March 22, 2005 -- Michael Jackson's doctor has assured the judge presiding over his child molestation trial that "The King of Pop" is suffering from a physical, not a mental, problem, and that despite his back problems and the revelation that he is on prescribed pain medication, the singer is able to concentrate and participate in his trial, sources told ABC News.
A weary-looking Jackson showed up approximately five minutes late for court Monday, walking gingerly into the Santa Barbara County, Calif., courthouse with the help of his aides. The singer, 46, is standing trial for allegedly molesting a now-15-year-old boy who spent time at the Jackson's Neverland ranch in California and appeared with him on the 2003 British documentary "Living With Michael Jackson." Jackson has pleaded not guilty to 10 charges that include felony conspiracy with 28 overt acts involving child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion.
Jackson's representatives say that he has been suffering from persistent back pain since he suffered a mishap while getting dressed for court on March 10. On that day, Jackson narrowly avoided arrest and having his $3 million bail revoked when he went to the hospital for his back pain and did not show up on time for court. Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville, who is presiding over the trial, put out a bench warrant for Jackson's arrest, prompting the singer to appear in court in his pajama bottoms and sandals.
On Monday, Jackson appeared to be in pain, but was dressed in his formal clothes as his bodyguards helped him into the courthouse. His doctor, Bert Weiner, appeared at the courthouse in scrubs. Just before testimony began, Jackson appeared to tremble and weep at the counsel table before being escorted out of the courtroom. Weiner, Jackson's defense attorneys and prosecutors then conferred with Melville in his chambers.
Weiner said that Jackson's ailment was not due to the stress of the trial.
"We know he's under a lot of stress," Weiner said. "I wouldn't say stress or emotional situations was much of a factor at all in the reason he came in."
Concern Among Jackson Associates
When Jackson returned to the courtroom, Melville ordered testimony to resume without taking action against the singer and did not state the reasons for the court delay. Jackson stayed for the entire six-hour court session where a prosecution expert testified that it was not unusual for victims of child molestation to have inconsistent memories of the details of the alleged incident. Defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. pointed out various inconsistencies in Jackson's accuser's account of the alleged molestation during cross-examination last week.
When testimony concluded and Jackson left the courthouse, he complained that he was in pain and that he was on medication "by way of a doctor." Jackson insiders told ABC News that they are concerned because Jackson admitted that he had been to rehab for addiction to prescription drugs more than 10 years ago, around the time when a 12-year-old boy made similar molestation allegations against him.
Jackson was never criminally charged in the 1993 scandal as prosecutors decided not to pursue the case after they said the alleged victim refused to testify. Jackson has always denied wrongdoing in that case and has denied ever harming children. He settled a civil suit filed by the boy's family for a reported $20 million.
There is concern among Jackson's associates that the stress of the current case may cause further health problems for him, sources told ABC News.
Reported by ABC News' Jim Avila on Good Morning America.