Defense complains about ex-sheriff’s Jackson comments

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Posted on Tue, Sep. 07, 2004 Defense complains about ex-sheriff’s Jackson comments LINDA DEUTSCH Associated Press LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson’s lawyers filed a motion Tuesday questioning whether the ex-sheriff of Santa Barbara County may have violated a court gag order by commenting to the press about an 11-year-old investigation of Jackson. The lawyers acknowledged, however, they do not know if the gag order applied to former Sheriff Jim Thomas. Parts of the motion were filed under seal. But a declaration filed publicly by attorney Robert Sanger said the defense was seeking to determine whether Thomas was covered by the court’s “protective order” which forbids parties in the case from making public comments. He said he had asked the prosecution to clarify whether the order applies to Thomas but had received no response. Thomas is retired and has been working as a news analyst for NBC News. His comments about a 1993 investigation of Jackson were included in a “Dateline NBC” report last week on old allegations against Jackson which never resulted in charges. Jackson has acknowledged he paid monetary settlements to avoid litigation back then. “As a result of recent public commentary by Mr. Thomas, it is incumbent upon defense counsel to bring the matter to this court’s attention,” Sanger said. He said he was filing under seal a request for an order to show cause whether contempt or other sanctions would be appropriate. Meanwhile, the judge also released an edited version of a defense motion seeking sanctions against the prosecution for failing to turn over an “Operations Plan” for searches of Jackson’s Neverland estate and the office of investigator Bradley Miller. The lawyers said the plan was relevant to recently held hearings in which the defense sought to suppress evidence. They said late production of the evidence thwarted their ability to question witnesses about it. The defense asked the judge to allow them to reopen the testimony of witnesses who have already appeared in order to question them about the plan. They also asked for monetary sanctions against the prosecution for withholding evidence. The 46-year-old entertainer is fighting charges that he molested a boy in 2003. Jackson, who is free on $3 million bail, has pleaded not guilty to committing a lewd act upon a child, administering an intoxicating agent, and conspiring to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. He is scheduled to face trial beginning Jan. 31. Source:

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