Jackson's lawyers ask for 4 months delay
July 27, 2004
LOS ANGELES — In a motion marked by unusually confrontational language,
Michael Jackson's defense team called the investigation of him
"breathtaking" and his prosecution on child molestation charges an
effort to "take down a major celebrity."
The accusations were contained in a motion requesting that the
trial be delayed four months, until early next year. The motion was
filed July 13 and kept sealed by Santa Barbara County Superior
Court Judge Rodney Melville until Monday, the day before a hearing
on it and other matters was to begin.
No reason was given for the sealing, and when the document was
released sections referring to unindicted co-conspirators and other
specifics of the case were blacked out.
Prosecutors in a reply said they would not oppose a "reasonable"
delay but that four months was too long.
Jackson, 45, is charged with committing a lewd act upon a child,
administering an intoxicating agent and conspiring to commit child
abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. He is free on $3
million bail and scheduled to stand trial Sept. 13.
The Jackson team's filing said it would take them months to
study all the information gathered by prosecutors.
"The scope of the prosecution's investigation is breathtaking,"
the document stated. "This is not a usual criminal investigation.
It is an effort to take down a major celebrity.
"The expenditure of resources by the prosecution is
unprecedented and extravagant," defense attorney Steve Cochran told
In his reply, Deputy District Attorney Gordon Auchincloss said
prosecutors would not oppose a brief delay but that "any
continuance contemplated should be measured in weeks, not months."
In arguing for a longer delay, Cochran said "in virtually every
respect, this litigation is unusual and complex."
"The theory of the prosecution is, among other things, that at
least six individuals conspired between February and March of
2003," he said. "The prosecution's strategy, however, is to target
only Mr. Jackson and hold the specter of charges over the heads of
the other five people.
"Nothing less than Mr. Jackson's life is at stake in these
proceedings," the motion said.
The judge has not released the names of the alleged
co-conspirators or how they allegedly helped Jackson. An attorney
representing a coalition of media organizations has filed an appeal
seeking release of that information.
In documents released earlier, the prosecution referred to the
alleged co-conspirators as Jackson's "henchmen," "hirelings" and
"thugs." – Sapa-AP
Related links stories
Jackson's attorney says indictment names five co-conspirators [25/05/2004]