Prosecutors STILL Dragging Feet in Handing over Discovery MJEOL Bullet #165 Prosecutors in the Michael Jackson case still havent turned over key discovery, including 4 videotapes made of the actual search of Jacksons Neverland Ranch. Defense attorneys say prosecutors are still sitting on very important information and have yet to turn over all unredacted and complete copies of the search warrants and their corresponding affidavits. Why is it taking so long to hand over the most basic information to Jacksons defense team? Are prosecutors just bogged down in paperwork or are they intentionally stalling to prevent the defense from adequately defending Jackson? Jacksons attorney Robert Sanger states in their Motion to Traverse Affidavits and Quash Warrants, the defense still isnt receiving adequate information in a timely fashion from the prosecution. He says prosecutors have not given them unredacted copies of all of the search warrants issued. They do have some search warrants, but others have been provided with missing affidavits or havent been turned over at all. Sanger says Tom Sneddon stated in open court that he would handover copies of all search warrants on June 25 2004, and he has yet to do so. He was supposed to handover the unedited copy of the search warrant, affidavits, and inventories for each warrant, to the defense. And, just as he did months ago, hes still dragging his feet. Defense counsel says 54 search warrants have been issued, but Jackson has only received 50 copies of both redacted (edited) and unredacted (unedited) warrants. The defense is only supposed to get all the unedited copies along with their corresponding affidavits and inventories. As mentioned before, theyre also waiting on 4 search warrants for which they havent received anything at all:
The four search warrants which we have found reference to but which have not been provided are as follows: 1) A second telephonic search warrant for the search of Neverland Ranch issued on November 18 2003; 2) Search warrant 4912; 3) Search warrant 4914; and 4) Search warrant 5024 (see Defense Motion to Traverse Affidavits and to Quash Warrants)
To be more specific, the defense is saying theyre missing attachments to some of the warrants already turned over to them. These attachments describe the property to be seized from said location. Not only that, but they have yet to receive from the prosecution copies of the formal returns, which show an inventory of what police took. During the ransacking of Jacksons Neverland Ranch, his attorneys were made to wait, for hours, at the gate house while the police were on the property doing their search (and God knows what else). From the defense motion:
13. The District Attorney, as of the time of this writing, has not furnished Mr. Jacksons counsel with full discovery on the nature and scope of the searches including the search of the Neverland Ranch property. In particular, we have learned that there are at least four videotapes depicting the actual search as it was being conducted. Those videotapes have not been provided. 14. The undersigned was instructed by law enforcement officers to wait at the gate house of Neverland Ranch until the officers concluded their search. The officers did not leave the ranch until after 11pm on the night of November 18 2003.
The DA seems to be trying to keep the defense dependant on them for information, and to make them unable to adequately defend Jackson. They say they cant rely on the original documents filed with the court by the DA and law enforcementas most defense attorneys do when they are challenging the lawfulness or searches. Lawyers say they have to gamble on the prosecutions willingness to turn over discovery in a timely fashion. Jacksons current attorneys arent the first to have problems with this prosecution handing over information. In MJEOL Bullet #124, it was reported that Mark Geragos, former co-counsel for Jackson, also complained to the judge that prosecutors werent handing over information to the defense in a timely fashion. In a previous hearing, Judge Melville ordered that the unedited search warrants be turned over to the defense immediately, but by the April 2 hearing, the prosecution still had yet to do so. Sources inside the courtroom at that April 2nd hearing say Judge Melville, once again, ordered prosecutor Gerald Franklin to turn over those search warrants immediately. Ben Brafman, former co-lead counsel, also reportedly said that prosecutors knew the defense only had until April 7 2004 to turn over all exonerating evidence during the grand jury process in order to counter the search warrants. But they cant handover all exonerating evidence because prosecutors were sitting on the information. Sources inside the courtroom at that time have said the longer Sneddon stalls, the less time [the defense] will have to thoroughly go through everything. Maybe theyre just slow. Or maybe prosecutors are afraid of alerting defense attorneys to even more misconduct that may have gone on during the execution of certain search warrants. Time will tell. Next, well discuss the omissions and intentional misstatements made on the search warrants which, along with a slew of other misconduct, could end up getting them reversed and the indictment against Jackson thrown out. Stay tuned. -MJEOL