Prosecutor: Jackson Targeted Vulnerable Boy
A prosecutor told jurors during closing arguments of the Michael Jackson trial today (June 2) that the pop star targeted a vulnerable cancer survivor, brought the little boy "into the world of the forA prosecutor told jurors during closing arguments of the Michael Jackson trial today (June 2) that the pop star targeted a vulnerable cancer survivor, brought the little boy "into the world of the forbidden" in his bedroom and molested him.
In a methodical closing argument, Senior Deputy District attorney Ron Zonen berated Jackson and his attorneys, stood by the testimony of the accuser's mother, and used charts and graphics to show what he said was a pattern of criminal behavior.
He said Jackson carefully chose the kind of boys he wanted to prey upon. "The lion on the Serengeti doesn't go after the strongest antelope," Zonen said. "The predator goes after the weakest."
The defense was to respond later in its closing argument. The jury has been told it will get the case tomorrow.
Zonen argued for nearly two hours before he even brought up child molestation, focusing first on a complicated conspiracy alleging Jackson sought to hold the accuser's family against their will. He said it was toward the end of a period in which the accuser and his family stayed at Jackson's Neverland ranch that "the behavior had turned to something terribly illegal."
Zonen said Jackson began giving the boy alcohol and even though his mother at that time was unaware of any molestation, she insisted that her family leave Neverland.
"For all her shortcomings, [the mother], after learning Michael Jackson was giving her son alcohol, in 36 hours she had her children out of there," Zonen said. He depicted Neverland, Jackson's fantasy estate and amusement park, as a place with no rules, no schooling and no discipline for children who stayed there.
"They rode rides, went to the zoo, ate whatever they wanted -- candy, ice cream, soda pop. There was only fun ... And at night they entered into the world of the forbidden. Michael Jackson's room was a veritable fortress with locks and codes which the boys were given ... They learned about sexuality from someone only too willing to be their teacher."
The prosecutor referred to nights when both the boy and his brother stayed in Jackson's room and said the stage was set for molestation. "It began with discussions of masturbation and nudity. It began with simulating a sex act with a mannequin," Zonen said.
Referring to the boy's testimony, he suggested that the courtroom scared the teenager. "It was intimidating. It's intimidating for me. ... He had been molested by a man he once held in high regard," Zonen said.
The prosecutor ridiculed the idea that the boy's mother could have made up the entire story and prompted her children to lie in order to get wealthy at a future time. "The suggestion this was all made up is nonsense," he said. "It's unmitigated rubbish."
Zonen spoke of boys that the prosecution claims were Jackson's victims in 1993, saying that witnesses who described seeing them being inappropriately touched should be believed. He said the son of a Jackson maid who testified for the prosecution that he was molested during tickle games was "beyond reproach."
Jackson, 46, is charged with molesting the boy in 2003, plying him with wine and conspiring to hold his family captive to get them to rebut the documentary "Living With Michael Jackson," in which Jackson held hands with the boy and said he let children into his bed but it was non-sexual.
Zonen also projected on a large screen pages from books about male sexuality. Of one of them, he said, "This is a study of what two men are able to do with each other. The pictures are absolutely graphic. This is a publication you are not going to find on anyone's coffee table."
He added, "Are you comfortable with a middle-aged man who possesses this book getting into bed with a 13-year-old boy?"
The prosecutor also showed again heterosexual adult material from Jackson's collection of magazines and said jurors should understand these were part of the "grooming process" intended to get boys aroused. "These were not for him," he said. "These were for the boys."
Addressing use of alcohol at Neverland, he said, "Michael Jackson has a drinking problem."
Zonen spent much of his argument attacking Jackson's current and former lawyers. He accused Mesereau of promising things in his opening statement that he could not produce, including mentioning celebrities who would testify who never appeared.
Zonen was defensive in talking about the boy's mother, one of the most erratic witnesses of the trial. "[She] never asked for one penny from Michael Jackson," he said. "She never desired anything form him and she doesn't today."
He acknowledged she fraudulently applied for welfare after receiving a large settlement in a lawsuit, but asserted that was the only thing she had been proven to have done wrong in her life.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.