Jackson lawyer blasts witness leak – CNN

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Jackson lawyer blasts witness leak Friday, January 14, 2005 Posted: 12:31 AM EST (0531 GMT) LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) — Michael Jackson’s lawyer has blasted the leak of secret grand jury testimony that includes lurid details from Jackson’s accuser about what the cancer-stricken boy says happened between him and the pop superstar behind closed doors at the Neverland ranch. Jackson’s lead attorney, Thomas Mesereau, issued a statement saying the defense team “strongly” objected to the leak of the material. ABC News first reported the information Thursday, citing transcripts of the boy’s testimony. Mesereau said the transcripts had been ordered sealed by Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville. He also noted that because grand jury proceedings include the prosecution but not the defense, the statements by Jackson’s accuser are only representative of the prosecution’s view of the case. “The witnesses who testified before the grand jury were never subjected to cross-examination or impeachment by the defense,” Mesereau said. “By law, no judge or defense lawyer was allowed to be present in the grand jury room. Furthermore, the defense had no opportunity to call its own witnesses to rebut or criticize this one-sided proceeding.” A gag order issued by Melville normally bars defense attorneys and prosecutors from commenting about the case. But the judge approved the release of Mesereau’s rebuttal statement Thursday afternoon. “This case will be won in the courtroom and not through ‘leaks’ in the media,” Mesereau said. “When he has his day in court, Michael Jackson will be acquitted and vindicated.” Jackson, 46, was indicted by a grand jury on four counts of child molestation, four counts of administering an intoxicating agent, one count of attempted child molestation and one count of conspiracy to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. Jury selection is scheduled to begin January 31. Jackson’s accuser was 12 when the alleged molestation took place in February and March of 2003. The same year, the boy appeared in a documentary by journalist Martin Bashir in which Jackson held hands with his accuser and admitted that he shared his bedroom with children. In addition to describing the alleged molestation, according to ABC, the boy told grand jurors that Jackson also encouraged him to drink alcohol — even after the boy had told Jackson that drinking could harm him because he has only one kidney. Source: http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/01/13/michael.jackson/index.html

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