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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 May, 2005, 00:29 GMT 01:29 UK
US prosecutors rest Jackson case
Michael Jackson arrives at court
Michael Jackson denies the charges against him
The prosecution in the Michael Jackson trial has rested its case after more than two months of testimony.

Mr Jackson denies 10 charges, including child molestation and conspiring to abduct the family of his teenage accuser, Gavin Arvizo.

On Wednesday the court heard that one of the defendant's closest aides once said "killers" were after the family.

Prosecutors say there was a plot to scare the Arvizos into rebutting the child abuse claims against the singer.

Concerned

The court heard from Rudy Provencio, a music producer who worked with Mr Jackson and Marc Schaffel, an associate of the singer.

Mr Provencio was the final witness called by the prosecution before the defence begins presenting its case.

KEY PROSECUTION WITNESSES
Gavin Arvizo, accuser - testified that he was twice molested
Star Arvizo, accuser's brother - said he had twice seen Mr Jackson abuse Gavin as he slept
Janet Arvizo, accuser's mother - said she and her sons had been held captive at Neverland
Debbie Rowe, Mr Jackson's ex-wife - described Mr Jackson as generous and kind, and manipulated by his aides

He said there was real fear in the Jackson camp that the singer's career would be ruined, after a TV documentary making child abuse claims was aired in 2003.

But he was unable to show, as the prosecution had been hoping, that the singer had a direct role in an alleged plot to keep the Arvizo family at the ranch.

Mr Provencio said Mr Schaffel had told Mr Jackson the family could blackmail him and ruin his career.

And he told the court he became concerned when he heard Mr Schaffel make what he described as a flippant remark about "killers" that were after the family.

A different Jackson associate, Vincent Amen, told him there were no killers, he said.

On another occasion he heard both Mr Schaffel and Mr Amen say the family had "escaped".

The prosecution has alleged there was a plot to kidnap the Arvizos. They were forced to appear in a video dismissing child abuse claims made in the documentary, after being warned that their lives were at stake, it said.

The documentary showed the singer holding hands with 13-year-old Gavin Arvizo and admitting to sharing his bed with children.

Acquittal motion

Prosecutor Tom Sneddon concluded his case with a presentation stating that Mr Jackson had twice molested Gavin Arvizo and conspired to kidnap his family.

The prosecution called more than 80 witnesses over two months as it tried to prove its case.

They included Gavin Arvizo, his mother and other witnesses who alleged further instances of child abuse.

Some, like Mr Jackson's ex-wife Debbie Rowe, were of more help to the defence, portraying him as a victim exploited by his own aides.

Correspondents say the molestation case came down to the word of the accuser and his brother.

However, the prosecution won important rulings from the judge which allowed it to admit evidence from witnesses to alleged cases of abuse of other children by Mr Jackson.

After the prosecution had finished, the defence immediately filed for an acquittal on the grounds that the prosecution had not been able to prove its case.

The motion will be heard on Thursday, and if it is unsuccessful the defence will start presenting its case.

It is expected to call on a host of celebrities to testify to the singer's good character and innocent love of children.




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