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No closed courtroom for Jackson’s accuser

SHARE No closed courtroom for Jackson’s accuser

SANTA MARIA, Calif. (AP) — The judge in the Michael Jackson molestation case on Friday rejected a prosecution request to close the courtroom when the teenage accuser takes the stand at the pop star's trial.

The defense and a coalition of media covering the case, including The Associated Press, had argued that the testimony should be open. Prosecutors wanted it closed to protect the child from the intense media coverage in the case.

Judge Rodney Melville also ruled that dozens of adult-oriented books, magazines and DVDs seized at Jackson's Neverland ranch — one with the fingerprints of Jackson and the accuser — can be used as evidence in the trial. Jury selection begins Monday.

The judge permitted most of the proposed evidence to be used at trial but said the prosecution could not refer to the material as pornography, obscenity or erotic. Instead, the words "adult" or "sexually explicit" can be used, he said.