May 25, 2005 02:30 PM

Michael Jackson never took the stand in his own trial – and he never will.

On Wednesday, the defense rested in the singer’s child-molestation trial, following months of testimony that began in February – and only three relatively short weeks for the defense, which built its case on portraying the young accuser’s mother as a shakedown artist out to take Jackson’s money.

The jurors could begin deliberating as early as the middle of next week (after the Memorial Day holiday), the Associated Press reports.

While Jackson never took the stand, and the judge forbade CNN host Larry King (who’d been summoned by the defense) from testifying, this week did see Jay Leno and Chris Tucker on the stand. Both spoke of contacts they’d had with the accuser.

Describing several phone messages from the singer’s young accuser, Leno explained that the voice on the other end of the phone sounded “overly effusive,” very grown-up and “a little scripted,” AP reported.

Jackson, 46, pleaded not guilty to charges of molesting his accuser in February or March 2003, when the boy (a cancer patient) was 13, giving him alcohol and conspiring to hold the boy’s family captive. Prosecutors contend Jackson wanted them to rebut a damaging TV documentary in which Jackson defended his practice of letting young children sleep in his bed.

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