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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 May, 2005, 00:30 GMT 01:30 UK
Sides rest cases in Jackson trial
Michael Jackson arrives at court with his mother on Friday
Jurors could start deliberating towards the end of next week
The prosecution and the defence have rested their cases in Michael Jackson's child abuse trial.

The surprise move clears the way for closing arguments that are expected to begin as early as Wednesday.

It came after jurors saw a video of police interviewing Mr Jackson's teenage accuser, Gavin Arvizo, in which the boy described his alleged abuse.

Mr Jackson, 46, denies 10 charges, including child abuse, plying the boy with alcohol and conspiracy to kidnap.

The last piece of evidence - the taped interview recorded in July 2002 - appears to be beneficial to the prosecution, reports the BBC's Daniella Relph in Santa Maria, California.

In the video, Gavin Arvizo, then 13, said Mr Jackson had given him alcohol and touched him inappropriately, telling him it was okay and natural.

The account was similar to the one he gave on the witness stand in March.

Our correspondent reports that the boy appears nervous in the video. He mumbles and has to be reassured by detectives that he is doing the right thing. They tell him he will feel better for speaking out.

No defence rebuttal

Prosecutors were allowed to show the video after Judge Rodney Melville instructed jurors "only to observe the demeanour, manner and attitude of the witness".

He said the boy's "statements are not to be considered for the truth of the matter stated".

Before the video was shown, Mr Jackson's lawyers had said they might call Gavin Arvizo and his mother back to the witness stand.

But their decision to rest their case - without presenting a defence rebuttal - means closing arguments could begin on Wednesday.

The judge will then give his legal direction. The eight women and four men on the jury could begin considering their verdict towards the end of next week.

The court will not sit on Monday as there is a public holiday in the US. The judge told jurors they would not need to be in court on Tuesday when lawyers will have discussions.

If convicted, Mr Jackson faces up 20 years in prison.


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