SANTA MARIA, Calif. – A controversy over the gag order in the Michael Jackson (search) case arose Wednesday when the singer's attorney issued a statement saying he had not authorized anyone to hold news conferences on the pop star's behalf.
The court-approved statement from attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. (search) came as the jurors in Jackson's molestation trial wrapped up their third full day of deliberations. Mesereau's statement appeared aimed at assuring the court that his defense team had not violated a gag order imposed by the judge.
Mesereau did not name anyone, but his statement came shortly after Jackson's spokeswoman, Raymone K. Bain (search), held a news conference at the courthouse in which she indicated that her comments had been approved by Mesereau. Others, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, also have spoken publicly on the pop star's behalf in recent days.
"I have not authorized anyone to speak or hold any press conferences on behalf of Michael Jackson or his family," Mesereau said in the statement issued on a Jackson Web site. "A gag order is in effect which the defense team will continue to honor."
Shortly before the statement was issued, Bain had addressed the media. There was little new in her comments, but she noted, "If Mr. Mesereau didn't want me here, I wouldn't be here. I never speak to the media without talking to Mr. Mesereau."
Bain insisted in the wake of Mesereau's statement that it had not been directed at her. She said she runs everything she says by Mesereau and does not violate the gag order because she talks about how Jackson is feeling and not about the case.
The jury was scheduled for only a half-day session Thursday. No reason was given, but the judge noted before the start of deliberations that he understood some jurors had obligations to attend graduation ceremonies for family members.
The defendant remained away from the courthouse Wednesday, and was confirmed by FOX News to be in a Solvang, Calif. hospital, where recieved treatment for back pain before returning to his ranch. But his longtime friend, the Rev. Jackson, came by to advocate on his behalf before the news media.
Jesse Jackson charged that the jury was being subjected to "psychological warfare" because of a television report in which a former Santa Barbara County sheriff showed a jail where the singer might go if convicted and immediately ordered into custody.
"With an unsequestered jury, they are saying here is where he will stay," Jackson said.
The jail features a mattress, a urinal, a washbasin and concrete floors. It is the same facility where Jackson was booked on the current charges in 2003. He later complained that deputies there had injured his arm and shoulder and locked him in a filthy bathroom; California authorities investigated and found no impropriety.
Thomas responded to the Rev. Jackson's statements Wednesday, saying, "I think the jurors are quite capable of figuring out where he'll go, if he's convicted, without my help." The jury has been ordered to avoid all news reports on the trial.
The 46-year-old Jackson is charged with molesting a 13-year-old boy in 2003, giving him wine, and conspiracy involving an effort to hold the boy and his family against their will to get them to rebut a damaging documentary.
FOXNews.com's Roger Friedman contributed to this report.