Witnesses to testify on raid of Jackson detective’s office

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Witnesses to testify on raid of Jackson detective’s office 7/27/04 By DAWN HOBBS NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER Witnesses will testify in public today for the first time in the child molestation case against Michael Jackson as the defense tries to show that Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon conducted an illegal raid. The defense team subpoenaed three sheriff’s detectives, a district attorney’s investigator and a Beverly Hills police officer to question them about the raid of Mr. Jackson’s private investigator’s office. Additional witnesses have been subpoenaed, but it’s unclear who they are. A gag order forbids parties in the case from commenting on it. Other possible witnesses include Bradley Miller, the investigator; Mark Geragos, Mr. Jackson’s lawyer at that time; and the young accuser’s mother, who met with Mr. Sneddon after he surveilled Mr. Miller’s office in preparation for the Nov. 18 raid. At issue is whether Mr. Sneddon knew that Mr. Miller worked for Mr. Geragos when the district attorney obtained an affidavit to raid the private investigator’s Beverly Hill’s office. Mr. Sneddon, who is on vacation, has been subpoenaed to testify next month. The defense team, led by Thomas Mesereau, contends the evidence seized from Mr. Miller’s office was illegally obtained because it is protected by attorney-client privilege. Prosecutors maintain they didn’t know the working relationship between Mr. Geragos and Mr. Miller when officers searched his office and seized audio- and videotapes and computer files. Mr. Jackson is not expected to attend the hearing, which is anticipated to last two days. Arguments on a dozen other motions are expected to be heard by Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville. The most significant is the defense request to throw out the indictment against Mr. Jackson, which claims that Mr. Sneddon presented inadmissible evidence to the grand jury and “bullied and argued with witnesses.” The judge also may decide whether to grant a defense request to delay the trial, which is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 13. Late Monday, Judge Melville granted defense co-counsel Robert Sanger’s request that lawyers meet in private with the judge on this issue because privileged information about defense strategy would be revealed. Mr. Jackson pleaded not guilty in April to four counts of committing lewd acts, one count of attempting to commit a lewd act, four counts of administering alcohol to allegedly commit child molestation, and one count of conspiracy to commit child abduction, extortion and false imprisonment. Law enforcement officers subpoenaed to testify include Santa Barbara County sheriff’s Sgts. Steve Robel and Bill Caldwell, sheriff’s Detective Rod Forney, District Attorney Investigator David Tonello and Beverly Hills police Officer Roy Tinkler. Theirs will be the first public testimony given in this case. More than two dozen witnesses testified during the grand jury proceedings, but that was behind closed doors — out of the eye of the media and the defense lawyers. Late Monday, the judge released a document indicating three of the witnesses are excused from today’s hearing on the condition they appear on Aug. 16, when Mr. Sneddon will testify. Mr. Jackson’s defense lawyers have stated in their motion to suppress evidence that there is documented evidence to show Mr. Sneddon knew law enforcement was raiding the defense camp. Mr. Sanger asserts that a memo written by Mr. Sneddon shows he was aware that Mr. Miller was a private investigator for Mr. Geragos on the Jackson case. The memo, dated Nov. 10, 2003, details how “Tom Sneddon, himself, in an unorthodox move, drove from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles and surveilled Mr. Miller’s office.” Mr. Sanger stated that the memo indicates that during the Nov. 8 trip, Mr. Sneddon photographed the roster of tenants in the building and the building itself, and then looked up Mr. Miller in the Beverly Hills Yellow Pages. Mr. Sneddon then drove to a “pre-arranged meeting place” and met with someone to conduct a photo lineup, which included a Department of Motor Vehicles picture of Mr. Miller. The name of the person he met was blacked out in court documents. Additionally, the defense points out that a Sheriff’s Department report indicates Mr. Miller is a private investigator and mentions correspondence between Mr. Miller and Mr. Geragos. In their response to the motion, prosecutors said they were unaware of the working relationship between Mr. Miller and Mr. Geragos and that they were looking at the private investigator for other reasons. The affidavit in support of the warrant cited Mr. Miller’s reported role in renting a storage unit where he allegedly stashed letters written by Mr. Jackson. Senior Deputy District Attorney Gerald Franklin stated in the prosecution response that another reason for the search was that Mr. Miller was present during the filming of Mr. Jackson’s rebuttal to a BBC video about the entertainer. In the video, the entertainer is shown holding hands with the boy who now accuses him and stating that he shares his bed with children. :nav Source: http://news.newspress.com/topsports/072704jackson.htm (subscription required)

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