Jackson's lawyer: No more sleepovers

Michael Jackson’s lawyer said the pop star is going to be more careful from now on and not let children into his bed anymore because “it makes him vulnerable to false charges”.

In an interview with The Associated Press the morning after Jackson’s acquittal on all counts, Thomas Mesereau Jr said on Tuesday he is convinced that the pop star “has never molested any child”.

But he said Jackson will continue to be “a convenient target for people who want to extract money or build careers at his expense”.

Mesereau’s remarks came as at least three of the jurors in Jackson’s case said that they suspect the 46-year-old pop star has molested boys, but not necessarily the one who accused him in court.

Jackson himself remained out of sight after being found not guilty on charges he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor at his Neverland ranch. But his website triumphantly ranked his acquittal alongside the birth of Martin Luther King Jr., the fall of the Berlin Wall and the release of Nelson Mandela.

Mesereau and his colleague Susan Yu spoke to the Associated Press by telephone, and both defence lawyers described Jackson as the most vulnerable person they have ever met. They said he is physically depleted from the four-month trial and needs rest before venturing back into the public.

Mesereau said he has been baffled by the public’s willingness to believe unfounded charges against Jackson.

“It doesn’t make sense to me.
He’s unquestionably one of the finest human beings I’ve ever been privileged to know,” Mesereau said. “He is very generous and caring about everyone in his life and he was very easy to work with.”

Because of public perceptions, he said, Jackson will have to change his lifestyle.

“He’s going to have to not let people easily enter his life. He was very generous to people who didn’t deserve it,” Mesereau said.

As for letting children sleep in his bed, “he’s not going to do that because it makes him vulnerable to false charges”.

Prosecutors were allowed to support the allegations that Jackson abused the 13-year-old in 2003 by bringing in evidence of inappropriate behavior with other boys, even though those purported incidents never led to criminal charges.

Some jurors indicated that they were inclined to believe Jackson had such a past, but that it did not prove the current allegations against Jackson.

“He’s just not guilty of the crimes he’s been charged with,” said Ray Hultman, who said he was one of three people on the 12-member jury who voted to acquit after the others persuaded them there was reasonable doubt.

“He probably has molested boys at some point.”

Two other jurors and one alternate who appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” raised their hands when asked if they thought Jackson may have molested other children but not the 2003 accuser.

“We had our suspicions, but we couldn’t judge on that because it wasn’t what we were there to do,” said Eleanor Cook (79).

Jackson, who appeared to grow steadily weaker as the trial ground on, looked frail as he left court on Monday, and his father, Joe, said later he went to bed after returning to Neverland.

The Jackson website mjjsource.com, however, was triumphant and flashed images of the pop star looking vigorous.

“Innocent,” the site declared, flashing dates and the phrases “Martin Luther King is born,” “The Berlin Wall falls,” “Nelson Mandela is freed,” and finally, “June 13, 2005, Remember this date for it is a part of HIStory”—a reference to Jackson’s 1995 album “HIStory.”

Mesereau and Yu said they have not discussed Jackson’s future with him. Mesereau also said that he was first contacted by Jackson’s family when authorities raided Neverland in late 2003, but he did not take over the case until months later.

“I think we were on the attack from the opening bell,” he said.

“My strategy was to never let up.” - Sapa-AP

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