Local lawyer files motion to dismiss Jackson trial

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[b]Local lawyer files motion to dismiss Jackson trial[/b] Redondo Beach attorney files longshot briefs with the state Supreme Court in favor of the pop star. He calls the case an “unjustifiable prosecution.” By Denise Nix Daily Breeze A well-known South Bay attorney ventured into the world’s biggest criminal case Tuesday by filing briefs with the state Supreme Court on behalf of Michael Jackson that allege the pop star is the target of an overzealous prosecution. The papers filed by attorney Carl A. “Tony” Capozzola ask for an immediate halt to Jackson’s ongoing child molestation trial in Santa Maria, now in its third week. Capozzola said in an interview that he was contacted about two months ago by a member of Jackson’s legal team, who sought him out after reading about his work on several high-profile cases. Capozzola said he has kept himself and his work for his client quiet until now — filing his motions with the state’s highest court on the same day the alleged 15-year-old victim concluded a four-day stint on the witness stand during which many inconsistencies in his story were explored. “I would like to see the public opinion be acknowledged in the hope — in the hope — that the district attorney in Santa Barbara will do the right thing and stop this unjustifiable prosecution,” Capozzola said. News accounts about the Jackson trial printed from the Internet are on Capozzola’s desk in his Redondo Beach office that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. He shares photographs of himself with the entertainer taken during a visit to Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, posing with Oscar statuettes in a room where pictures of Peter Pan and a young Shirley Temple hang on the walls. During that Feb. 13 visit, Capozzola had a talk with Jackson about the case. Then the 46-year-old international star signed a retainer hiring Capozzola to pursue appeals in his malicious prosecution lawsuit against Santa Barbara District Attorney Thomas Sneddon. “I told them before I participated fully in this I would need to speak to Michael personally and be retained on a personal basis,” Capozzola said. What he discovered at Jackson’s home that doubles as an amusement park and is the scene of the alleged crimes was that Jackson “is a giant kid who wouldn’t hurt a kid.” “I truly believe that he is a person who loves children, but not in a sexual way,” Capozzola said. “But the world of Michael Jackson is different from our world.” The father of five added: “I would not have taken this case if I did not firmly believe in the innocence of Michael Jackson and I have never been more confident that he will be exonerated.” Capozzola said he has maintained “frequent” contact with Jackson and his trial attorney, Thomas Mesereau Jr., during the trial in Santa Maria. The briefs filed Tuesday claim Sneddon and his office did not give the defense adequate time to review tens of thousands of pages of documents in evidence, did not turn over complete witness lists and has wrongly continued a prosecution based on unverifiable information. Sneddon’s involvement in the case is also attacked. Specifically, the papers note that no other district attorneys in the state personally take cases to trial, and add that a prosecutor’s personal interest in the case is grounds to disqualify him or her from the proceedings. “The public ridicule of Mr. Jackson by calling him ‘MJ’ is just one of the instances where his personal involvement has crossed the line,” Capozzola said about an interview Sneddon gave to Court TV in November 2003. Legal expert Laurie Levenson, a Loyola Law School professor who is following Jackson’s trial, said the timing of the Supreme Court filing is no accident and, while the high court is unlikely to act on the request, the maneuver highlights the problems with the prosecution’s case. “It’s almost impossible to win these motions,” Levenson said. “But I don’t blame him for trying and it has good PR value.” The filing is the next step in a malicious prosecution lawsuit Jackson brought and lost. Capozzola said he expects the court to decide within four or five days if it will review the case. Based on the Supreme Court’s action, Capozzola said a decision will then be made about filing a federal lawsuit that would address constitutional issues such as due process and vindictive prosecution. A spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office said a gag order precludes her from commenting on the motion. Jackson is accused of plying the boy, a cancer patient, with alcohol and sexually molesting him. He is also charged with holding the boy and his family captive at his Neverland Ranch in 2003 and forcing them to take part in a documentary in which he proclaims he shares his bed with children, but in an innocent way. The case that brought Capozzola to the attention of Jackson’s legal team involved his representation of a couple that took their grandchild from Florida to protect her from alleged child molestation by her stepfather. After 13 years on the run, the girl came forward when she turned 18. With Capozzola’s help, the grandparents were able to avoid federal charges. Capozzola’s work on behalf of Los Angeles Lakers trainer Gary Vitti in a messy domestic abuse case in which Vitti was acquitted of accusations he strangled his girlfriend also garnered the 45-year bar veteran some positive headlines. [DailyBreeze.com] Source: http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/articles/1372022.html

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