I am away due to a death in the family, but even so had time to watch the riveting drama of this morning’s fiaso in California when Michael Jackson failed to show up for court on the day his teenage accuser was due to testify to the sexual abuse perpetrated by the rock star. The presiding California state court judge revoked bail and issued a bench warrant for Jackson’s arrest, but stayed it for 60 minutes (until 9:35 PST), during which MSNBC was live with an “arrest countdown clock.” Jackson eventually arrived, 10 minutes after the deadline, wearing pajamas, slippers, a T-shirt and looking like he’d been drugged. As Dan Abrams latrer described:

I mean, look at this. That is Michael Jackson in pajamas and slippers going to court today. It — just in case you missed it, we wanted to make sure you could enjoy and savor every moment of this as Jackson heads into court today. And there he is, makes it through the metal detector and heads into court where of course he was welcomed by a young boy who’s talking about how he molested him.

The excuse was (once again) a medical one, this time that Jacko had back pain and went to the emergency room. As if someone who makes tens of millions of dollars a year doesn’t have a personal physician to prescribe medication for back pain!! But unlike last time, when the judge told the jury Jackson was “really sick” with the flu, this time he just informed them that trial was delayed due to Jackson’s medical condition and urged the jury not to infer Jackson’s guilt from his behavior. A very clever — and completely legally correct — instruction, which the jury will and should promptly ignore. Because getting (or pretending to be) sick on the day a criminal defendant is to confront the main witness against him is too incriminating — like fleeing a crime scene is evidence of consciousness of guilt — to be ignored. Jacko is his own worst enemy. His own frail psyche is now the chief evidence that he is actually the pedophile Peter Pana wannabe the prosecution claims he has been for years.

Now the only really sad part is that, at the end of the day, the judge did not, as he had threatened and was fully empowered to do, put Jackson in the slammer for the duration of the trial. That may be a smart judicial move, in order to demonstrate no bias against the defendant, but it is not very satisfying. Put this wierdo in a cell for months and when he does take the stand, he’ll crack like a nut in public!!

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