- The Washington Times - Monday, March 21, 2005

SANTA MARIA, Calif. (AP) — A feeble-looking Michael Jackson arrived late again yesterday to his child-molestation trial, walking slowly and stiffly into court, but the judge took no apparent action against the pop star.

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

Jackson spokeswoman Raymone K. Bain said she spoke with the singer late Sunday and he told her he was having severe and sometimes excruciating back pain.

The judge previously threatened to arrest Mr. Jackson and revoke his bail when he was late March 10.

Mr. Jackson, 46, arrived just minutes late, unlike the March 10 incident, when he turned up more than hour late wearing pajama bottoms and slippers.

This time, Mr. Jackson was more appropriately 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.

Mr. Jackson sat through a morning of testimony in which a child-abuse expert described the behavior of youngsters who have been molested.

Mr. 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.

Anthony J. Urquiza, a child psychologist called by the prosecution, did not immediately say whether he had interviewed the accuser, who was a 13-year-old cancer patient at the time of the reported abuse.

During cross-examination, defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. outlined the entire theory of his case before asking the psychologist whether Mr. Jackson’s accuser may be lying.

Mr. Urquiza replied that only 2 percent to 6 percent of molestation charges turn out to be false, according to research he has seen.

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