Prosecution unable to link phone records to Jackson – SBNP

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[b]Prosecution unable to link phone records to Jackson[/b] 5/3/05 By DAWN HOBBS NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER Prosecutors used stacks of phone records on Monday to illustrate how Michael Jackson’s associates were in constant contact during the time it is alleged they were conspiring to keep the entertainer’s accuser and his family captive at Neverland Valley Ranch. [b]But the defense used the same records to show the accuser’s family frequently called Jackson associates themselves and made numerous late-night phone calls to the homes of ranch employees at least a week after the family left Neverland. Co-defense counsel Robert Sanger pointed out that prosecutors failed to link his client to the flurry of calls that occurred from Feb. 4 to March 12, 2003, the day the accuser’s family left the entertainer’s Los Olivos estate.[/b] [b]”In all of the phone records you analyzed, were you able to determine whether or not Michael Jackson ever made a single call?” Mr. Sanger asked Sgt. Craig Bonner, who prepared summary reports of the phone records. “No,” Sgt. Bonner answered.[/b] Prosecutors have been attempting to link Mr. Jackson to the conspiracy charge against him for the past week. It is expected they will wrap up their case today or Wednesday, after nearly 10 weeks of trial and more than 80 witnesses. Defense lawyers will then likely ask Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville to dismiss the case against their client, citing a lack of evidence. Such requests, however, are rarely granted. If this one is not, the defense case is expected to last six to eight weeks. Law enforcement testimony will continue this morning. Rudy Provencio, who temporarily worked as a confidential informant for law enforcement, is scheduled to take the stand today. Mr. Provencio was a friend of one of five Jackson associates prosecutors have linked to the alleged conspiracy but have not charged with a crime. Prosecutors allege Mr. Jackson and his associates conspired to keep the boy and his family captive until they participated in a video to rebut the public relations disaster created by a controversial British documentary, “Living with Michael Jackson.” In the documentary, Mr. Jackson is seen holding hands with the boy who would become his accuser, stating he innocently shares his bed with children. The boy’s mother testified that when she veered from the rebuttal script, Jackson associates made plans to ship the family to Brazil. The boy, now 15, alleges Mr. Jackson molested him during the last week the family was at the ranch. … On Monday, Senior Deputy District Attorney Mag Nicola tediously verified the phone records compiled by Sgt. Bonner that showed Jackson associates were in frequent contact while the family was in Florida with Mr. Jackson in early February and after they returned to the ranch. Earlier, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon questioned the branch manager of U.S. Bank in Santa Monica, where one of the alleged co-conspirators, F. Marc Schaffel, had several accounts. Beverly Wagner testified that Mr. Schaffel cashed two checks totaling $1.5 million on April 2, 2003, about two weeks after the family left the ranch for good. Prosecutors hinted it may have been payoff money for his alleged part in the conspiracy, but the defense implied the checks from Neverland Valley Enterprises may have been for the production work Mr. Schaffel did on the rebuttal video, “Take Two: The Footage They Wouldn’t Show You,” which aired Feb. 20, 2003, on Fox. Source:

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