[b]Geragos ordered to appear today[/b] By Quintin Cushner/Staff Writer Famed defense attorney Mark Geragos must appear today in Superior Court in Santa Maria to testify in the Michael Jackson child-molestation case, Judge Rodney Melville ruled Thursday. Geragos, who represented Jackson during the early stages of the case, sought to postpone his appearance until at least Monday because of scheduling conflicts. His associate, Shepard Kopp, argued that the defense had not provided adequate time for him to appear. “Now you know how citizens feel,” Melville told Kopp. “It’s no different than if we subpoenaed a deputy sheriff or a mechanic or a child victim.” Melville’s decision was made outside the presence of jurors. When Kopp again requested flexibility, Melville repeated that Geragos must show this morning. “That will give me time to get the warrant out when he doesn’t appear,” Melville cracked. Jurors Thursday heard testimony from a Las Vegas attorney who represented Jackson in 2003. Witness David LeGrand testified that some of the men accused of conspiring with the entertainer were actually trying to take advantage of the entertainer. “I became suspicious of everybody,” LeGrand said. “It appeared everybody wanted to benefit off of Mr. Jackson in one way or another.” LeGrand testified that alleged unindicted co-conspirators Ronald Konitzer and Dieter Wiesner “diverted” $965,000 from Jackson. Prosecutors alleged Jackson conspired to hold captive the family of the boy accusing him of child molestation to assure their participation in an interview meant to counter a controversial TV special. LeGrand testified that while there was an interest in having the family interviewed, it was not an urgent concern. Under cross-examination, LeGrand acknowledged that the accuser’s mother rejected an offer of $25,000 to remain a party to a complaint about the program made to Britain’s broadcast standards board. Jackson’s defense has portrayed the woman as money-hungry. Also Thursday, a former classmate of a boy who accused Michael Jackson of child molestation during the early 1990s testified that the accuser never mentioned the alleged abuse. Carlos Velasco attended Santa Maria High School with the boy, who earlier testified that tickling sessions with Jackson led to sexual groping by the singer. Velasco said he was a friend of the accuser, who is the son of a former maid at Jackson’s Neverland Valley Ranch near Los Olivos. Velasco, also the son of a former Neverland employee, said his friend had never mentioned the alleged molestation. He also said he attended several events at the ranch with the accuser and did not notice Jackson treating the accuser differently than anyone else. … Source: http://www.santamariatimes.com/articles/2005/05/13/sections/traffic/7020.txt

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