BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Friday, 3 June, 2005, 08:24 GMT 09:24 UK
Jackson jury hears final speeches
Michael Jackson arriving in court on Thursday
The jury could start discussing a verdict on Friday
The family of the boy accusing Michael Jackson of sexual abuse are "liars" and "con artists", the singer's lawyer has told jurors in his closing arguments.

But as the jury prepares to discuss a verdict, prosecutors painted the star as a serial paedophile who should be held responsible for abusing boys.

Mr Jackson is believed to have been treated in hospital after suffering dehydration, but has been discharged.

He denies 10 charges including giving alcohol to a boy of 13 and abusing him.

Jurors are expected to be sent out on Friday, after both camps have finished their final arguments.

This is a family where children have been taught to lie
Thomas Mesereau
Defence lawyer
The jury of eight women and four men will first have to choose a spokesperson, so deliberations to decide whether he is guilty or innocent may not start until Monday.

The star could be jailed for up to 20 years if convicted on all charges.

Mr Jackson's lawyer Thomas Mesereau used his closing speech in Santa Maria, California, to rebuff prosecution claims that the star routinely preyed on young boys.

Mr Mesereau targeted the mother of Mr Jackson's now 15-year-old accuser, Gavin Arvizo.

Janet Arvizo was a scam artist who the prosecution repeatedly needed to "prop up", Mr Mesereau said.

At night they entered into the world of the forbidden. They learned about sexuality from someone only too willing to be their teacher
Ron Zonen
"There is no way in the world you can find [the Arvizos] trustworthy beyond reasonable doubt," he said.

The family were "con artists, actors and liars", he told the court, saying the case was built on "lies, innuendo and exaggeration".

The defence lawyer told jurors: "The issue in this case is the life, the reputation, the future of Michael Jackson."

Earlier, prosecutor Ron Zonen outlined his argument that "something terribly illegal" happened at Mr Jackson's Neverland ranch after the Arvizo family went to stay with the singer in 2003.

Fans outside the Santa Maria court house
Michael Jackson fans have kept a constant vigil during the trial
Mr Zonen told jurors that while Janet Arvizo had "shortcomings", she was quick to take her children from Neverland when she discovered the singer was allegedly giving her frail teenage son alcohol.

Mr Jackson's Neverland ranch was depicted as a land of pleasure and plenty for visiting children.

"They rode rides, went to the zoo, ate whatever they wanted - candy, ice cream, soda pop. There was only fun," Mr Zonen said.

"And at night, they entered into the world of the forbidden. They learned about sexuality from someone only too willing to be their teacher."

Mr Zonen recalled testimony from Gavin Arvizo and his younger brother, Star, which alleged Gavin was molested as he stayed with Mr Jackson in his private quarters.

He reminded jurors that Mr Jackson possessed pornographic magazines and books detailing explicit sexual acts.

Hospital treatment

"Are you comfortable with a middle-aged man who possesses this book getting into bed with a 13-year-old boy?" Mr Zonen asked the jury.

There are still two or three hours of legal arguments left before the jury can be sent out.

Mr Mesereau will be given time to finish his closing arguments before the prosecution has a final hour to rebut.

Jurors will be expected to work behind closed doors for about six hours a day until they either reach verdicts or announce a deadlock.

Meanwhile, Mr Jackson is believed to have been treated in hospital after the day's court proceedings.

His spokeswoman Raymone Bain said he had been advised to go to hospital earlier in the day because of dehydration - but she was not aware that he took the advice.

Watch footage of Michael Jackson outside court

Michael Jackson on trial

Michael Jackson Jackson show
How the star's style has changed during lengthy trial








The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific