Jacko may call Kobe as a witness
SANTA MARIA, Calif. ” Michael Jackson’s lawyers announced Monday they may call celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross and Kobe Bryant to the witness stand during the pop star’s molestation trial.
The list of possible witnesses sounded like coming attractions for a major Hollywood spectacle: “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno, producer Quincy Jones, actor Chris Tucker and singer Stevie Wonder, along with Taylor, Ross and Bryant.
Names of defense and prosecution witnesses were revealed to prospective jurors so attorneys could find out if any of the more than 240 members of the pool had associations that may be important in selecting a jury for the trial.
But the judge advised the jury pool that some of the big names may be no-shows.
Only one jury prospect, who had a health problem, was immediately dismissed.
Attorneys are in the process of selecting 12 jurors and eight alternates who will decide Jackson’s fate on charges that he molested a teenage cancer patient at his Neverland Ranch and plied him with alcohol.
Defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. also named as possible witnesses Jackson’s children Paris and Prince Michael, who have been raised in such seclusion that the public has never seen their faces.
Other, more recognizable faces in the ensemble included Backstreet Boy Nick Carter and his younger brother Aaron, actor Corey Feldman, CBS correspondent Ed Bradley, CNN’s Larry King, Fox broadcaster Rita Cosby, New Age guru Deepak Chopra, psychic Uri Geller, Las Vegas tycoon Steve Wynn and relatives of the late Marlon Brando.
Also listed was journalist Martin Bashir, whose 2003 TV documentary “Living With Michael Jackson” showed Jackson and his accuser holding hands and Jackson defending his practice of sharing his bed with children.
Jackson smiled across the courtroom at the prospective jurors during Monday’s selection. Maintaining his star persona, he came to court in a black suit with a red satin shirt, gold and red brocade vest, with a sunburst pin on his pocket and a jewel-encrusted accessory on his vest.
One female prospect said she was falsely accused by a relative of molesting a boy, and later was falsely accused by a parent of assaulting a child while she was a teacher.
“I don’t know the truth about Mr. Jackson, but I’d like the truth to come forward,” she said. “I’m sympathetic.”
Another woman said she had to go to police when she found out that a brother-in-law molested her nieces.
Both women said their experiences would not influence their decisions and they could be unbiased.
Several prospective jurors said they believe children often lie under pressure by their parents or others. One man said he believed that siblings could plant ideas in a child’s head.
Quizzed on their views of the news media, most said they thought the press goes overboard in covering some issues but said they watch news on TV and read newspapers.
The prosecution witness list included a group that the defense did not: the entire family of a boy involved in 1993 allegations of molestation by Jackson.
The judge has not yet ruled whether that incident can be mentioned in the trial. No criminal charges were filed, but there was a civil settlement reportedly amounting to $15 million.
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