Archive for Saturday, May 29, 2004

Jackson trial set for Sept.

May 29, 2004


— The judge in the Michael Jackson child-molestation case Friday set a tentative trial date of Sept. 13 over the objection of the pop star's lawyer. The defense also asked that Jackson's $3 million bail be lowered.

Jackson was not in court, and few fans turned out for the hearing.

Defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. objected to setting a trial date, saying the prosecution had not given the defense all evidence in the case.

Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville said he understood the date might be changed but wanted to set "a bull's-eye that we're shooting at here."

The judge did not immediately rule on the bail request.

In arguing for a reduction, Mesereau cited his client's charitable contributions and lack of criminal record, and said precedents suggest the amount should be $435,000 at most.

Prosecutors oppose a reduction, saying Jackson might flee the country.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Ron Zonen called Jackson's bail "roughly comparable to what he would spend in a weekend in Las Vegas," and noted that the pop star was a self-declared billionaire.

"Mr. Jackson is known and adored -- 'adored' is not too strong a word -- in many of the countries of Europe, the Near East and Africa," the prosecution said in court papers made available Sunday. "Several of those countries do not have extradition treaties with the United States."

Jackson, 45, is charged with committing a lewd act upon a child, administering an intoxicating agent, alcohol, and conspiring to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion.

The judge decided not to release the full indictment or grand jury testimony, as requested by news organizations including The Associated Press.

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