July 27, 2004
SANTA MARIA, Calif. - A prosecutor said Tuesday that pop star Michael Jackson enticed a young boy, then imprisoned him and his family at his Neverland Ranch and forced them to make a video absolving him of molestation claim.
The fiery court presentation by Deputy District Attorney Gordon Auchincloss disclosed for the first time the prosecution's theory of its conspiracy case against Jackson, claiming he panicked after a television show threatened to destroy his career by linking him with an obsession with young boys. Auchincloss made his allegation at a hearing about a defense motion to dismiss the case.
"The fact that Mr. Jackson rationalized this behavior on national television was his downfall," Auchincloss said. "It represented the complete and utter ruin of his empire. ... It made him an international object of loathing and scorn."
Defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. derided the entire prosecution case as "absurd on its face" and demanded dismissal of all charges.
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 is free on $3 million bail and scheduled to stand trial Sept. 13.