Jackson Judge Bars Computer Material
Prosecutors presented the jury in Michael Jackson's child molestation trial today (March 23) with an avalanche of sexually explicit magazines and videos seized from his home, but lost a bid to includeProsecutors presented the jury in Michael Jackson's child molestation trial today (March 23) with an avalanche of sexually explicit magazines and videos seized from his home, but lost a bid to include adult material from Internet sites that was found on the pop star's computers.
Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville said he examined the computer material, and agreed with the defense that it may have been automatically stored by the computers and that "there wouldn't be any way of knowing if anyone looked at the material or not."
The judge also agreed that the material did not appear related to the time period of the alleged crimes.
The ruling came as District Attorney Tom Sneddon put into evidence hundreds of adult magazines, DVDs and photos, but none involving children or bearing DNA from Jackson's accuser or the boy's family.
In arguing for the computer evidence, the prosecution said technicians isolated material on three computers at Jackson's Neverland ranch that included teen-themed adult Web sites and information about adopting children.
Prosecutor Gordon Auchincloss said he felt the adoption sites related to Jackson's statements in a documentary that he was interested in adopting children. "We intend to use this evidence to show ... Michael Jackson knows how to use a computer ... that he knows how to access adult materials on Internet sites," he said.
Defense attorney Robert Sanger called the material prejudicial and noted that all of it was dated either two years before Jackson met his accuser or several months after his involvement with the child and his family had ended.
Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a 13-year-old cancer patient at his Neverland ranch in February or March 2003. He also is accused of conspiring to hold the boy's family captive to get them to make a video rebutting the 2003 documentary in which he appeared with the boy and said he let children sleep in his bed, though it was innocent and non-sexual.
Sanger said there was no proof Jackson was the person who accessed the Web sites and suggested that much of the material was "cached," or automatically saved by the computers, from material that popped up in e-mail when others used the computers.
The judge noted that testimony from the young accuser and his brother was not that Jackson operated a computer to show them sexually oriented material. He recalled that testimony linked a friend of Jackson, one of several people named as unindicted co-conspirators, to showing the material to the boys.
Ordered to bring in other witnesses, Sneddon called to the stand detectives who searched Neverland and had them identify dozens of packages of magazines and books.
The array included some magazines with teen themes that featured women just over age 18. There were titles such as Girlfriends, Finally Legal, Girls of Barely Legal, as well as Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler magazines and centerfolds. With no explanation, prosecutors also introduced a portrait of a Jackson friend, actor Macaulay Culkin.
Under defense questioning, sheriff's Detective Craig Bonner acknowledged that it was true that no DNA from the accuser, his brother or any member of the family was found on any of the items.
The day ended with an ambulance being summoned for one of Jackson's attorneys, Brian Oxman, who leaned forward and put his head down at the counsel table after testimony concluded. Jackson and others gathered around, some fanning him, according to a courtroom artist who was still inside at the time.
Oxman was removed, seated on a gurney and talking with paramedics, and taken to a hospital in the ambulance, which departed without lights or sirens on.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.