Jackson replacing lawyers
APRIL 26, 2004
LOS ANGELES — Michael Jackson is replacing high-profile attorneys Mark Geragos
and Benjamin Brafman in his child molestation case, the lawyers
told The Associated Press on Sunday.
The pop superstar's new lawyer will be Thomas Mesereau Jr.,
another well-known criminal defense attorney who represented actor
Robert Blake in his murder case until they recently parted company,
citing irreconcilable differences.
"Based on recent developments and discussions with various
persons in the Jackson camp, it became clear that it would be best
if Mark and I decided to step down," Brafman said. "And that's what
we elected to do."
Asked why, Brafman said, "For reasons we choose not to discuss
He added, "We both wish Michael well."
Mesereau, reached as he was leaving Florida after meeting there
with Jackson, declined to comment immediately but said he would
speak late Sunday or early Monday.
Jackson's spokeswoman, Raymone K. Bain, said she was unaware of
the change when asked about it by a reporter.
Geragos, who was in Northern California handling the Scott
Peterson murder case on Sunday, said he, Brafman and Mesereau will
notify Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville of
the substitution of counsel during a conference call Monday. He
declined to discuss reasons for the change.
Dana Cole, an attorney who has worked closely with Mesereau on
cases including Blake's, said Mesereau was approached by Jackson
soon after he was charged with child molestation. He said Mesereau
was unwilling to take the case at the time because he was tied up
with the Blake case.
He said Mesereau would represent Jackson at a pretrial hearing
where the singer is expected to be arraigned.
"Michael Jackson has always been very impressed with the pro
bono work and contributions Tom has made in the African-American
community," Cole said.
Santa Barbara District Attorney Thomas Sneddon had no comment,
said Jason Karpf of Tellem Worldwide, a firm handling media
inquiries for Sneddon in the Jackson case.
Jackson's case moved into a new phase last week when a grand
jury secretly indicted him on child molestation charges. Contents
of the indictment are not yet known and will be disclosed at his
Jackson, 45, was originally charged with seven counts of lewd or
lascivious conduct involving a child under 14 and with
administering an intoxicant, reportedly wine, to a child under 14.
The indictment means that a grand jury has decided there is
probable cause to hold Jackson for trial.
Jackson is free on $3 million bail and recently has been staying
at a Florida compound with his children. – Sapa-AP
Related links stories
Reports: Jackson indicted by grand jury on child molestation charges [22/04/2004]