presented by the prosecution on Monday to corroborate the woman’s testimony in response to Mesereau’s vigorous effort to show that the family made a bogus claim against the store. She acknowledged that a mug shot taken of her on the day of the incident showed no bruises on her face. “I was wearing makeup,” she said. But other pictures showed her face scraped and bruised and her body blotched with black and blue marks. Mesereau tried to pin her down on when the photos were taken. She at first acknowledged that she said in her deposition in that case that bruises do not immediately show up and over time they get “blacker and blacker.” “Did your attorney have these photographs taken?” asked Mesereau. “Yes,” said the woman. “But you didn’t go to a lawyer ’til a year later,” he said. “Those pictures were taken with the criminal case,” she said. “I had these photos already.” She then said that defense attorneys had the pictures taken for a criminal case when she was charged with burglary, assault and petty theft stemming from the store incident. But she also said the photos were not taken by a police agency and that her husband took her to a one-hour photo place. “When did he take you there?” asked Mesereau. “Immediately,” said the woman. “But didn’t you testify that you didn’t have those bruises immediately?” asked the lawyer. The woman gave a convoluted response: “When the defense attorney told us was the time.” The woman acknowledged waiting a year before taking her complaints to a lawyer, and asserted that all she really wanted then was an apology. … Source: http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/11427063.htm

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