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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 June, 2005, 08:03 GMT 09:03 UK
Jackson jury awaits instruction
Michael Jackson. Archive picture
The jury could retire to consider their verdict by the end of the week
The jury in Michael Jackson's child abuse trial could begin deliberating its verdict by Friday, the judge said.

Judge Rodney Melville discussed instructions to be given to the jury at the close of the three-month Santa Barbara Superior Court case.

"I want to get the case out late Friday," he told prosecution and defence lawyers on Tuesday.

Mr Jackson denies 10 charges, including child abuse and conspiracy to kidnap. Lawyers rested their cases last Friday.

Closing statements

Tuesday's court hearings were of a technical nature and were not attended by Mr Jackson or jury members.

Once they have been completed, the eight women and four men of the jury will be called back to the court to hear the closing statements. The judge will then give his legal direction.

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

Correspondents say the closing arguments will be a chance for the prosecution and defence to present their side of the case.

Uncharged allegations

Jurors will be told to consider previous uncharged allegations of child abuse against Mr Jackson only if they show a potential pattern of molestation.

Reading from a draft copy of proposed jury instructions, Judge Melville said on Tuesday: "This evidence, if believed, may be considered by you only for the limited purpose of determining if it tends to show character, method, plan or scheme similar to the one in this case."

He ruled that in considering four alcohol charges against Mr Jackson, the jury could determine that the singer gave teenage accuser Gavin Arvizo alcohol but did not abuse him. Under that scenario Mr Jackson could be convicted of a lesser charge.

The jury heard 130 witnesses during three months of testimony that concluded last week with the playing of a taped interview of Mr Jackson's accuser.

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

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


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