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US jury considers Jackson case -

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US jury considers Jackson case

Reporter: Jill Colgan

KERRY O'BRIEN: Later tonight Australian time, the jury in the extraordinary spectacle that is the
trial of superstar Michael Jackson will convene for its first full day of deliberation. Regarded as
one of the most gifted entertainers of modern music, Jackson is facing 10 criminal charges
involving allegations of child molesting that could put him behind bars for two decades if he's
found guilty. Now, Americans have a particular fascination for celebrity trials, but in the case of
Michael Jackson, they're also witnessing the downfall of one of the biggest names in show business
history, whose own childhood was played out before their very eyes. ABC North America correspondent
Jill Colgan reports.

JILL COLGAN: This is the image Michael Jackson wanted to send the jury away with. Surrounded by his
family, his parents, famous sisters LaToya and Janet, brothers Tito, Randy and Jermaine - a loving,
supportive family around an innocent man, wrongly accused. But the jury in Santa Maria is being
asked to see two very different Michael Jacksons. The defence would have the jury believe Michael
Jackson, pop star and celebrity, is the victim in this case - the target of a mother-and-son duo of
con artists, actors and liars trying to extort money from him. The prosecution would have them
believe he's a sexual predator; that he lured this young victim, like other boys before him, to his
Neverland property to ply him with alcohol before molesting him.

PROFESSOR JOHN WATSON, LEGAL ANALYST, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: As a lawyer, I don't think they have
proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt. I think due process, legalistically, he probably should
be acquitted. But as a father, as a regular person, the simple fact that he continues to do this is
enough to convince me that he should be somehow penalised by the law so he doesn't do it anymore
because I'm thinking: if he is acquitted, he's going to keep doing it.

JILL COLGAN: Famous for his physical transformations, Michael Jackson has undergone another
metamorphosis during this trial. On the day he pleaded not guilty, he danced on the roof of his
limousine and retired to Neverland for a party. But as the trial wore on, he grew solemn, thinner
and seemingly more fragile as the seriousness of his dilemma sank in.

RAMONE BAIN, MICHAEL JACKSON'S SPOKESWOMAN: Michael has been very hand on. Despite what many people
think, he is very brilliant when it comes to strategising, and he has - this is his life here. This
is no joke. And because it is his life, he has had hands on in dealing with his legal team.

JILL COLGAN: At times, it turned almost farcical, with the defendant arriving at court in his
pyjamas and slippers.

SPOKESMAN: He tripped this morning and he fell in the early-morning hours while he was getting
dressed. His back is in terrible pain.

JILL COLGAN: Celebrity witnesses gave the trial an air of entertainment TV. Comedian Jay Leno
turned his own court appearance into a comedy skit.

JAY LENO: I wasn't uncomfortable at all. They really made me feel at home. Show the security-camera
footage of me arriving in court today.

PROFESSOR JOHN WATSON: We're hardwired to look at spectacle. I don't think the Michael Jackson case
warrants this much coverage. There are many, many other newsworthy issues that are getting much,
much less than Jackson. What's happening with him on the scale of importance is very tiny - very
tiny. But it's a spectacle.

JILL COLGAN: But it's more than a spectacle. This is someone Americans have grown up with. The
young star of The Jackson 5 epitomised wholesomeness. His singing and songwriting talent saw him
climb to international superstardom. To this day, his 'Thriller' album is the second-best-selling
album of all time. Fans have long been tolerant. Even when his behaviour and appearance grew more
bizarre, Jackson was simply described as eccentric. Often surrounded by children, he was applauded
for his charity work. But it all turned sour in 1993, when he was accused of molesting a young boy
whose family ultimately settled out of court. Jackson was never charged.

MICHAEL JACKSON: I ask all of you to wait and hear the truth before you label or condemn me. Don't
treat me like a criminal 'cause I am innocent.

JILL COLGAN: But for the superstar, it was the beginning of his decline. Controversy was never far
away. Authorities increasingly questioned his fitness to be a parent with stunts like this -
dangling his baby son out of a hotel window. Now he stands accused of being a serial paedophile, an
alcoholic who preyed on young boys. Even if he is acquitted in this trial, the public perception of
Michael Jackson might be a guilty verdict of its own.

PROFESSOR JOHN WATSON: It's like OJ Simpson. He was acquitted of murder but the world treats him as
a murderer. He is totally ostracised. I don't know what they're gonna do with Michael Jackson.
Irrespective of the verdict, the public frame is going to determine what happens to him for the
rest of his life.

REPORTER: As a PR person, do you think that if Michael Jackson's acquitted you could rebuild his
career?

RAMONE BAIN: Well, I think that right now Michael has just focused on this trial. We have not
talked about any long-term plans.

REPORTER: Michael, can you say how you're feeling right now? We heard you weren't feeling well last
night.

SPOKESMAN: No comment.

JILL COLGAN: The jury will have to decide whom to believe and, so far, not one legal observer has
been game to predict the verdict.