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Archive for Sunday, March 21, 2004

Report: Jackson’s first accuser may testify

March 21, 2004

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— The prosecutor in Michael Jackson's child molestation case is considering asking a boy who reached a multimillion-dollar settlement with the entertainer to testify before a grand jury, according to a published report.

Dist. Atty. Tom Sneddon, who is prosecuting Jackson, has confirmed a grand jury was being convened but has declined to say whether it involved the singer's case.

The Santa Barbara News-Press, citing sources it did not name, said several witnesses who testified in the 1993 child-molestation investigation were expected to testify again. The newspaper earlier reported that potential grand jurors had received summonses to appear in court later this month.

Both the prosecutor and Jackson's attorneys declined to comment, citing a gag order in the case.

No charges were filed in the earlier case, but Jackson reached a settlement with his accuser, who then refused to testify against him. The newspaper said Sneddon was considering calling the accuser to the stand, and also could call former employees of Jackson's Neverland Ranch who testified before.

Jackson has pleaded not guilty to seven counts of performing lewd or lascivious acts on a child under 14 and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent, reportedly wine. He's free on $3 million bail.

Use of the grand jury to secure an indictment would sidestep a potentially lengthy preliminary hearing with public testimony.

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