SANTA MARIA, Calif. – Jurors in Michael Jackson's child molestation trial have the weekend off from their deliberations. The eight women and four men headed home Friday afternoon after wrapping up their fifth full day of talks.
So far, they've spent more than 28 hours since June 3 weighing the 10 counts against Jackson. Deliberations resume Monday morning.
Jackson, 46, is charged with molesting a 13-year-old cancer survivor in 2003, giving him alcohol and conspiring to hold the boy and his family against their will to get them to rebut a damaging television documentary about the pop star.
Outside the courthouse, reporters from more than 30 countries and a throng of Jackson fans waited for word of the outcome. Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville (search) has allowed Jackson to remain at home at his Neverland Ranch.
Throughout the trial, Raymone K. Bain (search) has acted as Jackson's spokeswoman. On Friday, Bain denied a statement posted on a Jackson Web site that she had lost her job.
The statement, attributed to MJJ Productions (search), said Bain and her firm were terminated. "We thank you for your services," the statement said.
Bain told the Associated Press she works directly for Jackson and only he — not MJJ Productions — can fire her.
"I have not been fired by Michael Jackson," she said.
Earlier in the week, defense lawyer Thomas Mesereau Jr. (search) issued a court-approved statement saying he had not authorized anyone to hold news conferences on his client's behalf. It did not specifically mention Bain.
Mesereau's statement appeared aimed at assuring the court that his defense team had not violated a gag order imposed by the judge. It did not mention
In anticipation of a verdict, security measures have been stepped up at the courthouse.
The number of sheriff's deputies stationed at the courthouse has doubled to 40, from the roughly 20 during the trial. "We are prepared for any situation," said Sgt. Erik Raney, a spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.
Jackson fans have shouted insults at news media, and Court TV anchor Diane Dimond on Thursday obtained a temporary restraining order against one of them, Bobby Joe Hickman, 18, of Knoxville, Tenn.
Dimond alleged Hickman was inciting people to attack her and she felt so threatened that Court TV hired three guards to protect her.
Local attorney Gerardo Camacho (search), who will represent Hickman at a June 29 hearing, said his client will comply with the order but does not feel it is fair.
Police have issued more than 600 citations for such infractions as jaywalking, excessive horn honking in front of the courthouse crowds and impeding the flow of traffic.