LOS ANGELES - Conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges were being considered against several associates of Michael Jackson for allegedly threatening the family of the boy who accused Jackson of child molestation, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
An unidentified source close to the case told the Times the charges were under consideration.
Attorney Joseph Tacopina said there had been speculation that two of his clients, Vincent Amen and Frank Tyson, would either be indicted by the grand jury or charged separately with alleged intimidation of witnesses.
He denied the allegations and told the newspaper the two former Jackson employees would not appear before the grand jury.
"They've been invited and we declined," Tacopina said. "We're sitting tight." Besides Amen and Tyson, the newspaper did not identify any other associates who might be under investigation.
Meanwhile, prosecutors in the case against Jackson were close to wrapping up their presentation to the grand jury, which could begin deliberating Wednesday on whether to indict the entertainer on criminal charges, the Santa Barbara News-Press reported.
Tyson, who was Jackson's personal assistant, has been accused of threatening to kill the younger brother of Jackson's alleged victim if he revealed to authorities that Jackson had given the boy alcohol, Tacopina said.
Amen, who worked for Jackson's production company, was accused of holding the family at Jackson's Neverland estate against its will, he said.
The attorney said the accusations came from the boy's mother and were "patently false."
"I know the evidence and I know the accuser," he said, "I'll have no problem taking up the issue of her credibility if and when I'm asked to do so."
Susan Tellem of the public relations firm Tellem Worldwide, which is handling media calls for Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon, said the district attorney would not comment because of a gag order in the case.
Loyola University Law Professor Laurie Levenson said such charges could be a tactic to bolster the district attorney's case against Jackson. The accuser and his family told child welfare investigators last year that no abuse occurred.
"The district attorney has to overcome the problem that he has a witness who was denying molestation to other authorities," Levenson said. "One way to explain this is that this witness was under pressure."
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