Reports: Jackson indicted by grand jury on child molestation charges
APRIL 22, 2004
LOS ANGELES — Pop star Michael Jackson was indicted by a Santa Barbara County
grand jury investigating child molestation allegations, according
to news reports.
The Santa Barbara News-Press cited county sources but had no
details about the indictments, nor was there any official
confirmation or announcement. Similar reports Wednesday by ABC,
CNN, MSNBC and Web sites for The New York Times and USA Today cited
sources that were not identified.
Grand jury indictments are usually secret until a defendant is
arraigned. The grand jury proceedings in the Jackson case replaced
a preliminary hearing, which determines whether there is enough
evidence for the case to go to trial.
Jackson's spokeswoman, Raymone Bain, issued a statement on
behalf of Jackson's attorneys saying the singer will plead not
guilty during his scheduled April 30 arraignment if the grand jury
issues an indictment. The statement did not confirm that an
indictment has been handed down.
The singer and his attorneys "are confident that after a trial
... Jackson will be fully exonerated," the statement read. "Michael
is looking forward to his day in court."
Bain added in an interview that "nothing has been issued from
the court which indicates that there is an indictment."
"In the next few days, as the dust settles, things will get
clearer," she said Wednesday night. She said she had spoken with
Jackson on Wednesday and that "he is out and about."
Jackson attorney Mark Geragos, reached by telephone, would not
answer questions from The Associated Press. Geragos, other defense
attorneys and prosecutors in the case are covered by a gag order.
The district attorney's office also would not comment about the
"This probably is a court matter, to be able to give the
information out, not the district attorney's office," said Susan
Tellem of Tellem Worldwide, hired to handle media inquiries for
District Attorney Tom Sneddon.
Tellem said court administrator Gary Blair would determine when
the court would officially release any information about the grand
jury. Messages left at Blair's office were not immediately
The grand jury has spent the last three weeks hearing from
witnesses, including a 14-year-old boy who claims the pop superstar
sexually abused him.
Four months ago, county prosecutors charged Jackson with seven
counts of lewd or lascivious acts on a child under the age of 14
and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent, reportedly
wine. Jackson pleaded not guilty in January.
In determining whether there was enough evidence to go to trial,
Sneddon chose to present evidence to the closed grand jury, rather
than at a preliminary hearing, which would be public. –Sapa-AP
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