Conflict cited by Jackson defense

Conflict cited by Jackson defense By Norma Meyer COPLEY NEWS SERVICE August 18, 2004 SANTA MARIA – A defense attorney dropped a bombshell during a pretrial hearing in the Michael Jackson case yesterday, saying the psychologist who elicited the molestation allegations from the pop star’s young accuser was treating a private investigator dealing with the boy and his family on behalf of Jackson. The revelation by Jackson lawyer Brian Oxman came during questioning of psychologist Stan Katz, who first notified police about the then-12-year-old’s claims of sexual abuse. Oxman called Katz’s therapeutic involvement with both sides “a conflict of interest that is severe.” Katz, however, kept citing the privilege and refused to say if Bradley Miller was a patient. Katz testified he interviewed Jackson’s accuser after getting a call in May 2003 from Larry Feldman, the attorney who obtained a multimillion-dollar settlement on behalf of another alleged Jackson molestation victim in 1993. Katz testified he had heard Miller’s name mentioned twice: once by Feldman in June 2003 when the attorney said Miller had videotaped the boy and his family about Jackson and months later regarding a “break-in” on the news. Suddenly, Oxman boomed: “Bradley Miller is a very special patient of yours, isn’t he Dr. Katz?” Katz looked taken aback and answered, “If he was my patient, I couldn’t discuss him.” Oxman continued: “Bradley Miller is Dr. Katz’s patient and he’s been so for many years.” Katz said he knew Miller “professionally,” from family law cases the two had been involved in. Katz testified in the pretrial hearing during which the defense hopes to get evidence thrown out that was seized during a search of Miller’s office. Jackson’s lawyers contend Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon and officers knew at the time Miller was employed by Jackson’s former lawyer, Mark Geragos, and thus violated the attorney-client privilege. As he peppered Katz with questions, Oxman suggested the psychologist knew so much about Miller, he must have been aware of the relationship with Geragos and must have informed authorities about it before last November’s raid. Katz denied he told law enforcement officials Miller worked for Geragos. Later in the day, Melville dealt the defense a blow when he ruled against their bid to challenge the legality of the search at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. The judge said the accuser’s statement of being molested was a valid reason for authorities to raid Jackson’s compound. The judge noted the defense could pursue a challenge of specific items taken in the search. During Katz’s testimony, the therapist acknowledged he ran into Miller on the street after the search and the investigator asked him, “Dr. Katz, you’re not the psychologist on this, are you?” Katz said he told Miller he couldn’t “comment on any of my cases,” to which Oxman interjected: “Not even to your own clients?” That final repeated reference to Miller as a “patient” or a “client” angered Melville, who had earlier ruled Oxman couldn’t question Katz about privileged information. The judge then fined Oxman $1,000 and stormed off the bench. Source: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/state/20040818-9999-1n18jackson.html

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