Defensa de Jackson finalizó interrogatorio a testigos

SANTA MARIA, Calif. (Reuters) – Lawyers for Michael Jackson rested their case on Wednesday without calling the entertainer to testify in defense of the child molestation accusations against him.
«Your Honor, the defense rests,» said lead Jackson attorney Tom Mesereau after calling some 50 witnesses over 15 days intended to cast doubt on the motives and background of Jackson’s accuser and family.
The final defense witness was comedian Chris Tucker, who said he had warned Jackson about the mother of the boy before the charges were brought.
Tucker, a friend of the 46-year-old entertainer, said he befriended the boy after meeting him in 2000 at a time when the youth was battling cancer.
But Tucker, who co-starred with Jackie Chan in the «Rush Hour» movies, said he became concerned about the mother and about the boy’s own wheedling, «cunning» ways.
The mother of the boy was so emotional and overwrought at one point when she was calling him about a truck that he had promised to provide the family that she seemed «possessed,» Tucker said.
Defense lawyers have sought to portray the mother of Jackson’s accuser as a grifter who tried to wheedle money from celebrities and coached her son to lie about the molestation charges against Jackson.
Relating an incident at a Los Angeles comedy club where he had helped in a fund raiser for the boy, Tucker said the boy approached him and said the event had not raised enough money.
«He was just real sad looking. He said they didn’t raise any money and they really needed some money.» Tucker said, adding that he subsequently wired him $1,500.
«He was really smart and he was cunning, but at the time I always overlooked it,» Tucker said of the boy. «He was always saying stuff like, Chris, let me have this, let me have that. Come on, I’m not feeling good.»
Tucker said he took Jackson aside in February 2003 to warn him about the boy’s mother. At the time Jackson, Tucker and the family were staying at a hotel in Miami.
The comedian also said that the boy’s family had been eager to travel with him to Miami to be with Jackson, countering prosecution claims that the trip had been a ploy by Jackson’s camp to keep the family from seeing a critical documentary featuring the pop star holding hands with the boy and defending his practice of sharing his bed with children.
«Something in my spirit didn’t feel right about her. She started acting frantic, like mentally something wasn’t right.»
Tucker said he took Jackson into a room away from the family. «I told him to watch out for (the mother) because I felt suspicious about her. I took him in the room and I was trying to talk to him, I said, ‘Michael, something ain’t right.»‘
Tucker was the final witness to be called by Jackson’s defense team over 15 days, a much shorter case than originally projected.
At the start of the trial in January Lead defense lawyer Tom Mesereau said he had a witness list of some 300 people, including a galaxy of stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and basketball player Kobe Bryant.
In the end, only a handful of stars, including Tucker and comedians Jay Leno and George Lopez, took the witness stand.
Jackson is charged with molesting the boy, then 13, at his Neverland Valley Ranch in California in early 2003, plying the youth with alcohol in order to abuse him and conspiring to commit child abduction, extortion and false imprisonment.
Tucker said before the Miami incident the family once showed up unannounced on a movie set in Las Vegas set where he was working and would not leave.
He said while in Las Vegas the mother «was always saying I was their brother and all that stuff and she loved me. I was getting a little nervous because my whole thing was just to help the kid, not get involved with the whole family.»
© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.

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