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Jackson Seeks Gag Order Reprieve

Michael Jackson holds up a peace sign as leaves Santa Barbara County Jail after being booked on child molestation charges in Santa Barbara, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 20, 2003.
AP
Michael Jackson has asked the judge in his child molestation case to allow him to make a public statement reacting to the California attorney general's conclusion that Jackson was not mistreated as he claimed when he surrendered to authorities last year.

In an interview broadcast by CBS's 60 Minutes a month after his Nov. 20, 2003, arrest, Jackson said he was "manhandled" by Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies who took him into custody.

"My shoulder is dislocated, literally. It's hurting very badly. I'm in pain all the time," Jackson said. "It's very swollen. ... It keeps me from sleeping at night."

The report to Sheriff Jim Anderson from the attorney general's California Bureau of Investigation said there was no evidence to support Jackson's claim that his shoulder was dislocated when he was handcuffed. It also found that there was no criminal misconduct by sheriff's personnel.

Documents posted Wednesday on the Santa Barbara County Superior Court Web site show the entertainer submitted a sealed request to Judge Rodney Melville to make a public statement.

Jackson's proposed statement was included in the filing, but it was blacked out on the Web site.

"This statement has been crafted as to avoid issues of concern in this criminal matter," defense lawyer Thomas Mesereau Jr. said in the filing.

There was no indication of when Melville would rule on the request.

At a hearing in the case that resumes Thursday, Jackson's lawyers aim to find out whether authorities violated his attorney-client privilege when they broke into the office of a private investigator hired by the pop star.

To that end, Jackson's lawyers planned to call as a witness the stepfather of the 12-year-old boy accusing Jackson of molestation. The stepfather, referred to in court as "Mr. Doe" to protect his identity, was scheduled to begin testimony at a pretrial hearing Thursday.

Jackson's defense wants to know what the stepfather might have known about the relationship between the private investigator, Bradley Miller, and Jackson's former lawyer, Mark Geragos.

The issue is whether anyone told prosecutors and sheriff's deputies that Miller was working for Geragos before authorities decided to break into Miller's office and seize evidence. The defense contends that if authorities knew the investigator and lawyer were working together, the search violated attorney-client privilege of confidentiality.

Evidence seized during the raid included the so-called "rebuttal video," which was intended to answer negative publicity surrounding a British TV special on Jackson. The stepfather is said to have been present when Miller supervised the making of the video, during which the boy and his family reportedly vouch for Jackson's good character. Prosecutors say the family was coerced into making the video.

In addition to Mr. Doe, witnesses under subpoena for Thursday included William Dickerman, the attorney who once represented the family, and a number of sheriff's detectives.

Defense attorneys also plan to challenge individual items seized during a search of Jackson's Neverland Ranch.

Jackson, 45, is charged with committing a lewd act upon a child, administering an intoxicating agent and conspiring to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on $3 million bail.

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