Jurors in the Michael Jackson molestation case in Santa Maria, Calif., were apparently overheard laughing at a remark that might have been mocking a witness, although no court action was expected.

Jurors in the Michael Jackson molestation case in Santa Maria, Calif., were apparently overheard laughing at a remark that might have been mocking a witness, although no court action was expected.

"It is an unsubstantiated rumor and there is no investigation," court administrator Darrel Parker said yesterday (April 6). Jurors are strictly barred from talking about cases before they begin deliberating.

On Monday, a 24-year-old man tearfully testified that Jackson touched his groin area over his clothes on two occasions in the late 1980s and under his clothes in 1990, each time while tickling him.

Robert Cole, a foreign editor for the British news station Sky News, said that as he walked past an area where jurors were taking a break behind a covered fence, he heard one juror mimicking someone crying, and others laughing.

"All I heard was, 'He was like uh-huh-huh [imitating a crying sound]' and then I heard laughter," Cole said. "It sounded like they had just heard this kid crying and they were kind of laughing at what had happened, mimicking him. I didn't hear any names or anything... I don't know if they were talking about him or not."

As Cole's account circulated through the media, it turned into a story where reporters supposedly overheard a juror say, "Oh boohoo, Michael Jackson tickled me." But Cole told The Associated Press he did not hear jurors use Jackson's name and was not sure they were talking about the case.

Cole said another reporter also heard the conversation, but that reporter declined to comment. Prosecutors did not return phone calls yesterday; Jackson defense attorney Brian Oxman declined to comment, citing a gag order in the case.

Prosecutors presented the witness Monday in an attempt to show Jackson has a pattern of molesting boys and to lend credence to the singer's current accuser. Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a boy in 2003 and plying him with alcohol.

Jackson and his attorney, Thomas Mesereau Jr., were scheduled to return to court today after taking advantage of an off-day in the trial to attend the funeral of Johnnie Cochran Jr., who represented Jackson in a 1994 settlement to dismiss a molestation lawsuit.


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