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Porn Barred as Evidence in Jacko Case

SANTA MARIA, Calif. – Porn recovered off Michael Jackson’s computers was barred from the child-molestation case against him yesterday – a setback for prosecutors who say Jackson used the cybersmut to seduce young boys.

In a non-jury hearing, Jackson’s defense team argued that the pornographic material was not relevant because it ended up on Jackson’s computers during Web surfing that was done at the singer’s Neverland ranch when his then-13-year-old accuser and the accuser’s brother were not visiting.

It was also unclear whether Jackson, or someone else, had viewed the porn, defense lawyer Robert Sanger argued.

But prosecutor Gordon Auchincloss argued that “Michael Jackson knows how to use a computer [and] views teen erotic materials in his bedroom.”

After the hourlong hearing, Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville barred Auchincloss from using the material as evidence.

Both the accuser and his brother have testified that Jackson showed them cyberporn and made bawdy, locker-room-type remarks to arouse them. Legal experts said Melville’s decision hurt the prosecution.

“It’s a big problem because at the end of the day, what [the jurors] expect to be there isn’t there,” said Jim Hammer, a former San Francisco prosecutor observing and analyzing the trial.

“It’s like, ‘Where’s the smoking gun?’ ”

Melville said he would revisit the issue if prosecutors could directly link the cybersmut to the period when Jackson’s accuser claims he was molested, sometime during February and March 2003.

When the jury returned, District Attorney Tom Sneddon showed an avalanche of porn seized from a raid on Jackson’s ranch.

Sneddon displayed 78 magazine covers and other heterosexual porn shots from Jackson’s collection of publications such as Playboy, and raunchier titles like Juggs, Barely Legal and Over 50.

When the Over 50 cover was shown, several people in the courtroom – including jurors – laughed.

After testimony ended for the day, defense lawyer Brian Oxman slumped in his chair, prompting a bailiff to rush to his side and remove his coat and tie.

Paramedics removed Oxman, who was conscious, sitting up and forcing a small grin.

He was diagnosed with pneumonia and was in stable condition.

And Jackson’s former bodyguard, a prosecution witness who was set to testify that he saw children, encouraged by the singer, drinking at the Neverland ranch, was arrested in Las Vegas, the L.A. Times reported.

Christopher Eric Carter, 25, was jailed on suspicion of robbery, burglary and kidnapping on Feb. 19, according to the paper.

 

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