Michael Jackson Update
Alright, is the case as weak as it seems from the outside? The testimony related to complaining witness charged in this case, as well as his family and other supporters, seems underwhelming. Obviously, getting in Jackson's history is a large victory for the prosecution, especially because of the confusing jury instructions related to prior bad acts.
First, the strength of the case. It appears as if the son of Jackson's former maid probably had more compelling testimony than the new complaining witness did. He actually was somewhat consistent in his claims, although he, too, once repeatedly denied anything untoward happening between him and Jackson. Tears appear to go a long way, especially from a grown man. But, could the case be any weaker vis a vis the recent complaints? I mean, the kid denies to everyone he sees, for the longest time, that Jackson does anything wrong to him. In the meantime, he appears to be a terror of a kid, always out of control (this according to the prosecution's own witness). Finally, they talk to a lawyer, and everything changes, and now he was molested. Oh, and this family has previously conspired to shakedown a big business for extra spending money.
The fingerprints of both Jackson and the kid on the dirty magazine? I had once thought this would be damning, but then we find out, according to different people's testimony, that the kids would happily rummage through Jackson's stuff, and they didn't even fingerprint the magazines until AFTER the kid testified (and held them?) at the grand jury. How could the prosecution be so dumb as to wait until after the kid had contact with the magazines in their presence before printing them? That's as dumb as the detectives in the OJ case drawing OJ's blood in downtown LA, and then driving themselves (and the vial of blood) to the crime scene, where they gave it to the rookie criminalist who stuck it in her pocket along with all of the samples she was collecting (later, of course, they found 2 cc's of blood missing, which was all the jury needed in order to disregard the blood - and DNA - completely. The mid-trial deathbed deposition of the person who drew his blood and testified that he actually drew 2cc's less was not enough to save that evidence.).
But, the jury instructions. Now this can be complex, so bear with me here. The idiotic law on prior sexual conduct by a defendant is a little crazy, but hey, our compliant courts here in California have found simply no problem with them, so here's how they go. A defendant is presumed innocent, and the prosecution has the burden of proving them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt (the highest level in the law). To prove someone guilty of a sex crime, they can use prior sexual conduct in order to prove a pattern or character trait that may make someone inclined to commit a new crime. However, the prior crimes need only be proved by a preponderance of the evidence (the civil standard, or about 50% + 1, the lowest standard of evidence). Thus, the new case may be really weak (like here), as may be the prior acts (they need not have been convictions, or even charged offenses). However, the jury believes the prior acts by a preponderance of the evidence, but not beyond a reasonable doubt. They also have a reasonable doubt as to the new charges. However, the fact that he did it once earlier, something they believe by just a slight amount, coupled with the fact of the new charges, for which they now have motive and character (per the prior acts), means that there is enough to convict him of the new act. Thus, for someone charged with having done multiple acts of sexual misconduct, the standard of proof is effectively reduced to a preponderance of the evidence.
Our exalted California courts have sought to save that idiocy by claiming that the person still need be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but they never explain how to get past this conundrum. And they do not make any changes in the jury instructions that explain how it is they are supposed to find someone guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Thus, the law is beyond a reasonable doubt, but the reality is preponderance of the evidence.
This is how Jackson could be convicted even if the new case is total crap. However, on the Drudge report today (not something I would necessarily consider a reliable source of information), he writes that jurors have been overheard mocking the testimony of the maid's son. If that's the case, then Jackson can plan that summer concert tour.