Thursday, April 22, 2004
Los Angeles Pop star Michael Jackson was indicted by a Santa Barbara County grand jury investigating child molestation allegations, television news organizations reported Wednesday.
The reports by ABC, CNN and MSNBC cited sources that were unidentified. They had no details about the indictment, nor was there any official confirmation or announcement.
Grand jury indictments are usually secret until a defendant is arraigned.
Jackson attorney Mark Geragos, reached by telephone, would not answer questions from The Associated Press about whether there was an indictment.
Geragos, other defense attorneys and prosecutors in the case are covered by a gag order. The district attorney's office also would not comment about the media reports.
"This probably is a court matter, to be able to give the information out, not the district attorney's office," said Susan Tellem of Tellem Worldwide, hired to handle media inquiries for District Attorney Tom Sneddon in the case. "There's a gag order ... and that means the district attorney really can't speak."
Calls to Sneddon and others in his office were not immediately returned.
Jackson's spokeswoman, Raymone Bain, issued a statement to the AP saying the singer will plead not guilty during his scheduled April 30 arraignment -- if an indictment has been issued. The statement did not confirm that an indictment has been handed down.