Michael Jackson Indicted - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/22/04

Michael Jackson Indicted

Pop star Michael Jackson was indicted by a Santa Barbara County grand jury investigating child molestation allegations, television news organizations reported Wednesday.

The reports by ABC, CNN and MSNBC cited sources that were unidentified. They had no details about the indictment, nor was there any official confirmation or announcement.

Grand jury indictments are usually secret until a defendant is arraigned.

Jackson attorney Mark Geragos, reached by telephone, would not answer questions from The Associated Press about whether there was an indictment.

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 media reports.

"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 in the case. "There's a gag order ... and that means the district attorney really can't speak."

Calls to Sneddon and others in his office were not immediately returned.

Jackson's spokeswoman, Raymone Bain, issued a statement to the AP saying the singer will plead not guilty during his scheduled April 30 arraignment — if an indictment has been issued. 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."

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 returned.

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 to those charges.

In determining whether there was enough evidence for the case to go to trial, Sneddon chose to present evidence to the closed grand jury, rather than at a preliminary hearing, which would be open to the public.

Source: AP

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