Michael Jackson’s defense attorney Thomas Mesereau concluded his closing argument today with outtakes from the Living With Michael Jackson film, in which Jackson stated he would “slit [his] wrists” before he would harm a child.
In the 30 minutes of footage Jackson also said, “I love innocence. I’m a nut for innocence,” — interesting statement, that — before Mesereau finished, admonishing the jury, “Under the law and the facts you must return a verdict of not guilty on all the counts. It is the only right verdict.”
Then, as Jackson’s sisters Janet and LaToya left the Santa Maria courtroom, Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen began his final rebuttal argument before the trial was turned over to the jury to determine the frail-looking King of Pop’s fate.
Zonen reiterated that evidence Jackson fondled children in the past was necessary to prove the singer a serial pedophile. “It was anything but suddenly acting out with a 13-year-old child,” he said of Jackson’s alleged grooming and molestation of Gavin Arviso, then 13, in early 2003.
Zonen said that the boys who spent extended periods of time in Jackson’s bedroom were more than just friends of the singer. “That is not a friendship, that is a relationship.”
“In your entire life you have never heard of another middle-aged man doing that. If someone in your neighborhood were taking a 12-year-old boy into his bed amid a sea of pornography and alcohol, you would be on the phone with the police immediately,” he said.
He also alleged that Jackson had been “in love” with Jordy Chandler, the boy who received the $20 million settlement from him in 1993, that Jackson sharing his bed with boys could not be explained away, and that Gavin Arviso is a “clone” for Jordy Chandler.
The prosecuter also addressed why Jackson would molest the boy at the very time when he was under particular scrutiny in the weeks following the TV airing of Living With Michael Jackson. “Why would he do it? Because he could. Because he has no restraints on his impulses … Because the child was in love with him. Because they child would do anything he wanted him to do.”
Zonen also showed seven minutes of the videotape from the boy’s first interview with sheriff’s investigators from 2003. “You’ve just witnessed the seven worst minutes of this young man’s life,” he said.
Then the jury went to work, with 98 pags of instructions to guide them, trying to make sense of it all and the ten charges that could result in 20 years behind bars for the man who was once the most successful entertainer in the world.
Judge Rodney Melville told the eight women and four men to start deliberations by selecting a foreperson, and then to begin considering the evidence for each charge. “You are not partisans or advocates in this matter, you are the impartial judges of the facts,” he said at 12:23pm PT.