CBS News Transcript: Gary Dunalp 12-18-03

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Copyright 2003 CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved CBS News Transcripts [b]December 18, 2003 Thursday[/b] Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon JULIE CHEN, co-host: As we’ve been reporting, child molestation charges are expected to be filed today against Michael Jackson. Tom Sneddon has been the district attorney in Santa Barbara, California, for more than 20 years and plans to personally try the case. EARLY SHOW national correspondent Hattie Kauffman has more on the veteran prosecutor. Mr. JERRY ROBERTS (Editor, Santa Barbara News-Press): Yeah. I think people do feel that he is a man on a mission. You know, this is going to be the signature case of his career. HATTIE KAUFFMAN reporting: Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon has pursued Michael Jackson twice over 10 years on allegations of child molestation. The editor of the local paper says don’t look for Sneddon to back down. Mr. ROBERTS: The two words that you hear the most are probably ‘pugnacious’ and ‘tenacious.’ He has a reputation for being fiercely competitive. Mr. TOM SNEDDON (Santa Barbara County District Attorney): Within a very short period of time, there will be charges filed against Mr. Jackson. KAUFFMAN: When Sneddon announced an arrest warrant for Jackson, he sounded confident and cocky. Mr. SNEDDON: Like the sheriff and I really are into that kind of music, but… KAUFFMAN: He was forced later to apologize for the light tone. Mr. JIM THOMAS (Santa Barbara County Sheriff): I suspect that if he had the opportunity to do it again, he may do it a little differently. KAUFFMAN: In over two decades as DA, Sneddon’s clashed with plenty of defense attorneys, including GaryDunlap. Mr. GARYDUNLAP (Defense Attorney): Last year I was wrongfully prosecuted for a number of crimes, crimes that I did not commit. KAUFFMAN: The DA had charged Dunlap, a frequent critic of the department, with perjury and witness intimidation. [b] Mr. DUNLAP:[/b] We went to a jury trial and I was acquitted on all counts. KAUFFMAN: Now Dunlap is suing Sneddon for malicious prosecution and wonders just how strong the DA’s case against Jackson really is. [b] Mr. DUNLAP:[/b] He said he had a very strong case against me. The problem was that his whole strong case was manufactured. KAUFFMAN: Two years after Jackson’s first child molestation investigation by Sneddon, the singer wrote a song about a cold, cold man named Dom Sheldon. Some Jackson fans are convinced it’s a thinly veiled reference to Tom Sneddon. (Excerpt from “D.S.,” courtesy MJJ Productions, Epic Records Group) Mr. ROBERTS: He’s not a universally beloved figure, and he’s not the kind of guy that you feel all warm and fuzzy when he walks into the room. KAUFFMAN: Still, even his detractors concede Sneddon is good at what he does. [b]Mr. DUNLAP[/b]: I know he’s a very effective prosecutor. Tom Sneddon is not a lightweight. Mr. ROBERTS: Some of the talking heads, I think, that I’ve seen on–on national television, I–I think, do underestimate him, and I think people underestimate him at their peril. KAUFFMAN: Jackson’s high-profile legal team will be up against a district attorney who plans to prosecute the case himself. Mr. THOMAS: It’s not a vendetta. He’s a professional, and he’s not one that is going to look back and say, you know, ‘We didn’t get you last time, we got you this time.’ [b]Mr. DUNLAP:[/b] He lost his opportunity against Michael Jackson in 1993, and he doesn’t want to leave office without paying that score back. KAUFFMAN: But Sneddon’s motivation may be simpler than that. Mr. ROBERTS: He’s a law-and-order guy who sees the world in black and white. There’s bad guys and good guys, and he sees himself as–as the good guy. KAUFFMAN: For THE EARLY SHOW, Hattie Kauffman, CBS News, Los Angeles. CHEN: Michael Jackson is expected to make his first court appearance next month. Coming up, ’tis the season to stress out. We’ll show you how to relax heading into the holiday home stretch. Plus, you’ll never guess what Bobby Flay found in Dave’s refrigerator. My question is, did it bite? And will “Lord of the Rings” be king? We’ll check out the Golden Globe nominations. You’re watching THE EARLY SHOW on CBS. (Announcements) Source: Lexis Nexis

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