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Grand jury indicts Jackson

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					Friday, April 23, 2004                                                                 Laredo Morning Times   PAGE 11A

                                     NATIONAL

Grand jury indicts Jackson
BY LINDA DEUTSCH
AP Special Correspondent

  LOS ANGELES — Michael
Jackson‘s legal team said the
pop star will be fully exoner-
ated when he goes to trial on
child molestation charges.
  A source close to the case
told The Associated Press
Thursday that Jackson was
indicted, although authorities
wouldn‘t confirm it and the
indictment handed up by a
Santa Barbara County grand
jury was sealed.
  Jackson‘s publicist and his
legal defense team issued a
statement Wednesday that
did not confirm an indictment
but said: ”Mr. Jackson and his
attorneys are confident that
after a trial on these charges
Mr. Jackson will be fully exon-
erated and that the allega-
tions contained in the indict-
ment will be shown to be                                                         AP Photo/Ed Souza, Pool
patently false.”                  INDICTED: Michael Jackson reaches for his umbrella as he
  A judge has issued a gag        leaves the Santa Maria Courthouse following his arraignment on
order that prohibits attorneys    sexual molestation charges Jan 16 in California. Jackson was
on both sides from dis-           indicted by a grand jury investigating child molestation allega-
cussing the case with the         tions Wednesday.
media.
  Jackson       spokeswoman       arraigned April 30 on the          dice a future jury pool.
Raymone Bain told The             grand jury indictment.               The grand jury has spent
Associated Press that she           Jackson attorney Mark            the last three weeks hearing
had spoken with Jackson           Geragos, reached by tele-          from witnesses, including a
Wednesday, but would say          phone, would not answer            14-year-old boy who claims
only that the singer ”is out      questions        from      The     the     superstar    sexually
and about.”                       Associated Press.                  abused him.
  The closed-door grand jury        The district attorney‘s office     Wednesday, grand jurors
proceedings replaced a pre-       also would not comment             were whisked from the pro-
liminary hearing, which is        about the media reports, said      ceedings to the downtown
open to the public. Both pro-     Susan Tellem of Tellem             Santa Barbara courthouse in
ceedings are to determine         Worldwide, hired to handle         vans with darkened win-
whether there is enough evi-      media inquiries for District       dows. There they met with
dence for a case to go to         Attorney Tom Sneddon in the        Sneddon and presiding
trial.                            case.     Calls      by    The     Superior      Court     Judge
  Four months ago, county         Associated Press to Sneddon        Clifford Anderson.
prosecutors           charged     and others in his office were        Meanwhile, conspiracy and
Jackson with seven counts         not immediately returned.          obstruction      of    justice
of lewd or lascivious acts on       Transcripts of the secret        charges were being consid-
a child under the age of 14       grand jury proceeding will be      ered against several associ-
and two counts of adminis-        provided      to     Jackson‘s     ates of Michael Jackson for
tering an intoxicating agent,     defense team within the next       allegedly threatening the
reportedly wine. Jackson          10 days. The transcripts will      family of the boy who has
pleaded innocent in January       then be made public 10 days        accused Jackson of child
to those charges and has          after that unless Jackson‘s        molestation,      the     Los
been free on $3 million bail.     attorneys can convince a           Angeles Times reported
  Jackson is scheduled to be      judge doing so would preju-        Wednesday.

				
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