Thursday, March 10, 2005

MJ Update -- Day 9

I'll be honest, even I was getting a bit bored with this trial. But I should have just had a little faith...faith in Michael that is! Once again, the King of Pop has shown himself to be the King of Grandstanding. Even his attorney is becoming annoyed with his antics. Imagine what the jury must think. Just when the trial was getting so slow that I was behind in updates, MJ tops himself. Now to the recap!

Yesterday, Jackson sat through a long day of testimony from his accuser. Photos showed he was actually starting to look more normal, no make-up, slightly less flamboyant clothes. His parents are in court along with much of his family.

Today, from various reports, here's what seems to have happened. Jackson was up most of the night calling people, frantic, one report stated. He called his lead defense attorney Thomas Mesereau at 5:30 a.m. PST and said he had major back pain. (People close to him report that he has created a stress so great that he is in physical pain but that he's not sick.) Jackson, apparently, traveled to the hospital in Santa Ynez, the next town over from Santa Maria. He did not show up for court in Santa Maria at 8:30 a.m. and Judge Melville was visibly angry (reports said). Melville told Mesereau that if Jackson did not show up in 1 hour, he would issue a warrant for his client's arrest and Jackson would forfeit the $3 million in bail. Mesereau was viewed on his phone outside the courtroom. Jackson's attorney's stated that Jackson tripped and fell while getting dressed at Neverland and was in horrible pain during the proceedings.

Jackson showed up 20 minutes past Melville's deadline wearing a jacket over pajamas along with slippers and dark glasses, accompanied by his family. Jackson then sat through the day's testimony facing his accuser. Testimony resumed by the boy at 10:00 a.m. The boy testified that Jackson molested him twice in his bedroom at Neverland. The accounts seemed to be two different accounts than those described by the alleged victim's younger brother.

Cross examination began this afternoon and Mesereau clarified that the boy had met with two civil attorneys prior coming forward. (This isn't new information, as I recall. The prosecutor's office made the boys testify and, I believe, this situation falls under the specific law Sneddon's office pushed in Santa Barbara county compelling molestation victims to testify in criminal matters before civil trials. The law was passed after Jackson settled out of court with a boy in 1992.) Mesereau came out in full force and Judge Melville admonished both Mesereau and the boy for arguing with each other in an intense cross examination at the end of the day.

Friday will be a day for routine trial motions and Jackson will not attend. He'll be back on Monday when Mesereau picks up the cross-examination.

Most interesting is the gossip that seems to be swirling regarding Jackson's financial trouble. It has long been reported that Jackson is in serious financial trouble living largely off royalties and the mortgage from Sony for the Beatles library. Fox News is reporting that Jackson's situation is so dire that employees haven't been paid at Neverland for two weeks, Jackson can't meet basic expenses, and Sony will be tendering a last minute offer to buy out Jackson's half of the music library. Look for some interesting news on this front. (Jackson has long denied that he is in any financial trouble.) They also report that Mesereau hasn't been paid any money for the past three months.

At least one outlet is reporting that Jackson is on suicide watch.

Most interesting is the media tide turning against Jackson. When we've all just watched Martha Stewart show up on time, respect the court, and serve her time, Jackson just looks like more of the child he is. And it can't look good to the jury. As Jon Bonne from MSNBC notes:
Melville has an unenviable task. He has to keep this trial from becoming an uncontrollable three-ring act. He has a defendant who's made his livelihood by being a spectacle -- on and off stage.

Additionally, more interesting is that defense attorney Mesereau seems to become less patient with his star client's stunts. Also from Bonne:
You had to feel a bit sorry for Mesereau as he stood in the glare of TV lenses Thursday morning, chatting nervously into his cell phone. He's done an exceptional job this week of poking holes in district attorney Tom Sneddon's case -- only to have all that progress unraveled by a defendant whose antics are, frankly, a nose-thumbing to his legal team, the court and the jury. Not exactly how I'd act toward the people who'll determine whether I go to jail or not. ... it would have been easy enough for Jackson's camp to make a single phone call. But the look of surprise (and maybe a bit of disgust) on Mesereau's face is a good sign the veteran lawyer can't control his client.

What will be Jackson's next step? Take the quiz:
a) suicide attempt
b) an OJ style flight from justice
c) he skips the country
d) Mesereau drops the case

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