Sneddon Begged Family not to File Civil Suit – 2004

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[b]Sneddon reportedly asked boy’s family not to file civil suit during criminal case[/b] Kids allegedly given wine in soda cans By DAWN HOBBS NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER [b]As he launched his investigation against Michael Jackson, District Attorney Tom Sneddon reportedly sought assurance that the family of the boy accusing the entertainer of child molestation would not make a multimillion-dollar deal like another young accuser’s family did a decade ago. A source close to the boy’s family in the current case told the News-Press on Wednesday that Mr. Sneddon asked the attorney representing the family to “solemnly swear” not to file a lawsuit against Mr. Jackson during the criminal investigation and prosecution of the singer.[/b] The new details about the case first surfaced in a Vanity Fair article released to the media on Wednesday and scheduled for publication in March. In the lengthy article, writer Maureen Orth compares this case to the child molestation investigation of Mr. Jackson a decade ago, which she also covered for the magazine. The source who spoke to the News-Press also corroborated other details reported in the article, including that Mr. Jackson allegedly gave children wine in soda cans, which he called “Jesus juice.” “There’s a reason he calls it that,” the source said. “It’s because kids are reluctant to drink it and he tells them, ‘Jesus drank wine. It’s a good thing to drink wine. Jesus did it.’ And that’s why the kids laughingly called it Jesus juice.” Mr. Sneddon declined comment to the News-Press, citing a gag order recently issued by Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville that bars anyone associated with the case from speaking with the media. Mark Geragos, Mr. Jackson’s attorney, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. He has adamantly maintained his client’s innocence. He has alleged that Mr. Jackson was targeted by the boy’s family for money after a BBC documentary showing the boy holding hands with Mr. Jackson aired on Feb. 6 on ABC’s “20/20.” Authorities charge that the molestation began the next day and continued through March. The boy met Mr. Jackson through Jaime Masada, the owner of a Los Angeles comedy club called the Laugh Factory, when the child was near death with cancer. The boy’s health appears to have stabilized, the source said. Mr. Masada couldn’t be reached for comment. The family’s attorney, Larry Feldman, declined comment Wednesday. In 1993, Mr. Feldman brokered the settlement for another accuser’s family, which caused Mr. Sneddon’s criminal case to crumble when the boy then refused to testify against the entertainer. In the current case, Mr. Sneddon filed multiple counts of child molestation a month after he led a raid on Mr. Jackson’s Neverland Valley Ranch on Nov. 18. Earlier this month, Mr. Jackson pleaded not guilty to seven counts of committing lewd acts with a child under the age of 14 and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent to the boy to commit child molestation. A Los Angeles investigation was launched in February 2003, after a school official saw the documentary in which Mr. Jackson said he lets boys sleep in his bed while he sleeps on the floor. The school official called a hot line for the Department of Child and Family Services, said the boy had not been in school and suggested they look into the possibility of abuse, according to documents from the Los Angeles agency. The boy and his family told Los Angeles authorities that he had not been molested and the case was closed, documents indicate. A friend of the family told the News-Press that last spring people from the Jackson camp allegedly took the family’s belongings and then attempted to relocate them to Brazil. The mother contacted an attorney to help her retrieve her belongings. She was later referred to Mr. Feldman because of his experience in the 1993 case. The boy soon began seeing the same therapist as the boy in the 1993 case. It was during a session with the therapist that allegations of child molestation arose. The therapist reported the information to Los Angeles authorities who said the case had been closed. Last fall Mr. Feldman informed Mr. Sneddon about the allegations. The boy and his family have since been in seclusion, according to the family friend. :nav Source (Subscription Required): [url=][/url]

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