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Prosecutors blast Jackson as pedophile, alcoholic
Updated: 2005-06-03 09:23

Prosecutors on Thursday launched a blistering attack on Michael Jackson, calling him a serial pedophile and an alcoholic, while the singer's lawyer said the family making child sex abuse accusations were "con artists, actors and liars."

A fan sells photos of Michael Jackson with 'Innocent' on them outside the court in Santa Maria, California where his trial is taking place June 2, 2005. [Reuters]

In closing arguments, Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen said the case was about "the exploitation and abuse of a 13-year-old cancer survivor at the hands of an international celebrity."

"Michael Jackson molested (his accuser) and many other boys," he said in a three-hour address to the jury.

Jackson lawyer Tom Mesereau, in his closing statement, accused the mother of the boy of perjury and slammed prosecutors for a "mean-spirited, nasty, barbaric attempt to dehumanize Michael Jackson" during the trial.

"There is no way in the world you can find the (accuser and his family) are trustworthy beyond a reasonable doubt." If that is the case, Mesereau said, "Mr. Jackson must be acquitted under our legal system."

"The issue in this case is the life, future, freedom and reputation of Michael Jackson," he said.

Zonen said Jackson's accuser, and other young boys befriended by the singer over the years, spent their days at the Neverland Valley ranch running free.

"At night, they entered into Michael Jackson's bedroom, which is a veritable fortress. They entered into the world of the forbidden (where) they learned about human sexuality with someone who was only too willing to be their teacher," the prosecutor said.

Jackson, who did not take the witness stand during the four-month trial sat unmoved during Zonen's closing arguments. When he arrived at the courthouse with his parents and three brothers, a throng of about 100 supporters shouted "Fight Michael, Fight."


Jackson's lawyer reminded the jury that the molestation case against Jackson involved only one alleged victim.

He scorned testimony in the trial from other young friends of the singer. "They (the prosecution) brought in alleged victims from the '90s because they are desperate," he said.

Mesereau said it was absurd to suggest that Jackson would have molested his accuser in the intense period of media scrutiny after the 2003 broadcast of a documentary in which Jackson defended his practice of sharing his bed with boys.

Zonen showed the jury images of pornographic books and magazines, some of them homoerotic, found at Neverland.

"Are you confident with a middle-aged man getting in bed with a 13-year-old boy as he possesses material like this that excites him?" Zonen asked.

Mesereau countered, "Yes. He (Jackson) is a human being. They found a lot of girlie magazines. Did he want the world to know that? No."

Zonen said the claim that the accuser and his family fabricated the molestation charges to shake down Jackson was "nonsense. It is unmitigated rubbish."

He conceded that the mother had lied on a welfare application, but said the defense had failed to prove its contention that she preyed on other celebrities for money.

Zonen asked the jury to imagine how difficult it must have been for the boy, now 15, to testify against the man he once admired.

"Yet we are supposed to believe that what he said was all made up because there is some expectation that in the future he will become a wealthy person," the prosecutor said.

He said Jackson, who is also accused of plying his accuser with alcohol, "has a drinking problem. There is no other explanation for it."

Jackson has denied four counts of molesting the boy, then 13, plying him with alcohol, and conspiring to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. The pop star faces more than two decades in prison if convicted on all charges.

The case is expected to go to the jury on Friday.

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