Michael Jackson's first accuser may testify against him: report
March 23, 2004
LOS ANGELES — A man who accused pop icon Michael Jackson of child abuse 11
years ago may be called to testify at a secret hearing in the
latest molestation case being brought against the singer, a report
Prosecutor Tom Sneddon|
The Santa Barbara News-Press quoted unnamed sources as saying
the man, who was 13 at the time and received a multimillion dollar
payment from Jackson to settle the case, would be among several
witnesses called to testify in the latest child abuse allegations
Prosecutor Tom Sneddon plans to call the witnesses before a
secret grand jury to examine charges that Jackson molested a
12-year-old boy at his Neverland Ranch one year ago, the paper said
at the weekend.
Jurors for the grand jury hearing will be selected next week,
the paper said. The hearing will be held in the California town of
Santa Barbara where evidence will be presented against the
superstar in a private hearing.
Prosecutors and police officials declined to confirm whether a
grand jury would be seated to outline the evidence against
45-year-old-Jackson, who has been charged with seven counts of
child abuse and two counts of plying the boy with alcohol before
Sneddon's office, however, said a grand jury would be seated in
Santa Barbara, but declined to confirm which case it would be
Grand juries are held secretly to decide whether enough evidence
exists to press charges against a suspect.
The News-Press, which earlier this month broke reports that a
grand jury would be seated in the Jackson case, said Sneddon was
trying to establish a pattern of abusive behaviour with boys to
bolster his case against the singer.
Jackson was arrested in November and charged a month later,
triggering an unprecedented media frenzy amid conflicting claims of
what evidence prosecutors have against him.
The paper said that former Neverland employees would also be
called to testify before the grand jury.
"If I'm called to testify, I'll testify, but I'd rather not go
through all that again," said one unidentified former Jackson
worker who was called to testify against the pop star at a 1993
grand jury hearing.
If convicted at the end of what is expected to be a long
celebrity trial, Jackson — who has pleaded not guilty to all charges — could face a long stretch behind bars.
Jackson's next court hearing is scheduled for April 2 in the
town of Santa Maria and reports say that if a grand jury hands down
a new indictment in the case before then, Jackson could be
arraigned again on that date. — – Sapa-AFP
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Judge wants Michael Jackson tried by the end of the year [19/02/2004]