Newly released court documents include a long list of items seized at Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch but no hints about how they could fit into the criminal case against the pop superstar.
Investigators who searched the northern Santa Barbara complex on Nov. 18 seized computers, legal documents, videotapes, and a note and letter found on the singer's bedroom nightstand, according to the documents released Monday. There were no details about the items, such as what the written materials said.
The documents were released to attorneys representing news organizations that have asked Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville to unseal the search warrant, a list of items seized, and the affidavit filed by detectives seeking the warrant.
The judge ruled last month that most of the records would not be unsealed but agreed to release some of them in heavily edited form. The list released Monday was so extensively edited that references to several items were cut out completely.
Jackson pleaded innocent Jan. 16 to seven counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 and two counts of giving the child an "intoxicating agent," reportedly wine.
The records note that a locksmith had to open the master bathroom, and that the keys were ultimately found in a safe.
Items found in the master bathroom included a laptop computer found inside a locked closet, a digital camera found by a sink, and miscellaneous papers. Legal paperwork was found in an area described as the "master bathroom/den," but it was unclear whether it was behind the locked door.
Former prosecutor Wendy Murphy said Tuesday on CBS News' The Early Show that whatever was found could be "damning.
"I think the locked cabinet issue is crucial because it suggests the boy told them something that's a very secretive piece of scandalous information and that it turned out to be true," she said.
Defense attorney Mickey Sherman told Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm the lack of child pornography charges show the seizure of the computer and other items didn't yield much ammunition for prosecutors.
"The proof, I think, that they didn't find such gold booty is that they didn't charge any new charges when they finally got around to charging him," Sherman said.
Legal documents were also taken from an area described as the "study/library."
Many of the items were taken from the master bedroom, including an envelope found in a briefcase, several computers, papers and a calendar found in the closet. Items found on the room's nightstand included a letter and a note.
Magazines were also seized, but only one, the financial publication the Robb Report, was mentioned by name.
The records show that Judge Thomas R. Adams signed the warrant the night before the search began. They include a transcript of a telephone conversation between the judge and investigators at Neverland in which Adams agreed to amend the warrant so a storage locker could be searched.
Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Robel told the judge the investigators were looking for items including letters, invoices, canceled checks, computers and computer records. He said he believed the locker contained "records that we had failed to find in our initial search of (Jackson's) office."
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