After a morning of listening to the prosecution and defense wrangle, Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville today denied defense efforts to end the Michael Jackson trial.
Melville rejected a defense motion to acquit Jackson on all charges and earlier denied the defense’s fifth request for a mistrial. The judge then ordered the bailiff to bring in the jury, which had been waiting outside the courtroom.
The first defense witness was a man whom the prosecution maintains had an inappropriate friendship with Jackson in the 1990s. The man, now 22, is expected to testify that he was never molested as a child.
After the prosecution wrapped up its case Wednesday, defense lawyer Robert Sanger handed the formal notice of his motion to acquit to Santa Barbara County Dist. Atty. Thomas Sneddon and Melville. Such motions are expected but the arguments took the entire morning.
Jackson, 46, is charged with molesting a 13-year-old boy in early 2003. He is also accused of giving the boy alcohol to aid in the commission of a crime and of conspiring with aides to falsely imprison, extort and kidnap the family of the accuser.
In arguing for an acquittal today, the defense attack was three-pronged: attacking the credibility of key prosecution witnesses; arguing that some material of so-called past bad acts should not have been admitted; and that the prosecution failed to show any intent on the part of Jackson to engage in a conspiracy.