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The Michael Jackson Trial

Accountant: Jackson faces 'liquidity crisis'

Detective: Ex-wife called pop star a 'sociopath'

Jackson waves to fans as he arrives at the courthouse Tuesday.
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Prosecutors say Michael Jackson was losing money to protect his image.

A Jackson conspiracy to hold accuser's family is alleged.

Ex-wife's testimony was latest instance in which prosecution took a hit.
Michael Jackson

SANTA MARIA, California (CNN) -- Michael Jackson faces millions of dollars of debt and a looming financial crisis, a forensic accountant testified Tuesday at the singer's trial on child molestation charges.

In other testimony, a police detective said a former wife of Jackson called the pop star a "sociopath" in a 2004 interview and made statements inconsistent with her testimony she gave last week at the singer's child-molestation trial.

Both testimonies came as prosecutors neared the end of their two-month-long case against Jackson.

A grand jury indicted Jackson, 46, last year on charges of molesting a boy, then 13, giving him alcohol and conspiring to hold him and his family captive in 2003.

Jackson has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His accuser, now 15, and the boy's mother and brother have testified during the trial that began February 28.

Prosecutors argue that Jackson's associates tried to intimidate and control the family of his accuser in the weeks surrounding the February 2003 broadcast of a controversial documentary on Jackson.

The state is expected to wrap up its case with a former Jackson associate, Rudy Provencio, in an effort to link the singer to their theory.

A source familiar with the case said Jackson's lawyers would start their defense by attacking prior allegations that the singer had molested other boys.

Actor Macaulay Culkin and two other witnesses who prosecutors allege Jackson molested will be among the first to testify in Jackson's defense, the source said.

Culkin has repeatedly denied Jackson did anything improper when he visited Neverland Ranch as a pre-teen.

At the request of Jackson's lawyers, Judge Rodney Melville limited Tuesday's testimony on Jackson's finances to his general financial problems at the time the documentary aired.

Forensic accountant John Duross O'Bryan testified that at the time Jackson was deeply in debt.

The singer's roughly $130 million in assets, as valued at the time of purchase, were swamped by $415 million in liabilities, resulting in "an ongoing cash crisis," O'Bryan said.

The pop star's assets included his Neverland Ranch, the rights to his own music and a partnership with Sony that includes the Beatles' song catalog, O'Bryan told the jury.

Jackson has borrowed against the value of the partnership and has a $200 million loan from Bank of America due in December 2005, he said.

Meanwhile, royalties on his music have declined and he was overspending his income by $20 million to $30 million a year, O'Bryan said.

"There is a liquidity crisis that looms," he said.

But defense attorney Thomas Mesereau said Jackson received a $400 million offer for his share of the Sony partnership in 2003.

He also noted that the $7 million paid for a video to rebut the documentary allegations would have had little impact on his financial problems.

"Let's assume he has the opportunity to make a documentary for TV for $7 million," Mesereau said. "It's not going to make much of a difference, is it? Not worth committing a crime over?"

That line drew an objection from prosecutors, and Mesereau dropped the issue.

Rowe's testimony challenged

Earlier Tuesday, Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Robel, lead investigator in Jackson's case, testified that Jackson ex-wife Debbie Rowe had little good to say about Jackson during a March 2004 interview with detectives.

"She referred to Michael as a sociopath and his children as possessions," Robel said.

A sociopath is a person with a psychopathic personality who behaves in an aggressively antisocial way.

Robel said Rowe also admitted making false statements about Jackson during a television interview as part of a deal she had made with the singer to say only good things about him after their 1999 divorce.

Rowe "stuck with her plan to talk positively about Mr. Jackson," Robel said.

Rowe, the mother of two of Jackson's three children, took the stand as a prosecution witness last week.

Her testimony became a source of unexpected good fortune for pop star's defense when she called Jackson "kind" and a "wonderful father."

Robel said Jackson also can be heard describing wine as "Jesus juice" on a videotape seized during the investigation.

Jackson's accuser and his younger brother have testified previously that the singer shared the wine-filled soda cans with them, referring to the beverage as "Jesus juice."

The tape, shot by Jackson's own videographer, records a conversation with British filmmaker Martin Bashir, whose 2003 documentary, "Living with Michael Jackson," sparked the molestation probe.

In it, Robel said, the two discuss flying and Jackson asks, "You don't have, like, a little bit of Jesus juice -- like a little bit of wine?"

The Bashir documentary featured Jackson holding hands with his accuser and defending his practice of letting children share his bed.

Rowe took part in the videotaped rebuttal to the Bashir film.

Rowe stunned the courtroom last week by testifying that her interview was neither rehearsed nor scripted, as prosecutors had argued. (Full story)

She also said, however, that some of her positive comments about Jackson in the rebuttal video were untrue -- and that he had promised she would get to see him and their children after the taping.

Rowe gave up parental rights to the children she had with Jackson, Prince Michael and Paris, in 2001. She has since had her rights restored.

She testified that she believed Jackson was being manipulated and taken advantage of by business associates she called "opportunistic vultures." (Full story)

Rowe said it was her impression that "they made all the decisions" and that Jackson was somewhat remote.

Jackson arrived for court Tuesday in a dark-colored suit with a gold vest and armband. He was accompanied by his mother, Katherine, who also attended Monday's session.

In court, he generally faces straight ahead, occasionally looking to the right toward his lawyers, but he rarely faces the witnesses.

CNN's Dree De Clamecy, Traci Tamura and Sara Weisfeldt contributed to this report.

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