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Shaky Jackson trembles, weeps in court

Judge makes no comment after ailing singer arrives late again
/ Source: The Associated Press

A feeble-looking Michael Jackson arrived late again Monday to his child molestation trial after another hospital visit, but the judge took no apparent action. The pop star then sat through testimony from a psychologist who asserted few child sex abuse allegations turn out to be false.

Jackson, who is said to have back problems, trembled and wept at the defense table as lawyers and a doctor who came to court in hospital scrubs conferred in chambers with Judge Rodney S. Melville.

The judge, who previously threatened to arrest Jackson and revoke his bail when he was late on March 10, gave no explanation of what was discussed and ordered testimony to resume.

Jackson spokeswoman Raymone K. Bain said in a statement that Jackson was en route to court when he suffered intolerable back spasms and was taken to Cottage Hospital in Santa Ynez. The facility, about 35 miles from the courthouse, is the same one where Jackson sought treatment in March, also reportedly for his back.

The emergency doctor who saw Jackson on Monday “accompanied Mr. Jackson to court because he could best explain the nature of the problem that Mr. Jackson is experiencing,” the statement said. The doctor was not releasing any details about Jackson’s condition.

Jackson, 46, arrived just minutes late, unlike the previous incident, when he turned up more than hour late in pajama bottoms and slippers.

This time Jackson was fully dressed, wearing a black suit, brocade vest and a blue armband, but his hair was mussed and his steps were tentative. He turned weakly to acknowledge fans on the street, then walked unsteadily into the courthouse with his brother Jackie and a security guard holding his arms.

As Jackson left court six hours later, a reporter asked him what had happened in the morning. Jackson looked back and moved his mouth but no words came out. He then said he was “very much hurt” and was on medication “by way of a doctor.”

Jackson is accused of molesting a boy at his Neverland ranch in 2003, giving him alcohol and conspiring to hold the boy’s family captive.

Expert testimonyProsecution witness Anthony J. Urquiza, a psychologist who has not interviewed Jackson’s accuser, described “child sexual assault accommodation syndrome,” in which youngsters become secretive, feel helpless and trapped, delay reporting acts of abuse, and finally learn to cope with the situation.

He said children often experience changes in behavior because of the abuse, including “acting out, becoming defiant, name-calling.” Under questioning by the prosecution, the witness said that can include talking back to teachers and getting into fights — the kind of misbehavior seen in Jackson’s accuser.

During cross-examination, defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. asked the psychologist whether Jackson’s accuser may be lying.

“Let me ask a hypothetical question,” Mesereau said. “You’ve got a mother and three children. There is not a father figure present. There has been a traumatic divorce of recent vintage. For whatever reason, the mother and her children pick someone and adopt that person as their father figure ... and suddenly there is a split. The mother, the children see that the person they’ve adopted as a father figure is bailing out. You can imagine ... a situation like that where the mother induces the children to make false claims of sexual abuse.”

Urquiza replied that only 2 percent to 6 percent of molestation allegations turn out to be false according to research he has seen, and he said the scenario Mesereau described would be “fairly incredible.” He said he knew of no research concerning false molestation claims motivated by money.

Prosecutors, who claim Jackson served his accuser wine from a soda can during a trip on a private jet, also called Lauren Wallace, a flight attendant.

She said she served Jackson wine in soda cans on several flights and hid alcohol for him in the lavatory “out of children’s reach.” She said she was never on a flight with the accuser and his family.