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Jackson Testimony Uncloaked

The judge in Michael Jackson's 2003 child molestation trial kept scores of documents — from search warrants to court filings — under wraps. But the investigative Web site The Smoking Gun has obtained and published more than 1,900 pages of court testimony, previously sealed to the public eye.

The Smoking Gun posted hundreds of the pages of grand jury testimony online Wednesday, exposing information that the jury used to indict Jackson, including testimony from 41 witnesses and surveillance-taped evidence.

"We're still going through the stuff and we'll continue to post more," The Smoking Gun reporter Joseph Jesselli told CBS

Last month, the site ran several stories about testimony before the same grand jury by the 13-year-old Jackson accuser and his family.

Under an order by Judge Rodney Melville, the thousands of pages of police and court documents remain under seal almost a year after the Santa Barbara grand jury voted to indict Michael Jackson on charges that he molested a boy and conspired with several associates to falsely imprison the child and his family at the singer's Neverland Ranch.

Some of the best tidbits, the pages of which are posted on the site, include testimony from dozens of witnesses, including bodyguards, flight attendants, child welfare employees and a comedy club owner.

The documents include:

  • Information on and evidence from a raid of the office of Bradley Miller, a private investigator who allegedly played a central role in the conspiracy to intimidate and falsely imprison Jackson's teenage accuser and his family. The search came at the same time as the infamous 2003 raid of Neverland Ranch.

    In the PI's office, detectives found two surveillance tapes with footage of the boy and his family after they left Neverland in mid-February and after the family left the ranch a second time — for good — in March 2003. The Smoking Gun writes: "For investigators, the surveillance videos provided key corroboration of the family's claims that they were stalked and harassed by Jackson representatives after bolting Neverland."

  • Also in the PI's office: a 15-minute audio recording of a phone conversation between Jackson aide Frank Cascio and the alleged victim's mother.
  • Testimony from an ex-Jackson bodyguard who shadowed the pop star 24-hours a day. He said one afternoon he discovered the teenage accuser apparently drunk. He confronted the boy, who replied, "Well, I can handle it. Michael said if I can handle it, it's okay. It's part of being a man."
    The Smoking Gun's added analysis: "Jackson has been charged with four felony counts of providing booze to the accuser, a cancer survivor who lost his spleen and a kidney to the disease."
  • A Neverland security guard (and former California police officer) testified that he saw a written order posted in the estate's security office that the accuser not be allowed to leave Jackson's property. This testimony may have helped the jury decide the boy and his family were de facto imprisoned at the Jackson ranch.
  • Similar testimony by a former Jackson house manager. He said the boy "wasn't allowed to leave the property" and that the boy and his 11-year-old brother slept in Jackson's bedroom almost every night.
  • Information on more than 100 search warrants secured by investigators in the 13-month period following the November 2003 raid of Jackson's ranch. The Smoking Gun notes: "The singer's lawyers have contended that this barrage reflected the overzealous and vindictive ways of Anderson and Santa Barbara District Attorney Thomas Sneddon."

    The Smoking Gun is known for publishing police, FBI and court documents obtained through sources or Freedom of Information acts, and has become a background source for many journalists. It made a name for itself in the Jackson case by publishing the 1993 testimony of the teenage boy who sued Michael Jackson for sexual battery and emotional distress.

    The site, launched in 1997 by former Village Voice reporters, is now owned by Court TV.

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