SANTA MARIA, Calif. – The defense rested in the Michael Jackson (search) child molestation trial Wednesday, wrapping up after a surprisingly short three weeks devoted mostly to portraying the accuser's mother as a shakedown artist.
Jurors could get the case as early as the middle of next week to decide whether Jackson should be convicted of molesting a teenage cancer patient at his Neverland ranch in 2003.
Defense lawyers portrayed Jackson as the victim of false charges that surfaced once the boy's mother realized she was being weaned from a lavish lifestyle that the singer had financed.
A series of witnesses testified that the mother was a grifter who made a career out of hitting up celebrities for money and defrauding others.
"At the end of the day the defense went guns blaring after the mother — [hoping] that once the lead domino falls, so does the rest of the case. It was a big gamble, because if you believe the kid, Michael Jackson's in big trouble," said FOX News' Trace Gallagher, reporting live from the courthouse in Santa Maria.
Chris Tucker (search), the comedian and star of the "Rush Hour" movies, was the final defense witness. He told jurors Wednesday that he found the accuser to be unusually sophisticated and cunning for a 12-year-old after meeting the boy at a benefit while the child was battling cancer in 2001.
Tucker said his suspicions about the family set in when they came to the set of a movie he was filming in Las Vegas and refused to leave. He said he paid for their hotel and expenses but after several weeks they were still there.
"I was getting nervous," he said. "I thought, 'I need to watch myself,' because I'm high-profile and sometimes when people see what you've got they try to take advantage of you. I had to pull back."
But Gallagher said Tucker's testimony was "on the wacky side."
"He couldn't remember a lot of things. When he did remember [he] got the dates all messed up. Legal experts say Tucker's testimony was not as powerful as promised."
The defense took only three weeks to attack a case prosecutors spent nearly 10 weeks building. Initially, the defense case was projected to last up to eight weeks.
Jackson didn't take the stand, as defense lawyers had hinted at the trial's start, and only a few of the celebrities who were on the list of possible witnesses ended up in court.
Prosecutors had cast Jackson, 46, as a serial pedophile with a history of fondling boys, including the then-13-year-old cancer survivor in February or March 2003 at Neverland.
Jackson also is charged with giving the boy alcohol and conspiring to hold his family captive to get them to rebut a documentary in which the boy appeared with Jackson as the entertainer says he let children into his bed for innocent sleepovers.
The defense called 50 witness in all, including Culkin and two other young men who testified that Jackson never behaved inappropriately when they stayed at his Neverland ranch home as kids.
And Leno testified Tuesday that he became suspicious of Jackson's accuser after he received several voice mail messages in which the boy gushingly expressed his admiration for "The Tonight Show" host.
"I'm not Batman," Leno said, suggesting he found it odd a teenager would be such a fan of a middle-aged comedian. Leno said he told a friend the boy's calls sounded "scripted."
Without ever taking the stand, Jackson remained the star of the defense case.
He spoke to jurors through a nearly three-hour videotape that included scenes left out of the controversial documentary "Living With Michael Jackson" in which the singer mentioned sleeping with children.
In the defense video, Jackson said his feelings for children were innocent and loving.
"I haven't been betrayed or deceived by children," he said at one point. "Adults have let me down."
FOX News' Trace Gallagher and The Associated Press contributed to this report.