Tuesday, November 28, 2006

How the Michael Jackson Case Evolved

How the case evolved
MIKE ELIASON/NEWS-PRESS FILEIT STARTED WITH A RAID: Michael Jackson's legal troubles began at Neverland Valley Ranch, above, on NOv. 18, 2003, when dozens of law enforcement agents searched for evidence. Mr. Jackson climbed on an SUV after his arraigment, below, and once appeared at court in his pajama bottoms, bottom right.
March 1988: Michael Jackson purchases the 2,600-acre Neverland property, off Figueroa Mountain Road near Los Olivos, for $14.6 million.
Aug. 1993: The Santa Barbara and Los Angeles county district attorneys' offices begin investigations of Mr. Jackson in connection with sexual molestation allegations made by a 13-year-old boy. A former maid's son tells investigators the entertainer molested him, as well.
Sept. 1993: The family of the 13-year-old files a civil lawsuit against Mr. Jackson.
Jan. 1994: The boy's family and Mr. Jackson reach an out-of-court settlement, reported to be $20 million. At about the same time, the former maid and her son are paid $2 million by Mr. Jackson.
Sept. 1994: Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon and the L.A. district attorney halt the criminal investigations of Mr. Jackson after the two boys refuse to testify.
March 1997: A Santa Maria jury awards Mr. Jackson $1.5 million in damages after five former Neverland Valley Ranch employees allege that they were threatened, spied on, harassed and wrongfully fired.
Nov. 2002: Lawyer and talk show host Gloria Allred calls on Mr. Sneddon and a state child protection agency to investigate Michael Jackson after he dangles his baby over a hotel balcony in Berlin.
Feb. 6: In a British documentary broadcast on ABC, Mr. Jackson admits to letting visiting children sleep in his bed at Neverland, but says that there was no sexual contact. Mr. Sneddon tells the News-Press it's "much ado about nothing," and "sleeping in bed with a kid is not a crime, that I know of."
March 13: A Santa Maria jury awards $5.3 million to Mr. Jackson's former concert promoter after the entertainer pulled out of a concert.
April-May: Following News-Press reports, the county inspects Neverland, including its amusement rides and zoo; county officials say that half of Mr. Jackson's 16 amusement rides have been built without permits.
Nov. 18: Nearly 70 Santa Barbara County law enforcement authorities raid Neverland, a videographer's West Hills residence and a private investigator's Beverly Hills office.
Nov. 19: Mr. Sneddon and Sheriff Jim Anderson announce that a warrant for Mr. Jackson's arrest has been issued.
Nov. 20: Mr. Jackson, accompanied by defense attorney Mark Geragos, surrenders to Santa Barbara County authorities; the entertainer is booked in County Jail, surrenders his passport, posts $3 million bail and is released.
Dec. 18: Mr. Sneddon files seven felony counts of committing a lewd act on a child under the age of 14 and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent to enable him to commit child molestation.
Jan. 16: Mr. Jackson pleads not guilty to all nine felony counts; he dances on the roof of his SUV outside the courthouse and hosts a party at Neverland to thank fans for their support.
Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville imposes a strict gag order on lawyers, investigators and witnesses.
March 29: Mr. Sneddon convenes a criminal grand jury.
April 21: The grand jury indicts Mr. Jackson on 10 counts.
April 25: Mr. Jackson replaces Mr. Geragos with Los Angeles defense lawyer Thomas Mesereau.
April 30: Mr. Jackson pleads not guilty to charges from the indictment: one count of conspiracy, four counts of lewd acts with a child, one count of an attempted lewd act with a child and four counts of administering alcohol to commit a felony.
May 19: The state Supreme Court refuses to lift Judge Melville's gag order.
June 14: Court documents are released showing that Judge Melville declined a defense request to lower Mr. Jackson's $3 million bail.
Aug. 16: Mr. Sneddon testifies at a pretrial hearing about his role in the investigation.
Late December: Court officials send out notices to North County residents eligible to be called for jury duty.
Jan. 31: Jury selection begins at the Santa Maria courthouse.
Feb. 15: Jury selection is suspended after Mr. Jackson is taken to Marian Medical Center with the flu.
Feb. 23: Judge Melville swears in 12 jurors.
Feb. 28-March 1: Mr. Sneddon and lead defense lawyer Mr. Mesereau make opening arguments.
March 3-4, 7: The accuser's sister says Mr. Jackson gave wine to her brother in early 2003.
March 8-9: The accuser's brother says he twice saw Mr. Jackson molest his brother at Neverland.
March 10: Mr. Jackson comes to trial in his pajamas after a detour to the Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital emergency room for treatment of back pain.
March 10, 14-15: The accuser says Mr. Jackson molested him at Neverland in March 2003.
March 21: Mr. Jackson is late for court after again stopping at Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital for treatment of back pain.
March 28: Judge Melville rules that evidence from a 1993 child molestation investigation of Mr. Jackson can be admitted.
April 4-5: The son of the former Neverland maid says that Mr. Jackson molested him more than 15 years ago.
April 11: The mother of the boy whose family received the $20 million settlement says her son shared a bed with the entertainer more than 60 times in 1993.
April 13-15, 18: The mother of the accuser in the current case testifies that Mr. Jackson and his associates held her and her family captive.
April 27-28: Debbie Rowe, Mr. Jackson's ex-wife, says she wasn't coached by his associates before being interviewed for a video portraying him favorably.
May 3: A forensic accountant says that Mr. Jackson is overspending by $20 million to $30 million a year and is facing financial disaster.
May 4: The prosecution rests its case.
May 5: Judge Melville denies defense requests for a mistrial and acquittal; the defense begins its case by calling two young men who each shared a bed with Mr. Jackson when they were boys; Wade Robson and Brett Barns tell jurors that the entertainer never molested them or touched them inappropriately.
May 11: Actor Macaulay Culkin tells jurors that Mr. Jackson never molested him; the "Home Alone" star's testimony contradicts a prosecution witness who said he saw Mr. Jackson fondle the actor when he was a child in the early 1990s.
May 12: Judge Melville orders Mr. Geragos, Mr. Jackson's former lawyer, to appear in court the next day under threat of an arrest warrant.
May 13: Mr. Geragos says he thought the accuser's family was going to shake down Mr. Jackson for money and ordered a private investigator to surveil them.
May 17: Simone Jackson, a cousin of Mr. Jackson, tells jurors the accuser and his brother stole wine from the Neverland kitchen.
May 19: Judge Melville rules that CNN talk show host Larry King cannot testify; Mr. King was expected to say that the family's civil attorney, Larry Feldman, told him the accuser's mother was out for money.
May 20: Mr. Geragos takes the stand for a second time and under cross-examination denies that the Jackson camp conspired to hold the accuser and his family captive.
May 24: Comedian Jay Leno testifies that the family never asked him for money, but acknowledges that he told police he thought he was a "mark" for the accuser's family.
May 25: Comedian Chris Tucker calls the accuser "cunning" and tells jurors that the boy tried to hit him up for money. The defense rests its case.
June 2-3: Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen for the prosecution and Mr. Mesereau for the defense give closing arguments.
June 3: The case goes to the jury.
June 5: Mr. Jackson goes to the emergency room at Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital for treatment of a back problem.
June 13: The jury finds Mr. Jackson not guilty of all 10 counts.

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