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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 March, 2005, 10:04 GMT
Defence fury at Jackson witness
Martin Bashir
Defence lawyers said they may call Mr Bashir as a witness
The judge in the Michael Jackson trial is studying whether the prosecution's first witness is in contempt of court.

The defence protested after UK reporter Martin Bashir, whose documentary is at the heart of the case, refused to answer nearly all their questions.

Jurors saw the film, in which the star held hands with the alleged victim, on the second day of the trial in Santa Maria, California.

Mr Jackson denies 10 charges of child abuse and false imprisonment.

If convicted, he could face up to 21 years in prison.

The trial is set to resume Wednesday.

'Ticklish area'

The 2003 US airing of the documentary sparked the investigation into Mr Jackson's relationship with the boy.

In the Living with Michael Jackson documentary, the singer said he did not see anything wrong with sharing a bed with a child.

Michael Jackson arrives at court 01/03/05

Mr Bashir took the stand as a prosecution witness.

Asked by Prosecutor Tom Sneddon about his career, Mr Bashir said he had worked for British television networks the BBC and ITV - and had once interviewed Princess Diana.

But, on the advice of his lawyers, he refused to answer virtually all the questions, citing a California "shield" law intended to allow journalists to protect their sources.

Defence lawyer Thomas Mesereau questioned the reporter's journalistic credibility and claimed he misrepresented the pop star in the documentary.

He said he intended to call Mr Bashir as a witness later in the trial, but the reporter's lawyers said they would fight any such attempt.

Judge Rodney Melville said he would consider the defence's claim that Mr Bashir's silence put him in contempt of court. "It's a real ticklish area," he said.

Mr Jackson was described as being agitated when Mr Bashir took the stand.

When asked how he felt at the end of the second day of evidence, the star replied "Good". He then added, "Angry".

Rival theories

Earlier on Tuesday Mr Mesereau told the jury that detectives searching the pop star's bedroom could find no genetic evidence that he had abused the alleged victim.

The lawyer said police found no DNA from the boy when they searched the room at Mr Jackson's Neverland ranch in California.

Neverland
Mr Jackson's Neverland ranch is at the centre of the case

"The DNA isn't there because the molestation claims are fiction," Mr Mesereau said as he resumed his opening remarks.

The singer's lawyer also continued Monday's attack on the credibility of the boy's mother, when he described her as a money-grabbing con-artist.

In his statement, Mr Mesereau used language that hinted Mr Jackson might testify in his own defence, but he stopped short of saying Mr Jackson would take the witness stand.

In the prosecution's opening statement on Monday, Mr Sneddon told the court that Mr Jackson had shown the boy porn and plied him with wine, in order to molest him.

He said the singer had visited sexually explicit websites and showed the boy - who was 13 at the time - and his younger brother pornography at his ranch.




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