Jackson will not sleep with boys, claims lawyer

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The Independent US

Michael Jackson will never again invite boys to share his bed and will think very carefully in future about his "acts of generosity", his defence lawyer Tom Mesereau has said.

Michael Jackson will never again invite boys to share his bed and will think very carefully in future about his "acts of generosity", his defence lawyer Tom Mesereau has said.

"He has been too nice to too many people," the lawyer said. "He has let a lot of people come freely in to his life and home and that is going to change. He is not going to make himself vulnerable to this any more."

Mr Mesereau, whowas crucial in securing Jackson's acquittals on all 10 counts, was speaking in an interview, in which he emphasised how hard the trial had been on his client. He characterised the outcome of the child molestation case more as relief than vindication.

After the singer's dramatic acquittal on Monday, fans raced to the gates of Neverland from the courthouse in Santa Maria. They cheered wildly as his convoy of black four-wheel drives came up the Figueroa Mountain Road and pulled into sprawling property. And they continued to mill about and cheer as the sun sank over the stunning San Rafael mountains.

"All of us here and millions around the world love and support you," said a banner posted on a fence. Millions might have been an exaggeration ­ no more than a couple of hundred were on hand for the verdict and the impromptu gathering outside the ranch ­ but the sentiment was surely appreciated by a one-time superstar who, despite his exoneration in court, faces an uncertain future.

Yesterday was a day not so much of celebration as recuperation. Joe Jackson, his father, said he was "trying to get back his strength" after a three-month ordeal in which he slept little, complained of constant back pain and pumped himself so full of painkillers that at times he had trouble walking or sitting upright.

WhenJackson returned home he went straight to bed, his family said. Fans hoping for a spontaneous party were in for disappointment: not only was the master of ceremonies too exhausted, but his lawyers would almost certainly have counselled against it. The threat of further lawsuits in the civil court has hardly subsided. And Jackson is believed to be considering litigation against a number of targets, including the Santa Barbara County district attorney's office which prosecuted him.

It was not just Jackson who looked drained by his experiences. Joe Jackson, looked almost lost as he walkedto address the fans and waiting reporters on the edge of Neverland. Tom Mesereau hugged colleagues and members of the Jackson entourage before motoring to his home in Los Angeles. He looked in no mood to crow or even comment on this most high-profile moment in his career.

Some of the problems raised in the trial may not be able to wait for his physical recovery, however, chief among them his ever-deteriorating finances.

The jury heard that Jackson is more than $300m (£166m) in debt, and appears incapable of living within his means. Accountants for the prosecution and the defence revealed that spends $20-$30m more each year than he earns.

He has been so cash-strapped during the past few years that, at times, he has struggled to pay his staffor even to keep the lights burning at Neverland. Phrases like "highly illiquid" and "ongoing cash crisis" were bandied around the courtroom with alarming nonchalance. Only new rounds of borrowing, the witnesses said, had saved the entertainer from financial ruin. It is unclear how he will meet the millions of dollars in lawyers' fees .

For years, Jackson watchers have speculated whether the entertainer will go bankrupt, or whether he will have to sell his half-share in the Beatles' back catalogue, his single most precious asset now that his recording career has dwindled to little or nothing.

John Duross O'Bryan, a forensic accountant testifying for the prosecution, suggested his finances were so out of control that even if Jackson sold his share in the Beatles' song catalogue it would not necessarily clear his books.

It was impossible to say yesterday how Jackson will confront his financial crisis. He would no doubt love to generate more hit records.

Despite numerous attempts, however, he has not come close to the heights he attained in the 1980s, and he has now alienated so many record companies it is unclear if any will offer him the chance to make a new album. Jackson has not made a standalone record since Invincible in 2001, and that was a financial and public relations disaster. It sold only in the low millions, andprompted a falling out between Jackson and his record company, Sony, which spent more than $50m on the production and lost almost the lot.

Likewise, his reputation as a live performer has not recovered from his last-minute cancellation of two Millennium Eve concerts ­ later the subject of a lawsuit which Jackson lost.

Despite his acquittal in the criminal trial, his behaviour around children ­ letting them share his bed, putting them within reach of his extensive pornography collection, and so on ­ has hardly enhanced his reputation, and it remains to be seen just how many supporters in influential places he still has.

Even some of the activists who turned out on his behalf at the trial made it clear they saw him as far from entirely innocent.

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