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JACKSON TRIAL Tension mounts while crowd waits for a verdict



Published: Tue, June 7, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The jury sent a question to the judge Monday morning.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- Jurors in the Michael Jackson molestation case ended their first full day of deliberations without reaching a verdict, but the bulk of action was outside the courtroom Monday.

The crowd of fans increased steadily and the tension among the about 1,200 members of the media grew throughout the day.

Amid the hoopla, Joe Jackson, the singer's father, set off a minor fracas during an unscheduled appearance at the courthouse, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson condemned authorities for prosecuting the pop star.

Michael Jackson reportedly spent the day at his Neverland ranch, recuperating from back spasms that sent him to a local hospital for treatment over the weekend.

At 9:50 a.m., the jury sent a question to Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville, who consulted the prosecution and defense, media pool coordinator Peter Shaplen said.

Not releasing details

No details about the question were released. Judge Melville's practice is to handle such questions in chambers, Shaplen said.

Throughout the trial, Judge Melville has kept a tight rein on information, imposing a gag order and barring television cameras.

Attorney Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., who represents a group of media outlets including the Los Angeles Times, filed motions seeking a transcript of the closed proceedings. Last week he also filed a motion seeking a transcript of a closed hearing apparently held on May 23 reportedly "related to potential juror misconduct." No other details were available.

Jackson, 46, is charged with molesting a 13-year-old boy in early 2003 at Neverland. He also is charged with giving the boy alcohol to aid in the molestation and with conspiring with aides to control the family so that they would participate in a favorable interview.




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