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Jackson treated for ‘excruciating’ back pain

Singer waiting at Neverland as jury resumes deliberations
/ Source: The Associated Press

Michael Jackson was treated at an emergency room for “excruciating” back pain, a day before jurors in his molestation case were to begin their first full day of deliberations. The jury resumed its deliberations at 8:30 p.m. PT on Monday.

The singer, who has complained of back trouble throughout his trial, left the Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital late Sunday to the screams of fans. He had arrived nearly six hours earlier.

“He’s in excruciating pain,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who met with the singer, told CBS’ “The Early Show” on Monday. “The physical pain is real. There’s also a sense that he feels betrayed by those that he trusted and was betrayed before a jury.”

The singer’s spokeswoman, Raymone K. Bain, told CBS that he had been given muscle relaxants in the past for back spasms and probably got the same treatment Sunday.

Also Monday, ABC’s “Good Morning America” played a tape recording of Michael Jackson that it said was made in 2000 by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, then a spiritual adviser for the star.

In the tape, Jackson says he could not live without children, and if he was told he could “never see another child I would kill myself, I swear to you. Because I have nothing else to live for.” He also referred to the young accuser, a cancer patient, saying: “He was cheated out of his childhood.”

The singer is charged with molesting a 13-year-old boy in February or March 2003. He is also accused of plying him with wine and conspiring to hold the boy’s family captive.

After leaving the hospital, Jackson returned to his Neverland ranch about five miles away to await the verdict with his family.

Jurors received Jackson’s case Friday afternoon and deliberated for about two hours before adjourning for the weekend. They were scheduled to resume Monday morning.

The apparent medical problem was one of several the 46-year-old singer has faced at key points in his trial. Jury selection was halted in February when he complained of flu-like symptoms, and he said his back problem began on a day when his accuser was on the stand.

The singer said at the time that a fall had forced him to go to the emergency room, and he rushed back to court wearing pajama bottoms when the judge threatened to have him arrested.

Bain said stress contributed to the entertainer’s back problem Sunday. “He’s under a tremendous amount of stress right now,” she said. “Other than his back, he is doing fine.”

Although Jackson wasn’t seen leaving the hospital Sunday, it was believed he departed in one of two sport utility vehicles that drove slowly away from the hospital, chased by several people. His aides had erected white scaffolding outside the emergency room entrance to block the view of photographers.

Olivia Kennedy, switchboard operator at the hospital, said the staff had been asked not to release any information about Jackson.