SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Michael Jackson's prosecutors will be allowed to end their case where it began - with a tape of Jackson's accuser talking to police for the first time about his claims that the singer molested him.
Judge Rodney S. Melville decided Thursday to permit jurors to see the July 2003 videotape. That opened the possibility of a second courtroom confrontation between Jackson and the boy, whom defense attorneys want to question after the tape is played.
Jackson's lawyers said they may also want to call the boy's mother and other witnesses. The case had been expected to go to the jury next week, but that became uncertain with the possibility of extensive new testimony.
Melville, however, turned down a prosecution request to show pictures of Jackson's genitals that were taken during a previous molestation investigation.
Jackson, 46, is charged with molesting a 13-year-old boy in February or March 2003, giving him wine and conspiring to hold his family captive to get them to rebut a documentary in which Jackson said he let children into his bed but nothing sexual happened.
Prosecutors contend a videotape of the boy's first police interview will show that his story has been consistent.
Defense attorney Robert Sanger argued the tape contains "prejudicial material" such as officers telling the boy: "You're really brave, we want you to do this."
Sanger also argued against the prosecution's request to show photos of Jackson's genitals, saying it would be "very shocking" and prejudicial to the jury.
The photographs were taken in 1993 when prosecutors were trying to gather evidence against Jackson in another molestation case.
After taking the photos, authorities had the boy involved in the case draw a picture of what he thought the genitalia looked like. Prosecutors claimed the picture showed a unique blemish.
The boy in the investigation and his family eventually received a multimillion-dollar settlement from Jackson and no criminal charges were filed.
Arguing for use of the graphic pictures, Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen said the prosecution wanted to show jurors a child's description "of a unique feature of (Jackson's) anatomy."
Zonen said it would show that Jackson's relationships with boys were "not casual."
The judge refused to allow the pictures, saying the prejudicial effect of the photos would far outweigh any value.