The Michael Jackson Case
Archived by - The Michael Jackson Repository


Although Tom Sneddon had officially filed a criminal complaint against Michael Jackson in December 2003, he later took his case to a secret grand jury, which resulted in a new 10-count indictment. The new charges reveal several troubling inconsistencies in the prosecution's case and also indicate that Jackson's defense evidence is being unfairly used against him. Please read the following sections carefully to gain a better understanding of the grand jury indictment:

SECTION ONE: How did the convening of a grand jury put Jackson's defense team at a disadvantage?

SECTION TWO: What is the difference between the charges in the original complaint and the charges in the indictment?

SECTION THREE: What is the basis of the conspiracy charge that has been brought against Jackson?

SECTION FOUR: Did Sneddon use Jackson's defense evidence to amend the weaknesses in the prosecution's case?

SECTION FIVE: Why the allegations of kidnapping lack credibility.

Go Back

How did the convening of a grand jury put Jackson's defense team at a disadvantage?

First it should be noted that the grand jury proceedings took away Jackson's right to a preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing is advantageous to the defense because it allows them to:

1) cross-examine the prosecution witnesses
2) get an idea of what evidence the prosecution has
3) better prepare themselves for a trial

The prosecution's case can also be thrown out during a preliminary hearing if the judge feels there is not enough evidence to go to trial. By avoiding a preliminary hearing, Sneddon was able to present his case without any defense attorneys present. His witnesses were not cross-examined and any evidence he presented to the grand jury went unchallenged. Most legal experts agree that by presenting a case to a grand jury, a prosecutor is almost guaranteed to get an indictment returned. If Jackson's defense attorneys had been given the opportunity to cross-examine the accuser and other witnesses during a preliminary hearing, the case might have fallen apart. Sneddon managed to avoid this by taking his case to a grand jury.

Back to Top

What is the difference between the charges in the original complaint and the charges in the indictment?

On April 30th, 2004, Jackson was indicted by a grand jury on four counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor, four counts of administering an intoxicating agent, one count of attempted child molestation and one count of conspiracy. These alleged acts took place on or between February 20th and March 12th 2003.

If you look at the original complaint and compare it to the indictment, you'll find that while the accuser is the same, Sneddon's case has undergone several major changes. Jackson was originally charged with seven counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent on or between February 7th and March 10th.

One notable difference in the accuser's story - besides the shift in the timeline and the change in the amount of times he was allegedly abused - is that the charges in the complaint state that the boy was only given alcohol twice. This indicates that the accuser was sober throughout most of the occurrences of alleged abuse. The charges in the indictment, however, suggest that the boy was intoxicated throughout every incidence of alleged abuse.

Perhaps the most questionable change, however, is that the conspiracy allegation was not included in the original charges. The family went to the police in June and Jackson was not charged until December; authorities had five months to investigate the family's claims against Jackson. Surely if there was evidence of a conspiracy, it would have been uncovered during those first five months of investigation.

Back to Top

What is the basis of the conspiracy charge that has been brought against Jackson?

In the indictment, Jackson is accused of 28 overt acts of conspiracy including child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. The prosecution alleges that Jackson conspired with five unnamed employees to kidnap the family and force them into making positive statements about him. According to the prosecution, Jackson forced the family into making these statements so that he could improve his public image after the airing of the controversial Living with Michael Jackson documentary. He then allegedly molested the boy.

Although Jackson's associates are also accused of kidnapping the family, Jackson is the only one who has been charged; the five alleged co-conspirators are unindicted. Some legal experts have speculated that Sneddon might be threatening them with charges in order to tempt them to turn on Jackson. According to Joe Tacopina, an attorney for two of the alleged co-conspirators, his clients were offered immunity if they agreed to testify against Jackson. Both men refused Sneddon's offer and denied the family's allegations.

Back to Top

Did Sneddon use Jackson's defense evidence to amend the weaknesses in the prosecution's case?

It seems that after Sneddon became aware of Jackson's defense strategy, he amended his case so that Jackson would have nothing left to defend himself with. Here are some examples of how Sneddon used what he knew about Jackson's defense evidence to strengthen the prosecution's case:

1) During the summer of 2003, Sneddon was informed by psychiatrist Stan Katz that Private Investigator Bradley Miller was in possession of a tape of the accuser and his family praising Jackson. The tape was made in February, which seemingly contradicted the family's claims that Jackson had kidnapped them and molested the boy that month. Upon learning about this tape, Sneddon raided Miller's office, took the tape and viewed it; these actions violated Jackson's attorney/client privileges because Miller was working for Jackson's lawyer.

By viewing the tape, Sneddon discovered that Jackson's defense strategy would likely revolve around the family's previous denials of abuse. Sneddon then found a way to discredit this evidence; he claimed that the family was coerced into making positive statements on Jackson's behalf so that the singer could improve his image after the airing of the Martin Bashir documentary. This is the basis of the conspiracy charge that was brought by the grand jury in April 2004. Had Sneddon not viewed Jackson's defense evidence, the conspiracy charge might not have materialized and the tape would have been used to exonerate Jackson. Instead, it is now being used by the prosecution as evidence of a criminal conspiracy.

2) In December 2003, Mark Geragos told Larry King that people within Jackson's camp were told to keep an eye on the family after the airing of the Living with Michael Jackson documentary. According to several sources, the employees took careful notes and documented the mother's suspicious behaviour. These employees will undoubtedly be called as defense witnesses. By accusing them of being part of a conspiracy, Sneddon has now tainted their potential testimonies. It appears that the precautions that Jackson took to protect himself from a seemingly opportunistic family (like asking his associates to watch out for questionable behaviour on the mother's part) have been used against him as evidence of a conspiracy.

3) Geragos told the press that Jackson had an iron-clad alibi for every date of the alleged abuse. By accusing Jackson's associates of conspiring with him, Sneddon has possibly discredited Jackson's "iron-clad alibi."

4) The family’s interview with the Department of Children and Family services was conducted around February 20th. As you may recall, the entire family denied abuse on Jackson’s part, said Jackson had never been alone with the boy and said Jackson had never shared a bed with him. This was a major hole in the prosecution’s case. According to the original complaint, the abuse began on February 7th but according to statements made by the family around February 20th, the boy had never been alone with Jackson. It would have been impossible for any abuse to have occurred between February 7th and February 20th. If you look at the new charges, these two weeks have disappeared from the timeline. The abuse is now alleged to have begun after February 20th, rendering the family’s initial statements to social workers irrelevant.

5) According to Geragos, the family recorded videotaped statements and signed numerous affidavits saying Jackson did nothing wrong. In fact, they were apparently still defending Jackson even after March 10th. By saying the family was kidnapped, harassed and threatened by members of the Jackson camp, Sneddon now has a way to justify the fact that they were defending Jackson before, during and after the alleged abuse occurred.

Back to Top

Why the allegations of kidnapping lack credibility

The conspiracy charge might have made Sneddon's case appear more logical to the average person but to those who have followed the case closely, it adds more inconsistencies to allegations against Michael Jackson. Here are several reasons why the family's claims of kidnapping might be false:

1) The prosecution claims that Jackson forced the family into making statements in his defense because he wanted to improve his public image after the airing of the Bashir documentary. If this is true, several questions come to mind:

Why was the footage of the family not included in Jackson's televised rebuttal to the documentary?

Why would Jackson then turn around and molest the boy if he was so concerned about people thinking he was a child molester?

The accuser's stepfather testified that he asked Jackson for money in return for the family's participation in the rebuttal video. If Jackson was holding the family against their will, how can the father's demand for money be explained? Surely, if Jackson was able to force the family into praising him on camera, he could have also forced them into signing a consent form allowing him to use the footage; under these circumstances, the stepfather wouldn't have had any grounds to ask for financial compensation.

2) The family claims they were held against their will at Jackson's Neverland ranch in February 2003 but the record shows that throughout that month, they had numerous opportunities to ask for help. For example:

- Two police departments interviewed the family in mid-February 2003 after being asked to investigate Jackson. Why didn't any of the family members indicate to social workers that they were being held against their will? Why didn't the social workers pick up on the fact that something was wrong?

- The mother got in contact with civil attorney Bill Dickerman in February 2003. Why didn't she tell him to phone the police? Furthermore, do kidnappers generally let their victims leave to visit their civil lawyers?

- The family went on several shopping sprees in February 2003; could they not have gotten help from somebody while out in public?

- According to the prosecution, the family was able to escape from Neverland but Jackson "cajoled" them back. Why didn't they go to the police as soon as they escaped? And if they were really in fear of their safety, why did they allow their kidnapper to talk them into coming back to his home?

- The mother's husband testified that the family was at his apartment when Private Investigator Bradley Miller interviewed them in February. Why were they at the stepfather's house when they were supposedly being kidnapped by Michael Jackson and his employees?

3) The mother's divorce attorney Michael Manning told reporters that the mother was still praising Jackson in April 2003. Why would she be defending Jackson after he had allegedly kidnapped her?

So what now?

Recently, Jackson's new attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. filed a motion to have the grand jury indictment dismissed, claiming that the proceedings were not conducted properly. The next section will examine the numerous instances and accusations of prosecutorial misconduct on Sneddon’s part.

Read About Malicious Prosecution in the Jackson Case

Go Back